ERIC Digests on Libraries
1. Libraries and Democracy - This document is from 1996 and is written by Laura A. Pinhey. First paragraph: "Libraries in the United States of America have long cultivated democratic environments. The foundation of our public library system is built on the assumption that access to information should be free and open to all. Indeed, libraries take a democratic stance toward not only the persons they serve, but also toward the very materials they provide: to offer materials representing all points of view on a given topic, freedom of expression, and freedom of access are all principles of library philosophy. It follows that libraries, microcosms of democracy, are integral to a truly democratic society."
2. Libraries in Today's Digital Age: The Copyright Controversy - This is from 2001 and it is written by Carrie Russell. First paragraph: "Libraries are public institutions committed to equitable access and the free flow of information to meet the needs of the public. For libraries, copyright law - through its incentive model, a rich and robust public domain, fair use, and library and user exemptions-aids in ensuring that information is both created and made accessible. While digital technologies and an ever- expanding communication network infrastructure have enhanced creation and wide distribution of information to the public, these same technologies can be used to control or restrict public access to information."
3. Small Public Libraries Can Serve Big - This is from 2001 and is written by Parry Norm. First paragraph: "Small public libraries can deliver service like big libraries, without sacrificing hometown warmth and charm. By borrowing strategies used by successful small businesses in the private sector, defining goals and exploiting ubiquitous low cost technologies, small public libraries can serve customer wants as well as much larger institutions. Responding to just three strategic questions, any small library can improve customer service, make better use of available resources and open up new service opportunities, without a bigger building, budget or book collection: What business are you in? What do your customers want? How do you get it for them?"
4. Trends and Issue in Digital Reference Services - This is from 2001 and is written by Abby Kasowitz. First Paragraph: "As more people rely on the Internet for information and less people approach the reference desks at their local libraries for assistance (Tenopir, 2001; Coffman and McGlamery, 2000), there is an increased need for formal methods of remote communication between information seekers and information professionals. Many libraries and organizations have responded to this need by providing reference service via the Internet, or digital reference service, to their users. Results of one study conducted in 1999 found that 45% of academic libraries (Janes, Carter, and Memmott, 1999) and 13% of public libraries (Janes, 2001) offered digital reference services through e-mail and the Web. A later study found that 99% of 70 academic libraries offer e-mail reference and 29% offer real-time reference service (Tenopir, 2001)."
5. Total Quality Management in Libraries - This is from 1996 and is written by Denise Masters. First paragraph: "In the 1950s, the Japanese asked W. Edwards Deming, an American statistician and management theorist, to help them improve their war torn economy. By implementing Deming's principles of total quality management (TQM), Japan experienced dramatic economic growth. In the 1980s, when the United States began to see a reduction in its own world market share in relation to Japan, American business rediscovered Deming. Quality management experts, Joseph Juran and Philip Crosby, also contributed to the development of TQM theories, models, and tools. TQM is now practiced in business as well as in government, the military, education, and in non-profit organizations including libraries (Jurow & Barnard, 1993)."
6. Library Funding - This is from 2001 and is written by Tracey Bremer. Opening sentences: "Library funds are accumulated from a mixture of local, state, federal, and other sources. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (1997), 77.6% of public library income is acquired from local funds, 12.1% from state funds, and 0.9% from federal funds. The remaining funds (over 9%) come from other sources, including user fees, special events, and private fundraising efforts involving foundations, corporations, individual philanthropists, and "Friends of the Library" groups. A closer look at each source will target current issues and anticipated trends in library funding. Local Taxes: Public libraries today acquire the bulk of their funding from local property taxes. As a result, the local economy plays a major role in their budgetary success or failure. Library budgets began suffering major setbacks during the 1970s, but rebounded during the 1980s and early 1990s. Currently, however, communities often fail to pass local tax levies (Burlingame, 1995)."
7. Public Library Services for Homeschooling - This is from 1996 and is written by Denise Masters. Key paragraph: "According to a survey of Ohio home school parents, 99% of them use the public library as an additional resource and 73% of them use the public library once a week or several times per week. Books, magazines, the librarian's help, video and audio tapes, reference books, and programs for children are the most widely used services (Schwartz, 1991). In 1993-94, Florida had 14,208 home schoolers, one of the largest numbers in the nation. The School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Florida perceived "the need to pool the ideas, talents and experiences of children's librarians" and later compiled their professional observations into a resource for other librarians who "are currently grappling with the challenge of how to serve the increasing number of their homeschooling patrons" (Geist et al., 1994)."
8. Evaluation of World Wide Web Sites: An Annotated Bibliography - This is from 1998 and is written by Kathleen Schrock. First paragraph: "Knowing what type of information is appropriate for particular purposes, knowing how to find such information easily, and evaluating information, may be called information literacy, digital literacy, media literacy, or techno-literacy. Paul Gilster best defines the concept in his book, Digital Literacy: Digital literacy is the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers... (Not) only must you acquire the skill of finding things, you must also acquire the ability to use those things in your life. Acquiring digital literacy for Internet use involves mastering a set of core competencies. The most essential of these is the ability to make informed judgments about what you find on-line. (Gilster, 1997)."
9. Building and Maintaining Digital Reference Services - This is from 1999 and is written by Joann Wasik. First paragraph: "Easily accessible digital information has rapidly become one of the hallmarks of the Internet. Online resources have surged in popularity as more individuals and organizations have connected to the global network. Thousands of organizations have turned to Internet-based information delivery as an effective and cost-efficient alternative to traditional communication methods, and many have expanded their services further by interacting with their users and responding to inquiries via the Internet."
10. Using Critical Thinking to Conduct Effective Searches of Online Resources - This is from 2000 and is written by Sarah Brem. First paragraph: "More than 80 percent of academic, public and school libraries offer some form of Internet access (American Library Association, 2000); thousands of full-text electronic journals and serials are available online. However, most searches of these materials are cursory and ineffective(Hertzberg & Rudner, 1999). This Digest complements guidelines addressing the mechanics of online searching by considering how treating information searches as exercises in critical thinking can improve our use of online resources. It addresses the use and application of metacognition, hypothesis testing, and argumentation."
Other ERIC Digests on libraries, librarians, and library science:
Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement.
Library Reference Search
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