Tag Archives: Public Libraries

Patrons split on how fast libraries should move into the digital age

“The word “library” conjures up a very specific image for most people: rows upon rows of books. But as libraries evolve into a place for more digital research, and teach a different kind of literacy, how long should the bookshelves stay? That’s one of the questions the Pew Research Center has asked in a new survey focused on library use — and it got some very divided answers.” (via Washington Post)

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Remarkable Lessons In Innovation From A Public Library

“There are two ways to run a public library in a small town: the traditional way, or the Maxine Bleiweis way. For the past 17 years, Maxine has been the director of The Westport Library in our suburban town of 27,000 people. In her hands, the library hasn’t just been a place to get books. It’s been a vibrant tool for bringing out the best in others. The Library offers over 1,600 programs annually. To my eyes, Maxine has no conception of the word “can’t.” Some think that public libraries can’t be noisy, boisterous, provocative, outrageous or entertaining. They can’t buy – and program – robots, or attract thousands of inventors, scientists and hobbyists for a single event.” (via Forbes)

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America’s Star Libraries, 2014: Top-Rated Libraries

“We are very pleased to announce the results of the seventh edition of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat. The LJ Index is a measurement tool that compares U.S. public libraries with their spending peers based on four types of output measures of their per capita use. For this year’s Star Libraries, please click on “The Star Libraries” above; for more on what’s next for the index, see pa”What’s Next for the LJ Index”. When the LJ Index and its Star Library ratings were introduced in 2008, our hope was that whether libraries were awarded stars or not, they would examine these statistics more closely—both for their own library and for their peers—and make fuller use of these and other types of data for local planning and evaluation purposes.” (via Library Journal)

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Mesa libraries pilot innovative technologies, programs

“Picture a library. If the first thing that comes to mind is a card catalog, “you’re long overdue for a visit,” according to Public Library Association President Larry Neal. For years, libraries have been on the leading edge when it comes to piloting new technologies, Neal said. They were some of the first places to offer access to desktop computers, the Internet and e-readers. But as libraries’ offerings have evolved, their marketing and branding efforts haven’t necessarily kept pace. And while surveys show the majority of Americans still believe in the importance of libraries, the discrepancy has left more tech-savvy generations wondering why they would ever need to visit one.” (via AZ Central)

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U.S. libraries become front line in fight against homelessness

“George Brown, a homeless man in Washington, has a simple answer when asked how often he uses a public library. “Always. I have nowhere else to go,” Brown, 65, said outside the U.S. capital’s modernist central library after a morning reading sociology books. “When it’s hot, you come here to stay out of the heat. When it’s cold, you come here to stay out of the cold.” Brown is among the hundreds of thousands of homeless people who have put the almost 9,000 U.S. public libraries, the most of any country in the world, in the forefront of the battle against homelessness.” (via Reuters)

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How a public library set me free

“My parents and two older brothers arrived in Queens from Cuba in 1967, squeezing into a one-bedroom apartment that got even more cramped when I showed up two years later. Suspicious of everyone and unable to communicate in English, my parents weren’t about to let their kids roam unsupervised in the streets of their graffiti-strewn city. And since they both worked, we boys spent a lot of time at home making the best of our crowded quarters. School provided a welcome change of scenery, but that, too, was a somewhat constricting environment in which I was relegated to an uncomfortable chair in an overcrowded room for hours at a time. The main public library on Merrick Boulevard was the first place I was allowed to visit on my own. I started going when I was 8. Everything I needed was located on what seemed to me an endless single floor. Wandering around that building aimlessly on a Saturday afternoon offered a sense of freedom I’d never experienced before.” (via The Washington Post)

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The Future For Public Libraries: Specialized Features Not Starbucks

“My head is still spinning from Panos Mourdoukoutas’ post at Forbes last week suggesting that there should be a Starbucks in every local library. Granted it appeared in Forbes and they slant corporate but it might just be the most near-sighted, wackiest story I have read in some time. Of course he starts out proclaiming his love for his local library but before it’s over he says “Simply put, Starbucks and local libraries supplement each other nicely—they are both “third places” with different rules of conduct, catering to different community segments. That’s a good reason to have a Starbucks store in every library. ”Why not put a jail in every library for it also has “different rules of conduct, catering to different community segments.”  They would compliment each other nicely by providing literacy services and job training to inmates while scaring the pants off the kids so they won’t go astray of the law.” (via Book Patrol)

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Breaking Out of the Library Mold, in Boston and Beyond

“An old joke about libraries goes like this: A boy walks into a
library and asks for a burger and fries. “Young man!” the startled librarian reprimands. “You are in a library.” So the boy repeats his order, only this time, he whispers. So much has changed in libraries in recent years that such a scene may not be so far-fetched. Many libraries have become bustling community centers where talking out loud and even eating are perfectly acceptable.” (NYTimes.com)

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Public libraries get online access to research journals

“Hundreds of thousands of research journal articles are to be made available on computers in public libraries. The Access to Research initiative will give the public access to articles on health, biological research, engineering and social sciences for the first time More than 8,000 journals from around the world are included. It is hoped this will encourage more people to use public libraries. The Publishing Licensing Society (PLS) is behind the scheme.” (via BBC)

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Public libraries seek to rebrand

“In a sign of the times, the Willingboro Public Library is trying to reinvent itself with a fresh slogan and logo to make it more relevant. “You have to keep up with all of the trends,” said library director Christine King. “We want to dispel the notion that we all do is dispense books.” In seeking to rebrand itself, the library has embarked on an ambitious mission to change its image as a community center where visitors can attend workshops, take an exercise class, or see an art exhibit. “We want people to know that you can get information, but you can also get information that can change your life,” King said in a recent interview.” (via Philly.com)

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