“Of the people, for the people, by the people,” Abraham Lincoln’s reference to representative government is still relevant today. In the library world we hear the phrase ‘civic engagement’ bandied about, but what exactly does civic engagement mean at the most local level—our towns and cities? And why is now such a critical time to become that civic place?
Paula Wilson Author Archive
Paula Wilson, consulting librarian with over 15 years public library experience, received an MLIS from the University of Rhode Island and a BA in political science from Arizona State University. She has worked in the Providence Public Library, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, and the Maricopa County Library District. An ALA author, she is also an active member of the Arizona Library Association, a member of their Marketing & Advocacy Committee and a member of the Public Library Association. She serves as the Vice President of her Local Friends of the Glendale Public Library organization and served on her city Library Advisory Board as a member (2013 -2016) and Chair (2016).
If the library card makes a library more accessible, can’t we make the library card easier to get? Imagine if every resident in your community registered for digital access directly from your web site? Then imagine half of those patrons visiting the library to check out books, movies, and music. Wouldn’t that spell success?
In our hyperconnected, networked world, where information flows freely to devices with the tap of a finger, librarians are no longer the gatekeepers of information. Promoting our detective-like information-finding skills is important so people know they can still turn to us when Google can’t cough up a good answer. Here are some innovative ways librarians can shine the light on reference services and continue to be the super info-professionals in their communities:
To foster a long-lasting love of reading in a child, it is critical to get their parents’ involvement. By taking a two-generation approach libraries can provide opportunities for and meet the needs of children and their parents together.
Clickbait is certainly nothing new, very much akin to methods used in supermarket tabloids, but what surprised me most is many people believed the fake news and gave credence to outrageous posts that came across their news feed and memes displayed on their phones via social media.
Recently I facilitated several workshops throughout Arizona’s public libraries implementing the Aspen Institute’s Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library. We focused on initiating a dialogue with the community that is centered on the community’s priorities. Rather than ask questions like, “What can we do to increase the frequency of your visits to the library?” […]
In a free, democratic society, we live by a sacred code–a guarantee that some countries just do not have or if they do, it is not upheld. Libraries, as purveyors of the freedom of information, lay the foundation of democracy by encouraging literate, thinking people who participate in government and become educated voters. Read more about how a small secret library in Syria provides hope and why we all need to learn from them.
Despite increased library usage, libraries are still not allocated budgets representative of their community impact. How can libraries best demonstrate the return on investment taxpayers receive for each tax dollar spent as well as the social benefit and impact of library services?
ALA President Sari Feldman aims to shift the outdated perception people have of libraries by developing a series of videos through the Libraries Transform public awareness campaign. The six videos were developed to align with ALA‘s E’s of Libraries, a strategy to promote public awareness that, with expert assistance of library professionals, help facilitate education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment, and engagement for everyone, everywhere.
How will your library react to a community-wide civic crisis? A patron-centered program focuses on a critical civic issue still unfolding in the town of Flint, Michigan, and underscores just how relevant libraries are to their communities. Read about how the residents tell the story of Flint’s lead contamination in their own words with the StoryCorps program at the Flint Public Library.
Librarians are natural problem solvers, so engaging with the community and helping to solve real-life community challenges should be an easy fit for us. And for some, it is. For others, who like the safety of the library’s four walls and the status quo of traditional library services, community outreach can be daunting. Rest assured that there are many tools and resources to help you look outward and help make your community better.
Do you really want more boys and men in your libraries? Of course you do! Libraries are for everyone. So, if your library suffers from low-t then jumpstart your bro-grams and soon it will be “raining men” inside your library—everything from events that draw them in to the collection that keeps them coming back. What does your library need to attract men of all ages?
Did you know that Americans really do love their libraries? Research shows the reason for this lovefest fits into three broad categories: information access, public space, and our transformative potential, according to research by Wayne Wiegand in his book, “Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library. So, why are we so worried about the future of our libraries? People love us, right? Yes, they do, but that love is not always measured by their willingness to allocate funding to our budgets. Which begs the question, “How do we transform this unquestionable love for public libraries into increased funding?” Enter the librarian.
What if every child in your community visited your library next month? Take Your Child to the Library Day aims to do just that!
While the world watches how the United States implements its Refugee Resettlement Program, you might be asking yourself, “Will I see an influx of refugees in my community?” and “How will my library serve refugees?”