“The New York Public Library, the Queens Library, and the Brooklyn Public Library have just introduced a novel program to turn New York’s subway system into a traveling virtual library: straphangers can now download and read books for free during their commutes. It is a high-tech iteration of the long tradition of the traveling library. In the 19th century, for example, lighthouse keepers waited for sailors to bring them wooden boxes of books. During the Great Depression, in parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, books were delivered on flatboats. And then there’s the familiar bookmobile though it was originally known by a far less catchy title: the “perambulating library.”
One of the earliest mobile libraries was the Warrington Mechanics’ Institution Perambulating Library in London. In January 1860, Illustrated London News noted the difficulty “of getting working men to wash their faces and come to the library bar and ask for a book.” Despite this, in its first year readers borrowed 12,000 volumes.
Librarian Mary Titcomb is widely credited with introducing a horse-drawn book wagon in the United States—to rural Maryland in the early 20th century. “The book goes to the man, not waiting for the man to come to the book,” she declared. The arrival of motorcars in 1912 made the process a little easier (on the horses, at least), and the bookmobile as we know it was born…
In the United States today, bookmobiles are declining in number but diversifying in scope. They now offer DVDs, classes, and, in some cases, computers and e-readers. To celebrate the legacy of the bookmobile and its modern incarnations, Atlas Obscura has this selection of vintage images.”
Roger Goldblatt, Associate Bureau Chief of the Consumer and Govt Affairs Bureau, FCC is assembling an outreach program for older adults to help them understand the relevance and opportunity of digital technologies and the internet. Through previous work with ALA (OITP), Roger is exploring a potential pilot between FCC and OITP to identify local libraries in several key states who could develop model programs that would inform the CGB in the creation of a playbook for working with older adults through libraries. Roger is coming to Annual to learn more about current library programs for older adults, including info on library outreach, special needs of the population, and program themes that resonate with older adults.
Roger will be at the Annual conference. We have set aside a time in the Networking Uncommons (Sat 11-4) for librarians to meet with Roger and share info about adult services and technology.
Anyone interested that able to stop by can contact Carrie Russell at (firstname.lastname@example.org) This is a great opportunity for Roger to hear from as many librarians as possible.
We are going to send Roger to two ASCLA/RUSA programs on aging Americans (Sat and Sun).
Director, OITP Program on Public Access to Information
[Mary’s note: I immediately remembered reading the entire Dark Forces series as a kid as soon as I saw these photos! I had forgotten them, but remembered reading all these fun books, with some mild scariness, that I grabbed from the library!]
“THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT THE BOOKS we read as kids that stick with us, regardless of whether they were particularly good. These days, I couldn’t tell you what was important about most of the canonical texts I read freshman year of college, let alone the plot of the light-read detective novel I picked up last summer at the beach. But somehow I can recall, with vivid detail, scenes from nearly every trashy preteen book series I devoured in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
Yes, that includes The Nancy Drew Files and Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club, all of which no doubt many women my age remember with a fierce fondness. But it also includes Sharon Dennis Wyeth’s short-lived Pen Pals series, about a quartet of roommates at an all-girls boarding school who strike up a correspondence with a group of boys, and Eve Becker’s fantasy-driven Abracadabra books, which chronicle the adventures of Dawn, a 13-year-old who suddenly gains magical powers. In particular, my drug of choice one long, hot summer were the Dark Forces books, a packaged series of occult-based young-adult horror that made me feel—crucially, at the age of 11—like I was getting away with something naughty.
I’m certain I don’t remember these long out-of-print series so well because they were works of genius. To the contrary, the storylines and writing were of relatively low nutritional value, as these things go.
Outreach is a facet of many of our jobs. Over time, library job descriptions have been adjusted to include outreach, whether this includes targeting departments, student populations, or the surrounding community. Libraries have attempted to connect with their users through a variety of activities and strategies. However, how do we ensure our outreach activities are impactful? Assessment has also become more important over time, since many library budgets have shrunk and we are often asked to do more with less. It is imperative that we can justify the amount of time, energy, and money required for outreach activities. Determining in advance what impact we want to make dictates what types of events we hold. Further, better assessment leads to a better understanding of the impact of our activities. Much of the library literature shares strategies for reaching out to campus communities; however, there is a lack of discussion around goal-oriented activities and if these activities reached their goals through assessment.