May 25, 2015

10 Branches Win NYC Neighborhood Library Awards

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NYC Neighborhood Libraries_groupLibrary leaders, staff, friends, and council members gathered May 20 in a grand celebration atop New York City’s Hearst Tower to for the second NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. This year, the Charles H. Revson Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation teamed up to make the awards even more impactful, doubling the total award amounts and creating strong engagement with library users along the way. The ten winning branch libraries were selected from more than 13,000 nominations. The five winners, which each received $20,000, are: Langston Hughes Library, Corona (Queens); Mott Haven Library, Mott Haven (the Bronx); New Lots Library, East New York (Brooklyn); Parkchester Library, Parkchester (the Bronx); and Stapleton Library, Stapleton (Staten Island).

Author! Author! | Programming

GRAND PRIZE Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award winner Ann Patchett (signing) at Tulsa City-County Library. Photo by John Fancher

Public libraries are all about access: to services, to data, to books. Offering patrons access to some of their favorite authors is a bonus but an important one. Author events strengthen the existing bonds between readers and books: seeing an author read from his or her work and having the chance to ask questions—or just hear the answers—offers a new dimension of engagement. But these events also reinforce the idea of the library as a point of entry into people’s reading lives, beyond simple readers’ advisory. The landscape of author events is continually changing. As programming budgets shrink and authors’ publicity tours get smaller, even libraries with successful track records need to be increasingly nimble and imaginative. While the choice depends on a library’s resources, location, and patron demographics, there are a few best practices that can help librarians develop exciting and well-attended programs.

Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library Provides Haven in Troubled Times

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When Enoch Pratt presented the city of Baltimore with more than $1 million to establish a library system in 1882, he declared, “My library shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who, when properly accredited, can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them.” More than 130 years later, during the tumultuous days at the end of April, staff and administration of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) kept alive that spirit by staying open despite community unrest.

President Obama Announces New Library Initiatives

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At a visit to Washington, DC’s Anacostia Neighborhood Library April 30, President Barack Obama announced two new initiatives that promise to rally America’s libraries, publishers, and nonprofit organizations to strengthen learning opportunities for all children, particularly in low-income communities. The plan, dubbed the ConnectED Library Challenge, will engage civic leaders, libraries, and schools to work together to ensure that all school students receive public library cards. Commitments from 30 library systems are already in place.

READ Nepal To Help Earthquake Survivors

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Nonprofit READ (Rural Education and Development) Global’s network of community libraries in Nepal is starting to reopen and respond to the recent devastating earthquake. The 7.8-magnitude disaster hit Nepal, 50 km north of capital city Kathmandu, before noon on Saturday, April 25.

New York City’s Municipal ID Will Do Double Duty as a Library Card

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On Monday, January 12, New York City began taking applications for its long-awaited municipal identification card (IDNYC). Not only will this be the first photo ID card ever issued by the city, it will also serve as a library card at all three New York City library systems—the first time a single card will grant access to Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library.

Financial Literacy | Product Spotlight

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Financial literacy is one of the most important skills a person can develop, and yet it is often one of the least-emphasized subjects in K–12 schools or in higher education settings. Library programs can help fill this need. This spotlight focuses on online tools, both free and ­subscription-based, that are available for guiding patrons toward solid financial decision-making.

Meet the Tabletarians | Mobile Services

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In March 2011, the Boise Public Library (BPL), ID, used $3,300 in Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant funding to purchase four iPad 2 tablets and all of the trimmings. As it turned out, BPL may have been a couple of years ahead of its time. This conversation is now coming full circle. Technological advances continue to make tablets lighter, faster, and more affordable. Vendors have recently launched interfaces that make it possible to use a staff tablet to perform tasks ranging from weeding books to signing up new cardholders. Also, applying lessons learned about these devices during the past five years, many libraries are rebooting or enhancing the way tablets are integrated into roving reference, off-site programs, and other workflows.

Second BiblioTech Coming to Bexar County Housing Development

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Eager to expand the reach of its innovative all-digital library, officials in Bexar County (TX) plan to open a second full-service BiblioTech in June as part of a sprawling public housing development on San Antonio’s west side.

Salt Lake City Public Library Proposes 24/7 Operations

Salt Lake City Library by CGP Grey

When the Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL) was chosen as Gale/LJ Library of the Year in 2006, then-director Nancy Tessman asserted that “the building reflects the idea of an open mind.” SLCPL’s newest proposal—to keep its main branch open 24 hours a day, seven days a week—will put that concept to the test.