Exploring National Parks, Leveraging Social Media

May 16, 2013


Dreaming of a National Park vacation? If so, there just might be a special library for you to visit between hiking and geyser viewing. Author and California State University Stanislaus librarian Maryann Hight volunteers at LeConte Memorial Lodge Library in Yosemite. She researched several unique libraries in national parks and found it was interesting and demanding work. A few of her observations:

  • Many NPS libraries don’t have a physical address and aren’t easy to find. Some seem almost hidden from visitors.
  • Not all are overseen by actual librarians—some staff members are museum curators, building administrators, or rangers. However, all are very passionate about their charge to care for the materials.
  • Although the libraries are open to the public, many are designed to serve park employees who provide interpretive services, not casual visitors. Ellis Island does not even have research material available to the public. Researchers must submit a letter stating a research purpose and request access, and then set up an appointment if their request is approved. Says Hight, “I talked to the librarian there over the phone for more than an hour. He had so many great stories I was ready to get on a plane to try to spend a week with him.”

We hope your summer travel plans also include a visit to Chicago for the ALA Annual Conference.

Finally, with our May 2013 issue we bid farewell to Outside/In, a column by David Lee King and Michael Porter. Many of you know David and Michael from their numerous books, blogs, and speaking engagements on emerging trends and social media. Over the past year and a half with American Libraries, their tips and ideas on the changing nature of digital tools in the library profession have been helpful to countless readers. We wish them continued success.


Greetings from America's National Park Libraries

Greetings from America’s National Park Libraries

Filmmaker Ken Burns called the National Parks “America’s Best Idea.” Their libraries may be one of America’s best-kept secrets.