The Collection All Around: Sharing Our Cities, Towns, and Natural Places

By ElBasri, Teralee | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Spring 2018 | Go to article overview

The Collection All Around: Sharing Our Cities, Towns, and Natural Places


ElBasri, Teralee, Reference & User Services Quarterly


The Collection All Around: Sharing Our Cities, Towns, and Natural Places. By Jeffrey T. Davis. Chicago, IL: ALA, 2017. 152 p. Paper $57.00 (ISBN 978-0-8389-1505-9).

This book is not intended to be a guide to creating outreach opportunities, nor to bringing experiences into the library. Instead, it is an attempt to bring awareness to creating shared access between libraries and their communities. Davis creates a strong argument that public libraries are not just isolated spaces but rather a well-integrated part of any community. As such, libraries have the unique opportunity and skill set to foster shared access to resources outside the library that patrons may not otherwise be aware of or capable of accessing for various reasons, including socioeconomic and physical access difficulties. Davis defines improving this access as an effort that combines outreach, customer service, event management, collection development, and acquisitions. This in turn raises the library's visibility in the community, along with that of its community partners.

The author has divided the book into several chapters based on different ways that libraries can provide shared access within the community. Each of these chapters outlines an idea for how to accomplish this goal, describes in detail how other libraries in the United States have carried out projects along these lines, and points out where their successes and challenges lie. These examples provide some wonderful ideas about how libraries can take on projects of their own as well as how well they might work in different communities. Because each community library has its own challenges and strengths, it is important that the reader keep these in mind while looking at how some other libraries have created these access points. …

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