Articles

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
Reshma Saujani is not a coder, but that didn’t stop her from founding Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that has—in its quest to confront the gender imbalance in tech culture—taught thousands of girls in schools and libraries across the US such skills as computer programming, career confidence, and community involvement. Her forthcoming book, Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World (Viking Books for Young Readers), will be published in August. American Libraries spoke to Saujani at the American Library Association’s 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, just a few highway exits from where she grew up. READ MORE
On June 1, the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the news that the Free Library of Philadelphia’s McPherson Square Branch had a serious problem with opioid use among patrons. By June 3, everybody from the Washington Post to National Public Radio (NPR) had picked up the story.“As this nation’s opioid crisis has exploded, the staff at the public library … have become first responders,” NPR’s Scott Simon told listeners. “And I gather the librarians there have been obliged to become involved in a way that—well, become involved in a way librarians aren’t usually asked to become involved.”What Simon didn’t say—but what librarians far and wide know—is that the McPherson Square branch is just one of many American libraries struggling with opioid-related issues such as discarded, contaminated needles; drug use in the library itself; and even on-site overdoses and fatalities. Libraries from California to Colorado, Pennsylvania to Missouri, are finding themselves on the front lines of a battle they never anticipated fighting.Of course, opiate use isn’t limited to libraries. Neither is anyone claiming that the problem is more severe in libraries than it is anywhere else. Still, the fact that libraries are open to all, offer relative anonymity, and generally allow patrons to stay as long as they like make them uniquely vulnerable to those seeking a place to use drugs.“It’s just like: What is going on? How can we stem this tide?” says Kim Fender, director of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH). READ MORE
A couple of times each month, lunchtime crowds at the Pop-Up Urban Park in downtown Wichita (KS) can get their food-truck cuisine with a side of literature.The Wichita Public Library, as part of a new outreach effort, occasionally sends “Pop-Up Librarians” to the park at 121 E. Douglas to give away books and tell urban professionals about all the resources the library offers.“It’s about surprising people with what a library is,” said Stephanie Huff, spokeswoman for the Wichita library.  “We give away books for free on a regular basis with loaning. So this is a little different, but it’s in that same vein of just celebrating the joy of reading for fun and pleasure.”At least twice a month during the summer. a staff member from the library’s Central branch packs a few dozen books into a vintage trunk and hauls them the block and a half to the Pop-Up Urban Park. READ MORE

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