Judi Bridge’s hometown didn’t feel entirely like home anymore.After several decades of life elsewhere, she had returned to the village of Winnebago, Nebraska (population 787) in 2009, searching for a quieter, more rural lifestyle. She’d even gotten a job at the local Little Priest Tribal College and Winnebago Public Library, working as an aide to senior citizens of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. (The village is located within the tribal reservation.) But after so much time away, she didn’t feel completely embraced by the community.That is, until a library patron suggested that when you’re trying to find your place in any small, close-knit settlement, a useful strategy is to tell people who your parents and grandparents are. It worked like a charm. “They’ll [now] say, ‘Oh, okay, okay,’ and then they accept me,” Bridge says.Good thing, as Bridge’s job entails constant connection. As tribal aide to elders (her official title), she delivers library books, gives rides to and from the library, teaches basic computer skills, facilitates a book club, provides accessibility devices, and does whatever else she can to make sure that the senior and disabled citizens of the Winnebago Reservation get the most out of their library. READ MORE
A recently published story on NPR highlights an emerging trend in public libraries: Providing opportunities for older adults to exercise and have fun together at the library. The story “Xbox Bowling for Seniors? Visit Your Local Library” discusses the “Library Lanes Bowling League,” a program that has been offered at multiple branches of the Brooklyn Public Library for years.Older adults, the primary audience for the program, are invited “to join a team, learn how to bowl using a Microsoft Xbox One, and compete with neighborhood libraries and senior sites in the community” Two of the participants interviewed for the segment, said they enjoy bowling at the library, rather than at a senior center because in the library all ages are present. The program continues to grow. NPR reports in 2017 there are twice as many Xbox bowling teams for seniors in the Brooklyn Public Library System as there were last year. READ MORE
Francis John "Frank" Sullivan (1892-1976) lived at 135 Lincoln Avenue in Saratoga Springs (NY) for most of his adult life. Affectionately known as “The Sage of Saratoga,” the 1914 graduate of Cornell University, started his writing career at The Saratogian Newspaper. He worked as a journalist at The Herald, The Evening Sun and New York World in Manhattan for two decades. Sullivan's writings were the focus of the Saratoga Reads community-wide reading and discussion initiative in 2017. READ MORE
Michelle Tilley likes old-fashioned books, the ones printed on paper.She likes the feel in her hand as she turns the page, the weight of the book in her lap.  But when she's going on vacation, Tilley downloads e-books from the library. Instead of weighing down a suitcase, "I take all those books on my tiny little Kindle."Tilley does what many library lovers do these days. She switches back and forth between paper books and books delivered electronically.   Last year, Lincoln library patrons borrowed more than 3 million items, from books off the shelves to music and movies from the Hoopla streaming service.And for the past decade the pattern of library use has been slowly changing.The number of electronic delivered e-books, movies, TV shows, audio books, and music loaned to Lincoln (NE) library users has exploded, from 7,008 in fiscal year 2006-07 — the year electronic downloading became available — to 244,874 last fiscal year.  Print material remains the heart of the library's loan service, though its use is dropping. The number of print items loaned has dropped gradually from nearly 2.5 million in fiscal year 2008-09 to a little more than 2 million last fiscal year. READ MORE
by Michael Wetzel, courtesy of Decatur DailyLocal libraries expect to get their share of federal funding for fiscal 2018, but library directors are fearful funding allocations could change at any moment in Washington, D.C. READ MORE
Steepletop (Austerlitz, NY) was the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) member of the NYS Writers Hall of Fame (2010) and the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1923).  Her work includes 10 poetry collections, an opera libretto, songs, plays, essays, short stories, and satirical sketches.Much of this work was created here, where the poet and her husband created a peaceful homestead (--a restored New England farmhouse surrounded by flower and vegetable gardens, and a wooden writing cabin under a canopy of white pines.) Today the spirit of the poet still lingers, welcoming visitors to enjoy the beauty of the natural world that inspired her. READ MORE
Book clubs and libraries are a natural fit. After all, libraries promote literacy to patrons of all ages, fostering a love of reading in children and young adults, as well as offering resources to adults seeking to improve their reading skills.By supporting book clubs, libraries expand the horizons of their patrons, while promoting social interaction and community engagement.The Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin, Illinois explains its support for book clubs on its website – “Book clubs offer readers the opportunity to enrich their reading experience by sharing their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.” Its library book discussion groups include one focusing on contemporary fiction and another on great books. Another group, the Walking Book Club,  exercises its feet as well as its mind, meeting for a 45-minute walk, followed by a 45-minute discussion. READ MORE
On the afternoon of July 16, 1960, eight African-American students bravely filed into the whites-only Greenville County (S.C.) Public Library and sat down in the reading room to look at newspapers and books. One of those students was a young Jesse Jackson—later to become famous as a civil rights activist and minister—who was home in Greenville on summer break from the University of Illinois.Another of the students was Joan Mattison Daniel, a then-18-year-old freshman at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, who recently told American Libraries that “Jesse Jackson was responsible for our getting together to stage the sit-in. He had come home in January and needed a book to write a paper. The book was not at the colored branch library, a small, one-room house on East McBee Avenue.” Librarian Jeanette Smith told him it would take another six days to get the book he wanted, which would have been too late. “So Jackson went to the main library to look for it,” Daniel said. “He was told he could not use that library, and that was the beginning of it.” He vowed to come back in the summer. READ MORE
The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library (IN) will become what is thought to be the first library in the world to host a piece of art by the street artist Banksy.The well-known, stealthy Banksy has created coveted political and social commentary street art around the world. The KHCPL will display a piece Banksy created in San Francisco on the side of a bed and breakfast, titled “Haight Street Rat."The piece features a rat sporting a cap reminiscent of Che Guevara, the late Argentine Marxist military leader. The rat is holding a marker next to a drawn red line, and the other end of the line reads “This is Where I Draw the Line.” The piece that will be on display does not include the phrase.Lisa Fipps, director of marketing and community engagement at the KHCPL, said as far as the library knows, they’re the first in the world to host an actual piece by Banksy. Other libraries have hosted displays with posters or prints of his work, but Fipps said as far as she can tell, the KHCPL is the first to host the actual piece.She added in a press release that the piece, if sold, could bring in more than $1 million. Very little is known about the actual artist, but his work is widely popular.Art collector Brian Greif paid more than $40,000 to the bed and breakfast in San Francisco to take down the wall that “Haight Street Rat” was painted on.  Greif put on the work on tour with the requirement that the host site be free to the public and promote the value of street art. READ MORE