A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Su Epstein Author Archive


Email: sepstein@columbiactlibrary.org  

Su Epstein holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Connecticut and began her career teaching Criminology, before changing careers to Libraryland.  She is currently the Library Director at Saxton B. Little Free Library in Columbia, CT.  Su is currently reading Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz.


colorful book shelves

Picture Book Discussion Group at the Library

Why not host an adult book club focused on picture books?

stone figure of angel

Religion Versus Theology in Library Programming

While the series is on the topic of religion, we are not engaging in religious programming, but theological programming. That is, we are pursuing an academic discourse on the nature of belief in the divine and the various rituals that might display this belief for particular groups. 

scrolled document that says politics

The Right To Be Apolitical

With the current political milieu, many of us have found ourselves thinking more about social justice, activism, and our personal as well as professional roles in politics. We have questioned the role of library staff and libraries in this context.

security guard descending an escalator

The Growler

We have all experienced the public’s perception that libraries are quiet peaceful places, in which staff merely sit around and read.  This idyllic image is frequently presumed about my library as we are relatively small and rural.  Although we have had some significant incidents, such as the elderly gentlemen who drove his car six feet into our building, these are infrequent and we are thankful that we do not often experiences the challenges that some of our more urban colleagues face daily. Still, we are not immune.

illustration of hand-shaking

In Practice: Civility

In other blog posts I have expressed my beliefs that especially in today’s world, civility is imperative.  I have also expressed a belief that librarians have a responsibility to lead tolerance.  In response to these expressed beliefs some have challenged civility is a silencing tool of oppression and that tolerance is an unacceptable dodge of acceptance.  I believe these responses indicate experiences in which civility or tolerance have not been practiced.

art gallery

Behind the Scenes at the Library Gallery

Our gallery space has now completed three cycles.  My library board and the public love the space; they are thrilled to see original art work in the library.  However, I am now learning that I was not as prepared as I believed.

hand typing on keyboard

Share, Write, Publish

It is both a blessing and a curse of public library librarians that we are busy. Whatever our title or job description, most of us wear many hats and juggle multiple and diverse responsibilities. For many, we consider ourselves lucky when we find time to go to a conference, read a list exchange, or even visit pages such as this.  Unlike our academic counterparts, most of us have no direct mandate to share our experiences, to present, or to publish. 

change

To Fine or Not To Fine

Fines are a tangible reminder of the patron’s responsibility, the library’s importance, and the consideration of others.

illustration of person at podicum

Making Social Change: Promote Civility

The public library by our mission and place within communities across the country is in a position to help facilitate positive social change. 

We Are The Second Responders

In my view, librarians are second responders; a later role that is much needed and of significant importance.  We are the group that enters the picture during the second wave of disaster relief, when many others have forgotten or grown weary of hearing of the situation.

hand in red circle indicating stop

The Value of No

Saying no does not mean being rude or mean. Sometimes saying no is necessary.

illustration of an eye

Big Brother Through the Library

On Monday April 3, 2017 President Trump signed a bill repealing internet privacy rules.

men working at computers in libraries

The Importance of Understanding and Evaluating Research

As librarians we are not only on the front line of information sharing, we are also its guardians. I believe we need to hold creators accountable. If you don’t know or understand research methods – learn them! If a source or organization will not provide or support the process, don’t support it. We need to start treating data with respect or all information will soon become meaningless.

Man selecting book from shelf in library

Amazon Books – Another Turn in the Spiral?

If you have not heard, book-selling giant Amazon currently has book*stores* in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland with plans for more stores near Chicago and Boston. With Amazon also initiating a cashier-free grocery store, many have been speculating both why and what next.

photograph of a hand writing in a notebook

How Keeping Records Paid Off

When my library was renovated, the moving process involved notifying vendors, changing utilities, and managing our accounts. From the start, I kept copious notes of who I talked to and the content of our conversations. Here’s how it paid off.