There’s a slab of concrete near the loading dock behind Central Library in downtown Madison. It’s hard and uncomfortable, but it’s conveniently located right next to a vent that blows out hot air from the library. For those without anywhere else to go, it’s a desirable spot on a chilly night.It was on this slab of concrete that library staff members happened upon a woman and her two children. The family had been using the spot as a place to sleep when the weather began to turn more frigid last fall.Fearing the family was in danger of getting run over by a truck, library staffers worked with the woman to help locate housing for her and the children.“They did find housing for her. It took a little while, maybe a couple of weeks, but they eventually found housing for her,” said Lisa Mettauer, an outreach librarian at Central Library. “It was heartbreaking because the kids were young and they were sick, and it was very difficult to see that.”Though this sort of work may not be what one expects out of a library, it has become a point of emphasis for Madison Public Library in recent years. The system offers a host of free programs and support services aimed at helping struggling adults and their families. As a result, the library was recently named a winner of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. READ MORE
The public, school or academic library in your area may seem far removed from the Beltway, but the fact remains that legislators in Washington, D.C., through their decisions, create ripples that reach right to your library’s threshold.Copyright, funding for literacy programs, ensuring the presence of certified librarians in schools, privacy and surveillance and net neutrality are some of the issues facing federal scrutiny that affect libraries.Advocates are needed to inform and influence legislators about issues that are critically important to librarians. And since they will depend on library services for decades to come, it is critically important as well that teens and young adults get prepared to speak on behalf of libraries to their members of Congress. Equally important is getting the message across in language they can understand. READ MORE
by Christopher Shaffer, courtesy of American LibrariesIn February, Troy (Ala.) University Dean of Library Services Christopher Shaffer brought fitness to the ­libraries when he made available six exercise bikes for student use. The endeavor made national headlines. Here, Shaffer explains his motivations, the bikes’ reception, and plans for the future. READ MORE
Sylvia Cieply believes that reading can make a difference. Her proving ground is Orange County Juvenile Hall, where Cieply, one of the 10 winners of the 2015 I Love My Librarian Award, serves as school librarian.  Cieply, who directs the Otto A. Fischer School Library, located inside the juvenile hall, has changed the culture at the library.Her nominator, Dave Busch, alluded to Cervantes in characterizing her approach to running the library. He said that after Cieply took over in December, 2010, “Sylvia handled her new assignment with aplomb,” bringing nine years of experience to the program. “The first credentialed teacher librarian to run the library program, her quest to bring a love of reading is quixotic considering our student body.”The result, he said, was the transformation of the collection that broadens the thinking of her students and exposes them to positive choices they may not have considered.  The collection has been upgraded to include a variety of faiths and philosophies; money management; career and college choices; LGBT themes; travel; art and YA series.She explained her philosophy to the Orange County Register, “When students are able to find something they want to read in a collection that’s really diverse and has a lot of different viewpoints and genres, it’s very beneficial. It helps them find a reading level they want; it helps their writing, and it helps their fluency.” READ MORE
by Eric Lagatta, courtesy of The Columbus DispatchThe long-held stereotype goes something like this: When you walk into a library, you can hear a pin drop.  Muted glares from fellow patrons and crotchety librarians prone to "shush-ing" deter even the slightest whisper. READ MORE
For film preservationists and movie comedy buffs, one of the major events this year is the public unveiling of the long sought complete second reel of Laurel and Hardy’s classic “The Battle of the Century.”Prior to its rediscovery, the film had only existed in fragments.Its existence was revealed during a seminar at Mostly Lost, an annual event that not only draws film buffs, historians and preservationists from all over the world, but also calls attention to the important work done by the Library of Congress, our nation’s library, in preserving our cultural legacy and history.Had it not been for the event, would we have even known about reel two of “The Battle of the Century?”It goes beyond that. Think of all the films we love that might have been lost without the tender loving care of the staff at LOC.  A scan of the National Film Registry provides an overview of some of the treasures – everything from “Casablanca” and “Citizen Kane” to “Top Gun” and “Raging Bull” – that this archive has earmarked for protection. READ MORE
The students using the library for research and book reports are probably fewer and fewer with each passing year, but local libraries are still working to remain a viable resource for residents in Southern Illinois.Sheila Fredman, coordinator of children’s services at Marion Carnegie Library, says the technology available at the library is still a selling point.  “A lot of people in the rural areas still don’t have the Internet, and sometimes people can’t afford the Internet,” she said.She said the residents are still coming to the library to jump on a computer to polish a resume or apply for jobs — which is becoming more and more normal. READ MORE
Libraries are transforming to meet the needs of 21st Century users.  This is certainly true of school libraries.Just ask Marge Cox, school librarian at Veterans Memorial Elementary School in Naples, Florida.  “Today, the expectation is that instruction happens on a daily basis,” she said. “There is more interactivity.”She mentioned that the school libraries of today have Makerspace nights, online book clubs and game events.  “I think if people haven’t been in a school media center lately, they really don’t have a true picture of a 21st century school library media center,” she said.However, she added, “Those events don’t happen without a full-time trained professional supported by assistants, volunteers, and the community.” READ MORE
With Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) issues in the spotlight and often stormy debate swirls about such topics as transgender bathrooms and the civil rights of government contractors, libraries are not only providing books that provide a GLBT perspective, but are also protecting books from censorship.The American Library Association (ALA), and hundreds of libraries will celebrate June 2016 as GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and books that reflect the GLBT experience.The celebration is consistent with ALA’s commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and mutual respect for all human beings, as well as recognizing the significant contributions of GLBT authors, with the Stonewall Book Awards, the first and longest-enduring award for GLBT literature, as well as its Office for Intellectual Freedom’s response to the threat of censorship. READ MORE
Fourteen years ago, the small room behind several heavy metal security doors at the Benton Franklin Juvenile Justice Center in Kennewick (WA) was an vacant meeting room with empty shelves lining the walls.Today, thanks to a continued effort from Tri-City Kiwanis Club members like Bette and George Evans, the room has been transformed into a functioning library filled with more than 2,000 books and magazines.The Richland couple have been involved since the inception of the service project in 2002.  Originally, the library was a joint project between the Juvenile Justice Center and the Richland Public Library with an initial donation from the Kiwanis Club of Richland. READ MORE