Get started on your family tree with local and worldwide resources

“Know Thyself” Isn’t Just For Philosophy Majors According to USA Today, genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the United States. Once an esoteric pastime for retirees and genealogy buffs, family history has become a mainstream interest for more and more Americans. Part of this recent trend can be attributed to the popularity of television shows such as Finding Your Roots and Genealogy Roadshow on PBS and Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC. At the same time, the commercial availability of inexpensive DNA testing kits like 23andMe and AncestryDNA have inspired a new generation of Americans to know more about their roots. Whatever the reason, there are now many resources available to you in helping you fill out your family tree- from online databases to the National Archives. A great way to get started, however, is to take advantage of what’s available to you at your local public library.

Congratulations! Your School-aged Child Has a Funny Bone!

Kids build all sorts of linguistic skills during the first four years of life, and their early school years typically bring strides in visual literacy, another gold mine of linguistic riches. In addition to learning to understand and follow verbal directions, explain how they feel, and explore worlds of fact and fantasy written by all kinds of authors because they’ve cracked the code of print, your 8- to 10-year-old may be on the way to developing a sense of verbal humor.

Pursuing Your Passions at the Library

What makes you who you are? What fires you up?

The Brilliant Role Libraries Play in Supporting Entrepreneurs

Dear budding entrepreneur: Your local library is one of the most powerful tools you have to launch a successful business. As EveryLibrary writes, “Librarians can serve as an extension of your staff and will help you harness the power of these resources to grow your business.” Sometimes misidentified as repositories for dusty books, today’s libraries are actually cutting edge information hubs designed to help people get the resources, materials and connections they need, whether for work, school, pleasure or all of the above. Library staffers and resource librarians are some of the smartest folks around — and they’re on a mission to help you get information. If you’re an entrepreneur, an established business owner, or just thinking about starting a business, head down to your local library. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the role the library staff and resources can play in helping you start and grow a business. Here are just a few ways libraries support entrepreneurs:

12 Things This Librarian Loves About Library Patrons (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

It’s Valentine’s Day, the day when lovers proclaim their affection for each other. Since I am a librarian, a job I love, I’d like to share with you some of the things I adore about my work — namely, those relating to you, the library patrons!

Movie Review: “the public” (written and directed by Emilio Estevez)

When the buzz about Emilio Estevez’s new film the public first began, many of my library colleagues and I were cautious. So pervasive are the poorly researched and/or downright insulting portrayals of libraries and librarians in the media, that a feature film with a library front-and-center had the potential to bring with it all sorts of frustrations. Would it depict librarians fairly? Would it be kind to our patrons? Did Mr. Estevez, who wrote, produced, and starred in the public, get it right?

“Dear So-and-So, I Love My Library!” and Other Words to Share Your Love of Libraries

In an article titled “5 Simple Ways to Make Sure Your Library Stays Around Forever,” I suggested that library lovers should routinely “…send [letters to] elected officials extolling the life-changing influence of your library. It doesn’t have to be long or complex; a few paragraphs and your signature are just right.” It’s a simple thing to do once or twice a year, but it makes a difference. While many elected officials implicitly understand that libraries are a smart investment, they may not always be able to bring forth the evidence necessary to defend them when facing the immediate demands of budget time. Why not help them think straight with a well-crafted letter of library support?

Slow Info: Where Libraries, Reading, and Well-Being Converge

Most people would agree that the level of stress is high in our society; many are worried about the present and the future. I posit that part of that anxiety is stoked by the speed at which many of us feel we are expected to absorb and respond to a panoply of information streams. A reaction to this reckless acceleration is the “Slow Information Movement” (SIM), founded by librarian Vanessa Kam, though the term “slow information” has been around since at least 2009. Based on a synthesis of my rudimentary research, “slow information” inclines towards the poles of certain dichotomies: Currency: Enduring over new Latency: More time between inputs over “one thing after another” Density: Higher information density over lower Length: Long-form over short Speed: Deliberate over fast

It’s Not Like the Library You Remember

If your vision of a library is musty stacks of books and a librarian shushing everyone, it’s time to take a trip back to your local branch. Libraries have reinvented themselves as vital 21st century resources and thriving community hubs for people of all ages. Today’s libraries are home to tech centers, makerspaces, arts and cultural programming, gaming resources and much more. Here are 13 things libraries offer kids today.

Millennials Are the Answer for Libraries, But What Are the Questions?

Inspired by EveryLibrary’s short library survey (take it here), here are some questions I composed while thinking about the subject of Millennials and libraries (and a few other things). Feel free to answer them to yourself as you read, or highlight and respond. I’m always in for a good discussion. Enjoy the questions!