The library is a cornerstone and sustainer of democracy.
Posts Tagged ‘public libraries’
More and more public libraries now include bicycles in their circulating collections. Find out why they do it and how it works.
A recent episode of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Kathleen Dunn Show discussed the relevancy of public libraries in today’s world. Through interviews with Wisconsin Library Directors Paula Kiley and Kelly Krieg-Sigman, Dunn examined how libraries are being used by their communities and how this has changed over time.
Having a keen interest in libraries and much experience with working in one, I decided to read an article I came across in the New York Times about Czech libraries. As is the modern custom, this article had a clickbait headline. And though I am keen to feel superior to the cheesy desperation of clickbait headlines, the article you’re reading now probably has a clickbait headline, too.
Since 2010, spending cuts have drastically affected public libraries in the United Kingdom, particularly in England. A BBC investigation discovered a startling trend: In the past six years, almost eight thousand paid staff have lost their jobs, which amounts to 25 percent of the total working force. In that same time period, over 340 libraries have closed, with at least another hundred slotted to close in the next year. Additionally, over 170 libraries have been “transferred to community groups,” which means that they are solely run by volunteers. The use of volunteers is the only number that has increased (by fifteen thousand) since 2010. Is this trend signifying the end of UK public libraries?
In Episode 10, we talk to Sarah Lawton, Neighborhood Library Supervisor, Madison (WI) Public Library and Tariq Saqqaf, Neighborhood Resource Coordinator, City of Madison, Office of the Mayor, about how libraries can address racial disparities and create more inclusive public spaces. The Madison (Wis.) Public Library is working with local government to establish racial equity and social justice as core principles in all decisions, policies, and services. We discuss this model which focuses on dismantling structural barriers to equity through both an “equity impact tool” and participation on Neighborhood Resource Teams (action groups that support communities in identifying and addressing community needs). Recorded live at PLA2016 Conference in Denver.
Since 2009, the Italian Library Association (Associazione Italiana Biblioteche) has held an annual contest honoring short films about libraries. The contest, called “A Corto di Libri,” soon reached country-wide fame, and more than a hundred films participated in the last seven years. This year, the IFLA Section on Metropolitan Libraries partnered with the contest to finance a €1,000 prize (currently about $1,116) in video-making equipment for the best film about public libraries in large cities.
In an era tinged with skepticism and partisan divisions of one sort or another, there are few institutions Americans fully trust. Their public library is the exception. Americans not only believe that their local libraries matter, they also believe the library can be trusted because the information accessed there is reliable. That is one of the key findings of the recently released report by The Pew Research Center, “Libraries At The Crossroads”, which further concludes that the nation’s public libraries now find themselves standing at the intersection of “aspiration and disruption”—that place where new vision and change meet. And while that may sound contradictory, what matters most to Americans with regard to libraries is rooted in a rather old fashioned notion—libraries continue to promote literacy and a love of reading.
If you are anything like me you take a look at yourself in the mirror at least once a day. You might check your hair, shave your face. or adjust your tie. Perhaps a feeble attempt to change how people perceive us (maybe a little lipstick would help?). So, what do public libraries do to change people’s perception of them? Our regulars get us, they know us. But what about people who read about us in the mainstream media? How might they perceive public libraries if they knew us only through headlines and news stories?
In October, 2014, the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries released their report, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries. The Dialogue is “a multi-stakeholder forum to explore and champion new thinking on U.S. public libraries.”