A Washington Post editorial champions the idea of small libraries, suggesting they are key to the industry’s future success. Writer Steve Barker states, “With print collections and budgets down, more libraries may be the answer—but smaller ones.” I work at a public library that serves a population of 4,078. It is one of the smallest of our system’s seventy-seven members (the smallest serves only 3,382). My staff knows most of our regular patrons by name, and many out-of-town visitors tell us they like our library because of its cozy environment. We are part of a cooperative in which each library is independent but can take advantage of select shared services like ILL and digital collections. In a world of large multibranched regional libraries, however, I have typically viewed our size—and corresponding tiny budget—as somewhat of a detriment. Barker’s argument is quite compelling and made me pause to re-evaluate.
Gretchen Kaser Author Archive
Gretchen Kaser is employed as the director of the Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ. She began her library career in youth services, and other interests include emerging technologies, social media marketing, and statistics. Gretchen is currently reading Orient by Christopher Bollen.
A recent ACRLog blog post by Madison Sullivan brings up the debate of whether professionalism is an outdated ideal in today’s libraries. Sullivan argues that it is and that it prevents librarians from expressing their ideas and individuality. “I question what it is to be a professional every single day,” Sullivan writes. She goes on to say, “It makes me nauseous because what if who I am, and who I’d like to be in the workplace, doesn’t align with other people’s definition of what a professional is?”
Amanda Brennan, a content and community associate at Tumblr, is perhaps better known as the “meme librarian,” thanks to a recent feature in the Washington Post. Brennan studies memes from their inception to their inevitable disappearance into cyberspace, looks at real-time trends and conversations across the site, conducts data analysis, and works on large-scale projects such as Tumblr’s Year in Review. Prior to taking the position at Tumblr, she catalogued memes for Know Your Meme, a website devoted to tracking the popular graphics. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Brennan about her experience.
Deanna Marcum, managing director of consulting firm Ithaka S+R, has many thoughts on library leadership. At 2016’s annual meeting of the National Federation of Advanced Information Systems Marcum delivered a lecture on how leadership is changing as libraries move towards a more digital environment
In light of recent changes to the merits of LIS degrees, two new ALA task forces will address and reform accreditation.
For the last year and a half, Hartford (CT) Public Library (HPL) has participated in ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) program with the goal of strengthening its community’s relationship with the local police force. Through initiatives such as community theater and block parties, HPL has helped fill this need so clearly indicated by its residents.
The Public Library Association (PLA) held its annual Results Boot Camp program this year on August 24th – 28th at the Nashville Public Library. Facilitated by Sandra Nelson and June Garcia, this year’s event focused on strategic planning and service delivery. In its tenth year, Boot Camp is described by PLA as “intensive library management training,” although the specific focus varies each year. Participants attend four full days and one half-day session, which feature a mix of lecture-style instruction and small group work. Time is also allotted for individual reflection about how the content fits in with your particular library’s situation.
Summertime can be pretty overwhelming in a public library, even if you don’t work in youth services. Thanks to an increase in unstructured time, the library becomes a popular place for students and their families. At my library, we also see an uptick in usage from residents who do not have school-age children and come in to stock up on books and media before heading off on vacation. While the rest of the world is getting the chance to relax, we’re kicking it into high gear in order to provide the best possible service for our patrons.
The August 1 deadline is quickly approaching for consideration in next year’s group of ALA Emerging Leaders. According to ALA’s website, this program “enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and [provides an] opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity.”
Scholastic has published the fifth edition of its popular Kids & Family Reading Report, the results of a survey conducted in conjunction with YouGov that gauges how children and their parents view reading in their daily lives. The organizations polled over 2,500 respondents, representing ages 0-17, in late 2014. Questions ranged from the importance and frequency of reading for pleasure, what makes a “frequent” reader, where kids are reading, and what kids are looking for when selecting books.
On March 21, New Jersey hosted the first state-wide Maker’s event in the US. The initiative saw 150 registered sites, the vast majority of which were public libraries.
How do you feel when greeted by a disgruntled employee in a store or restaurant? Probably not too excited to spend your money there, right? A recent article from Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business points out just how important it is to greet customers in the most upbeat, positive way possible.
With a recent Forbes article citing Library and Information Science as the third worst master’s degree for today’s professionals, the thought of breaking into a library career or even changing jobs can be intimidating.
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.
Youth services departments are tremendously undervalued in public libraries, and there are many things a successful children’s librarian needs to know.