A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Kael Moffat Author Archive

Email: kmoffat@g.emporia.edu  

A Southern-California native, Kael Moffat has spent time working in college libraries, construction sites, donut shops, technical writing and editing desks, and high school classrooms. He now lives in Emporia, Kansas, with his wife, and is an MLS student at Emporia State University. Kael is currently reading Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirkey.

hand typing on keyboard

Libraries As E-Publishing Centers

Going to the library to publish a book is not a connection many people are not likely to make. The Library is a place to go borrow books, right? Maybe not. In March, Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, a leading indie e-book publisher, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post about how public libraries can create community value through becoming local e-publishing centers. “Libraries are uniquely qualified to marshal community resources and talent to help local writers become publishers. Local self-published authors, in turn, have an exciting opportunity —working with the library— to give back to their community by mentoring the next generation of writers,” he claims.[i]

seedling plant

Borrow Seeds. Grow Plants.

One of the most interesting contemporary movements in food is NOT big…and is happening IN libraries: seed libraries. And, yes. It is as simple as it sounds. Borrow seeds. Grow plants. Let some go to seed. Return seeds to the library.

Usability on a Budget

Of course, with library budgets bursting at the seams, nobody has to worry about attracting patrons or customer service, right? No need to worry about your website as long as you just have one, right? (Cue buzzer sound!) Unfortunately, some librarians seem to think that merely having a web presence is enough, as if going live is all that needs to be done. They don’t consider the wider issues that differentiate a strong web presence from mere presence. One of the most important of these issues is establishing whether a website is usable…from the patron’s perspective. Kim Guenther points out, in her column “Assessing Web Site Usability,” that a site that fails to “effectively serve the needs of its intended audience will result in decreased traffic and has little chance of cultivating repeat visitors” and can create a “backlash [that] could extend beyond the virtual visit to the…brick-and-mortar equivalent.”[1]

woman sitting at desk

Desk Potatoes Beware!

Shoot me, but I love the Huffington Post! Tons of blogs…not traditional news, but thought provoking (considering the corporate news landscape, maybe that’s not such a bad thing), and then, there’s the comedy! I found this humorous post on the Books page, a link to the Betty Glover Library Workout Tape, reposted from Youtube. Here’s the clip.


I’m not a technophobe. I just play one on TV. LOL, not really. I’ve just always wanted to say that. Although, come to think about it, a healthy dose of technophobia may not be so bad. Obviously, in blogging for a significant library organization, I have no terribly strong inhibitions against technology, but I do have my doubts about pundits’ Messianic claims.

trumpet and music

And All That Jazz

The other week, a country and blues guitarist I jam with (I am a drummer) told me that for a long time he’s been wanting to get into Jazz, to expand his playing. Quite openly, he asked me, “So, who do I need to know?” It’s a great question, but a frustrating one for fans of what many critics contend is one of the only really “American” musical forms of what is the backbone of most forms of popular music in the US, of what one introductory text calls “the most democratic music ever devised,”[i] and yet which seems practically ignored by so many segments of American society. Most people randomly asked probably could not name more than two or three significant Jazz artists in history, let alone great living artists.

elderly woman reading

Keeping Ageism Out Of the Stacks

I’d already been thinking about the elderly —my father recently had major heart surgery, while other family members and friends have had their own health struggles—and, then I came across Oliver Sachs’s December 14 New York Times column about how Knopf has refused to publish a large-print edition of his newest book.

Safe Public Spaces

The overwhelming tragedy of the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, though, has forced this issue back into mind, and revisiting this issue in these circumstances breaks my heart.

i for information

Librarians as Media Dietitians

This week I came across a piece in the  New York Times that referred to a study published by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based research group. The study, entitled Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: A View from the Classroom (.pdf file), looked at teachers’ perceptions about how media use has effected students. The group […]

First Amendment Sure-But the Second Amendment Too?

As librarians, we have no problem with the First Amendment, right? Sure, it might be trickier than a simple yes or no. Well, how about championing the Second Amendment? The right to keep and bear arms? Apparently, some-trigger happy citizens have set their sights on libraries. (Sure, it’s a bad pun…distressing, too).


Google’s Digitization Project – Full Steam Ahead

Opines on the settlement between the Association of American Publishers and Google, which seems to allow Google to continue their massive digitizing project.