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Duluth library’s seed-sharing program deemed unlawful

“Minnesota agriculture officials say a seed-sharing program at the Duluth library is on the wrong side of the law. The seed exchange, one of about 300 such programs in the U.S., allows members to borrow vegetable seeds from the library in the spring and later return seeds they collect from their gardens. Program manager Carla Powers said about 200 members borrowed 800 packets of seeds in the first year of the exchange. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture caught wind of the program and has informed the library it is likely violating state seed law. Anyone who sells, trades or exchanges seeds in Minnesota must follow state rules and proper labeling.” (via TwinCities.com)

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New York Public Library Expands Free Wi-Fi Program

“How about some Wi-Fi with those books?

Beginning later this month, New York City residents will be able to check out portable wireless Internet hubs free of charge at their local library branch, city officials said. The program, expected to be announced Tuesday, will offer about 10,000 Wi-Fi units through branches of the New York Public Library, the Queens Library and the Brooklyn Public Library, funded partly with a $1 million donation from Google Inc.” (via WSJ)

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Ten librarians across the country honored for outstanding public service accomplishments

“Today, 10 librarians were honored with this year’s Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award for demonstrating the critical role librarians play in transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. Selected from a pool of more than 1,000 nominations, the 10 winning librarians join a distinguished group of award recipients. To date, only 70 librarians have received the award since its inception in 2008.“Each day thousands of dedicated library workers have a profound impact on the quality of life in the communities that they serve,” said Courtney Young, president of the American Library Association. “This year’s award winners provide us with a glimpse of how library workers are transforming lives through access to technology, bridging community resources and fostering a love for learning. The I Love My Librarian Award provides a rare opportunity for both library patrons and the profession to recognize invaluable community change agents – our nation’s librarians.” (via ALA)

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No Luddite libraries here: 95 percent of U.S. libraries carry e-books

Memories of the library typically conjure up rows and rows of delightfully musty-smelling books — but these days, almost all U.S. libraries have embraced the e-book, too. A whopping 95 percent of American public libraries now offer e-books to their patrons, according to a recent report from the publications ‘Library Journal’ and ‘School Library Journal’ (spotted by tech blog Gizmodo). That figure is up sharply from 89 percent in both 2012 and 2013. And the remaining five percent of libraries aren’t against e-books. It’s “far and away” budget problems that keep them from going digital, according to the report.” (via TODAY.com)

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Collaborative Agreement Among Gale, part of Cengage Learning, and Three Universities in British Columbia Provides Provincial-Wide Access to Research Materials

“British Columbia’s 4.6 million residents now have free perpetual access to leading Gale research databases – nearly 200 million pages of digital historical content – as part of a unique agreement arranged by the University of Victoria Libraries, University of British Columbia Library, and Simon Fraser University Library.” (via Cengage Learning)

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RARE SHAKESPEARE FOLIO DISCOVERED IN FRENCH TOWN

“An accidental discovery in a northern French library of an original first folio of Shakespeare’s plays – one of the rarest books in the world – has sent a jolt of excitement around the world of Shakespeare scholars.The 900-page tome was authenticated by a respected U.S.-based scholar over the weekend.The find brings the total of known first folios in the world to 233. It is significant as each first folio is a unique copy that can contain variations that can shed new light on the Shakespeare’s intentions.” (via Associated Press)

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Federal library struggling with backlog, key records poorly filed, auditor-general finds

The federal archival agency spent $15.4 million on a digital record system it never used, and shut it down shortly after it was tested, approved, and operational. That finding is one of numerous concerns uncovered by auditors examining Library and Archives Canada’s ability to keep up with its archival mandate in an increasingly digital world. Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s office found that Library and Archives received approval to build a “trusted digital repository” — a system for storing and preserving digital records — in 2006. After spending more than $15 million on the system, Library officials shuttered the project after it was completed in 2011.” (via Toronto Star)

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Detroit Public Library unveils remarkable digital collections

“Everything about a trip to the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library (DPL) leaves a lasting impression — from the grand staircase of the building’s east wing to the murals and stained glass in Adam Strom Hall to the amazing collection of books and periodicals. Every Detroiter needs to visit this remarkable institution, which currently is celebrating its sesquicentennial. Now, however, many of the wonders of the DPL are available to you from the comforts of your own home. In October, a years-long digitization project culminated in the launch of the Digital Collections at the Detroit Public Library. Some of the library’s rarest, most intriguing documents and photos now can be accessed through the web. According to a recent newsletter from the library, “These online collections feature more than 67,000 images that have been digitized and cataloged for public use.” (via Model D Media.

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A Prize for the Piano Man

“Last Wednesday, the Library of Congress celebrated the music and career of singer-songwriter Billy Joel, awarding him the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. A star-studded cast walked a packed house at the DAR Constitution Hall through Joel’s own songbook during a tribute concert. I myself had the honor and privilege to also take the stage as a sort of “opening act” for Joel while performing with the Library of Congress Chorale. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be able to honor such a music legend.” (via LOC)

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Readers who Borrow e-Books from the Library Don’t Buy More Books

“Sometimes we get spoiled in North America with the sheer of amount of options available to borrow eBooks from the library. Statistically over 90% of all libraries in North America have a digital collection and patrons can access all of the content remotely. Things are different in the United Kingdom where only a few major libraries have bothered with a modern eBook collection. In May 2013 the UK government funded a review looking into the viability of allowing customers to borrow eBook, without all of the drama. The Sieghart Review said publishers should not limit the supply of e-books in the same way that physical book loans are controlled, including the lending of each digital copy to one reader at a time, securely removing eBooks after lending and having digital books “deteriorate after a number of loans”. (via Good eReader)

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