A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

January/February 2014Volume 53, No. 1

New Product News – November/December 2014

RefTracker Express For Small and Medium-Sized Libraries RefTracker Express is a pared down version of Altarama’s RefTracker. It is designed for small to medium-sized libraries that want a way to manage and track their information request services whether it is via in person, phone, email, Internet, chat, or text. After completing a short planning guide, […]

A New Take on New Products – New Product News Jan/Feb 2014

Welcome to our first New Product News column, where in each and every issue we will delve into the world of library vendors and products to find the standouts that combine innovation and quality. Mango Languages Have you ever watched a foreign film, and thought that would be a cool way to learn a language? […]

Sensory-Enhanced Storytime at Douglas County Libraries: An Inclusive Program

Sensory-enhanced storytime at Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries (DCL) is an inclusive program developed for all ages, children through young adults, who are on the autism spectrum or differently abled, and presented at a preschool level of development. Everyone is welcome at each of our library storytimes, but we began this storytime because some find greater enjoyment in its modified environment of a closed room where lighting and music are lower, movement and conversation are encouraged, and there are multiple ways to engage through the senses. Public libraries offer many programs based on their patrons’ age, abilities, interests, and other factors, and sensory-enhanced storytime at DCL is another expression of our commitment to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Core Values of Librarianship.

Babies in the Library: Creating a Truly Baby-Friendly Early Literacy Play Space

Of course babies are welcome in the public library! Or are they? The benefits of a literacy-rich environment for babies and toddlers are well documented, and the library is a go-to place for families with young children.1 But the actual presence of babies and toddlers in the library creates unique challenges for everyone. We often see babies kept in restraining seats due to a lack of alternatives and, after a reasonable amount of time, they voice their complaints loudly. Often, new mothers find the idea of entering a library a bit daunting. After all, babies can be unpredictable, disruptive, and just plain noisy. Staff members are all too familiar with managing unsupervised toddlers while adult caregivers are preoccupied with computer-related tasks, and with fielding complaints from less tolerant adult patrons. The little ones themselves don’t really have a place of their own to just be themselves while in the library. These are just a few of the problems we’ve identified when considering how to truly accept and welcome babies and their caregivers in the library.

Technology Center Focuses on Innovation and Creativity

While a few other libraries have created digital video labs or makerspaces, no other public library has created a space with the many creative functions assembled in the Melrose Center. This project exemplifies Orange County (Fla.) Library System’s (OCLS) willingness to embrace unique new roles for a public library and its ability to live with risk-taking and be on the edge of completely new library services. By fostering and creating community content and not just serving up content from other vendors, OCLS has done something very dramatic and game changing, which other public libraries might perhaps follow.

From Crisis to Collaboration: Pima County Public Library partners with Health Department for Library Nurse Program

As one of twenty-seven libraries in the Pima County (Ariz.) Public Library (PCPL) system, the Joel D. Valdez Main Library serves a wide array of patrons who represent every sector in this community of nearly 980,000 people. Located in the heart of downtown Tucson in the 85701 zip code, the 96,000-square-foot library opens its doors to government employees, tourists, students, families, business owners, retirees, and residents who live or work nearby. In 2012, there were more than 648,000 visitors at the Main Library alone.

Innovation Frustration

Innovation is a word that’s used around libraries a lot. Merriam-Webster defines innovation as “the introduction of something new” and “a new idea, method, or device.”1 According to MerriamWebster.com, innovation is in the top 1 percent of lookups.2 Obviously a lot of people are talking about, and interested in, innovation. And this is no different […]

It’s All Around You: Creating a Culture of Innovation

Innovation, you say? Ha, I respond. Being an innovator is easy. All you need is a brilliant idea that no one has ever come up with before. It also helps if you have the resources and team to make the idea a reality. And you should probably also have the ability to knock out these […]

Innovation in Public Libraries

Librarians understand that innovation is important to the future of public libraries. One need only look through the program listings for any library conference, through the titles of recent articles in library journals, or newer position descriptions from public libraries to observe that the words “innovation” and “innovative” have become ubiquitous. Syracuse University has a […]