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New Podcast! Serving Homeless Patrons with John Spears

We talk with John Spears, Director of the Pikes Peak (Colorado) Public Library about challenges and opportunities in serving homeless patrons at the public library, educating the public, tensions in the community, efforts to expand initiatives, and more.

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Easy Crafting for Your Library: Rag Wreaths

Saint Patrick’s Day doesn’t always generate a ton of ideas as far as craft projects, but one craft we’ve done that can be changed to fit into any holiday is a rag wreath. The first time we did it, this craft had a green theme, perfect for St Patrick’s day and the coming of spring. You will need three things; wire hangers, sharp scissors-preferably those used for cutting fabric, and fabric. For this class, I bought 1/4 yard strips of different kinds of fabric, either green or patterned fabric that had green in it. I also had scraps of yellows and pinks just to give a nice contrasting color. Instead of buying a 1/4 yard of fabrics, you can now buy what quilters call fat quarters, which are usually remnant fabrics, cut into small quarters of fabric.

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How to Avoid Becoming a Ransomware Hostage

Ransomware took down service at another public library system in January. The world of cybersecurity grows more complex each day. Staying informed about the risks is a step everyone should take to build a wall of defense.

illustration of multi-colored bicycles

Bike Check-Out: Coming Soon to a Library Near You?

More and more public libraries now include bicycles in their circulating collections. Find out why they do it and how it works.

University of Wisconsin Concept to Create Library Hubs

We have all heard speculation about libraries of the future, and how they will look and function for their users. Here is a different concept for the future of academic libraries.

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Library of Congress Slims Down Twitter Archive

The Library of Congress announced in December 2017 that it would no longer collect every stray thought, joke, announcement, or governmental policy change posted to Twitter.

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New Podcast – A Look at Graphic Medicine

In this podcast, we discuss Graphic Medicine, which can be defined as the use of comics (graphic narratives) in health sciences education and patient care. Our guests are Susan Squier and Ellen Forney. Susan Squier is Professor Emerita of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State University, where she taught graphic narratives (comics!) to graduate students. She is now Visiting Fellow at the Freie Universität, Berlin (the Free University, that is) where she is part of a collaboration called the PathoGraphics project, a study of the relations between illness narratives (also called pathographies) and comics about medicine, illness, disability and caregiving. She is a co-editor of the Graphic Medicine book series at Penn State Press, which publishes long form graphic narratives, graphic narratives for classroom use, and scholarly studies of works of graphic medicine. Ellen Forney is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me,” a graphic memoir about her bipolar disorder. Her new book, the follow-up to Marbles, is a self-help guide to maintaining stability with a mood disorder. It’s called “Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from My Bipolar Life,” and will be out this May. She teaches comics at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

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.

Modern day library

The Architecture of Libraries in Contemporary Times

Ask baby boomers to describe their mental picture of a library, and ask a millennial to do the same and see how the answers differ. The library of yesteryear was more of a knowledge and information center that catered to the academic and the studious, and now libraries are designed to be places to hang out with friends or to host programming similar to community centers. With 82 building projects, completed between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, academic and public institutions are seen as places where the community can gather and collaborate.

enthusiastic group

Our North Star: Finding Our Way Back To What We Love

Gaining access to the magic enthusiasm fosters is a key strategy to building effective teams and sustainable libraries. The good news is that its not hard to replicate once you’ve found it. I encourage you to go and do just that.

stacks of books

Weeding — Love It or Hate It

Whether a library employee has taken a collection development class or not, most people working in a library have either heard of the CREW method of weeding materials or use the acronym MUSTIE when removing items from the collection. However, judging by the number of pictures posted to Facebook (of outlandish items still found on library shelves), it seems that not as much weeding is being done in libraries as should be. The question is, why are some of these items still on shelves and does a lack of weeding mean something more than it appears on the surface?

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Wisconsin Adds Additional Libraries to Memory Cafe Program

The Oconomowoc (Wisconsin) Public Library will become part of a growing initiative to support people who have been affected by Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other mild cognitive impairments.

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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. 

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The Public Spotlights Public Libraries and Homelessness

Emilio Estevez’ The Public, an earnest film about an eventful two days in the life of a public librarian, had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Tuesday night. The film centers around Stuart Goodson, a city librarian whose pragmatic and equitable approach to his job is seen from the film’s beginning. He diffuses a dispute involving a mentally ill patron with the same patience that he uses to mentor a colleague through a career transition. In these early scenes, Estevez captures the day-to-day actions in a library with an almost documentary-like quality. We see librarians interact with an array of patrons in a variety of ways, and a montage of absurd reference questions serves as a way to illustrate the breadth of services librarians offer as well as provide some comic relief.

illustration of books on a cart

More Than Just A Page

A customer calls on the phone to ask if her requested items have arrived yet. I ask for her name and place her on hold. A brisk walk over to the far wall, slip down to the ‘P’s and there is Mrs. Peterson’s books. Exactly where they should be! I’m able to do my job well because our library pages do their job well. So why do I still hear my coworkers saying, “Oh, I’m just a Page”?