New top librarian stresses digital transition as heart of new Gelman

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The University's newly hired head of Gelman Library says she will use the building's $16 million upgrade as a springboard for digitization to better use their space on GW's cramped Foggy Bottom Campus.

Geneva Henry, who arrived just a month before GW renovated the building's main level with sleek new furniture and more powerful desktops, said the upgrade allows the University to rethink the library's primary purpose. While the transformation to e-journals and data visualization tools will be slow-moving without a boost to the library's budget or a cultural shift among researchers, she said it will pay off.

One Year Later: Xela Civic Libraries

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This is the first in a series looking back at the activities of each of the 2012 grantees over the past year.

For the past year, the Rising Voices grantee project Xela Civic Libraries has been demonstrating how it can play a vital role in not only providing internet access for its users, but also providing them with a supportive environment to access information and share news important for their rural community. This work begins with the commitment of the librarians, who have the task of being local resources for their communities. By supporting the librarians as they support those who enter the library doors looking for assistance, users find a welcoming space with a knowledgeable staff eager to promote active citizen participation.

Public libraries key to independence

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I hope you had a happy Fourth of July.

Thinking about the revolutionaries’ struggle for independence got me thinking about our democracy and all the freedoms that we enjoy. Libraries play a role in keeping our democracy strong by providing free and uncensored access to information.

Public libraries, as they exist today, began in Colonial days. Benjamin Franklin, a lover of books and literature, owned more than 4,000 volumes in his personal collection. In 1741, he established the country’s first subscription library. Community members pooled their collections to create a lending library. People bought stock in the company to gain borrowing privileges. This initial effort later became the Library Company of Philadelphia, which still exists to this day.

The Role of Public Libraries in Latin American and Caribbean Development

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Many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have made progress in the development of public policy related to ICTs (information and communication technologies), especially in terms of allocation and connectivity, technological infrastructure, public access to information, systematization of procedures for citizens, and much more. Some countries have gone even further and have made advances on issues like transparency, civic participation, and social inclusion. Many of these countries belong to the Open Government Partnership.

What I Wish I’d Known About Building Teen Services From Scratch

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In brief: During my first professional position I found myself building a teen services program from scratch at a public library in a small town. In this article, I reflect on some of what I learned through that experience, including the value of data, the importance of having a vision, how much relationships matter, and the value of professional community. I conclude with a call for dialogue among other builders of teen services to share our experiences and lessons

When I finished library school (where I’d focused on teen services), I was expecting to work in a birth-through-eighteen youth services department and was hoping I’d be able to specialize in teen services while working alongside and learning from my other youth-serving colleagues. After all, there weren’t too many librarians I knew who did just teen services. Instead, I was hired as the first Teen Services Librarian at a library in Connecticut and found myself building a teen program nearly from scratch — all while working part-time (first 19 hours a week, then 21, then 28, with more hours each fiscal year). It was my first professional job, and I was building myself as a librarian as much as I was building the YA program at the library; I learned a lot about the real world of library work, about myself, and about the value of professional community.

Canadian Archives private deal would take millions of documents out of public domain

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OTTAWA — Library and Archives Canada has entered a hush-hush deal with a private high-tech consortium that would hand over exclusive rights to publicly owned books and artifacts for 10 years.

The plan is scheduled to be announced publicly on Friday and according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen, a gag order has been placed on everyone involved in the project until then.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) staff and others told about the plan have had to sign non-disclosure clauses but it isn’t clear why the process has been wrapped in such a dark cloak of secrecy.

Why I Love Libraries

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I love libraries because they expect little but give much. They don’t come with a curriculum and textbooks, but open stacks. There are no teachers to tell us what to read, just librarians who lie low unless asked for an opinion. They encourage wandering, which they call browsing. Looking for a novel by a Great American Author, I find myself stopped by a recounting of the 1969 New York Knicks. Looking for a biography of Harry Truman, I make a quick left and spot All the President’s Men. Often I skim. It’s like the Internet, but much, much slower.

National Bookmobile Day

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What drives through your neighborhood bringing treats that are enjoyed by kids of all ages?  It’s not the ice cream truck.  It’s the bookmobile.  National Bookmobile Day will be celebrated Wednesday April 13, 2011.  This ALA coordinated event celebrates bookmobiles and all types of mobile library services. Bookmobiles are still going strong, and they have enjoyed a long history.

Free town libraries were created in the early years in the 19th century in the United States to provide learning and recreational reading to everyone. Bookmobiles were an early addition to the offerings of these free libraries. No better method has ever been devised for reaching people with library services. Bookmobiles go to the people who can’t easily come to the library.

Correctional Facilities Libraries

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The North Dakota State Correctional system maintains libraries for all inmates in four facilities. Just as we do on the K-12 level and in higher education for university students, our libraries are administered for the education of all our patrons. Last June I accepted a job as “the librarian” for all the correctional facilities without any prior knowledge about what conditions were in those libraries or even what kinds of services I would help provide. Within the walls, the resources are lean and in ragged condition. There is no internet access and patrons have to “guess” sometimes what they’d like to read. Our one edition of Books in Print is tattered and missing volumes, which isn’t helpful to searchers.

Duluth libraries show how to help keep internet access for all

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Libraries all around the country are in need of funding, and here’s how one city is making it happen. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to helping libraries provide much-needed internet access to their patrons in the U.S.  and over a dozen countries around the world.  For more information, please see the Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study, published by the American Library Association’s Office for Research and Statistics.