Monday, March 28, 2016

The Early Bird Gets the Bookworm

Everyone has heard of the wise old saying, "the early bird gets the worm." With Spring officially sprung, this blog is going to highlight the benefits of bringing children into the library. 

                  Children Learn the Concept of Sharing

    • The library is one of the first places children learn how to properly borrow materials. Children learning that library books belong to everyone in the community is an invaluable skill to show how to handle books with respect, and returning them on time and in the correct place.  

             Community Involvement and Connection

    • With libraries hosting children's story time, this is a great way for children to learn how much fun community involvement is. By gathering in a circle and listening to stories alongside their peers, children learn how to get along with others and meet new people in the community

                      Multicultural Experiences

    • Libraries expose children to a plethora of cultures, both in the patrons it serves and the books it contains. Children can go to the library and read a book about the country of Chile, while sitting by and interacting with other children of different racial, social, and economic backgrounds. These experiences teach children how to get along and respect everyone regardless of personal backgrounds. 

Lifetime of Intellectual Freedom and Imagination

    • Children learn in the library about the priceless value education and intellectual freedom truly is. Not only is the acquisition of knowledge invaluable, but also the ability to dream and imagine in the library  is limitless. Children can read a book, and then utilize library materials to draw a picture and expand on what they have learned. This safe zone allows children to explore worlds and possibilities that may not be available to them as readily in their home or school environment. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What's So Special About Being a Special Librarian?

If you’re not really sure what special libraries are, here is a good starter definition – they are essentially libraries or information centers within corporations, private businesses, government agencies, museums, colleges, hospitals, associations, etc. 

I can’t sum up an entire course worth of information on special librarianship for you, but I did want to let you know that amazing jobs in nontraditional library settings are out there, and give you a broad overview of some helpful resources.

If you are even the tiniest bit interested in a nontraditional library job, you should look into a student membership with the Special Libraries Association, or SLA — If you’re interested in going to the annual conference, it is WELL worth it. Here are some of SLA’s resources I have found invaluable:
  • My SLA annual and MLW conference experiences. At SLA annual, I met librarians who worked for Target, the Department of Transportation, the European Union — you name it. I truly couldn’t believe some of these positions existed.

  • SLA Divisions — There are so many divisions to choose from! Many of the division pages contain excellent resources,and browsing these is a great way to get to know some of the unique positions out there. Also, each of the divisions have a special dynamic and many awesome librarians to network with! In SLA, you are not alone, even if you’re a solo librarian.

So, do you want to be a special librarian? Here is my ultimate tip. After you have done your research about what types of positions interest you, try to find an internship in that kind of position. While it is possible to get a job based on your other library experiences (transferable skills!), having even a little bit of experience in that position will make a world of difference, especially in more difficult to obtain positions.  This is where networking can really help you, so don’t be afraid to contact special librarians! Being a member of SLA is a huge icebreaker, but there are definitely other ways to get in touch — Twitter, for example.

Do you work in a special library? Please share what you do and how you got there! Do you have any other great resources to add to our list? If you’re a student, do you have questions about special libraries, or any of our personal experiences? We’re happy to answer whatever we can, and we’ll find answers to the questions we don’t know!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prison Libraries

Prison Libraries are a Positive Light

Public libraries have a huge mission, to provide information and intellectual access to their public. So this means that library access does not just extend towards patrons with access to the physical location of the library itself, but also to patrons who are unable to utilize the library in the freedom it has. 

Prison libraries are a touchy subject to all key players in the conversation, be that the librarians, tax-payers, law makers, and prisons themselves. All of these previously mentioned characters in this story, in addition to those not mentioned, have their own stake in this discussion, each with an extremely valid argument as to why their stance on prison libraries is correct. Since this is a library-based blog, I am going to write in the context of why libraries are supportive of prison libraries, and how their services benefit the inmates both in the present, and future contexts. Below are some key points as to why prison libraries are helpful both the prisoners, but also their communities. 

Background Facts

  • In 2010, over 2.25 million American adults were incarcerated. 
  • With this above number being so staggeringly high, the American Library Association believes it is libraries across the nation's duty to "encourage public libraries and systems to extend their services to residents of jails and other detention facilities within their taxing areas."
  • Providing library service to inmates and those returning from prison is fulfilling the democratic mission of the public library because it allows “a wholly segregated group of people” access to information that most Americans take for granted.
Rehabilitation Services

  • The outstandingly high number of Americans incarcerated also suggests that there are a lot of current inmates, who are not sentenced to life-long jail terms, meaning that they expect to be released from jail in a relatively short amount of time. 
    • The use of prison libraries, therefore, can provide these inmates with opportunities to learn of opportunities available to them, via educational training, job resources, and simply, rehabilitation material they can utilize to ensure that they do not return to jail at a future time. 
Libraries are Safe Zones

  • A library is considered by most, if not all patrons as a safe zone. A prison library acts in the same way. Each inmate is treated with dignity and respect, and is not denied access to intellectual material, but rather, is encouraged to explore all avenues of the library. 
  • This stance the library holds takes the attitude of changing the prisoner's life in a positive way, because they are allowed to believe they are worth something, and empowered to start making a difference in their lives through library materials. 
Reintegration and Outreach

  • Studies show that 95% of inmates will return to their same community once they are released from prison. This means that these inmates will often be exposed to the same people, places, and things that landed them in jail in the first place.
  • By having public libraries do outreach in cooperation with local prisons, this spark of communication could lead prisoners to their community library, rather than back into the slump of bad decisions. 
  • This concept of "reintegration" is crucial to prisoners becoming productive members of society, as well as having a further connection of services that local public libraries can provide. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Let's Go Beyond Google

Google and BING are fantastic resources to use, and often times they both are able to effectively and efficiently answer all questions Internet users could possibly have. 

