Reference librarians reach out




A librarian sits at the reference desk. Patrons come to the desk, ask questions, and receive answers. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. I have personally served at busy times with people streaming past the desk in both directions, but not stopping to ask questions. That doesn’t ┬ánecessarily mean that none of those people had questions, either. Here’s a story I found on a librarians’ email list: One student at an academic librarian sat at a table asking friends for help as they walked by. He used his cell phone to call friends in other parts of the library. … Continue reading






Classical music for children at the library




For the past three years, the Greensboro (North Carolina) Public Library, in partnership with the Eastern Music Festival, have presented a series of concerts called “EMF Encircling the City.” It is a special outreach to introduce children to classical music. Children dearly love any music they hear. This series exemplifies fairly standard library programming. Surely all public libraries in this country provide rich and varied experiences for children, including live music. Most of them present live music to youth and adult audiences. too. Many even have dedicated concert halls so they don’t have to try to fit performances into multi-purpose … Continue reading






USFAS: United States Federal Alphabet Soup




I was poking around the federal government’s web portal looking for something to explore when I noticed “Abbreviations and Acronyms.” That looked interesting. The link took me off site to something called GovSpeak, a library guide posted by the University of California at San Diego. So this post is not, as I intended, a look at the information made available by various agencies of the federal government. Instead it highlights the equally valuable resources provided by university libraries. … Continue reading






Why you’re not allowed to hear most old recordings




The U.S. Constitution empowers Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” In 1976, Congress set the limit at 75 years or the life of the author plus 50 years. In 1998, it extended both terms by 20 years. At least that’s true for most of what comes under the copyright law. For some reason, sound recordings do not fall under the federal copyright law. Instead, they fall under, and are crushed by the weight of a tangle of federal … Continue reading






Foreclosures in San Diego and what libraries are all about




Led by the San Diego County Library (SDCL), a few libraries in Southern California and Nevada are helping homeowners threatened by foreclosure. At least, my source for this post does not indicate that the effort is any more widespread than that. But it beautifully illustrates how libraries struggle to meet the needs of their community. At first glance, libraries don’t seem to have much to do with the housing crisis. At second glance, people who see their homes slipping away have no idea where to turn for information. Providing information is a core library function. Building community is another. The … Continue reading