Tag Archives: Public Libraries

Opinion | The golden age of public libraries dawns again – The Washington Post

By Editorial Board, Yesterday, 1/1/2021, at 8:00 a.m. EST

The Deichman Bjørvika library in Oslo has six floors held up by three towers, leaving an open atrium at the building’s center. It was named public library of the year in 2021. (Sigrid Harms/picture alliance via Getty Images)

As the world enters 2022, public libraries are emerging as one of the bright spots — literally.

An abundance of new and newly renovated libraries have opened their doors in the past two years.

In addition to being breathtakingly beautiful, many are exemplars of what great community spaces can and should be.

Indoors, they are filled with natural light. Books once packed together in dark corners are now on display on bright, welcoming shelves that could rival those in an Apple store.

Some libraries have added outdoor patios and roof decks.

Source: Opinion | The golden age of public libraries dawns again – The Washington Post

Public Libraries and the Pandemic

Digital Shifts and Disparities to Overcome

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By: Lisa Guernsey and Sabia Prescott and Claire Park

Last updated on March 1st, 202

This report discusses findings and recommendations from New America’s national survey on public libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the fall and winter of 2020, New America embarked on a snapshot study to gather data on how—or if—people were discovering, accessing, and using their public libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on materials that libraries made available online. Our findings, which include data from a national survey of 2,620 people, highlight the need for more inclusivity, more focus on providing internet access, and more awareness-raising initiatives with local organizations and schools. The stories in this report—of libraries developing mobile Wi-Fi options, creating digital navigator programs to support digital literacy, launching more online programs, and making use of outdoor spaces—show the possibilities of transformation and partnership. The report concludes with eight recommendations for investment in library transformations, expansion of policies such as E-Rate and the Emergency Broadband Benefit to provide better internet access at home, and more collaboration with local schools and organizations. With these changes, libraries can leverage the lessons of the pandemic to help launch more equitable ecosystems of learning across communities, providing access to knowledge, resources, and training, online and off.

Source: Public Libraries and the Pandemic

In Praise of Public Libraries | by Sue Halpern | The New York Review of Books

Haizhan Zheng/Getty Images Bates Hall, the reading room at the Boston Public Library, 2017
Haizhan Zheng/Getty Images Bates Hall, the reading room at the Boston Public Library, 2017

 

A public library is predicated on an ethos of sharing and egalitarianism. It is nonjudgmental. It stands in stark opposition to the materialism and individualism that otherwise define our culture. It is defiantly, proudly, communal. The sociologist Eric Klinenberg reminds us that libraries were once called palaces for the people. Klinenberg is interested in the ways that common spaces can repair our fractious and polarized civic life. And though he argues in his new book that playgrounds, sporting clubs, diners, parks, farmer’s markets, and churches—anything, really, that puts people in close contact with one another—have the capacity to strengthen what Tocqueville called the cross-cutting ties that bind us to those who in many ways are different from us, he suggests that libraries may be the most effective.

Source: In Praise of Public Libraries | by Sue Halpern | The New York Review of Books

How American Cities Got Their Libraries – CityLab

A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

Source: How American Cities Got Their Libraries – CityLab

13 Reasons Why Libraries are Holding Us All Together | Read It Forward

Tiffany King, author of Eat at Home Tonight, argues why libraries are relevant, why they matter, and how these unsung heroes hold communities together.

Source: 13 Reasons Why Libraries are Holding Us All Together | Read It Forward

A Day in the Life: Reference Librarian at a Public Library

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An hour-by-hour account of an average day in the life of a reference librarian serving adults at a busy public library.

Editor’s Note: I used to be a reference librarian at a major urban public library, and this is a pretty decent overview of a typical day, although most were not typical.

Source: A Day in the Life: Reference Librarian at a Public Library