Edmonds Friends Attends the American Library Association Midwinter Conference


ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo at the Rally for Libraries, Seattle Public Library

On Saturday, January 26, a group of board members from Friends of the Edmonds Library attended the Midwinter conference of the American Library Association in downtown Seattle. Several library staff members also attended the full event. We are always looking for ways we can improve our service to the community and bring forth the unique perspectives of our membership, so we’re sharing with you, our fellow library advocates, some of the key insights and resources we learned about at this event. Thanks for all you do to support our local library and its widespread impact!

Extend Library Access Through the Open Library Model

The “open+” system by Bibliotecha emphasizes expanding library hours, often by providing limited, staff-free services. While popular in Europe for close to 15 years, only four systems in North America currently are using its services. In some libraries this could be something as simple as extra hours for hold pickups, while in others entire 30,000-square-foot libraries remain open beyond regular hours but are self-service and thus could be a cost-effective approach to increasing a library’s working hours to fit its community’s needs. Sno-Isle Libraries’ new Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson was on the panel and discussed her experience with using some “open+” services in her prior role at the Hennepin County Library System. You can learn more here: Bibliotecha open+

United for Libraries Institute: Trustees, Friends, and Foundations

  • United for Libraries is a national association of library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations. 
  • This half-day workshop kicked off with a keynote from sociologist Eric Klinenberg, whose recent book, Palaces for the People, makes the compelling case for the role of libraries as essential components of social infrastructure.
  • We also learned about The E’s of Libraries – a simple and effective model for answering the sometimes loaded question of “what do libraries really do nowadays, anyways?” Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Engagement – that’s what! For everyone, everywhere.
  • Did you know that National Library Week occurs in April each year? This year, as part of National Library Week, Washington libraries will lead a growing effort to promote a Library Giving Day on April 10, 2019. Friends and other ambassadors are leading the effort to bring new voices and supporters to libraries all across the country.

IDEO Design Thinking for Libraries Toolkit 

The Public Libraries in Aarhus (Denmark) and Chicago (USA), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, created the Design Thinking for Libraries toolkit to introduce a way of working that will help libraries understand the needs of their patrons and engage their communities like never before. Design Thinking allows libraries to work together to discover what their communities want and experiment to create services, programs and processes to meet their changing needs. The toolkit is free and available here.