American Libraries

Articles from Vol. 41, No. 8, August

Advancing Advocacy: The Road to Sustaining Libraries in the Community Continues
During my travels as president-elect, I often spoke about the challenges and opportunities of becoming 21st-century libraries that incorporate new formats, technologies, and ways of learning. By transforming libraries for this new era, we are leaders...
All-Digital Information Commons Reduces Energy Consumption
Conventional wisdom would tell you building an all-glass library on the shore of Chicago's Lake Michigan is probably not a good idea if your plans call for a high-performance building that is supposed to reduce energy usage. But that is exactly what...
Better None Than Bad: When It Comes to Signage, Nix the Negative
A quick search of the photo website Flickr for the keywords "library signage" can produce interesting results. You will find everything from cafe-style chalkboard advertisements to sheets of white paper with a few pieces of clip art thrown in. Poor...
Books and Literacy in the Digital Age: Can We Grow Technophiles Who Are Also Bibliophiles?
I'd like to admit something to you up-front: I love books. I don't mean the "Isn't-the-new-Stephen-King-great?" type of love. I'm talking about a real passion here: I love the way the binding cracks the first time you open a new hardcover book; the...
Global Reach
WALES 1 As one of the United Kingdom's copyright libraries, the National Library of Wales has begun on its own to digitize much of its collection, an endeavor that has involved about one-third of the library's 350 staff members. "The people of Wales...
Good Dog. Sit. Listen
Christopher, a bubbly 7-year-old, has come to the La Mesa branch of San Diego County Library to read to Sunny. With book in hand, Christopher Buck sits down and begins. As he reads, he and Sunny cuddle together. Sunny, an 80-pound collie, is a certified...
Guided by Barcodes: QR Codes Link Patrons to the Library
Whenever I've created an instructional handout for students, I've struggled with what to include. For everything that ends up on the sheet, there's usually five times as much that would be useful to students in the class. I include the URL to a web...
Hope, Hype, and VoIP: Riding the Library Technology Cycle
After the initial hype is past, the real value of an emerging technology unfolds as librarians adopt, test, and learn from it on the ground. By understanding a tool's practical library affordances and how they are adopted, adapted, and rejected, we...
How the World Sees Us
"The Great Hall was restored in 1990, but this one building tells only part of the Ellis Island story. The 30 unrestored buildings that served as the hospital, psychiatric ward, morgue, and library tell a different story about suffering and perseverance...
I'm Sorry, You're Out: Imagine the World without Google or Wikipedia
Let's see, which of my various forms of geekdom have I copped to in this column? Game shows? Check. Olympics? Check. On to reality TV, I guess. Not the Bachelorette/Real Housewives/Jersey Shore type of show (ick); think more Amazing Race, Dancing with...
Librarians Head for the Hill to Rally for Reading: Washington, D.C., Conference Attracts 26,000 Enthusiastic Professionals
Librarians and their supporters spoke loudly and clearly about the value of libraries during the American Library Association's 2010 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., June 24-29. On Library Advocacy Day, some 2,000 librarians and library advocates...
Librarian's Library: A Friend in the White House
Laura Bush became a librarian for the same reason many of us did--she loved books. In case you haven't read her autobiography, Spoken from the Heart, or the many articles American Libraries has published about her career, she does have a library science...
Libraries Reach FY2011-Some Relieved, All Wary
The FY2010 roller-coaster ride is just about over, and many a library advocate is undoubtedly glad to see the back of it. There was a curious symmetry about the timing: Thousands of tenacious front-line library supporters were taking stock of their...
New ProQuest Platform Improves Interface, Expands Access
ProQuest unveiled plans at ALA's Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., to roll out a completely redesigned platform this summer. The ground-up redesign promises to unify all ProQuest content into a single framework, while also connecting users to...
Newsmaker: Thomas Frey
Without consulting a crystal ball, Thomas Frey, executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute, writes and speaks about a promising future for those libraries strongly connected to their communities and quickly adaptable to the changing...
Party on! at Your Book Discussions: Shouldn't a Book Club Be about the Fun of Sharing?
An avid colleague once told me that facilitating a book discussion is the most fun we can have at work. She was right. However, she didn't mention the three Rs of any professionally done book discussion: reading, rereading, and research. As lovingly...
Playwrights Define Censorship
Before heading to ALA's Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., young-adult author Adam Rapp spent an evening with fellow playwrights Edward Albee, Terrence McNally, and David Henry Hwang discussing censorship. Forty publishers, writers, artists, and...
Raising A Reader Gets Children Started Early
The childcare room buzzes with activity at the end of the school year. Children laugh and parents chat about their summer plans. When the librarian from Seattle Public Library comes in, the children gather around for storytime. As she closes the book...
Surveying My Sex Appeal: The Climax to My 15 Minutes of Media Fame
The following story is a cautionary tale for all of those people who say that the internet has replaced the reference collection and that Google has replaced reference librarians. On a cheery morning in late April 1992, I had a flight of whimsy....
The Association's Associations: LLAMA
NOTABLE HIGHLIGHTS Membership in the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) and many ALA divisions is down this year; that's the bad news. The good news is that volunteers and staff have worked with enthusiasm and optimism this year...
The Unquiet Library: A Media Center with More Fans Than the Football Team
The students are skeptical when the librarian says, "I want everyone to take out their cell phones and check to see if you can get reception in the library." The young scholars hesitantly pull out their mobile devices, unsure of what to make of this...
Unnecessary Choices
Members of the American Library Association have been talking a lot about books these days, the future of the book as a delivery mechanism, as opposed to a quaint artifact. Readers of American Libraries have responded by writing some provocative articles...
Up, Up and Away: A Bird's-Eye View of Mission Marketing: A University Library Deploys Multiple Communication Venues to Grab the Attention of Its Diverse Audiences
Early in July 1982, Larry Walters tied more than 40 weather balloons to his lawn chair and rose 16,000 feet above the smog over Los Angeles. Spotted by various aircraft, he descended by shooting the balloons with a BB gun, eventually drifting some...
What Came Home from D.C.: Memories of Annual That Transcend Mere Notes
The last thing I did before checking my suitcase at Washington National Airport was to tuck the pink steno pad in which I'd been scribbling all conference long into the front pocket of my suitcase. Well before the end of my trip, I had tired of lugging...
W. S. Merwin Named Poet Laureate
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced July 1 that W. S. Merwin has been appointed as the library's 17th poet laureate consultant in poetry. Merwin will serve as poet laureate for 2010-2011 and is scheduled to open the Librar-y of Congress's...