October 6, 2015

Rethinking Privacy at the LITA Top Tech Trends Panel | ALA Annual 2015

LITA logo

Librarians should not be afraid to discuss both positive and negative implications of collecting and analyzing patron data, library technology consultant Carson Block said during the Library and Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Tech Trends panel during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference on June 28. “We’ve limited ourselves by saying, ‘We don’t want to touch [the topic of data collection] because we might be infringing on patron confidentiality and privacy,’” he said. “I think that’s too simplistic of a view. I think, in fact, we have to embrace looking at data collection to serve our patrons…and protecting confidentiality and privacy. I think we’re the only organization[s] that really care about actually protecting that pile of data.”

Academic Libraries Look Toward the Future | ALA Annual 2015

library crystal ball

As proof positive that, even with their superior powers of observation and vision, librarians can’t predict the future, the planners for the American Library Association 2015 annual conference definitely underestimated how many people would be attending the program Look into the Crystal Ball: Future Directions for Higher Education and Academic Libraries, sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS). Every seat was filled, as well as all available floor space, with attendees eager to hear the panel’s thoughts on what the future may hold for academic libraries.

The San Francisco Deets | ALA 2015

ALA 2015 logo

The opening general session of this year’s American Library Association (ALA) conference in San Francisco was a feel good fest, thanks largely to the good luck and good planning that ALA demonstrated in booking Roberta Kaplan, lawyer for the Supreme Court case that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, as the opening keynote. On the two-year anniversary of that case, the Court found in favor of marriage equality, turning Kaplan’s speech into an emotional victory celebration punctuated with standing ovations.

Author! Author! | Programming

GRAND PRIZE Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award winner Ann Patchett (signing) at Tulsa City-County Library. Photo by John Fancher

Public libraries are all about access: to services, to data, to books. Offering patrons access to some of their favorite authors is a bonus but an important one. Author events strengthen the existing bonds between readers and books: seeing an author read from his or her work and having the chance to ask questions—or just hear the answers—offers a new dimension of engagement. But these events also reinforce the idea of the library as a point of entry into people’s reading lives, beyond simple readers’ advisory. The landscape of author events is continually changing. As programming budgets shrink and authors’ publicity tours get smaller, even libraries with successful track records need to be increasingly nimble and imaginative. While the choice depends on a library’s resources, location, and patron demographics, there are a few best practices that can help librarians develop exciting and well-attended programs.

When the President Visits Your Library


When ImaginOn manager Jason Hyatt got the word on a Friday that his building had been selected as the site of a White House event with President Barack Obama with just four days to plan, he had confidence that he and his colleagues would somehow make it happen.

Beacon Developer NetObjex Enters Library Market with SmartLibrary

NetObjex beacon

Newport Beach, CA-based NetObjex, developer of turnkey “Internet of Things” (IoT) device management solutions for commercial enterprises, recently announced the launch of SmartLibrary, a system that enables libraries to transmit targeted, location-relevant messages to their patrons’ smartphones and mobile devices. The company joins library app developers Capira Technologies and BluuBeam, which each separately announced the launch of beacon services in the fall of 2014.

LITA Members Talk Tech Trends | ALA Midwinter 2015

LITA logo

Five experts discussed the latest in library tech during the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) Top Technology Trends panel at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter 2015 conference in Chicago. In front of a full house despite the snowstorm outside, the lively discussion of trends ranged from coding classes for girls to the growing infrastructure demands of open access publishing.

Knight Foundation News Challenge on Libraries Winners Announced | ALA Midwinter 2015


On January 30 the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (KF) announced the winning 22 projects for its Knight News Challenge on Libraries. A total of $3 million will be distributed among the recipients, representing libraries and organizations from across the United States who brought a wide range of innovative ideas to advance the mission of libraries.

Crossroads of Design | Library by Design, Fall 2014


In a time when the mission of libraries is rapidly evolving, how can we craft buildings that not only endure but thrive when meeting new challenges? This question underlined the learning at LJ’s Design Institute (DI) held May 16 in Salt Lake City. Presenters and peers asked attendees to redefine how they thought about sustainability, exploring the idea in terms of conserving energy and being environmentally responsible and looking at the sustainability of a building holistically—from how comfortable patrons and employees are to how the space can change to support new ventures, some of which designers and librarians might not have imagined yet.

CUNY Helps Libraries Take Stock

William and Anita Newman Conference Center, 7th floor

On June 6, the City University of New York (CUNY) held its first library assessment conference. Called Reinventing Libraries: Reinventing Assessment, the event grew from its initial target of 100 attendees to almost twice that many, and positive feedback from many attendees included calls for the conference to be repeated, or even turn into an annual event. Several recurring themes became leit motifs running throughout the day: turning from an emphasis on exclusively quantitative to qualitative assessment, libraries partnering with faculty on instruction, and the intersection of outcomes measurement and predictive analytics in a new granular portrait of individual students’ library use.