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The Future For Public Libraries: Specialized Features Not Starbucks

“My head is still spinning from Panos Mourdoukoutas’ post at Forbes last week suggesting that there should be a Starbucks in every local library. Granted it appeared in Forbes and they slant corporate but it might just be the most near-sighted, wackiest story I have read in some time. Of course he starts out proclaiming his love for his local library but before it’s over he says “Simply put, Starbucks and local libraries supplement each other nicely—they are both “third places” with different rules of conduct, catering to different community segments. That’s a good reason to have a Starbucks store in every library. ”Why not put a jail in every library for it also has “different rules of conduct, catering to different community segments.”  They would compliment each other nicely by providing literacy services and job training to inmates while scaring the pants off the kids so they won’t go astray of the law.” (via Book Patrol)

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Open Access Maps at NYPL

“The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division is very proud to announce the release of more than 20,000 cartographic works as high resolution downloads. We believe these maps have no known US copyright restrictions.* To the extent that some jurisdictions grant NYPL an additional copyright in the digital reproductions of these maps, NYPL is distributing these images under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. The maps can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page, and downloaded (!), through the Map Warper” (via The New York Public Library)

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Text-mining contract signed by Libraries offers computational access to Elsevier articles

“The MIT Libraries have signed an agreement with Elsevier, the largest publisher of journal articles in the world, to allow members of the MIT community to text-mine scholarly articles subscribed to through Elsevier’s ScienceDirect service. Typically, licensed access to journals like Elsevier’s does not permit systematic searching or downloading, and excludes the use of software agents, robots, or scripts. This has been a disappointment to many researchers, who wish to take advantage of automated tools to carry out new forms of research, speed up the research process, and enhance discovery and innovation.” (via MIT Libraries)

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Over 1 million Spanish newspaper pages labeled as public domain

“Yesterday Europeana, the online portal to Europe’s digital cultural heritage, announced the great news that over 1 million historical Spanish newspaper pages have been labelled as public domain. These newspapers were digitised and made available as part of the Virtual Library of Historical Newspapers project, and were added to Europeana by Hispana, a service which brings together the digital collections of Spanish GLAMs and delivers these to Europeana.” (via OpenGLAM)

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“For at least one day, publishing’s annual national convention is going pop.

The organizers of New York Comic Con, ReedPOP, announced Wednesday they will launch BookCon during BookExpo America, a weekend gathering in New York in late May. The “massive pop culture” event will feature author John Grisham, actress-author Amy Poehler and other well-known guests.” (via Associated Press)

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Thomson Reuters Debuts Custom Pages, eLibraries on WestlawNext

“Thomson Reuters has introduced Custom Pages on WestlawNext, the leading online legal research service, enabling users to create searchable, personalized pages from specific content sets.

Available at no cost for all WestlawNext subscribers, Custom Pages can be tailored to specific research needs while providing the convenient benefits and innovation WestlawNext offers, including WestSearch, Find a Citation, KeyCite® a Citation, Folders and Favorites.” (via Thomson Reuters)

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Brown’s state librarian appointment isn’t by the book

“Librarians aren’t known for being loud, but Gov. Jerry Brown may hear some raised voices from that scholarly crowd over his decision Tuesday to appoint a politically connected journalist as the state librarian. Greg Lucas, 55, is a former political reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Since 2011, he has been a senior editor for the Sacramento website Capitol Weekly, which covers California politics, and he writes and edits California’s Capitol, a website he created that also delves into politics.” (via

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Brooklyn Public Library researchers fielded 3.5 million inquiries in 2013

“Did an elephant really swim from Brooklyn to Staten Island? That was one of the 3.5 million often funny and poignant questions visitors to 60 Brooklyn Public Library branches had for 100 research librarians in 2013, records show. Despite the advent of online search engines, the number of library queries rose by 10% last year — the highest since at least 2009, according to new BPL data.” (via NY Daily News)

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Four library branches to close in Merced County

“The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to close four small library branches at the request of the county librarian and other staff, who said it’s the only way to keep the library system going. The supervisors voted to shut down the George library in south Merced, and Cressey, South Dos Palos and Stevinson libraries, replacing them with the county Bookmobile. Board Chairman and District 5 Supervisor Jerry O’Banion voted against the branch closures. “We had difficulties with libraries and I voted to close the library,” O’Banion said of a decision to shut all county libraries in the early ’90s. “I swore to never close a library again and I intend to keep that promise.” (via Modesto Bee)

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How US libraries are becoming community problem solvers

“As a librarian, it’ll probably be no surprise that I like to do my homework. I’ve followed conversations about the future of UK public libraries with a mixture of interest and dismay. Developing public libraries as community hubs and problem-solving partners is a top priority at the American Library Association (ALA), so the incredible work of my UK colleagues and the Arts Council is of great interest to us. Recent South by Southwest and ALA conferences show that US public libraries are evolving in this role as well.” (via Guardian Professional)

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