As I have mentioned many times before here on my blog and to anyone who will listen, I think libraries are one of mankind's finest inventions. Libraries and bicycles (but that's a topic for another page)! They are capsules of human potential, repositories of what has been and what is yet to be. They are a simmering stew of ideas; tacit testaments to human innovation... and folly. As someone who loves learning and culture, community building and resource sharing, libraries are the place to be and the place for me.
This page is my ongoing love-letter to libraries. I hope it encourages you to utilize your own public, academic, or special library. They are gifts.
But first: 14 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Librarians
Libraries as Tourist Destinations
Something I enjoy doing when traveling, is to visit local libraries if I have the time. Library buildings are often great testaments to architecture. Even if you visit a small, public library or branch, you will gain a greater understanding of local culture than you might otherwise gain by visiting the more popular tourist attractions. Often, library outreach programming will display art by local artists or have displays that educate patrons on the history of the area. Libraries are also very innovative with their programming and you may find that you have arrived in the town just in time for an interesting speaker or presentation, a reading by an author, or a free program for your children to enjoy.
In fact, when traveling with children, a library is often a great respite from the usual itinerary. No, you won't be taking any books with you, but exploring the library itself is always fun and sitting down for puzzles or games or a few stories might be just the break the younger set needs. Teens, too, might find Maker stations, magazines, or video games. Yes, your vacation may be a break from screen time, and I totally get that. But if you've had days of sightseeing and a lot of face time, teens might enjoy checking out a game they don't have at home.
Here are two libraries that are definitely on my list. And I am not the only one who likes to visit libraries when traveling. Links that follow my picks are some fun lists of libraries that some feel are not to be missed!
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford England
Library of Congress, Washington D.C., United States
Libraries You Have to See Before You Die
62 of the World's Most Beautiful Libraries
My Pinterest Page with Lots of Library Eye-Candy
"My Heart Beats Faster in a Library"
For Those Working in or Considering a Career in Libraries
Perhaps you, like me, love libraries so much that you work or could imagine working in a library someday. Over time, I would like to develop this page to contain useful resources for those interested in the field of Library Science or Library Information Technology.
The program I am currently involved in is one that I can recommend if you have an interest in Library Information Technology. I am fortunate enough to live in the Twin Cities area and connect with the faculty in-person at Minneapolis Community and Technical College which offers this program. But the program is available to anyone, anywhere as it is all completed online. The faculty continue to be excited about and develop the program and are regularly looking for ways to promote and advocate for their graduates. Check out this link if you are interested!
Library Information Technology Program at MCTC
Keeping Up-to-Date With RDA (New Cataloging Rules for the Twenty-First Century)
Resource Description and Access (RDA) is the new set of cataloging tools for the 21st century. As of this writing, it remains a work in progress and is not universally adopted. While more libraries are implementing RDA as the rules become more clarified and kinks get worked out, it is still very much a work in development. The material is changing so rapidly that having access to an aggregate of resources that reflect real-time developments within RDA seems like a valuable tool for anyone working with or learning about RDA.
This is an excellent resource with current information on RDA. I looked through a number of blogs, but many of them seem to have been abandoned or are not up-to-date. RDA is a bit of an unwieldy beast right now, so I am not surprised that the bloggers just couldn't or didn't want to keep up. But Salman Haider, author of this blog seems to have a keen understanding of it and enough of a love of librarianship to keep this site current. Definitely worth a look!
OCLC Support and Training: Learning About RDA
OCLC offers a nice Q & A here. It also lists current classes and webinars it is offering. These courses are not inexpensive and I can't tell if your library needs to be a member of OCLC to take these classes (though I suspect not), but they do cover a variety of topics concerning RDA and some topics have more than one date to choose from.
ALCTS (Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) Webinar Series
There are a number of great learning topics offered by ALCTS here as well. These webinars appear to be quite a bit less expensive than the OCLC offerings. Plus, all of their past webinars are available for FREE via the ALCTS YouTube channel. There are hours and hours worth of training here. Nice!
Library of Congress RDA Webcasts
These webcasts appear to be free for downloading to Real Player. I do find it odd that the last updated webcast was done in 2012. That seems to be unusually behind-the-times for LOC. Still, the webcasts listed provide a good overview of the basics and are substantial in length; most running about an hour and at least one has a Q & A time, which may prove illuminating.
Library of Congress RDA News and Training
More up-to-date materials are located at these two pages of the LOC website. They still list some of the webcasts mentioned above in their training materials, so they must feel that the webcasts, although dated by a few years, are still sufficient for training purposes. The News page, in particular, has very current information and would be a good place to keep track of the latest happenings with RDA.
RDA-L Listserv: Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
Instructions for joining this listserv are located on their main page.
The main page says, " RDA-L is an electronic forum for discussion of RDA. The purpose of this listserv is to facilitate informal discussion on RDA : Resource Description and Access. This listserv is an initiative of the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) and is hosted by the American Library Association."
Library Journal's InfoDocket RDA Archives
Trade publication, Library Journal hosts InfoDocket on its website. InfoDocket is Library Journal's, "Latest information industry news and resources." While this information is archived, this would be a good page to check from time to time to find the latest information specifically related to RDA. It looks like a lot of action happened with RDA in 2012. There are many articles from that year. But if more pertinent, current information is released, you can be sure that this would be a good site to check.
Dakota County Library Research Tools
OF COURSE you can keep up to date on library news at a library! This is my local, county library and there is likely one in your neck of the woods too. When I was growing up, I don't even know if libraries had databases; if they did, they are not the online tools they are today. In most places in the USA, if you have access to a library card, you have free access to library databases, many of which are subscription databases that cost literally thousands of dollars per year to use. But you, my friend, get to use them for free because of the power of shared resources. There are all kinds of databases available with everything from information on films, medicine, standardized test prep, newspapers (local and papers from around the world), and more. For our purposes concerning keeping current with RDA, I thought the following databases would be useful:
"Papers First" - a division of WorldCat's First Search: "OCLC index of papers presented at conferences worldwide. Covers every published congress, symposium, conference, exposition, workshop and meeting received by The British Library Document Supply Centre."
"EBSCOHost MegaFile" - "Search the combined content of EBSCO Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier and Regional Business News."
You can create a simple search using the terms "RDA AND library" or "RDA cataloging." These searches pulled up a number of current articles that would be helpful in keeping up with RDA.
American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is a well-known, one-stop-shopping resource for nearly anything concerning libraries in the United States. RDA is international of course, but to keep current, you can't go wrong checking in with ALA at any time.
American Libraries Magazine
ALA produces a trade publication with many helpful articles and resources, some of them dedicated to RDA. This link will take you directly to the RDA search results of their website.