Shutting down libraries? Why?




Library users love their libraries. Shutting down libraries seems unthinkable. To library users, anyway. But it’s happening. More than 300 libraries have shut down in the UK over the past six years. One major library shutdown recently happened in Oregon. Some people think there should be even more library closures. They’re the ones who don’t use libraries and have no idea what they’re for. Actually, one librarian thinks a few library closures here and there might be good for libraries in the long run. The reasons he gives show what libraries and librarians ought to be doing to prevent any … Continue reading






More innovative library services




Technological innovation always leads to innovative library services. Libraries quickly embraced personal computers, for example. Probably any library in the country will help patrons learn to use a computer for the first time. Or help them learn sophisticated software. Libraries still find new ways to use computers and peripherals to add new services. More recently, the public has become addicted to mobile phones. So, of course, libraries use them, and help patrons use them, too. Here is the latest in an occasional series of posts about innovative library services. … 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 ┬áhad 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






Surprising place to get healthy: at the library




As the Affordable Care Act’s flaws become more apparent and politicians bicker over how, or whether, to fix it, where can we look for real leadership on health? At the library! The library’s role in health shouldn’t be surprising. Libraries have long dedicated themselves to educating the public about many critical issues. They have long provided the poor with services they can get nowhere else. They have long sought innovative ways to expand their influence. Here are four ┬áhealth initiatives I have recently learned about. … Continue reading