By not specifically highlighting how the work of public libraries impacts disadvantaged populations we’re simultaneously selling ourselves short, reinforcing the idea that libraries are for some and not all, and slowly but surely digging our own grave. Our advocacy must start getting real about who is using our libraries and for what reasons. A public building is intended for public use, and not just the version of the public that people feel comfortable being around. Our facilities, services, programming and materials should be able to be used by even the most marginalized in our societies. Otherwise we’re not doing our job and assisting in its demise.
Laura O'Grady Author Archive
Laura is the Director of Library Services at the Hershey Public Library in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She received her MLIS from Pratt Institute in 2008 with a focus on Public Library Services. Laura's previous positions include Children's Librarian at Martin Library in York, Pennsylvania, and Director of Development for York County Libraries.
In the past few weeks I’ve come across two articles that predict the imminent rise of voice-searching as the preferred method to seek information. My immediate reaction was a sinking feeling of discouragement when I consider how clunky searching for library materials already feels, let alone how it would feel if this new expectation comes […]
As soon as we give up on change, we run the risk of falling behind. Therefore, instead of change management we should embrace change readiness.
To stay competitive in the today’s attention economy, it’s imperative that we pay attention.
When user data is king, libraries get left behind.
Gaining access to the magic enthusiasm fosters is a key strategy to building effective teams and sustainable libraries. The good news is that its not hard to replicate once you’ve found it. I encourage you to go and do just that.
The existence of public libraries is not guaranteed. In fact, public libraries continue to operate against a mountain of odds that would suffocate a lesser field. Doors continue to open each day due to the hard scrabble administrators, local officials, front line staff, and librarians who are driven by a sense of mission far greater than paychecks or pensions.
In library-land we’re aware that the MLS is the key to professional achievements. It is rare that anyone can attain leadership positions within libraries if they don’t carry this key designation. Over the past few years however, a combination of student loan debt, low salaries, and the actual job requirements of these positions make pursuing an MLS a little less desirable. Is there a future for the profession if we begin to accept a Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science as sufficient training? Or perhaps rather than an MLS, we begin to require a Master’s of Public Administration for those pursuing a Public Library leadership position. Is our commitment to the MLS an example of an industry struggling to adapt to change?
No matter what you may hear, reference isn’t dead. It sure looks a whole lot different than it did ten, twenty or fifty years ago but I assure you it is alive and well. Next to material circulation, I believe reference help is the most popular library service. If you don’t believe me it’s because […]
If the library of the future is a gathering space, who will be allowed to gather?