January 30, 2015

The Loaves and Fishes Library | Best Small Library in America 2015

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Over the last decade, Belgrade, MT, has grown and shifted from a small agricultural town to a diverse community of 12,700 in the exurbs of nearby Bozeman. In tandem, the Belgrade Community Library (BCL) has reimagined library services and aggressively developed new outreach efforts to meet the community’s changing needs. The result is intense engagement and support from the community and an impact that extends beyond Belgrade’s borders through active partnerships and state-level leadership.

Siobhan A. Reardon: LJ’s 2015 Librarian of the Year

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Siobhan A. Reardon engineered the creation of an ambitious, five-year strategic plan, underpinned by a powerful mission to advance literacy, guide learning, and inspire curiosity through the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP). Her plan refocused the role of the library, outlines a cluster model to streamline and enhance neighborhood library services, and collaborate with community leaders to develop programs and services most needed by residents. Those achievements alone could qualify Reardon, the first woman to serve as president and director of FLP, to be named the LJ 2015 Librarian of the Year, sponsored by Baker & Taylor, but she has achieved much more in a short tenure that is marking a turnaround for this important but embattled library.

Year in Architecture 2014: Commons Sense

Architecture 2014

The library construction projects completed between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, seem to have found common purpose around a common theme: community. As such, many of the 16 academic projects and 84 public library capital efforts find themselves at the center of their respective neighborhoods. Whether large or small, on an expansive budget or a shoestring, these facilities strengthen ties among their constituencies and between learning and entertainment.

America’s Star Libraries, 2014: Top-Rated Libraries

America's Star Libraries 2014 (square slug)

We are very pleased to announce the results of the seventh edition of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat. The LJ Index is a measurement tool that compares U.S. public libraries with their spending peers based on four types of output measures of their per capita use. When the LJ Index and its Star Library ratings were introduced in 2008, our hope was that whether libraries were awarded stars or not, they would examine these statistics more closely—both for their own library and for their peers—and make fuller use of these and other types of data for local planning and evaluation purposes. In the meantime, however, another type of data has come to the fore—outcomes. Here we will explore what some of this year’s Star Libraries are doing with outcome measures.

Collective Impact | Q&A with Susan H. Hildreth

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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.

Placements & Salaries 2014: Renaissance Librarians

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“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.

The Education Hook

CZECH-ING IN WITH CZECH LIBRARIES The Jirí 
Mahen Library in Brno is the Czech Republic’s second largest library. It features (top l.) 
classrooms; (bottom r.) a creative display in the children’s area (inset: close-up on a selection 
of titles); and a balcony study space in the library atrium (inset above). The Brno tram (top r.) 
is a perfect place to promote the library CZECH-ING IN WITH CZECH LIBRARIES The Jirí 
Mahen Library in Brno is the Czech Republic’s second largest library. It features (top l.) 
classrooms; (bottom r.) a creative display in the children’s area (inset: close-up on a selection 
of titles); and a balcony study space in the library atrium (inset above). The Brno tram (top r.) 
is a perfect place to promote the library

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.”

Crossroads of Design | Library by Design

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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.

The Comeback Kids | Library by Design

STANDING STRONGER Birmingham’s Pratt City Branch came back from a 2011 tornado (inset) with an aerodynamic roofline built to channel winds and safeguard against future damage. Inside (bottom l.), computer stations (below) offer expanded capability after a tornado tore the roof off the building. Top photo by Chanda Temple/Birmingham PL; bottom photo by Melinda Shelton/Birmingham PL

Vision and determination are two of the qualities that various library leaders and architects around the country used to rebuild libraries demolished in a variety of natural disasters. A number of these libraries have emerged better connected to their communities and stronger than before.

A World of Firsts | Genre Spotlight: New Adult

A World of Firsts | Genre Spotlight: New Adult

“New Adult” fiction embraces the college years through first jobs, first loves, and first going out on one’s own. Will it last, and what do librarians need to know?