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.
In this first of an interview series sponsored by SAGE, LJ goes in depth with this year’s Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, delving into just how and why they pulled off the projects that brought them recognition as innovators, change agents, and more. Karen Lauritsen was chosen as one of this year’s Tech Leaders for her work as Communications & Public Programs Coordinator at the Robert E. Kennedy Library of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
Public libraries have been publishers before, largely of annual reports, bulletins, and printed catalogs of special collections–items that are now integrated into the catalog itself or available online. More recently, libraries have facilitated the self-publishing efforts of their communities, such as Sacramento Public Library’s iStreet Press and Temecula Public Library’s Flash Books! And academic libraries have entered the scholarly publishing business in increasing numbers. But what might a publishing imprint run by a local library look like? Over the past two years, two public libraries have begun to explore that question.
Whether you need a flatbed scanner integrated with a payment system for patron use, or one that will protect rare oversize maps while creating a digital record, there’s a scanner for your library. Today’s book scanners are fast (many can scan a page in under two seconds) and provide optical resolution of up to 800 dots per inch (dpi) on sheets reaching a massive 35″ x 25″ in size. With such a wealth of options, your only problem may be deciding which scanner to choose. LJ has highlighted some of the newest offerings from a number of providers.
In its search for space to house new classes, the University of Pennsylvania identified a pair of libraries whose collections could be moved offsite to make room. Under the original plan, the Math, Physics, and Astronomy Library in the David Rittenhouse Laboratory would be reduced in size by more than a third, while the Engineering Library in the Towne Building would be eliminated altogether.
At the height of the recession in 2008, Philadelphia found itself in the same position as many metropolitan areas, facing plummeting revenues that forced deep cuts to city budgets. In his proposal for a 2015 city budget, though, Mayor Michael Nutter aims to return moneys to the libraries that were cut so deeply during the recession in the hopes of returning Saturday service to the city’s 39 branches.
Public libraries in the United Kingdom are set to play a role in expanding public access to academic research via the recently announced “Access to Research” plan. Thousands of research journal articles will be made available for free: but only on computers located physically within a public library, not remotely.
Late last year, the Bexar County Library, which serves the area around San Antonio, TX, set up BiblioTech, the first all-digital library in the United States. Without any physical books at all, the branch raised a few eyebrows, but head librarian Ashley Eklof tells Library Journal that after a few months, the ebook-and technology-centric project has been so successful it already has its own spinoff at the county courthouse.
THE One Book, One Community pick for 2013 at the Darien Library, CT, was David Benioff’s City of Thieves, in which the two main characters are charged to collect a dozen eggs in the starving city of Leningrad during the Nazi invasion. The penalty should they not complete this outrageous task is to forfeit their lives. As soon as I knew City of Thieves was the choice, I knew that we had to do a townwide scavenger hunt. It also seemed like a great opportunity to partner with and support local businesses.