I wrote this in a small library in the town of Kyneton, Australia. As many library fans do, I visit libraries wherever I go—stopping in for a look-see, lingering to use the space and services, and sometimes getting a full tour. It’s always valuable—and often inspiring. This was the case when I recently visited Australia on a family trip, and I experienced a handful of libraries small and large along the way.
LJ in Print
A call for academic RA research, the unchanging lack of inclusion, and more letters to editor from the August 2016 issue of Library Journal.
The Utah Library Association (ULA) dove headfirst into failure on February 19–20. Along with the Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL), ULA hosted Strikethrough: The Utah Library Association Failure Workshop. Billed as an interdisciplinary discussion of failure for librarians, it brought together librarians, medical doctors, and performance artists.
Everyone has a book in them, it’s said. While Christopher Hitchens completed that phrase with “in most cases that’s where it should stay,” it doesn’t seem the public agrees. This is dramatically demonstrated by the expansion of U.S. publishing, as measured by Bowker, the U.S. issuer of ISBNs, the numbers that help track book sales. In 2002, Bowker issued 247,777. In 2012 (the most recent figures available), demand rose to 2,352,797—an increase of 2,105,020, or a whopping 849.5 percent.
In Library: An Unquiet History, historian and curatorial fellow for Harvard’s metaLAB Matthew Battles describes Melvil Dewey’s impatience with inefficiency in library work in the 1870s. “To Dewey, local interests and special needs were less important than the efficient movement of books into the hands of readers,” he writes. That crisp statement of purpose should be an inspiration to the current discussions around making library collections and programs visible and available on the web.
On Leap Day this past February, I gave myself the gift of a Citi Bike membership. In New York City, where Library Journal’s office is located, this bike-sharing service hit the streets in 2013 and has continued to gain traction ever since. Like many, it has had growing pains, but it now touts over 100,000 annual members, and this summer it celebrated a record of 56,000 trips in one day. I ride for part of my commute, replacing what would be an underground subway leg with three-plus miles on the surface. This has given New York back to me, reinvigorating my relationship with the city and allowing me to witness its changeable beauty.
Boosting Orlando, art large and small, an elephant in the (library) room, and more letters to editor from the July, 2016 issue of Library Journal.
What do you do with an old storage room? With the help of a grant, around 40 kids, four months, and a lot of hard work and creativity, the Morton-James Public Library was able to transform a nondescript storage area into a real-life immersive puzzle game—Nebraska City’s first escape room (and the first escape room in the world built by kids, as far as we can tell).