The Rise of DIY Libraries

“In March, a group of New York library officials released a statement declaring that a “staggering infrastructure crisis” has crept up on the city’s public library system. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, one branch is “routinely forced to close on hot days” due to problems with air conditioning. Others are plagued with water-damaged books and facilities that are too small to accommodate everyone in their community. General interest public libraries are no less necessary than they were in 1901, when Andrew Carnegie donated the equivalent of $147 million to construct 65 of them across New York City, but their focus is increasingly shifting away from books and toward things like English classes, job training workshops, community meeting spaces, or just places to read the news online for those without internet access. While the public must continue to fight for these more practical resources, a number of oddball independent libraries cropping up around the North American continent offer an experience that can’t be found in their traditional counterparts.” (via VICE)

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NYC libraries take $10M hit in de Blasio 2016 budget

“Libraries took a $10 million hit in the city’s 2016 budget. The three systems received $323 million — including $5 million from the City Council — in operating funds in 2015, and this year were only promised around $313 million. “The mayor’s proposed operating budget is a setback for libraries,” said Tony Marx, of the New York Public Library. The New York, Brooklyn and Queens public libraries also didn’t get the combined $1.4 billion in capital funds they’d requested for the next 10 years.” (via NY Daily News)

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A Long Way From Wax Cylinders, Library Of Congress Slowly Joins The Digital Age

“Gene DeAnna sits at a computer next to a vintage victrola, appropriate for his job as curator of the National Jukebox project. It’s an online collection of some 10,000 pre-1925 recordings, made acoustically, without any electrical amplification. DeAnna points to a photo on the jukebox’s webpage.”You can see in this picture here that they gathered the orchestra around a great big recording horn and behind the curtain there is a cutter that is cutting the recording into a wax master,” he said.And 90 years later, these primitive recordings can be heard right on your laptop with a few mouse clicks.” (via NPR)

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Vancouver Public Library opens new digital ‘Inspiration Lab’

“Vancouver Public Library’s downtown branch unveiled its brand new, custom-built digital media lab on Tuesday. The 7,500 sq. foot ‘Inspiration Lab’ features high-speed computers with the latest audio and video editing software and fully-equipped recording studios. “Libraries have always been about creating and sharing stories, ideas, information and cultural expressions — in a place that’s free and accessible to everyone,” said Christina de Castell, VPL’s director of collections and technology, in a news release.” (via CBC News)

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Phillips Academy Head Argues Libraries More Important Than Ever In Digital Age

“Boston is home to one of the country’s first great public libraries: the Boston Public Library. Founded in the middle of the 19th century, it is free to all, offering a public space and access to a world of books and ideas. For generations, Americans have embraced public libraries as essential civic institutions — but now, in the age of Google, Wikipedia, Amazon and Kindle, traditional libraries face an existential quandary. With so much information so easily accessible, who needs libraries and their musty stacks of books?” (via Radio Boston)

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Coming Soon to HeinOnline: Religion & the Law

“We are pleased to introduce a a new library coming soon to HeinOnline: Religion & the Law. Consisting of more than 1,200 titles and 600,000 pages, this library provides books, periodicals, and bibliographies that relate to religion and the law. Explore the development, history, organization, and fundamental principles of world religion. This collection also includes an assortment of canon law, early constitutions of the church, and rare historical bibles. As we continue to add new material this collection will grow significantly in the coming years.” (via HeinOnline)

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Do We Really Need Libraries?

“In New York City, supporters of public libraries say that respect for — and repair of — the libraries is long, well, overdue. A new campaign, Invest in Libraries, puts forth that in the past 10 years, the city government has reduced funding for public libraries by nearly 20 percent and 1,000 workers or so have been trimmed from the payroll. The campaign calls on the city to increase its support in various ways, such as restoring $65 million in operating funds.” (via NPR)

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Police groups object to ‘Don’t Shoot’ art piece in Madison

“Police advocacy groups in Wisconsin on Friday objected to a painting displayed at the Madison Public Library that shows an African-American boy pointing a toy gun at three riot police officers who have their weapons aimed at the child, calling it inflammatory and biased. Artist Mike Lroy said the piece — acrylic and spray paint on canvas, entitled “Don’t Shoot” — is meant to stir emotion and provoke reflection.” (via AP)

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Supporting a seamless learning environment

“This week, the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) released new data (pdf) showing that the most powerful demographic predictor of library card ownership is poverty—more than 60 percent of children living below the poverty level did not have a public library card. Impoverished children often fall behind in school as they face challenges obtaining reading materials, accessing high-speed Internet and finding reliable information online.” (via Direst Dispatch)

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National Library of Ireland to make parish records digital

“Ireland’s national library will make its massive collection of Catholic parish records accessible for free online starting this summer. The National Library of Ireland announced Wednesday it will be digitizing about 400,000 black-and-white images of microfilm reels and launching a website to display them by July 8. “This is the most significant ever genealogy project in the history of the NLI,” library spokeswoman Ciara Kerrigan said.” (via NY Daily News)

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