A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
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Americans Love Libraries

Did you know that Americans really do love their libraries? Research shows the reason for this lovefest fits into three broad categories: information access, public space, and our transformative potential, according to research by Wayne Wiegand in his book, “Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library. So, why are we so worried about the future of our libraries? People love us, right? Yes, they do, but that love is not always measured by their willingness to allocate funding to our budgets. Which begs the question, “How do we transform this unquestionable love for public libraries into increased funding?” Enter the librarian.

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A Roving Reference Assessment in Teen Services

Over the course of one month, staff members of the Chattanooga Public Library recorded every reference transaction made, using a free one-month trial on Gimlet, to help determine if removing the traditional information desk made a difference or not.

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Is it a Carnival? Is it a Circus? No, it’s Storytime!

The good news: New York City libraries are facing an unprecedented demand for storytime. The bad news? How to manage the numbers.

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The Grass Is Always Greener

Here is an opportunity to use all sorts of clichés in one place. Whether you like the one about “greener grass” or “keeping up with the Joneses,” the idea is still the same. It’s hard to not be jealous of another library’s success and want to be better than them. However, the question you should ask yourself is “Are you comparing apples to apples?” (For the cliché count, we’re at least at three.)

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Project Outcome – Looking Back, Looking Forward

What started from the work of the Performance Measurement Task Force (PMTF), established during my 2013 Public Library Association (PLA) presidency, has now become a full-fledged PLA service known as Project Outcome, providing over 900 registered users with the outcome measurement tools, resources and support needed to measure the true impact of their library services and programs. Over 200 public libraries are currently using the Project Outcome survey tools to measure the outcomes of at least one program or service and nearly 5,000 surveys have been aggregated into the Project Outcome Data Dashboards. In just six short months after launching in June, Project Outcome has quickly met the public library demand and desire for standardized performance measures and continues to expand toward more advanced data collection.

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February 6 is Take your Child to the Library Day!

What if every child in your community visited your library next month? Take Your Child to the Library Day aims to do just that!


Crafting Your Career

So often we get stuck in our current jobs, not knowing how to progress. And, if you do want to make a career shift, how do you go about doing so?

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Library of Congress Literacy Awards 2015: Best Practices

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program has released their third annual Best Practices publication. Along with the three previously announced 2015 prize winners, fourteen other organizations presenting paramount methods for increasing literacy are included in the publication. The Literacy Awards, first announced in January 2013, honor organizations that successfully increase literacy in the United States or abroad. The Literacy Awards also promote the distribution of the most effective methods, and the Best Practices publication is a key component in sharing these innovative ideas. Below are just a few of the programs cited for their exemplary work in the categories of best practices.

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Back to the Islands: A Conversation With Abby Geni

Abby Geni’s debut novel, The Lightkeepers, is a terrifically suspenseful novel detailing the year in the life of Miranda, a photographer on a secluded biological research station on the Farallon Islands, thirty miles off the coast of San Francisco. A few months into her stay, one of the biologists is found dead, the result of an apparent accident. The Lightkeepers delivers a tightly plotted mystery while also offering keen insight into the relationship humans have with the natural world, and also contains perhaps the most terrifying scene involving mice ever written. Entertainment Weekly hailed the book as “not to be missed,” and Geni was cited by Barnes and Noble as one of its Discover 2016 Great New Writers. Geni spoke with Brendan Dowling via e-mail on January 14, 2015.

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A Needle in a Haystack: Writing Digitally about Proper Digital Preservation

With a little searching, maybe someone can find a needle online in the haystack of information. At least, if they have some idea of where it might have been in the first place…


The Library: A Powerful Memory for One Filmmaker

What are your childhood memories of the library? Maybe you recall story time, or getting to select books by yourself. As you got older, did you study there after school? Maybe you passed notes to a boy or girl at another table, careful not to get shushed by the librarian.
Filmmaker Jason LaMotte was so inspired by his memories of the library in his hometown of Houston, Texas that he directed a new short film, The Library. LaMotte, having filmed The Library in the United Kingdom, told The Guardian in an interview that his story “initially came from wanting to explore the relationship between memory and place.”


CES 2016 Is Your Library’s Technology Crystal Ball

Library staff should follow the news from the Consumer Electronics Show to get a sense of what technology is headed to their communities.

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Welcoming Unwelcome News

Some news is easy to share. Some isn’t.


Tech Centers Are Coming to a Library Near You!

Public libraries will not be removing their books from their spaces to accommodate for technology, but we are instead seeing an increase in community partnerships, maker spaces/labs, and public interest for technology programs and technology help. And the Do Space in Omaha, Nebraska, is another aspect of what is a part of the future for libraries.

Courtesy of Theresa Horn

Public and University Library Collaboration

The St. Joseph County Public Library teams up with the University of Notre Dame to improve library services to students and faculty.