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Libraries are Undergoing a Revival as Apartment Buildings

“In white-hot real estate markets like NYC, developers continue to seek out rapidly diminishing land for new projects. Many budget challenged local libraries, which operate on public land, continue to face a difficult challenge of operating in older buildings with maintenance and services that haven’t kept up with the times. Recently several public-private partnerships between libraries and developers offer a vision of what libraries are fast transforming into, apartments.” (via psfk.com)

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Ann Dougherty, 57, librarian who wrote love letters for patrons

“ANN DOUGHERTY used to say she felt like Cyrano, the fictional character who wrote love letters for a fellow soldier in the famous French play by Edmond Rostand. Ann did the same for a number of male patrons of the Free Library’s Rodriguez branch, including a Spanish-speaking man who wanted to woo an English-speaking woman. Ann helped him write the love letter, and the man got his first date. Alas, Ann never found out if the romance lasted. Ann was a librarian, but nothing like the librarians usually thought of as dowdy spinsters in dim rooms reeking of the dusty volumes of forgotten lore.” (via Philly.com)

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New York City’s libraries badly in need of repairs: report

“After years of being shortchanged by the city, some of New York’s libraries look like something out of a Gothic novel — with spooky abandoned spaces, leaky ceilings and chilly rooms, a new report found. The problems are so profound that the libraries need a whopping $1.1 billion to cover routine maintenance costs, according to a joint report from the Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan libraries. At the Ulmer Park Library in Brooklyn, the leaks in the ceiling are so big that on rainy days, workers often put ripped-up garbage bags over the books to protect them.” (via NY Daily News)

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Orland Park Library to pay $55K to settle lawsuits related to Internet porn\

“Orland Park Public Library officials have approved a settlement with two patrons who sued the library over alleged transparency law violations in an ongoing dispute over the library’s policy of giving adults unfiltered access to the Internet, including pornography. Last fall, Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan filed two lawsuits against the library, alleging several violations of Illinois’ freedom of information law. Orland Park and its police department were also accused in one of the suits of violating the law.” (via Chicago Tribune)

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Charity Providing Refugees With Library-in-a-Box to Launch in UK

“An international charity which promotes culture and knowledge-based development and provides pop-up, self-contained libraries for refugees is launching its UK branch on March 30. Paris-based Bibliothèques Sans Frontières, or Libraries Without Borders, is a non-profit humanitarian organisation devoted to expanding access to knowledge in the developing world.” (via Newsweek)

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Rethink the library: Next gen becomes resource for tech, entrepreneurs

“At some Colorado libraries, there are no overdue fines, no Dewey Decimal System and absolutely no shushing! A revolution is underway. And leading the charge is Anythink, the rebooted seven-branch Adams County system, which has a smattering of digital studios, 3-D printers, photography labs and a cafe. Anythink has gone from one of the state’s worst-funded library systems to a national leader within a decade. On Monday, Anythink’s innovation team was in Austin, Texas, at South by Southwest Interactive to inspire the tech community into collaborating with libraries. Joining a group of spirited librarians known as lib*interactive, the Anythink team hit the streets equipped with temporary tattoos, colorful chalk and a snappy slogan: “Not the same old shhh.” (via The Denver Post)

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Shhh…The Librarians Are Doing PowerPoint Comedy

“PowerPoint comedy” sounds like an oxymoron, but librarians love it. Events called “PowerPoint karaoke,” or “battle decks” have been popping up in comedy clubs and corporate retreats, mixing the familiar but unloved style of PowerPoint talks with improvised comedy. In these events, the subject of a Page One story in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, participants must give an impromptu speech – a sermon about singer Kanye West or a business pitch for robot vending machines – to accompany slides the presenter hasn’t seen before. These goofball events have gained a foothold with professional improv comedians, office workers who have endured too many dull PowerPoint presentations, and librarians. Several state library associations, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the American Library Association host competitive PowerPoint karaoke events at their annual conferences.” (via WSJ)

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Wikimedia Foundation adopts Open Access Policy to support free knowledge

“The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to making knowledge of all forms freely available to the world. Beginning today, our new Open Access Policy will ensure that all research work produced with support from the Wikimedia Foundation will be openly available to the public and reusable on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. We are pleased to announce this new policy at the 18th ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2015). “Wikimedia is committed to nurturing open knowledge for all, unrestrained by cost barriers,” said Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “The Wikimedia movement has a longstanding commitment to open access practices. Today, we are excited to formalize that commitment with this policy.” (via Wikimedia blog)

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OverDrive Announces Agreement for Acquisition by Rakuten

“OverDrive, Inc., the leading eBook, audiobook and streaming video platform for libraries and schools, today announced it entered into an agreement to be acquired by Rakuten Inc., one of the world’s largest Internet services companies.  Insight Venture Partners has been the majority shareholder of OverDrive since 2010.  OverDrive (www.overdrive.com) will operate as a subsidiary of Rakuten USA and will work closely with other Rakuten companies.” (via OverDrive)

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Kansas City, Mo., teens rally to restore funding for public libraries

“More than 100 teenagers from across Kansas City traveled Wednesday to Jefferson City, Mo., for a rally to keep their public libraries open. The teens want Governor Jay Nixon to restore $6 million in funding for public libraries across the state. They plan to meet with legislators to explain the importance of libraries and rally on the steps of the capital.” (via KSHB.com)

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