by Eric Lagatta, courtesy of The Columbus DispatchThe long-held stereotype goes something like this: When you walk into a library, you can hear a pin drop.  Muted glares from fellow patrons and crotchety librarians prone to "shush-ing" deter even the slightest whisper. READ MORE
For film preservationists and movie comedy buffs, one of the major events this year is the public unveiling of the long sought complete second reel of Laurel and Hardy’s classic “The Battle of the Century.”Prior to its rediscovery, the film had only existed in fragments.Its existence was revealed during a seminar at Mostly Lost, an annual event that not only draws film buffs, historians and preservationists from all over the world, but also calls attention to the important work done by the Library of Congress, our nation’s library, in preserving our cultural legacy and history.Had it not been for the event, would we have even known about reel two of “The Battle of the Century?”It goes beyond that. Think of all the films we love that might have been lost without the tender loving care of the staff at LOC.  A scan of the National Film Registry provides an overview of some of the treasures – everything from “Casablanca” and “Citizen Kane” to “Top Gun” and “Raging Bull” – that this archive has earmarked for protection. READ MORE
The students using the library for research and book reports are probably fewer and fewer with each passing year, but local libraries are still working to remain a viable resource for residents in Southern Illinois.Sheila Fredman, coordinator of children’s services at Marion Carnegie Library, says the technology available at the library is still a selling point.  “A lot of people in the rural areas still don’t have the Internet, and sometimes people can’t afford the Internet,” she said.She said the residents are still coming to the library to jump on a computer to polish a resume or apply for jobs — which is becoming more and more normal. READ MORE
Libraries are transforming to meet the needs of 21st Century users.  This is certainly true of school libraries.Just ask Marge Cox, school librarian at Veterans Memorial Elementary School in Naples, Florida.  “Today, the expectation is that instruction happens on a daily basis,” she said. “There is more interactivity.”She mentioned that the school libraries of today have Makerspace nights, online book clubs and game events.  “I think if people haven’t been in a school media center lately, they really don’t have a true picture of a 21st century school library media center,” she said.However, she added, “Those events don’t happen without a full-time trained professional supported by assistants, volunteers, and the community.” READ MORE
With Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) issues in the spotlight and often stormy debate swirling about such topics as transgender bathrooms and the civil rights of government contractors, libraries are not only providing books that provide a GLBT perspective, but are also protecting books from censorship.The American Library Association (ALA), and hundreds of libraries will celebrate June 2016 as GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and books that reflect the GLBT experience.The celebration is consistent with ALA’s commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and mutual respect for all human beings, as well as recognizing the significant contributions of GLBT authors, with the Stonewall Book Awards, the first and longest-enduring award for GLBT literature, as well as its Office for Intellectual Freedom’s response to the threat of censorship. READ MORE
Fourteen years ago, the small room behind several heavy metal security doors at the Benton Franklin Juvenile Justice Center in Kennewick (WA) was an vacant meeting room with empty shelves lining the walls.Today, thanks to a continued effort from Tri-City Kiwanis Club members like Bette and George Evans, the room has been transformed into a functioning library filled with more than 2,000 books and magazines.The Richland couple have been involved since the inception of the service project in 2002.  Originally, the library was a joint project between the Juvenile Justice Center and the Richland Public Library with an initial donation from the Kiwanis Club of Richland. READ MORE
Putting the finishing touches on a brightly colored landscape in a coloring book she received as a Christmas gift, Karen Leese proudly displayed her finished product to compliments from her friends at Bacon Free Library’s (MA) adult coloring group.  “It’s beautiful,” Amy Steinmetz remarked before picking up a green colored pencil, continuing to fill blank space on her page.Before attending the weekly adult coloring group at Natick's Bacon Free Library, Steinmetz, a local artist, did not know Leese, a trustee of the library, or any other members of the club. Over the past several months, Steinmetz, Leese, Library Director Meena Jain and others have relaxed, chatted, bonded and created friendships over colored pencils and coloring books.“You get to know people in the community and befriend them,” said Leese. “It’s really sweet.” READ MORE
More than 50 residents signed challenge forms, aiming to get “My Princess Boy” and “This Day in June” off the shelves of the Hood County Library in Granbury, Texas.But the library director, Courtney Kincaid, held her ground, refusing to cave under pressure.“My Princess Boy,” written by Cheryl Kilodavis and illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone, is, according to, “a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. With words and illustrations even the youngest of children can understand, My Princess Boy tells the tale of 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by happily dressing up in dresses, and enjoying traditional girl things such as jewelry and anything pink or sparkly.” READ MORE
By Steve ZaluskySummer break doesn’t have to mean taking a vacation from learning, as youths taking part in summer programs at their libraries are finding out.  With school out for summer, libraries are filling the need to slow the summer slide and ensure that children are continuing to reinforce the education they received during the school year. READ MORE
The future of libraries in Douglas County (OR) could be in the hands of voters this fall.Representatives from a political action committee called Save Our Libraries have been traveling city to city, offering a new way of funding the library: take the Douglas County Library System off of the county payrolls and instead get the money from property owners themselves.They propose forming a special district to tax 44 cents per $1,000 of property values within the district. If the idea garners enough support from local governments in Douglas County — and enough signatures on a petition — voters across the county would decide in November 2016.With county funds evaporating every year and services being tightened, the organization said a special district might be the only thing that can keep the public libraries open.“We are in a situation right now where, unless something is done, there may be no libraries in Douglas County,” said Jeff Pugh, a representative with the organization during a recent Roseburg City Council meeting.Save Our Libraries is made up mostly of members or former members of the Douglas County Library Foundation. Its proposal would create not just the special district but a five-person board that would oversee the system. They say that keeping the libraries open means as much about keeping the county healthy economically as it does for giving kids skills to learn or people access to the Internet.“I think everybody would like to have the library system continue and the financial consideration is important, but so is (considering) the future of a town without a library,” said Bob Bell, one of the chief petitioners with the organization. “Would you, as a doctor, like to move to a town that has no library?” READ MORE