Public Libraries: The Economy Issue

Looking at the July/August 2009 issue of Public Libraries and I keep finding things to share.
Also, check out the book FREE by Chris Anderson (for Free).

OK, back to PL:

Three Views (p.8) – interviews with three librarians from across the country about how the recession has increased their use and circulation.  Job seekers, people needing email addresses, people attending classes on resume writing and interviewing skills – oh and a class on helping parents complete the FASFA applications!

Challenges to Sustaining Library Technology in a Tough Economy by Denise M. Davis – chocked full of statistics and interesting points about bandwidth, user deomgraphics, and the increase of ‘soft’ money to supplement library budgets.

Save Money – Use the Web! by Michael Porter and David Lee King – Five ways to save library money (RSS, Online training, Skype/IM, online storage and Open Source) and Ten ways to help your patrons save money.  Good stuff from two former Tech Day presenters.

Fundraising and Advocacy in Tough Times with Peter Pearson – I love this quote, “The flip side of the fundraising coin is containing expenses.  While a first reaction might be to slash programs and staff in reaction ot budget constraints, the wiser approach is to plan and move strategically–looking to the long term.” NEKLS now has a foundation that member libraries can use for fundraising – I see a workshop in the future…

No Easy Targets: Six Libraries in the Economy’s Dark Days by Suzann Holland and Amanda Verploeg of the Oskaloosa (IA) Public Library – “For this article, the authors talked to library administrators representing communities of varying sizes across the country about the difficulties they are facing and the ways that they are coping with their libraries’ struggles” (p. 27).  One library cut hours based on usage stats, so they were able to serve more patrons with fewer staff because they were open during ‘peak’ hours – a strategy our smallest libraries have always used!  This is interesting, too – of the libraries profiled in the article, only 1 used direct public input to help determine what services would be reduced.  Ooh, here’s more – many municipalities give libraries ‘low priority’ rankings and see them as easy targets for budget cuts!  I could go on, but you all need to read this yourself.  Kudos to the authors, great article.

Tightrope Walk: Advocate for funding while winning friends, influencing people by James G. Van Bramer, Queens (NY) Library – NEKLS Fall assembly is about advocacy – this is a very ‘how to’ advocacy article.  Favorite quote, “You must be a zealot” (p. 40).

Public Libraries and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by Emily Sheketoff – Wow, I do so hope the good folks at our State Library are up on this (I think they are).  There’s money for broadband and for the “an additional $130 million for rural community facilities” you know, like libraries!  Cool.  Round one for applications is early 2010.

Oh, and I think I’m going to buy a few things for our professional collection on managing building programs and managing those pesky Millennials. 😉

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