A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

July/August 2013Volume 52, No. 4

New Product News – July/August 2013

LibraryBox to Launch 2.0 Version LibraryBox, an anonymous file-sharing tool used to distribute files to anyone with Wi-Fi access, is preparing to launch a 2.0 version. LibraryBox provides access to information in places where people usually don’t have it, such as areas with little Internet usage that might be off the broadband grid. Using opensourced […]

Welcoming Children and Families Affected by Incarceration into Public Libraries

In part because prison and jail authorities have no mechanism to identify children, and in part because no agency is tasked with tracking them, millions of minor children of incarcerated parents often remain invisible in our communities. Because of the stigma of incarceration, families are reluctant to out themselves; consequently, people who interact with these children and their families are often unaware of their predicaments. Yet public libraries are in a unique position to provide a safe haven. They can quietly provide books, media, and other resources that children and families can discover on their own, and they can offer events or opportunities for family and community learning.

Personal Observations, Experience, and Knowledge: How Learning to Write a GED Essay Helps Us Know Ourselves

Located in a rural area of Central New York, Cazenovia Public Library (CPL) offers adult literacy tutoring in Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED (high school equivalency exam preparation) at two public libraries and a local food pantry, CazCares. About eighty percent of CPL’s adult literacy students are enrolled in the GED program. Volunteer tutors are trained through Madison County Reads Ahead, a public library literacy consortium of eight Central New York libraries in the Mid-York Library System. Madison County Reads Ahead was a literacy initiative originally funded by Community Foundation of Central New York.

YA Crossovers, Part One: Oldies But Goodies

According to a 2012 Publisher’s Weekly article, 55 percent of published young adult (YA) books are purchased by adults.1 YA librarians everywhere knew that this was nothing new—adults have been clamoring for YA literature since the rise of Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games series. Now, of course, this could mean adults are purchasing books for the teens in their lives, but it also shows that adults are not shying away from reading YA titles. I know that holds true in my library, where patrons and staff are eagerly awaiting the next book in a popular YA series as much as the teens. Adults are discovering that some of the best literature being written right now is happening in the YA world; it tends to be faster-paced, shorter (although that’s not always true), and more character-driven than adult literature. There is also a wealth of genres to choose from. As an avid reader, I personally find YA literature to be more engaging, interesting, and just all around fun compared to the “grown up” stuff. I still read adult books now and then, but you can’t tear me away from a good YA novel. Introducing adults to the amazing YA literature available is one of my favorite parts of readers’ advisory and I love that more adults are discovering this exciting area of literature that YA librarians have been raving about for years.

Of Tinkers and Technology: Creative Digital Programming for Youth

This is probably going to surprise no one: my wife and I, and our son, live in a highly connected household. The three of us work and play online, jumping seamlessly from computer to tablet to phone to television. Whether we’re planning, budgeting, socializing, or entertaining, using technology to enhance my family’s life has become an expectation, not a novelty.

New Measures for a New Era

One of my earliest involvements with PLA was with the 1987 book, Output Measures for Public Libraries.1 I recall the sense that we were developing new measures for a new era. Indeed it was a bold step to begin looking at what a public library delivers to its community rather than at the resources (budget, collection size, and building size, for example) that the library has to work with. The measures a public library uses are important because they shape the way we think about libraries, library service, and the community. Also, public libraries use measurement for management of services and resources; for planning and assessment over time; for justifying funding requests; and for reporting to local, state, and national authorities. It is often helpful for a library to be able to compare itself to some comparable libraries, the selection of which may vary depending on the purpose.