Libraries: a shelter in a storm?




With the recent observance of the anniversary of a devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, I wondered if libraries provide storm shelters. I found both less and more than I expected. My local newspaper had a story not long ago that the central library in Winston-Salem had a fallout shelter, one of four dozen downtown. Nobody thinks much about fallout shelters any more, but in the 1960s they seemed an important part of public safety. Public libraries have always been community centers. They have always used their buildings in many ways that have no connection to the most obvious kinds of … Continue reading






Library of Congress: government websites you should know




It’s not like you can go into the Library of Congress and check out books. It’s not an ordinary library. But it’s as much your library as your public library. Unofficially, the Library of Congress is the national library of the United States. You can, if you want, get a reader registration card and use the reading rooms. None of the collection can leave the buildings, of which there are now three. Most people never go to the Library of Congress, or if they do, it’s as a tourist. On the other hand, it offers so many services online that … Continue reading






Earth Day at the library




The Greensboro Public Library’s Kathleen Clay Edwards branch held an Earth Day exhibit on Saturday afternoon, April 5 to coincide with the Guilford County School’s spring break. Earth Day is officially April 22, but there’s no reason to limit Earth Day observances to that date. From the start, Earth Day was intended in part as an educational occasion. In 1970, the focus was on teach-ins on college and university campuses.  The library’s celebration seemed aimed mostly at children, although the various exhibits had plenty of useful content for adults as well. I suppose public libraries all over the country observe … Continue reading






3 unusual and unexpected library services




We all know that libraries are more than books, more even than their collections. We expect public libraries to have children’s departments. We expect academic libraries to have reserves. We expect any library to have meeting space, programs, and Internet access, among other ways of serving their communities. Since every community is different, and since every library staff comprises different mixes of talents, it should be no surprise when some libraries offer unusual services, services you won’t find at many other libraries. … Continue reading






Meet the library staff, answer a question




As much as I would love to post here every week, it hasn’t been possible. I have managed only once so far this month. Today’s post is scheduled for Christmas Day, which means you’re probably reading it later. You are used to going to librarians to ask questions. This time, the librarian (that’s me) has a question for you. It’s at the bottom of the page. Here’s a compilation of earlier posts about librarians and library staff, only one of which has anything to do with Christmas at all. If you’re really looking for fresh, Christmas-related content, be sure to … Continue reading