April 29, 2016

John N. Berry III

About John N. Berry III

John N. Berry III (jberry@mediasourceinc.com) is Editor-at-Large, LJ. Berry joined the magazine in 1964 as Assistant Editor, becoming editor-in-Chief in 1969 and serving in that role until 2006.

The Courage To Inform: Our mission requires brave librarians | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

When a library offers balanced information from both poles on local or national issues, reaction from either side can be unpleasant, even hostile, to the library and to library support. It is even worse when the citizens are part of the oldest American movement, the one that asserts that all government is evil—even public agencies such as the library. It is a courageous librarian who delivers facts that offer an opposing view to that one.

Obituary: Charles W. Robinson, Baltimore Library Head and PLA Leader

Charles Robinson September 1998 Library Journal

Legendary library leader Charles W. Robinson died on Friday, April 8 after a long illness. He was 88 years old. He led the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) for 33 years, spearheading innovation and sometimes provoking controversy among librarians from 1963 until he retired in 1996. Robinson joined the BCPL staff as assistant county librarian in January 1959 and was appointed director in 1963 when his predecessor, Richard D. Minnich, died suddenly. The 33-year era of Robinson’s progressive and inspired leadership moved BCPL to the forefront of public library service in the nation.

Firing on All Cylinders | 2016 LibraryAware Community Award

A FULL HOUSE (Clockwise from top l.): The Main Library entrance; the “Jaws”-droppingly cool shark backpack, the prize for reading a minimum 
of ten books during Summer Reading; Louisville mayor Greg Fischer (rear ctr.), with future voters, kicked off his Cultural Pass program at the Shawnee branch; and the folks at the top: Jim Blanton and Julie Scoskie. Top and bottom left photos ©2016 Bryan Moberly Photography; all other photos courtesy of Lousville Free Public Library

Louisville Free Public Library’s (LFPL) leadership—along with its collaboration with the ­Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and many other local institutions in efforts to improve literacy, support lifelong learning, and teach new skills needed in the local workforce—has won for LFPL the 2016 LibraryAware Community Award. The award recognizes LFPL’s engagement with the community, its needs, and the priorities of its civic institutions, as well as the library’s ability to make Louisville fully cognizant of what LFPL does and can do. The award is presented by Library Journal and funded by LibraryAware, a product of EBSCO Publishing’s NoveList Division. It carries a prize of $10,000.

The Wrong Umbrella: In search of a stronger model | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

I’m concerned that the Canadian Library Association (CLA) has decided to disband. It isn’t just that I remember many of the top Canadian librarians I befriended and the good times I had at CLA conferences. The Canadian librarians I recently talked to were very unhappy about the dissolution of CLA (though they were too few to be a valid sample, and their views are too close to mine to help me understand what brought about this drastic action).

Paralibrarian of the Year 2016: Brown Biggers

Photo by Mitchell Kearney

In a compelling entry supported by 20 passionate letters from the academic community of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG), and beyond—including deans, faculty, administrators, librarians, community leaders, and coworkers—Brown Biggers was overwhelmingly recommended for LJ’s 2016 Paralibrarian of the Year Award, sponsored by DEMCO. Among the highlights, nominators pointed to Biggers’s communication and teaching skills, technological expertise, commitment to service both at his job and in the larger Greensboro community, and genuine love for people.

The Gadfly Alerts: They warn us of corrupted information | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

The first time I encountered the Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) was nearly 30 years ago. Almost miraculously, PLG has survived from just after the Reagan era through the Clinton and Bush years until Obama. It is still small but manages to publish Progressive Librarian (PL), a journal that combines rigorous scholarship with a strong ideological sentiment.

Culture Convener | Best Small Library in America 2016

Photo ©2016 William Neumann

Once quaint, the Albert Wisner Public Library galvanized support for a new library that narrows the digital divide and powers a roster of nonstop programs

Nicolle Ingui Davies: LJ’s 2016 Librarian of the Year

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There is more than enough evidence to confirm the choice of Nicolle Ingui Davies as the 2016 LJ Librarian of the Year, our award sponsored by Baker & Taylor. Take her special skills at communicating with community members in and outside of the library. Then there is her leadership in building and developing a committed and passionate staff dedicated to patron service. That is complemented by her unequivocal belief that libraries are essential services, not just “nice” assets, and the best medium to achieve an informed citizenry. The results of Davies’s leadership convinced voters in 2015 that they ought to tax themselves to the tune of $30 million a year, increasing the Arapahoe Library District (ALD) budget by $6 million.

Idealism Reawakened: A former student rejuvenates an old editor | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

One of the joys of teaching is reconnecting with students years later as they pursue their careers. I recently had lunch and a long discussion with Patti Foerster, who had been a student a decade ago in my class at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science, River Forest, IL.

Boston Bound | ALA Midwinter Preview 2016

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There is no better city than Boston in which to hold the first professional conference of the election year. This is especially true for the Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits of the American Library Association (ALA), to be held January 8–12, 2016.