News, Stories and More
Caroline Kennedy recently discussed why libraries are important to her with American Libraries magazine. "Libraries have the power to create communities. Libraries can play a unique role in reaching out to people and bringing them together through programs and activities."
May 09, 2013
Public libraries make a difference in every community.
“Libraries are one of our most important community institutions because they express our enduring commitment to education, culture, family, basic human freedoms and historic preservation. As the gateway to knowledge and information in all forms, they transform lives and help us shape our perspectives and ideas about the world in which we live.”
April 30, 2013
This week is National Library Week! Please take time to celebrate your local library and all the positive ways it contributes to your community.>
“Public libraries provide the information, resources, expertise and assistance to empower all people to achieve success.”
April 17, 2013
Show your support for Geek the Library and your local library by adding a Geek the Library e-mail signature or changing your Facebook profile picture. Take a look at all the free downloads we have available. We’ve recently added some new options.
April 11, 2013
The public library makes the cut for Consumer Reports magazine’s May issue in the ‘101 Secrets from our Experts’ article. “Need help with research? The public library is a resource many people overlook. Libraries subscribe to databases you undoubtedly don’t, and librarians can find information not easily available with a Google search or to a person without library-science training.”
April 08, 2013
Read about how the team at Chattahoochee Valley Libraries made a lasting impression in the community by using Geek the Library. “During the campaign, everyone was talking about it,” said Fund Development/Marketing Coordinator Linda Hyles. “They said that they couldn’t wait to see who was going to be featured next. People were literally stopping and backing up to see the billboards.”
April 01, 2013
Geek the Library has an active Facebook page that recently reached a huge milestone—20,000 likes! Please show your support and like our page. It features regular posts about the campaign, public library research and reminders about why the library is a valuable part of your community.
March 26, 2013
We’re pleased to announce that Geek the Library Field Manager Jenny Powell is being honored as part of the 2013 class of Movers & Shakers by Library Journal! For the past four years, Jenny has traveled the U.S. providing one-on-one support to hundreds of public libraries participating in the program. She is passionate and dedicated, and determined to help libraries make an impact on the local level.
March 15, 2013
In a recent article, South Dakota State Librarian Daria Bossman discussed the importance of public libraries in providing important access to technology and other information resources. “We need to be very careful that we don’t become a country of haves and have-nots in terms of information, and the public library serves that need of reaching out to people that don’t have computers, that can’t afford e-readers. It’s a place where they can get information and get the medical and legal and health information, jobs information, employment information. It’s a place for everyone.”
March 07, 2013
Read about how public libraries in the state of Delaware are using Geek the Library to connect with local communities. “Delawareans connect Geek the Library—the coolness factor—with their librarians,” said Delaware State Librarian Annie Norman. “It has given Delaware libraries a stronger brand identity. It brought the libraries together and closer to their communities—all in a good way.”
February 26, 2013
Public libraries are working hard to become more than a resource or lending institution. “They are evolving into market leaders and trend-setters, all while offering digital services like eBooks, educational databases and job assistance programs that help their communities. When the world continues to become more global and digital, many libraries are finding ways to maintain a personal and local approach that ensures every neighborhood can explore globally while residing locally.”
February 14, 2013
Be inspired to support your local library by this great video that shows how libraries bring communities together. “Libraries bring communities to a single place where they can expand and make new discoveries.”
February 13, 2013
Congratulations to Southern Area Public Library in West Virginia for being named the Best Small Library in America!
January 28, 2013
Read about how Chelsea District Library in Michigan engaged community members during its local Geek the Library awareness campaign. “Geek the Library is an opportunity to connect with your community to build those all-important personal relationships,” said Director Bill Harmer. “Our survival depends on demonstrating that we are deeply connected to our communities—that libraries are essential to the success of our communities.”
January 23, 2013
According to a new report, more than 90 percent of Americans ages 16 and older say public libraries are important to their communities! Encouraging news, but the report also notes that many people don’t know what services and programs are offered by their local library. Do you? Contact your local library to find out and spread the word!
January 22, 2013
According to a recent report, Texas public libraries generate $2.4 billion in economic benefits. “This study demonstrates what we've been sure of for some time— public libraries positively impact local economies, whether it’s a small rural town or one of Texas’ great cities. Even in a challenging economic climate, Texas public libraries can be counted on to deliver resources and services with real value, to say nothing of their positive contributions to the quality of life in communities.”
January 14, 2013
Public libraries bring the community together. A recent article noted, "Today’s libraries are reinventing themselves as vibrant town squares, showcasing the latest best sellers, lending Kindles loaded with e-books, and offering grass-roots technology training centers."
December 30, 2012
A recent Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project report states: “The majority of Americans ages 16 and older (58 percent) have a library card and even more (69 percent) say the library is important to them and their families. Some 71 percent of city dwellers say the library is important to them and 59 percent have library cards—and 69 percent of suburban residents say the library is important and 61 percent have library cards. At the same time, 62 percent of rural residents say the library is important and 48 percent have library cards.”
December 26, 2012
Read about how Manatee County Public Library System in Florida is building a culture of library advocacy. “Advocacy is something that needs to happen every day, with various activities from various people,” said Youth Services Librarian Stacy Reyer. “It has to happen at a local level, with all the other stakeholders and then with community members. It can’t just come from the library.”
Take a look at all of our participating library case studies!
December 10, 2012
Public libraries play a significant role in improving children’s literacy in many communities. “Public libraries are well suited to address the literacy needs of the entire family, from birth to adulthood. Public libraries can also act as economic equalizers in the community, offering free books and services to all ages and providing literacy-rich opportunities to children who might otherwise miss out. And libraries turn no one away!”
December 06, 2012
October 24, 2012
Did you know that sixty percent of Americans under the age of 30 visited the library in the past year? Find out more about reading and library habits of younger Americans in a new Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report.
October 24, 2012
Read about how Wallkill Public Library in New York communicated the value of the library using the Geek the Library campaign. “We consider ourselves the downtown anchor business for the hamlet of Wallkill because we have repeat visitation from families every week—we draw them back downtown,” said Director Mary Lou Carolan. “So, if you consider us a business, we have 100 new customers for just this month.”
October 15, 2012
We recently received additional funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to extend participation in the Geek the Library program to 1,000 additional libraries through June 2015. Read the complete press release.
October 04, 2012
Many of our participating libraries use their local Geek the Library campaigns as an opportunity to get out into the community and introduce—or reintroduce—the library to new audiences. Read about how the team at Wallkill Public Library in New York worked with other local libraries to organize an event at a minor league baseball game.
“Sponsoring a Geek the Library Fireworks Night provided a public opportunity to realize the goals of the campaign: to create awareness of what our libraries do for communities; to engage people about their passions; to reboot the perception of libraries; and ultimately to garner support so libraries stay funded and going strong.”
September 21, 2012
For many Americans, the public library provides their only access to the Internet. Watch this informative video produced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation featuring Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio.
September 17, 2012
Read about how Solano County Library in California expanded community connections with Geek the Library. “In order to position the library as something vital for a healthy community,” said Community Relations Coordinator Ann Miller, “we don’t need to tell the people in the library about what makes us valuable, we need to get the message to everybody in the community.”
September 11, 2012
The team at Chattahoochee Valley Libraries in Georgia is getting their geek on in a big way—over 100 unique billboards featuring community members are planned in the coming months! Take a look at this informative local TV news story that also showcases some of the billboards.
August 23, 2012
August 21, 2012
August 09, 2012
Many of our participating libraries have used local community members for advertising, banners and posters. The results are inspiring. Take a look!
July 16, 2012
Public libraries provide essential resources to millions of people every day. They provide more than access to information and technology—libraries change lives! According to a new video produced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, libraries also change the way we connect.
July 05, 2012
Public libraries continue to make a difference even when faced with flat or decreased budgets and increased demand for key services. Take a look at this powerful infographic created by the American Library Association: U.S. Public Libraries Weather the Storm.
June 27, 2012
A new American Library Association (ALA) report sheds light on the importance of public libraries as a key access point for technology and job resources. According to the ‘2012 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study,’ more than 60 percent of libraries report that they are the only provider of free computer and Internet access in their community.
In a press release about the report, ALA President Molly Raphael said, "As our libraries navigate through the slow economic recovery, they must operate during an era of increased demand with decreased revenue. Public libraries are the most cost-effective bridge for the ever present digital divide: they offer the digital literacy skills training and broadband access mandatory for success in the 21st-century global marketplace.”
June 20, 2012
Many of our participating libraries have created videos to help promote their local campaigns. Take a look at some recent examples!
June 07, 2012
Public libraries play an important role for individuals and communities. Watch this fantastic video that shows the power of public libraries, and share with people you know!
