karenmuller's blog

Sunday Hours

How many public libraries have Sunday hours?  You might think that's an easy question to answer, but it's a bit complicated and the results are ultimately inconclusive.

Community Disaster Response

Over the years, librarians, particularly preservation librarians, have written extensively about preparing for and recovering from a disaster, often localized at the library.  Preparations include both developing a plan for taking action, as well as documenting the specific techniques and resources tha will be needed to protect or restore the collections.

Safety and Security in Libraries

Safety in public spaces, including libraries, has always been a concern, but may be more keenly felt in light of certain recent events. A productive and effective library is one in which its staff and patrons feel secure.

Ban Pooh?

Q. Each year when we mark Banned Books Week in my middle school reading class, I’m always astonished to see that Winnie-the-Pooh has appeared on a list of banned books, though not one from ALA. Why is this book listed?

Donating Ebooks?

Q. Our local library, like so many others, now offers ebooks for loan. Their inventory is not as great as I would like. I’d like to be able donate ebooks I have purchased, just as I would donate paper copies of books I no longer wish to own, but I’m told this isn’t possible. Could you explain the difference to me and let me know if there is legislation in the works that can correct this seemingly unfair disparity?

Coretta Scott King Award Seal Design by Lev Mills

Q. I was recently teaching my students about the various literary awards for children’s writers and was asked an interesting question by a student. I have looked on your website as well as on the internet in general and cannot find a complete answer. I am hoping you can help me.

In the design for the Coretta Scott King Award, there are five religious symbols that are in line underneath the child reading the book. . . . My student asked me what they are. And his whole class is now fascinated with knowing about the design. Can you verify for me what these symbols actually are? Thank you so much for your help.

Librarian Ethnicity

Q. Does ALA have recent information on the ethnic distribution of librarians?

Dewey or LC?

Q. Which is older, the Library of Congress Classification or Dewey? Which is more popular?

A. Quickly, Dewey is older and more popular, depending somewhat on the type of library. But let’s step back to the purposes of a classification system to understand a bit more about classification.

To “catalog” a book or other form of library material involves several interrelated processes which all contribute to the achievement of Charles Ammi Cutter’s “objects” for a catalog:

Historical Awards

Q. In a few weeks, one of our colleagues will retire. We know she has received several honors from the American Library Association. Is there any place we can research what they are?

A. We in the ALA Library—and in the divisions and offices, as well—have received this question, or similar ones, over the years. With ALA offering nearly 200 awards or other forms of recognition each year, some at the Association level, others by divisions or round tables, researching the question can be slow.

Using Other Sources

Q. Today's been tough.  Kids are coming in with left-to-the-last-minute homework assignments for which they normally turn to Wikipedia.  We're getting them to print resources and our online databases, but do you have suggestions for teaching research skills? 

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