August 24, 2016

Birmingham Public Library Board Funds Innovative Cool Awards

Birmingham Public Library Board presents the first Innovative Cool Award to help fund the Career Survival Program at Pratt City Branch Library. L-R: Library Trustee Eunice Johnson Rogers, Library Trustee Gwen Amamoo, Pratt City Library Branch Manager Deborah Drake Blackmon, and Byron Williams of Pratt City Library.

While many libraries have come up with creative rewards for staff innovation, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Innovative Cool Awards do double duty. The monthly award, funded and run by BPL’s ten-member Board of Trustees, is an incentive for staff to develop—and promote—engaging new programs and workshops, and also a way to connect the board with staff.

Pokémon GO: What Do Librarians Need To Know?

Where’s Pikachu? How libraries are connecting with patrons over this wildly popular new virtual treasure hunt that uses geolocation—and why the game raises privacy concerns.

Queens Library Steps Forward with Google ‘Computer Science First’ Kid Club

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins was on hand to cheer the city’s first public library-based sites, 26 branches in Queens, a county of 2.3 million that’s one of the most ethnically diverse in the country.

Word of Mouth | Language Learning

ENGAGING ENGLISH (Clockwise from top l.): New Americans Corner in Nashville Public Library’s (NPL) Southeast Branch;  Nashville patron shows off her new library card; ready to write at NPL; NPL adult literacy coordinator Megan Godbey (l.) offers computer help; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Let’s Speak English group

Programming that supports English-language learning (ELL) is not new in the world of public libraries. Kenneth English, associate director of adult learning centers at the New York Public Library (NYPL), has seen “photos and notices from around 1920 promoting classes in Manhattan’s Lower East Side immigrant neighborhoods.” While ELL programming has existed for nearly 100 years, modern libraries continue to update their offerings to fit the needs of their communities. Innovative and traditional projects that are responsive to demographic shifts and capitalize on local people power are key to best serving library customers working on their English-language skills.

ALA, Google Launch “Libraries Ready to Code”

ALA logo square

On April 13, the American Library Association (ALA) and Google announced the “Libraries Ready to Code” project, which will investigate the current status of computer programming activities in U.S. public and K–12 libraries with the goal of ultimately broadening the reach and scope of these coding programs. The project will include an environmental scan, practitioner interviews, focus groups, and site visits, and particular attention will be focused on opportunities that libraries are providing to minorities, girls, and other groups that are currently underrepresented in computer science and related fields, according to an announcement. The results of the project will be used to further engagement by ALA, and to inform a computer science policy agenda as part of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) Youth and Technology program.

Roger Rosen Appointed Senior Advisor for National Policy Advocacy

The leader of Rosen Publishing assumes key role in advancing the thinking and learning of youth in our digital society.

Ideas from the Labs at DC Public Library

MLK-Entire-Building-600x397

They “break it better” at Dream Lab, Fab Lab, Studio Lab, and Memory Lab. Here’s what that means, and how it’s an approach that can transform other programs, too.

San Diego PL Raises Sex Trafficking Awareness

SDPL sex trafficking brochure

The San Diego Public Library is working to reduce local sex trafficking statistics with Out of the Shadows, a comprehensive sex trafficking awareness campaign. Out of the Shadows, funded by a $25,000 grant from the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund matched with funds from the San Diego Library Foundation, began as training for the more than 800 staff members throughout the system’s 36 locations, providing information on how to recognize a possible victim of sex trafficking, ways to initiate a conversation, and appropriate resources and support services to offer those in need. Since its launch in August 2015, the campaign has expanded to include a teen peer advocate program and extensive community outreach.

Public, School Libraries Crucial to Flint’s Recovery

Flint River
Courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Since the revelation that water in Flint, MI, is contaminated with toxic levels of lead, public and private institutions, individuals, and civic organizations have been stepping up to help across the country. In addition to the infrastructure changes that now need to be made to the city’s water system, much of the immediate relief effort centers around information: on health hazards, residents’ legal rights, and what the city needs to do going forward. The Flint Public Library (FPL) has positioned itself as a source of reliable information, and the remaining libraries in Flint’s public high schools have been instrumental in helping local teenagers better understand what their city is going through.

Harlem Advocacy Group Demands School Librarians

A petition by the Harlem Council of Elders calls on state and city officials to rectify the dearth of librarians by the start of the next school year.