Why Should We Still Purchase Nonfiction?

In an era where every library dollar needs to be justified, should teen services departments continue purchasing nonfiction?

YA librarians are in the perfect matrix to consider this question: patrons aren’t bringing their reference questions to library staff, teachers aren’t asking students to cite print sources, information discovery on the web is incredibly easy, and personal web access is growing ubiquitous. Continue reading

40 Hours a Week and Loving It

Spring brings a time crunch for teen librarians everywhere: as the school year wraps up, public librarians must amp up for summer reading, and school librarians must set the media center to rights in those last, finals-crammed weeks.  There is no easier time of year to overwork ourselves.  However, if we wish our superiors to know our value, and if we care for a true work-life balance, the 40 hour work week must be honored. Continue reading

30 Days of Innovation #9: Beating the Innovation Blues

It seems that almost every library-related news article I read talks about the de-funding of libraries or how amazing it is the Library X is doing so much with so little.  The 2011 State of America’s Libraries report from ALA and Library Journal’s 2012 Library Budget Survey confirm that budgets are still trending down. It can feel impossible to be innovative when you are barely able to cover costs for summer reading programs.

I don’t know about you, but occasionally I must force myself out of a pity party that generally starts with the thought, “If I had more money/time/help, I could do so much for my patrons.” In order to combat this leeching, downward spiral, here are some ideas to beat the blues and come up with your next innovative idea.

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Save Libraries?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Save Libraries campaign so I asked YALSA’s Blog Manager, and high school librarian, mk Eagle to chat with me on the topic. The following is the transcript of our conversation.

LWB: Hi mk, I wanted to ask you about something I’ve been thinking about a lot do you have a few minutes. (And beware I’m going to poke, prod, and play devil’s advocate.)

mk: Absolutely. Continue reading

Give $10 in ’10

Be sure to take part in FOY’s (Friends of YALSA’s) Give $10 in ’10 campaign that will kick off at Annual in Washington, DC. All FOY funds collected during 2010 are earmarked to support YALSA’s Advocacy efforts.

On the Tuesday of Annual, library advocates from across the United States will meet on U.S. Capitol grounds as part of a rally in support of libraries, followed by meetings with elected officials and their staffs. Five YALSA librarians applied for, and received, funds (provided by FOY) to extend their conference days and attend Library Advocacy Day. In addition, FOY funds are being used to print materials in support of advocacy and to develop an online class in Advocacy Techniques. Continue reading

Teen Space on a Dime

Last November, armed only with a copy of Teen Spaces by Kimberly Bolan and a budget of $1,000, I set out to create a teen space in my library. The budget actually seemed huge to me at first, but after looking up the price lists for a number of nice contract furniture companies, I realized it was almost enough to buy a chair. Woo. Hoo.

Undaunted, I expanded my search to include residential and school furniture, until I found something with an acceptable balance of quality, versatility, and price. During the process, I learned a number of things I wanted to pass on to anyone else in the position of choosing furniture for a teen space without the benefit of a consultant or even the advice of a furniture company.

  1. If you don’t have access to floor plans for your building, you can make ones using free online tools. I started out with a tape measure and graph paper, but I ended up using floorplanner.com. The best part was that after I created an outline and entered the dimensions of the shelves I was working with, I could drag and drop them anywhere and get a 3-D simulation. I think my coworkers were more impressed with the 3-D simulation than anything else I’ve done this year. Continue reading

How Are We Using Libraries?

Two-thirds (65%) of Americans report using their public library either in person, by telephone or via computer in the past year. That’s over 151 million people using public libraries! The 2010 Harris Poll Quorum Household Survey, available on the ALA website, reveals some interesting data about library use.

Among those who have visited the library by computer in the past year, one third (35%) report increasing their public library access by computer over the past 6 months. While taking out books remains the top service library users report as a reason to visit the library in person, patrons who use the library by phone or computer report increased renewals as well as catalog and website visits.

Additionally, 62% of unemployed adults had used their library in the past year, including many who visited libraries to complete an online job application, search employment databases and create resumes.

So what does all this mean for you?
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Dollars & Sense #31: Libraries Looking Toward the New Year

I am a child of the late 70′s and 80′s.  When I was a kid, we believed that by the year 2000, we would be flying around with jet packs, and living on the moon.  However, here we are in what is about to be 2010, and these things have yet to have happened.  You may be wondering “Where is she going with this?”… Continue reading

Dollars & Sense #30: A Chance to Take Risks

In February I wrote a YALSA blog post about how, during tough economic times, opportunities arise for trying out new ways of providing services to, and connecting with, teens. What if every library took to heart the idea that economic challenges are an opportunity to improve service and take chances? What if teen librarians started to say, “OK, lets start thinking completely differently – or at least a little bit differently – about what we do and how we do it? What if, as we struggle to make ends meet, we don’t just try to maintain but we try to rethink? What if, we don’t think small but actually think big?” It sounds risky, doesn’t it? But, maybe it’s the perfect time to be risky. Take a chance, walk with me on the edge for a few minutes: Continue reading

Dollars & Sense #28: The Unconference

Looking for a fresh approach to staff development? Suffolk Cooperative Library System tried an “unconference” format and found that sometimes the best ideas are the least expensive.  http://campya.pbworks.com/

The plans for this conference were an adaption of the June 2009 LibCampNYC sponsored by METRO and Brooklyn College Library. http://libcampnyc.pbworks.com/

“LibCampNYC was a participatory user-generated “unconference” focusing on libraries and library technology; attendees were expected to share their work, skills, or knowledge as active participants. Participants determined the day’s offerings in the opening session, and all sessions were summarized in the closing session. This collaborative environment presented unique opportunities for learning, sharing, and relationship-building that can be elusive at more formal conference.” Continue reading