December 17, 2017

Reading Is Its Own Reward | One Cool Thing

Whether it’s a summer reading program for kids, adults, or all ages, librarians often debate the appropriateness of prizes; do they take away from the point by substituting external motivation for internal? But in 2016 and for several years earlier, Iowa’s Lake City Public Library found a clever way to split the difference.

A Little Light Reading | One Cool Thing

Depending on where they live, up to ten percent of Americans suffer from some form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In their role as community spaces, some libraries are helping by providing light therapy lamps, the standard treatment for SAD.

It’s Electric | One Cool Thing

Bookmobiles have been a part of library service for decades, but they’re typically bus-sized vehicles that require large parking lots or streets in order to make a visit. Library book bikes have become a hot new thing in cities but are range-limited by the pedal power of staff.

Remembering Resources | One Cool Thing

Amy Sobrino was nine years old when her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The experience prompted Sobrino to learn all that she could about the condition. After earning her master’s in social work from St. Louis University, ­Sobrino, along with her mother, Shannon ­Nosbisch, formed Effingham Area ­Alzheimer’s Awareness (EAAA) and began partnering with the Effing­ham Public Library (EPL), IL, presenting a half-dozen programs annually for caregivers of those affected. She started in 2014 with the basics—knowing the warning signs, understanding elder law, and navigating care options. They brought in speakers and specialists who explored alternative therapies—music, art, pets, light, and ­aromatherapy.

DPL Spins Patrons Right Round | One Cool Thing

The Dallas Public Library (DPL) found a way to publicize its hidden vinyl record collection, clear its shelves of items that needed weeding, make some money, celebrate the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library’s 33rd anniversary, and show its patrons a good time—all at once. On the evening of September 17, 2015, the library held a record sale and party, complete with a DJ, refreshments, and a cash bar, dubbed the 33 1/3 party in honor of both the branch’s birthday and the revolutions per minute speed of LP records. The event “was really fun,” said organizer Heather Lowe, manager of DPL’s fine arts division, “much better attended than in our wildest dreams.” Thousands of weeded records were put up for sale at $2 apiece, with a 25 album per person limit. At the end of the evening, the library had netted more than $6,000.

It Takes a City To Create a Novel | One Cool Thing

In 2012, librarians at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL), KS, conceived of an ambitious program: to help their writing group create a novel and publish it. Serialized online between May and September of that year, Capital City Capers was, says public services librarian Lissa Staley, “a seat-of-the- pants project.” The Community Novel Project was such a success, Staley told LJ in a recent phone interview, we “immediately realized we wanted to do it again.” And they did—each year since, the library has produced at least one book, with the procedures becoming more streamlined even as the formats became more ambitious.

A Moving Target | One Cool Thing

When UTAH’s Park City Library closed for renovations for 12 to 15 months in May 2014, staff had the usual big question to answer: What do we do with the materials? In Park City, the situation was particularly challenging because there were no branches to which materials could be moved and no buildings in the city large enough to house the complete collection. Staying open during the renovation proved impossible. However, the town’s 8,500 residents—and some three million visitors, attracted by skiing and the Sundance Film Festival—still needed access.

One Book Online | One Cool Thing

One Book, One Community programs are, of course, a staple of public library adult programming. In “One Book, Well Done,” we offered a look at what makes a successful program; in the inaugural One Cool Thing column LJ visited a variation on the theme, the self-published One Book read The ­Slender Poe, from Sacramento Public Library, CA. Now, another twist: in February, the Chicago Public Library (CPL) launched its One Book, One Chicago (OBOC) Online, becoming, it says, the first public library in the nation to offer free, in-browser, social reading of a full novel.

The Off-Site Librarian | One Cool Thing

When one of the bookmobiles at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library (FVRL), WA, wore out, spending a quarter of a million dollars to buy a new one was not an option. Yet patrons in remote, rural locations in Clark County still needed library service. The innovative solution was the Yacolt Library Express (YLE): a building that is open to the public nearly 70 hours a week, yet staff only spend about ten hours there during the same period.

Zipping up Gaps in the Collection | One Cool Thing

For patrons who live in rural areas, finding the book they want is not always easy. The local library can’t collect everything, and interlibrary loan (ILL) can be slow to deliver, if it is even available. Purchase and fast shipping from Internet booksellers like Amazon.com offer an alternative, but not everyone can afford it. Now, the California State Library (CSL) has embarked on a pilot project to redress that situation.