A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Barbara Alvarez Author Archive


Email: BAlvarez@balibrary.org   Twitter: @the_barbrarian

I am Head of Adult Services at Westmont Public Library. I received my Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign in May 2012. In my spare time, I love running and traveling.


FEATURE | Public Libraries in the Age of Fake News

Scrolling through my Twitter feed the afternoon after the election, I was surprised to see so many people tweeting that the results were in: Donald Trump had won the popular vote. It surprised me because earlier that morning I had heard on the radio that Hillary Clinton was pulling even further ahead of Trump. I did some fact-checking and it became clear: I had witnessed another example of the viral spread of fake news.

Preserving History

As anyone who has performed genealogy or local history research can attest, there are often realms of the past that we did not know about, have forgotten, or simply do not understand. Nevertheless, it is imperative to determine how this type of local-level information can be stored and made accessible.

statue-of-liberty

Immigration Services at the Library: A New Approach to Pathways to Citizenship

The function of libraries and librarians is constantly changing. We have moved from organizations that served as repositories for information to places where creation of information and hands-on training take shape. An example of this might be if someone were to ask for information about services, such as job search skills or health insurance, we would be able to not only refer that individual to relevant resources, but also incorporate workshops into library programming. But what about immigration services? Some libraries are following this model of librarianship by training staff members to provide legal services regarding citizenship and naturalization.

Find job keyboard

Public Libraries in a Jobless Society

Sociologists and researchers believe that we may be moving toward a society where 30-50% of the workforce is no longer traditionally employed, which will have a profound impact on the future of public libraries.

Kindle

Downloading Hope: Providing E-Books to Low-Income Students

The Institute of Museum and Library Services’ initiative with Open eBooks Initiatives and ConnectED Library Challenge will be providing e-book access to thousands of low-income students. In addition to literacy, this is also providing hope to students and their families.

Ignite logo

Hackathons @ the Library

Since libraries are organizations that promote information access and cultural discourse, #hackgirlsrights is an inspiration for libraries that want to incorporate relevant social issues or topics by hosting a hacker night with an aim toward an achievable goal or project.

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.

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.

E-book and books

Shelf Life: The Balancing Act Between Physical and Digital Books

In many respects, going digital just makes more sense, such as the choice between physical reference books and online databases. However choosing the digital option for books, while increasingly a part of our lives, does not necessarily have such a clear answer.

business man

Embedded Business Librarianship in 5 Steps

Embedded librarianship to the business community is so important because the people in this group may not consider the library as a resource, yet are the very ones who could benefit the most from their public library’s services.

virtual meeting

A Free Virtual Conference for Librarians? It’s On!

My colleague and I hosted Library OnConference, a virtual conference held completely on Google Hangouts for librarians throughout the country. How did this come about and would we do it again? And how can you host your own conference?

studentstudying

Surveying the Digital Inclusion Survey

The Digital Inclusion Survey, which collected information from September to November 2013 about public libraries, is a significant way to see how libraries are excelling and where they are falling short in digital literacy, programming, and technology training.

ereader

Amazon vs Hachette: Will There Be a Winner?

As negotiations between Amazon and Hachette continue, the New York Public Library hosted a panel discussion titled “Amazon: Business As Usual?” Questions about e-book pricing, compensation for authors, and publisher-retailer relationships were all discussed. How will this affect the publishing world and public libraries?

Internet Search

Tips for More Effective Google Searches

As librarians, Google can be our friend. That’s funny, because a lot of people think that Google renders librarians obsolete. But I, and many other library professionals, use Google regularly. Don’t get me wrong; I love online databases as much as the next librarian. For example, when I’m teaching a class on business resources for job seekers, I introduce them to our amazing library databases that will give them the current, verified, and valuable information that they need. In fact, a common response from the participants is, “Wow, you can’t find that by doing a Google search!” It definitely makes my librarian heart sing. But then there are other times, like when a patron wants to find that sentence from that article from that magazine that was published sometime in the last decade, when Google has the potential to be a really big help.