Ideas To Implement

New ways for libraries to face the world economic recession.

Libraries Weigh Accepting Paid Ads to Keep Afloat

Receipt Media touts Toronto Public Library's date-due slips as a prime advertising venue that is "a great way to cover the entire city" since 72% of Torontans borrow 33 million items a year.
With the Great Recession still affecting public service budgets nationwide, libraries continue to pursue new funding avenues. The latest foray into fiscal triage, undertaken by at least two libraries—Toronto (Ont.) Reference Public Library and the Port Chester –Rye Brook (N.Y.) Library—is to allow commercial enterprises to advertise their products and services in the library.
In both cases, the libraries have accepted a quid pro quo from ad placement companies. The firms provide a product for free to the library. In exchange, the company keeps whatever revenue comes from selling the ads displayed on that free product.
Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) arrangement with Receipt Media began this spring as a six-month pilot in which ads appear on the back of every date-due slip. The firm solicits the ads.
Administrators at Port Chester–Rye Brook Library decided to allow ads after having to reduce staffing and service hours in June 2012. Within two months, the library was receiving free two-ply bathroom tissue from the start-up company Star Toilet Paper, which prints on the toilet paper advertising it secures from local vendors. Trackable coupon codes delivered “great scan rates,” company cofounder Bryan Silverman told American Libraries, and now it is “winding down with the library and venturing into larger venues.”
In a March 11 interview on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning,” TPL Chief Librarian Jane Pyper said the library will save $20,000 Canadian ($19,795 US) over the duration of the pilot—“our annual book budget in a small neighborhood branch.” She stressed how the library board first established a policy that reaffirms TPL’s mission to “provide a broad range of information in a neutral public space” and reserved the right to reject anything deemed “inappropriate,” such as ads aimed at children. “The goal here is to raise revenue in a context that is sensitive to the library environment,” Pyper said.
That’s an outlook Martin Garnar, chair of the American Library Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics, readily agrees with. “We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions,” he said, quoting Article VI of ALA’s Code of Professional Ethics. “Is the loss of the library’s reputation within the community worth the potential advertising revenue?”
So far, TPL’s reputation seems to be intact. “There has not been a huge response one way or the other” from patrons, Linda Hazzan, director of communications, programming, and customer engagement at TPL, told AL. A few users have voiced philosophical opposition to any such arrangement; one man who filed a complaint with the board has been invited to present his objections in the fall (PDF file). Others say they are comfortable with “unobtrusive advertising that goes to funding programs and services.”
One patron called the ads a “win-win” after finding a pizza coupon on the back of his date-due slip. Other TPL advertisers include a theater company, the Toronto Star, and a personal-injury lawyer.
Garnar cautioned that such arrangements could pose an ethical dilemma. “Would advertisers’ messages appear to give them a place of privilege when a patron asks for a list of all local establishments in that line of business?” he asked.


How to reinvent librarians: five top tips from around the world

Partner with people in unlikely places, be sensitive to users’ cultural needs and share ideas on social media

Someone reading in a library

Other librarians’ failures provide precious insights into lessons learned and overcoming obstacles. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/Guardian.

The Global Librarian is a joint publication from two New York-based library organisations, the Association of College and Research Libraries (Greater New York Metropolitan Area Chapter) and the Metropolitan New York Library Council. It aims to highlight librarians around the globe who have taken active steps to reinvent themselves while reinvigorating their profession. We’ve picked five practical tips:

Join forces

In this increasingly global, interconnected community, the key to success is through partnership and collaboration. No one person or organisation has the skills, tools, talent and resources to provide quality service to all users at all times. For example, Xin Li of Cornell University successfully embarked on several partnerships with China and Taiwan. Don’t forget to organise and network with library professionals – you never know when a new partnership may emerge. Don’t underestimate the value of joining and actively participating in professional organisations such as the International Federation of Library Associations, the American Library Association or other regional associations – or perhaps you might take the lead in helping to establish one in your area. Professional participation helps you to network and connect with others outside your own institution. Tom Nielsen (Metro) recaps how a library organisation was a conduit for its members to bring library research skills and knowhow to non-library communities in New York City.

