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






Presidential Libraries of the United States




Now that the George W. Bush Library and Museum has opened, every former President from Herbert Hoover onward has a presidential library established in his name. For all the snarky humor about whether the new Bush library has anything but picture books, a presidential library isn’t a library in the normal sense of the term. Whatever books it has comprise only an insignificant part of its holdings. (President Bush has written a book, so his library certainly includes that one!) Although they are called presidential libraries, they are more museum and archive than library. The Office of Presidential Libraries of … Continue reading






Public libraries in American life




Last January I wrote about how Americans perceive libraries, based on a Pew research poll about library services. For one thing, Americans hold their public library in high esteem even when they don’t personally use it. It’s time for a closer look at that point. First, the numbers The Pew questionnaire begins with some very general questions about the respondents’ communities, their access to the Internet, and their book-reading habits. The first question directly related to libraries asks about the importance of public libraries, and explicitly excludes school or university libraries. Are libraries [very important / somewhat important / not … Continue reading






How the American public perceives and uses libraries




The Pew Research Center has lately issued a substantial report called Library Services in the Digital Age. I will explore this important research in depth for future posts, but for now I’ll just mention some things that immediately catch my eye. The importance of libraries According to the findings, 91% of Americans ages 16 and older consider libraries important community resources and 76% consider them important to themselves and their families. Oddly enough, only 84% have actually visited a library at some point in their lives, while only 59% have visited either a library, a bookmobile, or a public library … Continue reading






Changing libraries, changing catalogers




Shortly after I graduated from library school, I met with a library director who told me that librarianship had changed a lot since I was in library school. I pointed out that I had only graduated two weeks earlier. She repeated that librarianship had changed a lot since I was in library school. I doubt that it really changed much in two weeks, but it didn’t take long for me to begin to see big changes. Until the late 1800s, library catalogs were contained in books. Whenever the library acquired anything new, the cataloger had to make note of it … Continue reading