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Public Libraries Magazine May June 2017 President's Message

The Transformation Will Not be Televised

This will be my last column as PLA President, and I want to take the time to thank four special groups that have made my tenure so memorable. First, I want to thank my staff and board at the Cleveland Public Library for their support of my leadership journey. Second, I must thank my wife and daughters for their patience and love during the past twelve months. Third, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank you: the great people I have met this year, who work at and support libraries. You have been phenomenal. I’ve heard such great stories about how you are dedicated to making your communities better, it really reaffirmed my love for libraries. Finally, I want to thank the extraordinary PLA staff. Under the leadership of Executive Director Barb Macikas, the organization has made tremendous strides toward making PLA all that it can be, and I’m just thankful to have been a small part of this transformation.

March/April 2017 Public Libraries Magazine President's Message

Being Loved is Not Enough

If you’ve read any of my previous columns, you’ve probably noticed that I prefer to impart life lessons by telling stories. While this is a practice that drives my teenage daughters crazy, it has been effective for me in getting my point across. I’d like to reveal an important lesson that all librarians need to understand by telling a story that opened my eyes to the power of libraries and of librarians. There are a number of lessons to be learned from this story, but most important may be the realization that we can’t keep underestimating our community’s respect and love for what we provide them.

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Gender Reassignment Surgery and the Library’s Health Plan

In 2016, library employee Rachel Dovel (via employer health care plan) planned to undergo gender reassignment surgery. When told the surgery was not covered by the library’s health insurer, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Dovel took the library board/insurance company to court.

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Library Spells Success with Sip & Spell Event

How do you attract more readers to your library? Let them show off their dictionary know-how in a head-to-head spelling competition!

Kindness Rocks

Easy. Inexpensive. Trending. Dispenses kindness and inspiration. There’s something that does all of that and is a great fit for the public library?

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Public Libraries and Podcasting

Podcasting is an effective way for many groups, organizations, and individuals to relay their message to thousands of listeners. Public libraries have jumped on this trend and are reaching out to their communities via this platform.

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Rachel Kadish On Wasps, Ink, And Making History Come Alive

Rachel Kadish’s The Weight of Ink tells the story of two academics separated by 350 years: Helen Watt, a British professor at the tail end of her career, and Ester Velasquez, a Portuguese Jew living in 1660’s London. When Helen is tasked with verifying recently discovered scholarly papers written by a mysterious “Aleph,” she hires American grad student Aaron to assist her. As Helen and Aaron realize the possibility exists that Aleph is a woman, interest in the papers escalates and the two find themselves having to fend off competing forces. Bouncing between present day England and London right before the plague, Kadish explores the inner lives of all three characters as each is pushed to save the thing they love. Booklist praised The Weight of Ink as “a richly textured, addictive novel,” while Toni Morrison called Kadish “a gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion.”

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Teaching the Tech Side Hustle

More than a quarter of workers and job-seekers have a second source of income. By teaching a tech side hustle, your library has an opportunity to quickly deliver value–and dollars–to your patrons!

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Self-Publishing, Indie Authors, and Libraries

A recent article from the University of Arizona Press titled “Public Libraries as Publishers: Critical Opportunity” provides a history of traditional self-publishing activities in libraries and shows how libraries can use self-publishing to foster community needs. I have a soft spot for self-publishing (I’m an indie author myself), and believe that libraries are missing out on an incredible opportunity. Our communities have so much hidden creative potential, but may lack the means to express it. Self-publishing services and local library recognition can help patrons find an outlet for their creativity. Most importantly, it puts locally created book content into the hands of other community members.

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Become a Reading Merit Badge Counselor

As a Merit Badge Counselor in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) program, librarians can help scouts along their way to earning their Reading Merit Badge.

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Useful Apps for Your Library

We now have, by virtue of the Internet, enough links about apps to keep us searching for what we need for a very long time. Searching for “Librarian’s note-taking app” gives a result of 3,400,000 items. I don’t think there’s time to look and try out all of those. Of course, each of us have different needs for which some apps might be useful, but our particular way of working doesn’t fit the way the app wants us to work. So is it trial and error that we use apps? Do we get friends to suggest a good app for us?

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Wi-Fi Lending: Balancing Supply and Demand

Wi-Fi lending is a growing trend across public libraries in the United States. Gwinnett County Public Library in Georgia joined the ranks this year. The fifteen-library system in Georgia began lending ‘Connect Gwinnett’ Wi-Fi kits. The kits include a T-Mobile 4G LTE wireless hotspot, USB cable, and wall charger. Libraries are uniquely positioned to add Wi-Fi lending because they are eligible for generous lower-cost data plans as nonprofit entities. Many libraries across the country are adding this service, including New York, Chicago, Kansas City, Brooklyn and St. Paul.

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New PLA Podcast! FYI 022 – Serving Children of Incarcerated Parents

We talk to Megan Sullivan, writer and college professor (Boston University) about her book, “Clarissa’s Disappointment: And Resources for Families, Teachers and Counselors of Children of Incarcerated Parents” about how to best serve this group, the author’s own experience with parental incarceration, and more.

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Unlikely Experts: Learning on the Job

I recently attended a conference and saw a great presentation given by a team of talented Librarians, who didn’t know what they were talking about…literally.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Closes the 2017 ALA Annual Conference

Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to more than 3,000 people on the final day of the 2017 ALA Annual Conference. “Democracy and libraries go hand in hand,” she told the crowd, which erupted in applause.