Kate Coleman worked with nearly 500 homeless people at Minneapolis (MN) Central Library last year. But whenever one homeless person asks if she's ever met another homeless person like him or her, her answer is always "no." "Every single person that I encounter is different," she said.Coleman works full time at the downtown library as part of a years long effort by the Hennepin County Library system to better help the homeless connect with tools and resources in the area.  Library staff often receive requests from patrons about homeless services that are beyond a librarian's knowledge, said Lois Langer Thompson, director of the library system. READ MORE
Sometimes when you’re researching items from the past, there are historical mysteries you just can’t figure out.  And sometimes, the answer is right at your fingertips.Such was the case for identifying a “thing” that’s been sitting on a shelf in the Arda Haenszel California Room of the Feldheym Library in San Bernardino (CA) for longer than anybody can remember.One day, Sue Payne, who has volunteered at the local history room for more than 20 years, decided she would try to determine the purpose of this black metal object with a handle and 18 inches of rope. It has the words “Armstrong Power Studios” written on it.Payne would take photos of the object with her during vacation trips, hoping to find someone who recognized it. She even showed it to officials at a mechanical museum in Weaverville, in far northern California, but with no success. READ MORE
Summer is almost here! With it comes summer vacations, busier public libraries, and an influx of children and teens looking for things to do and materials to use. In addition, many libraries have begun to be involved with summer food programs. While these programs often come about as part of a push toward meeting area needs and community engagement, there is an argument to be made that engaging in summer food programs helps libraries fulfill their mission as agents and protectors of intellectual freedom.The Article V of the Library Bill of Rights states, “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” When it comes to the summer food programs provided by the federal government, both age and background come into play. READ MORE
The exponential growth of data in our hyper-connected world raises a number of questions, starting with: what do we do with all of it? In response, librarians innovate and collaborate to serve their communities as they endeavor to locate, gather, analyze, and make meaning of information. As champions of both information access and privacy, librarians also build the capacities of communities to understand privacy implications and take measures to protect their own privacy as well as those of subjects whose data they gather. READ MORE
Libraries are welcoming spaces that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.This is especially evident as, for the third year, the American Library Association marks June as GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.Originally established in the early 1990s by The Publishing Triangle as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, this occasion is an opportunity for book lovers and libraries with the very best in GLBT literature.  GLBT Book Month™ is coordinated through the ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.The ALA supports GLBT literature through the Stonewall Book Awards, as well as two bibliographies including Rainbow Books and Over the Rainbow Books. These awards not only recognize the very best in contemporary literature, but also provide a foundation for quality GLBT collections in our nation’s libraries. READ MORE
Art that’s inspired by a good book can be interesting.In Meg Wolitzer’s celebrated 2013 novel, “The Interestings,” a gaggle of teenagers at a summer arts camp bond together in that amazingly intense way that only summer campers can. Love, rivalry, hero worship and enduring dreams for the future all sprout. So do years of unexpected consequences and soul-searching about what it means to be ordinary versus what it means to be special and truly “interesting.”The Camas Public Library’s bimonthy Book-to-Art club is special and interesting. Its mission is not just to get people reading and talking — it’s also to get them creating. It was started by librarian Judy Wile, who has run a monthly “Saturday Adult Craft-o-Rama” at the library for years. In that group, Wile selects a project and everybody tries it. READ MORE
Charlie Macquarie, a librarian, archivist, artist and writer, spoke about his “Library of Approximate Locations” at SNC’s Poetry Center (NV) in the Prim Library this spring. Macquarie’s project sheds light on the importance of libraries and books in a way that makes people want to keep turning the pages.Macquarie grew up in Carson City and shares his connection to the region and landscape through his art installations at outdoor locations throughout the West and his accompanying talks, which usually take place in libraries.His installations are comprised of books that share a historic connection to the land. He presents himself as the librarian that he is, curating a library that is specific to a chosen site. His own book collection always follows him in his grandfather’s old truck. READ MORE
At the Stanislaus County Library in Modesto (CA), Olga Cardenas makes it her mission to deliver literacy programs, regardless of language or economic barriers.It is why she received a 2016 I Love My Librarian Award.  Blessed with the ability to communicate in English and Spanish, she reaches families in Stanislaus County burdened with extreme poverty and facing cultural barriers.  Cardenas, who was nominated by the Friends of the Modesto Library,  holds the key these families need to unlock the potential for unlimited opportunities for their children.As the Youth Services Outreach Librarian, she reaches out to parents in their communities, their workplaces and their houses of worship. Her outreach efforts have also led her to forge partnerships between the library and businesses, service organizations and schools. READ MORE
Learning doesn’t end with the school year. At our nation’s libraries, summer is the season for learning, as libraries fill a critical need for continuity in the education process.  Public libraries serve a critical function in summer learning, in many cases acting as the only safety net against the summer slide.Shawn Brommer, youth services and outreach consultant with the South Central Library System in Madison, Wisconsin, said she is seeing a trend of youth services librarians in public libraries are looking at the benefit that summer library programs provide to the entire community.   “We are addressing the summer slide through so many activities, definitely through our literacy activities and through supporting reading. But we are also looking at summer learning.” READ MORE
Amid the showy depictions of rearing horses, racing stagecoaches and deadly duels, a strange similarity becomes apparent between the solemn hero framed by revolvers on the cover of “Valley of Guns” and the frantic man clenching a bullet between his teeth on the front of “Bandit Trail.”“With Robert Stanley, I liked the way he did his covers. And a lot of it was because they were him — he used himself and his wife as his models for every cover he made,” said Karen Spilman, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's (OK) librarian.  “I was fascinated by the fact that for every single one of these covers, a painting was created.”Ten years into cataloging a vast collection of Western paperback novels, Spilman is paying homage to the illustrators who crafted covers that could match florid titles like “Skeleton Trail,” “Death Rides the Night” and “Deadline at Durango.”The covers are the story in the exhibition “The Artistry of the Western Paperback.”  “As I was cataloging them, I noticed more and more of the illustrations being dynamic, bright, colorful, action-packed, and I just became fascinated with them,” she said. READ MORE