May 31, 2012
Do you geek public library summer reading programs? Libraries across the U.S. offer programs for kids, teens and adults. Not only are they fun, but there’s proof that they help improve reading skills for students!
Find out what’s available at your local library and spread the word in your community!
May 29, 2012
We’ve recently added a couple of Facebook cover photo options to our free downloads page. Take a look and help support the campaign! Please pass it on to other public library supporters.
May 18, 2012
If you are spending time in Delaware in May, keep an eye out for Geek the Library billboards. The Delaware Division of Libraries is sponsoring various campaign billboards in New Castle, Sussex and Kent Counties through the end of the month.
Take a look at more examples of Geek the Library billboards on Flickr!
May 03, 2012
Many public libraries provide important learning opportunities, such as literacy resources for children and adults. These offerings change lives. Read about how one Nevada public library is making an impact locally.
May 01, 2012
“So who needs libraries? We all do!” Take a look at a fun video about library fans in Massachusetts.
April 24, 2012
Support the campaign and use your marquee sign to tell your community what you geek. Take a look at signs from Monroe, Michigan!
April 16, 2012
Public libraries provide resources and support that change lives. Take a look at this inspiring story from a Michigan resident who geeks the library. “Thanks to the Monroe County Library System, I found the resources that I needed to turn my life around.”
April 12, 2012
It’s time to celebrate libraries! April 8-14 is National Library Week. Find out what’s going on at your local library and spread the word!
April 03, 2012
March 16, 2012
The people who work at your local library are amazing. Why don’t you ask them what they geek? You might be surprised by what you learn. Take a look at this fun video from Orange Public Library in California featuring library staff.
March 13, 2012
Public libraries across the country have seen usage numbers go up in the past few years as funding has remained stagnant or decreased. Communities rely on libraries more than ever for a diverse list of programs and services—making the library a true community center. "Libraries, particularly branch libraries and particularly those in low-income communities, are being asked to perform a number of functions that most people probably don't associate with libraries. They really are supporting and complementing the work of other public agencies,” said Larry Eichel, project director of the Philadelphia Research Initiative at The Pew Charitable Trusts, in a recent article.
Libraries can do amazing things with small budgets, but they need your support! Start the conversation in your community!
March 08, 2012
We are inspired by the creativity of our participating libraries! (We geek these cookies!) Take a look at more examples of how library staff implementing local Geek the Library campaigns are getting the word out in their communities. Look through hundreds of fun photos on our Flickr group page!
February 29, 2012
February 28, 2012
Public libraries continue to evolve, and expand resources and programs to stay relevant. In a recent article, a Canadian library CEO said, “This is a pivotal time for libraries, as important as the introduction of common access to the Internet. There have been more changes seen in the last 10 years, and will be in the next 10 years, than we’ve seen in the previous 100.”
February 20, 2012
If you know of a public library interested in implementing a local campaign, please send them to get.geekthelibrary.org for more information.
February 07, 2012
In addition to the critical role public libraries play in our communities by providing free access to resources and materials, they have also become community centers—where people come to socialize, collaborate and connect. A recent article noted: “Bookstores and libraries have long played a central role in fostering a deeper appreciation of knowledge, and in lifelong learning. Increasingly, these places are also filling another critical need in our communities, by providing a haven for those seeking a communal connection in an ever-more isolated world.”
January 30, 2012
The struggling economy has forced many people to do more with less, and public libraries are no exception. Knowing the library’s vital role in providing resources to help people get back to work, many librarians have gotten creative—including partnering with local universities, businesses and organizations—to develop helpful programs and resources.
How is your local library making a difference? Spread the word!
January 12, 2012
Read posts designed to inform and inspire, and then discuss the issues with other public library supporters. We encourage you to share our posts with people you know to start conversations about the importance of public libraries and library funding.
January 09, 2012
There are many common myths when it comes to public library funding. Much too often, people believe that if they don’t support the library with a levy or referendum, the money will come from either state or federal funds. This simply isn’t the case. Overall, most U.S. public libraries get the majority of their budget from local dollars. To help you navigate these kinds of library funding myths—and help you as you discuss library support in your communities—we’ve added more library myths and realities on this site. Take a look!
November 29, 2011
January 03, 2012
Public libraries do much more than provide access to information. They transform lives and help improve the entire community. One of the most important roles they play right now is getting people back to work. Without the library’s job-related services and resources, many job seekers wouldn’t have anywhere to go. Show your support. Start a library funding conversation in your community.
December 15, 2011
Avon-Washington Township Public Library in Indiana is getting into the holiday spirit with this large hanging banner!
December 02, 2011
The Huffington Post recently introduced a new series called Libraries in Crisis. This ongoing series focuses on the importance of public libraries and the critical funding issues many libraries face around the country.
"Like our public parks and museums, public libraries are free, non-commercial gathering places for everyone, regardless of income," noted Andrew Losowsky, books editor for the Huffington Post and author of the introduction to the series. "If information is power, then libraries are the essence of democracy and freedom. In these times of economic difficulty, more people are using them than ever, to do more than merely check out books. Yet our nation's public libraries appear to be under threat by a litany of cuts, forced upon them by state and local committees, cuts that often began before the recent economic downturn."
November 22, 2011
November 17, 2011
Public libraries play a critical role in every community! “Libraries are essential to an educated and enlightened community because, next to schools, they are the most effective equalizer between all socio-economic and demographic groups, yet are highly cost-effective. Libraries uniquely provide programs for literacy and reading, opportunities for research, cultural events and information to all age groups. And this year, libraries have been recognized by FEMA as essential community services along with police, fire, emergency services, medical care, education and utilities.” Read the complete article.
November 14, 2011
Saying that the Internet will replace libraries is not an uncommon argument against library funding, but it simply doesn’t hold water. Public libraries provide access to information and resources—often critical to people in a struggling economy—that bring value to individuals and entire communities. According to a librarian in Louisiana, "Libraries are a public good and a civic responsibility. They are about our future as much as they are our past....The notion that they could be replaced by Google is tantamount to suggesting that Americans are better off with vending machines instead of farmer's markets....Cut the libraries and you cut everything that goes with them…"
November 09, 2011
A new survey conducted by Library Journal indicates that public libraries do not deter book sales, but actually help bolster the book business. “Our data show that over 50 percent of all library users report purchasing books by an author they were introduced to in the library,” said Library Journal Executive Editor Rebecca Miller. “This debunks the myth that when a library buys a book the publisher loses future sales. Instead, it confirms that the public library does not only incubate and support literacy, as is well understood in our culture, but it is an active partner with the publishing industry in building the book market, not to mention the burgeoning e-book market.”
November 02, 2011
More than 100 U.S. public libraries have launched local Geek the Library campaigns since our pilot ended last year—and all of them are doing a terrific job! Many participating libraries have made the campaign their own by customizing ads, posters and other material using images of local residents. Read about the Capital Area District Library system in Michigan and how they have effectively included community members and local organizations in their campaign.
October 26, 2011
Many public libraries in the U.S. face funding challenges that have forced them to do more with less. Remarkably, these libraries still work to evolve, so they can provide the resources and services needed by their communities. “Libraries, in every way, work for us,” stated writer Cat Johnson in a recent article posted on the online magazine Shareable. “They are what we want them to be and they are constantly evolving to keep up with our changing needs. They are funded primarily by tax dollars and their mission is to provide free and open access to information. They are committed to bridging the digital divide, enriching communities and supporting individuals in reaching their personal potential. And they need our help.”
Support your public library now and in the future. Start a community conversation today!
October 24, 2011
Local libraries provide more than just books, computers and other resources; they are part of the fabric of the communities they serve. They inspire and enable success. A Rhode Island resident eloquently stated her feelings in a recent editorial saying, "I cannot imagine a community today raising the future leaders of America without a local library."
The Geek the Library team agrees. Get your geek on. Show your support!
October 18, 2011
Speaking out about the value of public libraries in your community is so important. If you have a compelling story, talk about it! "Library members who share their stories as advocates for the library are invaluable,” noted Gary Wasdin, executive director of the Omaha Public Library, in a recent Omaha World-Herald editorial. “These individuals put a face to public libraries and remind our community why public and private support is important. Whether the library contributed to the story of a child who was able to increase his reading comprehension skills or an adult looking for employment, the outcome is the same: a better educated and stronger community."
October 17, 2011
Many of our participating libraries have created videos to promote their local campaigns. We geek this video from Muncie Public Library in Indiana!
If you've made a video about Geek the Library, please let us know!
October 14, 2011
OCLC recently received an additional grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that ensures participating libraries can use Geek the Library to reach their local communities through June 2013. More than 100 new campaigns have kicked off since the pilot ended and there are libraries enrolled to implement the campaign in more than 20 states.
