This article appears in the March print edition alongside the cover story, “Can America Put Itself Back Together?”—a summation of James and Deb Fallows’s 54,000-mile journey around America in a single-engine plane.
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of libraries as places for quiet reading, research, and borrowing books—and of librarians as schoolmarmish shush-ers—is outdated, as they have metamorphosed into bustling civic centers.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?
There are three areas where libraries function as vibrant centers of America’s towns: technology, education, and community.
A Minnesota artist has set sail with "The Floating Library," which offers reading materials to bookworms on Echo Park Lake. Dave Mecham reports from Echo Park for the KTLA 5 News at 1 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2016.
Above: Maker kits being delivered to Illinois State Library. Victoria Rakowski is a public librarian and co-founder of Make it @ Your Library . Founded in 2012 as part of an Institute for Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant, and our original intent was to help get all libraries up to speed on the concept of makerspaces in the library–or, rather, DIY culture and content creation in the library, versus content consumption. While libraries bring a great deal of technology to their communities, there was no denying the gap in access that exists all over our home state of Illinois: Many rural libraries just aren’t on the same financial playing field as suburban Chicago libraries. We originally began with the simple intention of helping libraries, no matter their budget and ability, bring makerspaces and DIY concepts into their communities. Our mission morphed a bit when we were awarded a Knight Prototype Fund grant in January 2015.
Beginning in December 2013, librarians at Alfred University, NY, began discussing the possibility of creating a Personal Librarian Program, inspired by the work of librarians at places like Drexel University and Yale University’s Medical Library. We have always encouraged students to seek out a librarian for research assistance; now we wanted to add a human touch, providing a name and face for students encountering the intimidating task of using a college library for the first time. The librarian trading card programs of other libraries--such as Penn State and the University of Rochester--gave us the idea of creating unique cards and personas for each librarian. We decided to take the trading card idea, give it a fantasy roleplaying spin, and use these new “Magic: the Gathering”-esque cards to help connect students to their librarians and publicize the program. With this, “Librarians, the Gathering” was born.
David Adjaye will be joined by Chris Bourg, Ginnie Cooper, Jeffrey Schnapp and Nader Tehrani, moderated by Ana Miljački, to discuss the changing role of libraries as spaces for collections, research, technology and public engagement. David Adjaye will discuss his innovative … Continued
On January 6th, 2016, The New York Public Library made over 187K digital items in the public domain available for high resolution download. This is one of a number of demonstration projects illustrating creative reuse of public domain materials.
children's library - The school environment is often not the focus for design initiatives beyond the basics, but the Children’s Library of Thomas’s London Day School has been given an update to make it look and feel as creative as possible. Designed by Hugh Broughton Architects, the Children's Library of Thomas's London Day School incorporates a floor that's inspired by the world map, colorfully oversized seating solutions and much more to encourage creativity and interaction.
As affluent parents opt for private education over public, many are looking for the absolute best facilities to place their children in the care of. As such, the Children's Library of Thomas's London Day School is designed to indeed stimulate children's minds, but also satisfy design-conscious parents as well..
Annie Norman speaks at a 2015 TEDx event in Wilmington, Delaware. Dr. Annie Norman has worked at the Delaware Division of Libraries since 1985, and has been State Librarian & Director since 2002. Annie received her Doctorate of Education in Innovation and Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University, and is the recipient of the Audrey K. Doberstein Award for Leadership for her dissertation entitled, Librarians’ Leadership for Lifelong Learning. Under her leadership, the statewide Delaware Library Catalog was established and the Delaware Division of Libraries received the Delaware Quality Award of Merit and the Delaware Library Association Institutional Award in recognition of performance excellence principles and practices. ...
Libraries are branching out a bit further than the printed word these days. While books are still their bread and butter, some public libraries have decided to be a bit more creative in what they offer. Here's a list of some of the most surprising things we found Canadian libraries are loaning. Check them out below!
The true sharing economy can be found in the public library.
The importance of libraries to national literacy was underlined again today with the news that five children's authors – Julia Donaldson, Daisy Meadows, Francesca Simon, Jacqueline Wilson and the collective who write under the pen name Adam Blade – are among the Top 10 most borrowed authors in UK libraries, according to figures from the latest annual data released today byPublic Lending Right.
The survey, released on the eve of National Libraries Day, covers 2014-15 and shows again the dominance of thriller writer James Patterson, who topped the chart for the most borrowed author for the ninth year running, and crime writers such as Lee Child. It was also the first year that payments were made for audio books. Here are 10 things we learned from the findings:
Gamification can be a tool for libraries to engage and motivate the public to use the library – but like all other tools it is not a quick fix and must be used wisely. In this article I share some tools and practical examples of how they have been used in libraries.
When it comes to change, library innovation does not seem to have advanced much over time, at least judged by all the things that have stayed the same. From the Dewey Decimal System to the book checkout process and the musty smell of library aisles, even in the digital age, not much has changed about traditional libraries over the years.
However, imagine a different type of library where you check out humans – just as you check out books – and listen to these humans share their unique, personal stories. Imagine being able to interact with the stories as you listen to them. It is as if you are seeing and experiencing the world through these peoples’ eyes, from their own perspective.
The “Human Library” is a real library innovation strategy created in Denmark in 2000. Library guests can choose which volunteer they check out based on titles the human books assign themselves. Example titles include everything from “Olympic Athlete,” to “Fat Woman,” to “A Questioning Christian, to “Iraq War Veteran,” to “Homeless Man.” Visitors sit down with their books for approximately 30 minutes to listen to these “interactive books” share their personal stories and experiences.
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