Build Community

How a Virginia City Came Together to Build a New Library

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Like a lot of the South’s once-segregated cities, Petersburg, Va., is beset by challenges. A quarter of adults do not have a high school diploma; a third of its high school kids don’t graduate on time; unemployment is high; jobs are scarce; and health problems like diabetes and heart disease are too common. Indeed, in a recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin, Petersburg ranked as the least healthy place to live among 131 Virginia communities.

With New Learning Labs, Teen Programming at Local Libraries Goes Digital

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There’s some good news for libraries—and library patrons. The bleeding appears to have stopped. Library budgets—although not growing—are at least not shrinking any more, after years of tough going.

The recession slashed the budgets of most public libraries in the nation, leaving them struggling to maintain services, including the higher-cost digital services that community residents have come to rely on. E-books, internet connections, and 3D printers are the “World Book” set of years ago—the expensive, scarce resource that libraries provide when families cannot.

Tool libraries equip local do-it-yourselfers

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An environmental movement needs a little extra oomph to make a big impact.

The farmers market movement, for example, offers great food, brings people together and supports local farmers. The alternative-vehicle movement, steadily driving interest in electric and hybrid cars, keeps us out of the gas station and gives us fun new toys to drive.

Tool-lending libraries might seem too unusual to become a full-fledged environmental movement. But they already have a foothold in Seattle, and they do more than just help the environment and reduce climate change.

Eminently practical, tool libraries save the average Joe or Jane real money. Most important, they build community.

Programs, participation grow at new North Pocono Public Library

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MOSCOW — In nearly a year since North Pocono Public Library moved from a former liquor store into its new $3.2 million facility, library activity has surged by just about any measure.

Since moving the operation from the 1,300-square-foot building on Van Brunt Street to the newly constructed 8,000-square-foot facility on Church Street in June, attendance and participation in programs have quickly grown, according to library Director Susan Jeffery and children’s librarian Kelly Pulice

From Boots to Books

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Luke Herbst, a US Army veteran, joined the Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library’s (NPL) Special Collections Division as a library associate–paraprofessional in December 2010. Although the path that led him to apply for a public library  position was circuitous, it originated in experiences he had while in the military and stationed overseas.

Herbst served in the US Army from January 2001 to March 2009, including two deployments during the Iraq War. It was during this time that he developed his love of reading. Herbst would visit the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation tents (MWRs) on base when time permitted. MWRs often housed small libraries that contained books donated from a variety of places. In Herbst’s experience, having a book in hand to read during down time in Iraq or before bed was especially helpful.

Photos of Public Libraries across the U.S.

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Since 1994, photographer Robert Dawson has photographed hundreds of the over 17,000 public libraries in this country.

“A public library can mean different things to different people. For me, the library offers our best example of the public commons. For many, the library upholds the 19th-century belief that the future of democracy is contingent upon an educated citizenry. For others, the library simply means free access to the Internet, or a warm place to take shelter, a chance for an education, or the endless possibilities that jump to life in your imagination the moment you open the cover of a book.”

Little Free Libraries putting books just down the street in Arizona

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PHOENIX – The structure outside Barbara Hinske’s downtown home looks like a fancy birdhouse. But instead of being littered with bird seed it’s brimming with books. 

Dubbed Hinske Hall, it’s one of a growing number of Little Free Libraries decorating dozens of front lawns, storefronts and parks around Arizona, connecting to an international movement that encourages neighborhoods to share books.  “My little library is so much more than these two shelves; it’s a reading community,” said Hinske, a writer.  More than 50 titles jam the shelves. Hinske said the most popular are “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and the children’s picture book “My First Plane Ride.” Audio books and magazines are also available to borrow.

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