A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

March/April 2015Volume 54, No. 2

Public Libraries Magazine Column March/April 2015

It’s a Small World After All

As a polyglot I have always thought of myself as someone who was fairly globally aware. I received an undergraduate degree in Spanish and German, and my original career goal was to work in international business. I enjoy personal travel to explore new lands and cultures. I am the person who, when expecting to meet someone in or from another country, is rushing to learn a few key phrases in the person’s native tongue and social graces to attempt or avoid. I have also thought of myself as curious and eager to learn from colleagues about new ideas on service delivery, building design, planning, programming, and more. Yet I recently found out how limited my professional knowledge was of a whole public library universe that exists beyond the confines of the United States.

Exercises in Empathy

The web always has its eye on the future, but online culture is not immune to nostalgia. The last few months have seen several attempts to revive a fascination for the dial-up age. A pair of French artists launched windows93.net, a tongue-in-cheek homage to early browsers filtered through a seriously absurdist sense of humor. Writer Paul Ford launched tilde.club, an ASCII-laden throwback to spaces like GeoCities and the communal webring culture that eventually became the blogging world we know today. Sprinkle in a generous dose of animated GIFs, and it’s like we’re on AOL all over again.

Public Libraries Magazine Column March/April 2015

Nourishing Bodies & Minds When School is Out: California’s Public Library Summer Meal Programs

A growing number of public libraries across the United States are embracing an unlikely program as part of their summertime operations—U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) summer meal programs. Subverting the historic stereotype of “no food in the library,” public libraries are providing free lunches and snacks to children and teens during the summer, and utilizing these
programs to engage underserved families, enhance the summer reading program, develop new community partnerships, and
raise the library’s profile. And it’s working. Public library summer meal programs are helping ensure that children and teens in low-income neighborhoods are healthy and engaged during the summer, enabling them to return to school in the fall ready to learn. In addition, they are bringing new and often underserved families to the library and introducing them to library resources, facilitating new community partnerships, engaging local leaders with the library, increasing the visibility of library services, and providing new opportunities for youth development in the library.

Public Libraries Magazine Column March/April 2015

The 2014 Public Library Data Service Statistical Report: Characteristics & Trends

The Public Library Data Service (PLDS) is an annual survey conducted by PLA. This 2014 survey of public libraries from the United States and Canada collected fiscal year (FY) 2013 information on finances, resources, service usage, and technology. Each year PLDS includes a special survey highlighting one service area or public library topic. In the 2014 survey, the supplemental questions focused on performance measures. PLA continues its relationship with Counting Opinions (SQUIRE) Ltd. to provide the service for capturing the data and for the online PLAmetrics subscription service offering access to the longitudinal PLDS data sets going back to FY2002 and data from the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) going back to FY2000. PLAmetrics provides public libraries real-time access to meaningful and relevant public library data for comparing and assessing their operations using a variety of custom report formats and customizable report templates. This report presents selected metrics for FY2014 PLDS data and previous year results in tables and charts with related observations. The results in this report were compiled using PLAmetrics.

E-Government in Public Libraries

There has been a great deal of interest in public libraries’ involvement in e-government—the providing of access to and assistance with federal, state, and local government websites, forms, and programs. Another area that libraries have been exploring is that of digital outreach concerning how libraries are using their websites and mobile technology such as apps to reach their services beyond the library walls. This study is concerned with the overlap of these two growing areas of public librarianship and examines public libraries’ assistance with federal and state e-government through their websites with links to state and federal websites, information about e-government, and the supplying of state and federal e-government forms such as tax forms. Are public libraries offering access to e-government through their websites? If so, what are they offering and are some libraries more likely to offer e-government on their websites than other libraries?

New Product News March/April 2015

Dynamic New Science Resource from Scholastic ScienceFlix is a new electronic resource from Scholastic for children in grades four through nine. It covers six topics or curriculum strands: (1) earth science, (2) space science, (3) life science, (4) health and human body, (5) physical science, and (6) technology and engineering; with each topic having five […]

Public Libraries Magazine Column March/April 2015

The Wired Library – Exercises in Empathy

The web always has its eye on the future, but online culture is not immune to nostalgia. The last few months have seen several attempts to revive a fascination for the dial-up age. A pair of French artists launched windows93.net, a tongue-in-cheek homage to early browsers filtered through a seriously absurdist sense of humor. Writer Paul Ford launched tilde.club, an ASCII-laden throwback to spalces like GeoCities and the communal webring culture that eventually became the blogging world we know today. Sprinkle in a generous dose of animated GIFs, and it’s like we’re on AOL all over again.