Why We Need Libraries Now More Than Ever

The oldest library on record dates back to the 7th century BC and contained 4,000-year-old artifacts. Public libraries are governmental institutions that allow us free access to tons of resources and information. In the age of smart-phone technology, we have instant access to the world’s information right in our pockets. As a result, we might overlook just how valuable libraries truly are. Let’s talk about why libraries are more important than ever before.

Five Tips for How to Read Again (Even When the World is Falling Apart)

It took me three months into the COVID-19 quarantine to be able to open a book again. And even then, reading it was slow-going. Many people I’ve talked to still can’t seem to focus for long enough to read a book; they read a page, then reread it, then put down the book in frustration. This behavior makes unfortunate sense with all the anxiety of a deadly virus, an upcoming election, and the various disruptions our lives have experienced. Didn’t reading used to be an act that brought solace? Books the barriers from the world’s woes? Stories, our mutual getaway? Yes, yes, and yes…and they can be again! Here are five tactics to get back aboard the book train:

What if Everyone in Town Read the Same Book?

The One Book, One Community idea sprang from the mind of Nancy Pearl, librarian and author of the Book Lust series, in 1998 during her tenure as the Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. By 2005 libraries in all fifty states had started a One Book program. It was a simple, elegant idea — strengthen a community by having them read and discuss the same book — proved an easy sell to libraries across the country serving a wide variety of populations. The American Library Association embraced the idea in 2003 and, through the Public Programs Office, helps libraries launch and market these programs. Local, regional and even state-wide One Book programs show the way this idea can scale given the need of the community involved. And despite the pandemic, many libraries have decided to move forward with their One Book programs, following local public health guidelines.

Your Library’s Digital Resources for Homeschooling

Parents are increasingly interested in homeschooling or schooling from home due to concerns over COVID-19. According to one poll “parents with at least one child in grades K-12 finds that 6 in 10 say they would be likely to pursue at-home learning options instead of sending back their children this fall.” Another national poll reports that 40% of parents are more likely to homeschool this fall. If you are thinking about school from home, I want to put the resources from your local public library and state library on your radar.

Using OneLibrarian’s Tricks to Get Kids Reading

Reading and the deep concentration it demands faces stiff competition for attention with screens of all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, this means reading for pleasure keeps getting pushed to the margins of life. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of minutes Americans read for pleasure has dipped from 22.8 daily in 2005 to 16.2 in 2019. Yet, a recent survey by the NOP World Culture Score Index finds that just 6 extra minutes of reading a day can turn a struggling reader into a proficient one and those who read for 15 minutes daily are five times more likely to graduate from high school than those who do not. Although research remains ongoing on this topic, evidence suggests that the so-called “summer slide” of reading skills does in fact exist and only gets worse as kids get older and their lives get filled with more activities.

Military Families Need Their Public Libraries

It can be difficult to adjust to new places and faces. Libraries are perfect locations for helping military families feel at home in a new town.

5 Library Resources and Services You Probably Didn’t Know About

I’ve been both a public librarian and a school librarian, and I’m currently employed as a digital university librarian. Before my beginning my own library career, I watched as one of my parents worked as a librarian for over 30 years. You can imagine that over that amount of time, and with my varied background, I’ve seen a lot of changes in libraries, which are absolutely here to stay. The most notable trend has remained constant; libraries, like other organizations, increasingly use and rely upon technology. Because libraries stay abreast of how people interact with each other and information, I’m confident that they aren’t going anywhere.

The Secret Weapon To Great Research Papers: Databases

We all know Google; we use it every day. But have you heard of Academic Search Premier, WorldCat, Gale Academic OneFile, Reference USA or NoveList? All these and more can be found through the ‘Research’ tab on your public and school library websites. They can help you do everything from finding your next book to fixing your car to starting a business, and, most important for those returning to school, writing research papers. Yet, they remain an underused resource, a situation likely to continue as students have limited access to librarians who can aid them in learning to use them. However, with a bit of explanation, this resource can be mastered, and the research skills carried forward to college and beyond.

Libraries Provide Digital Connections for Communities

Most people, including myself, have been practicing social distancing in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. We try to limit time spent in public and contact with others in order to protect ourselves, our families, and the individuals who are most highly at risk. In response to the crisis, many organizations, like libraries, are temporarily closed to physical visitors. However, libraries are still providing an array of resources and materials to help families within their communities to remain connected. At a time when our physical connection to others is limited, digital opportunities to remain engaged are incredibly important. Public libraries across the country have responded to the social, educational, and entertainment needs of our families in encouraging and creative ways.

Operation HOPE: How these Illinois Libraries are Fighting to Flatten the Curve

During the uncertain times of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a group Chicago Metropolitan Area public libraries have banded together under the initiative of the Joliet Public Library to transform their book returns into drop-off points for donations of protective equipment such as masks, sanitizer, gloves, gowns, and more to be distributed to local hospitals and health care workers. Named Operation HOPE, or Handing Out Protective Equipment, this initiative now includes over seven participating libraries sending donations to three ppearea hospitals and their healthcare workers. I asked Joliet Public Library Executive Director Megan Millen some questions about Operation HOPE to help shed some light on this significant public program and provide insight into one way the public library can serve as an important community nexus during times of crisis.