Articles

Golden shovels pierced the first few chunks of dirt Wednesday on a plot of land in downtown Missoula that will be home to a new, $36.7-million Missoula Public Library and museum complex. The four-story, 105,000-square-foot facility is expected to be open by 2020.Missoula’s library is the busiest in the state, with over 1,000 people visiting each day. A nearly decade-long effort to plan, fund and build a new one culminated in the groundbreaking ceremony on Main Street that drew a large crowd in the hot afternoon.Rita Henkel, a member of the library board of trustees, kicked off the ceremony with a speech.  “Eight years ago we commissioned an assessment of our current library,” she said. “The results proved our library was too small and our antiquated amenities would not be enough to keep up with our rapidly growing community."She said it's been a laborious and challenging eight years.  "In fact, I had brown hair when this started,'' she joked. "But today is the start of a new chapter, one filled with learning resources, information access and public engagement for generations to come.  "It is about more than bricks and mortar, books and shelves. This is about a gathering space for ideas that can and will inspire positive social change for Missoula and beyond.” READ MORE
Manhattan Beach (CA) was a thriving beach town when it officially incorporated on Dec. 2, 1912, but it didn’t have all that many permanent residents.A small group of strong-willed women, led by Jessie Bell Smith, were determined that their then-small town have all the necessities: a good school system, fire and police departments and its own library.  Smith had founded the Neptunian Woman’s Club in May 1909, and it became a driving force in the community, advocating for such services.As historian Jan Dennis told the Beach Reporter in 2012, the Neptunians started Manhattan Beach’s first library in the summer of 1912 at the club’s original location at 1200 The Strand. It members had been operating a book discussion group when the decision was made to make books available to the community for 10 cents a loan.It was a popular option. By the time the library became affiliated with the Los Angeles County library system in January 1915, had 380 books and 143 card-carrying members. The city’s population was less than 600 at the time.  The library would move to 1209 Manhattan Avenue in 1935 and remain there for the next two decades. READ MORE
Can you get to the bottom of the ocean using science, technology, engineering and math skills?Instead of just watching cartoons or playing video games after school, the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library (IN) has started a program where kids in third- through seventh-grade can actually learn while still having fun.The new after-school program, called “Digital Divers,” is modeled after Muncie Public Library’s “Digital Climbers.” The Muncie library is located right next to the school, so kids could just walk over to participate in the challenges that allowed them to climb up a mountain and earn prizes.After hearing about Digital Climbers, KHCPL staff visited the library and learned just how the program works, said Lisa Fipps, director of marketing and community engagement at KHCPL. With the blessing and some help from Muncie Public Library, KHCPL has brought the after-school, STEM-based learning program to Kokomo — with its own unique twist.“We thought it would be much more fun to do a ‘divers’ program because then we can have the sea and incorporate all of these creatures that kids like,” Fipps said. “Plus it allows us to educate about the environment and the ocean, like what straws can do or the giant mass of floating trash.” READ MORE
Libraries play a vital role in American society. They are centers of learning and opportunity that welcome all members of the community to freely explore new possibilities, access educational programming, and enlighten the mind. For many new Americans, the wealth of digital and print information at their local library, coupled with the educational programs that are available, serve as valuable catalysts for the pursuit of their American Dream.Since 2008, 188 libraries across Dollar General’s market area have received more than $1.5 million to help build innovative and effective literacy programs for adult English-language learners. With these grants, libraries have developed new courses, expanded their print and digital collections, increased access to technology, implemented new strategies for inclusion, and developed sustainable partnerships with organizations across their communities. These enhancements and expansions have resulted in increasing access and opportunities for thousands of individuals across the country:The Township of Plainsboro, New Jersey, known for the pharmaceutical corporations and advanced technology laboratories that call it home, attracts a diverse population from all corners of the globe. More than 46 percent of its residents speak a language other than English at home—and the number is growing READ MORE
