It was back in April 2014 that we first met. The Makerbot Replicator and I, that is. I work at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library (HHHCL) in Dix Hills, NY, and we are part of the Suffolk County Library System, located on the eastern half of Long Island. Our library system has a bit of a reputation for being smart and ahead of the curve with technology, and when HHHCL heard of its out-of-the-box idea of circulating a 3-D printer among member libraries, we couldn’t wait to sign up. Our turn came last April.
Connecticut College completed $10 million library reno five months ahead of schedule; The Norfolk Public Library, NE, gained voter approval for a tax increase to fund its expansion, and more library construction and renovation news from the May 1, 2015, issue of Library Journal
Alcantara-Antoine appointed Public Services Manager at Virginia Beach Public Library, Huprich named Director of Continuing Education at Georgia Public Library Service, Walden appointed Associate Dean of Learning Resources at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine Library, and more people new from the May 1, 2015, issue of Library Journal.
Reforming LIS, revisiting the revamped Dothan Houston County Library System, and remembering Cathie Linz in letters to the editor from May 1, 2015 issue of Library Journal
Recently I ENJOYED a long-postponed lunch with two of my closest and most beloved colleagues from these past few decades. My connection with Nora Rawlinson, now running the incredibly useful selection and acquisitions website EarlyWord, began in arguments over whether libraries, through their book and materials acquisitions, should “give ’em what they want”—that is, buy for popular demand—or “give ’em what they need” by trying to select and acquire those items that qualify as classics, or essential information sources. Nora and I also disputed centralized vs. distributed book selection. Seeing Nora again reminded me that debates over library book and materials selection have been with us since the beginnings of the public library movement.
In a departure with tradition, this year’s BookExpo America (BEA) runs from midday Wednesday through Friday, May 27–29, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (JCC), rather than Thursday through Saturday. While you’re marking your calendar, also take note of the events listed below, which offer exciting opportunities to get an insider view of some top authors and their writing processes. Libraries and their purchasing dollars are also getting welcome attention, with several programs taking the lid off what publishers are doing to win them over. Of course, there will be new books galore, too. See you on the floor!
The Best Small Library in America award was created in 2005 to honor libraries that meet the challenges of smaller budgets, space, technology, and collections and still find ways to bring expanded, innovative, and supportive services to their smaller communities. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for the past decade the award has encouraged and showcased exemplary work in libraries serving populations under 25,000. Judging criteria include creativity in developing model services and programs, innovations in public access computing, demonstrated community support, and evidence of the library’s role as community center. This year LJ looks back to see how the award has influenced the winning libraries, their communities, and their futures.
Spring is HERE! Let’s celebrate this season of rebirth and renewal by thinking about making some changes in the library. Every library is burdened with a sacred cow or two. Some have an entire farm full! Laws of entropy dictate that once a library program or service starts, there’s a fair chance it will continue, even if it becomes clear at some point that it is no longer serving the purpose it once did. Sacred cows and other ineffective programs use up the valuable resource of staff time. The cost of feeding and maintaining sacred cows oftentimes doesn’t return much benefit to the library.
The 2016 presidential primary activity and election may provide libraries with an unmatched opportunity to show their stuff. As candidates officially jump into the race, voters are already inundated by an unprecedented volume of information and perspectives—not to mention the onslaught of misinformation and distractions. As the pace heats up, potential voters will need help engaging in the process, and voters will need more help than ever sorting out the facts on the real issues and learning what they need to make their own decisions.