Core Dialogue with Directors Interest Group

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Purpose: Provides a venue for directing questions and concerns towards current and retired directors for open discussion. Possible topics could include leadership, library school education, major issues facing directors, preparing for an administrative role, positives and negatives of directing a library, and the thought processes of directors in day-to-day operations. The goal is to provide a group where directors and the curious alike can equally gain from the back and forth discussions, and educate people in the roles and experiences of directors.

This group is part of Core's Leadership and Management Section.

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Finding Martin Luther King Jr

  • 1.  Finding Martin Luther King Jr

    Posted Jan 18, 2022 09:40 AM
    To help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day, I took a look at MLK and discoverability in the online catalog of a couple of public libraries. I think the results are quite telling, so I recommend you take a look at your catalog too.

    Exercise 1

    Go to your online catalog and do a keyword search on "MLK" (without the quotes). You'll probably get a handful of books that include "MLK" in the title, and another handful of music CDs that contain a song with "MLK" in the title.

    Now do a subject search on "MLK". You'll almost certainly get nothing at all, because "MLK" is not an "official" Library of Congress Subject Heading. In fact, it's not even included as a variant (which you can check at

    It's worth pointing out that this means nothing if your patrons never search for "MLK". While it's worthwhile making your catalog the best it can be in the abstract, it's also worthwhile to look at your catalog search logs to see what your patrons are actually searching for.

    Exercise 2

    Go to the advanced search page of your online catalog. Search for items that:

    - contain "Martin Luther King" anywhere;
    - do NOT have "Martin Luther King" in the author, title or subject fields.

    For example, for Bibliocommons libraries the search query would be:

    "martin luther king" -au:(martin luther king) -ti:(martin luther king) -su:(martin luther king)

    These are items that will *not* be returned by an author, title or subject search for "Martin Luther King". You can take a look at the search results and decide for yourself how to make these items discoverable.


    You're doing *something* for Martin Luther King Day, right? You have a book display in the library and you've tweeted a list of MLK biographies. I don't think it makes sense to put effort into these activities without also putting effort into the catalog.

    And the same goes for everything from LGBT Pride Month to National Rose Day (June 11 this year, btw).

    Graeme Williams
    Las Vegas, NV