A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Refugees Supported by Public Libraries in Europe

The Civil War in Syria has left large numbers of refugees pouring into many countries in Europe. Public Libraries in the UK, Germany, France, Norway, and others are front-runners in giving them their welcome and support.


21st Century Library Measuring Sticks

Gone are the days when public libraries measure their worth solely by the number of books circulated annually. It is no longer enough to measure our success by the size of the crowd that attended our Storytime program. Our communities expect more from their public libraries than just moving books or filling a room. Librarians in the 21st century must also show the impact and outcomes of the services they offer. Measuring impact and outcomes is getting easier. Public librarians have an assortment of tools available to demonstrate the impact of library services in their communities. National initiatives like the Impact Study and PLA’s Project Outcome provide new standards and tools to measure library services.


Embedded Videographers

Libraries have had marketing or public relations people taking photos of library programs for years. However, in the days where YouTube and sharing videos online is becoming the norm for many of our patrons, does it almost seem necessary to have library videographers as well as photographers?


Are You Good? Or Great?

While libraries strive to remain relevant, you can see the slide to the “let’s run it like a business” mentality. I firmly believe we need to think outside of the box of traditional operations of a library. Creative problem solving is a must in our business! I picked up this monograph and was surprised to be faced with a different line of thinking—we don’t need to be like a business, we just need to be great.

Troy Cummings

An Interview with Troy Cummings

Troy Cummings is the author of The Eency Weency Spider Freaks Out, More Bears!, and the Notebook of Doom series. He recently spoke at the Children and Young People’s Division (CYPD) of the Indiana Library Federation Conference () and proved capable of making a bunch of librarians laugh just like he does his younger fans. Public Libraries caught up with the author after the conference to learn more about his books, career, and what it takes to host a successful author visit.


Immigration Services at the Library: A New Approach to Pathways to Citizenship

The function of libraries and librarians is constantly changing. We have moved from organizations that served as repositories for information to places where creation of information and hands-on training take shape. An example of this might be if someone were to ask for information about services, such as job search skills or health insurance, we would be able to not only refer that individual to relevant resources, but also incorporate workshops into library programming. But what about immigration services? Some libraries are following this model of librarianship by training staff members to provide legal services regarding citizenship and naturalization.


Little Free Libraries

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Libraries (CH-UHL) of Ohio are part of a small movement with big potential: Little Free Libraries (4). Little Free Libraries are small, dollhouse-like structures containing books for people to borrow or exchange. People can take a book and bring another book to replace it, or just return it. The Little Libraries are located on yards, tree lawns, and street corners. The project helps to promote reading and literacy among the community members. It is also another way of providing outreach services. I wanted to find out about the CH-UHL Little Free Libraries…

PLA News

PL Theme Issue to Focus on Diversity

The January/February 2016 issue of Public Libraries will focus on Diversity as it relates to public libraries, public library services and collections, and public librarians. We’re looking for feature articles and shorter opinion pieces on that subject. Take advantage of this opportunity to share your ideas or programming, or your library’s successes, with colleagues across the country. Your article can focus on any type of diversity efforts, examples include:

Cleveland Public Library Book Bike brochure

Cleveland Public Library’s First Bike-Based Library Service Initiative

The overall mission of the Book Bike is to celebrate both literacy and healthy living while implementing creative ways to educate, provide library services, and instill pride in our urban communities. It’s a fun and visible tool that we use in areas where it is difficult or expensive for Cleveland residents to park as well as to catch the interest of the constant foot traffic downtown. While the People’s University Express was modeled after several bike-based library services that display informational services and materials to their community during outreach events, it also provides patrons with a library checkout station and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

plonline podcast logo with black canvas

Check Out Our Debut Show — “FYI: The Public Libraries Podcast”

In Episode 1, PLA Manager of Publications Kathleen Hughes talks to new library director Douglas Crane (Palm Beach County, Florida, Library System). Prior to and during his first year of serving as a library director, Crane embarked on a project to interview long-time public library directors to learn more about the job and to try and determine what makes a great library director.

woman with megaphone

Get to the Point Already

“Almost one thousand people in this country die each day from smoking-related illnesses. Imagine it. That’s as if two fully loaded jumbo jets collided over your hometown every day and everyone aboard was killed. . . ” Authors Karen Berg and Andrew Gilman write about “selling points” in the book Get to the Point. This selling point was created to paint a picture of how many people die from smoking every day. The selling point is striking and I can’t imagine you could forget the image. The library has plenty of great stories, touchy-feely and full of “awww.” I have to tell you, those stories don’t always resonate with me or politicians. They want results. They want to know the return on investment.


Service Animals in the Library

What would you do if an employee requested to use a service animal at work? The Manatee County Public Library System in Florida learned firsthand how to handle the situation when long time library staffer Terri Simon requested to bring her service dog, Mister, to work. Simon, who has a hearing impairment, relies on Mister to alert her to sounds of which she would otherwise be unaware. At work, this means notification beeps from the computer, patrons speaking to her when her back is turned, and other important sounds. These noises prompt Mister to rub against Simon’s leg to indicate there is something that needs her attention. Simon knew a service dog would improve her work performance, but it also brought novel challenges for the library.

two people working in a workshop

Creating a Space for Makerspace

In in a July 15th article on Edutopia.org, “Fostering Creativity with Makerspaces,” high school English teacher Nicholas Provenzo describes the perfect home he found for a makerspace, the library, and his 4-step process to make it happen. A lifetime lover of the creative process, Provenzo has always worked with his students to pursue ideas and make amazing projects over the years. Facing the challenge to replicate this experience for students outside of his classroom, he found the maker movement fit the bill.

ebook reviews

Review — Riot of Storm and Smoke (Threats of Sky and Sea Series, Vol. 2) By Jennifer Ellision

Author Jennifer Ellision, proves to be a rising New Adult talent, in producing the readable dark fantasy, Riot of Storm and Smoke. Released August 17th, the second volume in her Threats of Sky and Sea trilogy incorporates definitive genre characteristics. Supernatural elements, characters engaged in epic battle, and imagined kingdoms of Egrian and Nereidium serve to achieve a final chapter that leaves readers awaiting book three.


The Departed: One Library’s Innovative Cemetery Project

For quite some time, public libraries across the country have dealt with having to answer the same overused question: What does the future of public libraries look like in a technology savvy 21st century? Well, to be honest, the future looks bright. Libraries are not only educational institutions that offer a plethora of books, programs, magazines, and databases at no cost; they are a commons, a safe haven “and they are dynamic, versatile community centers”[1] where patrons feel comfortable experiencing everything libraries offer. Technology in libraries is at the cusp of a technological revolution available to the public that is sweeping across the world. So what can public libraries do with such advanced technology? One library decided it would inventory and map out every single grave at a local historic cemetery situated in downtown Pharr, Texas. Pharr is a border town that sits only eight miles north of the Rio Grande.