Embedding Your Library in the Community: How to Overcome Obstacles and Lead Transformational Change

By Steven V. Potter, Director and CEO at Mid-Continent Public Library

What happens when your strategic plan blocks attempts at innovative programs?
One of the most innovative and community-changing programs I have seen in several years is Career Online High School. The immediate impact of this program at the early-adopting libraries was stunning to me. Clearly, a program like Career Online High School provides a very meaningful answer to that tired old question, “Since everyone has a Kindle, do we still need libraries?”

When I saw Career Online High School, I was amazed but unhappy.I know our strategic plan. I know our key performance indicators. I know our demographics and needs. I know Career Online High School does not easily align into our strategic direction, but I also know we have a diverse population and there are people in our community who could use this program. So that’s the end of the story, right? Not so fast! A program like Career Online High School can be a great opportunity to create a partnership with another organization.

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In Other News: Bribery

man receiving rubber-banded Euros behind his back

A look at a current news item through the lens of different Gale electronic resources.

By Michelle Eickmeyer

Boy, oh boy. American’s have an interesting relationship with soccer. For decades, soccer has held an unyielding grip on, well, every other country in the world. Though there have been the exceptional fanatic interspersed, soccer has largely remained relegated to a kid’s sport. Yes, most children play soccer. No, most adults couldn’t name 4 teams. Until 2014. (See my previous post here.)

During the 2010 World Cup, held in South Africa, 34% of American’s watched at least some part of a match. And we didn’t watch too much. (Source) But in 2014? We were ready. A lot of us watched, and we watched a lot of the matches. Thirty-nine percent more of us watched 33 percent more. (Source)

Why is soccer’s time “now” in America? One theory is that all those kids who grew up playing soccer, are now adults and are putting their time and money where their hearts have always been. Another believes American’s have begun to embrace the opportunity for a “great and exciting” game to end with a very low score.

When the U.S. led the charge to investigate corruption within FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, it raised a few eyebrows. Why is America getting involved was asked by several people, but with varying tone. ‘You don’t even like soccer’ on one side, and ‘finally but how come someone who cared more didn’t step up a long time ago’ from the other. The most frustrating response, in my opinion — as an American who likes soccer — was from Russian president Putin who said we were once again meddling in world affairs which were not our concern and somehow tried to get Edward Snowden involved. (Source) That is the sole statement I have read expressing this (paranoid?) opinion; let’s leave it alone. Other voices from around the wold have been more supportive, including this BBC article.

Obviously, no one at the DOJ consulted me when they planned this action, but there are several reasons which make it easy to understand how/why we chose to act when others did not. We like a fair fight. We aren’t afraid to say no or ask tough questions, even if we have to ask them of our friends. We don’t like being taken advantage of. And, perhaps most importantly, we can sometimes see things differently because we don’t have years of “just accepting it” like many other countries.

 

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Josephine Community Libraries: Providing Real Community Value

P1280371By Kate Dwyer 

Josephine Community Libraries (JCL) increased its Gale database usage by 230% over previous years. By using public presentations with a ‘how to’ delivery style, JCL’s librarians are able to meet people where they are on topics they care about.

Under the umbrella of The Expanding Opportunities Program, funded by A Library Services and Technology Act, the mission of the program is to increase information literacy in Josephine County, Oregon, in the areas of employability, education, and entrepreneurship. The grant provides a full-time staff member to educate community members about the modern library available at their fingertips.

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Retirees: Learning, Rediscovering…Living the Dream

They’ve worked hard. They’ve raised kids, saved, and made sacrifices. Now, with long-awaited free time, they want to pursue new interests and rediscover old ones. Today’s retirees are keen to make the most of their non-working years.

But the more than 13% of the US population aged 65 or older (and that percentage expected to balloon in the next five years)1 is the group least likely to have visited the library in the last year.2 Public libraries have their work cut out to serve the needs of this age group. Luckily, Gale has resources that can attract and support seniors’ thirst for discovery.

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Chattanooga Public Library’s First Career Online High School Student Graduates

Reprinted from Chattanoogan.com

Missy Forshee is the very first graduate of the new accredited high school diploma program for adults offered through the Chattanooga Public Library. Ms. Forshee was presented with her official diploma by Mayor Andy Berke on Tuesday, May 5 at 2 p.m. She celebrated at the library with her family and friends, including her daughter who is her motivation and inspiration to improve her life and earning potential. 

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Student Essay Winner Imagines a World without Creditors

Each year, the Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition encourages scholars to explore the areas of legal history, rare law books, and legal archives, and to acquaint themsleves with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and law librarianship.Gale is honored to partner with AALL to facilitate the prizes for the winners of this year competition by providing a cash stipend and travel allowance to AALL’s annual meeting.

This year’s winner comes from SUNY Stonybrook. Check out his summary of his award-winning essay below, and we’ll see you in Philadelphia!


Lay Justices and Local Finance in Early New York

By Sung Yup Kip

Living in the twenty-first century, it is hard to imagine economic life without the existence of credit. How many of us hasn’t had to borrow money at one point in life (unless you belong to that fabled one percent), whether in the form of taking a student loan, taking out a mortgage, or simply letting credit card debt pile up? Credit, perhaps just as much as money itself, is the lifeblood of the modern economy, allowing us to get by when our meager earnings fall short of our daily needs. People of course lent and borrowed money long before the advent of market economies and capitalism, but in pre-modern economies credit was often extended on a personal basis, whereas modern credit markets revolve around formal credit instruments supported by the firm hand of law. Thanks to this legal-financial system, borrowing no longer has to be limited to one’s immediate acquaintances, and creditors feel more secure about lending money to strangers, thus making more credit available in the market.

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Getting to Know U: Robert

By Robert L. Lisiecki

We’ve made significant progress in our Getting to Know U series, and we’re not quite done yet. It’s time for another round. Like our previous posts, we’ll be introducing someone with a unique perspective. While the people at Gale U are all connected in some way, shape, or form, each person brings his or her own story. Today we’ll be meeting Robert, the faculty advisor in the writing center.

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In Other News: Charity

close up of charity entry in the dictionary

A look at a current news item through the lens of different titles available on GVRL.

By Michelle Eickmeyer

Saving and improving lives is expensive work. And without donations, most of it would not be possible. This week, the Federal Trade Commission charged four “charities” and their administrators for out-right stealing nearly $200 million. Two charities have already been dissolved. Reprehensible behavior. But if you want to give, how do you know with whom to spend your money? One solution is Charity Watch, an independent organization that can help you understand where and how a donation might be spent. There are a number of other resources and websites; that is just one.

In 2013, Americans gave $335.17 billion to charity. Of that, $240.6 billion was given by individuals (Source).  I’ve been especially interested in final numbers of donations for 2014 for a number of reasons. First, my cousin’s 2-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia. (Did you know that the National Institute of Cancer dedicates only 4% of its funding to pediatric cancer research (Source ) Why did cancer have to touch my family to learn that?) Second, the ice bucket challenge (and Mike Rowe). Here’s my previous post on it! In 2014, the ice bucket challenge raised $220 Million for the ALS Association (Source). That’s about 700% more than the year before (Source). Did more people give in 2014, or did people give more, or did they just give differently? The new numbers, expected next month, will tell.

Who currently gives (or doesn’t), and how much, when, and why are sometimes surprising. Low- and middle-income people give a higher percentage of their income than their high-income counterparts. Residents of large cities are less likely to give. When you compare the level of giving across states and the District, of the 20 most generous, only two voted democrat in the last election (Source). All sorts of assumptions will not be made on why that is the way it is.

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