American Libraries

Articles from Vol. 42, No. 5-6, May-June

A Facility Forever Young: Kids' Comfort Rules in Cedar Rapids's Library Plans
What do young people want? When it comes to library space, they're inclined to seek sophisticated yet comfortable areas. In a focus group that gave teens the opportunity to advise librarians and architects charged with designing the new Cedar Rapids...
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ALA's 2015 Strategic Plan: The Association Maps out Its Goals and Priorities
Dear Colleagues: Enclosed in this issue of American Libraries is the Association's new 2015 Strategic Plan. The plan outlines the vision and goals that will guide us through what promises to be a period of unprecedented challenges and opportunities...
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A Numbers Game: The Life of an E-Book
Twenty-six is a peculiar number. Mathematically speating, it's not that interesting; the Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers tells us it's the sum of the digits of its cube (26^3= 17,576). Yawn. Wikipedia offers the atomic number...
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Case Study: Directing with GIS
Tufts University's Tisch Library in Medford, Massachusetts, houses the majority of the system's 1.2 million volumes. The library facilities include a student cafe, offices, group-study rooms, research areas, and a media lab. In addition, the library...
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Facebook for Libraries: It's Easy to Use Social Media's Most Popular Tool to Connect with Your Community
Today, I spent part of the day connecting with people. I complained about a silly election video, chatted with a college friend about a band, and put some finishing touches on plans for a conference taking place at the library. I did all this through...
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Fanbase to the Rescue
While much has been written recently about using Facebook as a promotional tool for libraries and librarians, opinions vary widely on Facebook's effectiveness in reaching library users. It's indisputable, though, that Facebook can successfully promote...
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Forging a Resilient Revitalization for New Orleans Public Library
In the six years since Hurri cane Katrina, New Orleans has begun the process of rebuilding. The city's public libraries are no exception. Former Mayor Bay Nagin decided to privatize capital improvements and hired MWH, a global project management...
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Global Reach
GUATEMALA (1) The Canadian library-student group Librarians Without Borders has completed its second trip in as many years to the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango. LWB volunteers brought with them 350 books for the Asturias library...
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How the World Sees Us
"Glam culture is ultimately rooted in obsession, and those of us who are truly devoted and loyal to the lifestyle of glamour are masters of its history. Or, to put it more elegantly, we are librarians. ... So dear critics and bullies: Get your library...
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Keeping Library Digitization Legal
The ability to digitize hard copies, the proliferation of born-digital content, and increased access to online distribution hold the promise of improved access to library materials. Despite these advances, the legal issues surrounding collections increasingly...
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Keeping Our Message Simple
A couple of years ago, our library lost two elections in a row. I became so concerned about the future of my organization that I started reading much more widely and deeply, particularly about brain research and how and why we come to believe things,...
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Library Advocacy: One Message, One Voice: Lessons from the 1991 Rally for America's Libraries
We are all too familiar with stories about reductions in library hours, library closures, staff layoffs, canceled children's programs, and reduced materials budgets. While many readers may not remember, similar stories appeared in the media throughout...
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Library Advocates Head for the Hill
Federal budget threats targeted at library programs dominated the discussions May 9 during the briefing day preceding this year's National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) by the American Library Association's Washington Office, but the 361 NLLD participants...
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Magical Meals: A Dining Guide to New Orleans
After Hurricane Katrina, some people wondered if New Orleans was worth rebuilding and said, "Sure the food is good, but can't you just take the recipes and start all over in another city?" But to understand why generations of people have found dining...
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My Professional Heroes: Let's Hear It for the Front-Line Grunts Who Make Service Happen
When I hear the term "movers and shakers," I think of Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, Sarah Palin, and Hillary Clinton. These are the innovators, power brokers, and pioneers that move us to places where we haven't been and don't necessarily want to go. They...
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Privacy Worries Grow More Public
Each of us encounters more and more numerous breaches of personal privacy today, whether it's with our cellphone records, grocery-store coupons, airport scanners, or library circulation records," ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom Director Barbara...
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Professional through Growth Learning Communities: Knowledge Comes with Teamwork, and Fun-All across the Organization
When we library staff members are struggling to respond to incoming phone calls, email, text/instant messages, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, and people stopping us in hallways to ask for help, it's easy to forget that we, too, need learning...
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Reading for Life: Oprah Winfrey: The Television Talk-Show Host and Media Mogul Has Championed Books and Libraries
"I don't believe in failure," Oprah Winfrey has said, and when you talk about celebrities who inspire reading, who among them has had more of an impact on American reading habits than this extraordinary television talk-show host? The ways Oprah Winfrey...
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Refresh Your View of E-Rate
Does your network suffer from the after-school grinding-to-a-halt syndrome? Do you have a flat or declining budget and can't figure out how to pay for a bandwidth upgrade to support patrons' online activities, such as searching for jobs and applying...
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Renewing Our Mission in New Orleans: New Combined Opening Session/exhibits Kickoff, an Extended Film Series, and a Host of Authors and Speakers Are on Tap for 135th Annual Conference
Librarians, library support staff, vendors, and guests will once again bring their economic and muscle power to assist New Orleans's public libraries, schools, and community rebuilding projects during the American Library Association's 135th Annual...
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Rousing Reads: The Ancient World
Every year, in late March and early April, I'm consumed with putting together Booklist's annual Mystery Showcase issue. For more than a month, my mind is clogged with crime novels: reading them, writing about them, editing what others have written...
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The Best in Library Branding: Winners of the 2011 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award Wow Judges and Their Communities
The John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award (JCD) turned 65 years old this year and celebrated this milestone with the Midwinter announcement of the 2011 winners. Five vibrant libraries demonstrated innovative, outstanding marketing strategies...
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The Digital Revolution: Transforming Libraries and the Strategic Plan
Two major topics dominated discussions during the ALA Executive Board Spring Meeting April 22-24 at the Association's Chicago headquarters. ALA's new 2015 strategic plan now includes a Transforming Libraries goal that calls for the Association to "provide...
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Too Much Information? Navigating the Privacy-Expectation Continuum
I have many friends who use the mobile location-based networking site Foursquare to broadcast exactly where they are at various points during their day using the GPS on their phone. In my Twitter feed, I see posts stating that one friend is at a...
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We Never Close: The Honor System Works for One College Library
Imagine that your library building is open 24/7 with no overnight staff or security gates. What if trusting patrons to abide by the honor system actually worked? That's the reality at Marlboro (Vt.) College's Rice-Aron Library, where an open-door policy...
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Where's Our Carnegie? We Need a Deep-Pocketed Library Angel for the Information Age
When our nation's libraries were still in their nascence, Andrew Carnegie stepped forward and infused them with financial stability, eventually giving rise to their current ubiquity. I believe it's safe to say that without his example, libraries and...
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WordPress as Library CMS: Free and Open Source Technology to Enhance Your Library's Web Presence
Engaging with library users on the web is no longer restricted to simply putting a static HTML file on a server and calling it a successful website. Yet without technical assistance and forethought, content management can be an actively complex and...
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Wrapping Up a Busy Year: Authors, Toolkits, and a Contest Create a Combined Force for Library Advocates
For my last message as ALA president, I'd like to update members and others on the initiatives that were kicked off at the Inaugural Banquet last June and offer a brief comment on recent events that affect the future of libraries. With "Our Authors,...
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