THE central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is an impressive building—its neoclassical facade looming over most of a block. But inside, though chandeliers still hang from the ceilings and the floors are of polished marble, there is a feeling of neglect. A musty taste hangs in the air; many of the books are rather battered. “The building opened in 1927 and we’ve really not touched it since then,” says Siobhan Reardon, the library’s president and director. “And you can tell.”
That, happily, is now changing. On September 11th Philadelphia announced it had secured a $25m grant from the William Penn foundation to update its old libraries. Yet libraries in general are struggling. Americans tell pollsters they love them, but fewer use them. In June the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, published data showing that library visitor numbers have declined in recent years. Polling published on September 10th by the Pew Research Center, a think tank, revealed that more people say they are going to the library less than going more, with a sharp gap among the young.
More from The Economist.
From From the New York Times: As federal and city officials continue their investigation into spending at the Queens Public Library, the library’s board of trustees has placed its embattled leader, Thomas W. Galante, on paid administrative leave.
At a special meeting on Thursday, the board, besides voting to place Mr. Galante on leave, also moved to give Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, full access to the library’s financial records, including its entire $127 million annual budget.
Mr. Stringer has been pressing to allow his auditors to review not just the 85 percent of the library’s budget that comes from city coffers, but also the balance of the money that is provided by federal grants and private donations.
“There was no excuse for the library’s earlier decision not to cooperate with the audit,” Melinda R. Katz, the Queens borough president who has been pushing for months to overhaul the library’s operations, said in a statement issued on Friday.
You may think that in this age of selfies, instant information and e-books, Millennials would have no use for a library. Why go to a library when you can access practically any book in the world with the touch of a button, albeit you have to pay for it. But still, the convenience of instant literary gratification may be too big of a luxury for most young people today to pass up.
Well, if you would go so far as to say that Millennials probably don't even know what a library is today, you'd be wrong. New research from the Pew Research Internet Project shows younger Americans' reading and library habits. The report brings together several years of research into how public libraries fit into the lives of young people aged 16 to 29 years old, the age group we sometimes not-so-lovingly refer to as Millennials. This research is especially interesting now that access to information is increasingly becoming easier and digital-only.
It turns out younger adults read just as much as the older generation. However, 88 percent of Americans under 30 had read a book in the past year compared to 79 percent of people age 30 and older.ou may think that in this age of selfies, instant information and e-books, Millennials would have no use for a library. Why go to a library when you can access practically any book in the world with the touch of a button, albeit you have to pay for it. But still, the convenience of instant literary gratification may be too big of a luxury for most young people today to pass up.
To check out books at most libraries, all you need is a library card — but this isn’t any ordinary library. You’ll need a canoe, kayak, paddle board, or inner tube to visit the Floating Library, which sits in the middle of Cedar Lake in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The hand-built wooden raft holds about 80 artists’ books and is staffed by friendly librarians to guide you. Visitors can read while bobbing alongside the Floating Library, or they can actually check out the books, zines, and chapbooks, then return them at one of the designated boxes around the city.
From the Teen Librarian Toolbox, a description of how the Ferguson, MO Public Library is serving the populace of this troubled town.
If you would like to donate to Ferguson Library, their address is:
35 N Florissant Rd,
Ferguson, MO 63135.
I just had an online piece published by Ethos: A Digital Review of Arts, Humanities, and Public Ethics (run out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill. I thought, perhaps, that it might be of interest to a larger librarian readership. Here is the link if you are interested:
From Nooga.com, a chat with chief teen librarian Justin Hoenke about changes made at the library to benefit teens and tweens. Earlier this week, Hoenke announced that he had accepted a promotion as coordinator of teen services at the library.
We spoke to him about the new position, living in Chattanooga and his plans for the future of teen services at the library and beyond.
Coordinator of teen services, eh? Using video game jargon, explain what this means in terms of "leveling up."
If my old title as teen librarian was level one, this would be level two, and I'd have increased abilities! Think of level one as me just being able to use basic magical abilities in a video game, like the ability to jump super-high. Now that I'm at level two, I can do awesome things with my magical abilities in this video game, like use magic to heal myself and maybe even use magic to cast fire and ice spells. You know, librarians are actually magicians.
What changes with the new position in terms of daily responsibility for you?
Now I'm more focused on teen services throughout the entire Chattanooga Public Library system at all of our locations (downtown, Northgate, Eastgate, South Chattanooga). In my old role, I was just working on all things on The 2nd Floor of the downtown library. This new position allows me to stretch out and help the other branches in our library system achieve greater things for teens in the community. Is it more work? Of course! But it's awesome work, and I'm so happy to be the person selected to do it.