From learning what programs are working for patrons to being able to communicate the value of libraries to legislators and stakeholders more effectively, one thing is becoming more and more clear: having reliable data and the tools to analyze it are among the keys to a successful library system. Data can help to confirm suspicions, prove hypotheses, and offer evidence for the success of library programs. It can also dash expectations or surprise sleeping biases, forcing the rethinking or reinvention of a program that isn’t living up to its potential. Data, analyzed and contextualized, can also make it easier for librarians to tell their stories to legislators and stakeholders when the time comes to make the case for library budgets.
Lobbying for libraries can be a painfully earnest affair. But not so in New York State, where the New York Library Association (NYLA) adopted a playful new strategy to reach legislators and their staffs where they may be at their most receptive—relaxing with a drink after work. NYLA didn’t break the rules by buying beverages for lawmakers…it simply provided a coaster for them.
There are lots of reasons I don’t want to go to Orlando, FL, again to attend a conference of the American Library Association (ALA). Most are matters of personal comfort, cost, and convenience, so the good things I’d get from the conference outweigh those annoyances. In 2016, however, there is a compelling reason to stay away from Orlando, especially if you are a young African American.
Why tech librarians leave the field, the heyday of board gaming, the renaissance of Philly libraries, and more letters to the editor from LJ’s May 1, 2014 issue
Hedi BenAicha appointed Vice President and Dean of the Library and Electronic Course Materials at American Public University System, Judith Nadler retires as Library Director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago, Amanda DiFeterici named Instructional Design and Assessment Consultant at Credo, and other new hires, promotions, retirements, and obituaries from the May 1, 2014 issue of LJ.
As we approach this year’s BookExpo America (BEA), it’s useful, perhaps especially to publishers, to contemplate where libraries fit into the broad book market. It’s hard to ignore just how fundamentally important libraries have become to the potential success of a book—that is, if you pay attention to a few simple facts and are willing to question persistent myths.
It was a hot, dusty day in Moab, UT. I drove into town from my beautiful campsite overlooking the La Sal Mountains, where I’d been cycling and exploring the beautiful country. I was taking a few days off from work, and even though I was relaxing, I had a phone call I didn’t want to reschedule. So back to town I went, straight to—naturally—the public library. I had fond memories of the library from a previous visit a few years back: a beautiful building with reliable Wi-Fi. Aside from not being allowed to bring coffee inside, it would be a great place to check email and take a call on the bench outside.
Over the last five years, LJ has reported that the number one circulating nonfiction subject has been cooking. Food represents so very much within our culture and social lives. It triggers treasured memories, extends hospitality, provides the shared experience of first dates, serves as a pretext for family and friends’ gatherings, and is praised both as a virtue and a vice for how it makes us look and feel. Yet on the event calendar at an average public library, classes or programs on this number one topic are missing. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You’d better pack your comfy shoes. Not only is New York a walking city, but the programs and exhibits at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and elsewhere during BookExpo American (BEA) will keep you busier than a Saturday at the library. Before the show proper begins, LJ and sister publication School Library Journal (SLJ) will each host our annual Day of Dialog (DoD) event at the McGraw-Hill Conference Center. The panels, presentations, and signings at DoD are highlights of our year, and the 2014 lineups are particularly rich.
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.