New York City’s libraries get a fair amount of attention, but all too rarely is it directed to the branches. Those neighborhood hubs arguably have the greatest impact and potential, cultivating the essential connection to the community at the most local levels in more than 207 buildings. Unfortunately, according to the Center for an Urban Future, they are also at risk. The time has arrived to embrace a new citywide strategy to deliver excellent library services to all New Yorkers.
Opinion | From Vicious to Virtuous: The collapse of U.K. libraries and unbreaking the cycle of library support
Earlier this month, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) released its annual statistics on library use in the U.K. CIPFA found that the number of patrons borrowing books from U.K. libraries has halved since 1997. This isn’t a surprise to anyone who has been following the ongoing financial crisis that’s engulfed those public libraries across the pond. It demonstrates what happens to libraries when they’re not supported by the communities they serve.
I don’t call myself a futurist, though I do find enjoyment and sometimes enlightenment in watching what’s going on in the world and trying to extrapolate toward what academic libraries might want to do about it. I also harbor a strong love for examples of novel services and fresh ideas about longstanding services, though I’m old and scarred enough not to take them quite at face value—there’s almost always struggle and conflict behind the scenes that does not get aired in order to keep the peace among librarian colleagues.
In my last two columns I explored what I called the “mess of ebooks” and explained what I want from library ebooks. In this column I want to discuss a possible future that could be good for libraries and for publishers. Right now everything is in flux. Publishers are understandably wary of selling Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free ebooks to libraries, and the patron driven acquisition (PDA) model some libraries want might not be sustainable for publishers. Libraries are struggling to buy books at all. The library ebook market is in a state of flux. There’s opportunity in chaos, though, and the opportunity here is to create a future that’s good for everyone, from publishers to library users.
Speaking up about sexual harassment; librarianship as a second career; to warn or not to warn; what’s wanted from ebooks, and more letters to the editor from the December 2014 issue of Library Journal.
The American Library Association’s (ALA)Allied Professional Association (APA) recently sent a message to the members of the ALA Council and other “member leaders.” With the help of Al Kagan, who represents ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table on Council, we saw the message and were reminded that since APA’s founding in 2001, we have never fully understood what it is or does, whether it is a real association or just a tax dodge.
I recently got back from the 2014 Charleston Conference (CC), and once again, Katina Strauch and Co. hit a bases-loaded home run with it. I’m incredibly rejuvenated, reinvigorated, and inspired—and based on what I hear from friends and colleagues, that’s the effect this conference has on lots of folks. Just what is it about the […]