A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Trish Burns Author Archive


Email: tburns@baycountylibrary.org  


woman with gray hair working at a computer

The Aging Library Staff

These career library workers are part of a small but growing segment of Americans who remain in the workforce into their 70s, 80s and 90s.

Purpose Based Library

What Is The Purpose-Based Library?

Every so often a new phrase, buzzword, or philosophy about library service comes along and throws a different light on what we do, and how we do it. There’s been a lot of talk and interest in “the purpose-based library” recently. What’s that all about?

I had an opportunity to speak with Steven Potter, library director and CEO of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri who recently co-authored a book on the subject. The purpose-based library connects with the community, collaborates to better reach goals, measures what is useful and shows value, and continually improves. Summing up, Potter says, “It is all about re-embracing the vitality of our profession.”

illustration of green paper currency with dollar sign in middle

Fine Forgiveness Programs

The idea of charging fines for overdue materials can be a contentious one in our field. While the question does bring out strong opinions, the fact remains that libraries still charge fines, and many also have programs to waive or work off those fines.

interior of a prison

Programming in Prison Libraries

A typical library scene—but this is not your typical public library setting: it is a prison library. Surprised? Prison librarians all over the country are coming up with an abundance of programming aimed at assisting prisoners in learning lifelong skills.