Shifting Perception: Valued for what we do

Edmonton Public Library, 2014 Library of the Year

By Tina Thomas

Libraries have been at a crossroads of existence since I joined the Edmonton Public Library (EPL) five years ago – likely well before that and probably for many more years to come. In his article[1] outlining that “being essential” is not enough to sustain libraries, Rick Anderson highlights that an important thing libraries must do is provide value and a return on investment.

We know that if you ask 1000 people if they believe libraries are important the vast majority will say yes. But we also know that those same people may not know what the modern library does or even use the library themselves.

The challenge is libraries are often valued as an institution or idea, not for the services they provide. And, to Rick’s point, if the lofty idea of “essential” is all libraries have, we likely will be challenged to find support for the work we do in a sea of essential services.

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Shifting Perception: Libraries = Education

Frederick Road Howard County Library System

By Valerie J. Gross 

There’s a powerful movement afoot and it’s gaining momentum.

Hailed by Library Journal as “a 21st-century library model, with a position, doctrine, purpose, and curriculum worthy of study and consideration by every other library in America, if not the world,” [1] this effective strategy takes libraries back to their original purpose.

At the turn of the 20th century, libraries were established as educational institutions to deliver equal opportunity in education for everyone. Somehow, a century later, we find ourselves with a diluted purpose—so much so that fully one third of Americans do not know what we do.[2]

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Shifting Perception: Why Essentialness is Not the Problem

Chattanooga Public Library

By Corinne Hill

The fact that the topic of “the essentialness of libraries” is trending right now reveals a completely different issue that has nothing to do with the library being essential.

What this trending topic and ensuing discussions reveal about our profession is that we’re totally insecure. We are frantic in our zeal to be everything to everyone, and we’re so busy and distracted with the gathering of evidence to defend our existence that we forget who we are.

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Highlights and Notes tool coming to Gale’s digital resources

We all know the rules – don’t take notes in your textbooks and don’t write in books you’ve checked out from the library, or else you might face a fine.

As eBooks and digital resources have become more and more popular, a similar problem has presented itself: how can a user easily take notes without opening a separate program? Gale has found the solution with our new Highlights and Notes tool, scheduled to launch on or around Tuesday, September 30, in Artemis Literary Sources, GVRL, In Context*, InfoTrac, Kids InfoBits, Literature Resource Center, LitFinder, and PowerSearch.

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New Customer Data Upload Feature for DemographicsNow! Business and People

DemographicsNow Public Library Business Resource

Now, business researchers and  small business owners can be even savvier with more customer knowledge.  A new feature within DemographicsNow! gives your users the ability to upload their customer or business data and blend it with rich consumer information, like demographics, psychographics, and Experian consumer segments!

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Gale Artemis: Literary Sources gives you more with cross-searching

Artemis Literary Sources

Did you hear the news? Gale Artemis: Literary Sources is taking another step towards helping you get the literary information you need when you need it with the additions of Something About the Author and Dictionary of Literary Biography! If you have these series, you’ll now be able to cross-search with other incredible literary sources like Twayne’s Authors Online, Scribner Writers Online, Literature Criticism Online, and more.

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Weekend Travel Reads

Large Print Book on a Beach

By Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly

You’re going away for the weekend. You have a few hours to kill on the plane, or maybe in the car, and you love to read. You don’t want to think too much, though – after all, you’re on vacation!  You need a book you can devour in a weekend. What’s it going to be? Here are some suggestions for quick, light reads perfect for vacation.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows (2008)
History buffs will find this short work of fiction (274 pages) a perfect vacation read. German-occupied Guernsey Island during World War II is the setting, and the characters are a lovable, eccentric group who form a literary club. A writer named Juliet is intrigued by their society, and joins them on Guernsey Island. Her letters detail her experiences with people who become true friends, and their struggles during the occupation of their home during the war.

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (2014)
There’s something for everyone on this list! Fans of chick lit, gossipy style, and a little (ok, a lot…) of sexy romance will enjoy this quick read. Holly Brennan, a young widow, hooks up with a trainer to get her into shape. Of course, there is undeniable chemistry between them! This one is not recommended for a family car ride audio book! Load up your e-reader and bring a fan, because this one is hot, hot, hot! Perfect for the beach!

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The History of Transcontinental Travel: The Unknown Horizon

American Progress, by John Gast, 1872. Chromolithograph published by George A. Crofutt. Source: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

By Ryan Price

John Gast was a painter based in Brooklyn when he was commissioned to paint this picture for George Crofutt, a publisher of a popular series of western travel guides. The images Gast put to canvas represent a historical timeline of transportation technologies up until 1872 when the painting was completed. The Indian travois, the covered wagons, Pony Express, overland stage and the three railroad lines are not only progressively pushing one another forward (from East to West) but also driving the indigenous inhabitants — buffalo, bear and Native Americans — almost literally off of the painting. In the wake of this expansion are the tall ships in the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Columbia (a personification of the United States) guides the way, holding a schoolbook in one hand while stringing telegraph wire with the other. The imagery is a vivid and dynamic telling of not only the history of westward expansion but the future of it as well.

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