October 05, 2011
Most people have fond memories of going to their local library as a child. And for many, in addition to story time and their first chapter book, libraries are an important part of every stage of life. If you haven’t been to the public library in a while, you may be surprised at the wide variety of resources available.
October 04, 2011
Many public libraries are struggling and need your support! “The noose tightening around public budgets is also putting the squeeze on our libraries. While few would argue that libraries, too, must find ways to do more with less, we all have a responsibility to maintain and sustain these institutions because they are the cornerstones of our communities.” See the complete article.
September 26, 2011
Public libraries provide equal access to information—helping many Americans improve their lives every day. “Public libraries are so important in communities because they’re open access to unfettered information of all kinds,” said American Library Association President Molly Raphael in a recent online article. “An informed citizenry is what makes a democracy work. When so much of our economy is driven by information, libraries level the playing field and provide open access to knowledge in its broadest sense.”
September 23, 2011
Sandusky District Library in Sandusky, Michigan, is doing an amazing community outreach effort for their local Geek the Library campaign. As a result, their campaign is taking on a life of its own. Recently, the high school homecoming committee adopted the ‘geek’ theme for its parade and other activities. Floats represented what students geek and many participants purchased custom t-shirts. Our favorite: I geek bacon!
September 20, 2011
September 12, 2011
Many participating public libraries include members of the community in Geek the Library posters, advertisements and billboards. It’s exciting to see how the campaign is evolving on the local level! Take a look at East Lansing Public Library’s latest addition. Michigan State University’s mascot (Sparty) is currently featured on a billboard in East Lansing, Michigan!
September 08, 2011
Did you know that September is Library Card Sign-up Month? Your public library card might just be the most valuable item in your wallet! Please take time this month to talk to members of your community about how their library card is the key to so many amazing things. Discuss your own experiences and how you use it at your local library. While not everyone will take advantage of the library card’s incredible value, most people will see the overall significance for the community, which might lead to supporting the library when it counts.
September 01, 2011
Interested public libraries: Geek the Library is exhibiting at the annual Association of Rural & Small Libraries Conference in Frisco, Texas, on September 8-11, 2011. If you attend this event, please stop by our table for more information about how to implement the campaign locally!
August 25, 2011
As kids head back to school this year, think about the public library’s role in education. For many, their library card is a critical part of their learning experience—as a place to study and conduct research, for free Internet access, for homework help and much more. Make sure the youth in your community have a thriving library. What can you do right now? Talk to your community about why the library makes a huge difference in the lives of young people. Your voice matters!
August 22, 2011
Children’s librarians make a significant difference in the lives of young people every day. We wanted to inspire you with the efforts of one very special Troy, Michigan, librarian. In 1971, Marguerite Hart reached out to actors, authors, artists, musicians, playwrights, librarians and politicians, and asked them to write a letter to the children of Troy about the importance of libraries. Take a look at the amazing response!
August 12, 2011
What’s your story? Take the time to write down your personal story about what the library means to you and how it has positively affected your life, and send it to your local library. Provide your contact information and encourage them to get in touch. Your story is significant. Not only will it make the library staff’s day, but it could help with marketing efforts and media queries.
August 11, 2011
Photographer Robert Dawson has photographed hundreds of public libraries all over the U.S. His photographs highlight the diversity of libraries, but also their unique value to each community. This summer he hopes to finish the project he started in 1994. Take a look at the photos and follow along on his journey.
July 29, 2011
Public libraries across the country are launching Geek the Library awareness campaigns with great enthusiasm from staff and support from the community. For many, their local campaign provides unique opportunities for important dialogue and positive interactions with community members. Read about how one small library in Michigan was able to make a big impact with Geek the Library.
July 28, 2011
Enjoy this fun video created by a group of young public library fans who geek music, movies and books!
July 18, 2011
Do people who have access to computers and the Internet at home still access both at the public library? The answer is, yes, according to a new research brief by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The study debunks this and many other common myths about library users. “This study challenges commonly held perceptions about library users and demonstrates public libraries’ role in the global information economy,” said Susan Hildreth, IMLS director, in a press release about the brief. “Libraries are constantly reinventing themselves to meet the ever-changing information needs of their communities.”
Take a look at the complete brief.
July 01, 2011
These days, you never know who you will run into when visiting the public library. People flock to the library for help with their small business, career advice, computer training, to use free meeting space and so many other services—that go way beyond just borrowing books or story time with the kids. A recent article notes: “With so much information online, librarians have become free guides to learning and are often the first people job seekers turn to if they have no computer at home. During the recession libraries have become centers for career counseling, financial literacy and small business development.”
June 24, 2011
A study released this week highlights the critical role of public libraries and the funding challenges many libraries continue to face. According to the report from the American Library Association, urban libraries are under the most strain. The report notes that approximately 55 percent of urban libraries, 36 percent of suburban libraries and 26 percent of rural libraries saw budget decreases this fiscal year.
June 23, 2011
Geek the Library receives media coverage on the local level every week based on the wonderful job our participating libraries are doing around the country. These passionate library professionals use this campaign to find creative ways to remind their communities about the critical value of public libraries and the funding challenges many libraries face. We continue to be amazed by their ongoing and imaginative efforts to promote Geek the Library locally.
Take a look at this particularly well-rounded article about Geek the Library out of Florida!
If your local library is running the campaign and you haven't seen any coverage, please contact your local media to cover the story!
June 15, 2011
Public libraries provide a unique opportunity for anyone to access not only books, but technology and all kinds of information and resources. Yet, libraries cannot continue to play the important role they currently have in American communities without continued support.
In a recent newspaper column, Kathleen Gerard, a freelance writer from New Jersey, said: “If we keep chipping away at our libraries, we’ll be going backwards, betraying the dream of the founders who gave of themselves and followed their vision, laying the foundation to make the library a local place to further our educations, cultivate our minds and passions, and enrich the lives of ordinary people like me who have their own stories to live... and to tell.”
May 24, 2011
Geek the Library was recently featured on NPR’s 'All Things Considered.' The report featured the Rutland Free Library in Vermont, a current participant. A longer version of the report was also featured on Voice of America.
May 19, 2011
Library buildings, and the services and resources available in person, can never be completely replaced. Physically going to a library provides a unique experience and the value of this experience needs to be preserved. According to a recent article, “The anniversary of the New York Public Library’s main building is an occasion to talk about why the library needs to be a place as well as an ethereal mass of data residing somewhere in ‘the cloud.’ Not everything we need or want to know about the world can be transmitted via a screen, and not every experience can be digitized.”
May 17, 2011
Public libraries play a unique role in every community—often representing the only place that encourages everyone, regardless of income or social stature, to access the same resources, collaborate and make connections. A recent article in the Guardian said, "The libraries' most powerful asset is the conversation they provide—between books and readers, between children and parents, between individuals and the collective world. Take them away and those voices turn inwards or vanish. Turns out that libraries have nothing at all to do with silence.”
May 03, 2011
Many participating libraries have customized their local campaigns. This billboard is one of numerous custom Geek the Library billboards created by the Capital Area District Library in Michigan. All of the billboards feature members of the local community. You can see more examples on our Flickr page.
April 25, 2011
The American Library Association (ALA) releases an annual report which looks at the overall state of U.S. libraries. The latest study found that the public library is a key resource for people starting businesses and looking for a job. There’s much more, including an overview of library funding … take a look!
April 12, 2011
With the onslaught of digital alternatives to traditional public library resources, libraries are trying to figure out their unique role for individuals and communities in the digital age. A recent story featured on NPR noted, “[Libraries] are an intricate part of the fabric that pulls a community together. But if they are to be relevant in the future, they will have to make space for themselves in the digital community as well."
April 06, 2011
Public libraries play an important role for individuals and communities. Often, they are a vital community gathering place and the only free access to new technology. “One of the things that libraries will continue to do is to level the playing field between the technology haves and have nots,” says Camille Leslie, director of the Massillon Public Library in a recent article.
“Even as technology prices come down, new things come on the market and there will always be people who won’t be able to afford them. That’s a very important thing for people to remember. It makes all of society better if everyone can have access to that technology. Public libraries allow that to happen.”
March 28, 2011
Did you know that 89 percent of U.S. libraries offer formal or informal technology assistance? Public libraries are constantly broadening resources and services—especially when it comes to technology. Want to learn more? Read an interesting four-part series focused on the challenges facing today’s local libraries in the digital age.>
March 18, 2011
In a struggling economy, public libraries are on the front lines of helping communities and individuals get back on their feet. According to American Library Association President Roberta Stevens, “Twenty-five million Americans reported using their public library more than 20 times in the last year; more people are relying on public libraries for technology use, particularly to find employment and connect to online government services.”
