Many see today as the golden age of gaming, and libraries are playing a huge role in fostering that age.Gaming offers a wealth of benefits to library users. Besides being fun for players, gaming encourages important values.  According to the American Library Association’s Games & Gaming Round Table (GameRT), the games educate as they entertain.  For one thing, the games have literary value. After all, you have to know how to read in order to play. In addition, “Social games encourage language skills through peer learning. In game chat or forums, if ‘rogue’ is misspelled ‘rouge,’ the misspeller will be corrected.”  Games encourage literacy activities such as reading, writing and creating content about and around the game.All of the virtues of gaming in libraries will be on display at our nation’s libraries on Oct. 29-Nov. 4, when they participate in International Games Week at Your Library, which is sponsored by GameRT.  International Games Week is an initiative run by volunteers from around the world to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games.The list of games includes everything from abstract puzzles to digital multiplayer games READ MORE
The Reading Public Library (PA) is the place Porshia Maldonado goes to escape the bustling city outside.In here, silence is golden. In here, she can learn about the wonders of the world. In here, she can find the answer to any question in a matter of seconds.  And she said the best part is that everything is free. The 24-year-old Reading resident, who said she tries to stretch her budget as far as possible, spends a few hours each day working as an online mystery shopper from the computer lounge or scanning the bookshelves for interesting titles.  "This is probably my favorite place in the whole world," she said. "I love coming to the library."Maldonado is not alone.  It may seem strange, but it turns out the biggest users of public libraries today are millennials like Maldonado.A national analysis from the Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of millennials, people ages 18 to 35, have used a public library or bookmobile within the last 12 months. That's compared with 45 percent of Gen Xers (ages 36 to 51), 43 percent of baby boomers (ages 52 to 70) and 36 percent of people in the silent generation (ages 71 to 88). READ MORE
Designed in the late 1960s, the James K. Moffitt Library’s fourth- and fifth-floor renovations brought the library into the 21st century, with the addition of studios for audio and video recording, a wellness room, and a gender-neutral restroom READ MORE
Teens will be telling their stories in our nation’s library for this year’s Teen Read Week.Teen Read Week™ is an annual national adolescent literacy initiative created in 1998 by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association.  Held in October the same week as Columbus Day, it encourages teens to be regular readers and library users.This year, it will be held Oct. 8-14 with the theme “Unleash Your Story,” with libraries encouraging teens to tell their own stories as well as find stories, biographies, autobiographies, folk tales and more in their local library.As part of Teen Read Week, several libraries are participating in a grant program through YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation that provides awards to 10 libraries to help fund Teen Read Week activities. READ MORE
Online security is a growing concern, especially in the wake of the alarming cyber attacks that have compromised the personal information of millions.One of the most shocking was the attack on the credit reporting agency Equifax, which affected more than 140 million users.  Prior to that hack, the Pew Research Center found in a 2016 study that more than 60 percent of Americans had been affected by a major data breach or data theft incident.As we search for resources to make ourselves less vulnerable, one resource we can use is our nation’s public libraries, which are offering digital literacy training and valuable information.Throughout the month of October, the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and public libraries nationwide will celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. READ MORE
Book Club Central Honorary Chair Sarah Jessica Parker will reveal her second book selection on Oct. 11, 2017, just prior to the start of National Friends of Libraries Week.National Friends of Libraries Week honors our nation’s Friends of Libraries groups. It is a time not only to celebrate Friends, but also to promote themselves in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership. It also affords the chance for libraries and boards of trustees to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library.Book Club Central was launched this year by the American Library Association (ALA). Designed in consultation with expert librarians to provide the public with the very best in reading, this online resource is a one-stop shop for engaging content and helpful information for book clubs and readers of all types, including author interviews, book recommendations and reviews, as well as discussion questions and information on how to start and moderate a book club. READ MORE
Oregon City’s (OR) 104-year-old Carnegie library, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, received a massive face-lift that increased its size threefold while maintaining its historic charm. The additions include a centralized entryway, a new children’s section, a reading room, community spaces, and increased tech capabilities. READ MORE
By Steve ZaluskyYou may have encountered a book every once in a while that you not only disliked, but also found disgusting and even counter to your beliefs.  But would it every occur to you to try and prevent others from reading it?Perhaps you have a book that you absolutely love, but others hate it so much that they would try to prevent you and others from obtaining it.That these situations are not fantastic scenarios, difficult to imagine in today’s society, is proven by the number of book challenges reported to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF).  A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.More than 320 challenges were recorded by OIF in 2016, with many of the challenges having to do with language, depictions of LGBT characters, sexually explicit scenes and offensive political viewpoints. The 2016 list of top 10 challenged books also included a book found objectionable because of its author, comedian Bill Cosby. READ MORE
In West Ashley’s Avondale neighborhood, an alley behind the shops and bars near Magnolia Street has become an outdoor exhibition space filled with large and small murals. Artists have painted images ranging from an enormous turkey vulture to small cartoon-like figures on the sides of the buildings.On the Charleston peninsula, three murals by Shepard Fairey and several more on Huger Street by a variety of artists can be viewed. David Boatwright’s work — part art, part commercial signage — is scattered throughout the downtown area.In Columbia, a growing number of murals and sculptural pieces are adding a colorful dimension to a city so enthusiastic about public art that it has a dedicated nonprofit organization whose main purpose is to facilitate more of it.This deliberate approach adopted by Columbia now is taking hold in the Holy City where efforts are underway to introduce more curated public art to the shared environment, and not just downtown.One advocate is even calling for a “1 percent for art” program that would set aside money in every public building construction budget for the purpose of procuring artwork.  “I love public art,” said Mark Sloan, director of the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art. “It does serve a vital role in terms of meeting people where they are. It’s in the public way; you have no choice.” READ MORE