Have we stopped reading? Becoming a post-literate society




Have we become such a post-literate society that it even extends to how we use libraries? I just read another tiresome puff piece about how the library isn’t obsolete. This one especially highlights how millennials (people ages 18-35) visit the library more than any other generation. But do they read? The article gives only passing notice to books. I don’t find “read” or related words anywhere in the article. … Continue reading






What’s a library without books? Some bookless libraries




I read about a library without books sometime in the late 1990s, I don’t remember what college or university in New York  had no room in its library for a computer lab. So it opened one in another nearby building it owned and called it a branch library. Why? Because it was staffed with librarians. In principle, it’s not the presence of a book collection that defines a library. A library simply requires librarians. In recent years, however, libraries have experimented with bookless libraries based on digital technology. That is, they have books, just not printed books. How is that … Continue reading






What they say about the library: provocative quotations




When I graduated from library school, I went on a lot of informational interviews. One librarian told me, “Libraries have changed a lot since you were in library school.” When I reminded her that I had graduated only two weeks earlier, she replied, “Like I said, libraries have changed a lot since you were in library school.” Few modern institutions are more ancient than the library, and few are as consistently on the cutting edge of change. So naturally people have talked and written a lot about libraries over the centuries. Cicero, the Roman orator, said, “If you have a … Continue reading






What do Americans think of libraries? Poll results




Do you know all the educational services your library provides? According to a recent Pew Research poll, many American’s don’t. A majority thinks libraries offer acceptable service for their communities’ educational needs; 37% answered “very well” and 39% answered “pretty well. Most people, library users or not, are satisfied for themselves, their families, and their communities. If you are among the people who think libraries do a good job, but don’t know what all they offer, you can be even more satisfied.  … Continue reading






What’s new? Innovative library services revisited




There’s nearly always something new at the library. Librarians are imaginative people. They know offering innovative library services will entice more people in the door. Or let more people use the library without coming in the door. So I offer an occasional series on creative ways librarians find to serve their public. Here are four new ideas. Maybe some library close to you offers similar services.  … Continue reading