Every library is unique. Despite all the decades of work trying to standardize library operations, systems, collection organization, buildings, human resource management, governance, and even collection development, each library still differs from every other library. While few librarians would argue that point, it is obvious that a great deal of effort has been expended to make the practice of librarianship more homogeneous.
The Robbins Library in Arlington, MA, is a busy place. Often, all of the computers are in use, and by the summer of 2012, all were just about ready to be retired. Rather than keep to status quo, technology librarian Catherine Kiah, working with intern Brad McKenna, envisioned an expanded wireless service model made possible by three key ingredients, two of which were a risk-tolerant staff and a wireless network upgrade. The third ingredient that made this new service model possible was a relatively new technology for public libraries, a laptop vending machine.
According to some research I came across, there are few academic library positions devoted to distance learning. You wouldn’t know that by the crowd that showed up for the 16th Annual Distance Library Services Conference. Trends in higher education suggest that distance library services may be where the opportunity lies.
Community colleges are increasingly important to America’s higher education system, but they are also a point of failure for too many students. The American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) is planning to change that with the rollout of a new guide—but where do librarians fit into the program?
Reading the new HORIZON Report for Higher Education 2014, I’m inspired as usual by the work of Educause and the New Media Consortium (NMC). This year’s study continues the direction. In fact, a new framework for presenting challenges and trends accelerating technology adoption and the key technologies for higher education makes the report even more useful for anyone and everyone involved in teaching and learning.
In a move that will help a leading urban library system begin defining its role in the burgeoning field of massive open online courses (MOOCs), the New York Public Library (NYPL) on April 30 announced a partnership with MOOC provider Coursera. Beginning this summer, NYPL will support a selection of Coursera’s online courses by hosting weekly in-person discussion groups at several branches in the Bronx and Manhattan through Coursera’s Learning Hubs program. Neither organization is paying the other as part of the partnership, but NYPL officials note that sharing information regarding participation in these programs will benefit both parties.
Over the last five years, LJ has reported that the number one circulating nonfiction subject has been cooking. Food represents so very much within our culture and social lives. It triggers treasured memories, extends hospitality, provides the shared experience of first dates, serves as a pretext for family and friends’ gatherings, and is praised both as a virtue and a vice for how it makes us look and feel. Yet on the event calendar at an average public library, classes or programs on this number one topic are missing. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Finals are a stressful time everywhere on a college campus, from dorm rooms to dining halls. But it’s rare to find a building where more of that tension collects than the campus library, consistently a staging ground for late night study sessions and last minute edits to term papers. This year, a pair of university libraries in Oklahoma and Massachusetts have installed high tech versions of a labyrinth—one of the world’s oldest meditation techniques—with an eye to helping students take a moment to relax and recharge during their studies.
Like many library systems, the Josephine Community Library (JCL) in Josephine County, OR, is looking to secure funding from the community via a ballot initiative this November. Unlike most library systems, however, JCL doesn’t yet receive any funding from the government, instead relying entirely on private donations and volunteer labor to keep the lights on.
The last of a series of Pew Research Center studies examining the changing face of library service in the 21st century was released in March, offering a look at library use that breaks Americans down into nine different groups of library users. The report, “From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers,” caps three years of Pew research on libraries funded by the Gates Foundation, and looks to identify what users—and some non-users—value about library service, and where they may see room for improvement.