February 10, 2016

Conference Call | Office Hours

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An early morning drive south from Loveland to the Denver airport gave me time to reflect on the evolving nature of library conferences. I delivered one of the keynotes for the Colorado Association of Libraries annual conference (CALCON) this year and was thrilled to be invited to attend the entire event. What I discovered in the meeting rooms and hallways and at the receptions and dinners with Colorado librarians was a spirit of innovation and inspiration, a renaissance of the state-level meeting. The sessions were interesting, useful, and engaging. The atmosphere was welcoming, inclusive, and vibrant.

The New Fundraising Landscape | Budgets & Funding

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Public libraries in the United States have traditionally relied on local support for the vast majority of their revenue. While this is still largely true, the funding landscape is getting more diverse, and there is a greater need for libraries to be increasingly creative when it comes to balancing base funding with new sources. Money allocated at the local level rarely stretches far enough to cover staffing, operations, collection development, and programming, let alone experimentation to invent or test innovative new services. Local funding is also subject to political winds as administrations change.

Nicolle Ingui Davies: LJ’s 2016 Librarian of the Year

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There is more than enough evidence to confirm the choice of Nicolle Ingui Davies as the 2016 LJ Librarian of the Year, our award sponsored by Baker & Taylor. Take her special skills at communicating with community members in and outside of the library. Then there is her leadership in building and developing a committed and passionate staff dedicated to patron service. That is complemented by her unequivocal belief that libraries are essential services, not just “nice” assets, and the best medium to achieve an informed citizenry. The results of Davies’s leadership convinced voters in 2015 that they ought to tax themselves to the tune of $30 million a year, increasing the Arapahoe Library District (ALD) budget by $6 million.

Feedback: Letters to LJ, December 2015 Issue

Educate about guns, don’t forget the not-yet employed, short fiction for libraries, and more letters to the December 2015 issue of Library Journal.

Library People News: Hires, Promotions, Retirements, and Obituaries

Pete Petruski named Executive Director, Library System of Lancaster County, PA, Donald L. Gilstrap named Dean of the University of Alabama Libraries, Tuscaloosa, and more new hires, promotions, retirements, and obituaries from the December 2015 issue of Library Journal.

Branching Out | December 2015

The North Miami Public Library completed its $1.5 million renovation, ground was broken for the new South Central Regional Library, Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL), KY, and more new construction and renovation news from the December 2015 issue of Library Journal.

Idealism Reawakened: A former student rejuvenates an old editor | Blatant Berry

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One of the joys of teaching is reconnecting with students years later as they pursue their careers. I recently had lunch and a long discussion with Patti Foerster, who had been a student a decade ago in my class at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science, River Forest, IL.

Linux Privacy Essentials | Field Reports

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Providing Internet access to the public has come to be an important service, but it can be quite a challenge to do so in a secure, cost-effective way. Maintaining patron privacy on a shared, public computer is one of the problems that librarians face every day. My solution was to switch to an open source (OS) platform for our patron computing.

Bringing Boston In | Design4Impact

Bright colors transform BPL’s Brutalist Johnson Building.
Photo ©Robert Benson Photography

The average age of users in the newly renovated second floor of Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Johnson Building has come down at least a decade, and it’s easy to see why. Philip Johnson’s massive addition to BPL’s iconic Beaux-Arts style McKim Building opened in 1972. According to the BPL website, the requests for the exterior were that the building should “observe the existing roof line of the McKim Building, and to use material (Milford granite) that would harmonize with the exterior of the existing Central Library building.” The result was a Brutalist monolith, experimental in structure and stark in aesthetic.

Boston Bound | ALA Midwinter Preview 2016

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There is no better city than Boston in which to hold the first professional conference of the election year. This is especially true for the Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits of the American Library Association (ALA), to be held January 8–12, 2016.