In the last decade, public libraries have faced drastic changes due to technological advances (e.g., smartphones and e-readers), and the changing information-seeking behavior of library users. More recently, public libraries are facing additional changes brought on by the continued economic downturn, which has forced many of them to undergo budget cuts that have resulted in the reduction of facilities, staff, hours, and resources. Yet public library use has increased as more people are coming to the library to take advantage of the services and resources offered. Public libraries function in a climate where budget cuts and the realignment of services are a reality. They have to find a balance between providing core services and offering new ones that meet the information needs of their communities.
July/August 2012Volume 51, No. 4
The ideal of a government that communicates openly with the governed has been a central tenet of the American political psyche since before the founding of the nation. The founding fathers understood that providing broad and equitable access to government information was imperative for the creation of a successful republic. Yet trying to provide centralized bibliographic control to that information was easier when publications were produced only in print form by a government that consisted of far fewer departments and agencies than it does today.
Are libraries the right place for civic engagement? Given the right opportunity, would members of the community come to the library to discuss important topics and to learn more about each other? Can library programs make a difference in addressing the big issues facing our society? These are the questions that drove the California Council for […]
Public libraries exist to provide access to information and ideas. We live in a world where ideas are transmitted across a wide range of platforms, and information comes in a variety of containers and formats. In the past, the majority of our patrons were simply consumers of information. However, technology has changed the way we interact, not only with each other but also with our environments. We are no longer just consumers of information, we are also creators of information—information that can be uploaded, blogged, shared, liked, and tweeted. The information that our patrons create, on a daily basis, is valuable. It is a part of our community.
We’ve had a good run of luck lately. Libraries have been uniquely positioned to take advantage of a number of recent technological trends. When social media turned the web into a real-time network of free-flowing information and conversation, libraries capitalized on their role as community conduits of information. The onset of maker culture has given libraries the chance to build entirely new collections of homegrown content, while creating new spaces for patrons to access creative tools.
As I write my first column as president of PLA, I fondly recall an adage by Satia Orange, former director of the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Literacy and Outreach Services. She often noted that she was following in the traditions of prioritizing advancement, activism, service, and professionalism
that will have an impact today for others who will stand on our shoulders tomorrow.
Salem Press Releases Critical Survey of Graphic Novels Series Salem Press, a division of EBSCO Publishing, has announced the release of Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Heroes & Superheroes, the first of several resources aiming to establish the graphic novel medium as an important academic discipline and research topic in high school, public, and academic […]