Tag Archives: Libraries

Review: ‘Improbable Libraries’ a fascinating trek among the stacks

“In our technology-obsessed world, libraries provide tranquil sanctuaries for zoning out with physical books.”Libraries have a long history of overcoming geographic, economic and political challenges to bring the written word to an audience,” writes Alex Johnson, a journalist at the U.K. newspaper the Independent, in the introduction to his fascinating new book, “Improbable Libraries.” Johnson should know — both of his parents are librarians. He spent the last few years documenting what he calls “the new library revolution.” (via LA Times)

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Libraries are Undergoing a Revival as Apartment Buildings

“In white-hot real estate markets like NYC, developers continue to seek out rapidly diminishing land for new projects. Many budget challenged local libraries, which operate on public land, continue to face a difficult challenge of operating in older buildings with maintenance and services that haven’t kept up with the times. Recently several public-private partnerships between libraries and developers offer a vision of what libraries are fast transforming into, apartments.” (via psfk.com)

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You have to see these libraries. (But shh—people are reading.)

“Libraries on beaches or sidewalks, libraries on the move—whether by elephant in Laos or boat in Minnesota or a tank-like vehicle in Buenos Aires known as the “Weapon of Mass Instruction”—their books offered to all on a take-one, leave-one honour system: It may yet turn out, as Nietzsche might have put it, that what doesn’t kill libraries will end up making them stronger. Or merely flat-out cool. The growth and proliferation of libraries has always been tightly tied to the (economic) devaluation of books. In the Middle Ages, when it took months of monastic labour and the lives—and skins—of an entire flock of sheep to make one unique book, libraries chained their treasures in place and occasionally wrote toe-curling curses within them aimed at any would-be thief: “Whoever steals this book, let him die the death; let be him be frizzled in a pan; may the falling sickness rage within him; may he be broken on the wheel and be hanged.” (via Macleans.ca)

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In Haiti, a library with no books transforms the way kids learn

“When Rebecca McDonald was helping rebuild Haiti in the aftermath of its 2010 earthquake, the former construction manager witnessed one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the devastated Caribbean nation: In Port-au-Prince, in school after school that she visited, McDonald noticed that children had little or no access to books. The schools were also overflowing with kids in need—70 percent of one school’s student body was made up of former restaveks, a Creole word used to describe Haiti’s child slaves or domestic servants—and most elementary and middle school teachers hadn’t studied beyond the sixth grade.” (via CSMonitor.com)

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New type of school library a hub for students, teachers

“There is no “shushing” in the International School at Dundee’s library. Students can talk; they can even get a little noisy while tapping away at keyboards, peppering a guest speaker with questions, or giving a presentation to classmates. Head over to the “makerspace,” and you will hear the rumbling and beeping of 3D-printers churning out their latest creations. This is the soundtrack of ISD’s new, transformed library. Here, students do not stop by just to check out and read books. They visit more often, come for a wider range of activities and stay longer.” (via AP)

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Libraries Dust Off Quiet Image With Innovations

“These aren’t your grandmother’s libraries. Well, they are, but they’re tackling projects that would have been inconceivable two or three decades ago. On Friday, the Knight Foundation announced the winners of its latest Knight News Challenge, which asked: “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” The foundation’s fundamental goal is to ask, “How can we make sure Americans have access to the news and information so they can be active participants in our democracy,” says John Bracken, vice president for media innovation. “Libraries are really key in improving Americans’ ability to know what’s going on around them.” (via Newsweek)

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Coleman vetoes council effort to expand [St. Paul] library hours

“St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on Monday vetoed the City Council’s move to extend evening hours at seven branch libraries, saying that the funding source the council would tap isn’t “steady and permanent” enough to support more hours in the long run.“While I understand the appeal of adding even more hours to libraries, this goal must be achieved while maintaining a bedrock principle of my administration — structural balance,” Coleman wrote in his veto letter to the council.” (via Star Tribune)

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Readers who Borrow e-Books from the Library Don’t Buy More Books

“Sometimes we get spoiled in North America with the sheer of amount of options available to borrow eBooks from the library. Statistically over 90% of all libraries in North America have a digital collection and patrons can access all of the content remotely. Things are different in the United Kingdom where only a few major libraries have bothered with a modern eBook collection. In May 2013 the UK government funded a review looking into the viability of allowing customers to borrow eBook, without all of the drama. The Sieghart Review said publishers should not limit the supply of e-books in the same way that physical book loans are controlled, including the lending of each digital copy to one reader at a time, securely removing eBooks after lending and having digital books “deteriorate after a number of loans”. (via Good eReader)

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F.C.C. Chief Aims to Bolster Internet for Schools

“With a goal of fiber-optic lines reaching to every school and a Wi-Fi connection in every classroom, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is expected on Monday to propose a 62 percent increase in the amount of money the agency spends annually to wire schools and libraries with high-speed Internet connection” (via NYTimes.com)

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Sensing subversion, China throws the book at kids’ libraries

“When she got off school last Thursday, Huang Qiufeng, the high spirited 12-year old daughter of migrant workers, dropped by the local library in this scruffy village on the outskirts of Beijing, as she does from time to time. She found it closed, replaced by a convenience store. The brightly painted letters on the wall spelling out “BOOK” were obscured by shelves full of instant noodles. “The people here were very nice and I really liked the library,” Qiufeng said. “But now it’s gone.” (via CSMonitor.com)

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