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.
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.
PBS’s popular Downton Abbey has made the early 1900s a familiar and beloved setting. These 36 titles will help patrons find Edwardian-era fiction, nonfiction, and videos.
Collection development starts with the budget. In Cuyahoga County, OH, that means the library’s executive team, led by Director Sari Feldman, and administrative team, led by Deputy Director Tracy Strobel, sit down and crunch the numbers. Once Wendy Bartlett, collection development manager, gets the resulting figure—some $8.5 million this year—she must divvy it up into all the various subjects, genres, and formats necessary to serve best the library system’s 28 branches and 884,035 cardholders—and maximize circulation of its materials, which reached 20,613,810 in 2012.
Among the hottest trends in collection development are tools that help libraries more efficiently crunch their numbers to make data-driven decisions. But while the tools are new, using data to make selections is not. Data-driven decisions have been on the rise in libraries for years. Anna Mickelsen, Springfield City Library, MA, explains why she uses data for collection development: “I use stats to get a look at the bigger picture of the whole library’s collection and how the different parts compare to one another. Collection decisions shouldn’t be made in a vacuum, and statistics are sometimes the only solid information I have to work with.”
Evidence suggests that the downturn in the market for magazines caused by rising popularity of online media and the great recession has bottomed out and may soon begin to turn around. Growth in subscriptions is slow and newsstand sales continue to suffer, but nevertheless there are signs of stability in the market. As of March 1, Mediafinder.com had identified 198 launches for 2013. This compares to 227 magazines launched in 2012 and 239 launched in 2011. The shrinking rate of growth, however, is somewhat offset by the number of cessations. Mediafinder identified 87 magazines that ceased publication in 2013. That compares to 82 closures in 2012 and 152 in 2011. So the 2013 statistics are better on balance than 2011’s and only slightly worse than the figures for 2012.