A number of independent and non-profit organizations have emerged in recent years with the goal of helping people (students and adults) educate and express themselves — especially in areas where traditional education (in the U.S.) has left gaps such as coding, problem solving/innovation, and the arts. Public libraries are just the ones to harness the power of these independently funded and administered initiatives and organize access to them in a way that people of all ages can benefit.
The Library is the Hummingbird
One day, a long time ago in a faraway place, or so the legend goes, there was a huge forest fire raging the countryside. The animals were terrified. They were running around, screaming, crying and helplessly watching the impending disaster.
In the middle of the flames, and above the cowering animals, was a tiny hummingbird busy flying from a small pond to the fire, each time fetching a few drops with its beak to throw on the wild flames. It kept repeating this over and over and over again…
By Jan Holmquist
The Best Kind of Friend
“If the guys at the firehouse don’t know your name, you’re not doing your job properly.” Libraries rely on Friends groups, foundations, and other volunteer and fundraising arms to generate enough money to pay for public programs and to help raise awareness about library services and their value to the community. The Library Effect interviewed James Fox, president of the Friends of the Somerville Public Library in Somerville, MA to find out about his brand of entrepreneurial volunteerism.
Interview by Shannon K. McDonough (VIDEO)
Math: Good for You, Good for Us
In my optimistic hours, I like to believe that logic is a key component to both ethics and to social policy making, which are critical components to making the human race a more respectable lot. One can argue that math by itself will solve none of these. But, I think that to learn to be logical and to examine all the ifs, ands and buts that go into designing complicated systems and making large scale decisions, one requires practice, and math is a fantastic way to exercise the brain.
An excerpt from “As n Marches,” by David Craft
Partner with Libraries, Win at Marketing
Building strong relationships with local businesses and organizations is critical to any library’s ability to serve its community in a successful, fulfilling way. Libraries aren’t the only ones benefiting from these collaborations, however. Let’s take a look at what is in it for local businesses, non-profit organizations, municipal departments, and the general public.
By Liz Gotauco
Illustrating Life One Panel At A Time
Whether they are comic strips, fotonovelas, comic books or graphic novels, the sequential art format possesses a certain universality that transcends language and culture. Their dialogues, everyday situations, adventures and characters provide students ways to enjoy and place themselves in the story, while constructing meaning, learning vocabulary and following ideas through text and images.
By Sujei Lugo
Library as Community Living Room
Libraries today offer something for everyone. Our little library/living room, is in the center of our town; the heart, the hearth. We entered that living room to enjoy the Story Time, but we stayed to become part of the community. We began attending events frequently – some for children, like a puppet show or an arts and crafts afternoon, some for adults – a multicultural night, a poetry workshop. It was a place that fostered a love of books in children, but was also a social setting for adults, offering a “Mac & Cheese Bake-Off” inside, or an Astronomy Night outside under the stars.
By Colleen A. Madden
Texas Libraries Roundup
Texas is known for many things: our State Fair with a seemingly infinite variety of fried foods; famous and infamous politicians; the Alamo; cowboys, rodeos, tumbleweeds, and any other assortment of ideas conjured up by images of the south. Just as in many other states, budget cuts to Texas libraries have also become a well-known reality. Yet, in spite of reduced funds and staffing, libraries and librarians in Texas continue to…
By Claire Sewell
Designing Modern Libraries (That Work)
Tony Hsiao, Principal and Director of Design at Finegold Alexander Architects in Boston, MA, discusses what has learned and observed about how we use libraries today, what the incredible needs are of the library staff are in today’s world, and how he applies these insights when designing new libraries.
Interview by Shannon K. McDonough (VIDEO)
Continuing to Learn, Create, and Have Fun
Today’s older adults are younger than ever. They are obliterating tired stereotypes about aging, leaving them by the side of the road as they don their cycling gear, run their marathons, travel to new locales and continue to work (for various reasons) past the usual retirement age. Lifetime Arts, Inc. has had this figured out for the better part of the last decade. They understand that active participation in the arts is key to positive aging, and that libraries are natural hosts for this kind of programming.
By Shannon K. McDonough (VIDEO)
“What is always amazing to me is the fact that nothing is ever posed when I go to NY, these are just normal people living their lives in this magical landscape.”
Photography by Lorena Levesque Gregor