While it has always fallen to libraries to preserve the historical record of the communities they serve, libraries also need to consider their own history—especially in light of the changing landscape they face. At the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, a panel of three authors whose recent books focus on private, public, and academic libraries spoke with moderator Barbara Hoffert, editor of LJ’s Prepub Alert, on Libraries and Book Collections as Essential Cultural Institutions: A Historical and Forward-Looking Perspective. The panelists discussed their own studies, and charged libraries to examine the cultural legacies of their own collections.
Wandering the booths at ALA revealed some intriguing books from publishers outside of the big five. Here’s a sample of what I saw.
“Exciting,” “addictive, and “believable” are but a few of the adjectives presenters at the “Top Thrills” panel at LJ’s 18th annual Day of Dialog used to describe their latest books, among the season’s best suspense and mystery novels.
Welcome Artificial Overlords. Humans have historically been obsessed with creating artificially intelligent life (AI). These 26 works of fiction and nonfiction, plus periodicals and DVDs, bring this future into sharper focus.
Here’s the good news: respondents to LJ’s annual materials survey of U.S. public libraries nationwide report that their materials budgets are up 3%, averaging $807,000 overall and ranging from $30,000 on average for libraries serving populations under 10,000 to $4,437,000 for libraries serving populations over 500,000. That’s the best budget showing since the $862,000 average in 2008 and a sign that libraries are catching up after the major economic downturn of 2007–08, though with prices now higher, budgets are still playing catch-up.