Contributing Editor JESSICA MOYER is Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Jessica at email@example.com. Jessica is currently reading Painted Lady by Elizabeth Peters (June 2017) and listening to Carpe Jugulum (2000) by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Nigel Planer. I love a good underdog archetype. Whether they are fantastic failures or lovable losers, these characters abound in popular culture and […]
PLA Contributor Author Archive
PLA President FELTON THOMAS is Director of the Cleveland (OH) Public Library. Contact Felton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Felton is currently reading Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe. The focus of this issue is on fantastic failures, and boy, do I have a lot of those. To narrow it down, I will seek to define a “fantastic failure” […]
MATT SMITH is Collection Development Specialist at Kalamazoo (MI) Public Library. Contact Matt at email@example.com. Matt is currently reading The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race edited by Jesmyn Ward. Hermann Hesse once wrote that “nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to […]
KRISTY PASQUARIELLO is a Children’s Librarian at Wellesley (MA) Free Library. Contact Kristy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kristy is currently reading My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson. When I first started working as a children’s librarian in a public library, I had grand plans for the successful programs I would run: charming storytime […]
BRENDAN DOWLING works for the Public Library Association in Chicago. Contact Brendan at email@example.com. Brendan is currently reading Lush Life by Richard Price. In keeping with this issue’s theme of fantastic failures, we turned to some of our favorite authors to see how they had navigated disappointments in their own careers. Their sympathetic yet heartening responses […]
William Caxton printed Aesop’s Fables in 1484, some saying it was the first book directed at children. Nearly two hundred years passed until The Little Book for Little Children by Thomas White was published in 1660, and the first modern picture book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, wasn’t published until 1902. After a very slow start to the publication of children’s picture books, diversity within these books was slower still, and progress even reversed during certain decades. I became interested in picture book diversity after discovering that the first picture book to feature an African American character, The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats, was not published until 1962. I began to investigate this subject further and became concerned by my findings.
In an earlier post, we talked about the challenges that can come with having volunteers in the library. The benefits of having volunteers, however, can be far greater than the obvious labor they provide. Sometimes having a volunteer program in a library is about much more than getting tangible aid.
When money is tight, libraries frequently look to volunteers to help get work done. Even if money isn’t tight, free labor is hard to ignore. However, is it really free? In this article we discuss the challenges that come with using library volunteers.
FEATURE | Prescriptions for Joy: Librarians, Collections, and Bibliotherapy in Pediatric Hospital Settings
How many of the millions of children hospitalized each year in the United States have access to book collections during their hospital stays? How many are offered treatment plans that include bibliotherapy? Public libraries have a responsibility to know the answers to these questions pertaining to hospitalized children in their communities and also to serve these young, isolated patients.
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.
Kathleen Hughes, PLA Manager Publications, talks to Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly about weeding library collections, awful library books they’ve discovered, and more. Holly and Mary have recently released a book in PLA’s Quick Reads series, entitled “Weeding Manual.” In addition, they are cofounders of the popular blog Awful Library Book (awfullibrarybooks.com) and co-authors of the book “Making Your Collection Count: A Holistic Approach to Library Collection Management.” Holly Hibner is adult services coordinator at Plymouth District Library in Plymouth, Michigan and Mary Kelly is youth services librarian at the Lyons Township Library in Michigan.
“Why do we need libraries when there’s the Internet?” For those that work in the library industry, it’s an unfortunately familiar question. Despite the many ways in which libraries have evolved to embrace community, innovation, and technology, many outdated perceptions still remain. In 2014, a group of Colorado library marketers and directors decided it was time to tackle this issue head-on. The result of this collaboration is Outside the Lines, a grassroots initiative that is helping to shift perceptions of libraries everywhere.
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.
Nearly twenty years ago, I made one of the best professional decisions of my life and joined the American Library Association. Soon after, I became a PLA member and began to volunteer with this fine organization. Even then, I could never believe that the young boy who had started working in public libraries at the age of thirteen to escape gangs in his neighborhood would one day lead the organization representing more than nine thousand public library workers and supporting more than 16,000 public libraries throughout the country. There have been many mentors over the years, and I begin by thanking them for their belief in me and their great counsel. I also want to thank my staff and board at the Cleveland (OH) Public Library for their support of this leadership journey. Finally, I must thank my family in advance for their patience and love over the next twelve months.
The public library should be a place of learning, exploration, and enjoyment for children. The library should also offer parents essential resources and tools to successfully raise children. We do provide these services, and we do it very well—and absolutely should continue to do so. But we too often exclusively brand ourselves as a resource for families. In addition to visual promotions, much of our narrative is focused on families with children, from newsletter articles to local paper write-ups to board meeting talking points. Who could blame us? Those images tug at the heartstrings, and stories of kids creating a craft at a program will appeal to any mom or dad. But, in promoting this impression more than others, public libraries are, to our detriment, alienating a rising population of potential users. It’s time to modify our marketing perspectives.