October 19, 2016

Meredith Schwartz

About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz (mschwartz@mediasourceinc.com) is Executive Editor of Library Journal.

Librarian of the People | LJ Interview

Illustration by Miriam Klein Stahl

On September 14, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the new Librarian of Congress. The first African American and the first woman to hold the position in American history, she is also only the third to have worked in a library prior to her appointment. After a moving ceremony in the Library of Congress’s (LC) 1897 Jefferson Building and a reception to meet “as many staff members as they could stand,” Hayden sat down with LJ in her ceremonial office to outline her vision for the library.

Charleston Conference Preview 2016


This year’s Charleston Conference, with its on-the-nose subtitle of “Roll with the Times or the Times Roll Over You,” will return as always to the Francis Marion Hotel (and surrounding venues) October 31–November 5. This year’s schedule (still tentative at press time) naturally hits many of the topics of perennial interest to librarians, particularly academic ones: discovery, the Big Journal Deal and its frequently forecast demise, working with vendors, and ebook acquisition models. Newer returnees such as MOOCs, open educational resources, assessment, the role of the subject specialist and/or department liaison, and research data management also make appearances.

(Re) Open Concept | Library by Design 2016

TRANSPARENTLY TRANSFORMED The Columbus Metropolitan Library’s ambitious renovation of its main facility opened up the spaces to one another and to the outside. (Clockwise from lower l.): The teen/YA media area sees heavy use; a formerly blank wall becomes an expanse of glass; the original Carnegie serves as a grand centerpiece; circular shelving defines story time space in the center of the children’s room

The story of the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), OH, main library renovation is a familiar one these days: indeed, it has become practically archetypal. A gorgeous old Carnegie, opened in 1907, had long since been outgrown. Over the century and with four additions, it had been married to expansions—the most recent bringing the library to more than 250,000 square feet. Done in 1991, at the height of the trend of stack-centric libraries designed to maximize collections, this latest reformation included virtually no windows, lest the books be damaged by sunlight. Now, a people-first renovation has gently polished the Carnegie and dramatically opened up the addition, thinning the (still ample) collection to focus on space for community in the form of events, meetings, coworking, and simply relaxing and reading—perhaps with a cup of coffee from the new Carnegie Café.


Future Fatigue | Designing the Future

Businessman holding magic ball in his hand

Often expressed informally through back channels, there’s a strong contrarian strand of thought that holds librarianship—if not all of American society—spends too much time, energy, and ink trying to predict what’s next. Too great a focus on the future, say such skeptics, shortchanges the present, preventing practitioners from being “in the moment,” and can make library leaders devalue the work that still comprises the vast majority of interactions to chase trends that appeal to, at best, a much smaller subset of users.

Annual First Look | ALA Annual 2016


The American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference ran June 23-28 at Orlando, FL’s Orange County Convention Center and nearby venues. The mass shooting at Latin night at Orlando’s Pulse, an LGBT nightclub, a couple of weeks before the ALA Annual was top of mind for conferencegoers, leading to displays of solidarity both practical and symbolic. Attendance was considerably down relative to last year. Nonetheless, exhibitors were happy with the crowds on the show floor. The Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) reported, “The Association is still a financially strong and sound organization.”

The Art of the Matter | Library by Design, Spring 2016

On the plaza outside the Main Library in Palo Alto, CA, six sculptures made from crowdsourced community text change color in response to patrons’ touch. Danielle Wyckoff’s Surroundings in Park City Library, UT. 
Palo Alto photo ©Cesar Rubio; Surroundings photo by Nicholas Swan

Why does art in libraries matter? Erinn Batykefer of the Library as Incubator Project (and a 2014 LJ Mover & Shaker) cites public art’s role in promoting creativity. “Visible art in the library space, whether through gallery shows, public art or performance, or hands-on workshops, is incredibly important in terms of the ‘incubator library’—a space where the right conditions for creative thought and new ideas are protected and promoted,” she tells LJ. “It serves as a visible representation of the connection among information and creativity and innovation…making the library a visible place where creativity is valued and nurtured.” She adds, “Every library, stripped to its barest mission, seeks to connect people with information. Art is information—the product of a creative process and the process itself.”

Top Skills for Tomorrow’s Librarians | Careers 2016

Selection of business personnel - vector illustration

LJ reached out to academic and public library directors and other thought leaders nationwide to find out what new skills they expect to need in librarians in the next 20 years. The 11 listed below emerged as the essentials. Not complete departures, rather they build on trends already in evidence.

Electronic Resources & Libraries Preview


If the unofficial slogan of ER&L’s host city is “Keep Austin Weird,” the conference could be summed up as “Keep Libraries Current.” For the latest trends in how the changing digital landscape continues to impact libraries, particularly in the academic arena, head south by southwest to Austin, where the 11th annual ER&L conference will follow the iconic music, film, and interactive festival by a few weeks, April 3–6, at Austin’s AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, the University of Texas at Austin, and online.

Contracts for Content Mining | Charleston Conference 2015

IT Concept Data Mining Database A02

On Text & Data Mining Contracts—The Issues & the Needs, a panel of librarians and vendors convened to discuss how libraries, when making deals with vendors, can best support their researchers who want to text and data mine their resources. Moderated by Meg White, executive director of technology services, Rittenhouse Book Distributors, the panel also featured Daniel Dollar, director of collection development for the Yale University Library; Nancy Herther, sociology librarian, University of Minnesota; Darby Orcutt, assistant head of collection management, North Carolina State University Libraries; and Alicia Wise, director of access & policy, Elsevier.

Demco Buys Boopsie

Demco Inc., a major library supplier, acquired Boopsie, a leading library app vendor, the companies announced today. The acquisition, made via Demco’s parent organization Wall Family Enterprise, was completed September 30. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.