The kiosk at the community center is also watched over by the center’s cameras.Spokane Mayor David Condon spoke briefly before a ribbon cutting ceremony marked the kiosk as open for business. He said the kiosk is an example of how the city is making investments in the community.“The modern-day bookmobile is right behind you,” he said. “It truly is access to knowledge, which is the fabric of our community. This will break down barriers in the West Central community.”Thefirst item checked out of the kiosk was a Captain Underpants book. It didn’t take long for kids at the center to swarm the machine, which holds books for adults and kids as well as DVDs.Amanda Estep checked out a DVD and a few books for her children. She visits the community center often and knew the kiosk was coming. She previously went to either the Shadle or downtown libraries, but they weren’t convenient.“I live right down the road,” she said. “This is so much better. I’m so thrilled.”She likes that she can also return books there and that she can check out books for herself, too. The machine includes popular items like Harry Potter and James Patterson books. “That is so cool,” she said.Numerica Credit Union contributed $50,000 for the project and is the title sponsor. Funding also came from the Avista Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, Pitney Bowes, Spokane Federal Credit Union, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and Band Construction. Spokane City Councilwoman Candace Mumm also contributed money.“It’s going to be a wonderful thing for the community,” said Lynn Ciani, Numerica’s executive vice president general counsel. “These books will enhance the lives of those who read them.” READ MORE
Whether we admit it or not, we're all a little dorky in our own ways. Perhaps you've spent countless hours reading the Harry Potter series. Maybe you can recite half of the lines from Jaws. It's possible you've gotten your buds together for a good ol' game of Dungeons & Dragons. Regardless of how your nerdiness reveals itself, there's a place for you at Coeur d'Con, Coeur d'Alene's home-grown comic convention.The event is a geek-tastic celebration of comics, movies, games, manga (Japanese comic art), books and more put on by the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. It features events that are associated with classic conventions, including lectures, contests and workshops.Instead of usual library-goers perusing books, the building will be filled with Coeur d'Con participants, many disguised as characters from their favorite movies or comics, immaculately dressed for the cosplay (costume play) contest. Special guests like Tom Cook, one of the animators behind He-Man and Scooby Doo, will be in attendance to give a talk on his life as a cartoonist. READ MORE
A five-person panel of Ohio community leaders explored employment issues August 9 during “Libraries Educate Today’s Workforce for Tomorrow’s Careers,” an event organized by four Ohio library partners and the American Library Association (ALA).The discussion—which focused on libraries as an essential component in creating, sustaining, and retaining a viable workforce—brought together leaders from all levels of government and community nonprofits.The program took place at Rakuten OverDrive headquarters in Cleveland and was cosponsored by Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Ohio Library Council, and ALA. It is the first in an upcoming series of local events organized by ALA and hosted in collaboration with libraries and library businesses across the country. READ MORE
The American Library Association (ALA) is seeking nominations for the coveted 2018 I Love My Librarian Award, which recognizes librarians for transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. The national award invites library users to nominate their favorite librarians working in public, school, college, community college or university libraries. Nominations are being accepted now through Oct. 1, 2018 at www.ilovelibraries.org/lovemylibrarian.  The ALA will select up to 10 award recipients. Each winner will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the I Love My Librarian Award ceremony and reception in New York City on Dec. 4 hosted by the award co-sponsor, the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York. READ MORE
Tiny, colorful toddlers’ shoes; a worn copy of Cuentos de Magon, a staple of Costa Rican literature; snapshots of a woman caught mid-embrace with her husband; and in the midst of it all, a tiny yellow and blue document—a passport. Together, the objects of both national and personal importance tell the story of Sonia Hernandez, the mother of Anthony Otey, a Ph.D. candidate in Romance languages and literatures. Hernandez—who died in 2017—immigrated to the United States in her late twenties from Costa Rica, but “the words in all caps on her green card: RESIDENT ALIEN, constantly reminded her that she was other and that she would always remain other,” Otey wrote to accompany some of his mother’s possessions that he loaned to “Passports: Lives in Transit,”an exhibition on view at Houghton Library that elucidates the stories in the thin pages of passport booklets.Those narratives reveal success and failure, migration and rejection, hope and frustration, and the fragility of a national identity. “She always reminded me of why she did not like being in the U.S,” Otey wrote. It was a sentiment exacerbated in recent years as anti-immigrant sentiments intensified and hate crimes jumped across the country. “The hateful rhetoric that emerged during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign made these feelings of otherness resurface. I reassured her that she was more than her legal documents that kept her in this country, and the medical papers that documented a body in decline.” READ MORE
August is not just for vacations and summer reading programs—it’s high season for library advocacy. US representatives are on recess and back home in their districts to reconnect with their constituents, so now through Labor Day is the perfect time for library advocates to share the many ways we are transforming our communities.Invite your representative to your library to see in person how your library is meeting the needs of your community. The value of your library’s services may be crystal clear to you and the families, students, researchers, and other patrons you serve, but your elected leaders may not understand the value of your services unless you show them. Here are a few tips from librarians across the country for arranging visits with members of Congress. READ MORE

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