A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

March/April 2014Volume 53, No. 2

New Product News March/April 2014

3M’s QuickConnect Many patrons come to the library but have no live interaction with library staff at all. They search for items online, place holds, get notified by text, voicemail, or email when the item is ready, come to the library, walk up to a hold shelf, and use a selfcheck system to check out […]

The Nation’s First Fully Digital Public Library: How a Texas County Made it Happen

In September 2013, the nation’s first completely digital public library opened in San Antonio, Texas. Named BiblioTech, a play on the Spanish word for library (biblioteca), the building is located on the south side of Bexar (pronounced “Bear”) County. BiblioTech is a county-operated facility that serves the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. Home to 1.7 million, Bexar County completely encircles the city of San Antonio, which is celebrated for the historic Alamo and world-famous Riverwalk, and is now home to the first digital public library. The small, 4,800-square-foot space boasts 20,000 e-book titles (with a plan in place to increase that number by 10,000 every year over the next five years), 600 e-readers, 200 child-enhanced e-readers, 48 computer stations, 45 iPads, ten laptops, four interactive surface tables, two study rooms, and a small café. What you will not find is one single hardcover or paperback book.

From Ugly Duckling to Swan: The Hidden Beauty in Government Information

Over the years, hard-copy materials have been boxed up by the Government Printing Office (GPO) and sent to more than 1,200 university, public, and special libraries in the United States that agree to act as depositories for the information through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The government documents librarians who oversee these collections are committed to their unique role and expertise. Currently, depository libraries, both academic and public, are poised to bring government documents into the mainstream of information since so many of these resources are now available online. Unfortunately, due to the current drastic budget cuts libraries are facing, this information is a threatened resource that all librarians should be prepared to defend. The best way to preserve valuable government information is to promote its use to our patrons. Let’s not wait until what we’ve got is gone!

The 2013 Public Library Data Service Statistical Report: Characteristics and Trends

This report presents selected metrics for FY2012 PLDS data and previous year results in tables and figures with related observations. The results in this report were compiled using PLAmetrics.

Knowing Our Communities

Public libraries in the United States were founded at the community level, largely through the work of volunteer associations actively engaged in community building. As a result of this dependence on local initiative, there are still areas in Illinois that are not served by a public library. Funding for these early libraries was initially through […]

Revisiting Open Data Practices

If you had the word “iterate” on your PLA conference bingo card, this was your year. Concepts such as rapid prototyping, failing quickly, and agile development made their way into many of the program presentations, and all the featured speakers addressed issues related to embracing constant change. With that in mind, I’d like to take a second pass at a topic I covered in this column a year ago: how can libraries make better sense of the opportunities afforded by the open data movement?