Tag Archives: Public Libraries

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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Indy library is drawing road map to its future

“At a time when the existence of public libraries has been questioned, a strong chorus of voices, supported by local and national research, has demonstrated that libraries do matter. They matter in a way that reveals the central role modern libraries play in a digital age. Findings by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation show that a public library’s role as a technology resource and training center has exploded over the past decade. Free access to computers provides a lifeline for those in need to apply for jobs, secure government services and connect with the world community. As an extension of the education system, the public ­library has become a valued partner in enhancing literacy, not only in the traditional sense of reading and comprehension, but in developing cultural, media, financial and civic literacy among citizens.” (via Indianapolis Star)

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Maine libraries write new chapter on lending

“So here’s the dilemma: You’ve been asked to bake a cake shaped like a dinosaur for a child’s birthday, but you’re hesitant to spend money on a pan you’ll use only once.What to do? If you live in New Gloucester, the answer is easy. Go to the New Gloucester Public Library and simply check the pan out, just like you would a book or DVD. And while you’re there, peruse the other 46 specialty cake pans the library has in its collection, including Dora the Explorer and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.” (via The Portland Press Herald)

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Beyond the stacks – Libraries reinvent themselves for the 21st century

“Walk into Arlington Heights Memorial Library, whose renovations were completed this year, and you’ll see an expansive, open space. Several dividing walls have been removed. One section of the library, Marketplace, mimics a supermarket aisle, with 20,000 books, DVDs and music CDs. Books are divided by category — Cookbooks, Health, Jobs & Money and Trending — and shelved with covers, rather than spines, facing out.” (via Chicago Tribune)

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