Lobbying for libraries can be a painfully earnest affair. But not so in New York State, where the New York Library Association (NYLA) adopted a playful new strategy to reach legislators and their staffs where they may be at their most receptive—relaxing with a drink after work. NYLA didn’t break the rules by buying beverages for lawmakers…it simply provided a coaster for them.
In “A Genius Idea?,” Michael Stephens’s recent Office Hours column (LJ 3/15/14), Stephens refers to a post on the Librarian Shaming Tumblr that called for libraries to have their own “Genius Bars,” reminiscent of the Apple Store’s famous retail innovation. As Stephens points out, many libraries are already adopting—and adapting—this concept.
Collection development starts with the budget. In Cuyahoga County, OH, that means the library’s executive team, led by Director Sari Feldman, and administrative team, led by Deputy Director Tracy Strobel, sit down and crunch the numbers. Once Wendy Bartlett, collection development manager, gets the resulting figure—some $8.5 million this year—she must divvy it up into all the various subjects, genres, and formats necessary to serve best the library system’s 28 branches and 884,035 cardholders—and maximize circulation of its materials, which reached 20,613,810 in 2012.
When librarian Elke Bruton from the State Library of Oregon (pictured) and four of her colleagues attended Lead the Change! Oregon at Portland’s Central Library in April 2013, they were told they should give a report when they got back. But, she tells LJ, “We said, we don’t want to do that. Out of context, it doesn’t mean anything.” Instead, the team met to digest their own takeaways and turn them into training for their coworkers.
Lots of libraries run a One Book, One Community communitywide reading program. But we only know of one that published the book itself: Sacramento Public Library, CA. The library didn’t just promote One Book to its core audience of already-active patrons; it reached out with some very unconventional, award-winning marketing.
Whether a library is designing a building or a program, the first premise of designing for impact is figuring out what impact you’re trying to make and how you’re going to assess whether that impact is occurring. One of the most common buzzwords in librarianship today is “outcomes, not outputs.” In other words, measuring not quantitative metrics of what libraries do, such as circulation or visits, but what impact those activities have on the lives of their patrons.
As I got ready to tour the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, last spring, as part of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) meeting held nearby, the buzz about the newly unveiled building had reached such a level that I expected to find it, however cool, overhyped. It wasn’t. It was exactly the right amount of hyped. “Every corner of the Hunt Library is designed to be memorable and stunning,” the library’s vision claims. Grandiose as that might sound, those corners deliver.
Major publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) filed plans with the SEC to go public, offering shares to the public worth up to $100 million.
University of Iowa outreach librarian Colleen Theisen’s recent social media efforts are proof that outreach can create new connections inside as well as outside the library, leading to new discoveries. On August 2, Theisen started a series of Facebook posts highlighting the largest, smallest, and oldest items in the libraries’ collection. For smallest, on August 5, she posted about a book so small it couldn’t be identified. Theisen’s post caught the attention of the libraries’ conservator Giselle Simón, who informed Theisen that the library had a new microscope. Using this more powerful tool, the library was able to identify the book.
Columbus State Community College’s Delaware, OH, Campus Learning Center starts its information literacy outreach early—really early. The library doesn’t just reach out to new students, or even prospective students. It’s starting with elementary school students, thanks to a campus-wide partnership between the college and the Delaware City School District.