News roundup: Stories you may have missed in October
Fall is well underway, but Halloween wasn't the only major event happening for libraries across the country last month. There are many things on the horizon for libraries, and a good portion of these advancements occurred last month. However, there were some glimpses into the history of libraries that were also of cultural significance that occurred in October.
Here are some of the major events and happenings that you might have missed:
The Atlantic shines a light on the cultural impact of the Carnegie libraries
During the turn of the 20th century, Andrew Carnegie invested $1.3 billion specifically in public libraries. To this day, this incredible gift has been unmatched. Even more amazing is the fact that many of these libraries were constructed in small towns, mostly in the Rust Belt region.
Most of these buildings served an educational as well as an architectural purpose, as many of the structures were constructed in the classical style and shaped several city skylines. As The Atlantic points out, modern trends and innovations were shaped through the Carnegie libraries. Some of these include welcoming children into libraries, merging collections with reading rooms and providing civic meeting rooms, all of which are still implemented to this day.
Kickstarter documentary about the American public library system reaches its goal
The growth and relevance of the American public library system is truly unique, and on PBS in 2016, you may see a documentary highlighting this important part of our nation's history. Titled "Free for All," this documentary project by Dawn Logsdon and Lucie Faulknor is the first of its kind to go behind the scenes of the American public library system and investigate the relevance it has had on American culture. Not only will the film tell the stories of many people who have been shaped by the public library system, but it will also reveal the myriad of ways that these institutions have remained impactful over the years.
Micro libraries are making their mark in Berkeley
Little Free Libraries might be the cutest installment for book lovers we've seen. Across the Bay Area neighborhood of Berkeley, more than 20 of these small libraries (which are no bigger than a dollhouse or birdhouse) are populating many city streets. There are more than 18,000 Little Libraries scattered across the U.S. with one simple rule: return a book, take a book.
Library in U.K. abolishes fines, despite bureaucratic opposition
Many libraries are making impactful decisions that aim at moving library patrons into a consumer role. In the past, an overdue academic library fine was one of the many things that could keep an individual from graduating. However, the library at the University of Sheffield in England has removed the threat of fines for students. University officials believe that this will improve the "student experience" and attract more patrons to the services that the library offers, according to the BBC.
Not everyone was happy with this decision, however. The Office of Fair Trading stated in a letter to universities that this ruling was a violation of consumer law. The university has said that the books will be automatically renewed until another student requests them. Consequently, the student will then be asked to return the book and will not be able to check out any more material until the book(s) are brought back. Librarians at Sheffield believe that this is a wise idea, and have claimed that elimination of these fees has already garnered "positive feedback from students."
Removing fines isn't the only way academic libraries are attracting students. Many have resolved to stay open 24 hours per day during exam season for late night cramming sessions, and several institutions have upgraded their facility technology to stay on pace with younger demographic demands.