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.”

7 Simple Ways to Find the Best Non-Fiction Books for You

Reading non-fiction is one of the best ways to learn something new. No matter what topic you’re interested in, there is sure to be plenty of books on it. I’ve written before about how to expand your non-fiction reading, but what if you’re happy with quantity and are seeking the exact book for your current level of knowledge, and the expertise you hope to gain? First off, before you even think about selecting a book, you need to know what you’re after. Each book has a purpose and even books on the same topic can aim for different targets, so figure out what you want: A beginner’s explanation? Expert analysis? An answer to a specific question? Entertainment? All of the above…none of the above? As soon as you figure out what you need you can begin your search. Due to the fact that there are literally hundreds of books available on any topic from mollusks to Jupiter, take note of the following tips to avoid wasting your time:

Listening with Others: A Reboot for Screen-weary Eyes

In many communities, social events that take place in public continue to be curtailed. Book groups and other media fans who enjoy the social aspects of sharing their enthusiasm (and critiques) have either moved online to video chatting platforms or on furlough. Many of us experience intensified screen time — for work, to keep as close as we can to family and friends, and to find out who’s saying what about our imminent future. All this has some yearning to enjoy an experience at the same time they know others are enjoying it while also giving screen-weary eyes a rest. Here’s a new — really an old — way to do all that. AudioFile Magazine launched Audiobook Break last month. Since it’s delivered via podcast, you can catch up any time you like and on whatever podcast platform you use. It’s also available on Lit Hub Radio. The initial title that’s unfolding, in three half-hour episodes each week, is Charles Dickens’s own favorite novel, David Copperfield, with British actor Nicholas Bolton performing courtesy of Naxos AudioBooks. Dickens became the choice because hearing his novels chapter by chapter, across time and in multiple households, is how his contemporary readers experienced his stories. They first appeared in serialized form in magazines, and the installments were shared aloud by the best reader in the family, with everyone else listening together.

A Backstage Pass To Your Local Library

Public libraries are such an established institution we take them for granted, enjoying the friendly staff, entertaining and educational programming and getting any and all reference questions answered. This surface hides a more complex structure that makes the library works. Come and let’s peel back the curtain and see all the pieces that create the picture the public sees.

A Librarian Responds to Blinkist, Speed Reading, and Other Reading Shortcuts

I suspect that it’s a normal human trait to want to make hard things easier. That’s probably why there are so many Medium articles on making obscene piles of cash in no time at all, or gaining a million followers yesterday. Pick a hyperbole and someone is trying to find a way to hack it. Reading is no different; seekers of knowledge want to play with mind-bending ideas, but can’t commit to doing it the age-old way. This isn’t new, of course, people have been attempting shortcuts to reading books through speed reading courses, book summary booklets and, I don’t know, playing tapes in their sleep for time immemorial. In this context, apps like Blinkist which provides non-fiction book summaries via a series of short multi-paragraph “Blinks” or the myriad Rapid Serial Visualization Presentation (RSVP) apps which quickly flash words and phrases at you, are no surprise. So what does this librarian think? Well, my mind moves on two parallel tracks here. The first says that searching for shortcuts is neither a mindful nor a healthy way to live an intellectual life. I’m a fan of the slow information movement which is the antithesis of cometing non-stop through books and articles. Take the time, it says, to read carefully and think deeply. The second is my big eyes at libraries and bookstores and my voracious mind bouncing between multiple books, blogs, podcasts, websites on a daily basis, trying to make sense of the world. There’s so much out there and I’m curious about a lot of it. Why not feed that fascination as often and as quickly as I could?

Libraries Stepping Up During COVID

The El Dorado County Library system in California has a history of working for better public health. The library system has worked with the local Health and Human Services for several years, and routinely has a public health nurse and health advocate coming to the library. Funds from tobacco lawsuit settlements enabled the library to have an early childhood specialist. Through these partnerships, they regularly offer programs on health services and parenting classes, in addition to their more traditional programming (children and teen events, arts and crafts, writers’ groups, etc.).

How to Make the 24/7 the Library Work

Public libraries in American continue to serve their communities in fundamental ways, expanding beyond their stereotypical scope as “book repositories” to offer so much more. From offering education and test prep for children and adults alike to hosting outreach programs that feed the hungry and provide support for people facing domestic violence and substance abuse, libraries meet the public in a variety of contexts and configurations throughout each week. The presence of a global pandemic in the form of COVID-19 has increased the complexity of delivering these services as library staff follows pandemic best practices to reduce the spread of the virus and visitor count is lowered. What avenues, then, do libraries have to turn to continue to meet the public in a time when meeting someone in public is potentially dangerous without sacrificing the services they offer? One such solution, or rather a suite of solutions, is those offered by Bibliotheca. Bibliotheca has been offering library solutions to connect with their users, engage with their communities, and evolve their services using modern approaches and technological integration. The myriad of services they offer range from library user self-service solutions, item return and sorting support, security and protection for library materials, cloud-based collection services, their open+ access designed specifically for libraries wishing to offer more flexible, more impactful operation hours, and staff tools such as central administration, staff workplace, and inventory solutions. Alone or in combination with each other, these tools give libraries the ability to operate in new, technologically-reinforced ways that free up staff and budgets to allow for more and more responsive programming and services.

The Slow Burning Fire in the Libraries of America

One of the great tragedies of ancient history, memorialized in myths and Hollywood film, is the burning of the great library at Alexandria. But the reality of the Library’s end was actually a lot less pyrotechnic than that. A major cause of the Library’s ruin was government budget cuts. — GIZMODO And now we’re poised to repeat history in the United States. That’s because libraries in America have been allowed to slowly crumble. This is a result of being overlooked by city, state, and national governments for decades, facing budget cuts from all directions, and losing out on crucial funding needed to maintain their infrastructures. Libraries are an important community resource that serve diverse groups of people with varied needs. They are impactful in endless ways and can benefit the lives of millions who cross their doors. But, this critical public space could collapse, like the Library of Alexandria if it continues to be neglected and Americans will miss out on the incredible opportunities from libraries.

Results of FOIA Search in Lafayette

Campaigners on the ground in Lafayette have continued to make Freedom Of Information Act Requests of the Lafayette Parish Council. What follows below is a brief synopsis of the latest findings.