Are Libraries in a Slow Decline?

As a library worker, advocate, and lover, I am so focused on the everyday workings of libraries that it can be hard to raise my head and look around, much less lift my perspective above the clouds to survey the so-called “big picture.” Yet when I do that, a consistent question pops up that concerns the future of libraries: Are they in a slow decline? Now, at this point you should imagine a buzzer going off in your head! Not because the answer is a resounding no, but because we’re asking about the future of libraries in a preposterous way; here we are, library workers and library lovers providing and experiencing the outstanding benefits of libraries every day and we wonder whether they’re in decline? It’s absurd.

How Controlled Digital Lending Makes an Entire College Library Available to Everyone Everywhere

Books have been circulating for thousands of years and have changed with new technologies and resources. The trends and demands of the digital world — where consumers access materials in electronic forms — means that many books that were published before the digital age are not available online or for e-readers. Librarians across the country are working on fixing this problem. It’s a curious problem because most recently published books have easily made the transition to digital because they were written and edited and printed electronically. Likewise, many books before the early 20th Century are likewise already digitized by non-profits and libraries because they are out of copyright.

Libraries Help Veterans and Military Families Prosper

Public libraries have been supporting their communities for years and that service does not waver when it comes to helping veterans, returning service members, and military families. With the frequency that military families move, the complexity of reintegrating into the workforce, those that have served in the military face multiple challenges in adjusting to new locations and adjusting to life after their service. Public libraries near bases and in new at-home communities provide aid with issues like economic security, meaningful career pathways, financial literacy, and navigating benefits and retirements. Libraries almost always have online resource guides easily accessible to those who need it. In addition, many offer in-person consultation sessions for those who need questions answered and hold specific spaces in the library for veterans and their families to use. They also network with diverse programs that specialize in different topics that pertain to veterans and their families from moving resources to help in obtaining career training and education. Local public libraries are extremely beneficial to veterans in their surrounding communities and make significant contributions to improving the lives and transitions of veterans and military families.

Libraries, Segregation, and Civil Rights

Librarians have a reputation for upholding the rights of their communities by creating protected spaces for people of all backgrounds. This is why it is surprising to many people that libraries used to be spaces that participated in acts of injustice towards the Black community. These stories need to be heard, however, and libraries and library organizations across the country are working to address this dark period of our nation’s history

The Largest Classroom in the (Online) School

Navigating the remote learning classroom is the newest hurdle in parenting. Parents are not concerned with how to manage their student’s new schedules and learning environments, they are also faced with added fears such as their student falling behind in studies or being put in a mentally unhealthy space as a result of learning conditions during the pandemic. While there are plenty of resources available and educators are working twice as hard to make students feel supported, there is also a major source of help available to parents and students in school libraries. School libraries are an overlooked support system that play diverse roles in students’ lives. With stressful events brought about by COVID-19 and new changes happening on a daily basis, students need a place to get away from it all. School libraries aid parents with remote learning and support students by looking after their well-being.

Military Families and Public Libraries

Libraries are uniquely positioned to support military families in a variety of ways. From ensuring that all ages are able to easily access resources like books and job searching materials to welcoming new families into town, libraries were built as a space for learning and connecting. It is well-known that military families have to move around often. In fact, many families move every two to three years — and some move more frequently. The United States facilitates around 450,000 Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves for military families each year. This means family units with spouses and kids are being uprooted from their comfort zone and need to adapt to new environments constantly. The local public library near base is one destination in any new town that is open and consistent to offer support for new faces.

Top 10 Fundraising Strategies for Friends of The Library Groups and Foundations

If you look past the seemingly endless shelves of books, you’ll find that libraries are significant centers of learning, professional development, and community. At your local library, you can find jobs, explore different perspectives, research new ideas, be inspired by stories, and so much more. There’s something for everyone at the library, and all of the library’s services are available for free thanks to support from Friends of the Library groups and foundations.

We Are All Living Through History. Let’s Make Sure to Archive It.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many new experiences for everyone. Along with the experiences, there have also been a flood of new experiences and materials representative of the COVID era that communities have been working to preserve. Libraries and archives across the country have created COVID archives projects which consist of collecting stories documented across a variety of formats. From audio and video to photographs and journals, these archive projects are hoping to preserve the unique voices and experiences of people living through this historical crisis. Most states have multiple institutions running these projects and are inviting community members to submit.

Be An Armchair Archivist And Help Make History Discoverable

COVID-19 has left many people stuck in their homes with some free time in their schedules. But life in quarantine does become repetitive and many are itching to get back to normal lives where they are able to contribute to society and make an impact. One great suggestion to look into is contributing to the processes of digitizing collections of archival objects and materials relevant to humanity’s history. Many archives, library, and museum organizations are looking for volunteer transcribers to help review online materials and transcribe them so that they become easily searchable on the internet. It is pretty easy to set up shop as an armchair archivist and many organizations are looking for “volunpeers” to contribute to the process.

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.