It’s not unusual for public libraries to host fairs for patrons to find the things they want to know—most often revolving around authors and books. It is also not a rarity for libraries to conduct outreach to homeless and at-risk patrons. Yet Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL) has taken the uncommon step of combining the two. On November 18, 2014, an estimated 400 homeless or at-risk individuals attended the first Project Uplift, a social services information and resource fair coordinated by SLCPL, Salt Lake City government, and Volunteers of America—Utah (VOA).
A librarian for LC, apathy a bigger threat, community needs in Berkeley, and more letters to the October 1, 2015 issue of Library Journal.
Managing library computers for staff and the public can be a daunting task. Keeping track of licenses and equipment and maintaining them can be difficult, especially in a ten-branch system with a couple of hundred machines. But smaller, less expensive computers have been coming on the market lately, and at the Somerset County Library System (SCLS), NJ, we have been using these solutions to assist our staff and patrons with daily functions. Whether it be a Raspberry PI for a digital sign, a Chromebook/Box/Base for the public or staff to use, or a ZBOX for checkout, they all cost less, run faster, and work just as well as their costly counterparts.
We spend a lot of time talking about various forms of literacy. Various approaches have risen up and faded quickly—transliteracy, metaliteracy, etc.—but the idea remains: How can everyday folks navigate a continually plugged in, all-access world? I think of these skills as life literacies or simply how we make sense of the world.
The aim of merchandising is to make each library’s collection as effective as possible. Great merchandising forms the bridge between the library and the patron—it helps readers discover books beyond the best sellers on the holds shelf. The challenge for libraries is that merchandising is a specialty in its own right.
At the end of our 2014 book, Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Library, Amanda Etches and I left readers with what we consider to be an important and inspiring message: “Every decision we make affects how people experience the library. Let’s make sure we’re creating improvements.”
Libraries are all about access to information in its many forms, and librarians have a long and admirable tradition of striving to increase that access whenever they can. Several recent events have spurred me to think about real-world barriers—visible and invisible—and how seeing them in light of access to the library could influence services.