Madison, Wisconsin’s struggling public access TV station, WYOU, has a new lease on life, courtesy Madison Public Library. The station, which has been limping along since a 2010 state law cut its funding, has been welcomed into the new Madison Central Library branch. Library staff and station volunteers described the new partnership as a win-win situation that lets the station eliminate its rent costs and take advantage of the library’s media lab and equipment, while the library gets a batch of potential new volunteers and media teachers with years of experience, and the chance to experiment with serving as an incubator for community-produced media.
When Colorado’s Arapahoe Library District, which serves the Denver area, heard about the opportunity to purchase Google Glass before it was released to the public, the staff jumped on it. It is a good thing they did, because as it turns out, the library staff heard about the Glass Explorer contest, in which you tweeted at Google what you would do with Google Glass using the hashtag #IfIHadGlass, just one day before the deadline.
Back in 1917, two librarians from the Missoula Public Library wanted to bring library service to the remote lumber camps that peppered Montana’s vast mining range. One of them, Ruth Worden, was from a very powerful Missoula family. When she brought the idea to the man in charge of the camps, Kenneth Ross, she didn’t know if it would work—if the lumberjacks would actually use the books—and neither did Ross. In fact, he expected they would not, notes a story in the Missoulian (ow.ly/qmqA0). But Ross felt he couldn’t say no to Worden, so packets of books started to arrive in the camp office in Bonner. A year later, 4,000 books had been checked out—and the case was made.
Here’s an issue about which I’ve been hearing from colleagues quite a lot lately—that of libraries undertaking and carrying out assessment methods and then ignoring or “trumping” the findings by doing what they wanted to do in the first place, but putting a “check mark” next to assessment in their mental (or literal) to do lists, indicating, “yep, did that!” My thought in such cases is: well, no, you didn’t do that!
Like many librarians, Tulsa City-County Library faced a disconnect when it came to providing face-to-face readers’ advisory service. We didn’t always get the opportunity to do so. Most library customers didn’t know they could ask for book suggestions. On the rare occasions when people approached the desk to request “a good book to read,” the responses varied dramatically depending on who was working the desk and how comfortable they felt answering RA questions. We sought ways to reach more readers and improve the quality of the face-to-face RA service we provided. Our answer came in the form of personalized, form-based RA. In 2011, we launched Your Next Great Read. It completely transformed our RA service.
The Shelley-Godwin Archive, a free online resource featuring the digitized manuscripts of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft, will include tools designed to encourage collaborative humanities research, similar to collaborative public projects in the sciences.
Video games are already raising many of the thorniest challenges in the field of digital preservation, and as games continue to become more complex, those challenges are rapidly compounding. One of the most extensive recent efforts to analyze these challenges has been the Preserving Virtual Worlds (PVW) project, a collaborative research venture of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Stanford, the University of Maryland, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and digital entertainment developer Linden Lab, best known for the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Second Life.
Patrons have long been able to borrow a cookbook from the library. In some places, they can even borrow a cake pan to go with it. But what if that cookbook calls for a pasta maker, food dehydrator, yogurt maker, or other specialized kitchen equipment they don’t already possess? Now, if they’re in in Toronto, they’re in luck, since the city is home to The Kitchen Library, a new non-profit kitchen tool lending library. For a $50 (Canadian) annual fee, members can borrow space-taking and often expensive kitchen appliances for three to five days. The Library, which opened October 15, is currently open 20 hours four days a week, including weekends. At present, the collection includes about 40 items.
The constellation of Star Libraries changes dramatically from year to year. As it does every year, the 2013 Star Libraries illustrates that each annual round introduces a substantial set of new Star Libraries, sees the fortunes of continuing Star Libraries change—as libraries change peer groups and gain and lose stars—and, indeed, sees many of the previous year’s honorees lose their Star Library status altogether. The explanations for these changes are varied and complex. Whether a public library gains or loses Star Library status or sees that status change more subtly is determined as much by the fortunes of other libraries in a library’s spending peer group as by the per capita service output of its own institution. In this year’s article, we will highlight the new Star Libraries that were not on the 2012 list, Star Libraries that maintained their star status despite changing spending peer groups, Star Libraries that gained or lost stars from 2012 to 2013, and libraries that lost Star Library status in 2013.
A major strength of the annual Star Library ratings is that while some public libraries have various kinds of built-in advantages that tend to keep them on the list, in fact, a substantial proportion of the Star Libraries are new to this recognition each year. Of 2013’s 263 Star Libraries, 67 (25.5 percent) were not Star Libraries in 2012. Notably, this year’s percentage of new Star Libraries is higher than it has been in four of the last five years (those four years, ranging from 19.4 percent in fall 2009 to 24.4 percent in 2010). So, generally, the trend over time is increasing annually the percentage of new Star Libraries. Attaining the status of a new Star Library is also becoming more competitive, as, by design, Star Libraries as a percentage of all eligible public libraries has remained static at 3.5 percent—the same ratio as in fall 2009.