March 03, 2011
Public libraries are continuously evolving to meet the needs of patrons and stay relevant in a changing world. According to a recent article on smartplanet.com, "The recent economic slump may have savaged many public and academic library budgets, and global digitization may be changing their mission. But a new survey of 1,201 libraries across North America finds spending has leveled, demand for services is up, and many are accelerating their moves to digitized offerings."
February 18, 2011
Public libraries have numerous positive effects on local communities. For example, many studies suggest libraries improve local home prices.
“Historically, strong home prices have been dependent on a strong school system and the town’s infrastructure,” says Cathy Foster, a library trustee and realtor in La Grange Park, Illinois, in a recent article.
“Two major components of this infrastructure are a public library and a park (recreation) district. The more features and benefits you can add to an item, such as a house, the greater its value will be. Conversely, take away any features and you have diminished the value. This translates into lower home prices.”
February 16, 2011
“Geek the Library has been highly successful,” says Laura Guenin, Public Relations Manager at Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library in Indiana. “The campaign raised awareness of our financial needs and strengthened our partnerships within the community. More than anything, the quality of the promotional materials helped brand the library as progressive and active.”
Read about how Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library implemented the Geek the Library Awareness campaign locally.
February 07, 2011
Get the full story about the Geek the Library pilot campaign conducted in partnership with nearly 100 U.S. public libraries. A comprehensive new report, Geek the Library: A Community Awareness Campaign, features details about what inspired the project, the strategy and tactics, community reaction to the campaign and how participating libraries implemented locally. The overall findings are positive!
February 03, 2011
According to a recent study, the economic impact of public libraries can be huge. “The indirect economic impact to the community by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s local expenditures is estimated to be around $59.1 million,” notes a new report from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Urban Institute. “This means that for every $1 expended by the library, the community receives $1.46 of indirect economic impact such as through payment of salaries, building costs and equipment costs.”
Get more information and download the complete study.
January 17, 2011
You can show your support for your local library in all sorts of ways. Talking about the library to friends, volunteering or joining your local library support group are only a few possibilities. Meaghan, from Savannah, Georgia, wrote an article about the library for her local paper and donated her writer’s fee to the library. Well done, Meaghan!
What are you going to do?
January 14, 2011
Geek the Library changes the word “geek” from a noun to a verb. (The term geek continues to evolve, so this wasn’t an entirely new use of the word.) Our definition is: to “geek” something is to be “passionate” about it. Interestingly, during our pilot when we tested the campaign with nearly 100 U.S. public libraries, we found pilot community residents picking up on how we used the term within the campaign and integrating it into general conversation.
The definition of individual words and phrases is constantly changing and “geek” is no exception. Read language columnist Mark Peters’ view of “geek’s” evolution over the years.
December 29, 2010
Many Michigan Public Libraries are implementing local Geek the Library campaigns. (In fact, East Lansing Public Library was the first library to sign up for the campaign after we opened the program to all U.S. public libraries!) See if your local library is involved. If not, ask them to visit get.geekthelibrary.org for more information.
December 06, 2010
You've seen our individual Geek the Library videos ... take a look at this inspirational compilation!
November 09, 2010
Since launching the Geek the Library community awareness campaign in June 2009, we’ve received a wide range of comments about the concept and our use of ‘geek’ as a verb—some positive and some negative. But whether you love it or hate it, Geek the Library gets people talking about public libraries, and that’s a positive!
Read a recent article about Geek the Library by Ben Zimmer, executive producer of Visual Thesaurus.
November 19, 2010
Show your support for the campaign and add a Geek the Library Twibbon.
November 08, 2010
Tell us—or show us—what you geek and post the video to YouTube, and we might feature it on this Web site. Post your video and tag it with 'geekthelibrary.’ Next, share your story and include a link to your video. We geek creativity!
November 08, 2010
Do you appreciate Geek the Library’s mission to educate people about their role in public library funding and about the incredible value of public libraries? Do you think the campaign can make an impact in your community? Tell your local library to get involved! Library leaders can get the information they need at get.geekthelibrary.org!
October 01, 2010
Public libraries provide diverse resources that bring the entire community together. “There is a resurgence of this desire for community, and we’re all looking for a place to come together. The library is neutral. It’s not political; it’s not religious; it’s not commercial,” noted Suzanne M. Stauffer, an assistant professor in the LSU School of Library and Information Science, in a recent BusinessReport.com article. “Everybody can come and use it; it doesn’t matter what your philosophy is. It’s a place you can go and have your educational, informational and recreational needs met.” Read the full article.
September 24, 2010
The public library is a tremendous community asset—and local decision makers are starting to make the connection. According to PM Magazine, "Local governments, forced to do more with less, have discovered that public libraries are an untapped resource and can assist in both the economic recovery and other strategic initiatives." The article provides interesting examples of libraries developing creative solutions for local challenges. Read the full article.
September 07, 2010
The Geek the Library booth at Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend was a busy place. Thanks to everyone who took the time to sign the geek wall and pick up additional information. Take a look at more photos from the event.
August 31, 2010
We have exciting news! Geek the Library is now open to all U.S. public libraries. Materials, resources and support are available to libraries willing to do what it takes. Invite your local library leaders to visit get.geekthelibrary.org for a program overview and to register for more information about executing the awareness campaign locally.
August 23, 2010
Libraries add value to every community. According to a recent study by the Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, University of West Florida, in many communities, libraries contribute to job creation, a strong economy and even wage increases. Findings reveal that for every one tax dollar received, Florida libraries provide $8.32 in value. That’s up from $6.54 in 2004. Read the complete study.
August 10, 2010
Thousands of children will come back to the classroom this year more confident and prepared as a result of participating in public library summer reading programs. And summer reading is only one of many popular offerings. Public libraries provide countless programs and services that transform lives. Make sure libraries have the funding they need to maintain and enhance services that help everyone achieve their potential. Join the public library funding discussion in your community and share your story. Start here.
August 05, 2010
Libraries provide opportunities for anyone to gain knowledge—without judgment. Access to library resources and services change lives on a daily basis.
"…there are also moments when a book can save our life. I remember listening to a new author talk about what had been a very oppressive childhood that by the time she was 13 had lead to a deep sense of hopelessness till the day she found a book at her small local library. The novel had a protagonist that mirrored her experience and for the first time in her young life she realized she wasn’t alone and there were choices to be made. It changed everything and opened up her limited vision beyond the stifling neighborhood where she lived."
Don’t allow anyone to lose the opportunity to learn and explore. Keep library doors open. Talk about public library funding in your community. Your voice matters.
July 27, 2010
Have you been to your local library lately? It may not fit all of those old stereotypes anymore. Listen to these two passionate Michigan librarians set the record straight about library and librarian myths.
July 08, 2010
Communities across the country are cutting back on library budgets. According to Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book Is Overdue!, in a recent Los Angeles Times article, the affect of these actions could run much deeper than a simple loss of service. “Those in cities that haven't preserved their libraries, those less fortunate and baffled by technology, and our children will be the first to suffer. But sooner or later, we'll all feel the loss as one of the most effective levelers of privilege and avenues of reinvention—one of the great engines of democracy—begins to disappear.”
July 08, 2010
Zion-Benton Public Library, a Geek the Library pilot library, developed a float and recently took part in the Winthrop Harbor Memorial Day Parade in Illinois. Seven enthusiastic library staff members participated and all wore Geek the Library t-shirts.
Geek the Library is a community-based awareness campaign that engages the public in all kinds of ways—especially through local events. If you are interested in the campaign, but your local library isn’t currently involved, please join other library supporters on our Facebook page to discuss Geek the Library and public library funding.
June 08, 2010
According to a recent study, nearly 12 million teenagers used a computer at their local library last year. What’s more, most of them reported using the computer to complete homework. The fact is, many U.S. households still do not have computers and are not connected to the Internet. What would these young people do without the public library?
Remember, public library funding is not a given. Please make a positive change in your community.
May 24, 2010
The streets of Shelbyville, Indiana, will never be the same! Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library recently revamped the library’s bookmobile with a Geek the Library theme. In addition to being a moving billboard for the awareness campaign, said Laura Guenin, the library’s public relations manager, the design also makes it approachable for all age groups.
May 11, 2010
Did you know that the Geek the Library Facebook page has more than double the amount of fans compared to most pages? In fact, according to a recent report, only four percent of Facebook pages have more than 10,000 fans. With over 13,000, the support has exceeded our expectations. So, why not join in the discussion? Become a fan today.
January 27, 2010
Geek the Library is designed to build awareness about the immense value of public libraries and the critical funding needs many face. It is about inviting the community to be part of the campaign, so the public can spread the word and continue to heighten awareness. And while we were confident that Geek the Library could add value outside of the library, we have been amazed by the interest and the level of support within our pilot communities and around the country. One fantastic example comes from New Jersey, a state struggling with significant public library budget cuts.
