Author Archive: Meredith Farkas

In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Access and Resistance

March 1, 2017

When I started working at the library, we handed out time-limited computer access passes to anyone who wanted them. Users included library cardholders, people who were homeless, the residents of a local halfway house, and people who worked in the city but didn’t live there. I loved that we provided a valuable service to those … Continue reading Access and Resistance

In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Never Neutral

January 3, 2017

Over the past few years, critical librarianship has become a force that pervades every area of our work, from reference to library instruction, collection development, cataloging, and storytime. Biweekly #critlib Twitter chats (crit​ address topics across all areas of librarianship. Many librarians are thinking about how they can fight for social justice in their work, which … Continue reading Never Neutral

In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Worth a Thousand Words

November 1, 2016

One technique I tried was putting all of the comments into Wordle, a tool that creates word clouds showing by size the relative frequency of each word. One of the largest terms in the cloud was quiet. Our library had been focused on building and enhancing collaborative spaces, so the word cloud provided a valuable … Continue reading Worth a Thousand Words

In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Accessibility Matters

September 1, 2016

I’d been aware of screen readers, which read what is on a computer screen to a visually impaired user, but this was the first time I’d actually seen one in action. While the platform we were testing was deemed accessible because it was compatible with screen readers and its videos contained closed captions, multiple design … Continue reading Accessibility Matters

In Practice by Meredith Farkas

From Both Sides Now

May 31, 2016

At the same time, I felt like I had unlimited stores of passion, energy, and ideas that year. My colleagues took me seriously even though I was green, and some of those rookie ideas became services the library still offers, like chat reference. I frequently hear about new-to-the-profession librarians who are treated by their colleagues … Continue reading From Both Sides Now

Meredith Farkas

Our Digital Heritage

May 2, 2016

Libraries have always played a role in preserving local history, but that job has become more complex as the formats in which materials may be available continue to multiply. On the other hand, the technologies to digitize and post local history resources online have become cheaper and more readily available, even to small libraries. Some … Continue reading Our Digital Heritage

Meredith Farkas

A Learning Organization

March 1, 2016

There is no one working in a library who wouldn’t benefit from continuous learning. At some institutions, only those in professional positions are granted time and money for professional development. This not only creates an uncomfortable divide between colleagues, it also suggests that only professionals really need to learn on the job. This couldn’t be … Continue reading A Learning Organization

Meredith Farkas

The New Digital Divide

January 4, 2016

But ask someone to fill out a form, search a library database, or edit a term paper, and it quickly becomes clear that a phone is not a perfect replacement for all of a computer’s functions. According to a recent Pew Research Center study of smartphone use, for approximately one in five Americans, their mobile … Continue reading The New Digital Divide

Meredith Farkas

It’s Not Us Versus Them

September 15, 2015

The level of hubris I had—and probably exhibited—back then embarrasses me today. I’m sure everyone probably feels that way looking back on their shiny new-to-­librarianship selves. Luckily, I had patient and understanding colleagues who were, by and large, pretty game to try new things. These days, I cringe when I read things that accuse experienced … Continue reading It’s Not Us Versus Them

Meredith Farkas

Future-Proof Your Project

June 15, 2015

It is easier to leave a project behind when you know there are people equipped and committed to supporting it. I’ve heard horror stories about libraries that have not been able to maintain technologies—from blogs and Facebook pages to mission-critical, homegrown ­software—after an employee left. It’s challenging to think of leaving as part of project … Continue reading Future-Proof Your Project

Meredith Farkas

Making for STEM Success

May 18, 2015

National organizations like the Institute of Museum and Library Services have recognized the importance of catching up in math and science and are funding STEM initiatives that expose young people to science in creative and engaging ways. Schools, museums, nonprofits, and libraries have accepted the STEM challenge, developing programs and spaces that allow children to … Continue reading Making for STEM Success