library innovation

Well-Read Just for You

You’re a lawyer searching for a needle in a research haystack to stitch up your case.  But sifting through thousands of legal journals, case files and other research documents to find that insight can be the equivalent of a life sentence. Enter Watson, a prodigious new legal assistant that can analyze the legal haystack, learn what’s important to a given case and find the missing thread.  A process that could very will take a lifetime to complete, Watson does in a matter of seconds.  Catch up on Watson’s work to transform legal research in the Atlantic
ALA co-founds major new coalition to recalibrate copyright

Today, the American Library Association joined nine fellow founding national groups from both the private and public sectors to unveil Re:Create, a new copyright coalition formed to articulate and fight for the perspectives and rights of library users, educators, innovators and creators of every kind. Librarians know that copyright has a broad purpose—to advance learning and creativity for all people—but, too often, policy and law makers focus on the needs and interests of entertainment companies and other industry players who are determined to preserve old business models through enforcement rather than by innovating in the new economy. An important purpose of Re:Create is to ensure that the copyright debate respects and reflects the full range of legitimate views and needs of every part of our economy and society.

Improbable libraries” are appearing all across the world, thanks to ingenious book lovers who make sure their communities have access to literature. Read more about them at The Guardian.

You can also discover more improbably libraries through our Innovations in Reading Prize, including Little Free Library and Street Books (pictured below). 

(The Winner of the 2015 Innovations in Reading Prize will be announced this month!) 

Riverhead Books announced the winner of its Little Free Library sweepstakes today. A 15-year-old Boy Scout from Harlingen, TX struggle to find an Eagle Scout project with meaning until he learned about Little Free Library [LFL], an Innovations in Reading Prize-winner.

“What a great concept and way to give back to my community. If you look at the LFL world map there is only one library in our entire region. You can certainly see a void for hundreds of miles in every direction. My dad always tells me to try and leave a legacy and that’s what I hope to do with this project. My goal isn’t to just build one LFL but to start a movement in the Valley with LFLs in our region.”

The prize was judged by Riverhead authors and voted on by the public. Read more of his winning entry here.

Today America, libraries and the people who come to us for assistance have cause for renewed optimism. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act recognizes that libraries are often the first places Americans seek when they need job training or job search assistance. We’re proud of what libraries have accomplished with meager resources over the last several years. Now, with the support of this legislation, we look forward to a brighter future for the American workforce libraries have served for more than a century.

ALA President, Courtney Young on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Watch the 12pm (Eastern) signing ceremony live at


The next set of photos from ALA Midwinter is up! Thanks to Sondra Murphy for taking photos!

  • Andrew Wesolek- Head of Digital Scholarship, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • Carolina Cooney- Administrative Assistant, Oak Bluffs Public Library, Oak Bluffs, MA
  • Ellen Sulzycki- Assistant Head Children’s Librarian, Forbes Library, Northhampton, MA
  • Erin Berman- Innovations Manager, San Jose Public library, San Jose, CA
  • Fionnuala Gerrity- Conservation Technician, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • Kazia Berkeley-Cramer- Student at Simmons, Part-time employee of the Watertown Public Library, Watertown, MA
  • Laura Koenig- Head of Children’s Services, Boston Public Library, Boston MA
  • Margaret Willison- Access Services, MIT, Cambridge, MA
  • Phil Morehart- Associate Editor, American Libraries Magazine, Chicago, IL 
  • Mackenzie Van Engelenhoven- Sales Department, Charlesbridge Publishing, Boston, MA
  • Rachel Korman- Branch Assistant, Vaughan Public Libraries, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada