“Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff isn’t the man you’d imagine as the visionary for the nation’s first all-digital public library. The former San Antonio mayor doesn’t own an e-reader (“I refuse to read the e-book!” he says) and for years has collected first editions of modern novels (in print, mind you). Back in the 1990s, Wolff helped spearhead San Antonio’s 240,000 square-foot, six-story, $50 million central public library, a building the city is now struggling to figure out what to do with. Today, Wolff says he would’ve avoided building such a large facility. “Who would’ve thought 20 years ago we’d be where we are today?” he says.
“It’s not exactly a building boom, but several public libraries around the country are getting makeovers. The Central Library in Austin, Texas just broke ground on a new building that promises such new features as outdoor reading porches and a cafe. In Madison, Wis., they’re about to open a newly remodeled library that has, among other improvements, more natural light and a new auditorium. Historic libraries in Boston and New York City are looking at significant renovations.” (via NPR)
“Toronto’s newest library, its 99th, is set to open in November. The Fort York Library, an unusual, modern building with what looks like a crazy tilted roof, offers a rare view of its namesake, Fort York. It’s a historic site we rarely see unless stalled in traffic high up on the Gardiner Expressway. The library, still under construction, rises up on the east side of the Bathurst Street bridge. It’s an elegant glass pavilion that will glow like a welcoming lantern at night. It’s such a presence that the neighbourhood of condominium towers and community housing has been named by the developer, Context, in its honour: the Library District.” (via Toronto Star)
“The Linda Norgrove Foundation will set up the scheme after receiving a grant of nearly £500,000 from the United States International Development Agency (USAID), specifically to fund the establishment of the libraries and literacy schemes for women and girls.
Some 840 women will receive literacy classes and more than 20,000 people are expected to use the community libraries being set up by Afghanistan Reads, a community literacy project supported by the Norgrove Foundation. Literacy in Afghanistan is among the lowest in the world. It is estimated only 20% of women are literate and the figure is three times lower in rural areas.” (via Herald Scotland)
“It’s appropriate that a book celebrating the 75th anniversary of Nashville International Airport includes a page — and a charming photo — documenting the library branch that opened on-site in 1962. Staffed by a librarian who received an extra $4 in her paycheck to cover airport parking, the Nashville Public Library reading room was the first time a public library was ever established in a municipal airport.” (via USA Today)
“More than 90 percent of Americans say public libraries are important to their communities, according to the Pew Research Center — but the way that love translates into actual financial support varies hugely from state to state. Vermont, for instance, brags it has more libraries per capita than any other U.S. state. And some of them are remarkably quaint. In Ludlow, one library is a white clapboard Victorian, slightly frayed, ringed by lilies and sitting by the side of a brook.” (via NPR)
“According to a study published in Library Journal last year, about 15 percent of libraries in the U.S. currently lend games to cardholders to take home. But other research shows that gaming in the library is far more prevalent — and teenagers game the most. Sandy Farmer is the manager of Central Youth Services for the Houston Public Library, which has four Nintendo Wiis, four Xboxes, several Nintendo DSs, some iPads, seven PlayStations and a few big-screen TVs. “Its a primary part of our service that we offer, and it results in a 15- to 20-percent increase in the circulation of books,” Farmer says.” (via NPR)
“E-books have changed the world of publishing in fundamental ways. The business model that encouraged publishers to support the work of public libraries has changed to such an extent that this relationship has been stressed to the point of non cooperation.” (via NPR)
“Reading material in many hotel rooms has become about as spare as it can be — open the desk drawer and it might hold a Gideon Bible and a Yellow Pages. But some hotels are giving the humble book another look, as they search for ways to persuade guests, particularly younger ones, to spend more time in their lobbies and bars. They are increasingly stocking books in a central location, designating book suites or playing host to author readings. While the trend began at boutique hotels like the Library Hotel in New York, the Heathman Hotel in Portland, Ore., and the Study at Yale in New Haven, it is expanding to chain hotels.” (via NYTimes.com)
“Remember that warm feeling you used to get when you walked into a library? The feeling that you were surrounded by books and reading lamps and wood-block furniture softened from decades of reader use. Do you love that feeling? Me, too. Well, here’s hoping that you can get that same feeling from QR codes, near field communication (NFC) scanners and digital kiosks. While most of the 100,000+ libraries in the U.S. will likely continue to function as they always have, moving books around shelves and holding areas, to and from patrons — at least for the foreseeable future — some libraries around the world are changing and this could be the start of a trend.” (via Forbes)
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