Susan H. Hildreth was appointed director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) by President Barack Obama on January 19, 2011. Her nomination had been confirmed by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent on December 22, 2010. Prior to joining IMLS, Hildreth served as Seattle city librarian, California state librarian, and San Francisco city librarian, as well as president of the Public Library Association in 2006. Under her leadership, IMLS made $857,241,000 in total grants to libraries and museums. As Hildreth’s four-year term draws to a close, she shares with LJ some of what she learned at the head of the institute and what she hopes the library community will build on in the future.
“Luck, patience, and positive attitude” were the keywords for members of the 2013 graduating class. Once again graduates reported both positive experiences and challenges in the search for employment inside and outside of the library and information science field. The overall average starting salary improved 2.6%, moving above $45,000 for the first time, to $45,650. Other pointers toward an improving job market were revealed in a decline in the rate of unemployment, dropping to 4.3% of those reporting employment status, and an increase in the rate of permanent professional positions, 69.6% of the job placements in 2013, up from 61.2% in 2012. The length of the job search appeared slightly shortened with an average search of 4.2 months, ranging from 3.6 months in the Southwest to 4.7 months in the Southeast.
In August 2013, an intriguing email landed in my inbox from Alžbeta Strnadová, project manager of BiblioEduca in the Czech Republic. BiblioEduca provides forward-thinking continuing education for the public and academic library professionals who work at the Czech Republic’s 6,000 public and academic libraries, as well as library students at Czech universities.The BiblioEduca team had read the LJ article featuring the Howard County Library System, MD, upon being named the 2013 Gale/LJ Library of the Year. It described a new vision for libraries, positioning them as part of the education enterprise. The Czech team, led by president and founder Beáta Holá, immediately grasped the power of the approach. Struck by the way U.S. libraries implementing the strategy enjoy heightened respect in their communities and maximized funding, team members were eager to achieve the same results for Czech libraries. They extended an invitation to exchange ideas “over the ocean.”
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.
Organizations in every state in America, plus the District of Columbia, have hosted a communitywide reading program at one point or another, according to the Library of Congress. So-called One Book programs are everywhere. However, to engage the entire community, whether municipality, county, region, or state, successfully in a communitywide reading event takes planning as well as skill and enthusiasm. LJ spoke with reads veterans from around the country to learn what worked for them—and what could work for your library.
More and more, libraries strive not only to be spaces for researching subjects of interest to their patrons but to offer options that let users learn new skills, whether they’re physically in the library or not. One area in which mobile learning through the library is making headway is language learning. Many online lesson providers offer programs through libraries that patrons can use in the building, at home, or even while waiting in line for a cup of coffee.
For many, salary discussion is the last taboo. But without knowing how their peers are compensated, it can be hard for librarians to make their case for better pay—and hard for library leaders to make the case to funders that higher salaries are necessary to attract and retain the best candidates. LJ has, for years, conducted its annual Placements & Salaries survey, which focuses on recent graduates, to dig into what beginning librarians earn in their first positions and what trends those salaries reveal. Now, with the help of more than 3,200 public, academic, school, special, government, and consortium librarians from all 50 states, LJ’s inaugural salary survey for U.S. librarians and paralibrarians takes a deeper look at the range of the field’s salary potential.