Tag Archives: Libraries

The public library in an Internet age: a series from Michigan Radio

“Pre-Wikipedia there was the encyclopedia. Pre-Google there was the reference desk. In the age of the Internet, what’s the future of the local library? “They will be even more of community spaces than they are today,” said Judith Fields, a professional-in-residence at the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science, who spent much of her career working at public, academic, government, and corporate libraries. “There will probably be fewer books … People will meet in the library to do a variety of things. The library is morphing.” (via MPR)

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A Library of Good Ideas

“In 2010, the administrators of the Deschutes Public Library system, in the beautiful high desert region of central Oregon, had a great idea. As part of their extensive research about their patrons’ library use and needs, they would also film some Q & As with community residents about the library. For Todd Dunkelberg, the director of the six-branch Deschutes (sounds like de-shoots) libraries, the results were a wake-up call about the library’s visibility and familiarity. “People felt guilty about not knowing about their library,” he told me.” (via The Atlantic)

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Where are the books? Libraries under fire as they shift from print to digital.

“The hallmark of public libraries — the printed book, bound by covers and centuries of page-turning — is being shoved aside by digital doppelgangers. Around the country, libraries are slashing their print collections in favor of e-books, prompting battles between library systems and print purists, including not only the pre-pixel generation but digital natives who represent a sizable portion of the 1.5?billion library visits a year and prefer print for serious reading.” (Via Washington Post)

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The Internet can’t replace libraries: Why they matter more than ever in the age of Google

“If you were airdropped, blindfolded, into a strange town and given nothing but a bus ticket, to where would you ride that bus? You might be surprised to learn that there’s only one good answer, and that’s the public library. The library is the public living room, and if ever you are stripped of everything private—money, friends and orientation—you can go there and become a human again. Of course, you don’t have to be homeless to use a library, but that’s the point. You don’t have to be anyone in particular to go inside and stay as long as you want, sit in its armchairs, read the news, write your dissertation, charge your phone, use the bathroom, check your email, find the address of a hotel or homeless shelter. Of all the institutions we have, both public and private, the public library is the truest democratic space.” (via Salon)

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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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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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Libraries Are Paving The Way For Cultural Unity

“Our country is a melting pot of rich cultures that are steep in vast customs and traditions. Yet libraries, parents and educators are left without the tools needed to encourage youth’s exposure to cultures other than their own – diverse children’s books. According to the most current data from the U.S. Census Bureau our country will experience a demographic shift within the coming decades as our society becomes more Latino, African American and Asian among other cultures.” (via Huffington Post)

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The World Without Libraries: A Speculation

“Much has been said about the value of libraries and the fear of their decay, both here on the Huffington Post, as well as elsewhere across the web. Recent conversation toggles between heralding efforts to bring libraries into the 21st century and articulating a romanticized fear about losing the print archive. But there are much more rudimentary questions at the heart of this debate: most notably, what does the word library mean today, and–perhaps more important–what will it mean in the future? With the recent trend of “bookless libraries,” such as Stanford and Florida Polytechnic University as well as public libraries like this one in San Antonio, questions about the very definition of terms like library and book are raised. Is an institution that contains no print matter a library at all? Is a library the building or the books?” (via Huffington Post)

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Take a Look at New York City’s Best Boutique Libraries

“In New York City, our neighborhoods are filled with libraries of all shape and form—public, academic, school, miscellaneous. But too often we only think about the New York Public Library with its iconic 42nd street location and abounding network of 88 neighborhood branches. In fact, every year during the second week of April, the nation’s bibliophiles get together and acknowledge their love for our nation’s libraries. Now in its 57th year, National Library Week celebrates the enormous contributions of over 119,729 libraries across the country, while also encouraging more library use among the American public.” (via Observer)

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Libraries: life in the margins

“The first Chinese book arrived at Oxford’s Bodleian Library in 1604, 80 years before anyone could read it. I rather like the idea that something totally useless will suddenly discover its moment, like teenagers. The Beinecke Library at Yale University has a book – the Voynich Manuscript – written in an unknown writing system that no one can understand. I’ve had one or two students like that. There was a time when libraries were like mausolea where one could contemplate dead authors in respectful silence. The librarian, despite himself being something of a poet, measuring out his life in smudged index cards typed with impressive irregularity, might venture to the second floor to make sure that no writer represented there still had a detectable pulse. This was before the days of the ISBN, when in the distance could be heard the sound of a Roneo machine, whose reassuring rhythm was reminiscent of a train passing over an equally reassuring non-continuous, unwelded railway track.” (via Times Higher Education)

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