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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
The theme of this year’s Charleston Conference, SC, November 4–7, is “Where Do We Go from Here”—and, really, isn’t that the perfect articulation of the underlying theme of every library conference? But as LJ’s John Berry said in last year’s Charleston preview (“Uniquely Hospitable,” LJ 10/1/15, p. 38ff.), no matter what changes each year brings, the underlying focus of Charleston remains “Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition” for academic and research librarians. As Big Deals shrink and journal prices rise, ljx151001webCharleston2acquisition models proliferate, and monographs join articles in the open access funding fray, there is no shortage of such concerns for attendees to sink their teeth into, in and around enjoying the famous foodie offerings of the host city.
Library by Design’s Product Sourcebook spotlights a curated selection of newly introduced library furnishings and finishings in key purchasing categories, which will rotate from issue to issue. This edition focuses on library products for children and powered furniture.
The Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest opened in 2010 as Alabama’s first LEED Gold–certified library. The library takes its forest namesake very seriously: fewer than 25 percent of the trees on the site were disturbed in the building’s construction, and no tree more than 40 feet from the building was cut down. Of those that were removed, more than 80 percent were reincorporated into the library itself. The ceilings are made of pine; the entry hall is poplar; the service desks, fireplace exterior cladding, and doors to the community room are made of oak.