Have you looked at your library’s mobile website lately? Is it a little clunky but mostly functional, like mine? Is it just a squishy version of your full site? Does it work on all mobile platforms?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not thrilled with the mobile version of my site, but then again I’m not thrilled with the full version of my site–it’s just a WordPress blog that I keep tweaking to suit my needs. It’s a huge step up from the site I inherited when I started here, though, which was really just a collection of links on a school website that looked like it was stuck in a mid-nineties time loop (as so many educational sites, unfortunately, do; ours has thankfully gotten a facelift since then).

I don’t have much control over my mobile site right now because I don’t host my own site or do much of my own coding–I use a WordPress template, although I do a lot with widgets and pages–but I do take a look at our site on my phone from time to time to see if WordPress has made any changes to the mobile version, and make sure mobile visitors still have access to the features they need. And what do they need?
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photo of a kid making a crazy faceImagine this: You work in a library in which anything goes. Money is no object. Space is no object. Staffing is no object. Going out into the community is no object. And so on. If you worked in that library what would your wildest and craziest ideas for serving teens be?

Would you…

  • Have libraries all over the community but not in a traditional library facility? For example, a library in the pizza place where teens go every day after school and every weekend? A library in the clothing store where teens go to see the latest fashions? A library in the park where teens hang out?
  • Make sure that every teen in the community – no matter what their book reading preference – was a library user in some way?
  • Give every teen a tablet of some kind with free Internet access so they could download books and apps, play games, do homework, talk with friends, participate in social media from everywhere anytime? Read More →

As a part of redesigning the teen space at my library we were looking for a way to partition off some space without building an actual wall. ‘ We thought about moving bookshelves, we daydreamed about sound proof glass, but nothing seemed feasible. ‘ Until my director came up with an idea: what about movable partitions that you can hang things on? ‘ Where would they go? Wherever we wanted. We could reserve the right to change our minds whenever we liked. ‘ What would we hang on them? Colored paper? Teen programming information? We settled on sketchbooks, figuring that would make it easy for content to change.

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Recently on a discussion board I follow there have been numerous requests (and responses) for free, unique, or new programming ideas for teens. I have been following these threads quite closely because I, too, am always looking for fresh ideas. Plenty of us find craft ideas on Pinterest (and collaborate on this board), discover great titles on blogs, and hear from experts on webinars. But there are so many more ways to discover programming. In fact, you need look no further than your personal life. Read More →

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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What do the following tweets have in common?

Okay, they’re all tweets by me, obviously, but there’s something else: all three are tweets that were favorited by one of my students.

I’ve written before about teens at my school defying prevailing wisdom that teens don’t tweet, about my initial freakout when I discovered students were following me and my ultimate decision to keep tweeting publicly. Since then, things have really exploded: more than a quarter of my 546 followers are current or former students.
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You are a failure bumper stickerWhen I was growing up failure was not an option. It’s not that my parents told me that. It was just a general mindset in the world. People didn’t think that mistakes were something that promoted growth and learning. Trying something and not succeeding just wasn’t done. If someone or something failed it wasn’t talked about, or if it was, it was discussed in hushed tones as if something truly terrible had happened.

Today we are fortunate to live in a world in which mistakes and even failure are OK options. Failure is even looked at as a way to learn and to be able to take an idea or initiative and make it even better. This is a great opportunity for librarians working with teens. We want to accept that failure is OK and be willing to try something new with and for teens even if not sure that it will be 100% successful.
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Ever since I joined the school library world, I’ve been amazed at the ways in which seemingly similar professions (book publishers, booksellers, authors, English teachers, for example) know little about one another and maintain rather separate professional development lives.

In a past life, I occasionally attended the Association for Writers and Writing Programs annual conference (AWP). When I revisited this conference in my librarian role, I found stark differences. Where we celebrated new YA author panels, AWP had panels with authors defending their choice to publish in this area. Even vendors displayed a different side of themselves when surrounded by these literary academics. Then when I went to the Book Expo America (BEA) the following year I noticed that small publishing houses that had huge booths at AWP were hidden in remote aisles far from the glitz of larger houses. At ALA, a completely different view of topics, panels and vendors revealed themselves. The shifts intrigued me, and it got me to thinking…am I discovering all I can when sticking with my own profession’s resources?
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I work in an academic library. ‘ We find that the most effective way to encourage students to use the library is to go into their classroom and have bibliographic instruction. ‘ As we’ demonstrate how to access our library virtually from the classroom, we try to expand our students’ perception of the libraries. ‘ A library is not a physical brick and mortar building but a resource ‘ available all day long from anywhere. ‘  Although these sessions are certainly effective, we only go into the classrooms twice a semester. ‘  We are beginning to try new ideas to try to replicate the benefits of our classroom instruction to demonstrate ‘ that library and librarians are not contained within the walls of our building. ‘ To do this we are changing the idea of where and how reference assistance happens.

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As I write this, I’m more or less barricaded by book carts at my desk. The culprit? A reorganization project in the literature section, started by my term three student intern. Term four began on Monday, which means if I want the project finished, I’m actually going to have to do some work myself. The goal of the project? To reorganize much of the 800s so that students can easily walk to the stacks and find both works by a particular author or poet and criticism on that same author or poet, all in the same place.

There’s been much debate on my state organization’s listserv about “neighborhood” shelving (sometimes also called “bookstore” organization) versus Dewey or Library of Congress. Staunch DDC and LOC defenders insist we must prepare teens for academic libraries and teach them how to use catalogs efficiently. Where’s the authority control in a neighborhood system? Who determines the genres? What about books that might arguably “belong” in more than one place? What happens to a new librarian who inherits inscrutable rules and neighborhoods?

And, more importantly, who cares?
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