Tag Archives: Public Libraries

Is your local library a bestseller? — Mass. circulation rates tell an interesting tale

“In terms of circulation, some Massachusetts libraries are bestsellers. For others, it’s a totally different story. Data from the state Board of Library Commissioners show that certain communities see their library materials checked out far more frequently than others — in some cases, a startling 100 times more. The following map suggests that some of the busiest libraries in the state are on Cape Cod and the islands, in a cluster of affluent suburbs west of Boston, and in a few smaller communities in western Massachusetts.” (via The Boston Globe)

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“Fewer Americans are visiting libraries – which means they’re missing out on the changes at such institutions, according to results of a Pew Research Center survey released Thursday at the Public Library Association’s annual conference in Denver.Pew has been asking American adults whether they visited a library in the past year. The first time, in 2012, 53 percent said yes. That has dropped steadily, to 44 percent last year.” (via The Associated Press)

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The reinvention of libraries, from public spaces to living rooms

“A decade ago, when print sales began to dwindle, and countless bookstores closed their doors, no one could have predicted that real, hard-copy books were going to make a return – with a vengeance. Today, not only are book sales rising (industry organization BookNet reports that print copies accounted for 80 per cent of total book sales in Canada last year), but public libraries are becoming increasingly cool places to hang out.” (via The Globe and Mail)

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Adapt or die: The evolution of Louisville’s public libraries

“For decades, libraries were simply repositories for books — a place where knowledge was stored by ink and paper, and if you wanted to learn about a subject you had to scour the stacks of books to find exactly what you were looking for.Today, the Internet is that place (or at least some of it is), where people go to learn about almost anything. The human experience, and nearly everything we have learned in our centuries of existence, has been digitized and is easily accessed by the smartphone in your pocket.Yet we still have libraries, quite a few actually, so how are they surviving in this digital age? They evolved. (via LEO Weekly)

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Deb Fallows on The Local Library

“As we traveled around the U.S. reporting on the revival of towns and cities, we always made the local library an early stop. We’d hit the newspaper offices, the chamber of commerce, city hall, and Main Street for an introduction to the economics, politics, and stresses of a town. The visit to the public library revealed its heart and soul.The traditional impression of libraries as places for quiet reading, research, and borrowing books—and of librarians as schoolmarmish shush-ers—is outdated, as they have metamorphosed into bustling civic centers. For instance, Deschutes Public Library in Bend, Oregon, now cooperates with dozens of organizations, from AARP (which helps people with their taxes) to Goodwill (which teaches résumé writing). A social worker trains staff to guide conversations about one of the most frequent questions people trustingly bring into the library: Can you help me figure out how to meet my housing costs?” (via The Atlantic)

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A handy sign that a local government is shirking its public duty: privatizing the library

“The list of responsibilities that a local government must shoulder isn’t an especially long one. Typically it includes keeping the streets paved and the streetlights lit, maintaining adequate police and fire services, inspecting buildings, sometimes providing water. One hallmark of almost every local jurisdiction is the free public library. So the proposal before the Kern County supervisors to turn over the county library system to a private company operating out of suburban Maryland marks a major step. If you’re looking for a sign that local political leaders are intent on giving up all pretense of working for the public interest, look no further. (via LA Times)

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Libraries for the 21st Century: It’s A Family Thing

“With generous funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Harvard Family Research Project is delighted to partner with the Public Library Association (PLA) on a new project to explore family engagement in children’s learning through libraries. For families, family engagement is about the knowledge, attitudes, values, and behaviors that enable children to be motivated, enthusiastic, and successful learners. For schools and libraries, family engagement means respectful partnerships that offer the information, guidance, and opportunities for families to be active in their children’s learning and development.” (via Harvard Family Research Project)

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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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