I keep thinking of that May 8, 2009 storm that hit southern Illinois. It was a mad cluster of tornadoes tangling over several states, colloquially called an “inland hurricane,” but officially called a “derecho.”  A derecho sounds like some mythological trickster character kicking up a storm of chaos and change.  Yes, that sounds about right.  It was a derecho.  It took parts of the roof off the Shawnee Library System, where I was working at the time (although I happened to be in Springfield that day).  I’d worked at the system for eight years, and I suppose I was starting to feel an eight-year itch, a change coming on, although it was so comfortable and such a good job, I might have stayed forever.  A month after that storm, a sudden flood of rain seeped into the system’s damaged roof and collapsed most of the ceiling.  My colleague Steve Johnson came by that night on a hunch.  He ran along with rolls of plastic, tossing them over shelves and desks just in time to catch the wet tiles as they bulged, then splashed.  He saved the system.  He was later laid off -- and then, at least for now, brought back READ MORE
VT-AWIC Youth Library Network, Lohit is a unique youth movement in Arunachal Pradesh in North-eastern Himalayan India, reaching out to readers across a span of 300 kms in the remote Lohit and Anjaw districts, since May 2007. The Network set up jointly by the Association of Writers & Illustrators for Children (AWIC), New Delhi, the Vivekananda Trust, (HQ: Mysore) and the Lohit District Admn, is run by volunteers, contributing their time and energy for the Movement. It has set a new trend in public-library services in the state, with innovative Reading Promotion activities for the all round educational development of the rural Arunachali tribal youth, winning the hearty appreciation of the elite and the common people.   READ MORE
A design report from Zaandam by Christian Ernsten Originally appeared April 11, 2011 in Domus. Photos reprinted with Permission from author. READ MORE
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Alameda County Community Food Bank is partnering with several Oakland libraries for something you could call a "lunch and learn" program for kids.Low-incoming students are fed lunch at school, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But in the summer when school closes, many families fend for themselves."A lot of that has to do with that fact that we don't have enough places where kids can go to get food," food bank spokesperson Ecaterina Burton said.Michael Roth is a former school superintendent. He saw a way to expand the federal food program. He had read about the opening of a new library and had heard Oakland's mayor talk about government agencies collaborating in these times of budget cuts. READ MORE
Share a bit about your background - education, employment, etc.I’m a native Southern Californian who graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in 1993. After 10 years in non-profit accounting, I headed back to UCLA for my Masters in Library & Information Science. What a great choice that has turned out to be! I’ve been lucky to work in public libraries since 2005. READ MORE
About the Food Network LibrarianBefore the Food Network, Jonathan was living in Chicago working on a doctorate in Performance Studies."I was living on my own and responsible for my own care and feeding for pretty much the first time in my life. My mother, who must have wondered how I'd manage to sustain myself, gave me a copy of Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins' The New Basics Cookbook. Next thing I knew I was using my paltry stipend to buy Arborio rice, trimming artichokes, shelling fava beans. Then she sent me Anne’s Willan’s La Varenne Practique, and there I was having friends over for quail, slaving over tarte tatin, spending entire weekends in total dereliction of my studies making veal stock. Grad school never had a chance. My shelves started to fill with M.F.K. Fisher and Alice Waters and Paula Wolfert.That was the start of it all (or the end, depending on how you look at it). I read and reread compulsively and in the end basically wound up substituting the pursuit of one form of knowledge for the pursuit of another tastier one. In an odd way, my interest has remained 'academic'. I’ve never had a burning desire to become a chef or work in restaurants. My desire was and remains to crack open a book, immerse myself in its world, take it into the kitchen, and try to, in some small way, experience that world. My qualification for my current job is really little more than that—years of a very particular kind of learning, coupled with grad school-given research skills—which, lucky for me, was just what the job called for." READ MORE
It felt like the Academy Awards. But it wasn’t. At the Academy Awards, the recipient has 45 seconds to thank everyone for their contributions to his/her now-publicly acknowledged success. At the Highline School District Board meeting on April 27, 2011, I had 5 minutes to prove that my position as a professional school librarian generates a daily positive impact on the academic achievement of 690 students ages 10-13. READ MORE
States and cities are under severe budget constraints. They are turning to the library.My feeling -- as someone who works in a local tech education center that shares its library with the high school next door -- is that this situation is more complex than administrators' seeing librarians as expendable.No matter how effective teachers are, children will be left behind without librarians to help guide them through the information blizzard.In the situation schools are in now, where expenses like staff health insurance costs and I.T. infrastructure budgets are going up by double-digit percentages a year, people have a triage mentality. Some schools are having to reconsider all non-mandated services and make tough decisions. I think a few factors come into play. READ MORE
After 30 years on the line, Dan was let go by the factory. In a technology-driven economy, he had no computer skills, no job prospects, and no money for training.They helped him find a job.A class of 4-year-olds from low-income backgrounds took part in a program that combined literature with technology-based learning experiences—and fun.They helped them find a futureWho are “they,” and why should we care? READ MORE
Loriene Roy, president of the American Library Association (ALA) released the following statement regarding the release of the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the University of Illinois’ "Information Searches That Solve Problems: How People Use the Internet, Government Agencies, and Libraries When They Need Help" survey. The survey was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding for U.S. museums and libraries."The Pew survey supports our assertion that libraries are flourishing in the age of the Internet. According to the ALA’s 2007 State of America’s Libraries, library use is up nationwide among all types of library users, continuing a decade-long trend. Almost 1.8 billion visitors checked out more than 2 billion items last year. READ MORE