Engaging Our Communities
By Laurie D. Borman
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:21
Where’s Johnny Depp? In 2013, you can find him in American Libraries, as part of our annual Year in Review. He started his own book imprint last year, with the inaugural title—about Bob Dylan—slated to appear in 2015. There’s a lot more to our 2012 retrospective than celebrity sightings, though. Check out surprising Pew Research Center stats, the truth about ebook pricing, the launch of Google Fiber at the library, and the new Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. 2012: It was an exciting, sometimes challenging year.
If I were predicting a library theme for 2013, it would be community engagement. Libraries and librarians are looking for ways to better serve the needs of their local populations, whether that community is a city, a campus, or a school. The January/February issue of American Libraries reflects part of that broad spectrum of engagement efforts. For example, we found that libraries across the country are scaling back the stacks and even putting trailers in parking lots to make room for makerspaces. There’s a long history of making things in libraries, beginning with quilting clubs and crafting classes. If you’re planning a makerspace for your facility, we cover three models that work and provide a list of practical resources, including types of equipment, and price tags.
Libraries can engage with those who need help staying in their community too. “Libraries Help Homeowners Fight Foreclosure” explains how the San Diego County (Calif.) Library joined forces with the Housing Opportunities Collaborative, a nonprofit foreclosure-prevention organization, to help local financially strapped residents keep their homes. And the library did it even as its own budget shrank.