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I have a confession: I’m an accidental business librarian. My background is in art history, but like many public librarians, I was placed in a department that needed staff, and that department was business services. I grew to love business reference and helping entrepreneurs with business planning and research. I even got the opportunity to create and grow the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
The Free Library of Philadelphia received a 2017 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to implement the Skills for Community-Centered Libraries Initiative. The project’s goal is to create a practical curriculum to build community engagement capacity in 300 staff members at all levels.
If you’re like most programming librarians, there’s a good chance that you’ve spent a lot more time online in the past year. As COVID sent library workers scrambling to do their jobs in a little- or no-contact environment, many of us have faced a steep learning curve.
So, how is that going for you? Could you have benefited from some training ahead of time?
I have been trying to write this blog post for weeks. The more time that goes by, the more guilt I feel. The powers that be at ALA are going to lose their patience with me, I tell myself. One post a month is not that huge of a commitment — just send it already! I frequently feel this crushing sense of guilt about a lot of things, particularly this year, and I don’t think I’m alone.
In our 2019 blog post "Reel ‘Em In! Get Secondary Students Hooked on Self-Selected Titles," we shared how classroom book clubs were taking off and how the culture of reading we were developing within our school.