Genealogy: How Libraries Provide Tools, Training, and Support

Learning about your family tree is a fascinating quest. Whether you want to begin tracing your heritage for the first time or if you want to continue building upon your existing knowledge of your ancestors, the help of your local library is an absolute “must” in the toolbox. It’s not difficult to see why studying one’s own genealogy is a captivating hobby which only continues to grow in popularity. When you trace your heritage, you feel more connected to the ancestors who came before you. You also experience a deeper sense of the bond which all human beings share in our increasingly anonymous world today. It’s also a ton of fun to find out where your distant relatives lived, how these individuals earned a living, who they lived with, and so many other details about their lives.

Community Catalysts — Libraries and Museums

There are many similarities between libraries and museums. They each contain repositories of collected knowledge, seeking to educate their both local communities and visitors from afar. Each are staffed by dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who are always welcome to help you find the answers you need. They both work every day to enrich the lives of those they serve and contribute a thriving, educated community. Senator Susan Collins from Maine once said, “From offering job search resources and free Internet access to exposing children and families to literary and educational experiences, libraries and museums serve vital roles in our communities”. However, did you know that the similarities between libraries and museums go way deeper than that? In America, both types of institution share a link all the way to the federal budget.

Your Library: We’ve Got Game

We’ve all gone to the library to get a book, but have you gone to play a video game? Gaming has cemented itself in our culture as a popular pastime and creative outlet, with games providing a window into an interactive world full of colorful stories, engaging challenges, puzzling problems, and even learning opportunities! Just like you find entertainment, education, or escapism in a book, picking up a controller and starting a game on your own — or in a group — can transport you to another world. Libraries everywhere are rich with opportunities for playing or joining a game of your choice. Many libraries even offer space to organize gaming events. Some even sponsor events and provide the consoles, televisions, and games themselves!

A Librarian’s Advice to Expand Your Non-Fiction Reading

Recommending books (or readers’ advisory, as its called in the trade) is one of the most useful skills librarians bring to the readers. To understand the “appeals” of a wide variety of books, quickly assess people’s tastes, and “book talk”, or pitch, selections with no prep are just a few of your everyday librarian’s hidden talents. One misconception many people have about readers’ advisory, though, is that it applies only to fiction. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, librarians are always ready to turn a non-fiction reader onto their next mind-blowing selection. Below are some ways for curious non-fiction readers to discover something different:

It’s Not Magic, but it Seems Like it

Have you ever gone to check out a book at your local library only to find that they didn’t have it in their collection? It can be disheartening to make a trip to discover that what you’re looking for wasn’t able to make it onto your library’s shelves for one reason or another. The cost of acquiring books, ebooks, videos and films, music, and other materials for a library collection has continued to rise. Space is limited and budgets are tight. Librarians must make hard choices and real sacrifices regarding what to acquire, what to keep, and what to remove from their collections. But did you know that even if a book or other item isn’t physically present, your library may be able to make it available through an Interlibrary Loan?

6 Straightforward Ways Libraries Can Supercharge Your New Year’s Resolutions

An approaching new year can be a stressful time. Only a few days after the joyful crush of the holidays it’s time to reflect on the past year and yes, create meaningful resolutions for the year ahead. It’s a tall order to be sure. Luckily for all of us, libraries are there to help! Here are some straightforward (and maybe unexpected) ways libraries can not only inspire, but also play a strong role in, facilitating a new year that enriches you and those around you:

Your Toddler Wants to Hang Out at the Library

When it comes to helping toddlers to laugh, learn, socialize, and develop early literacy skills, your children’s librarian is an expert. Library ToddlerTimes are a terrific educational and social experience for toddlers. At this age, children begin learning to make friends, to become literate, and to really explore the world in which we live. It’s awesome to watch them grow through the magic of ToddlerTime!

Six Ways that School Libraries Have Changed (and One that Will Always Be the Same)

If you haven’t been in a school for a while, you might want to start your visit with a stop in the school library. It has been a place of amazing transformations and innovations. What most people picture — the library of their childhood — has little resemblance to the dynamic school libraries of the twenty-first century. Here are six ways that school libraries have transformed, and one way they have stayed the same:

Language Learning and Libraries

Do you have an exciting trip on the horizon and need to learn a new language — or is there a New Years Resolution you need to make good on — but don’t know where do you turn? If the library isn’t your first answer, it should be! From free apps to books and CDs to conversation groups, the public library will get you set to speak, understand, and even read a new language. Public libraries offer a huge array of language learning resources including free subscriptions to online resources, books and CDs for checkout, in-person classes and conversation groups, and more! Forget the travel agent and the luggage store — your first stop to plan your language-learning trip is your local library.

A Teen Librarian’s Tips for Talking to Young People Over the Holidays

‘Tis the season for family gatherings where the teens and young adultsamong us are inevitably hit with a familiar onslaught of pryingquestions. Innocuous at best and insensitive at worst, small talk likethis usually comes from well-meaning relatives unsure of where else togo in conversations with young people. But the truth is this rote lineof questioning often leads to a dead end. Teens rattle off their prepared answers, grown-ups give an empathetic sigh, and that’s pretty much it.