A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
The "Flower" at the Ørestad Pubic Library

Flexibility is Key: Innovations in Library Design

There’s no doubt about it: the way people use public libraries is changing, and the design world has come to reflect this shift. I am currently in the throes of renovating my library’s children’s room, and I was shocked upon beginning this project to find how different library fixtures are now than they were when we underwent our last partial renovation in 2012. For a department that has not physically changed very much since we moved into this building in the 1970s, it will certainly look and operate very differently when we’re done, thanks to a host of new products and choices.

open sign

Up All Night at the Public Library

24/7 – what does that make you think of? 7-Eleven? Taco Bell? Las Vegas? How about your local public library? Back in my college days, our university library would stay open all night for a few weeks around the end of the semester. This was to allow students extra time to study for exams (remember cramming?) and complete their research assignments. Well, now the Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL) in Utah is proposing to stay open 24/7. Opening all hours is unprecedented, and as a result SLCPL has created a webpage to address their community’s questions and concerns – http://slcpl.org/24hours.

makerspace

A Mini Maker Faire at the Library

The Colorado Springs Mini Maker Faire was held on October 18, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. With over 6,000 people in attendance, it was a great way to introduce people to a new library, its makerspaces, and the maker culture as a whole. Plans are currently in progress for the second annual faire.

Keyboard with lock

Protecting Your Library Against a Data Breach

With news breaking every month or so about a company that has had a serious data breach, is your library prepared to protect your information and library network?

Man with notebook and hand on a laptop

Got E-Rate? Bridging the Broadband Divide with the E-Rate Program

The Internet is a necessity for not just checking email or research, but also for applying for jobs, learning new technological skills, and gaining confidence. If a person is unable to have broadband access at home, it is all the more imperative that their local library have sufficient access to not only bridge the gap in the digital divide, but also in digital literacy.

start-up

Working Outside the Box: Meeting the Needs of Entrepreneurs

On a national level, there are 17.9 million “solopreneurs,” individuals who operate their business completely on their own; this number is expected to swell to 40 million by 2019. These statistics make it necessary for public libraries to reach out to the entrepreneurs and solopreneurs in their communities.

Melissa Baker, Marketing and Program Coordinator for the Montgomery County Memorial Library System, loads up the new Little Free Library at the CentralLibrary in Conroe.

Like a Rock Star – A Little Free Library Goes on Tour

A couple of years ago the Little Free Libraries (LFL) craze began. As was noted in a previous Public Libraries Online blog post, LFL can be put up at any community location, such as a Homeowner’s Association clubhouse, a dog park, a playground, or even someone’s yard (with the owner’s permission). LFL fever has spread and now public libraries have put a new twist on it. Why not have a public library loan out a LFL as if it was a book or DVD?

image of several small salads

Summer Meal Programming at the Library

When school closes for summer vacation, the responsibility for children’s wellbeing falls on no one agency exclusively. Consequently, it can leave many communities disconnected—and allow low-income children and youth to fall through the cracks. A growing number of libraries are changing that by supplementing their summer offerings with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) summer meal programs.

So Many Books Column Art

The ALA 2015 Book Award-Winners – A Reading List

ALA’s Midwinter Meeting, in January 2015, unveiled numerous award-winners as well as longlists for future consideration. Maybe your patrons have already read the nominees and are thirsty for more from these authors, or perhaps the increased attention has contributed to lengthy reserve lists. In either case, now might be the time to shine some light on other books by these acclaimed authors.

Microphone in front of a laptop screen

Creating Podcasts to Share Community Stories

This winter I have been hosting a weekly podcast series with local entrepreneurs and business owners who want to share their stories of becoming their own boss. Podcasts can be created very easily and uploaded in a matter of minutes. They are a great way to share stories and connect community members.

a handshake between two people

Not Only Candidates Are Interviewed

You’ve applied for a job and gotten the exciting call that the library wants to interview you! You’ve done your research. You’ve ironed your clothing. You stand tall and spend a few hours answering questions, perhaps going on a tour. You’re told they hope to make a decision quickly and they’ll be in touch within the next couple of weeks.

box with check mark

An Interview with the 2015 ALA Presidential Candidates

For the upcoming American Library Association election members are presented with an atypical number of candidates. Typically ALA has two candidates running for the position of Vice President/President Elect, but this year there are an additional two petition candidates — who gathered the necessary number of signatures to throw their hats in the ring.

multicolor internet cables

FY2015 E-rate Funding Targeted Toward Expanding and Modernizing Wireless Networks in Schools and Libraries

Funding for POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) will end, additional funding available to expand broadband capabilities.

Feature Article

Customers or Patrons? How You Look at Your Library’s Users Affects Customer Service

An informal observation of library websites and policies shows that even leading public libraries are evenly split between the use of customer and patron in their formal taxonomy. The traditional term patron is used by New York Public Library (NYPL), Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library, Seattle Public Library, and Multnomah County (OR) Library. The terms customer and user can be found in the policies of Denver Public Library, Topeka Shawnee (KS) County Library, Columbus (OH) Metropolitan Library, King County (WA) Library, and Anythink Libraries in Colorado.

Feature Article

Low-Hanging Fruit: Learning How to Improve Customer Service, Staff Communication, and Job Satisfaction with Process Improvement

Process improvement has become an axiom in the business world recently. Discussions of process improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma and Lean have become commonplace in both business and public service board rooms. In 2014, the Pierce County (WA) Library System (PCLS) began conducting something of an experiment, working to discover if it is possible for a midsize public library without the resources of General Electric or Toyota to implement process improvement techniques in a real-world environment. We are, at present, about halfway through the work of our first process improvement team, but we’ve already begun to see exciting results.