Literacy—and how libraries are reimagining services to address it for patrons of all ages—took center stage at the Northeast Dade–Aventura Branch, Miami Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), FL, March 9–10, at LJ and School Library Journal’s 2017 Public Library Think Tank. The event—targeting “Libraries and Literacies: Redefining Our Impact”—looked at multiple literacies, including digital, media/information, civic, reading, visual, multicultural, and health, and focused on strategic thinking through a literacy lens.
LJ in Print
The shift to digital delivery of serials content has had a profound effect on the information ecosystem. Powerful discovery and social networking tools expose users to an incredibly rich world of commercially produced and open access (OA) content. Most publishers have explored new ways of pricing their content—such as population served, FTE (full-time equivalent), tiered pricing based upon Carnegie classification, or other defining criteria—or the database model, which treats all content within an e-journal package as a database, eliminating the need for title by title reconciliation. However, in the end, the pricing conversation always seems to circle back to the revenue generated by the annual subscription model.
While librarian-to-librarian collaborations between school and public libraries are nothing new, public libraries are now ramping up their efforts for deeper strategic engagement and collaboration at scale, embedding public library services within schools’ daily operations and combining catalogs and access services. Such deeper integration requires both sides to take into account a range of complex issues—commanding all-in support from library leadership and a strong working relationship with local educational administrators.
Libraries have long benefited from major donors that infuse dollars as well as strategic perspective at key junctures. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has stepped into that role with signature energy, most clearly illustrated by the Knight News Challenges, including two focused on libraries. By their very nature these call on libraries to speed new ideas to address big needs, and the robust response from the library arena has surfaced and celebrated a range of creativity.
Fears and hopes about immigrants and immigration have always been part of American society and politics. They have been manifest in many ways, some receptive and welcoming, others alarming and rejecting. While a host of obstacles, prejudices, and hostile forces are arrayed against immigrants, the public library is still one of the vital agencies making entry into our nation easier and more effective.
First-year college and university students enter with widely varying levels of information literacy, particularly in light of the funding crisis that has left so many K–12 public schools without functioning school libraries and trained school librarians/media specialists. LJ recently set out to understand what information literacy instruction entering students need, what they’re getting, and what impact it has on their experience as first-year students.