The University of Illinois Library has long been a point of pride for the campus, ranked among the best in the world for its vast collection and top-ranked academic programs.Now the library is embarking on a $54 million modernization plan that would demolish its older "stacks," build a new interdisciplinary liberal arts center in their place, move services for undergraduate students into the Main Library and turn the current Undergraduate Library into a home for the University Archives and other special collections.To University Librarian John Wilkin and other proponents, the ambitious plan would bring the library into the 21st century, provide a long-awaited home for special collections now scattered across campus, and improve services for students and scholars.  The changes are motivated by structural issues and technological updates that have altered the nature of library materials and services. With 14 million volumes and growing, storage is a constant issue for the country's second-largest academic library (after Harvard). READ MORE
The Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library’s main exhibition space, usually resembles a 17th-century sitting room — the walls are robin-egg blue, gold chandeliers hang from the high ceilings, and a framed portrait of a regal-looking man sits above a fireplace. But for Rachel Howarth’s goodbye party in December 2015, the room was adorned with donkey piñatas and holiday decorations. And among the festivities were six librarians who, in their white button-down shirts and black bowties, could be easily confused for waiters. But that night, they were neither waiters nor librarians — they were The Beatles.Emilie Hardman, a Houghton librarian, had gathered a band of colleagues to give Howarth a surprise musical send-off. Michael Austin played the guitar, Micah Hoggatt the banjo, and Emily Walhout the viola da gamba. Heather G. Cole was on drums, but because they couldn’t bring a full drum set into the library, that meant “a snare placed on a stool,” as Cole recalls in an email. James M. Capobianco ’99, a classically-trained tenor, was lead vocalist, singing a parody of “Penny Lane” with new lyrics about their departing friend. Hardman, who had written the lyrics, rocked a tambourine. Together, they formed the Yellow Sub-Basement. READ MORE
Libraries are often the first place new Americans turn to for support, whether to learn English, connect with community services, or to learn about American culture while celebrating their own heritage. American Dream libraries are the new community centers for English language learners, offering not only language instruction but also camaraderie and civic engagement through clubs, events, and services.The Terrebonne Parish Library System was already offering English language programs when it received its American Dream grant in 2017, but the library wanted to find new ways to connect with the Hispanic population of their “little bayou town” in Louisiana.The result was Conectando, an umbrella term for courses, story times, and festivals that engaged adult English language learners and celebrated the Hispanic culture of the community. READ MORE
In 1990, when it was ranked one of the worst libraries in Colorado—open only four days per week, the lowest number of books per capita, minimal reference, and no children’s services—Douglas County Libraries (DCL) won 66% of the votes in an election to create a better-funded, independent library district.By 2007 (and after I had served as DCL director for 16 years), 84% of households in the county had an active library card. Its annual circulation per capita was 27, and gate counts exceeded those of any local business by a wide margin. In June 2009, right after DCL decided to go back to the voters for a tax measure to keep up with community growth, the library earned the number-one spot in Hennen’s American Public Library Rankings for libraries with populations of 250,000–499,000 (based on 2006 government data).Confident of a win, DCL campaigned to little resistance and many compliments. But the library lost the election by only 1% of the vote.Shortly thereafter, OCLC unveiled its first From Awareness to Funding study in 2008, exploring the relationship between the public’s perception of a library’s role within the community and success with levies, referenda, and bond measures. It was a revelation, and it underscored the DCL experience: Use does not equal support. Douglas County, like most libraries, had been marketing its services, not its value. READ MORE
Every Tuesday evening, a small corner of the Blount County Public Library (TN) turns into a land of fantasy, dragons, enemies and magic for a group of more than a dozen young Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts and adult gamers.First published in 1974, Dungeons and Dragons was developed as a fantasy tabletop role-playing game where each player is assigned a specific character to play. The characters embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting refereed by a dungeon master.Characters join together to solve problems, engage in battles and gather knowledge and treasure. As the characters achieve goals, they become increasingly more powerful and able to tackle bigger challenges and adventures. READ MORE
Tuesday evening STEAM programs at the Wilson County Public Library (NC) are gaining popularity with area families.The brain-building activities have been going on since May and are paid for with a 2017 grant from the Library Services and Technology Act. The federal portion was $44,343, plus $11,090 in local funds, for a total of more than $55,000 to create a CrAFT studio emphasizing robotics, coding, crafts, electronics and more.The goal of the grant was to build a space in the library that focused on activities in science, technology, engineering, art and math, or STEAM, according to Debbie Schmitzer, a librarian who works in the children’s room on the library’s second floor.Schmitzer said a space once occupied by local history materials is being repurposed for STEM and STEAM functions. READ MORE
Actress, singer and model Zoë Kravitz stars in two new video Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for the American Library Association, promoting the magical power of libraries. In the PSAs, Kravitz, who appears in the upcoming film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” urges the public to visit libraries to discover and experience new worlds through literature and resources such as eBooks, games and 3D printers. READ MORE
Students in the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership have teamed up with Barnard librarians to create a lending library for first-generation low-income students at the recently opened Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning.The library, an extension of the lending library in Butler Library, currently holds close to 500 textbooks available to either be checked out for two hours or rented for an entire semester, and FLIP plans to continue to add more textbooks over the course of the semester. Students who identify as first-generation or low-income must fill out a Google form to obtain access to the books.“The goal is to have books for all schools in both libraries,” FLIP co-president Destiny Machin, SEAS ’19, said. “We're just making sure we can get as many course texts and that each student who needs books has what they need.”For Machin, who identifies as first-generation low-income, this initiative was deeply personal because of her past experiences purchasing textbooks. READ MORE
What was I thinking?Last week at the Gilmore Car Museum library in Hickory Corners, northeast of Kalamazoo (MI), I was asking myself that question as I sat at a work table sorting through a box of old car brochures. For the past several weeks, I have been hopping into my Verano and driving the Buick eastward on I-94 for 70 miles two days a week to take up a residence at the library.The reason being I have donated my collection of car brochures – all 29 boxes of them – to Gilmore and also volunteered to sort through the stockpile and assess each and every one.Going through the piles has been a history lesson for me. It has shown me how significantly the automakers have changed in the way they designed, equipped and, most importantly, how they promoted their products as time marched on.I’ve not taken the time to count how many brochures there are in each box, but there are thousands. They come in all sizes. Some brochures measure more than 15 inches square and can be 1/8-inch thick. Others are little more than a large sheet of thin paper printed on both sides and folded several times to make a small handout. READ MORE
Neshoba Central High (MS) students have been busy, crafting Native American necklaces in their school colors of red, white and blue.For two weeks, students are learning about the history and culture of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians through storytelling, dancing, beading and cooking Choctaw food. The program is made possible through a grant from the NoVo Foundation, according to Rachel Kiepe, the school's library media specialist.  Phyllis McMillan, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, came to the school to share her tribal beading skills with the students. She encouraging them to create something meaningful, such as jewelry they could wear to pep rallies. With that in mind, the students created diamond-shaped necklaces. McMillan said that in Choctaw culture, the diamond shape represents the diamondback rattlesnake, which eats rodents trying to destroy the farmers' crops.  READ MORE