Build Community

Iowa Libraries Help Voters Prepare for Caucuses

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Libraries are central to civic engagement, something that is especially apparent during the inevitable election cycle.  On Feb. 1, the voting cycle in the American Presidential election officially began with the Iowa caucuses, as Republican and Democrat voters flocked to have the first word on the candidates.

Libraries not only served as caucus sites. They also provided valuable information to voters, both on the day of the vote as well as in advance of it.  The public library in Decorah, Iowa, created a large poster and placed it at the front desk, informing people about their precincts, as well as locations where Republicans and Democrats can caucus.

Scott Bonner gives a “warts and all” recap of the events in Ferguson

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Amid the tumult in Ferguson, Missouri that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson last year, one local institution stepped up to provide a refuge for a community torn by social divisions – the Ferguson Public Library.

During the two-month period that encompassed the shooting and the rioting following the announcement that Wilson would not face charges, the library stood apart as an oasis that provided art programming and tutoring for students whose classes were canceled.

A sign posted in the library said it all. It read, “During difficult times, the library is a quiet oasis where we can catch our breath, learn, and think about what to do next. Please help keep our oasis peaceful and serene. Thank you!”

Video games and libraries are a good mix, say librarians

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Walk into any public library and, of course, you see books, reference materials, newspapers, magazines, and all types of the printed word. We might also see comic books, manga, and less traditional “literature.” These days, we encounter film, television, music, internet-connected computers, and other digital media. But video games?

Libraries lend video games, and they have been for some time. Some folks might think video games have no place in public institutions. Some articles on the web assume that readers will cringe when they hear that this is happening.  Libraries and librarians, however, seem to overwhelmingly support the practice.

Collection of Artwork Donated to Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

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Works from internationally acclaimed artists Joan Miro, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell and Buffalo native Charles Clough are part of a spectacular collection of modern and contemporary art donated to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library by the foundation of former Library Director Donald H. Cloudsley (1925 – 2012).

Engaging Adventures with Gamification

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A virtual tour of a city uncovering hidden treasures, small engaging ways of improving existing services and a new digital experience at the library – this is what the joint project Gamification – activating cultural dissemination resulted in. A project taken on by three libraries: Guldborgsund Public Library, Aarhus Public Library and Hjørring Public Library in their attempt to involve users in their services more actively. Each library contributed with a sub-project exploiting gamification, a method which draws on known elements from games to create a more active dissemination. An interesting tool for libraries to explore to engage citizens in a different and perhaps more entertaining way.

Long Nights Build Library Use

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The idea of an all-nighter might not hold much appeal past a certain age. Many librarians, however, are using all-nighters to build an enthusiastic audience of student users through the Long Night Against Procrastination.

One student at Crozet Library, a branch of Jefferson-Madison (Va.) Regional Library, left a remarkable thank-you note with young adult librarian Allie Haddix about the library's Exam Cram event for high school students: “Because of the services that you have provided, I will study hard and efficiently, get good grades, get into the best college, and change the world.”

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.