What the ‘death of the library’ means for the future of books

“Forbes contributor Tim Worstall wants us to close public libraries and buy everyone an Amazon Kindle with an unlimited subscription. “Why wouldn’t we simply junk the physical libraries and purchase an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription for the entire country?” he asks. Worstall points to substantial savings on public funds, arguing that people would have access to a much larger collection of books through a Kindle Unlimited subscription than they could get through any public library and that the government would spend far less on a bulk subscription for all residents than it ever would on funding libraries. Is he right? Are libraries obsolete? He might be correct — but only if libraries were just about books, which they are not. Libraries are actually an invaluable public and social resource that provide so much more than simple shelves of books (or, for those in rural areas, a Bookmobile like the one this author grew up with). A world without public libraries is a grim one indeed, and the assault on public libraries should be viewed as alarming.” (via The Week)

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Understanding a turbulent world to develop library policy agenda

“Today, the American Library Association (ALA) releases the draft “Trends Report: Snapshots of a Turbulent World” (with Appendix I (pdf) and Appendix II (pdf)) to stimulate discussion about and ultimately inform a national policy agenda for the U.S. library community. A draft policy agenda will be developed for public comment through the Policy Revolution! initiative led by the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) with guidance from its Library Advisory Committee (LAC). “The speed of change related to technology and the linked policy dimensions is breathtaking. Similarly, library roles and demands are evolving, and so the library community’s national policy priorities need to be critically reviewed and realigned accordingly,” said OITP Advisory Committee Chair and LAC Ex Officio Member Dan Lee (via Direct Dispatch)

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The Academic Book of the Future

“The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Library are launching a two-year research project which will explore the future of the academic books in the context of open access publishing and continuing digital change. Dr Samantha Rayner, Director of the Centre for Publishing at the University College London (UCL) will lead the project ‘Communities of Practice: The Academic Book of the Future’. Alongside colleagues Simon Tanner and Professor Marilyn Deegan from King’s College London and Nick Canty from UCL this multi-disciplinary team will engage with the publishing and academic community to better understand the current landscape of academic publishing. A combination of large scale scoping work and more focussed mini-projects will ensure that opinions, approaches and ideas are included from the UK and beyond.” (British Library – Press and Policy Centre)

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Halifax looks forward to the opening of its very own library of the future

“It is being billed as the “city’s living room.” Its rooftop patio offers stunning views of Halifax harbour. There is a 300-seat theatre, two cafes, gaming stations, two music studios, dedicated space for adult literacy, a First Nations reading circle and boardrooms for local entrepreneurs.Halifax’s new $57.6-million gleaming glass library of the future is to open later this fall – a 129,000-square-foot building in the city’s downtown with a unique cantilevered rectangular glass box on the top, suggesting a stack of books. Fully accessible, culturally sensitive, environmentally sustainable and architecturally stunning, with elegant angles and lines, it is the first piece of modern architecture to be built in Halifax in decades, and the first major central library to be built in Canada in several years.” (via The Globe and Mail)

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Mesa libraries pilot innovative technologies, programs

“Picture a library. If the first thing that comes to mind is a card catalog, “you’re long overdue for a visit,” according to Public Library Association President Larry Neal. For years, libraries have been on the leading edge when it comes to piloting new technologies, Neal said. They were some of the first places to offer access to desktop computers, the Internet and e-readers. But as libraries’ offerings have evolved, their marketing and branding efforts haven’t necessarily kept pace. And while surveys show the majority of Americans still believe in the importance of libraries, the discrepancy has left more tech-savvy generations wondering why they would ever need to visit one.” (via AZ Central)

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Visually impaired teen makes impact at Southside digital library

“When Christian Sanchez reported to the Bexar County BiblioTech as an intern in June, he immediately made his mark. Within days, the 16-year-old had learned every facet of all-digital library located at 3505 Pleasanton Road. The tech savvy teen’s duties ranged from working the circulation desk to one-on-one sessions with visually impaired patrons. While Sanchez is particularly adept at helping visually impaired patrons — he’s blind himself — he readily assisted all patrons, answering tech questions and providing information.” (via San Antonio Express-News)

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Public library engagement in the United States

NJ State Library to deliver high school diploma program

“The New Jersey State Library (NJSL), an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College, announced today the launch of its Online High School Completion Program, which will allow NJ residents to earn an accredited high school diploma and credentialed career certificate at their local library. The groundbreaking program is designed to reengage adults in the education system and prepare them for entry into post-secondary education or the workforce.” (via APP)

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Orland Park Public Library  keeps Internet access policy

“Orland Park Public Library trustees on Monday night voted to continue to allow patrons 18 and older unfiltered Internet access, reaffirming a vote taken earlier this year. Before the 4-2 vote, some patrons asked the board to install a filter to prevent people from being able to view pornographic material while online, and two library trustees said they supported the use of filters.” (via Southtown Star)

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Missouri libraries struggle to stay open

“Could public libraries be a thing of the past in Missouri?    Lawmakers are battling whether or not to with hold more than $6 million from the public library budget, and local libraries are already seeing an impact. Canton Library officials say roughly 60 people come into the library every day, mostly for the free internet access.  Because of state cuts, internet costs rose almost 600 percent for the Canton library, which is forcing the library to consider all its options.” (via WGEM)

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