The Library In America

Today’s public library is a vibrant place, housing books, movies and music, giving access to the internet and offering a wide variety of free programming while remaining as ever a ‘third place,’ not home or work, for people to gather and build community. Yet, like most long-lived institutions, it’s easy to think libraries of the past looked similar to libraries today. Given that this hub has existed in our country since 1731 (before we even WERE a country) they have evolved quite a bit in that time. Let’s go on a journey to see the ever-shifting story of libraries in America.

5 Alternatives to Amazon for Your Books From A Librarian

There are plenty of options when it comes to trying out a new book. Many people depend on Amazon Marketplace for fast and easy book purchases. But, many more people are trying to find alternatives to this book giant. That’s because this tech giant is not always the best option for those who want to be conscious about where they’re spending their money. Amazon not only dominates the market to the extent of causing small, local business owners to close shop, but they have also exercised their monopoly by withholding copies of books from public libraries or charging exorbitant prices for ebooks. For those who are interested in finding other ways to indulge in their reading passions, there are alternative sites, stores, and organizations to support. It’s completely possible to get access to books without contributing to large companies like Amazon.

What is the “Library of Things”?

The Library of Things is just one of the many libraries out there that offer their communities access to random necessities. Those looking for anything from board games to a lawn mower can take a look into the library’s inventory and, most likely, walk away with what they were looking for. A library of things is not as new of an invention as you would think. Libraries all around the world have different collections of things they feel may be useful or relevant to their community.

How Libraries Address the Loneliness Epidemic

This has created an epidemic of loneliness and mental health issues all stemming from the added stress of being connected yet isolated at the same time. People who are socially isolated are more at risk of mental, emotional, and physical health issues from depression and poor sleep to impaired executive function or substance abuse. But, libraries have been and will always be here to help.

Diverse Books for Every American

Now more than ever, educators are putting more value on and recognizing the importance of making sure the content they teach caters to students of all backgrounds. With the population of the United States and school-aged children becoming increasingly diverse, libraries are becoming more conscious of sharing books that students can see themselves in. Diverse books are becoming more popular by the day and many people advocate for literature that reflects the experiences of all children. Building a diverse selection of books can come with many questions but there are plenty of resources to help guide those wanting to implement change into their bookshelves. Our nation’s libraries are putting equity, diversity, and inclusion on the forefront of their selection processes, encouraging everyone else to follow suit and contribute.

Want Excellent Free Images for Your Blogs and Wikis? Check out the Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a nonprofit organization that works with a vast range of national partners to compile resources and materials from institutions into one accessible location for the public to use. The DPLA is also dedicated to helping out cultural institutions by creating a library-controlled marketplace for libraries to organize their ebooks and e-content. We want to share some of the innovations and resources that our colleagues at DPLA have had in the works. This past year, DPLA has been devoting its time towards their collaborative efforts with Wikipedia. Last spring they launched a project that would make images of the millions of cultural heritage artifacts DPLA had available to audiences through WIkimedia. Since its inception, the collaboration has produced many exciting outcomes in the digital space. The work that has been accomplished is impactful to organizations and the public.

Libraries for Tweens - Tips from the Librarian

From programs just for tweens to securing the safest databases to do research, the public or school library should be your tween's go-to spot. 

Libraries Help Military Families Answer the Challenges and Thrive

Military families face plenty of obstacles when it comes to family life, education, job searching, etc. The challenges of being in the military can add up especially when kids and family members are being relocated multiple times a year. This can drastically affect the quality of life and bring up additional challenges for them to handle. Libraries aren’t the one-stop solution for this but they can do a lot in helping families tackle the difficulties that come up.

Libraries for Toddlers — Tips from a Librarian

Bringing younger kids to the library is not always the easiest thing to accomplish. Some parents might be tempted to leave them at home while they book browse or find other activities to keep them occupied. But libraries are well equipped to handle any toddler that comes through their doors. Making a library trip with your children is beneficial to their development but can also be helpful for you. While there are worries parents have with bringing them to a place that is stereotyped as quiet and strict, librarians have seen it all when it comes to underage patrons and can help you get your family in and out with books, activities, and good experiences. Here are some tips and tricks on library visits with a toddler.

Library Cookbook Book Clubs

Books are a source of comfort and joy for many people. Cooking and eating fall into that same category. And for the center of the Venn diagram where people who love books and food, some libraries are offering a dream combo: Cookbook book clubs. What that kind of book club looks like varies from library to library, with the pandemic further altering the approaches. Debbie Estrella, the adult services librarian for the Tiverton Library in Tiverton, Rhode Island, noted that her cookbook club began in 2017 and has been a success. “It’s a great program for people who like cooking, but don’t necessarily want to read a book,” she said. “Pre-pandemic, we came together for a meal every month. It was a great way to have a community gathering and conversation.”