Understanding Community Goals Leads to Success for Libraries and Communities – A post from the 2016 Library of the Year

By Leah Sewell, Communications Editor, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library

Have you ever been on the other line of a survey call? I haven’t, personally, but I’ve often wondered if I would be a willing participant. Perhaps in the midst of a particularly juicy book, soaking up one-on-one time with my fast-growing 9-year-old or closely watching a new recipe simmer, what would compel me to answer the phone, but also to converse with a researcher for an indeterminate spell? Well, for one thing, I’d pretty much drop everything and let dinner burn to gab with any stranger, on the phone or otherwise, when the topic is libraries.

You see, in my career as the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s Communication Editor, I am enamored with the “public” part of the public library. How does the public feel about our services? How will they react to a minor or a major change? How can we woo them, engage them, help them feel a part the community through literacy and learning, and subsequently change their lives for the better?

My library is focused on the public and the public good. It’s asking the right questions, discovering people’s goals and needs and assisting them so they can reach them. Ultimately, it’s about making a difference in the community by working with our fellow citizens to make their lives better. That’s a good chunk of the reason why we’re the Library Journal / Gale, a part Cengage Learning 2016 Library of the Year. We have our ears to the ground.

When the 2016 Pew Research Center report, Libraries at the Crossroads, was released in September 2015, I wondered about the people on the other end of those cell phones and land lines. Those individuals that Pew cites variously as “a share of Americans” or “a majority of Americans,” or “low-income Americans” are real individuals with busy lives, loved ones and their own dinners to prepare. Yet, they all sat a spell to gab about libraries.

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Worldmark Global Health and Medicine Issues:

a “Comprehensive” and “Informative” Resource

Posted on May 20, 2016

Searching for “very useful” information on global health and medicine issues in the modern world?  Worldmark Global Health and Medicine Issues, 1st Edition addresses health and medicine topics relevant to everyone’s lives across the globe. Organized alphabetically, the encyclopedia gives readers easy access to authoritative information on various topics.

This article was published in Booklist‘s May 15, 2016 issue; by Barbara Bibel. Read what she had to say!

CONTENT With the speed of modern travel and the global connections of commerce and industry, health issues quickly become international. This new encyclopedia does an excellent job of placing health and medical problems within social, political, and economic contexts. Using primary source documents, photographs, charts, and graphs to supplement the text, the book provides a brief but comprehensive overview of 90
topics affecting world health.

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Ramona Quimby Becoming Ramona Quimby

Posted on May 12, 2016

By Kelly Torpey

…when I was a children’s librarian, that was about 1940, boys particularly asked where were the books about kids like us, and there weren’t any at that time. So when I finally told myself if I was going to write I should sit down and start writing, well, I expected to write about the maturing of a sensitive girl but I found I didn’t have anything to say on the subject, and so I thought about those boys who wanted books about kids like us….”

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Do You Keep Your Library’s Business Resources Hidden?

Posted on May 5, 2016

You may remember last year when we published a blog about Samantha Cole’s editorial in Fast Company magazine. Since it’s National Small Business Week, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make sure you’re not missing out on an opportunity to leverage the gift of free advertising. Keep reading; it’s not too late.

Cole’s article, “Who Needs Business School? The Hidden Startup Resources at your Local Library,” perfectly tells the value story of public libraries and specifically, how you support local entrepreneurs and foster economic growth. Do you ever read or hear something and think to yourself, “I couldn’t have said it better myself!”? This is one of those moments. What Cole has explained about libraries—and how she has explained it—is evidence-based and right on point.

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Vast digitizing project will put Harvard’s colonial archives online

Published on April 6, 2016 Harvard University has launched a project to digitize almost half a million items from its 17th and 18th century archives – the largest digitizing effort the university has ever undertaken. The letters, journals, documents and drawings tell the story not only of the nation’s oldest institution of higher learning, but … Read more…

Help Yourself! Self-Help Books on GVRL

Posted on March 31, 2016

Originally posted in February 2016 by Library Journal

It can be hard to maintain a positive outlook and self image in a world that places so much emphasis on material wealth and physical beauty rather than how we feel and think. We underestimate the importance of learning to love ourselves as we are rather than the way society tells us we should be. The right self-help books can and do provide a wealth of information to help you on your journey to understanding and improving yourself on your own terms. Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) provides a collection of insightful guides to help you meet your goals and reach your full potential.

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Give Your Job Search a Boost Using GVRL

Posted on March 24, 2016

Originally posted in November 2015 by Henrietta Verma of Library Journal

Job seekers are some of your library’s most frequent users. They all seek the same goal—satisfying employment, quickly—but they have varying skills, educational levels, and different needs. One may need a part time job while his children are at school, for example, while another may be seeking leads on a high-level corporate position. Still others will be looking for internships and volunteer work that will enhance their résumé while they seek paying work. Among the thousands of books available on GVRL are many for those seeking a new job or a career change. See below for links to just a few of the relevant titles.

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Business Stats You Can Compare Anywhere, Anytime

Posted on March 14, 2016

By Tina Creguer

Jay, a brash, young entrepreneur in the competitive field of mobile gaming app development, is putting the finishing touches on his business plan.  He already has appointments with potential investors, and he’s scurrying to pull together all the information they’ll grill him on.  Foremost on their minds will be viability of this new business and understanding the competitive landscape. He knows who his major competitors are, but needs help finding consistent data that will help him compare market share and descriptions.

There’s good news for Jay, and for anyone searching for comparative business stats.

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Take Control! Finance Books on GVRL

Posted on March 10, 2016

Original article published in Library Journal on February 3, 2016

Many patrons are interested in gaining control over their personal finances. They want to learn about budgeting, taxes, and how to invest wisely. Some are actively seeking the best ways to dig out of dire financial straits but lack the funds to seek professional assistance. Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) offers a wide range of reference material that can guide library users through processes such as estate planning, investing for the future, learning about tax incentives to start a small business, or rebuilding or improving a poor credit score. No matter their fiscal situation, patrons will find what they need in GVRL. Check out some of the below titles!

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