Tag Archives: Libraries

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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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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