Friday, January 29, 2016

Membership Libraries: Entering into Their Secret World

Happy Friday readers! I figured this post would be a fun way to close out the last week of January, and introduce everyone (including myself) into the secret world of membership libraries.

Membership Libraries, what are those? 

This is the very question I asked myself. What is funny, is people before the 1880's would probably say to us now, "Pubic libraries, what are those?"

What is interesting is that public libraries are relatively new, with most libraries before the 1880's requiring a subscription, and members holding a pivotal role in the shaping of the collections!

While the process of membership libraries have as a whole died out, there are still 19 membership-based libraries scattered throughout the United States. So click on the hyperlinked text and if you are near these libraries, do some research on them and go check them out!

Think of membership libraries as a attendent-based shopping experience, except with books galore, with work spaces costing members $300 per month at times, what a way to pay to read or work in peace!

But, the real question remains, why were Membership libraries created?

The first membership library, Benjamin Franklin's Library Company, was established in 1731, and was distinctly an American invention. The promise to pay a certain amount for a membership was appealing to members, not for the financial side, but rather for such members to provide an activist voice in the books included in the collections. The membership libraries produced a distinct reader, one who took pride in the books they read, considering it was with their income that provided the books they read. 

Here is a sneak peak inside the Mercantile Library in Cincinnati, OH. 

If this blog has taught you anything, it is to say, the secret is out. So go check out the nearest Membership Library near you, who knows, you may want to join!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Libraries: Do They Ever Win the Powerball Lottery?

It never occurred to me the cost to run a library, until I began my quest of librarianship. I always assumed that libraries never had financial needs, I mean, they are frequently found so they have to be financially stable right?


Most libraries are state funded, it's actually mandatory to be state funded, and a common problem is that such libraries are fighting for state funding. Most library-based funding is on a flat funding method, meaning that all libraries receive the same amount of money. The issue at stake is, that with the current funding statuses, local programs are threatened to cease, due to lack of monetary support. 

Patricia Uttero, Director of Monroe County Libraries and the Rochester Public Library, says that it is beneficial to bring governmental delegates in, for them "to see what the money is used for in the library." Uttero's budget for Rochester involves a need for $103 million dollars to be used in libraries, with the state budget only allotting her $92 million. 

Libraries are a huge difference maker in their affiliated communities, with regards to teaching of literacy, both printed and media-related. 

Libraries don't just have to receive money through state-funding, however. Donations can also be a wonderful source of funding that showcase to the community both the need and respect for libraries by fellow patrons and citizens. A great example of this is found through a group of patrons donating $250,000 in grant money to Colorado Springs libraries. Every donation amount, both large and small provides a great benefit to the receiving library, with funds going to anything as small as paper supplies for children activities, to re-building wings of the library. 

Lesson Learned From This Blog:

  • Do not assume your local library is the lucky winner of the recent Powerball lottery! Donate in anyway you can, whether it is money, supplies, or volunteering your time!

Recommended Book of the Week:

This book has a special place in my heart, because like Michael Orr (football player in this book), I also was a student athlete at Ole Miss. This is a great time for this recommendation as Michael Orr, current player for the Carolina Panthers, is heading to the Super Bowl next week! This story showcases the upbringing of Michael Orr, and how his adoptive family took him in and introduced him to football. A great read about a fantastic football player and his family life!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hello Blogger World

The title above says it all, this blog post is simply a proper way to introduce myself to the virtual blogging world. But, enough with online etiquette, let's get to the stuff you readers want to read about.

My name is Jenna Hollenkamp, and I am in my third semester as a Library and Information Studies student at the University of Alabama. I can tell you one thing, Alabama's football team isn't the only thing doing big things down here in Tuscaloosa, but the School of Library and Information Studies is too!

(This is the Gorgas Library at UA, isn't is beautiful?!)

Now, a librarian is not a profession most people dream about when they are a young child, it certainly wasn't my dream job. I grew up playing competitive softball, and accomplished my dream of playing collegiately at Ole Miss. Once my softball career was over, I had a minor identity crisis. I went from a life-time of goals, challenges, competitions, and adventures; to suddenly having an empty road ahead.

(This is me sliding into home plate, oh how I miss those days)

To me, the process of realizing I am meant to be a librarian was much like the process of becoming a collegiate athlete. As in sports, the library is an open-ended world full of possibilities, with the librarians being at the helm of such adventure. I loved my leadership role as a team captain for softball, and wanted to translate such leadership into a field where I could lead people to infinite new discoveries.

Libraries, like a sports field, are an environment where patrons leave personal differences aside, and join together in a safe institution where the keys to knowledge and possibilities are given directly to the patron, rather than at the disposal of someone else. The library is now my softball field, where I can maximize my potential, and the potential of others, through freely accessible materials. Patron satisfaction and usability are my new versions of a National Championship.

My intention for writing these blog posts over the next few months is to showcase what awesome things are being done in libraries, both in the Saranac Lake Free Library, as well as nationwide. In addition, each week I will add on here what my personal book recommendation is based on what I am reading. I will also talk about some fun book gossip, such as what current book trends are.

I am looking forward to getting to know you as readers, please do not hesitate to comment on these posts to discuss what you like and don't like. You are the audience, so you deserve a good read!!

My Book of the Week:

  • This book strips away the politics of President Raegan, and provides a detailed account not of Raegan's accomplishments, but rather, how his Presidency was shaped from the assassination attempt on his life, less than 100 days into his first term. This book is an excellent read if you are interested in different angles of politics, and their back stories that often do not make the lime light.