Amy King, a teacher librarian with Medford Township Schools in Burlington County New Jersey, saw a mention of Geek the Library on a tweet by Buffy Hamilton, another school librarian supporter in Georgia. She immediately saw an opportunity and hatched a plan to use the concept to encourage interest in the school library at Milton H. Allen Elementary.
“I wanted a hook to bring people into the library,” says King. “I needed something that would work for all of our patrons, not only students, but also staff and parents. The ‘geek’ part was the answer. Everyone has something that they are passionate about. If we could show that the libraries had resources to fuel that passion, then we would ‘hook’ them!”
King worked to gain the support of school staff by handing out geek-themed goody bags at the beginning of the year and using geekthelibrary.org to explain the ‘geek’ theme at the first faculty meeting. Staff embraced it and enthusiastically shared what they geeked to help encourage students to do the same. The resulting digital slideshow was displayed on the school’s Web site and, eventually, on a stand-alone Geek the Library Web site created by King.
For students, the first few weeks were spent defining geek, viewing what their teachers’ geeked and creating geek signs to decorate the library, said King, who was often seen wearing an ‘I geek MHA’ t-shirt. Throughout the rest of the year, the theme was used as a starting point for many lessons, and integrated into other events and activities. The kids loved it and, according to King, it encouraged interest in the library and served as inspiration for them to learn more about what they geek.
“Our goal was to promote the wonderful learning experiences and resources our library has to offer. With the Geek the Library awareness campaign, we had common language surrounding the library for the parents, staff and students. And we wanted a strong visual that would capture people’s attention and draw them to the library.”
April 19, 2010
The annual State of America’s Libraries Report, released this week by the American Library Association, confirms that public library usage is still on the rise, while library budgets are either stagnant or declining. As a result, libraries are being continually challenged to provide more with less, and to be creative in how they move forward. While we agree that this outlook is not ideal, we must all see the silver lining. For example, the fact that Americans are discovering or rediscovering their local library is a great thing. Also, since public libraries are on the front lines of recession recovery by helping people get back to work and reeducate themselves, community leaders may gain more insight into the immense value of libraries.
April 14, 2010
Many public libraries across the U.S. will celebrate National Library Week April 11-17, 2010. This annual celebration, sponsored by the American Library Association, helps promote all of the amazing resources available at public libraries. Use this event as an opportunity to discuss just how valuable your local library is to your community and exactly what is at stake if the budget decreases. As you know, the amount of local support for public libraries helps determine the fate of current services and resources. Help your local library remain the heart of your community. Your voice can make a difference.
April 08, 2010
Demand for public library computers is on the rise. Most libraries have continuous waiting lists and strict time limits to accommodate the growing number of regular computer users. According to a recent report conducted by the University of Washington Information School, a third of Americans (about 77 million people) used public library computers last year to find a job, better themselves in some way or connect with their community. That means when libraries cut hours or can’t afford to maintain their computer offerings, many people are left without their only access to information and services that empower their overall well-being.
Public libraries are a vital community asset. Join the public library funding discussion where you live. Your voice can make a difference.
April 01, 2010
At Downtown School in Des Moines, Iowa, learning about the library is serious business. After spending time discussing how libraries work, visiting a local library, creating individual presentations and designing their own classroom library, students in a combined second and third grade class were asked to draw a picture about the library.
What made the biggest impression on these young minds? Was it the microfiche machine, Dewey Decimal or free public computers? Without any prompting, many of the children—including seven-year-old James Konfrst pictured above—created unique ‘I geek’ pictures! A new generation of young people who understand that whatever you geek, the public library supports it all … we geek it!
March 26, 2010
Our new Geek the Library posters—that follow the theme of our new ads—made their debut during Geek the Library Week. We are delighted to see that they are already getting out there. Here is one of the posters displayed in The Press Sentinel’s window in Jesup, Georgia!
March 23, 2010
If you run into helpful Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in central Iowa this year, you may notice them wearing customized Geek the Library gear. Thanks to Stephanie Fournier, Troop 79 Brownie Leader for the Roland-Story Service Unit of the Girl Scouts, the ‘I geek scouting’ sweatshirt is now an apparel option for many Story City, Iowa, scouts when their official uniform isn’t necessary.
The public awareness campaign resonates with kids and adults, and the sweatshirt is a fantastic alternative for participants, noted Fournier. “We are wearing the sweatshirts when we do troop or pack activities that don’t require formal dress uniforms or Class A uniforms, such as community service, some troop or den meetings, and other lower key get-togethers.”
What’s more, the young Geek the Library fans are also helping spread the word when they wear the sweatshirts. According to Fournier, they are all able to explain what they geek and how to find out more about the awareness campaign at local libraries.
March 09, 2010
Join many of our pilot libraries as they celebrate Geek the Library Week in their communities March 15 - 21, 2010. Geek the Library Week provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of public libraries and the challenging funding issues many face—while having some fun with other library supporters. Contact your local library for more information about specific events and activities.
Libraries taking part in Georgia include:
Live Oak Public Libraries (celebrating the week of March 8, 2010)
Libraries taking part in Iowa include:
Bertha Bartlett Public Library (celebrating the week of April 12, 2010)
Clive Public Library (celebrating the week of April 12, 2010)
Pleasant Hill Public Library (celebrating the week of March 22, 2010)
Redfield Public Library
March 03, 2010
Public libraries provide many communities with impressive return on investment (ROI). According to a recently updated study: “For every tax dollar received, Florida public libraries in 2008 provided $8.32 in value. The value provided by Florida public libraries increased significantly from 2004 to 2008.” See the complete study.
March 01, 2010
News! I'm a news junkie. Ahhhhh ... but to relax? It's classical music on YouTube. Being able to pick out what I want to hear is fantastic!
February 24, 2010
If you get on or off the Metra commuter train in Zion, Illinois, you can ‘read and ride’ thanks to the Illinois Beach Sunrise Rotary Club and Zion-Benton Public Library. The library stocks the rack with donated books and they supply an average of 250 a month. Each book features a customized Geek the Library sticker!
February 24, 2010
In the coming weeks, Geek the Library will publish a series of redesigned print advertisements in select areas of Georgia and Iowa. You probably recognize the images, but the text is fresh—with a direct focus on building awareness about public library funding.
February 24, 2010
There have been print advertisements, TV commercials, walking billboards and the list goes on; but this is a first. Thanks to the Milwaukee Public Library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you can find Geek the Library in many Milwaukee bus shelters this month!
February 17, 2010
Milwaukee Public Library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently created the first original Geek the Library TV commercial. The commercial features locals describing what they geek and is set to air on CNBC, MSNBC and USA in Milwaukee during Olympic programming.
February 15, 2010
President Obama's FY2011 Budget Proposal to Congress essentially freezes federal public library funding. In a press release, American Libraries Association President Camila Alire said: ”During this time of hoped-for economic recovery, public libraries are one of the greatest tools our nation has, and a lack of federal support jeopardizes this critical institution.”
February 03, 2010
The roller coaster budget ride New York City’s libraries have been on the past year just hit another turn for the worst. The New York Times calls the city’s libraries the ‘biggest losers’ in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2011 budget. Unfortunately, this scenario is being played out in many communities around the country. You can help turn things around. Remind your community of the immense value of your local library and start talking about the importance of adequate public library funding today!
January 29, 2010
The American Library Association (ALA) refers to the current public library budget climate as ‘a perfect storm.’ They might be right. Did you know that almost 15 percent of U.S. public libraries reported a decrease in operating hours over the past fiscal year? Read about this and many other interesting funding-related public library facts in a new ALA brief.
January 25, 2010
If you are in Des Moines, Iowa, stop by any of Des Moines Public Library's six locations and enter the ‘I geek my library’ contest. Why do you love your library? Write it down in twenty-five words or less, and you could be featured on this Web site and win a t-shirt. The contest runs through February 15, 2010. Come on now … show some love!
January 18, 2010
Public libraries are hurting. According to Library Journal’s annual budget survey, dollars for materials is down, more than 40 percent of libraries have frozen salaries and reduced staff, and very few libraries are upbeat about their financial future. There are some bright spots, but generally libraries are cutting where they can to maintain core services and hours. It’s up to you to reverse this trend. Read the full article from Library Journal.
For more information, view a new report produced by the American Library Association that provides additional insight into the economic challenges of many U.S. public libraries, as well as a recent Associated Press article covering the report.
January 12, 2010
Public library budgets are on the chopping block. Communities around the country are struggling to find ways to make ends meet and library dollars have become an easy target. Ensure your community understands the full value of a thriving local library.
January 04, 2010
As 2009 drew to a close, many U.S. public libraries were forced to make difficult budget decisions. The Denver Post quoted one patron of Aurora Public Library in Aurora, Colorado, which closed four locations at the end of 2009, as saying, "To me, a library is not just having books. It's like an old friend. I think closing this library is one of the biggest mistakes I've ever seen."
