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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On November 8, 2013, librarians and architects from around the country gathered at the newly renovated Central Branch of the St. Louis Public Library (SLPL) to discuss the present and future of building libraries at LJ’s Design Institute (DI). The watchword of the fall 2013 DI was flexibility, and the emphasis of the event was on creating libraries that can adapt to serve new purposes—some of which librarians and designers can’t even yet foresee.
With Book Expo America (BEA) just one month away, one of the publishing industry’s biggest events is in hot water with readers and writers alike as the company has been taken to task in recent days for assembling a list of guests at the consumer-centric May 31st BookCon event that consists of 30 white writers and one Internet-famous cat. The lack of diversity drew fire on social media, where readers, writers, and book critics have weighed in on the pallid lineup as a symptom of larger problems the publishing industry has in addressing diversity.