Getting rid of books can feel uncomfortable and look bad to community members, but careful weeding is key to the health of a collection.
The Ferguson Municipal Public Library (FMPL), MO, became a model for all libraries in the way it reacted to the crisis and the aftermath of riots brought on by the shooting of Michael Brown, a young African American man, by local police. FMPL was the one agency in town that stayed open to serve and support all the people of Ferguson. The library quickly became a safe haven and expressed a peaceful resolve, becoming a critical community anchor.
The American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference returns to San Francisco for the first time since 2001, this June 25–30, with an array of programming that lives up to its colorful surroundings. Innovations this year include a LITA preconference, Learn To Teach Coding and Mentor Technology Newbies, presented in cooperation with Black Girls Code, and a series of sessions offered by ALA’s recently launched Center for the Future of Libraries.
Librarians have always taught patrons how to use the tools that serve their information needs. We had to explain card catalogs, vertical files, microfilm/fiche, photocopiers, and OPACs. The fundamental difference about the tech needs of the 21st century is the ever-changing variety of personal devices that patrons use to access our services. Some libraries are lucky enough to have dedicated staff with special training to serve these patrons directly, but most of the time it’s a library generalist fielding question after question about something new every day. How do frontline staffers with self-taught or very basic knowledge of technology stay savvy about the latest and hottest gadgets? How do we train nontechnical staff to troubleshoot effectively and train our patrons to use their own gadgets?
Joint-use libraries, especially partnerships between public libraries and colleges, are rare but not unheard of. In an era of belt-tightening, pooling resources with a partner that shares many of your institution’s goals can be a tempting proposition for schools and cities alike. It’s complex, but as seen at the Tidewater Community College/City of Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library, opened in 2013, it can also be extremely rewarding.
Before Boston saw its first snowstorm of what would prove to be a very long winter, an enthusiastic group of architects, designers, vendors, and librarians convened at Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Central Library in Copley Square for LJ’s December 2014 Design Institute (DI). The first question of the event, posed by Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners library building consultant Lauren Stara, set the stage: “The shift to digital and changing user expectations means that even buildings only ten or 20 years old may already be out-of-date…. How do we build for an ever-changing environment?”
Selecting a library management system is never an easy decision. Vendors of integrated library systems (ILS) offer solutions tailored to public, academic, school, and special libraries, but even when organized by type, libraries are hardly one-size-fits-all organizations. Choosing a new vendor tends to mean a major investment, with a multiyear commitment to a solution that often will require new training, adaptation, and trade-offs among cost, features, and functionality. Still, it’s a tough choice that many libraries are facing once again. This second edition of Library Systems Landscape, the successor to LJ’s annual Automation Marketplace feature, will examine the impact of recent mergers, the continued adoption of next-generation library services platforms, the emergence of mobile-optimized staff clients, and new partnerships and feature development in the open source arena.