September 17, 2014

LJ in Print

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

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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.

The Degree We Need: Strong standards are just the start | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

Our professional credential is an embattled thing. It’s a rare day that the master’s in library and information science (MLIS) escapes a conversation unscathed and unquestioned. This is rightfully so. Nothing so time-consuming and expensive, and essential, should be taken for granted. It should be under constant scrutiny by the schools themselves, the candidates, those who hire graduates, and the broader profession that it serves.

Weinshall Joins NYPL as COO, Slyman To Direct Brookline, & More Library People News

Iris Weinshall was named Chief Operating Officer, New York Public Library; Sara F. Slymon was named Director, Public Library of Brookline, MA; Cheryl Morales was named Executive Director, Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, FL; and more new hires, promotions, retirements, and obituaries from the August 2014 issue of Library Journal.

Is it an Industry?, Facts Are our Mission, Speak Up about Salaries!| Feedback

Readers comment on why libraries should not depend on the rich for support, whether librarianship is an industry, why librarians should provide info on laws they disagree with, and more letters to LJ’s August 2014 Issue

Author, Author! | Programs That Pop

BOOKS IN BLOOM Sachem PL’s garden was “home” to dozens of local authors, such as Ralph T. Gazzillo (l.) and Leeann Lavin (r.)

With the recent explosion of self-publishing and the relative ease with which one can become a published author, our library has been bombarded with requests by writers looking for us to host author talks and book events. The sad truth is, with rare exceptions, author visits can be a hard sell, requiring herculean PR efforts, even for established authors with respectable sales. Given the limited amount of program space at the library and the large number of high-demand programs, I can’t schedule events for every author who pitches me.

Library Linguistics

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More and more, libraries strive not only to be spaces for researching subjects of interest to their patrons but to offer options that let users learn new skills, whether they’re physically in the library or not. One area in which mobile learning through the library is making headway is language learning. Many online lesson providers offer programs through libraries that patrons can use in the building, at home, or even while waiting in line for a cup of coffee.