Tag Archives: Public Libraries

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of libraries as places for quiet reading, research, and borrowing books—and of librarians as schoolmarmish shush-ers—is outdated, as they have metamorphosed into bustling civic centers.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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