Tag Archives: Libraries

What the ‘death of the library’ means for the future of books

“Forbes contributor Tim Worstall wants us to close public libraries and buy everyone an Amazon Kindle with an unlimited subscription. “Why wouldn’t we simply junk the physical libraries and purchase an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription for the entire country?” he asks. Worstall points to substantial savings on public funds, arguing that people would have access to a much larger collection of books through a Kindle Unlimited subscription than they could get through any public library and that the government would spend far less on a bulk subscription for all residents than it ever would on funding libraries. Is he right? Are libraries obsolete? He might be correct — but only if libraries were just about books, which they are not. Libraries are actually an invaluable public and social resource that provide so much more than simple shelves of books (or, for those in rural areas, a Bookmobile like the one this author grew up with). A world without public libraries is a grim one indeed, and the assault on public libraries should be viewed as alarming.” (via The Week)

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Halifax looks forward to the opening of its very own library of the future

“It is being billed as the “city’s living room.” Its rooftop patio offers stunning views of Halifax harbour. There is a 300-seat theatre, two cafes, gaming stations, two music studios, dedicated space for adult literacy, a First Nations reading circle and boardrooms for local entrepreneurs.Halifax’s new $57.6-million gleaming glass library of the future is to open later this fall – a 129,000-square-foot building in the city’s downtown with a unique cantilevered rectangular glass box on the top, suggesting a stack of books. Fully accessible, culturally sensitive, environmentally sustainable and architecturally stunning, with elegant angles and lines, it is the first piece of modern architecture to be built in Halifax in decades, and the first major central library to be built in Canada in several years.” (via The Globe and Mail)

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Libraries’ choice: Change or fade into oblivion

“When librarians at the Skokie Public Library near Chicago moved their reference collection online and got rid of the massive print volumes, they suddenly had a lot of newly freed-up space. Carolyn Anthony, the library’s director, also serves on the Skokie Chamber of Commerce. She saw that after the economic downturn, many workers who’d lost their corporate jobs were starting businesses out of their homes. In fact, the fastest-growing segment of the chamber was now start-ups with fewer than five employees — many of them with just a single person running the entire operation, often out of a spare bedroom or home office. Working from home is fine, she thought, but meeting clients in a coffee shop gets old fast.” (via USA Today)

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Video: Why NYC Public Libraries Are More Important Than Ever

“Those of us with our heads firmly lodged in the swirling surreality of the Internet may be somewhat surprised to hear that public libraries—those shadowy old fortresses where information is still preserved on pieces of paper bound into quaint objects called books—remain vitally important to millions of New Yorkers. In an eye-opening video that shows a day in the life of various NYC public library branches, filmmakers Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks show just how necessary these public institutions are today.” (via Gothamist)

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Will books survive as libraries turn the page in the digital age?

“You might think that with the growth of the Internet and the rise in e-books that libraries might become obsolete.

However, it turns out that libraries are simply changing to meet the new reality. Ken Roberts is a specialist on library and technology issues. On April 28 he is giving a lecture called The Future of the Book.” (via MSN CA)

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NTIA Releases 3 Case Studies Examining Impact of Broadband Grants Program on Connecting Libraries

“In 2010, as part of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), NTIA awarded more than $200 million in matching grants to establish or upgrade public computer centers (PCCs) throughout the United States.  More than 2,000 of those centers are operated by public libraries, from Maine to Arizona.  These grants complement the $3.4 billion in infrastructure investments that have allowed BTOP grant recipients to connect more than 1,300 libraries nationally with ultra-fast broadband, providing a significant down-payment on President Obama’s ConnectED initiative. Today we are releasing the first three of 15 PCC and broadband adoption case studies.  These focus on the impact of grants in Delaware, Texas and Michigan.  The release coincides with an important hearing on libraries and broadband, sponsored by the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services, or IMLS.   The case studies were conducted for NTIA by an independent research firm, ASR Analytics, which analyzed the impact these PCCs are having in their local communities.  (via MTIA)

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Oxford Public Library finding vital new roles

“The kids come in their PJ’s. They curl up with stuffed toys and munch on popcorn. And, while their parents are watching a grown-ups’ movie at the Granada Theater next door, youngsters at the Oxford, Nebraska, Public Library are enjoying a G-rated kid-friendly movie on their own big screen, helping the library fulfill its mission to be a vital, vibrant educational, entertainment and social hub of the community. “We’ve done movie night all winter. It has become very popular,” says library director Danielle Burns, who has, with her teen board, board of directors and “Friends of the Library,” created other new programs and activities that are keeping the public library in residents’ minds and hearts.” (via McCook Daily Gazette)

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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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Library officials say ‘nothing has changed,’ embrace shift to digital

“It wasn’t that long ago that prognosticators called libraries a dying breed. You only went there to check out books or to research a school assignment, they said. Computers and e-books would render those things unnecessary. It turns out the forecasters were wrong. Personal computers did become a reality; so did electronic books. But the truth is, these days libraries actually are seeing usage and number of visits go up.” (via Omaha.com)

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Why libraries deserve to be hip

“This afternoon, I’m picking up my younger daughter from school and I’m taking her someplace special. It’s a place she and I can look at works by local artists, where we can read quietly together, where we almost always run into friends. It’s one of best places in the world. You’ve probably got something like it where you live too. It’s called the library. Libraries are not terribly fashionable. You’d think they would be. In a world in which educated, enlightened, planet-hugging types are all up in that composting and upcycling and no impact lifestyle, these wonderful places where you can just borrow stuff and then bring it back so someone else can enjoy it somehow languish. Last year was the first year in several that New York City libraries didn’t face any budget cuts – though branches shut after Hurricane Sandy remain unrestored. Libraries in Detroit have been shuttered in the city’s economic crisis. In the U.K., libraries face closures as the number of people using them plummets.” (via Salon.com)

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