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Posts Tagged ‘national library week’

Unread Book“, a parody of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” was created by Pogona Creative and the Orange Public Library in association with Chapman University.  Love this!

Question:  Is it just me or does the Guybrarian look like Neil Patrick Harris?

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nlw14_posterOne of the cool things about the 21st century is how public libraries have remained a big part of Americans’ lives, despite all the new electronic media. Even traditional books — supposedly becoming outdated — remain important, as attested by the long waiting lists for popular titles and by the several folks we see walk by our reference desk with armloads of books every day. Add in music, movies, electronic reading, reference services, family history records, computer access, meeting rooms and programs. The result is that libraries are crucial to the quality of life in many communities, as they are in Allen County.

The latest statistical support for this feeling comes from Pew Internet. It shows, among many other things, that two-thirds of the adult population say they have medium or high engagement with public libraries.

Like any enterprise these days of constant change, libraries cannot be complacent. As part of National Library Week this week, we have introduced our Maker Lab at the Georgetown Branch. Stop by to see how we can help you turn your creativity into physical, usable objects with a 3-D printer and other tools. This week you’ll also have two chances to win Kindle e-readers by completing simple exercises that are laid out on forms available at our 14 locations.

I realize the preceding may sound like amazingly blatant tooting of my employer’s horn, but I worked in another field for 25 years. When I decided to make a career change, I chose to become a public librarian because I had appreciated libraries so much my whole life. Odds are you appreciate them, too, so please come by and celebrate with us during our week. Libraries are simply a good place to be.

 

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We may be in the middle of National Poetry Month but we’re also at the beginning of National Library Week — two things that make my heart pitter-patter quite happily.  You’re reading this blog so I know you love your library — but what Dewey Decimal Category are you?  Take this quiz and find out!

I’m the 800’s — is anyone surprised?  Poetry, Drama, Literature — it’s all good!  What’s your favorite category?

Image from Mental Floss

Image from Mental Floss

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RexK via flickr

RexK via flickr

As we say farewell to National Library Week 2013 — and with all due respect to music and art and videos and everything else libraries provide besides books — click on this link and read so many lively quotations about reading that you’ll feel compelled to grab a book and swallow it whole.

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Share everything. That’s first on the list of maxims in Robert Fulghum’s famous little book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and it comes pretty close to summing up the whole idea of public libraries. It was the core value that inspired Ben Franklin to propose America’s first social library – one where ownership of the books was shared by the people who

(c)2009 Dale Phurrough

(c)2009 Dale Phurrough

borrowed them. Social libraries evolved into public libraries, in which the community owns the library and its books, and everyone in the community can use them.

Sharing costs and rewards was an important theme across Franklin’s public life, as he helped create such innovations as a fire department, a hospital and the University of Pennsylvania. The man who dreamed up social libraries also helped forge the United States out of 13 quarrelsome colonies. It’s well known that he was a player behind the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; less so is that 20 years before the Revolution he led a major but unsuccessful effort to unite the colonies so they could fight the French and Indians.

Another thing about libraries and Franklin and enduring American values is his devotion to intellectual freedom. He was a newspaper publisher long before anyone thought up the First Amendment. He understood that freedom to publish and freedom to read were vital for maintaining a free and prosperous society. As we observe National Library Week, here’s a nod to a man who realized perhaps before anyone else how useful libraries could be both to individual citizens and their communities.

 

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My family used the public library often when I was a child.  We attended storytimes and checked out bags and bags and bags full of books.  I loved the ladies who worked at the Georgetown branch and always wanted to be a librarian.  And here I am, decades later, working at the Georgetown branch, presenting storytimes to a new generation of book lovers!

On the left: me and my little sister at the Georgetown Branch Library in 1981. On the right, both of us with her three daughters in 2011 when I became the children’s librarian there (30 years later!).

As a child, I really didn’t even know all of the things librarians do. To give you a better perspective of some of the things a public librarian does, I’d like to give you a sneak peek this National Library Week into a typical day at work for me. Please note that any identifying information has been removed — one thing librarians take very seriously is patron privacy. We are bound both by professional ethics and by state law to keep library records private.

On a typical day, I am likely to:

  • Help a child find a specific book in a series
  • Answer questions about how to download ebooks to a Kindle Fire
  • Gather a collection of materials for a teacher — for example, 30 books for 3rd graders on ancient Greece
  • Present storytime to a group of 30 kids and grownups — including books, rhymes, songs, and early literacy instruction tips for the adults
  • Find an informational DVD on travel in Spain
  • Blog about a fun new book
  • Reset the automatic flush mechanism on a toilet
  • Show a student how to find scholarly, peer-reviewed research sources
  • Give a family books on baby sign language
  • Answer email questions from patrons
  • Prepare for the summer reading program
  • Evaluate new titles for purchase, checking review sources and budget lines

I truly love my job and wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Helping people find what they need allows me to go home feeling like I have done a valuable service for our community.  Thank you, Allen County, for the opportunity to serve you.

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