How public libraries help build healthy communities

A reason public libraries are seen as such important third-place institutions is that they and their librarians have gradually taken on other functions well beyond lending out books. In many communities, librarians are also ad hoc social workers and navigators. They help local people figure out the complexities of life, from navigating the health system to helping those with housing needs. This “go-to” role has influenced library programming and events, with libraries providing advice and connections to health, housing, literacy, and other areas….

“public libraries are dynamic, socially responsive institutions, a nexus of diversity, and a lifeline for the most vulnerable among us.”


May 20, 2017 at 1:15 am Leave a comment

The Public Library’s Part in Community Information Provision

Tim Gorichanaz and Deborah Turner.
Community information is indispensable for modern life, but access to it remains challenging for many people. Historically, public libraries have been central in providing formal community information, but today such information provision is accomplished largely by informal networks of community service agencies. Thus, the role and the value of the public library in community information provision seem unclear. We find an analogy to this situation in design theorist Christopher Alexander’s conceptualization of planned versus natural cities, and we bring this to bear on an ongoing study of public library service provision to the urban poor. This work reveals implications and recommendations for the public library’s unfolding role in community information provision: public libraries may no longer be needed to provide formal community information, but they can engage as information shepherds with local community service agencies in informal community information provision.

The Library Quarterly 2017 87:2, 99-116

April 22, 2017 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

Save Funding for Adult Education-Educate & Elevate


Educate & Elevate
​Any adult educator and adult education organizations may participate in the campaign. Your organization will be highlighted on the national website and you’ll receive marketing materials with educational webinars on how to execute successfully to get national recognition and build a business case of support for adult education. Collective storytelling and outcomes data make an impact to policy makers in helping them understand the value we bring to their priority agendas.

April 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm Leave a comment

Celebrate National Library Workers Day

Celebrate National Library Workers Day (#NLWD17)

National Library Workers Day (NLWD) is Tuesday, April 11, 2017. It is a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers. The ALA-APA helps libraries and individuals prepare to celebrate by featuring a range of creative suggestions on its website (see Celebration Ideas).

The National Library Workers Day webpage encourages friends, patrons, employers and co-workers to “Submit a Star” by providing a testimonial about a favorite library employee. Each testimonial (listing first names, library type and city/state location only) will be posted on the NLWD’s Galaxy ofStars page.

April 5, 2017 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Sharing Economy and Libraries

Free webinar on March 8 at 11:00 am EST (5:00 pm CET) with Loida Garcia-Febo and George Needham!



Sharing Economy and Libraries

People around the world have been transforming the unused capacity of things they own and services they provide, such as business expertise, power tools, bikes and even cars.

Loida Garcia Febogeorge-needham

This webinar is a part of a worldwide quarterly series of webinars “New Librarians Global Connection: Best Practices, Models and Recommendations“ for new librarians in partnership between IFLA and ALA.

To join the meeting:

March 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

Public libraries as partners in building a culture of health

Public libraries are not usually included in discussions about improving population health. They are, however, well positioned to be partners in building a culture of health through programming that addresses the social determinants of health. The Healthy Library Initiative, a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and the Free Library of Philadelphia (the public library system that serves the city), has undertaken such efforts in Philadelphia. In this article we report findings from an assessment of how ten highly subscribed programs address the social determinants of health, as well as results of interviews with community residents and library staff. Of the 5.8 million in-person Free Library visits in 2015, 500,000 included attendance at specialized programs that addressed multiple health determinants, such as housing and literacy. Library staff provided intensive support to vulnerable populations including homeless people, people with mental illness and substance use, recent immigrants, and children and families suffering from trauma. We found that public libraries are trusted institutions that have broad population reach and untapped potential to improve population health.


Beyond Books: Public Libraries As Partners For Population Health. Health Affairs November 2016 35:1120302036.
  1. Anna U. Morgan1,
  2. Roxanne Dupuis2,
  3. Bernadette D’Alonzo3,
  4. Andria Johnson4,
  5. Amy Graves5,
  6. Kiahana L. Brooks6,
  7. Autumn McClintock7,
  8. Heather Klusaritz8,
  9. Hillary Bogner9,
  10. Judith A. Long10,
  11. David Grande11 and
  12. Carolyn C. Cannuscio12,*

November 15, 2016 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment


blog post by John Pateman CEO / Chief Librarian of the Thunder Bay Public Library.

The simple answer to this very Big Question is ‘because they are Library Workers’. In other words, they are trained in all of the aspects of providing library services, but they do not have the key skills that are required to identify, prioritize and meet community needs. We need a different kind of Library Worker who has a skill set which combines traditional library skills with the ability to build sustained relationships with the community. I call this new hybrid model the Community Development Worker. In this position description there would be a 20% focus on library skills and an 80% focus on community development.

Read more at OPEN SHELF.

October 17, 2016 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

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