A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

September/October 2011Volume 50, No. 5

The Chance to be Surprised: An Interview with Susan Orlean

As a staff writer for the New Yorker, Susan Orlean’s witty and thoughtful essays have given readers a glimpse into lifestyles they might otherwise not have come across. Her books have tackled similarly offbeat topics: The Orchid Thief (which was later made into the movie “Adaptation”) delved into the world of orchid poaching and Saturday Night studied how people throughout the country spend Saturday night. Her recent book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend,” follows the story of Rin Tin Tin from his birth on a French World War I battlefield through his ascendency to become the biggest star in Hollywood. Along the way, it studies the humans who were in Rinty’s life while also examining the evolving role that dogs have played in North American culture in the twentieth century. Ms. Orlean spoke to “Public Libraries” via telephone on October 19, 2011.

September/October 2011 – New Product News

3M Launches Cloud Library E-Book Lending Service The 3M Cloud Library E-Book Lending Service was introduced at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference. This e-book solution provides libraries with a turnkey system by including both digital content and in-library hardware, along with apps for borrowing and reading. Random House and IPG are among the first publishers […]

Community Centered: 23 Reasons Why Your Library Is the Most Important Place in Town

As librarians, we know the value of our community services, and our patrons appreciate their importance as well. But in an increasingly digital world, we see the role of libraries as community and cultural centers at times undervalued, and occasionally under fire. When shrinking municipal budgets combine with the nonstop technological revolution, public library services that focus on building community face-to-face, inspiring and educating patrons about art, literature, and music, and helping patrons engage in civil discourse can seem quaint. But it is precisely those shrinking budgets and the onslaught of technologically mediated life that make public libraries’ cultural and community offerings more important than ever.

Getting Lost: Books, Television, and Integrated Advisory

As the world of entertainment constantly changes, expands, and redefines its borders, so too should the libraries that serve as portals for the pursuit of leisure. Moyer’s handbook Integrated Advisory Service bolsters the argument that there is equal value in all leisure and entertainment. The concept of integrated advisory, which melds “the techniques of readers’ […]

Grab Your Partner

What makes a good community collaboration? At the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library (GRPL), we’ve had partnerships where the library does all the work and the community partner slaps its name on it, as well as incredibly fruitful, long-lasting partnerships that make you want to believe in marriage again. Some will argue, rightfully so, that […]

Our Last Column, Part 1: Aloha and Greatest Hits

David: Hey, wait a minute! Does that title say “Our Last Column”? What’s up with that? Michael: Yessirree! Aloha seems like the right thing to say; in the Hawaiian language, it means affection, love, peace, compassion, and mercy. All things we hope our dear readers have for us when we make bad jokes in the […]

Tell Me a Story

Stories and their use in advocacy have been a mainstay in libraries for the last decade. Now, it seems, the business leadership and executive coaching folks have caught on to what we have been doing for years. Books, blogs, and journals are filled with possibilities of how to reach others through storytelling. And why not? […]