Ask the ALA Library

How many closings?

Q. I keep reading about recent closings of public libraries or proposed closings of branches in some larger cities, and I recall that others, such as in Salinas, CA, closed but re-opened.  How many libraries have, in fact, been closed?  I hope it isn't many, as I've also been reading about increased library usage, and I would hate to see cutting libraries viewed as a tool for dealing with strained budgets.

Evaluating your reference collection

Question: Due to budget cuts, my library is looking closely at the reference collection.  Are there any policies or guidelines for evaluating reference collections, especially in light of print and paid database resources?

Answer: While ALA does not have a collection development (or evaluation) policy for the reference collection, we do have various guidelines to help you create your own policy.  The ALA Library has gathered some resources on our Professional Tips Wiki:

Do bus fumes damage books?

Bus with exhaust

Q. Do diesel fumes, like from a bus, damage books? A request was made to the city bus transit offices to move a bus stop based on the argument that bus fumes damage books.

Cost Finding

Q. We've been asked to find out if it costs our library more or less than average to catalog a book.  But what is the average cost?

Cost Finding

Q. We've been asked to find out if it costs our library more or less than average to catalog a book.  But what is the average cost?

Literary Landmarks

Q.  We were in Hannibal, Missouri on a recent spring driving trip and visited the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum.  I noted that it is a "Literary Landmark."  What is this designation?

Bar Codes in Libraries

Question: Is there a standard library barcode identification system?

Award-winning Libraries

Q. Our library is beginning to think about a major addition.  I recall that the ALA gives an award for library buildings.  I'd like to plan a cross-country trip so that I could see some of these.  How can I get a list of these libraries?

War Service Library book

Q. Today I was going through some books donated to our book sale and ran across one with a bookplate stating "War Service Library" with a picture of a WW I Soldier carrying a stack of books.  This plate was found in a 1918 book.  What is the story behind this bookplate?

Mobile accessible library websites

Question: We'd like to make our website available to patrons that have "smartphones".  Do you have any resources to help us?

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