Educate your community about the importance of public libraries and why adequate funding should be a top priority. Start here.
January 04, 2010
Many U.S. public libraries are struggling to maintain vital services without adequate funding. Reports about libraries cutting hours, staff or even shutting their doors temporarily in order to save money have been common over the past year. Please start the funding conversation in your community.
December 28, 2009
Since launching the campaign in June, the Geek the Library team has crunched numbers, visited pilot libraries and wondered if our efforts are really making an impact. But no statistic could match our excitement to see the Geek the Library-themed Christmas card created by the Wills-Cross family in Des Moines, Iowa. They saw the campaign, understood it, got excited about it and wanted to continue to spread the word.
It is tradition, says Harold Cross, that the family creates an eclectic card for the holidays. This year’s card, which features all six members of the family and what they geek, was inspired by the look and feel of Geek the Library’s ad campaign in Des Moines. Lou Reed’s ‘I geek art’ first caught the attention of this creative family—who were then pleasantly surprised by the full awareness campaign and important public library funding message.
“As I’ve grown and matured,” notes Harold, “I keep gaining more appreciation for passion and how it can impact one’s life. Life is too short and precious to toil away at something without passion. To be successful, to be happy, to be responsible, to achieve something, you have to care, you have to have passion for it.”
While the card is light-hearted and fun, the Cross family is serious about the critical value of public libraries and understands their role in making sure adequate funding is available. Harold believes the public library is an important cultural cornerstone in any community and supporting it is critical—even if you are not a regular library user. “It is a very valuable resource for those who need it,” he says, “and, at some point, we all need it.”
Harold and his wife Kim both remember going to the library as children. “We both took our own children to libraries here in Des Moines when they were younger. Someday we’ll take our grandchildren. Libraries have a long-lasting impact on children. There is something special about a library—the peacefulness, the helpfulness, the structure and organization, the sheer vast amount of knowledge it contains.”
The Geek the Library team would like to thank the entire Wills-Cross family for their efforts and for supporting the campaign. We geek creative families!
Have you seen the card? Take a look.
December 18, 2009
The pilot awareness campaign has garnered much attention since our launch in June 2009—even beyond the participating libraries. One exciting development is the adoption of the Geek the Library concept within schools. Educators have found the awareness campaign helpful in bridging the gap between motivating students to use the library for school, and using it to grow and get inspired.
Jaime McGrath, an educator at Gould Elementary School in Savannah, Georgia, has used Geek the Library to put a positive spin on encouraging more students to pick up non-fiction books. Elementary school students, explains McGrath, are notorious for avoiding them.
“We discuss in class the things they are interested in,” notes McGrath, “and then they search the library for those subjects. They become excited about getting what they geek and see the non-fiction section of the library no longer as a burden to shoulder, but as fuel for their personal interests.”
Asking students to ‘get what they geek’ may seem simple, but it really works, says McGrath. Rifling through his students’ desks after school one day, he found books on motocross, fossils, minerals and math concepts—all books students had picked out themselves. “The approach empowers students by putting them in charge of their own library selection decisions. All of my students have discovered new interests they can mine further in the library stacks.”
In addition to broadening their literary horizons, McGrath feels a positive relationship with the library now is important for the future of public libraries. “Children who understand that the library is an invaluable resource to explore their personal needs and interests will grow to be adults who rightly support full funding and expanded access to library materials,” says McGrath.
“Libraries look very different today than when I was a child in the 70’s, and we can only imagine what libraries will be like when these children are voting, running for office and bringing their children to the library. Seeing libraries as a personal asset as children, will encourage enthusiastic support for libraries as these children grow up.”
December 17, 2009
Your voice matters! Look at what happened in Pittsburgh. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations set to close will remain open for at least one more year. Speaking about the people of Pittsburgh, Jacqui Fiske Lazo, the Carnegie Library Board of Trustees board chairwoman, said: "They came out and they made noise, and they screamed and hollered about those libraries, and said we love our libraries and we don't want them closed.”
December 16, 2009
The emotional fight to keep one California library open ends, but reveals the passion so many people have for public libraries, and the incredible contribution they make to individuals and communities. Read more.
December 10, 2009
Students of all ages are expected to complete more and more school work online. Many struggle with no access to computers or the Internet at home. Public libraries are critical in continuing to bridge the digital divide! Read more.
December 07, 2009
We geek anime! And so do some very talented teens at Central Library, a branch of Des Moines Public Library in Des Moines, Iowa. The teens, along with Brenda Hall, a teen specialist, created an entire 'zine' with anime characters and what they geek. See more!
December 04, 2009
Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library in Shelbyville, Indiana, asked patrons to write what they geek on holiday ornaments. All of the ornaments are now part of the library’s ‘geek’ tree!
December 03, 2009
As record numbers of people head to public libraries this winter, library budgets are being cut all across the country. The dilemma isn’t a new one—public libraries set trends for thrifty, yet productive, institutions—but it is being compounded by a lackluster economy and more people looking for job-searching support. To cope, many libraries are taking unprecedented steps to maintain core services. Libraries, such as Geek the Library participant Des Moines Public Library in Des Moines, Iowa, are temporarily closing their doors and furloughing staff to ensure patrons can count on key services in the months ahead.
Public libraries are a vital part of our communities. Your voice can help. There has never been a more important time to get engaged and do your part in making sure our libraries are adequately funded.
December 03, 2009
Taking part in the Savannah Children’s Book Festival in Savannah, Georgia, got us thinking about just how important public libraries are for young people. Libraries promote access to early literacy learning and all of the benefits good reading skills can bring.
Even if you don’t have kids, supporting the library’s role in improving literacy rates, also supports your community. Illiteracy creates barriers to educational and employment opportunities, and has been linked to delinquency and crime. Public libraries are on the front lines. And they can’t do their very important jobs without your support. Get tips about what you can do.
The American Library Association (ALA) recently filed testimony to Congress about libraries and literacy. Take a look.
November 19, 2009
We think all libraries do an incredible job, but thought you might find it interesting to take a peek at this national rating of U.S. public Libraries. According to Library Journal, some libraries use these ratings to help gain more funding. Take a look.
November 17, 2009
If you were in Savannah, Georgia, on November 14, 2009, you may have seen us at the annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival. Forsyth Park was filled with booths, activities and lots of happy children. Hundreds of people stopped by the Geek the Library kiosk and signed our Geek Wall. Thank you to Live Oak Public Libraries for letting us be part of the fun! See more photos.
November 13, 2009
Two librarians from Michigan are getting people around the world talking about libraries and their collections. Specifically, the chatter is focused on the dreadful books that still linger in our public libraries. Funny, yes! But, more importantly, the blog has encouraged a public discussion about public library funding. Read more about this story.
November 13, 2009
Public libraries are more important than ever. “The public library resonates with energy and serves as a beacon of hope during these challenging times,” says Luis Herrera, city librarian of San Francisco. Read more.
November 10, 2009
Look who is holding a Geek the Library t-shirt … public library supporter Iowa Governor Chet Culver!
November 11, 2009
Public libraries are becoming much more than information repositories. In many communities, libraries are evolving into vibrant community centers. As a result, many are partnering with local businesses and organizations to provide unique learning opportunities for patrons. Read about one California library’s exciting approach.
November 09, 2009
With unemployment reaching nearly 10 percent nationally, there are a lot of people out of work. For many active job seekers, the public library is the only viable option for searching and applying for employment opportunities. Read more.
November 06, 2009
This week’s landslide victory for public libraries in Ohio, with 29 of 37 funding levies approved by voters, should serve as inspiration. When it comes to public library funding, everyone’s support matters. Read more.
November 06, 2009
It is not uncommon that people who have been employed in the same job for many years or older workers reentering the job force lack computer skills. Public libraries help. For many, using the job-seeking resources and computer training available at their local library has been the difference between giving up and getting back on their feet. Read more.
November 06, 2009
Seattle Public Library’s struggles are a sign of the times. Many public libraries face state and local budget cuts, and are working to find solutions that allow them to keep their doors open and still meet the needs of their communities. Read more about this topic.
November 05, 2009
Speak up! Local public library funding isn’t always decided via referendums or tax levies. In fact, it is most commonly handled by your city council. Be a part of the conversation. Voice your opinion during open forums. Go to monthly meetings. Talk about why public libraries are so important. YOU can influence where the money goes in your community!
November 04, 2009
Thank you to all of our supporters who incorporated Geek the Library into their celebrations. Here are some examples:
November 04, 2009
Public libraries have been helping people get back to work for decades, but its role has never been more important. Libraries around the country are reporting a surge in patrons specifically coming in for job-related activities. In fact, according to a recent public library report, job-seeking services ranked as the most crucial service libraries offer. Fortunately, despite financial challenges, libraries are stepping up to the plate with even more job-related resources, such as resume writing assistance, exam proctoring and online job searching advice. Help your community keep this valuable resource. What you do makes a difference.
