When a library offers balanced information from both poles on local or national issues, reaction from either side can be unpleasant, even hostile, to the library and to library support. It is even worse when the citizens are part of the oldest American movement, the one that asserts that all government is evil—even public agencies such as the library. It is a courageous librarian who delivers facts that offer an opposing view to that one.
Writing simply isn’t simple, fixing fines, a challenge to ALA members, and more letters to editor from the April 1, 2016 issue of Library Journal.
Last month, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) released a series of articles on the status of public libraries in the UK. The news is dramatic. More than 300 libraries have been closed since 2010—the reported total of 343 includes 132 mobile libraries, with over 100 more on the chopping block—and almost 8,000 jobs have been lost. The advocacy drumbeat for UK libraries has been sounding for some time, with prominent authors and celebrities offering their support. Staring down the numbers reported by the BBC has spurred a barrage of public and professional response—some reinforcing negative stereotypes and others helping to build the case for more investment.
“Don’t you love the Oxford dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really, really long poem about everything,” said David Bowie in 1999. In “Hollywood Is a Verb: Los Angeles Tackles the Oxford English Dictionary [OED],” more than 60 programs engaged Angelenos through conversation and events to illuminate how dictionaries enrich our lives today. The title of the program, jointly presented by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), was inspired by L.A. artist Ed Ruscha and his paintings of the same name.
Until there is a body to take responsibility for reviewing LIS programs globally and granting the strong ones accreditation, a large number of librarians will be banned de facto from participating in our increasingly mobile information age economy. Having been a sometimes struggling expat myself (I lived in the UK and in Taiwan before Texas and the UAE), I know a little about trying to find work abroad; it can be a hell of a lot harder than it was for me, especially if you’re brown-skinned and English isn’t your first language. An international standard for accreditation for LIS degrees would go a long way toward fixing this for librarians in the eastern and southern hemispheres who want a fair shot at jobs in the northern and western hemispheres and in the complex, frustrating, bewildering, and lucrative Middle East.
The development and launch of Koha by New Zealand’s Horowhenua Library Trust and Katipo Communications 16 years ago and the creation of Evergreen by the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) in 2006 were greeted with a lot of enthusiasm by the library field. Whether generated in-house, or purchased from a commercial vendor, integrated library systems (ILS) have always been costly, and, in theory, the prospect of libraries collaboratively working on open source systems held a lot of promise. In some ways, these solutions are still living down the early hype.
Company profiles of Auto-Graphics, Inc., Axiell Group, BiblioCommons, Biblionix, ByWater Solutions, EBSCO Information Services, Equinox Software, Follett Software Company, Infor Library & Information Solutions, Innovative Interfaces, Inc., LibLime, a division of PTFS, The Library Corporation (TLC), Mandarin Library Automation, Inc., OCLC, ProQuest, and SirsiDynix.
According to a recent LJ survey, a majority of librarians are happy with their current integrated library system (ILS) or library services platform (LSP), with 72% of those using a commercial system saying they are satisfied (44%) or very satisfied (28%). Some 28% describe themselves as somewhat (23%) or completely (5%) dissatisfied. Similarly, 81% of open source ILS users say they are satisfied (43%) or very satisfied (38%).