American Libraries

Articles from Vol. 42, No. 1-2, January-February

An Exit Interview
What better way to make sure you're asked the right questions in your exit interview than to conduct it yourself? So after 22 years on the American Libraries staff, 15 of them at the helm, here comes mine: Why are you leaving AL? I'm listening to...
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A Remarkable Ending: Executive Board Looks Ahead as a Tough Year Ends
Given the tough economy and the fiscal crisis that has affected libraries of ail types, it was no surprise that the American Library Association found itself facing a $2-million revenue shortfall this past year--about 10%. Thanks to a lot of hard work...
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Booking to the Future: Paper or Electronic? Futurists Have Been Pushing One Option for Years-But Do We Have to Choose?
It's no secret that librarians like books. For decades, those pages sandwiched between rectangles of cardboard have been the primary reason librarians sought and secured employment. As methods of communication and information sharing evolve, however,...
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Californians Model How to Be Standards-Bearers for School Libraries
A call went out on the discussion list of the California School Librarians Association (CSLA) last November urging them to invite their school board members to attend a December 3 program at the California School Boards Association annual conference....
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Federal Ban of WikiLeaks Website Embroils Library of Congress
The Library of Congress confirmed December 3 that it had blocked access from all LC computers to the WikiLeaks website in order to prevent unauthorized downloading of classified records. The action raised red flags in libraries all over the country...
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Forward Compared to What? to Move Ahead, Libraries Need to Understand Where They Are Now
As a forward-looking library faces the future, one of the most vital steps it can take is to determine where it stands right now. You might have a destination in mind, but without knowing your current location the journey ahead will be difficult. ...
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Get Ahead of Outsourcing
How will politicians and library leaders respond to the challenges of shrinking budgets, increased community expectations, and ever more aggressive competition? One approach is to replace current library management teams with private profit-driven...
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Global Reach
PANAMA 1 The village of El Cedro dedicated its first community library October 20. Named after American volunteer Maggie Murray, La Biblioteca Publica Margarita Murray was organized over four months by librarian and Peace Corps volunteer Susan Hammer,...
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I Love My Librarian Award Winners Recognized in New York
Ten of America's favorite librarians were honored as winners of the 2010 I Love My Librarian Award at a ceremony in New York City December 9. The award recognizes quality service and dedication by library professionals across the country. "Libraries...
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Info Pro: Adopting Tools from the World of Business Consulting: A Successful ServiceScape Encourages Consumer-Staff Interaction and Makes Everyone's Tasks Easier
As professionals serving increasingly business-savvy consumers, librarians must realize that we are, in fact, consultants. As such, we need to adopt some of the tools and thinking of business consultants to better communicate our value to library customers....
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Is ALA Ripe for Rebellion? ALA Connect Is the Library World's Communication Tool
During my 34 years as a member of ALA I have heard others--some members, some former members, some never a member-complain about the Association and its value. Complaints I have heard again and again include: * It costs too much. * It should...
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Keeping Up, 2.0 Style: Current Awareness through RSS
When I first received my library degree, I religiously kept up with blogs and journals in my areas of professional interest. I'd read blogs through an RSS reader--in my case, Google Reader--and I'd try to remember to read the journals I was most interested...
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Newsmakers: Leonel Fernandez and Margarita Cedeno De Fernandez
In what looks very much like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez recently visited American Library Association Headquarters in Chicago, accompanied by First Lady Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez, to talk...
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No Relax: Sophisticated Search Operator Is a Metaphor of Modern Life
I had a splendid time at the Internet Librarian conference last fall (and not just because I made it into a birthday-celebration weekend in Monterey, though that and the yummy meals didn't hurt matters any). It's a crisply conducted conference and...
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Screening Your Reads: A Book Trailer's Value Is in the Eye of Its Beholder
In the office to my left, a colleague works with two oversized monitors and a driving simulator attached to his computer. From my right conies a steady bass thump as another colleague keyboards while listening to rap. In the midst of such 21st-century,...
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Ted Danson, Neil Gaiman Headline Midwinter: Youth Media Awards, Celebrity Authors, and What to Expect from the New U. S. Congress Highlight San Diego Conference
Business meetings, celebrity authors--including Ted Danson, Kathy Reichs, Andre Dubus III, and Neil Gaiman--visits with vendors, and an abundance of discussion opportunities will highlight the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in San...
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The Privatization Debate: Turning a Negative into a Positive
Over the past few months, I have been contacted by a variety of media. Quite a few of my interviews with them were about the privatization of libraries. Interest in this subject was initiated by LSSI, a private-sector firm with contracts in place to...
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The Year in Review
1 SUPPLY AND DEMAND Amid ongoing closure threats that dogged the profession through year's end, library boosters still managed to keep the vast majority of library doors open to accommodate millions of visitors seeking job-search assistance, storytimes,...
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ULC Report: Libraries Are Sustainability Partners
Libraries are and will remain critical partners in ensuring sustainable local development, according to a new research report by the Urban Libraries Council. The purpose of Partners for the Future: Public Libraries and Local Governments Creating...
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U. S. Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin Talks with Librarians about Reading
Before assuming his post as U.S. Poet Laureate on October 25, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner W. S. Merwin met with a select group of librarians at New York City's Poets House for an afternoon of reading and conversation. A nonprofit organization, Poets...
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Web-Scale Discovery: Rapidly Evolving Tools More Important Than Ever
Connecting users with the information they seek is one of the central pillars of our profession. Web-scale discovery services for libraries are those services capable of searching quickly and seamlessly across a vast range of local and remote preharvested...
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When Small Is All: The Successful Small Public Library Director Wears Many Hats Smartly
In 2007, the 9,214 public libraries in the United States served 97% of the total population, a figure that has remained steady for more than a decade. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] But while large public libraries may serve the majority of Americans--nearly...
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When There Is No Frigate but a Book
I am writing this letter to tell you that I am personally very, very satisfied with your services at the Adult Corrections Facility. I am also grateful that I could get books ordered for me to help me take my medical board certification even while...
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Where to Eat at Midwinter: Sample the Local Cuisine at These San Diego Restaurants
Everyone needs to eat, and San Diego offers plenty of terrific options. Highlighted here are mostly restaurants in and near the Gaslamp Quarter, convenient to the San Diego Convention Center and most ALA hotels, with a few farther-flung possibilities....
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Why Must a Card Be a Card? with Little Risk and a Small Investment, Patrons Can Turn Mobile Phones into Virtual Library Cards
The library world, in general, has done a poor job of keeping up with new technologies over the past decade, and that has hurt us in many ways. Many libraries and librarians are working hard to catch up, but the broader library culture is still sluggish....
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Your Morning Metaphor: Start Every Day with Food for Thought
I have just entered the 70th decade of my journey through life and I have yet to encounter a true "morning person." Maybe they exist. Maybe they are those people you see jogging at 5:30 a.m. on those atypical days when you have to rise extra early...
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