October 28, 2009
Even with financial challenges, public libraries are still diversifying—a tactic many say is vital to maintain wide community appeal in the future. So, in addition to circulating over two billion items, U.S. libraries also provide unique community services such as health screenings, seminars and specialized training programs. Read more about this topic.
October 26, 2009
October 18 – 24 marks the 2009 Friends of Libraries week, a time when groups across the country hope to increase membership in their efforts to create awareness and provide support for public libraries. So, if you are not a member of your local library’s support group, why not join today! We all have to take personal responsibility for ensuring our public libraries stick around for many years to come, and this is one simple way to do it.
October 22, 2009
What does smoked mullet and library funding have in common? Cultural Day on Sapelo Island, Georgia, of course! On October 17, 2009, Geek the Library helped celebrate the unique aspects of Geechee-Gullah culture during this enlightening one-day event. In addition to its rich history, this small island—only accessible by ferry—boasts the Hog Hammock Public Library. This tiny treasure, which was founded in 2002, offers a growing collection of books and other resources.
October 21, 2009
Public libraries are constantly evolving. And to make sure a new generation of readers look to the library for information, many are offering more and more resources digitally. Online content, such as electronic books, provide an option to go to the library without ever leaving your home. Read more.
October 18, 2009
Libraries and librarians provide the ultimate community service. In many areas, the loss of a public library could have devastating consequences—especially for young people. The value of our public libraries is difficult to put into words. But see how it is insightfully described in this opinion piece from the News Times in Oregon:
“Libraries don’t discriminate; they welcome everyone and give them time to forget their troubles or deal with their issues by reading an absorbing book, listening to an audiotape or CD, accessing the Internet or getting information with the help of the friendly reference librarian.
Libraries are ports in the storms of life. If we patronize and support them, they, along with loving parents and supportive teachers, can keep the young ones on the straight-and-narrow so they don’t become another statistic of the juvenile justice system.
The folks behind the desks checking books, presenting a story time or answering your reference questions are a kind of 'first responder.' It takes a village to raise a child; if libraries are able to do their job, the police officer will have an easier job. If kids are rapt over a book, they are less likely to end up with a rap sheet.”
October 16, 2009
Geek the Library and the Des Moines Public Library, along with hundreds of hungry Iowans, braved unseasonably cool temperatures to do some tasting at the World Food Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. Even without any international fare, the Geek the Library booth saw plenty of action. The event was held on October 9 - 11, 2009.
October 14, 2009
It’s fair week in Statesboro, Georgia, and Geek the Library has teamed up with the Statesboro Regional Library to join in on the fun. The library won second place for its ‘I geek agricultural history’ booth and has an onsite library available for all fair goers. The 48th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair runs through October 17, 2009.
October 13, 2009
Will life imitate art? That’s what residents of Highland Park, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, hope. A new low-budget movie that will document the closing and the struggle to reopen the Highland Park Public Library recently started filming on location. The movie, set to star Danny Glover and open in 2010, might just provide the publicity and additional funds the city needs to really reopen the library. The movie comes at a time when many public libraries across the country are closing for financial reasons and helps illustrate the importance of local support for public libraries.
October 12, 2009
Andrew Carnegie may be turning over in his grave. He spent a great deal of his fortune providing seed money to build libraries across the U.S. His commitment changed lives. And now some of those libraries are closing. Most prominently is the recent announcement from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, one of Andrew Carnegie’s proudest philanthropic achievements, that they will cut hours and staff, and close four branches due to lack of funding. As is the case in Pittsburgh, these are difficult decisions that no public library takes lightly. But it is another example of why they need your support.
October 09, 2009
We are now going into the second phase of the pilot awareness campaign and recently added four new participating libraries and library systems: Milwaukee Public Library in Wisconsin; Piedmont Regional Library System in Georgia (covering Banks, Barrow and Jackson Counties); Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library in Shelbyville, Indiana; and Zion-Benton Public Library in Zion, Illinois. This enthusiastic group joins our central Iowa and southern Georgia participating libraries and library systems that have been promoting the campaign since June.
October 08, 2009
In an effort to save money and stay relevant, more and more public libraries are using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with their patrons. Evolving like this is nothing new for public libraries, and this is just another example of how libraries change with the times to incorporate resources and services important to their communities. Does your library offer updates via social networking sites? Find out and maybe you can stay in touch with your public library online.
October 06, 2009
Just like the library is often the heart of a community, librarians and other library staff are the heart of the library. What librarians do is much more than just the physical task of keeping a busy library up and running. They put a human face on often overwhelming amounts of information. They listen. And they guide us. Every day they change someone’s life—for the better. Perhaps you have your own story? Here’s one that moved us.
October 05, 2009
Is that a Geek the Library poster I see? Part of the challenge for Geek the Library participating public libraries is to get the awareness campaign out into the community. One way is to partner with local businesses to hang up posters or give out awareness campaign materials. And, look, here we are in Sylvania, Georgia. Great job Screven County Library!
October 02, 2009
Canadian and U.S. public libraries have something in common: usage is up. But while many American libraries wonder if funding woes will mean drastic—and permanent—changes to resources, hours and staff, Canadian libraries are looking to the future. Perhaps we can learn something from our neighbors to the north?
September 29, 2009
One of our newest participating libraries, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library, recently created a walking geek board for a local homecoming parade. Participants eagerly signed the board along the parade route. We geek great ideas!
September 29, 2009
Here is Dan Wardell (AKA Crazy Dave), a well-known children’s public television and radio personality, during a visit to Kirkendall Public Library in Ankeny, Iowa. Joining him in this photo are Kelly Munter and Sherry Schlundt.
September 25, 2009
Public libraries provide tremendous value for individuals, for neighborhoods, for cities, for states and for our country. Beyond the resources they provide, they can affect positive trends such as higher property values, lower crime rates and literacy improvements. But for cash-strapped communities, it’s hard to make the connection between cutting library funding and what that really means for the surrounding communities. So, what is the true return on investment (ROI) for libraries?
According to a report from the Oslo University College in Oslo, Norway, investing in libraries makes sense. The report analyzed over 30 studies focused on library ROI and found that for every taxpayer dollar invested in public libraries, there is an average four-to-five time return for citizens. The study also indicates that connecting dollars and cents to the library helps people understand the true value.
As libraries across the country are facing difficult funding scenarios such as closing one, two or all branches, or cutting hours and staff, we want to encourage you to take preventative measures in your community. Talk to friends and colleagues about your public library not just in terms of resources such as books and computers, but also the tangible return on investment that is possible for both individuals and communities.
September 24, 2009
If you live in central Iowa or southern Georgia, you've probably had the opportunity to see one of our Geek the Library billboards. They look great and are helping us spread the word about the campaign and public library funding. If you see one, tell friends to look out for it, and use it as a starting point for a conversation about the value of public libraries and the critical funding issues they face.
September 23, 2009
Literacy in America is a serious problem. According to a recent government report, more than 30 million Americans have reading skills below basic literacy levels. Public libraries are part of the solution—helping to transform the lives of children and adults. September is National Literacy Month. Talk to your public library about how you can help.
September 18, 2009
Public libraries are fast becoming technology hubs for people who do not own computers or have access to the Internet, says a new report. And, as job applications and government resources head online, more and more Americans are heading to their public library. Unfortunately, funding is not keeping pace with demand.
Findings from the study include:
-More than 90 percent of public libraries provide technology training such as online job-seeking and career-related classes, general Internet and computer use instruction
-76 percent of public libraries offer free wireless access
-81 percent of public libraries report there are not enough public Internet computers to meet patron demand some or all of the time
-Increasingly libraries are having trouble replacing outdated computer workstations due to cost
September 15, 2009
In the coming months a major U.S. city may be without a public library. On October 2, every Free Library of Philadelphia building—over 50—is set to close for good leaving patrons without access to critical programs, information and services. Philadelphia is one of the largest library systems in the country and has over six million visits annually. This is a major example of how public libraries are not a given. If you don't know how your public library is funded, please find out and get involved.
**Update** Libraries in Philadelphia will remain open.
September 15, 2009
The Bondurant Community Library added Geek the Library’s ‘I geek superheroes’ banner to their float for the August 29, 2009 'Fables and Stables' parade in Altoona, Iowa. Library staff and volunteers dressed as characters from famous books, and they won second place for their efforts. “The parade was sponsored by Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, which is managed by Polk County,” notes Library Director Karen Pederson. “Prairie Meadows has a long history of providing community grants to many organizations throughout Iowa, in fact, the Bondurant Community Library has received $28,000 from them in the last four years.”
