While every library hopes to see good news for its budget, of late, many will happily settle for no bad news. The year 2012 was marked by modest gains in library budgets and a stemming of the bleeding caused by cuts in the wake of the collapse of the financial sector and accompanying recession. As the economy continues its slow recovery, libraries, too, are managing to claw back some of the losses they’ve been asked to endure over the past few years. While gains are being made, though, they’re small ones and often hard fought.
Of Ohio’s 251 public libraries, only three have presented levies since 2009 without success. Some might believe that those three might as well give up, that the necessary level of services simply can’t be met without such local funding support. However, Holmes County District Public Library (HCDPL), one of those three, is challenging the way that funding happens and, with a bit of cross-cultural cooperation, succeeding.
The turn of a calendar year is a good time to remember reflective practice, whereby you take a moment, think about what you’ve learned, the experiences you’ve had in your workplace and career, and pull all of those things together as you encounter more choices. This process is cyclical.
New hires, promotions, retirements, and obituaries from the January 2014 issue of LJ.
Letters to the editor from the January 2014 issue of Library Journal
Hearing this from a patron’s mouth after completing one of my Punk Rock Aerobics workouts made me beam like Iggy Pop was signing autographs and I was next in line. Having worked in the programming department of Sacramento Public Library, CA, where we were encouraged to innovate in order to create programs that would draw in nonusers, I became accustomed to bringing my own passions to my job. As a roller derby skater (Lipstick Librarian of the Sac City Rollers) and fitness fanatic, this led to the genesis of Punk Rock Aerobics.
Imagine that you bought a new jacket on Amazon.com and received an email a month later from the manufacturer telling you that you paid the wrong amount for the jacket and that you owe the company several hundred dollars more. This may seem implausible, but for academic libraries that buy DVDs through distributors like Amazon.com, it is a recurring problem: after buying DVDs at retail prices, they get an official-looking email saying they owe more.
We knew Corinne Hill was destined to be a star back in 2004, when she was named an LJ Mover & Shaker. She had been a librarian for only eight years. A decade later, as executive director of the Chattanooga Public Library (CPL), she is the 2014 LJ Librarian of the Year, an award sponsored by Baker & Taylor. Hill’s career has climaxed in Chattanooga, where she has transformed what consultants June Garcia and Susan Kent called the “ugly, irrelevant, and mismanaged” public libraries of Hamilton County, TN, into the new and vibrant CPL. “She has fostered a culture of change and innovation that has affected nearly every aspect of the library,” says an August report in the Chattanooga Times/Free Press.
How would you reenvision a wallet to do what you really need it to, not just what you’re used to it doing? How about a wristwatch wallet, powered by body temperature and jammed with digital utility, plus a secret compartment for real money? The idea, articulated in this pipe cleaner and Post-its model (pictured) by Salt Lake County’s Jim Cooper and TLC Labs’ Will Evans, is the result of a Design Thinking exercise conducted at LJ’s Directors Summit, held November 19-20, 2013, in Chicago, in partnership with Chicago Public Library (CPL).
Next month, after 35 years at the helm of the Darien Library, CT, Louise Berry will retire. Under her guidance, that little library has redefined the relationship between the library and its patrons and has become a model for libraries worldwide. “I like to say that before Louise, the attitude at the library was ‘keep the people out and the books in.’ With Louise, it is ‘keep the books out and the people in,’ ” former longtime library trustee Ann Mandel tells me. “Of course, now there is so much more than books on offer.”