A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
people using pc in library

Investing in Your Library’s Experience Economy

Do community members rush into your library, grab a few items, and leave, or do they view spending time there as time well spent? The answer to that question may determine whether you are participating in the experience economy, as described by Joe Pine in his and co-author James Gilmore’s now-famous work, “The Experience Economy.”

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Improving Your Library’s UX

UX, or user experience, is a hot topic in the library world, but what does it mean in practical terms? This series of articles will aim to demystify the concepts of user experience, design thinking, and human-centered design for public librarians. A common misperception is that you need a lot of time and money to embark on a program of integrating these ideas into your library—far from it. The key is to shift your thinking and consider every aspect of service from the user’s point of view. Everything from your voicemail message to your policy manual plays a part.

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Hire Good People – Advice from a Retired Library Director

PL Online’s Alex Lent Talks to Chuck Flaherty, retired director of Brookline (Mass.) Public Library

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What Makes an Expert?

An expert is generally considered someone with extensive knowledge or experience in a given area. But in today’s society of information available instantly at one’s fingertips, literally, the concept and role of the expert has shifted. Still, many people desire expert advice and actively seek out others outside their circle for confirmation or information.

interior of a prison

Literacy For Incarcerated Teens

Literacy means more than learning to read for teens in New York’s juvenile detention facilities. Literacy for Incarcerated Teens supports literacy programs that transform incarcerated teens’ lives.

new york public library and skyscrapers in background

Living in the Library

Does living at the library sound like a dream come true?

books on desk bookshelves in background

Czech All the Libraries, or the Secret Dream of Librarians

Having a keen interest in libraries and much experience with working in one, I decided to read an article I came across in the New York Times about Czech libraries. As is the modern custom, this article had a clickbait headline. And though I am keen to feel superior to the cheesy desperation of clickbait headlines, the article you’re reading now probably has a clickbait headline, too.

pink and purple prosthetic arm and hand

Prosthetic Device Created at Library’s Innovation Lab

Five-year-old Katelyn Vincik was born without a fully developed left hand and is on a waiting list for a professional prosthetic device. Her parents, however, had heard about the e-NABLE Community, an organization of volunteers who develop and share designs for 3-D-printable prosthetics. Kimberly Vincik (Katelyn’s mother) contacted Harris County (Houston, Texas) Public Library to see what options were available for 3-D printing the required parts. Harris County libraries are home to the Jocelyn H. Lee Innovation Lab, and fortunately for Katelyn, the Innovation Lab is home to a fantastic community of volunteers eager to help.

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Getting Paid: How Do Authors Make Money from Library Books?

Much has been said about the battle between publishers and libraries. Libraries objected to high prices, especially for e-books, and publishers moaned about decreasing profits. Discussions center around ownership models and digital preservation, but one variable is missing in all of these equations: the author.

stacks of books

Group Catalog and OCLC’s Navigator: Burden or Blessing?

A group catalog can be a wonderful thing for library users. A library opening up their catalog to patrons outside their service population signifies progress in librarianship. But stop to consider the postage price for libraries with small budgets. Many libraries are willing to forgo the risk of receiving books back from a borrowing library.

Sprout Squad volunteers.

Summer Volunteer Squad Offers Creative Options

Volunteering during the summer doesn’t have to be all about the summer reading programs or getting all of the library’s books in perfect alphabetical order. At the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Illinois, teens and staff alike get to show off a variety of skills in the Summer Volunteer Squad program. The Summer Volunteer Squad was created to give the library’s many teen volunteers the opportunity to volunteer meaningfully during their summer breaks. The program was modeled after a similar program at the nearby Oak Park (IL) Library.

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The Power of the Library in a War-Torn Afghan Village

Tucked away in the basement an adobe home in the rural Panjwai District in Afghanistan is small one-room library. It has two shelves of about sixteen hundred books and magazines, a collection that has been largely developed through donations from around the world. The library gets about five visitors a day, but to twenty-two-year-old Matiullah Wesa, “five visitors in the village are more important than 100 in the city.”[1]

Dynamic Library Planning

The Importance of Dynamic Planning for Libraries

In today’s fast-paced environment of constant technological, demographic, fiscal, and social change in our communities, we have to be nimble and ready to meet opportunities and push through challenges. Dynamic planning practices provide the tools to be in touch with our community members, empower staff, and engage stakeholders in order to continuously meet the needs of our communities.

teenager holding a phone and a skateboard

Tough Topics for Teens

Working with teens in a public library is one big great adventure! There are the fun moments when teens from different schools become friends, the I-am-a-super-librarian moments of finding a teen the perfect book at just the right time, and the tough times when we know that a teen is not thriving because of a lack of resources, an identity crisis, or relationship issues. When these tough topics arise, public library staff are often not equipped to deal with them. Although teens may not want to talk to adults, they do want to learn.

artists palette and brushes

Crafting at the Library

I work in a small community library outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have tried various types of adult programs to capture the community’s interest: from programs featuring authors, to musicians, poets, ghost hunters, master gardeners and computer classes, we’ve hosted them all. However, the programs that generated the most interest were always those that focused on crafting projects. So, in 2012, I decided to try something new with our adult patrons.