September 09, 2009
When the chips are down, public libraries provide support. As we’re seeing around the country, for job seekers in a poor economy, they are a critical resource. But as demand increases, many libraries face steep budget cuts.
September 02, 2009
Part of our mission, once we complete our pilot awareness campaign, is to evaluate whether or not we’ve made an impact. And while we have months to go, we’re delighted to report that we already are! Stories from communities in and around our participating libraries, as well as across the country, are coming in about how libraries are adopting elements of the campaign.
One example comes from Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia. Buffy Hamilton, a tech-savvy high school librarian, has adopted the campaign with open arms. Hamilton wants to inspire her patrons—the students—to talk about what they geek, as well as take a new look at how the library can support them and their interests. In addition to creating and distributing custom ‘I geek’ stickers of the library’s brand, The Unquiet Library, she also wanted to recreate the Geek Wall experience. So, with black construction paper and silver markers, her library has taken on new life. Student upon student, she explains, continue to volunteer to showcase their passions in this simple, but significant way.
In addition to celebrating people’s passions, notes Hamilton, the campaign also provides a critical lesson about the value of all libraries and how each person plays a role in supporting them. But if the positive initial response to her efforts wasn’t telling, she says, she recently got full confirmation that the campaign’s personal approach works. “Some ninth-grade football players came in to see if they could take part. Football players! And they came to us.”
The display has been so successful, she says, plans are in the works to help students create custom photos, and perhaps, videos. Reminding the public just how relevant libraries still are and that they offer something for everyone, she continues, can have tremendous impact well beyond the walls of the library. “Geek the Library is a positive movement for all libraries. This kind of advocacy helps all of us.”
August 31, 2009
In the name of balancing budgets, all Seattle Public Library branches are closed from August 31 until September 6. According to the library, the system-wide closure will save approximately $655,000. The Seattle experience symbolizes the funding challenges many public libraries face, the extreme measures that must sometimes be taken to meet the cuts and provides inspiration for taking the time to reevaluate how we all have to play a role in supporting public libraries.
August 31, 2009
Many of our participating public libraries—such as Bertha Bartlett Public Library in Story City, Iowa—are making a splash with large Geek the Library outdoor banners.
August 31, 2009
The campaign has gained significant media attention since launch, but this is a first. We are thrilled to grace the September cover of The Iowa County magazine, a monthly publication that provides state-wide information for county officials in Iowa.
August 30, 2009
From time-to-time we hear about people predicting that public libraries will become obsolete or extinct in the future—even with usage statistics continually telling another story. We asked our Facebook fans why they think public libraries WON’T become obsolete in the future. Here are some sample responses:
“Libraries are one of society's last great equalizers. They bring communities together and enrich them at the same time. They're too important to allow for their obsolescence.”
“Libraries are not big warehouses of the latest format of media...they are places where people connect other people with information, stories, knowledge, etc. So, as long as people don't become obsolete (knock on wood...ha, ha)...public libraries will always have a place.”
“The library is one of the last remaining public spaces where people can spend time without buying anything. I think people miss community more than they realize and the mall is a very poor substitute. Libraries are (or need to be) community centers with something for everyone.”
“Libraries have the power to become the ‘third place,’ the equivalent of what diners used to be. Coffee shops may serve the same purpose, but with the economy the way it is, and the lack of funding in schools for things like art, more and more families and individuals will turn to their local libraries for learning and social interaction.”
August 25, 2009
You may have seen many of the Geek the Library billboards around southern Georgia and central Iowa. All of the billboards are based on the corresponding advertising campaign, but we decided to create something unique for the Iowa State Fair. And what says fair more than “food-on-a-stick?” The billboard is located at the intersection of University Avenue and Hubbell Avenue in Des Moines, and will remain up for the duration of the fair.
August 20, 2009
Geek the Library and Statesboro Regional Public Libraries joined peanut enthusiasts in and around Brooklet, Georgia for the annual Brooklet Peanut Festival on August 15, 2009. This popular festival, which includes a 5K run, a parade and a peanut or two, celebrated its 20th year. We geek peanuts. Take a look at photos from the event.
August 28, 2009
What better place to view the travelling Smithsonian Institute exhibition Key Ingredients: America by Food than Vidalia, Georgia, home of the Vidalia Onion! This fascinating cultural exhibit, held at Southeastern Technical College, explores the connections between the foods Americans produce, prepare, preserve and present. Ohoopee Regional Library System, a participating library of the Geek the Library public awareness campaign, will have a booth at the event for the entire six-week stop—between August 8 - September 20. If you are in the area, stop by and learn more about Geek the Library while you eat your way through this delicious exhibit.
August 18, 2009
Geek the Library helped launch opening day at the Iowa State Fair on August 13, 2009 with a full house of volunteers in the kiosk and a nearby tent. Fairgoers were enthusiastic about the campaign and thousands of people came through to pick up a free bookmark and sign the Geek Wall. Were you there? Take a look at our photos.
August 14, 2009
Many public libraries are embracing gaming as a way to engage young patrons, and are both checking out and archiving video games. This is just one example of how merging traditional services with new trends can be a winning combination for libraries, and add value to an already invaluable institution.
August 14, 2009
Using your public library has more benefits than you think. It’s the place to go if you are going green. Of course borrowing vs. buying books is good for the environment, but many libraries are also making efforts to evolve into more environmentally conscious institutions. Here’s one example in southern Georgia where we have many participating libraries.
August 12, 2009
Putting dollars toward public libraries is an investment in individuals and communities. Public libraries can transform lives and add incredible value to the surrounding community. But what’s the real return on investment?
August 06, 2009
The economy is making the public library a very popular place. And many people are surprised by what they find. We found cake pans in Iowa and fishing poles in Georgia. And when we posted the question on our Facebook page, we received a tremendous response. According to our Facebook fans, public libraries offer tricycles, flip video cameras, Wii gaming and many more fascinating items. All for loan and all for free.
July 29, 2009
Evolving to meet the needs of patrons is nothing new for U.S. public libraries. In many communities, the public library is now becoming the new job center. In addition to offering career counseling opportunities, computer classes and job searching resources, many are also offering resume help. Do you geek a new job? Your local library can help!
July 29, 2009
The economy and online job application procedures are driving people to public libraries. Did you know that over 70 percent of public libraries—over 80 percent of rural community libraries—report that they are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet. In central Iowa, a Geek the Library pilot market, usage for resources such as job searching and support may soon outpace demand for leisure reading.
July 21, 2009
If you’ve been traveling in southern Georgia or central Iowa, you may have noticed Geek the Library infiltrating the roadways. Look for more Geek the Library billboards throughout the campaign.
July 15, 2009
Most states fund public libraries primarily with local tax dollars. And, in the current economy, many libraries are faced with smaller budgets and increased usage. Changing this trend and supporting public libraries when they are needed most is up to you. Read this insightful Des Moines Register article about the Geek the Library campaign and public library funding in Iowa.
July 15, 2009
Public libraries across the country are faced with cutting hours and staff, and even closing. Are we prepared for the impact? Read on person’s perspective.
July 13, 2009
The Geek the Library pilot campaign is in full swing in central Iowa. Many libraries in Dallas, Polk, Story and Warren counties are taking part. Read what central Iowa's Cityview magazine had to say about the campaign.
July 06, 2009
Libraries are struggling across the country, and central Iowa is no exception. Geek the Library brings a new perspective. Watch WHO Channel 13’s coverage of the Geek the Library awareness campaign:
July 02, 2009
Iowa Cubs fans enjoyed a visit from the Geek the Library team and local library leaders on June 25, 2009. This festive evening at Principal Park in Des Moines gave central Iowans a chance to learn more about the awareness campaign, win free t-shirts and sign up for e-mail updates. Even Cubbie bear got his geek on with his “I geek baseball” t-shirt.
June 29, 2009
The Geek the Library team along with many local library leaders—including Georgia State Librarian Dr. Lamar Veatch—and the Savannah community celebrated the greater Savannah launch of the awareness campaign on June 23. Participants signed the geek wall, enjoyed free food and discussed what they geek.
June 24, 2009
The public library helps you beat the heat and save money. But as the only access to the Internet and computers for millions of Americans, it also helps bridge the digital divide. Read the full story.
June 23, 2009
As more and more people turn to public libraries as a job searching resource, libraries are evolving to meet the need. Unfortunately, funding is not keeping pace with increased use. Watch the video.
June 17, 2009
For many Americans, the public library is the only place where they can gain access to the Internet to search and apply for jobs. As a result, librarians are morphing into career counselors. Read the full article.
June 17, 2009
More Americans than ever have public library cards and usage is up all across the U.S. But more visits do not mean more money. Get the full report.
June 17, 2009
Get your geek on. Show your support. Geek the library.