On July 26, New York Public Library (NYPL) launched the first permanent public library location at Rikers Island, East Elmhurst, NY, New York City’s main jail complex and one of the world’s largest correctional institutions. NYPL’s Correctional Services (CS) team has been providing library services at Rikers Island since 1984, currently operating five satellite libraries throughout the complex’s ten jails, but the new 1,200-volume library at the Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC) is the first to occupy dedicated space. Decorated with posters and vibrant, comfortable furnishings, the library is open for six hours every Tuesday, serving half of the facility every other week. Inmates may check out two books at a time for two weeks.
While many libraries have come up with creative rewards for staff innovation, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Innovative Cool Awards do double duty. The monthly award, funded and run by BPL’s ten-member Board of Trustees, is an incentive for staff to develop—and promote—engaging new programs and workshops, and also a way to connect the board with staff.
Everyone has a book in them, it’s said. While Christopher Hitchens completed that phrase with “in most cases that’s where it should stay,” it doesn’t seem the public agrees. This is dramatically demonstrated by the expansion of U.S. publishing, as measured by Bowker, the U.S. issuer of ISBNs, the numbers that help track book sales. In 2002, Bowker issued 247,777. In 2012 (the most recent figures available), demand rose to 2,352,797—an increase of 2,105,020, or a whopping 849.5 percent.
Colorado libraries of all kinds are celebrating summer by launching a statewide collaboration with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The Check Out Colorado State Parks program allows library patrons to borrow a backpack containing a Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) pass, which admits a carload of visitors into any of the state’s 42 parks.
Since before Ellis Island became the gateway to the United States for many, libraries have served immigrant communities with language classes and learning materials that can help ease the path toward employment and citizenship. Today, those services have expanded to include referrals to city and health-care services, cultural events honoring countries of origin, legal aid, small business and entrepreneurship assistance, and much more.
LJ Mover & Shaker, Ashley Maynor has put her MFA in film and media arts from Temple University to good use as an Assistant Professor & Digital Humanities Librarian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The Story of the Stuff, her interactive web documentary on the artifacts, gifts, and remembrances sent to the town of Sandy Hook, CT, after the school shooting, brought those two passions together. “This project in particular is very wrapped up in libraries,” says Maynor. “It’s about the type of research that a digital humanities librarian does.
CURRENT POSITION Mellon Digital Scholar, Five Colleges of Ohio, Wooster DEGREE PhD, English, Texas A&M University, 2009 FOLLOW @dr_heil (Twitter); digitalscholarship.ohio5.org; jacobheil.com Photo by Chelsea Carlson LJ Mover & Shaker, Jacob Heil got his PhD in English Literature at Texas A&M, and his dissertation was on Renaissance drama—he’s got a working fluency in Old English. […]
On Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., a PBS program that’s a must for those interested in family history, viewers watch as Harvard professor Gates reveals to famous people information about their ancestors, some of them recent forebears and others from many generations ago. TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA), based on a BBC series of the same name, is now in its eighth season and offers a similar chronicling of the search for a famous person’s roots.
Programming that supports English-language learning (ELL) is not new in the world of public libraries. Kenneth English, associate director of adult learning centers at the New York Public Library (NYPL), has seen “photos and notices from around 1920 promoting classes in Manhattan’s Lower East Side immigrant neighborhoods.” While ELL programming has existed for nearly 100 years, modern libraries continue to update their offerings to fit the needs of their communities. Innovative and traditional projects that are responsive to demographic shifts and capitalize on local people power are key to best serving library customers working on their English-language skills.
A new report published March 29, “Core Customer Intelligence: Public Library Reach, Relevance, and Resilience,” brings together market segmentation from ten public library systems across the United States to explore how libraries can examine and act on granular data about their core customers—the 20 percent of cardholders who check out the most physical materials. Using 2014 customer and checkout data to group top library users by lifestyles, interests, preferences, and behaviors, the study drills down into community demographics to reveal that core customers aren’t found in any one segment of the population but occur across all lines, reflecting the diversity of their communities.