But what about those pesky questions that turn up empty handed when you throw them into a Google search?

Or what happens when the information you are searching for is just not coming up on Google?

There are other options! You just don't know about them!

There are a couple of great web service platforms that I want to take the time to introduce to you all here on this blog. They each have their own personality, and their resources can take an Internet search to the next level.

  • Using hashtags, you can discover trending topics circulating around the Internet much easier on this consolidated search engine. See the connections between topics and people. 
  • Most importantly, it's free!
  • Just sign in with your Twitter handle, and get started linking people, places, and things!

  • "Helping thinkers, designers, scientists – anyone involved in moving the human race forward – to find the precise information that will inform their own efforts is not just our job at Deep Web Technologies, it is their calling."
  • The above mission statement says it all: this platform is intended for business-related inquiries where you dive deeper into the business resources to discover the exact root of the history and processes of your question.
  • The company behind, Deep Web Technologies, also powers other platforms specific to medical questions, engineering, etc. 

  • searches other multiple internet websites to show how your question or topic of interest is shared via other websites and methods, such as images, videos, text documents, and more. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Getting Teenagers into the Library

In order for librarians to get teens into their libraries, they have a lot to compete with these days.

So how do libraries nation-wide appeal to teenagers, and make them put down their phones and their personal laptops, and get them into the library?

It's Hard!

Luckily, here are a few easy and achievable tips and tricks:

  • Try getting out of the library
    • Teens need to realize that there is more the library offers than just the quiet physical building. 
    • By having librarians reach out to students in their local schools, where librarians can talk to students face-to-face about books, and what other services the library offers specifically to them. 
    • This gives the library a personal connection that otherwise is hard to achieve

  • Create a Separate Teen-Only Space
    • Teenagers may be avoiding the library due to the notion of having to remain quiet at all times. However, by creating a separate teen space, they now have a safe space in the library to mingle with peers of their age, without disturbing the other patrons. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Blind Date with a Book

Mystery Book Dates?

Here is a cool concept to incorporate into your library... have patrons participate in a Blind Date With a Book! Libraries around the nation are taking it into their own hands to set up their patrons with their dream book. 

The books are made anonymous in plain brown wrappings, and library staff members have decorated the outside with words and images in hopes of tempting you to take a chance and read something new and unknown. Blind Date with a Book is an exercise in, truly, not judging a book by its cover.

For example: An adult historical novel says, “It’s 1351 B.C. and you’re about to step into a world filled with drama, political intrigue and a little bit of romance…” A book for teens, tagged as being in the historical/fantasy/thriller genre says, “If someone told you a ‘spirit’ said the Titanic was going to sink, would you believe them?” How about an adult nonfiction title, which asks, simply, “Life of a Maine Farm girl… Is it paradise?”

Do you have a book you think your neighbors and fellow readers would enjoy? Let your library know and they can add it to the mix. Who knows, if you all have fun with it, this might continue indefinitely in your library!

So, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, and would like to take a chance on finding your true book love, come on in, take a look at the displays and see if any of our eligible books intrigue you. The book you choose may end up being a one-time thing, or it could lead to years of happy reading. Either way, we promise we won’t tell!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

50 Most Beautiful Libraries in the World

World's Most Beautiful Libraries

For those who say a picture is worth 1,000 words...

The picture above is not only worth 1,000 words, but it also houses plenty of books with over 1,000 words. Libraries are a beautiful and sacred institution for what they stand for alone. However, there are some libraries out there that show their physical appeal on top of their infinite resources of knowledge. 

While some libraries aesthetically are bland and boring, there are 50 libraries around the world who have taken it upon themselves to fight these stereotypes. Let's look at a few of them below:


Located in the heart of the Ciudad University in Mexico City, this library holds over 400,000 books. It is best known for its external murals covering the outside of the library, crafted by Mexican painter Juan O'Gorman, his masterpiece covers the ten story piece illustrating the history of the country. 


The outside of this library is covered in myriad lettering through the use of various alphabetical letters. The library was completed in 2004 and is home to seven stories worth of books, storage facilities, and shelving. 


The open feel of this library is meant to bring the outside, indoors. The building is completed with 6,000 holes that allow natural light to come in and entrance the patrons. Practically speaking, the library is built to withstand hurricanes, as well as having advanced heating and cooling systems.


This library at UC San Diego takes its name from Dr. Suess, due to him and his wife's contributions to their library and nation wide literacy. The library boasts its 1960's brutalist style as one of the nation's most unique libraries, unrivaled by most libraries out there. 


Western Australia's Edith Cowan University is the home to the Library and Resources Building, intending for the building to be a home away from home. There are various lounges to attract to different learning styles, therefore appealing to the mass amount of students. 

If you want to see the remaining list of the World's Most Beautiful Libraries, click the hyperlink and enjoy!