A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

September/October 2016septemberoctober-2016

Lit Sparking Community Connections with Dynamic Book Programming

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?

Measuring the Impact of Public Libraries

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 info@projectoutcome.org.

Candidates for a Fun-Filled Fall

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.

Why Make? An Exploration of User-Perceived Benefits of Makerspaces

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.

Going Inside the Box The Wired Library

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.

New Directors Reflect

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.