To thine own self (and patrons) be true

As librarianship is changing, so too are the information needs of our constituents. We must take a long, hard, honest look at those whom we serve and how their needs have shifted in this global, online environment. Where are we succeeding? Where are we falling short? Follow the lead of Matthew Bolen and the team at Denver public library, where they developed learning and language programs to meet the needs of an increasingly Spanish-speaking immigrant population. As Amrita Madray of Adelphi University reminds us, we need to be aware of cultural and language diversity when serving international populations. Just remember: another librarian’s “good idea” is only good for you if it answers the needs of your community. Conducting demographic studies and needs assessments are vital before you begin to create new programs and services.

Embrace creativity

Take a fresh look at the tools and resources already at your fingertips – even the ones that you may believe to be useless. Ben Turner of St John’s University shows us how using the freely accessible but accuracy-compromised Wikipedia can be used to promote information literacy and critical thinking skills.

Get out from behind that desk (figuratively and literally)

Librarianship is a service profession. We should not be wedded to a traditional physical point-of-service model, but must make it possible to announce: “The librarian has left the building.” From Sara Wingate Gray’s insights into the role of itinerant librarians in the digital age to Rachel Wightman’s experiences as librarian in Kampala, Uganda, librarians around the globe have discovered both the challenges and rewards of providing service beyond the walls of the library building.

Share ideas

When a new idea works, tell the world. When a new idea does not work, tell them anyway. Librarians can learn from one another, even in the face of failure. Success stories are wonderful to tweak and replicate in your libraries. Others’ failures can be just as valuable. They often provide precious insights into lessons learned and overcoming obstacles. Either way, share what you have done through publications, presentations, blogs and other forms of social media. A case in point: the Moving Image Media Hub, created by Dorothea Coiffe of the Borough of Manhattan Community College and the City University of New York, has been made freely accessible, allowing it to be a global resource.

Naturally, these are just a few examples of the way librarians are redefining how they serve communities’ changing needs for access, use, creation and preservation of information. Do you have any other examples to add? Please share in the comments.

Caroline Fuchs is a co-editor at the Global Librarian

• Want your say? Email us at

To get our articles on policy and leadership direct to your inbox, sign up to the Guardian Public Leaders Network now.

Looking for your next role? See our Guardian jobs site for senior executive jobs in government and politics.

• For the latest on public services leadership, follow us: @publicleaders


Teen Tech Week has been organised by the Young Adult Library Services Association (Teenagers) of USA since 1998.


Young Adult Library Services Association’s mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens aged 12-18. This event is organized annually to ensure teenagers use electronic resources effectively and efficiently, specially those which are offered through libraries, e.g DVD, databases, audio books, video games, ebooks, etc . Teens  need to know that the library is a trusted resource for accessing information and that librarians are experts who can help them develop skills they need to become competent and ethical users of technologies.


25 Easy Tips for Teens


Looking for easy ways to get teens to celebrate Teen Tech Week? Share the following 25 ideas! Have other easy ideas for getting teens involved in Teen Tech Week at the library? Tell us in the comments!

1.    Download an ebook or audiobook from your library

2.    Find out if your library has a mobile app for your phone or tablet (like NYPL’s Biblion or WorldCat mobile), download and give it a try

3.    Visit your library’s webpage.

4.    Blog about a library book or program.

5.    Try out a book-focused site like GoodReads, LibraryThing or Shelfari.

6.    Create a soundtrack or book trailer for your favorite book.

7.    Ask your librarian to recommend a nonfiction book on an area of technology that interests you.

8.    Add something to an article on Wikipedia.

9.    Set up a podcast for a group or club you belong to. (Click the link to check out YALSA’s podcasts!)

10.  Many young adult authors welcome email from their readers many have their own websites, blogs, and Twitter/Facebook accounts. Why not send them a message in honor of Teen Tech Week?

11.  Check out some video games, DVDs, or CDs from your library.

12.  Create an avatar on Yahoo! Avatars.

13.  Start a Teen Tech Club at your school or public library.

14.  Read and contribute to a blog about technology.

15.  Watch some anime or start an anime club at your library.

16.  Create a YouTube or Animoto video about your library or a favorite book.

17.  Download a newspaper article from the day you were born from an electronic database.

18.  Volunteer to help clean the computers and media at your library.

19.  Volunteer to tutor library customers who are new to using computers.

20.  Learn how to DJ music or record music with a computer.

21.  Search in a biography database for an article about your favorite musician.

22.  Learn how to use some new software.

23.  Take a class on graphic design or digital photography.

24.  Create a database of something you want to organize.

25.  Start a Twitter, Tumblr, or Flickr account.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: