May 26, 2017

Editorial

Blueprint for Resilience: Toward Libraries that Give Back | Editorial

Sometimes, just envisioning something can set change in motion. That’s what’s happening at the Belgrade Community Library in Montana. That little library was named LJ’s Best Small Library in America in 2015 and effectively leveraged the honor for local interest and investment. A few years later, the library, under the leadership of Director Gale Bacon, continues to make the most of its opportunities, now via design that is helping to set the community’s sights on a possible future.

Fire in the Belly: Powering Advocacy with Passion | Editorial

The Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) conference in Brooklyn last month clarified the need for library advocates to engage in new ways, expand the network of library support, and focus on tactics for further establishing libraries’ value in our disrupted culture. Outcry over the destruction of so many publicly funded cultural institutions is almost deafening. We must find ways to make our voices resonate.

Knight’s Move: Investing in Today—and Tomorrow | Editorial

Libraries have long benefited from major donors that infuse dollars as well as strategic perspective at key junctures. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has stepped into that role with signature energy, most clearly illustrated by the Knight News Challenges, including two focused on libraries. By their very nature these call on libraries to speed new ideas to address big needs, and the robust response from the library arena has surfaced and celebrated a range of creativity.

Leading on Literacy: It’s a Promise Worth Keeping | Editorial

The word literacy is undergoing a transformation, with multiple literacies emergent, including those relating to information, civic engagement, multiculturalism, finance, and health—and, of course, reading readiness at the core. Let’s not forget news literacy, as the fake news crisis has made apparent. Libraries are doing so much exciting work to address illiteracies in their communities, and that work is more important than ever.

A Better Ladder: Fostering the Leaders Libraries Need | Editorial

The talent at work in libraries should make anyone optimistic for the future—not only of libraries but of the varied communities they serve. As the latest class of LJ Movers & Shakers demonstrates, the field is rippling with energetic, committed, innovative people addressing issues to create ever better service. It’s important that today’s leaders guarantee an institutional dynamic that will keep up-and-coming visionaries like these happy in libraries, allow them to flourish, and enable the best to step forward into larger roles.

Not an Island: Connecting To Community Priorities | Editorial

We know it’s critical in library work to connect to community priorities—and that extends to all library types, with the community in question shifting accordingly. But just how do we put a finger on the pulse of those needs? A new offering takes a unique and useful approach to answering that question.

Losing a Library: A Community That Gives Up its Library Gives Up On Itself | Editorial

On April 1, the people of Oregon’s Douglas County will see ten of their 11 libraries close. The last, the main, will soon follow. This decision by the county Board of Commissioners, announced January 9, is a sad outcome to a long battle to keep the system open. For those who live there, it will mean a devastating loss of a key cultural hub along with the access to information, expertise, technology, stories, voices from around the world, a book-rich environment, and all the skill development, inspiration, and aspiration these resources offer. It’s a loss the community at large should not take lightly.

A Unified Voice: Confronting an Assault on Information | Editorial

I wrote recently that the rate of media illiteracy is the information crisis of our time (“Faked Out,” School Library Journal, 1/17, p. 6), but now that very real issue has nonetheless been trumped by a full-on deliberate assault on the flow of information—from journalism and scientific research to dissemination via social media and traditional channels. There is no such thing as an alternate fact, but there is certainly an alternate reality: a chilling, censorial, obfuscating one being offered as a threatening new normal by the new federal administration in the first days and weeks of 2017.

The Bourne Effect: Expanding Library Influence | Editorial

San José’s Jill Bourne, LJ’s Librarian of the Year 2017, has accomplished so much in her career as her roles (and her innovation within them) grew, from time in Seattle through San Francisco and in 2013 to the San José Public Library (SJPL) as city librarian. There she has turned an anemic system into a vital, valued, and expanding city resource. If that were not remarkable enough, even more exciting is all that lies ahead for Bourne—and points the way for the rest of the profession.

The Better Angels: Committed To Defending an Inclusive Society | Editorial

We face a cultural crisis that calls on all who care about creating an inclusive society. There is much to do. We must speak to the rise in unapologetic manifestations of hate during and after the presidential campaign, as reports by the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center clearly illustrate.