5 Ways Libraries Became Better Because of the Internet

“I bet the internet has brought down library use…” is one of the first things people say to me when I tell them I’m a librarian. In fact, it’s not true. The unvarnished truth is that library use has risen by a lot since the world wide web became commonplace in the early nineties. In my view, the reasons for this are relatively uncomplicated; in the same way that the internet has made some areas of everyday life more efficient, it has also improved the way libraries serve their patrons. Meaning, instead of replacing libraries, it has helped them do what they’ve always done, but better! Here are five ways the libraries and the internet work together:

How Audiobooks Can Make People More Literate

Educators and cognitive scientists recognize that “reading” is a very broad term. In the audiobook community, we already know that “reading” can and does mean critical listening as well as visual understanding of printed text. Pushback still comes from some who believe that“to read” is to decode visually. I like to call them reading “print-bound purists.” As most long-established “eye-readers” know, assumptions about characters, plot direction, and capacity to grasp how facts in chapter one will be required in chapter seven, can and do miss the mark on any first complete reading of a book. How many of these print-bound purists re-read texts — silently, of course, as 20th century pedagogy taught many of us to be a requirement of “skillful” reading?

Learning Starts at Home and the Public Library is the Next Stop

Learning starts at home, whether intentional or not. Children mimic what they see done by the adults around them. A baby learns to make noises when he or she watches a parent speak. She knows how to eat from a spoon by watching the family at the dinner table. He learns how to look at a book when he sees his dad reading.

The Perfect Recipe for Building Community

Library programs connect communities by bringing people together for shared experiences, conversation, and learning. When we include food in our programming, it opens up incredible new possibilities for sharing between generations and patron communities, fostering curiosity and building needed skills in the process.

Where Do the Books Go After the Library?

A few years ago I was chatting with a friendly barista about my day at the library — I had been, what we call in the library trade: “weeding”. Weeding means going through the collection and, to put it bluntly, removing books. Unsurprisingly, she was shocked! “But…Books!” She let out, “You can’t get rid of books.” “I know how it sounds,” I said, “but it’s not all that dramatic. Libraries have always weeded their collections. Otherwise, how would we have space for new books?” She thought about it a little bit. “Okay, but how do you know which to get rid of?”

12 Stimulating Things You Can Do at the Library

I became a librarian because of the people — the library staff who were kind to me as a child, the interesting patrons who I helped as a teen volunteer, and all of the colleagues and friends I’ve made through my library life as an adult. Truly, for me, libraries stand at the intersection of so much of society — those who want to learn, play, meet new friends, and more, go there to achieve these things. Most public libraries have set aside meeting space and time for the very purpose of allowing community members to interact. Library staff foster this by facilitating groups for all sorts of enlightening activities, for example:

Back to School Means Independent Learning Too

Back to school time is here, which means new school supplies, a new routine, and the excitement and challenges of a new school year. Back to school season should also be a return to independent learning, with the help of your local library. Libraries offer an abundance of programs and resources for kids (and adults) who do well learning on their own. Librarians can help guide patrons to resources that best suit their needs and interests, and challenge independent-minded learners. Here are 11 ways libraries encourage and support independent learning during back to school season and beyond.

Media Literacy — Beyond the Buzzwords

It is easy to feel inundated by different types of media in our daily lives, from newspapers and YouTube videos, to Tweets and memes, to infographics and reports. Libraries are great places to go learn about different types of media, and librarians can help you answer questions about unfamiliar media and become a savvier consumer (and producer!) of media. Being a savvy consumer and producer of media is increasingly vital and increasingly challenging in the ever evolving media and technology ecosystems of the 21st century. At Every Library we are committed to supporting and advocating for the valuable work libraries and librarians do nationwide, including empowering people of all ages with media literacy, or the skills they need to find, use, evaluate, and create media.

Alarmed about fake news? The librarians can help!

On a chilly morning near the end of 2016, I met a friend for breakfast at a diner in Austin, Texas to talk about fake news. While this was not the start of some, admittedly strange, spy novel, it was the start of an educational project that’s still growing. As a librarian, I know it is just as important to teach kids how to look at news sources as it is to teach them to read. Librarians like me are focused on helping people of all ages become literate in a number of ways. But we are here in a particular way to help parents, educators, and their students know how to be literate about the media, news, and what they see online. With so much learning and entertainment happening online, it’s more important than ever

Stop Pretending that Libraries are a Business. They’re not!

Like clockwork, every few months, someone out in the world publishes an article in the national press about how libraries should be replaced by X company. The argument is usually pretty simplistic: Thingamabob Inc. does this one function of a library really well, so libraries are on their way out. Obviously, when reduced to its bare essentials, it sounds so silly! Libraries do a lot of things very well, producing value for their communities in ways that are fundamentally different than any business.