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.


Hidden Gems – Five Lesser-Known Periodicals for Your Collection

As budgets shrink, the quest for quality grows. A while ago my library surveyed patrons about their preferences and how they wanted to see materials collections develop. One item that arose much to my surprise was the request for hard copy periodicals “with substance.” The food and craft titles were fine, but people commented they wanted to see less gossip and more content.

a handshake between two people

Not Only Candidates Are Interviewed

You’ve applied for a job and gotten the exciting call that the library wants to interview you! You’ve done your research. You’ve ironed your clothing. You stand tall and spend a few hours answering questions, perhaps going on a tour. You’re told they hope to make a decision quickly and they’ll be in touch within the next couple of weeks.

Net Neutrality

Net Neutral?

In an editorial in the November 2014 MIT Technology Review[1], the writer concluded that “the open Internet is in danger. But not from lack of neutrality—from the prospect of FCC regulating it like a 20th –century utility.” The article proceeded to provide a brief commentary on “network neutrality.” This refers to the concept that service providers should not block data from particular websites, charge content providers for delivering content, or set paid “fast lanes” i.e. charging extra to some people for faster services while others get stuck in “slow lanes.”

magnifying glass

The Importance of Library Insurance: Investigate It Before You Need It

To be honest, insurance was not something I really thought much about. Of course I held personal insurance (home, auto, etc.), but for the library? I recognized the importance of the library having a basic liability policy.


Every Cloud Leaks a Little

A recent media scandal involved compromising celebrity photos allegedly hacked from the cloud via the celeb’s cell phones and then distributed to the general public. Shortly after this story broke, my local weather included rain. The jokes flew: every cloud eventually leaks a little.

Color Pencils

Who Knew? What They Don’t Teach You in Library School

A few days ago, another librarian and I spent an agonizing forty minutes trying to follow the impossible directions for assembling a desk chair. We had both approached the topic thinking it would be a quick and easy task and we’d soon be back to our ‘normal’ work. We ultimately assembled the chair, but with […]


Importance of Library Wages

Every spring librarians all over the country go before their Boards and towns to argue their case for their budget. For many of us, that includes an argument for salaries as well. For me, part of this process involves seeing what other salaries are, not only for library staff in my area, but also for other town positions. This allows me a point of reference and comparison and usually a bargaining chip.

illustration of two figures talking

Workplace Bullying

When I first heard of workplace bullying I was a bit taken aback. Bullying to me was something that children did on a playground, not adults in the work place. It was not something I had ever considered.

Then, I thought about my past employers, current employers, as well as my spouse’s past and present employers. I talked with colleagues and friends. I realized behaviors that can be described as bullying are more pervasive than one considers at first glance.

Typewriter Keys

Paperless Society?

For a number of years, those of us paying attention have looked at each other in puzzlement. We are painfully aware that not all information is available electronically. In much the same manner we needed Librarians to train and guide people through the vast wealth of material available in print, we are now needed even more with the greater complexities of electronic formats. The devices are cool, certainly. And like all tools, they hold a useful and special place, but we also know that tools like these supplement, not replace.


Head in the Cloud?

Over the past few years, a lot of our information has gone into ‘the cloud.’ The appeal is clear—the ability to access data (files, spreadsheets, schedules, etc.) from anywhere. Drop and drag a file from your desk top and retrieve it from any device you use. The convenience is undeniable. But is convenience overshadowing reason?

sign post

Career-Changers – How the Public Library Can Help

Librarianship was a second career for me. Changing paths was not easy at any step along the way. Now, I am watching my partner go through the same process. I am also seeing a world in which unemployment looms large and the concerns which plague both job seekers and career changers seem to be magnified.

book shelves

A Time and A Place For Everything

People understand and remember text better on paper than on screens. In fact, surveys indicate that for informational material people prefer paper. Further, brain activity in children reading paper and physically writing is higher than children reading screens and typing on keyboards. So, why do librarians and educator support the idea of the electronic library and future?

glowing computer

Censorship, Tea Leaves, and Social Media

In the July/August 2013 issue of Technology Review (vol 116, no. 4), there is a brief article “Reading the Tea Leaves of Censorship,” by Tom Simonite. The article explains how scientist , monitoring censorship on social media sites that are occuring in China, can predict political events happening (or about to happen) within the country. This article intrigued me.

conference event

Evaluating Continuing Education Courses

At this time, the options available are plentiful and range from free online courses to expensive classroom experiences. Any and all topics can be found with standalone courses, certificates, and degree programs in excess. But, the range of quality is just as vast and it seems the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for,’ is no longer true.


A Google Glass Future

In 2002, M.T. Anderson’s dystopian novel, Feed hit the shelves. This YA novel follows the path of high school students through a world in which the feed, an Internet/television hybrid is directly hardwired into the brain.