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.
Colorado’s Anythink libraries are anything but traditional, and that goes for job descriptions as well; positions there include wrangler, concierge, and guide. The work they do also tends to range outside the box, and Hannah Martinez, a concierge at Anythink Wright Farms in Thornton, has been awarded the 2015 Lucy Schweers Award for Excellence in Paralibrarianship for just that kind of creative thinking. Martinez, who has been at Anythink since 2010, was recognized for spearheading AnyAbility—an inclusive set of library programs for adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. The activities Martinez has helped to develop include crafts, story time, gardening, and a book club, all specifically designed to accommodate a wide range of abilities.
Library trustees in the tiny Lebanon Public Library (LPL), NH, agreed on September 15 to resume their association with the anonymous web searching service Tor. The project was halted a month earlier after it drew attention from the federal Department of Homeland Security and concern from local law enforcement.
The world’s first biotech lab in a public library celebrated its grand opening September 1 in the La Jolla-Riford Branch Library of the San Diego Public Library (SDPL). The Bio Lab is part of the library’s Life Science Collaboratory, which has hosted a variety of classes and talks from visiting scientists since it opened its doors in April. The Bio Lab, however, promises to take Collaboratory’s citizen science mission a step further.
Since its grand opening in February 2014, the Orange County Library System’s (OCLS) Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation, and Creativity has offered patrons access to high-tech tools ranging from 3-D printers to flight simulators. In the past year and a half, the center, located in the library’s central branch in Orlando, FL, has become a locus of creativity within the community, helping patrons connect and collaborate with others who share their interests. Ormilla Vengersammy, Melrose Center manager and Technology and Education Department Head for OCLS, described the center’s growing video game design program as one such example.
The Sunland Park Community Library (SPCL), NM, celebrated a grand reopening on August 13th after a three-year suspension. The library had closed amid tremendous budget deficiencies, as well as allegations that the library director, among other city employees, had committed voter fraud. “It’s open 40 hours a week again,” Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea told […]
At the start of 2014, Eric Soriano found inspiration in several of his friends’ New Year’s resolutions to learn a new language. Soriano, an e-services librarian with the Jacksonville Public Library (JPL), FL, recognized an opportunity to spread the word about JPL’s subscription to the online language-learning resource Transparent. A year later, JPL received the Urban Libraries Council’s Top Innovator Award for Customer Experience for the system’s new language-learning programs, which use Transparent as the backbone of a class curriculum.
Gerontologist Debbie Dodds developed a tablet-based workshop program with the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, CA, for people with early-stage memory loss. She and library representatives will present on the pilot at LJ’s all-day virtual event The Digital Shift this October 14. In the run-up to the conference, LJ caught up with Dodd to learn more.
On July 15 President Barack Obama announced the launch of the “ConnectHome” broadband initiative, which will provide high speed home Internet access to nearly 200,000 children in more than 275,000 low-income households. ConnectHome is the next step in Obama’s Connecting America initiative. In January the president announced planned steps to help ensure that reliable, affordable broadband would be more widely available, including the promotion of community-based broadband and a calling for State and local governments to roll back restrictive regulations. And the ConnectED initiative, which Obama announced in April, aims to connect 99 percent of American students to high-speed broadband in their classrooms by 2018.
On June 11, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in collaboration with the Congressional Maker Caucus, Maker Media, and Nation of Makers, hosted its first Capitol Hill Maker Faire, featuring a series of panel discussions and an expo open to the public, including members of Congress. Held in conjunction with this year’s National Maker Faire at the University of District of Columbia and the White House National Week of Making, June 12–18, these events indicate the growing interest in our nation’s capital in the Maker movement and its potential implications for education, workforce development, and community building.