The library workforce fails to reflect the increasing diversity of our communities. It’s time for effective change.
Karen Pundsack Author Archive
Executive Director at Great River Regional Library, a six-county regional public library system in central Minnesota and MLIS graduate of the School of Information Studies at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Cult of Done member. Karen is currently reading "Washington: a life" by Ron Chernow.
Opioid abuse is reaching critical levels in many cities across the country. Some public librarians have taken on the battle firsthand.
Wi-Fi lending is a growing trend across public libraries in the United States. Gwinnett County Public Library in Georgia joined the ranks this year. The fifteen-library system in Georgia began lending ‘Connect Gwinnett’ Wi-Fi kits. The kits include a T-Mobile 4G LTE wireless hotspot, USB cable, and wall charger. Libraries are uniquely positioned to add Wi-Fi lending because they are eligible for generous lower-cost data plans as nonprofit entities. Many libraries across the country are adding this service, including New York, Chicago, Kansas City, Brooklyn and St. Paul.
Finding funding to support the library is a constant challenge. A powerful, free, new tool from the Foundation Center can help your library connect with grants, partners, and potential funders. It’s a great place to start turning data into dollars for your next big idea.
While 77 percent of Americans have smartphones and nearly 50 percent have tablets, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to use them well. A recent international study shows nearly 40 percent of adults age 16-65 have little to no technology skills.
Promoting innovation takes a conscious decision to change our management structures and organizational cultures. Below are a few ways companies are sparking creativity. Try one of these concepts at your library and see what new ideas you can ignite.
As a potential candidate, it is up to you to convince hiring managers you are the person they’re seeking. Be ready for the many steps in the public library hiring process.
How is public library usage trending nationally? How does usage compare with pre-recession levels? How are investments in public libraries reflected in their usage? These are all questions explored in the Public Libraries in the United States Survey (PLS) for FY 2013. This annual statistical report by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) shows how public library usage is changing over time. While some of the major public library output measures are showing short-term declines, many continue to show a ten-year increase in activity.
The verdict is in—Apple illegally worked behind the scenes with publishers to limit competition in the e-book market. Last month, the US Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling which found Apple conspired with the “Big Five Publishers” (Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster) to fix e-book prices. Apple will need to pay a settlement of $450 million to e-book customers and the class-action law firms representing them.
Trends are showing a flattening of the e-book explosion. According to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales fell by 11 percent through third quarter 2015. Five years ago, experts predicted e-book sales becoming 50 percent of book sale market. They also predicted that the sales of e-books through online retailers would cause brick-and-mortar stores to decline. While e-book sales did increase exponentially, we have a seen a flattening of this trend. Even the marketplace is beginning to demonstrate physical presence has its place. Online-only retailer Amazon has made the move to expand into the brick-and-mortar market.
The OCLC Library in the Life of the User meeting last fall explored research and case studies about user expectations. Needs have shifted radically. It is no longer enough to design library services on what librarians think their users should be interested in. The time has come to “shift from looking at user in life of library to library in life of the user.”
The 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey marks twenty years of data collection about the Internet and public libraries. The study is conducted annually by the American Library Association and the University of Maryland’s Information Policy & Access Center. This year’s results showed consistent trends in the increase of public technology service offerings in U.S. public libraries. Some key findings include:
*Virtually all libraries (98 percent) offer free public Wi-Fi access—in 1994 only 21 percent offered public Internet access;
*Close to 90 percent of libraries offer basic digital literacy training, and a significant majority support training related to new technology devices (62 percent), safe online practices (57 percent), and social media use (56 percent);
*Seventy-six percent of libraries assist patrons in using online government programs and services;
*The vast majority of libraries provide programs that support people in applying for jobs (73 percent), access and using online job opportunity resources (68 percent), and using online business information resources (48 percent);
*More than 90 percent of public libraries offer e-books, online homework assistance (95 percent), and online language learning (56 percent).
Gone are the days when public libraries measure their worth solely by the number of books circulated annually. It is no longer enough to measure our success by the size of the crowd that attended our Storytime program. Our communities expect more from their public libraries than just moving books or filling a room. Librarians in the 21st century must also show the impact and outcomes of the services they offer. Measuring impact and outcomes is getting easier. Public librarians have an assortment of tools available to demonstrate the impact of library services in their communities. National initiatives like the Impact Study and PLA’s Project Outcome provide new standards and tools to measure library services.
When Madison (WI) Public Library began renovating their central library in 2013, a vision of an interactive library space came forward—The Bubbler. The makerspace has evolved to become a major program initiative, bringing learning experiences through programs to nine libraries and other community venues–including a juvenile detention facility.
From expansion of STEM learning to televised reading programs for families of the incarcerated, IMLS funding expands library initiatives across the country.