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.

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.

halloween scene

The Season for Scary Movies

In my youth I really didn’t like horror movies. However, my BFF adored them. We watched a lot. Later, as a graduate student, I watched over 350 for my dissertation. You name it, I’ve probably seen it. This Halloween season, I’d like to share some of my favorites….

smiley faces with crabby faces

No Sense of Humor

I think I have a wonderful sense of humor. It is perhaps sometimes inappropriate, sometimes bawdy, sometimes juvenile, but a sense of humor, nonetheless. And yet there are times when I’m told ‘you have no sense of humor!’ And I say… ‘You’re right.’

gift tag

Perks for Library Donations

There currently exists a mindset that if you want people to donate to the library, you must offer them something in return. A perquisite (perk).While I argue that the continued existence of the library IS the perk, some of my library’s board members do not agree.


Demand High for Museum Passes

I truly believe that one of the best services the public library offers is lending museum passes. My library offers sixteen passes, some funded by the Friends of the Library and many offered freely by the museums and state parks. In the summer particularly, the passes fly off the shelf. Demand is so high, that we have acquired multiple passes for certain locations and also had to devise a reserve systemand related policy. Our passes only circulate for two days. Patrons can reserve a pass for two days on a first-come, first served-basis. Passes cannot be reserved for more than two days in sequence by the same patron.

brainstorming graphic

3D Printers – A New Can of Worms?

A new trend in libraries (with funding) is the Makerspaces that come complete with 3D printers. In case you haven’t heard, a 3D printer is a machine that engages in the process of making a solid three-dimensional object of virtually any shape from a digital model. In other words, have a digitized plan and the 3D printer can make it a solid reality.[i] The process is a relatively simple concept in which successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes to make the aggregate whole. This procedure has been used in manufacturing and design areas for a while. It is now coming of age in the fields of medicine, and yes, libraries.

welcome sign

All Religions Welcomed at the Library

Imagine these two scenarios:

Situation 1 – A middle aged man comes to the library. He wears a suit, you know him superficially as a local decorated veteran. He brings with him a challenge form. He has clearly read the policy and the book in question, and has marked multiple passages of graphic descriptions of rape, murder, assault, and orgy. All can be confirmed by the text. He requests this book be reconsidered.

picture of a cell phone and a laptop

BYOT? Bring Your Own Technology and the Public Library

There is a new trend in education: bring your own technology (sometimes called BYOD or Bring Your Own Device). As the requirements of student’s tech needs grow and budgets shrink, one solution proposed is that students provide their own mandatory laptop, tablet, or other device. The issues this raises for educational institutions are vast. Complications arise over security, equitable access, monitoring, and software licensing contracts, to name a few.