The idea that the private sector, AKA “business,” operates more effectively, efficiently, and with less corruption than government and its institutions is popular again. That message, with added shrill tones and imperative shouting, grows louder every day as the national election draws near.
Not sidetracked by the comments, music industry parallels, providing privacy guidelines, and more letters to editor from the September 15, 2016 issue of Library Journal.
Many academic repositories contain a vast amount of material beyond the requisite theses and dissertations. Those that do ingest them often contain such documents dating back to the 1800s or, in some cases, earlier. That might not sound like something to get too excited about. But, do you know who does get enthusiastic about that? The web surfer who stumbles across something her beloved great-great-grandfather wrote in 1886, or his father presented at a conference in 1970, or a whole host of other legacy material that can be found in an institutional repository.
Spend five minutes brainstorming—or looking around your library—and I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with a list of ten things that aren’t as easy as they could be. Common library pain points include the OPAC, computer access, printing, self-check interfaces, locating items, and wayfinding quirks. Ironing out these wrinkles is important because making our libraries easier for people to use improves their experiences.
The Johnson County Library, KS, hosted its first Debate Watch Party in 2012, but for the 2016 election the Library’s Civic Engagement Committee wanted to make sure the event was really memorable. On September 26, 2016, we watched the debate with 135 excited and engaged library patrons over pizza and popcorn. In order to make the event as robust as possible we created a more social feel: we had tables with table cloths set up cafe style to encourage interactions between patrons who might have differing views and interests. We provided live fact checking, debate bingo, and partnered with the League of Women Voters to help with on-site voter registration and information about the voting process.
I’ve been working hard to ensure libraries understand that sustainability involves far more than “going green.” Embracing the Triple Bottom Line definition of sustainability helps libraries think holistically about the environmental, economic, and social aspects of their library and community. Nonetheless, libraries have a lot of work to do on the “going green” side of things.
Libraries and LEGO have gone together for ages, but libraries made of LEGO bricks are much more rare. So when I received a box containing a little library constructed of LEGO bricks, it got my attention. That alone is a win for any marketing initiative—getting someone to tune in. Good marketing is hard to do, and harder for organizations such as libraries that do so much already with limited resources. When it’s done right, however, both the community and the library benefit.
This year, 2016, marks my tenth year as an LIS professor. I’ve witnessed some big transitions in our field, with more to come. What will LIS education look like in another 20 or 30 years? How will we be teaching the core values of a 200-plus-year-old profession while also providing insights into information use in the year 2046?