August 20, 2014

Editorial

Library Unlimited: Amazon and the limits of the book brand | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

Libraries are about much more than books. This simple truth bears repeating in light of the response to Amazon’s July announcement of the Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription service and the all too many reductive and ill-informed reactions that followed.

Back to the Future: When Visioning Pays Off | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

Empty moving boxes perch on filled ones all through LJ’s offices. One of them now contains a record I’ll look forward to referencing in another nine years. As our staff gear up to move to a new space, I focused on weeding paper documents that had migrated from one workspace to the next. Packing can be a process of discovery. Among the fossils excavated was a blue folder holding the agenda and notes from a think tank, “2020 Vision: Idaho Libraries Futures Conference,” held in Boise in August 2005.

Trusting Trustees: Have you built an engaged board? | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

I have a theory that too many library trustees are underutilized in their board work. In far too many libraries, fear of meddling and of losing control have meant that directors don’t take advantage of the expertise and talent on their Board of Trustees. Where that is true, library leaders are squandering critical capacity and losing a potent edge in the key task of connecting to the community.

The Gates Impact: Reflecting on the foundation’s legacy | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

In May, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it would be ending its Global Libraries program over the next three to five years. This decision marks the beginning of the end of a tremendous philanthropic investment that helped spur significant innovation in U.S. libraries and speed the growth of public libraries in developing countries. I’ll admit it, the news took my breath away.

The Long View: Half a century in libraries | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

With a legacy that reaches back to 1876, Library Journal is accustomed to big anniversaries. This month marks 50 years since a young man named John Berry III arrived at LJ to take on the position of assistant editor. That was May 25, 1964. His vision has been an integral part of the field ever since.

Market Powerhouse: A library sale is just the beginning | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

As we approach this year’s BookExpo America (BEA), it’s useful, perhaps especially to publishers, to contemplate where libraries fit into the broad book market. It’s hard to ignore just how fundamentally important libraries have become to the potential success of a book—that is, if you pay attention to a few simple facts and are willing to question persistent myths.

Library Lifeline: The Ideas Box from Libraries Without Borders | Editorial

Ideas Box

The new Ideas Box from Libraries Without Borders/ Bibliothèques Sans Frontières is fun, smart, and inspiring. The comprehensive vision behind it and the resulting design hold lessons for anyone interested in library outreach. It takes a significant step forward in framing an ideal outpost library that can reach into the gap as an element of humanitarian aid in the wake of a disaster when basic services and cultural institutions are unavailable or inactive.

At the Center: Is Your Library Driving Engaged Civic Solutions? | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

There’s something wonderful and seemingly simple about the photograph on the cover of this issue that I don’t want you to miss: the mayor of Wichita, KS, and the director of the library—Carl Brewer and Cynthia Berner Harris, respectively—standing side by side in a group of civic leaders and key staff. This coalition is “activating” Wichita with strategic thinking that is informed through an open town hall–style forum that taps solutions from the community. If your library isn’t part of such planning, and gathering a similar group in your library would be a no-go, you have work to do.

All Together Now: These 50 Leaders Showcase the Profession | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

When LJ revealed the first group of Movers & Shakers back in 2002, we knew we were onto something special. This Class of 2014 brings the total cohort to 650. Reading about them together is like taking a whirlwind survey of the expansive potential and impact of library work. Together, they make an exciting case for the profession.

Bold on Literacy: Pulling together to create a literate nation |Editorial

Rebecca Miller

Grappling with the literacy gap has long been at the heart of library work, and several conversations I had at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia got me thinking that we need to be more creative about how we address this persistent problem. Then, the Turn the Page initiative rolling out in New Orleans hit my email inbox, and it struck me as a fresh and much bolder strategy.