recently served as a reviewer of applicants for a conference scholarship. In that capacity, I reviewed 17 packages of application materials, notably including essays on an assigned topic dealing with the future of libraries.
Most, but not all, of the applicants were relatively young librarians in the early to middle stages of their careers. Because of their relative youth in the profession, I was intrigued to see two themes arising repeatedly enough (and strongly enough) in their essays to be noteworthy. Those themes were:
1. The just-in-case collection is dead
2. The necessity of collaboration with vendors in order to bring about our desired future
The public library makerspace has dominated for a few years now, and this year it seems to be peaking for school libraries.
The most important lesson that librarians offer students is love, said Dave Rohl, principal of Perry Meridian Middle School in Indianapolis, because students learn to “love reading, love learning that they don’t have time for in the regular classroom. Learning to love to read starts in the library.”
At the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference on Friday, Rohl introduced a group of administrators with Project Connect, who are helping to empower their school library programs. Project Connect is a panel of superintendents, district-level librarians, and AASL leaders who are focused on advocating for effective school libraries and helping develop future-ready librarians. Follett sponsored the session, which was moderated by Britten Follett.
Libraries recently drew unexpected fire from Airbnb, one of tech's hottest startups. But the truth is libraries play an essential role in fostering technological innovation in communities.
Last week technology giant Airbnb was heavily scrutinized for a series ofadvertisements that took a jab at libraries and other taxpayer-funded institutions placed around the company's home city of San Francisco. The advertisements mocked public services allegedly funded in part by the company's recent $12 million tax bill (though some disputed how far Airbnb's tax contribution actually went). Airbnb is valued at close to $25 billion and it has raised nearly $2.3 billion in funding since 2008. The advertisements on billboards and posters around San Francisco were placed in response to Proposition F, an amendment that would tax and regulate Airbnb inside the city of San Francisco by restricting the number of days a private residence can be rented, and requiring renters to file quarterly reports with the city.
Technology and innovation, said Tana Elias, Digital Services & Marketing Manager at the Madison Public Library, are in the DNA of the modern public library. "It's important to remember that books were the original information technology," said Elias. "So were other forms of media like cassettes, vinyl, laser discs and CDs. Technology changes, and so do libraries. You'll always be able to check books out from the library, she said, but patrons can now also check out seeds to grow in home gardens, learn to code modern websites using super-fast data connections, record albums in media labs, and even learn video game design. "Today, [libraries] provided access to it all," said Elias.
For those who still view the library through a dust-crusted lens, it must seem the stuff of fiction: droves of fashionable young people gathering to kick back in the stacks.
Toronto Public Library’s New Collection has made it a reality. For $300 per year, Dewey devotees get access to intimate exclusive talks, insider status at other special library events — including private meet-and-greets with guests including Justin Trudeau — and perks at other literary events scattered around the city.
And the club has proven a persuasive draw for a demographic that might otherwise leave the library behind.
This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. On Thursday, Nov. 12, Future Tense will host. The future of libraries now has a very long history. Like all futures, it’s a moving target, changing as new experiences, expectations, and technologies change our sense of what’s possible. When the main branch of the New York Public Library opened on Fifth Avenue in 1911, it was a state-of-the-art futurist landmark, with pneumatic tubes zipping call slips to librarians who retrieved bound titles from enormous steel stacks and placed them on Ferris-wheel conveyor belts. Today, the building has been a historical landmark for 50 years, the tubes retired, the stacks empty. Yesterday’s futures become today’s nostalgic baseline.
Is the library, storehouse and lender of books, as anachronistic as the record store, the telephone booth, and the Playboy centerfold?
Of the many institutions suffering through the world’s metamorphosis from analog to digital (real to virtual, offline to online), few are as beleaguered as that bedrock of our culture, the public library. Budgets are being slashed by state and local governments. Even the best libraries are cutting staff and hours. Their information desks are seemingly superseded by Google, their encyclopedias are gathering dust. And their defining product, the one that lines their shelves, now arrives in the form of a weightless doppelgänger that doesn’t require shelves.
In the technocracy, all the world’s information comes to us on screens—desk, pocket, wrist, goggles—and no one trudges through wind and rain with library card in hand to find a single worn object. After all, when you want the text of Magna Carta, you don’t track down the original. Same with books? “Libraries are screwed,” said Eli Neiburger, a Michigan library director, in a much-quoted presentation at a Library Journalconference in 2010. “Libraries are screwed because we are invested in the codex, and the codex has become outmoded.”
Update and news from the "Libraries Taskforce". Our second guest post today, this one from Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP: Thanks to the skills and dedication of their staff, libraries across the UK deliver effective low-cost services and innovative ideas every day which help their communities address some of their biggest challenges. The national Libraries Change Lives Award has sought to recognise this body of work and extract powerful stories of lives and communities changed for the better. We look at some of these initiatives which demonstrate how public libraries support four main public agendas and act as key agents for positive change in their communities.
If we change the role of libraries and librarians, we must be careful to preserve the centrality of the book.
Plato, in the “Timaeus,” says that when one of the wisest men of Greece, the statesman Solon, visited Egypt, he was told by an old priest that the Greeks were like mere children because they possessed no truly ancient traditions or notions “gray with time.” In Egypt, the priest continued proudly, “there is nothing great or beautiful or remarkable that is done here, or in your country, or in any other land that has not been long since put into writing and preserved in our temples. Such colossal ambition coalesced under the Ptolemaic dynasty. In the third century B.C., more than half a century after Plato wrote his dialogues, the kings ordered that every book in the known world be collected and placed in the great library they had founded in Alexandria.
