June 22, 2017

Electronic Resources & Libraries Preview

If the unofficial slogan of ER&L’s host city is “Keep Austin Weird,” the conference could be summed up as “Keep Libraries Current.” For the latest trends in how the changing digital landscape continues to impact libraries, particularly in the academic arena, head south by southwest to Austin, where the 11th annual ER&L conference will follow the iconic music, film, and interactive festival by a few weeks, April 3–6, at Austin’s AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, the University of Texas at Austin, and online.

Mind the RA Gap | BackTalk

The inconsistent treatment of readers’ advisory (RA) as a core service for adults in public libraries has led to inconsistent demand for quality RA education, which has further led to inconsistent service. Jennie Maas Flexner noted as far back as 1934 that the “need for specialized education is as evident in [readers’ advisory] work as in every other department of the library.” This is still true, and the need is still not being met. Two gaps prevent RA from being taught in a way that would make it the core public library service it should be.

Library People News: Hires, Promotions, Retirements, and Obituaries

Katie Chatas appointed to Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Board of Trustees; Jesse Montero promoted to Director, Brooklyn Public Library Central Library; Patrick Sweeney named Political Director at EveryLibrary; and more new hires, promotions, retirements, and obituaries from the February 15, 2016 issue of Library Journal.

Feedback: Letters to LJ, February 15, 2016 Issue

We’re no saints, lingering in the library, signage that works, and more letters to editor from the February 15, 2016 issue of Library Journal.

Trend Turnaround | Materials Survey 2016

LJ’s 2016 materials survey of public libraries nationwide was full of surprises, with long-standing trends suddenly turned on their heads.

How To Talk Code | Digital Literacy

Last summer, Bloomberg BusinessWeek devoted an entire issue to “What Is Code?” a single article by Brooklyn-based writer and programmer Paul Ford. Ford’s breakdown of key concepts pulls back the curtain on the fundamentals of computer programming and makes a compelling argument that any smart person can learn the basics—and that the basics are worth learning even for those who aren’t planning to become professional coders. It is, in part, a case for coding as a new frontier in digital literacy. There’s a growing interest in this type of education among kids, teens, businesspeople, career changers, and the generally curious. And a growing number of public libraries are already responding to this need within their communities. Here’s a look at ways in which a few libraries have made their programs a success.

Speak of the Devil | Office Hours

Has this ever happened to you? A meeting is going along swimmingly. Decisions are being made. Paths forward seem clearly defined. Action items are doled out to key players around the ­table. And then, a voice pipes up: “I’ll play devil’s advocate and….”

Cue the sound of wheels screeching to a halt, or perhaps the collective, weary exhale of the group.

Editors’ Spring Picks 2016

From the Syrian cuisine of Aleppo and the rescued manuscripts of Timbuktu to women crime writers and the Broadway phenomenon that is Hamilton, these 33 new books have captured our imagination this season

Barbie Bod Mods | Programs That Pop

Raziel Reid’s win of A 2014 Governor General award for When Everything Feels Like the Movies (Arsenal Pulp) sparked many conversations through our teen library groups and brought to light their questions and personal concerns. With topics of gender and identity taking center stage in the media, we believed it was a good time to create a program that addressed societal ideals, body image, and gender identity—and celebrated diversity. A bag of old Barbie dolls languishing under Lisa Mudrakoff’s desk proved to be the perfect foundation for a program in social literacy that would also be creative and fun, meeting teens’ requests for exciting tactile events that allowed them to get their hands dirty while also addressing the topics brought to mind by Reid’s novel.

Adversary or Ally? The trouble with fines and fees | Editorial

Last month the Park Ridge Public Library, IL, approved fees for those using the facility for business purposes. On its face, this decision runs counter to the burgeoning interest in libraries embracing a workforce that is increasingly outside the office by developing coworking spaces and gathering essential tools to enable them to succeed. On a deeper level, it runs counter to the ingenuity involved in continually removing barriers to access—even barriers constructed to keep the use of the library fair, such as overdue fines—and this I find much more problematic and worth contemplating.