What was I thinking?Last week at the Gilmore Car Museum library in Hickory Corners, northeast of Kalamazoo (MI), I was asking myself that question as I sat at a work table sorting through a box of old car brochures. For the past several weeks, I have been hopping into my Verano and driving the Buick eastward on I-94 for 70 miles two days a week to take up a residence at the library.The reason being I have donated my collection of car brochures – all 29 boxes of them – to Gilmore and also volunteered to sort through the stockpile and assess each and every one.Going through the piles has been a history lesson for me. It has shown me how significantly the automakers have changed in the way they designed, equipped and, most importantly, how they promoted their products as time marched on.I’ve not taken the time to count how many brochures there are in each box, but there are thousands. They come in all sizes. Some brochures measure more than 15 inches square and can be 1/8-inch thick. Others are little more than a large sheet of thin paper printed on both sides and folded several times to make a small handout. READ MORE
Neshoba Central High (MS) students have been busy, crafting Native American necklaces in their school colors of red, white and blue.For two weeks, students are learning about the history and culture of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians through storytelling, dancing, beading and cooking Choctaw food. The program is made possible through a grant from the NoVo Foundation, according to Rachel Kiepe, the school's library media specialist.  Phyllis McMillan, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, came to the school to share her tribal beading skills with the students. She encouraging them to create something meaningful, such as jewelry they could wear to pep rallies. With that in mind, the students created diamond-shaped necklaces. McMillan said that in Choctaw culture, the diamond shape represents the diamondback rattlesnake, which eats rodents trying to destroy the farmers' crops.  READ MORE
Libraries provide a wide range of free services to the public. But the cost isn’t free. And while tax dollars help, it is the work of Friends of the Library groups that supplements that source of revenue by backing individual programs, raising funds by holding book and bake sales and creating a strong reserve of volunteers. They also provide the foot soldiers when libraries go to referendum.Their importance cannot be underestimated. Indeed, libraries seeking grant funds find it an advantage if they can show the support of Friends groups.  Each year, their efforts are honored during National Friends of Libraries Week. From Oct. 21-27, the 13th annual celebration will be held, and two Friends groups will receive $250 each in honor of their celebrations.Last year’s winners were the Friends of the Library of Rutherford (N.J.) and Friends of the San Juan Library.  The Rutherford library hosted a Pet Photo Contest in which 98 photographs of dogs and cats were entered.Friends used the opportunity to set up a table at the entrance and recruit new members, using a free candy bar to sweeten the deal.  A mayoral proclamation framed and placed by the circulation attested to the vital role played by Friends in the community. READ MORE
The calls came just as Baca and her husband were crawling into bed that Sunday night. Baca’s phone rang first. It was her best friend whose sister was attending the concert with the twins. “I just remember her saying, ‘Do you know what’s going on? Do you know what’s going on?’” she said.Months earlier, their daughters had asked permission to attend the country music festival. After some consideration, the Bacas decided to let them go. The couple didn’t see much harm in letting their responsible girls, who were seniors at Faith Lutheran High School and co-captains of their varsity cheerleading squad, enjoy the Sunday night concert. They could be tired for one school day, they thought. Not a big deal.Confused by her friend’s question, Baca said she knew her twins were at the concert. Her friend continued, encouraging Baca to stay calm. READ MORE
Every weekday morning, four female cats anxiously await the contents of a Ziploc bag Milor High School (CA) library tech Lisa Natoli retrieves from a cupboard near her desk.  When the cat food hits the asphalt, the felines swarm.The number of stray and abandoned cats on campus used to be higher, but many have found new homes. Natoli speaks affectionately of Jelly, the white runt she saved from the heat last summer. Milor principal Andres Luna, too, adopted a cat, a queen that somehow found refuge for her four kittens inside his office a couple years back.Milor, a continuation school in the Rialto Unified School District, is one of many high schools in the area with feral cats roaming campus. English teacher and Cause for San Bernardino Paws founder Angela Halfman hopes by involving staff members, students and, ideally, other schools in their rescues, she can raise awareness of the ethical and humane treatment of these colonies. READ MORE
Libraries offer a prime opportunity for voters to gain access to critical information they need to cast a knowledgeable vote. Whether your library has a longstanding voter engagement effort underway or you’re just getting started, here are some tips for getting the most out of your voter outreach campaign this year.Offer nonpartisan voter registrationThe data couldn’t be clearer: Millions of Americans miss the opportunity to vote in major election years because they aren’t registered to vote. In fact, nearly one in five (21.4%) eligible Americans is unregistered. Electoral underrepresentation is particularly high among young people, especially those with no college experience.Offer nonpartisan voter registration opportunities at your library. Be sure to find out your state’s voter registration deadline, then check with your election officials, local League of Women Voters, or other organizations to see how they can help. They may be able to provide voter registration applications, suggest instructions for setting up online opportunities to register (if your state allows it), and provide other unbiased election information. READ MORE
by Steve ZaluskyLibraries open the world of reading to teens by encouraging them to use wide array of reading materials available for free at their local library – books, magazines, audiobooks and ebooks.Reading can be a fun and relaxing activity, but it is an important skill that will lead to better performance in school and leave teens better prepared to face career challenges. READ MORE
For more than 5 years in New York, San Diego, Chicago (and other cities) library workers and comic conventions have been partnering together to offer professional development sessions around comics and Graphic Novels, and - increasingly - library ‘pop up’ booths for public community outreach at comic events.Following this increasing interest, in June 2018 the American Library Association approved the creation of its newest professional division - the Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT). Under this new banner library workers will be able to better collaborate and connect with other like minded professionals involved in comics work. During New York Comic Con (Oct 4-7), the GNCRT will be working on two large public and professional outreach initiates:  READ MORE
When it comes to advocacy for libraries, we often focus on communicating with officials who have already been elected. We may go to Capitol Hill in May for National Library Legislative Day or to our state legislatures during budget appropriation season.But what would it look like to reach out to the would-be political decision makers before the election? I tried an experiment to find out.My home state of Maryland had a very competitive open primary for county and state government on June 26. I emailed candidates for several county offices to ask their views on libraries. My email went something like this: READ MORE
With millions of volumes in its collections, the UC Berkeley Library (CA) is a virtual treasure trove. But we had to ask the people who know the Library’s materials the most: What are your favorite items in the collections? Answers ranged from larger-than-life tomes to an eye-popping novel, from an early writing by Mark Twain to an original musical sketch by Beethoven. Here’s what we learned:“If you go down to (Level D) in the folio section (of Main Stacks, in Doe Library), you will encounter undoubtedly the largest books in our collection,” says Claude Potts, romance languages librarian. Folios are unusually tall books, often used to highlight the intricate details of maps, art, and architecture. Some folios, such as double elephant folios, can measure up to 4 feet long.“I don’t have so much favorite items as I do favorite happenings,” says Bob Hirst, general editor of the Mark Twain Project. Thirty-five years ago, Hirst was flipping through the Clemens family Bible, which Twain’s mother had used as a kind of filing cabinet. In it, Hirst stumbled upon a scrap of paper that he believes Twain printed as a young typing apprentice. “If that’s correct (and I believe it is) it became the oldest piece of paper we knew he had actually ‘written’ anything on,” Hirst says. READ MORE