The Nieuwe Bibliotheek (New Library) in Almere, Netherlands has built a Library that embodies the ideals of the 21st Century library!
They redesigned their libraries based on the changing needs and desires of library users. What they found led them to follow a model more relatable to their patrons: Guided by patron surveys, administrators tossed out traditional methods of library organization, turning to retail design and merchandising for inspiration. They now group books by areas of interest, combining fiction and nonfiction; they display books face-out to catch the eye of browsers; and they train staff members in marketing and customer service techniques.
Having a successful project or being inspired for a service idea at a conference is the fun and easy part. However, to come up with a service that really hits the spot with your users, one that they love and use, is another. If you’re experimenting with a new gadget or app or rather developing a new portfolio of services, considering some of the following from the start might support you in establishing your next excellent service for your authors or PhD students for example.
This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate.
So what will libraries be like in 2100?
That’s not so very far away. The next time you see a tiny baby, bear in mind that she or he has a very good chance of living to see the 22nd century. What will the world of libraries look like then? Nobody can know—but perhaps we can talk about what libraries should be in that imaginable future.
"Librarians are the Jedi knights of our culture’s future and deserve to be respected for that".
HARNESSING THE POWER OF LITERATURE: Last month, a group of select librarians from around the country came together at Princeton Public Library to learn the techniques of People and Stories/Gente y Cuentos, which shares literature with those who might otherwise not have access. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the participants were led by Pat Andres and Alma Concepcion, fourth and fifth from left, of People and Stories/Gente y Cuentos.
It wasn’t exactly quiet in the Quiet Room at Princeton Public Library. Seated around a table one day last month, nine librarians from around the country were reviewing a short story and how it can be used to get the people they serve excited about literature. While tones were muted — these were librarians, after all — the discussion was animated.
Josie Andrews, from Nevada City, California, counts a large homeless population among her library clients. Cindy Welsh, from Greeley, Colorado, works with refugees and immigrants with low literacy. Aida Quinones, from Athens, Georgia, manages a bilingual library that attracts a lot of migrants.
A pair of Carver County libraries are among those offering “Sensitive Storytimes” as a way to increase comfort for children on the spectrum.
A growing number of libraries are opening earlier and holding special story times to cater to some little Minnesotans who like to read in their own way. Carver County and several other Minnesota libraries are piloting Sensitive Storytimes to accommodate children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorders.
The Center for Engaging Autism has trained librarians across Minnesota to better serve children on the spectrum in their communities.Kristin Jones, a youth services librarian, participated in the center’s sensitive story time workshops and brought the pilot program to Carver County this fall at the Chanhassen and Waconia library branches.Jones uses rhythm sticks, scarves, egg shakers, interactive books and a visual schedule to engage the children.
A new 3D printer donated to the city of New London through an economic development initiative is an innovative opportunity - and an opportunity for innovation - for those who might not otherwise have access to the expensive technology. The printer will be kept at the Public Library of New London as an educational tool and a way for designers to test their ideas, according to a press release issued Monday. It was donated by the University of Connecticut’s Small Business Development Center through a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. The SBDC is a technical assistance agency funded in part by state and federal funds.
New library committed to creating community gathering space. "We are trying to create an iconic landmark that is a tribute to the love of knowledge that this community has ... a building that they can be proud of, and that they can feel at home in." In an early October conversation, Austin Public Library Director Brenda Branch was summarizing the goal that planners were maintaining as they spent the last several years conceptualizing what will become the new Central Library, under construction above Shoal Creek, on West Cesar Chavez Street, and scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Although the work is proceeding rapidly and the exterior is taking shape, the six main floors remain in preliminary stages, the skeleton of a building that promises a myriad of features both traditional and innovative: reading rooms and performance spaces, general and specialized collections and an "innovation lab," an art gallery and a demo kitchen, and areas discretely designed to attract children, teens, and adults.
The following full text article was recently published online. Title The Management of Change in the Information Age: Approaches of Academic Library Directors the USA Author Zhixian Yi School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University. This study examined the approaches that academic library directors use to manage change using Bolman and Deal’s reframing change model as a guide. In addition, a regression analysis was conducted to study the influences of demographics, library characteristics and human capital variables on the approaches used. Data were collected from an online survey and descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the collected data. The findings reveal that the frame-related issues in academic libraries and director managerial actions coincided with and confirmed the Bolman and Deal model. Results demonstrate that directors actually used multiple approaches as well as single and dual approaches to manage change. Demographic variables such as age and library characteristics such as library type and library size were significant predictors of the approaches used, but this study indicates that human capital variables and number of library branches made no difference. The results are helpful to better understand directors’ attitudes and behaviours, and the factors that influence approaches to change management.
Welcome to the latest round of the New Landmark Libraries (NLL). It’s been four years since the NLL project launched, first identifying 20 public libraries and the following year seven academic libraries from nationwide to help inform and inspire those facing the opportunity of renovating or building a new library. This year, LJ returns to the public library arena to pinpoint the most exciting public libraries completed since that initial foray.
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