A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
person at desk checking out books

The Future of the Librarians

We have been inundated by articles about the future of the library, yet little has been said about the future of librarians; those bastions of information and troughs of information and experience people rely on. Like the oft quoted proverb from Africa “When a knowledgeable old person dies, a whole library disappears,” librarians are surely as much the library as the brick and mortar buildings they work in.

stack of books

Reading Beyond Your Own Borders

What is the purpose of a book? Is it to please the reader? To educate the reader? Challenge? The best books do all three, especially educate and challenge us as readers.

library shelving

Libraries Are A Lifeline

Increasingly, libraries are offering programs specifically targeted to the homeless that provide opportunities to talk with library staff, social workers, job counselors, and other social service specialists. Customers who spend the better part of each day with us include a growing number of the homeless, those experiencing mental illness and or substance abuse issues, or those who need help following a variety of personal or family traumas. Many arrive at opening time and spend most of the day reading, using the computers or the WiFi, or simply enjoying a safe place away from the elements.

Author M-E Girard

M-E Girard On Gaming, Rewriting, And Creating Her Multifaceted Main Character

M-E Girard’s Girl Mans Up tells the story of Pen, a gender-nonconforming high-school student, as she navigates a tumultuous year that involves breaking free from her domineering friend Colby, staking her independence from her overprotective parents, and embarking on a romance with her alluring classmate Blake. Pen’s vibrant and funny voice will draw readers in […]

illustration of gold and red books

Books on Islam Vandalized

Books about Islam and any other religion belong in public libraries.

Light bulb with the words idea written over it

Make Space to Innovate

Promoting innovation takes a conscious decision to change our management structures and organizational cultures. Below are a few ways companies are sparking creativity. Try one of these concepts at your library and see what new ideas you can ignite.

illustration of keyboard computer settings gear and code

Open Source and Open Access: A Perfect Marriage

The maker movement has been filtering into the public library sphere for years, and libraries all over the U.S. now have their very own makerlabs and digital media labs. A big part of that digital DIY culture includes open source software, which Phil Shapiro, an educator and blogger for opensource.com, argues needs to be more prevalent in the public library space. Perhaps librarians do need to be better educated on open source. But arguably, we are already incorporating open source software into our regular programming.

Library shelves and a large wall of windows

Turning Outward at Your Library: Re-Envisioning

Recently I facilitated several workshops throughout Arizona’s public libraries implementing the Aspen Institute’s Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library. We focused on initiating a dialogue with the community that is centered on the community’s priorities. Rather than ask questions like, “What can we do to increase the frequency of your visits to the library?” […]

lights

Why I Do Not Decorate the Library for Christmas

Back in January, I wrote on Leading Tolerance. Leading tolerance is moving beyond the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism and engaging in actions that demonstrate a willingness to coexist with those opinions and behaviors different from one’s own. It does not mean agreement with a differing perspective, but respect for that alternative perspective

silhouette of a person

Identifying Your Library’s Users

We’ve been throwing the term “user experience” around, but we haven’t taken a look at exactly who the ‘U’ in UX is.

niagara falls

Damaging Waters Lead to Uncertain Future for Library

Form over function is costly for Niagara Falls, Paul Rudolph, and its patrons

hand parting blinds

Librarians Stand for Right to Privacy and Freedom of Speech

“Privacy is the right to a free mind. Without privacy, you can’t have anything for yourself. Saying you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”[2] Those powerful words reverberate what librarians have been preaching for so long.

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The Transformative Possibilities of Libraries

Libraries are an important part of our democratic society. They serve as centers of knowledge as well as places where anyone can look for a job, get homework help, or attend an event.

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Shaking Things Up at Your Library

Let’s start with a gross generalization: Libraries as an institution seem to prefer conformity within our organizations; but librarians as a profession also strive to counter conformity. We cater our services to various nonconformists, and provide service to those who want to learn something new on taboo topics, or to have access to materials they may have been denied elsewhere. We will fight to the death for the rights we all have to express ourselves, and privacy is very important to us. But as a profession, we shy away from change. Even the most forward thinking librarians can be afraid to rock the boat. Let’s face it, we embrace the rules.

Manga monster character on purple background

New York Comic Con 2016

I have always wanted to go to New York Comic Con but haven’t so far as it always seemed like it might be too crowded and I also felt that it was too expensive. However, this year I found out about the Pro Pass which is given free of charge to professionals, such as teachers and library workers.