A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
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Pop-Up Perfection: Staging a Pop-Up Library

It goes without saying that the key word in public libraries is “public.” Every day in a hundred different ways public libraries provide an endless variety of services and entertainment to every member of the community who comes through our doors. Yet the question remains how do we make nonusers aware of what we can offer them?

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New! Quick Reads Series – Building and Operating A Digital Media Lab

Building and Operating a Digital Media Lab by Jeffrey P. Fisher 64 pages ISBN: 978-0-8389-8829-9 Published 2016 by PLA, division of ALA This “Quick Read” is a succinct road map to the key components of building and operating a digital media lab (DML). Jeffrey Fisher, Studio Services Manager at Fountaindale Public Library’s Studio 300 (Bolingbrook, […]

July august 2016

UNDER THE RADAR | The Power of Story

At the time of this writing, many of us are angry and sad and frustrated, if the news and social media are any indication. And for many of us, books serve as a refuge when life becomes difficult. Yet while books can provide an escape from harsher realities, they can also provide a lens through which we can better view and understand what is unfolding around us.

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Librarians and Social Activism

By choice or circumstance, librarians are social activists, and with this comes responsibility.

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Amazon’s Kindle Reading Fund Donates Devices

Kindle Reading Fund: Amazon Donating E-books and KindlesOne of America’s top business leaders, Jeff Bezos developed the concept of predictive analytics and has centered Amazon around the customer. When offering insights to today’s business leaders, Bezos says the Kindle and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud were invented because of his obsession to give his customers what they want. And one thing customers want is to feel like at least some of the profits from their purchases go to good causes, and Amazon is making some clear efforts to find its feet as a prominent corporate benefactor. On August 24th, 2016 they announced the Kindle Reading Fund, The Seattle Times reported that the program will initially donate thousands of devices to developing countries through the non-profit Worldreader.

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Using Pokémon GO to Connect With Your Library Community

Libraries all across the country are brainstorming ways to use Pikachu and friends.

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A Mind Like a Steel Trap: A Conversation With Kate Saunders

Kate Saunders’ The Secrets of Wishtide introduces readers to Laetitia Rodd, a private detective in 1850s England. Droll and pragmatic, Rodd works undercover for her barrister brother to investigate cases for his clients. When a wealthy lord questions the identity of his son’s recent paramour, Rodd goes undercover as a governess on his estate to uncover the truth. Yet Rodd quickly learns that each family member has something to hide when a murder takes place on the estate. Equal parts cunning mystery and dissection of Victorian society, The Secrets of Wishtide marks the debut of an intriguing new series.

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Libraries’ Role in the Big Sort

Bill Bishop’s The Big Sort (2008) describes how we have been collectively sorting ourselves since the 1950s, moving and living among like-minded people, politics, economies, cultures, religions. We’ve all but left behind the melting pot where we can exchange ideas and conversations about real differences and needs. This melting pot can be the key to belonging and coming together to solve the largest of problems.

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An IFLA Congress Experience

Librarians from 147 countries descended on Columbus, Ohio, last week (Aug. 13–19, 2016) for the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress, and I was fortunate enough to be there. IFLA, founded in 1927, is dedicated to helping libraries around the world achieve great things for our local and global communities. Every year there is a World Library and Information Congress in a different country. Last year it was in Cape Town, South Africa, next year it is in Wrocław, Poland, and in 2018 it will be in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!

kid reading in library

Keeping Learning Alive at your Library

Summer reading is the most popular time of year for many public libraries. Thanks to their newfound free time and to our library’s expanded program offerings, kids and teens in my small town easily double their attendance here between June and August every year. Our special events are not just fun and games, however; my staff and I strive to incorporate an educational component to keep kids learning outside the classroom.

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NYPL Opens New Branch at Rikers Island

The New York Public Library has a new branch. An unofficial new branch, that isn’t exactly open to the public. This new branch, opened July 26, 2016, is the permanent public library at Rikers Island Correctional Facility, housed in the women’s Rose M. Singer Center. The Rikers Island library “holds 1,200 books — spanning everything from comics to sci-fi, from Spanish language works to nonfiction classics — and it will be open every Tuesday for about six hours each day. Inmates can check out two books for two weeks, with the goal of serving half of the prison one week and the other half the next.”[1] Most of the books have been donated. There are very few limits on types of material, but hardcover books are prohibited. Although housed in the women’s facility, the library will also service the men’s prison once a week via a mobile book cart.

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Singing in the Stacks

You may have noticed one of the new services being offered in Tikkurila Library in Finland: karaoke! I first saw the news in an article from the Smithsonian, but several other news outlets have covered it as well. While public singing isn’t something I rush to do, I’ll admit to enjoying myself when I’ve participated and let go.

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E-Product Management

Managing electronic resources can be complex. Every decision has multiple internal stakeholders, and each vendor is unique.

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Essential Librarian Skill: Writing

But all librarians use writing to do more than remind patrons of fines. To keep up with the latest, you have to go back to the basics of stringing words together to make your meaning clear. Writing is all over new technology, so much so that we don’t even think about it or notice it until it’s glaringly unprofessional or outright unhelpful.

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Tips for Managers – Part II

The purpose of public libraries can be hard to pin down because it is so broad. We want to be everything to everyone. I struggle with the simultaneous goals: circulation, programming, outreach—you know the deal. I once read about a visioning technique where you discover your purpose by imagining your library receiving an award: What is it for? You can do this at the department, branch, or system level. In one year, what should your library receive recognition for? Lives have been changed, the community has grown, what did you do to contribute?