Libraries Utilizing Technology & Media Forging Ahead

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — As digitization brings learning to more and more people, the benefits of high-speed internet and digital archives are becoming more apparent. While it would have been difficult to imagine undertaking Ivy League coursework from home even 20 years ago, high internet speeds have made university lectures from Yale and other universities commonplace on popular sites like Youtube. And some institutions are carrying the concept even further by allowing users to determine a better course in life through the benefits of education.

A library in Colorado Springs, Colorado is hoping to help their community by giving the keys of technology to its visitors. Library 21c, is creating an environment where users can start businesses, work on personal projects with 3D printers, and even use sewing machines to benefit their lives and the lives of those around them. E learning will also play a special role in the library's future, as users will be able to access library materials from home or the office. It's a revolutionary concept that should illustrate the benefits between personal initiative and a healthy society, and it will undoubtedly make the residents of Colorado Springs proud.


Jacksonville FL Libraries Threatened With Major Cuts

From the Florida Times Union: Six library locations would close, a day would be sliced from operations and materials would be cut if the Jacksonville Public Library is forced to find $2.4 million in reductions.

That’s the level of cuts the library would have to make if all city departments had to reduce their budgets by 13.9 percent, as requested by Mayor Alvin Brown’s office.

The library’s board of trustees voted Thursday on a plan that would shutter the Maxville, Brentwood, San Marco, Willowbranch, University Park and Beaches branches.

The closures would result in cutting about 30 positions, said Brenda Simmons-Hutchins, the chair of the library board. Last year the library cut 70 positions. Before those cuts, the library had 281 full-time employees.


Hear to Learn

In the past, closed captioning was traditionally used for the hard of hearing. It provided a way for them to feel included on the media and messages that were being shared by everyone around them. But as time marched on, people began using it for a variety of reasons.

These days one of the most innovative modes of learning – as well as entertainment – is the online video. More and more teachers are using it to engage with their students. From the teacher’s perspective, it’s easy to shoot and cheap to make. Additionally, it allows instructors to segment their lessons into separate categories (i.e., each video can be about its own topic). For students, they get to use a medium for which they’re already familiar. In short, everybody wins.

But despite video’s popularity, not everyone is a visual learner. Many students still prefer to read text versus watching a video. This is where captioning plays an important role. Companies like Speechpad provide closed captioning services so that everyone can be involved in the lesson plan. By having a text accompaniment to their visual lecture or activity, more students are allowed to participate.

In addition to learning environments, more businesses are turning to video as well. Noting the demand for it in our culture, a company might put a video online to feature one of its main products, or to allow an employee to speak to the consumer, and effectively put a face on the business. Once again, captioning comes into play. By adding a text transcript to the video on a company’s website, they increase the value of their search engine optimization, which helps their rank in online search results.

What a Library Looks Like in the Future

Libraries, as we knew them five, ten, even fifteen years ago, are dying. But "libraries" will be around in some form as long as people are.

Information collection has been something we've tried to do for years, and libraries have simply been a part of the technological development that's helped us arrive at the information superhighway we have today. Think of the great library of Alexander—one of the supposed great losses of our world. It housed vast amounts of information that we'll never be able to recover. It sounds like a very valuable, lost artifact. But it also sounds like outdated technology.

What was wrong with a library like that was not the fact that it stored a lot of books and papyrus and whatever else they used to read on in the early millennia. It was that it was unrecoverable once deleted. A hard drive is sort of like Library 2.0. It houses all of this information in a compact way, and we can access is with the greatest of ease—already cataloged for us using stock software.

Online learning is moving continually towards management systems that enable educators and students to continually connect through an online portal. Atrixware LMS is an easily updated platform for learning any topic. This integration of intuitiveness and function is what has been continuing to take over learning from the castles of books we’ve grown accustom to.

Our Heads in the Cloud

It's the same technology that goes into ERP software like Dynamics GP 2013—sold by companies like BuyERP. All of a business's functions and processes are stored in one "library" up in the cloud, and it can be accessed through this single software and a good Internet connection. Businesses have even applied this technology to Dynamics CRM 2013 software, which helps to manage the way that we relate to customers, helping businesses to seamlessly manage and catalog relationships and transactions that happen through their businesses.

The good news is that even this will be improved upon. We still miss the social interactions that get taken away from in-person libraries. This is the next step in our technological development. So don't fret. It will never look the same as it used to, but that's just the nature of progress. In the mean time, keep dreaming of what libraries could and should look like, and together we'll step into an exciting new future!

NYC Use of Libraries Grows, Government Support Has Eroded

New York Times blog posts loss of hours to New York City (Manhattan, Bronx & Staten Island) library branches, even though the libraries are utilized more than ever.

