September 29, 2014

LJ in Print

The Comeback Kids | Library by Design

STANDING STRONGER Birmingham’s Pratt City Branch came back from a 2011 tornado (inset) with an aerodynamic roofline built to channel winds and safeguard against future damage. Inside (bottom l.), computer stations (below) offer expanded capability after a tornado tore the roof off the building. Top photo by Chanda Temple/Birmingham PL; bottom photo by Melinda Shelton/Birmingham PL

Vision and determination are two of the qualities that various library leaders and architects around the country used to rebuild libraries demolished in a variety of natural disasters. A number of these libraries have emerged better connected to their communities and stronger than before.

Library Fans Outnumber Broncos Fans, Enough Disruption, Number Games, and More Feedback

Letters to the editor from the September 15, 2014 issue of Library Journal.

Southard To Direct Allen County, Strickland-Cordial To Direct Chesapeake, and More People News

Greta Southard named Director of Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN; Victoria Strickland-Cordial named Director of the Chesapeake Public Library System, VA; Jordana Vincent appointed Division Manager of Collection Development at Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, and more new hires, promotions, retirements, and obituaries from the September 15, 2014 issue of LJ.

Citation Fixation | Office Hours

Michael Stephens

I’m writing from Limerick, Ireland, where I am speaking at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Information Literacy satellite conference before heading to Lyon, France, for IFLA proper. The conversations and presentations here are thought provoking, focused on the constantly evolving definition and approaches for teaching information literacy. Why aren’t students good writers? What prevents them from doing their best work? Are devices to blame? Short attention spans? Rock and roll?

Creating Clear and Simple Signage | Design4Impact

ICONS Pictorial icons (in their largest view, l.) assist customers visually, communicating information at a glance and helping to bridge language barriers. Careful attention was given to the content, instructions, layout, and hierarchy of information displayed to ensure clear communication with a friendly voice. A single color scheme at all locations guarantees consistency. It had to be appropriate and visible in a variety of environments, each with its own interior color choice. The universal icon colors and design make it easy to transfer items among facilities

At California’s Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD), we have discovered that 48 percent of patrons prefer finding information themselves rather than asking staff members for help. This led us to examine our user experience of signage, particularly for computer use. We wanted to place ­signage in the exact place where patrons need help and ensure it was meaningful in guiding them in their independent use of the library.

It’s What We Do: Service and sanctuary in Ferguson | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

I am usually proud to be a librarian. Last month that feeling was deeply reinforced by the work done at Ferguson Municipal Public Library, MO, and the professional creativity and focus expressed by Director Scott Bonner over weeks of duress in that community.

Politics & Libraries: Every great librarian is a politician | Blatant Berry

In a collection of old political campaign buttons I found a pink one with the number “321.8” across it in dark blue. The discovery triggered memories of activist times in librarianship four to five decades ago. In our view then, the Dewey number 321.8 was the classification for “participatory democracy,” the system of government in which our small cadre of librarians believed. We were one of dozens of groups that formed within the new Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA). We believed, as I still do, that good librarians are politically enmeshed in the larger national and international issues of war, peace, social justice, and the vital role of good government in human affairs. We even tried to convince our professional organizations publicly to support our positions and amplify our voice on these issues. Sometimes we were successful.

One Book, Well Done

BIG DEAL Marketing drives city read participation. (top-bottom): Dearborn PL readers were “wild” about the kickoff for its 2014 Big Read; Kansas City PL chose True Grit in 2013; and Seattle PL branded its program with an iconic logo

Organizations in every state in America, plus the District of Columbia, have hosted a communitywide reading program at one point or another, according to the Library of Congress. So-called One Book programs are everywhere. However, to engage the entire community, whether municipality, county, region, or state, successfully in a community­wide reading event takes planning as well as skill and enthusiasm. LJ spoke with reads veterans from around the country to learn what worked for them—and what could work for your library.

Time After Time | Product Spotlight

ljx140901webEnisTikiToki

Digital archives contain a wealth of interesting images and documents that have been meticulously described by librarians, but databases are not always ideal for browsing. Tools such as time line and mapping software now enable libraries to present digital collections in new ways, facilitating serendipitous exploration for researchers.

Low-Cost, No-Cost UX | The User Experience

Aaron Schmidt

When budgets are tight, it is easy to feel frustrated and disempowered. After all, having access to a deep pool of funds makes it easy to get things done. But when times are tough, it doesn’t mean librarians should toss their hands in the air and give up on making user experience (UX) improvements. Here are a few things you can do to improve your library’s UX that won’t require finding much of a budget.