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The World Without Libraries: A Speculation

“Much has been said about the value of libraries and the fear of their decay, both here on the Huffington Post, as well as elsewhere across the web. Recent conversation toggles between heralding efforts to bring libraries into the 21st century and articulating a romanticized fear about losing the print archive. But there are much more rudimentary questions at the heart of this debate: most notably, what does the word library mean today, and–perhaps more important–what will it mean in the future? With the recent trend of “bookless libraries,” such as Stanford and Florida Polytechnic University as well as public libraries like this one in San Antonio, questions about the very definition of terms like library and book are raised. Is an institution that contains no print matter a library at all? Is a library the building or the books?” (via Huffington Post)

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ARL Joins New Re:Create Coalition to Promote Balanced Copyright

“Today, April 28, 2015, ARL joined US technology companies, trade associations, and civil society organizations in the launch of Re:Create, a coalition that promotes balanced copyright policy. A balanced copyright system depends on limitations and exceptions, such as fair use. As technology advances, it is imperative that the copyright law is responsive to these changes, balancing the interests of creators of copyrighted information and products with the interests of users of those products.” (via ARL®)

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Baltimore Libraries Stay Open Through Riots, Because ‘The Community Needs Us’

“You can find more than books at the Baltimore public library today, as all branches remain open and fully staffed in the wake of protests and riots that have rocked the city. With a state of emergency declared and schools closed citywide Tuesday morning, the Enoch Pratt Free Library has chosen to stay open, providing a hub of comfort and community to all Baltimore neighborhoods, including the ones most affected by the mayhem. “It’s at times like this that the community needs us,” library Director of Communications Roswell Encina told MTV News. “That’s what the library has always been there for, from crises like this to a recession to the aftermath of severe weather. The library has been there. It happened in Ferguson; it’s happening here.” (via MTV)

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Harvard Library Innovation Lab wins a 2015 Webby

“Perma.cc, a project that takes on the problem of “link rot” or broken or defunct links in scholarship, has won the prestigious Webby Award for best law site of 2015. Developed by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, Perma.cc is a web archiving service that helps authors and publishers create permanent links to their online sources, which are preserved by participating libraries. “Libraries are in the forever business,” said Kim Dulin, director of the lab and associate director for collection development and digital initiatives. “We developed Perma.cc to allow our users to protect and preserve their sources, no matter where they originate.” (via Harvard Law Today)

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Denying New York Libraries the Fuel They Need

“The city’s libraries — the fusty old buildings, and a few spiffier modern ones, planted in all five boroughs — had 37 million visitors in the last fiscal year, said Angela Montefinise, a spokeswoman for the New York Public Library, which runs branches and research centers in Manhattan and the Bronx and on Staten Island. The Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Library have their own extensive systems. So the city’s libraries have more users than major professional sports, performing arts, museums, gardens and zoos — combined.” (via NYTimes.com)

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Library lovers toss the book at Alameda County’s disposal system

“But that’s what appears to have happened in Alameda County’s 10-branch library system over the past two years. Watchdog activists believe the library has discarded almost 400,000 books from its shelves. County officials contend that the number is closer to 172,000 books, and they say many of these books are passed to friend-of-library groups for sales or are recycled. When users in Albany learned that thousands of books were tossed from that library branch over a two-year period, the county library system had some explaining to do. “The librarians are now choosing for us what we should read, and they say only newer books,” said Dorothea Dorenz, 67, a retired art teacher, voracious reader and library user who has taken up the cause.” (via San Francisco Chronicle)

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New York Public Library expands Wi-Fi lending

“The New York Public Library is a hot spot for free Wi-Fi. The library on Thursday said it was expanding its free broadband program, which loans low-income families hot spot devices so they can access the Internet from home. “The goal is to provide more Internet access to those that don’t have it,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. She attended the expansion announcement at a library in Mott Haven in the Bronx alongside an official from Google and NYPL president Tony Marx.” (via NY Daily News)

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When Google is your librarian and Starbucks your WiFi, do we still need public libraries?

“Libraries are repositories of books, music and documents, but above all of nostalgia: the musty stacks, the unexpected finds, the safety and pleasure of a place that welcomes and shelters unconditionally. John Palfrey shares these memories, but he is also wary of them. After all, fond recollections of pleasant reading rooms can cloud our judgment of what libraries offer us — and need from us — today. In an era when search engines, online retailers and social media are overtaking some of libraries’ essential tasks, “nostalgia can actually be dangerous,” Palfrey warns. “Thinking of libraries as they were ages ago and wanting them to remain the same is the last thing we should want for them.” (via Washington Post)

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‘Here to serve:’ Halifax libraries say they’re more welcoming, less rule-based, these days

“Whether a crowded mall or cafeteria, public park or arena rink, any type of community gathering place comes with a unique set of characteristics – some good and some not so good. Last week, a man contacted Metro Halifax to voice his frustrations with one such community space – a library. He explained that he’s upset with what he considers to be a branch staff’s inappropriate handling of a group of unruly teenagers who repeatedly acted out towards his family, only to be given a several day suspension.” (via Metro)

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A Sterling restoration Yale’s spectacular library

“At a moment in history when you might have thought the library no longer relevant in the digital and virtual world, Yale University has invested in its past to burnish with new luster one of the most “sacred secular” spaces in North America: the nave of Sterling Memorial Library.An example of the Collegiate Gothic style in the U.S. (among the first was Long Walk at Hartford’s Trinity College), Sterling is without peer. Designed by James Gamble Rogers in the late 1920s, it revels in a popular yearning by relatively young, New World institutions (for instance Yale, Chicago, Penn, Fordham) for the trappings of collegiate pedigree found at such Old World places as Oxford and Cambridge.” (via Hartford Courant)

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