One of the most effective ways to test and evaluate a new program or service is to conduct a pilot project, but how do you scale up from there? How do you translate the small successes into sustainable, permanent additions to your library?
As part of its new BKLYN Incubator project, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is inviting librarians from across the system to come up with creative new programming at their branches. With the help of a $25,000 Sparks Ignition Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), BPL has set up a framework for branch librarians to develop and promote their own ideas for programs and services—from an ethnic music performance venue in Coney Island to ballroom dancing for older adults in Carroll Gardens to a Russian literature club in Sheepshead Bay—and for their communities to help vote on the ones they want to see implemented.
Libraries may be going digital, but librarians still bring—and need—that personal touch. On October 14, Library Journal and School Library Journal’s virtual conference, The Digital Shift, Libraries Connecting Communities, aptly demonstrated this in a wide range of offerings throughout the day-long event.
The world’s first biotech lab in a public library celebrated its grand opening September 1 in the La Jolla-Riford Branch Library of the San Diego Public Library (SDPL). The Bio Lab is part of the library’s Life Science Collaboratory, which has hosted a variety of classes and talks from visiting scientists since it opened its doors in April. The Bio Lab, however, promises to take Collaboratory’s citizen science mission a step further.
At the start of 2014, Eric Soriano found inspiration in several of his friends’ New Year’s resolutions to learn a new language. Soriano, an e-services librarian with the Jacksonville Public Library (JPL), FL, recognized an opportunity to spread the word about JPL’s subscription to the online language-learning resource Transparent. A year later, JPL received the Urban Libraries Council’s Top Innovator Award for Customer Experience for the system’s new language-learning programs, which use Transparent as the backbone of a class curriculum.
When it comes to creating innovative patron-centered programming, there seems to be nothing that Tracy LaStella can’t do. She joined the Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) team as a page in 1990 and, with the encouragement of coworkers such as children’s coordinator Sharon Breen, not only finished her BA but earned her MLS. “Sharon sat me down one day and told me to leave work and go sign up for classes at Stony Brook University,” says LaStella. “[T]hat turned a switch…and gave me the inspiration I needed to finish school.” Now, as coordinator for youth services, LaStella has become a beacon for the community.