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Dispatches from PLA 2016: Powerful Summers

As the plane touched down in Denver, Colorado, I was eager to attend my first PLA Conference, where I was not only a participant but also a copresenter of the preconference “Powerful Summers: Library-Community-School Partnerships.’

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Dispatches from PLA 2016: Creative Merchandising Strategies for Libraries

At the PLA Conference in Denver, I decided to check out the program Creative Merchandising Strategies for Libraries, mainly because I was intrigued by the word “merchandising.” After all, I’d heard about some libraries moving to the bookstore model—and while I wasn’t quite sure what this meant other than the vague notion that libraries were attempting to channel the spirits of Barnes & Noble—I was hoping to see how I might increase sales (err… circulations) at my library

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Dispatches from PLA 2016: Beyond Bilingual Storytime and ESL

In this Extraordinary session at the 2016 PLA conference, presenters Ady Huertas (San Diego Public Library), Simone Groene-Nieto (Denver Public Library) and Zoe Jarocki (San Diego State University Library) offered eager attendees their advice, experience, and expertise on how libraries can best serve underserved Spanish-speaking communities. As a member of my library’s multicultural committee, this […]

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Dispatches from PLA 2016: Engaged and Inclusive

One of the panels on my must-attend list at PLA was “Engaged and Inclusive: Institutional Approaches to Racial Equity and Social Justice” presented by Sarah Lawton, of the Madison Public Library, and Tariq Saqqaf of the City of Madison (Wisconsin), Office of the Mayor. The program focused on the methods, tools, and resources used by the Madison Public Library to address issues of racial equity and to create inclusive social spaces through innovative “equity impact tools” and neighborhood resource teams. As someone who is interested in social justice issues, I was very interested to hear how these concepts integrated with library practices.

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Dispatches from PLA 2016: Understanding Microagressions

Dr. Myron Anderson believes he can stack the microaggressions he has endured from the ground to the sun, twice. In his role as chief diversity officer for MSU Denver, Myron keeps his PhD prominently on display in his office, yet people still assume that he does not hold one. Dr. Kathryn Young, assistant professor at MSU Denver, keeps her PhD stuffed in a coat closet. This difference illustrates that some people are assumed to belong in any given environment, while others will have to prove themselves more frequently and under more scrutiny than their peers.


Adults Prefer Physical Classrooms to Virtual

While many may attest to the idea that online leaning is a wave that future generations will ride, today’s adults prefer learning the old-fashioned way: in a classroom with other students and a teacher at the front of the room. For many, this continued education takes place at their local libraries. According to the Pew Research Center, most adults feel libraries are successful at serving the educational needs of its patrons.

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The Parental Divide

The digital divide gets a lot of attention. But in addition to serving the growing digital needs of the community, libraries also serve our children by bridging what I like to term the parental divide. By parental divide, I mean that although some parents stay at home or have babysitters or tutors to look after their kids, many don’t! Some kids are on their own until their parents come home from work. And sometimes things are just rough at home. So where can these kids go? The library! In this way, the library staff becomes a kind of a substitute parent. We make sure the kids are doing their homework, we look at their report cards, we feed them and give them Band-Aids when they get hurt, we make sure they are occupied in a positive way, we teach them courtesies like saying “hello” and “thank you” and the right ways of behaving in a public space.

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Using Big Data to Address Local Needs

Library staff are constantly looking for ways to better reach and serve their local communities. From post-event surveys to embedded librarianship to collecting circulation statistics, libraries have different strategies for gathering information and measuring service success. Market segmentation and big data, two terms popular in the corporate world, can also help libraries make informed decisions about collections and services.

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Health Happens in Libraries Part II: Programs

OCLC is a global library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its membership and the library community at large. In 2013, OCLC partnered with ZeroDivide, a technology impact consulting firm, to launch Health Happens in Libraries. Health Happens in Libraries began with the goal of increasing public library staff […]

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COLab: Making at PLA 2016

During PLA’s 2016 Conference, several Colorado libraries worked together with some Colorado companies to present the COLab, which provided attendees with the opportunity to experiment with activities, learn about technology, and ask questions of people involved in the maker movement.

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Reflections on the ALA Emerging Leaders Program

The EL program seeks to develop leadership skills in new professionals. Each year, fifty library school students and professionals working in the field for fewer than five years are chosen to participate in leadership seminars, networking events, and work groups that span the Midwinter and Annual meetings. These activities lend insight into the structure and workings of ALA and offer a fast track to serving on committees within the organization. Truly the heart of the program is the work teams formed to complete projects devised by the divisions. Catering to a variety of interests, these projects allow participants to develop new skills and contribute to the profession on a meaningful way.

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It’s Not Fine to Not Pay Your Fine

Use of public resources is based on the premise of sharing. Like public parks and pools, public libraries have rules to ensure equal access. When a patron checks out a book, they must return it within a specified amount of time so other members of the public can access it. When a patron doesn’t return their book on time, or at all, not only is it not available for other patrons to enjoy, but the library also loses revenue replacing materials.

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Occam’s Reader: Interlibrary E-book Loans

“Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. Translated: More things should not be used than are necessary.”
—Occam’s Razor

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Facing Privacy Issues: Your Face as Big Data

In the near future, a man who has an overdue book will walk into a library. A librarian behind a desk will get an alert on her mobile phone, tablet, or computer screen. After waiting a moment for him to approach the counter or place the book in a drop, she follows him to the stacks when he doesn’t. “Excuse me, Mr. Smith?” she says. “Our system shows you have a book overdue. Did you happen to bring it with you today?”

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Health Happens in Libraries — Part I: Public Libraries Promote Health Literacy

Just as public libraries are about more than books, health is about more than healthcare. Partnerships between public libraries and community health stakeholders address disparities in access to health information and services by providing inclusive entry points to reliable and relevant health resources and support. Access to and meaningful use of information is core to effective individual health management. Experts recognize that health literacy is essential for individuals, organizations, and communities to develop.[1] Yet in the United States, adult health literacy levels vary from below basic (14 percent), to basic (22 percent), intermediate (53 percent) and proficient (12 percent).[2] Title V of the Affordable Care Act defines health literacy as “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions.”[3]