For the first time, in addition to this year’s Star Libraries, LJ is also offering a spreadsheet of all libraries which have ever received a Star Libraries designation since the inception of the LJ Index of Public Library Service.
LJ Index of Public Library Service 2015 The Star Libraries All the Stars, State by State Do-It-Yourself Projects with LJ Index Data E-Circ Not Ready for Prime Time Understanding Star Status Shifts Find Your Library Every Star Library Ever Named LJ Index FAQ The LJ Index is based on four types of per capita use […]
According to “Libraries at the Crossroads,” a recent Pew Research Center report on the public library habits of U.S. residents age 16 and older, over the past three years in-person library visits have waned slightly despite the public’s marked desire for new and improved library services. These findings, as John B. Horrigan, senior researcher at Pew, writes in his report, suggest that the library as an institution is “buffeted by cross currents.”
Over the weekend of October 3–4, Hurricane Joaquin brought record-setting rainfall and catastrophic flooding to the Southeast, leaving South Carolina in a state of disaster. In the central and eastern part of the state, rivers overran their banks, washing out roads, and bridges, breaching dams, and destroying property. To the south, high tides pushed water inland over sea walls. President Barack Obama declared the state a disaster zone, and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local efforts. The storm was what meteorologists call a “1,000-year rainfall event.” As of press time, the death toll for the state stood at 17, and Sen. Lindsey Graham said the cost of flooding could top $1 billion. Public libraries across the state began reopening Tuesday, and immediately began stepping in to help wherever possible—posting emergency information on their websites, helping people contact loved ones and insurance companies, distributing supplies, and serving as a place of shelter and connection.
In August, Harvard Library opened its User Research Center (URC), where library staff can discuss, design, and implement in-person and device-based user experience research. According to Susan Fliss, Associate University Librarian for Research, Teaching, and Learning and Director and Librarian of Monroe C. Gutman Library, this is the next step in a change in focus for Harvard’s library system. “Over the past several years, Harvard librarians and staff have been investing time in developing skills in anthropological survey design and user testing. While we had many people who were undertaking user design projects, the projects were dispersed across libraries and schools.” By creating a centralized Research Center, Fliss hopes that Amy Deschenes, Library User Experience Specialist, and Kris Markman, Online Learning Librarian, can coordinate usability efforts across all of Harvard’s libraries.
Global library solutions provider Bibliotheca announced October 6 that its shareholder company, One Equity Partners (OEP), has acquired 3M Library Systems’ North American business. In addition, OEP—the private equity arm of JP Morgan Chase & Co.—has entered into agreements to purchase the assets of 3M’s remaining global Library Systems business. The new Bibliotheca Group will incorporate 3M Library Systems—including its security, productivity, and cloud solutions divisions—into a single Bibliotheca brand. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Libraries are all about access to information in its many forms, and librarians have a long and admirable tradition of striving to increase that access whenever they can. Several recent events have spurred me to think about real-world barriers—visible and invisible—and how seeing them in light of access to the library could influence services.
Libraries across the country provide services to the homeless, but some go beyond standard outreach, throwing their doors open and welcoming those community members in. Among them are the Denver and San Francisco Public Libraries, where unique services aim to bring additional dignity and humanity to library programming for people experiencing homelessness. Both libraries have hired full-time social workers in recent years to help address the homelessness crises in their communities, and that commitment shows through in their creative partnerships and programming.
Colorado’s Anythink libraries are anything but traditional, and that goes for job descriptions as well; positions there include wrangler, concierge, and guide. The work they do also tends to range outside the box, and Hannah Martinez, a concierge at Anythink Wright Farms in Thornton, has been awarded the 2015 Lucy Schweers Award for Excellence in Paralibrarianship for just that kind of creative thinking. Martinez, who has been at Anythink since 2010, was recognized for spearheading AnyAbility—an inclusive set of library programs for adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. The activities Martinez has helped to develop include crafts, story time, gardening, and a book club, all specifically designed to accommodate a wide range of abilities.
Library trustees in the tiny Lebanon Public Library (LPL), NH, agreed on September 15 to resume their association with the anonymous web searching service Tor. The project was halted a month earlier after it drew attention from the federal Department of Homeland Security and concern from local law enforcement.