July 31, 2014

Library Services

Vive la différence! | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

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.

Cutting the Cord | Outreach

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.

Where the Opportunity Is | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

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.

To Empower Community Colleges, Empower Their Librarians | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

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?

Library as Classroom | Office Hours

Elements of Creative Classroom Model

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.

NYPL Partners with Coursera

Coursera Logo

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.

Programs That Boil, Bake, and Sizzle! | Programs That Pop

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.

Library Labyrinths Help Students Find Their Way to Calm

SONY DSC

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.

Oregon County Aims To Replace Volunteer-Run Libraries with Publicly Funded Model

image courtesy of Facebook

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.

Pew/Gates Foundations’ Library Studies Close with Look at User Engagement

Pew: More Patrons Using Mobile Devices to Access Library Websites

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.