New York City’s libraries are open an average of 43 hours a week, about the same as a decade ago and down from a high of 47 hours. “Even the Detroit public library system stays open longer;” the report noted. Columbus’s libraries are open an average of 72 hours a week. Despite the relatively short hours, the study found, New York City’s libraries “have experienced a 40 percent spike in the number of people attending programs and a 59 percent increase in circulation over the past decade.”

San Francisco’s government contributed $101 per capita to the city’s libraries, the highest of any city in the study, while New York’s library systems all received between $30 and $40 per capita, below Seattle, Boston, Detroit and others.

Board Members Vote to Close MO Library

From The Joplin Globe: SENECA, Mo. — Just days after Newton County Library Board members voted to close the Seneca library branch on Nov. 1, community leaders are rallying to reverse the decision.

“We’re starting a petition to keep the library here in Seneca,” said John Dodson, Seneca Area Chamber of Commerce president. “Anybody in the county can sign it.”

News of the closing, he said, “has been a major shocker for the entire community.”

Dodson said he plans to speak to the board during its next regular monthly meeting in October and will present the petition in hopes of reversing the board’s decision. Board members voted Tuesday to close the branch library, citing fiscal constraints.

“Just like everyone else in (Seneca), our mouths are hanging open,” said Seneca Mayor Mark Bennett. “Everyone is speechless.”

Newton County voters rejected a proposal for a 15-cent levy increase. The vote in Seneca was 175 against, with 30 in favor.

No Chance of Saving a MI Library Branch

DEARBORN — Is there any way to save the closed Snow Branch Library? That was the impassioned plea of resident Steve Hammarskjold at the City Council meeting Monday.

The answer is no. The city listed the building, which was one of its four libraries, for sale in a legal notice in last Sunday’s editions of the Press & Guide Newspapers. The asking price is $590,000, and the bidding deadline is Aug. 29.

The library, 23950 Princeton at Telegraph Road, opened in 1960 and was closed Sept. 2, 2011, as part of city budget cuts. Some of the library’s collection of 35,000 to 40,000 items was transferred to Henry Ford Centennial Library and some items in the collection — along with fixtures like tables, chairs and shelves — were sold at a silent auction in April.

Report from the Press and Guide.

Voters Favored Libraries This Election Day

Looks like there were a number of victories for libraries in the recent election cycle. Check out these stories:

Ukiah CA

Ames, IA

Billings MT

South Hadley MA

Farmington, MI

Dearborn, MI

Pittsburgh PA

Saint Paul, MN

Philadelphia teacher sets sights on Rebuilding School Libraries through Library Build

The library at Rowen Elementary School in North Philadelphia is musty and outdated – a locked room used for storage and occasional meetings, a repository of yellowing, untouched books.

But Callie Hammond has big dreams for the room, whose leather-bound encyclopedias were printed in 1986, the year she was born.
Hammond sees the West Oak Lane public school as a launching pad for Library Build, a nonprofit group she recently started to renovate and staff school libraries with fellows in the Teach for America model.

The plan is to start in city elementary schools with no library. Library Build would recruit and pay library science graduates in exchange for a two-year service commitment to city schools.

“Libraries do amazing things,” said Hammond, who was a Philadelphia School District middle school teacher until she was laid off in June.

Research shows that library access matters. Students who have a library at school tend to perform better on assessments than those who do not. Libraries can encourage children to love reading and think of it not just as a chore to be handled in the classroom.

When Hammond was laid off from teaching social studies and science to nonnative English speakers at Wilson Middle School at the end of last school year, she figured it was time to work on Library Build full time.

These days, she divides her time between working on grant applications – Library Build received its first award, $10,000 from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation – and organizing the collection at Rowen. She is also studying for her master’s degree in public administration at the University of Pennsylvania.

More on this inspirational young woman from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Evolving libraries say, ‘Check us out now’

Toga parties, martini meetups, stuffed-animal sleepovers and more are designed to keep book lenders relevant. The article is here.

BHAG 3.0 What’s Next?! Sustained Library Advocacy

Library advocacy is not a one-time deal. Keep a good thing going:

Great People Work in Libraries

If you don’t live under a rock, you know that a minor earthquake hit the East Coast of the US earlier this week. Libraries and other facilities suffered some damage, nothing too serious thank goodness.

Here’s the story (in words and pictures) of the staff at the University of Maryland Libraries, from their flickr page.

The ground shook. The books dropped. The staff got to work.
McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland was the site of a major cleanup after more than 13,000 books fell from their shelves following a rare East Coast earthquake.

Materials also fell at other libraries on campus, including Hornbake Library and the Architecture Library.

But just more than 24 hours after the quake, all the books were on carts, ready to be evaluated and sorted. Workers separated damaged books from those ready to be reshelved.