Summer: a time for learning or forgetting?




Left to themselves over the summer, children will forget some of the reading and math skills they learned in school. That puts them behind where they ought to be when school starts up again. Students who really struggled in school lose even more skills, putting them even farther behind. As much as school children need unorganized play time during the summer, it’s not good to leave them entirely to themselves. Most if not all public libraries have summer reading programs. So do many school districts. At the very least, parents, grandparents, or concerned neighbors should encourage children to participate in … Continue reading






Using the library as an office




I hear a lot from and about people who take their laptops or tablets to places like Starbucks, Panera, or just a local place with wi-fi and hang out there. These are informal places that don’t seem to mind how long someone stays, so long as they spend some money. Meanwhile, the folks that hang out there often say how much work they get accomplished, including working online or interviewing people. What could be better? Consider the library. … Continue reading






The importance of summer reading programs at the library




School’s out, or soon will be. “No more classes! No more books! No more teachers’ dirty looks!” That “no more books” part is a problem, though–especially if it lasts all summer. Libraries pick up the slack. Children who don’t read over the summer return in the fall having lost some of their reading ability. That puts them behind, or farther behind, their reading classmates–as much as two years behind by the time they finish sixth grade. Some children are bookworms. They will read all summer simply for the joy of it. Others struggle with reading in school, and of course … Continue reading






Digitizing old books




Not everything is available for free on the Internet. Once upon a time, the list of material not available for free on the Internet included almost every book ever published. The problem was that unless a book or other printed format was either currently in print or available in multiple libraries, it wasn’t conveniently available to much of anyone at all. Now, many libraries and archives are digitizing their collections. Not only old books, but old pamphlets, sheet music, maps, manuscripts, etc. have become more accessible than ever before. … Continue reading






Ebooks and libraries




How can a library add ebooks, something with no physical existence, to its collection? And why would it? I can answer the first question easily. Libraries, like everyone else, have to pay for ebooks. An ebook goes through the same process as any other library material. Someone decides to acquire it. The acquisitions department orders it from the publisher and pays for it. The cataloging department describes it and puts the description in the catalog. Once it’s in the catalog, the reference department can call patrons’ attention to it and the circulation department can check it out. Of course, no … Continue reading