September 21, 2017

Design for Life

A soaring atrium can offer delight and inspiration. However, atria can also present a platform from which people can do themselves harm. Individuals looking for publicly accessible spaces to conduct self-inflicted violence have sought out libraries, including atria in the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch and the San José State University’s (SJSU) joint public-academic library. On the East Coast, libraries at New York University (NYU) and Brown University have experienced similar tragedies within the past decade.

Great Outdoor Spaces | Library Design

The best libraries don’t stop at the front door. Gardens and green roofs alike are beautiful and inspiring. The benefits of exposure to nature are much more than cosmetic: for individuals, research has related it to reduced stress, inflammation, and mortality; improved memory, job satisfaction, and eyesight; and greater social capital. For communities, successful public outdoor spaces not only improve the physical and mental health of residents, they have been shown to aid the environment, create a stronger sense of community, and even boost the economy.

Participatory Design in Action | The User Experience

Participatory Design (PD) is a method for engaging deeply with users in order to build inclusive, future-oriented, user-centered services. This year I piloted a PD project with a group of four Native American students at Montana State University (MSU) called User Experience with Underrepresented Populations (UXUP). With 650 enrolled Native students, comprising four percent of our student population, this is a growing and important user community for our library.

The Academic Mainstream | Streaming Video

Recent trends in technology are dramatically reshaping academic library collections, and while the use of video in higher education isn’t new, the move toward streaming brings a new array of benefits and challenges for academic librarians. LJ recently explored the ways in which libraries are addressing interest in streaming video services.

Kansas City’s “Indisposable” Street Photographers | Programs That Pop

The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” applies to the most recent photography exhibit at the Kansas City Public Library (KCPL), MO: “Indisposable,” which featured photographs taken by homeless patrons showcasing their everyday lives on the street.

Libraries Take Key Roles in IMLS Community Catalyst Grant Projects

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has awarded 12 organizations Community Catalyst Grants totaling $1,637,271. Libraries are project partners of eight of the 12.

Open to Learning | Design Institute Columbus Design Challenges

Ohio’s Columbus Metropolitan Library hosted a deep dive into design in a setting that spoke volumes.

X-ray Fluorescence Offers Clues to Cornell Library’s Medieval Manuscripts

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) can non-invasively find traces of chemical elements, offering clues about the origins of centuries-old paintings, manuscripts, ceramics, and stained glass. For example, researchers at the library at Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a 1,452-year-old institution at the foot of Mount Sinai, Egypt, use x-ray technology to discover once hidden text and discover lost characters from extinct languages.

What Would You Lose?

U.S. libraries battle unprecedented challenges to federal support; you can help—and if you don’t have a copy yet, you can download and print the PDF of our poster, sponsored by Gale Cengage, highlighting services that libraries stand to lose without federal funding. These services were drawn from states’ 2013–17 plans for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds granted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Read it, post it in your library or around your community, and start a conversation.

Feedback: Letters to LJ, August 2017 Issue

Personal convictions and professional duties, First Ladies with library ties, cheers for Nashville, and more letters to the editor from the August 1, 2017 issue of Library Journal.