August 3, 2015

Wisdom of the Crowd | Digital Collections

IMAGINE THAT (Clockwise from l.): A historical menu from NYPL’s collections; an illustration of a sandgrouse from the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr stream; and a screen from Tiltfactor’s “Stupid Robot” tagging game

Even at large libraries that have staff dedicated to digitization projects, the additional effort needed to enable researchers to extract data from these collections—such as transcribing OCR-resistant text, or adding item-level tags to large collections of images—would be an untenable chore for a library to take on alone. So, in the past half decade, libraries have taken cues from long-running projects, using crowdsourcing as a way not only to outsource work that would be impossible for staff to attempt but also to engage volunteers.

Meet Your Maker | Maker Movement

Caption can go here saying somethign about Denver PL's ideaLAB. Top photo shows Nate Stone (l.) helping a teen in the audio lab, center shows teen activity, and the bottom photo is an adult session on learning to code. Photos by Christina Kiffney

On June 11, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in collaboration with the Congressional Maker Caucus, Maker Media, and Nation of Makers, hosted its first Capitol Hill Maker Faire, featuring a series of panel discussions and an expo open to the public, including members of Congress. Held in conjunction with this year’s National Maker Faire at the University of District of Columbia and the White House National Week of Making, June 12–18, these events indicate the growing interest in our nation’s capital in the Maker movement and its potential implications for education, workforce development, and community building.

The Art of Weeding | Collection Management

ljx150602webchant37

Getting rid of books can feel uncomfortable and look bad to community members, but careful weeding is key to the health of a collection.

2015 Gale/LJ Library of the Year: Ferguson Municipal Public Library, MO, Courage in Crisis

Photos by Sid Hastings

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.

ALA by the Bay | ALA 2015 Preview

ljx150601webALAcover

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.

Manage the Device Deluge | Professional Development

STAFF UP A screen shot from eMedia online ­training 
at Douglas County Libraries, CO

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?

Rethink the Staff Workplace | Library by Design, Spring 2015

COLLABORATE & LISTEN Staff, like patrons, need flexible spaces in which 
to work together, as illustrated by North Carolina State University’s Hunt Library. 
Photo by Brent Brafford/NCSU

As libraries make their public-facing spaces more people-focused and mobile tech makes big us/them service desks obsolete, it’s important to ensure that staff have creativity-enhancing spaces of their own along with the work processes, tools, and training to be effective.

Serving Two Masters | Library by Design, Spring 2015

A NATURAL PARTNERSHIP The Tidewater Community College/City of Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library balances unique design against the retention ponds created to absorb rainwater. Photo ©Jeff Goldberg/Esto

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.

Design for People | Library by Design Spring 2015

1. The Main Library’s Guastavino Room was an impressive backdrop to registration
and lunch. 2. Attendees tossed around ideas during the Gloucester Lyceum/Sawyer
Free Library’s challenge session. 3. The Open Forum allowed for suggestions from
participating architects (l.–r.) Aimee G. Lombardo (LLB Architects), Peter Gisolfi
(Gisolfi Associates), Peter Bolek (HBM Architects), and Matthew Oudens (Oudens Ello
Architecture). 4. The challenge session for Maryland’s Towson University brought
about solid strategies. 5. The session on creative and inspirational spaces featured
experts (l.–r.) Conrad Ello (Oudens Ello Architecture), Michael Colford (director of
library services at Boston PL), moderator Emily Puckett Rodgers (School of Information,
University of Michigan), and Jeff Hoover (Tappé Architects). Photos by Kevin Henegan

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?”

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.