Public library policy in the United States is largely localized, with each of more than nine thousand public libraries and public library systems setting their own operational and service policies. Still, public libraries across the country operate in many of the same ways, and US public library services for teens exhibit many shared practices and emerging service trends. In thinking about the future of US public library services to teens, it is helpful first to consider the historic ways in which public libraries have served their communities.
In October 2015, Alberto Manguel wrote a fascinating editorial in The New York Times arguing for “reinventing the library.” Among those of us in the profession, and especially those of us who have passionately embraced and argued for libraries as community-centered institutions, such a title would have led us to expect an article focused on the many ways in which libraries, through creative programs and services, are establishing new relevance for themselves in the digital age. In Manguel’s essay, though, the reinvented library isn’t about makerspaces, concerts, yoga classes, or PokeStops. The reinvented library is about . . . books?
Success today is judged by the outcomes displayed by those who attend our programs. Please join us as we seek to document how we make our communities better. Get more information at www.projectoutcome.org or email email@example.com.
This summer, the Republican and Democratic parties held their quadrennial proms and crowned a king and a queen, and in the months that followed, the rest of us endured their frenetic campaigning for supreme ruler of school. It’s kind of like winning the Hogwarts House Cup.
During the last decade, technology has provided us with tremendous individual power, and this has encouraged the development of what is being called the Maker Movement. This movement is having a profound effect upon the manufacturing sector as well as the individual’s ability to explore and share creative ideas using computer-aided design and an online network of collaborators. In response to interest in participating in self-directed projects that utilize digital tools and knowledge, libraries and other community-based organizations have created makerspaces. These facilities provide users with the physical tools and space to pursue their interests and collaborate on projects. Educational research shows that this type of activity can facilitate learning, but little is known about what the users themselves perceive to be the benefits of access to makerspaces. This exploratory study examines users’ perceptions of their experience in public library makerspaces.
As learning is the point of libraries, it is time to consider the best ways to serve our communities. That means we need to do more to learn how people learn. There is an incredible amount of well-researched, well-documented learning theories. Two theories that we are currently drawn to are experiential learning and connected learning.
The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC), a consortium consisting of thirty-six public libraries welcomed ten new directors in the past two years. While consortia, the Massachusetts Library System, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners rushed to welcome the new directors and provide them with additional training, they often found themselves confused and unsure of how to deal with deteriorating buildings, dwindling budgets, staffing demands, boards of trustees, friends groups, and public perceptions. Two new library directors, Peter Struzziero and Alex Lent, started a New Administrators Forum, where new directors could meet up, discuss challenges, and brainstorm solutions. This May, they held a program at the 2016 Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference. Several established library directors, including me, were invited to attend the session to share their wisdom. Following the program, a listserv was established so that the group could stay in touch. What follows are those experiences.