Lord knows the world has changed since I wrote this talk, but when the world falls to pieces around us, especially when the world falls to pieces, writers will still sit down to write. As Beckett tells us, even when we have “no power to express” and “no desire to express,” we still have “the obligation to express.” Telling stories allows the reader or the audience to see through the eyes of another, and generates empathy that we need now more than ever....more
Posts Tagged: libraries
Boston Public Library aims to cut through 400 years of literary analysis and explore the pages of Shakespeare’s original writings, including some of his most famous works.
The Boston Public Library has a new exhibition, “Shakespeare Unauthorized,” which features four Shakespearean folios and other artifacts, Talia Avakian reports for Travel + Leisure....more
At the New Yorker, Alexandra Schwartz writes about the New York Public Library’s newly renovated Rose Main Reading Room, which was closed for two and half years for restorations. “The room is one of the city’s great public spaces, a shared chamber devoted to private mental endeavors, and it’s looking good,” Schwartz says....more
For the Los Angeles Times, Kelly Corrigan spoke with Mitsuko Roberts of Glendale, California about The Okanoue Library, a collection of over 700 works of Japanese literature, film, and other media donated by Glendale’s Japanese community. Roberts hosts this collection a few times a month in her home-turned-library, lending out materials and offering Japanese reading classes....more
‘Banned books’ sounds like a thing of the past. But over at Lit Hub, Amy Brady details the ways that the fight against censorship continues in libraries and schools today:
If school administrators are attempting to limit even elective reading, what does the future hold for students who want access to all books, classic and contemporary—books that might broaden their understanding of the world?
Last week, Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress, making her the first woman and the first African-American in the position. Hayden talked with Jeffrey Brown of PBS Newshour about the challenges of her new position, and her favorite children’s book, Bright April by Marguerite de Angeli, a story about a young girl who experiences racial discrimination....more
Pura Belpré began her long, luminous career as a librarian, storyteller, author, activist, and puppeteer when she moved to New York in 1921. Not only was Belpré NYC’s first Puerto Rican librarian, Neda Ulaby reports for NPR, she was the first to perform story times in English and Spanish (with puppets), opening up a world of reading for her community’s Spanish-speaking youth, and also the first to have a Spanish-language children’s book published by a major US press....more
Readership is low in Chile at the moment, for reasons that range from accessibility according to one’s location to financial accessibility. At Bustle, Cecilia Nowell tells the story of one Chilean traveling library, La Biblioteca Libre (the Free Library), whose aim is to bring books to the people....more
We’ve all lent a book to someone and never gotten it back—and most of us have probably been on the other end of that exchange as well. For Read It Forward, Jonathan Russell Clark writes a manifesto against the somewhat sacred practice of book lending and borrowing (and no, he doesn’t like libraries either)....more
According to an article by Alison Flood in the Guardian, library use in England has fallen almost 31 percent over the past decade, with one notable exception:
Adults in the least deprived areas of England saw their library usage decline the most over the decade, from 46.3% to 31.4%, while according to the report, library usage in the five most deprived areas of the country ‘remained reasonably stable.
At the Atlantic, Adrienne Green spoke with research librarian Theresa Quill about how the profession is changing and the traits that bring librarians of different generations together:
I don’t know that I agree that a person is born to be a librarian, but most librarians that I know seem to really love what they do.
when I worked for him I understood what kind of architect I wanted to be. He’s a very humane and generous person, and I understood that I didn’t want to do commercial architecture. I wanted to do projects that have a soul and a history, and even if they are new, they have an innovative edge and make people’s lives better.
While Brown vs. Board of education immortalized schools as the site where the historic shift to desegregation happened, few would remember the other locales of everyday life that were also once segregated spaces. For Lit Hub, Cynthia R. Greenlee writes on the importance of libraries being desegregated and the fights that had to be fought to make access to libraries free and equal for all....more
Chicago libraries have an ambitious plan to give away more than a million children’s books this summer in an effort to combat intellectual regression that occurs in summer months when children aren’t in school. Every branch of the Chicago library is giving away books to children who sign up for the program....more
The Annual Library Budget Survey, published last week, found that libraries around the world have varying growth expectations for the coming year, with North American libraries tending toward negative. On the plus side, libraries in developing countries (with developing markets) are growing....more
The question of access continues to plague the academic community—if academia is truly about knowledge and discovery, why are there still so many barriers to the unfettered sharing of information? The architects of digital “pirate libraries” around the world are trying to resolve that contradiction, violating copyright laws to bring expensive scholarly materials to the researchers (and data-hungry laypeople) who need them....more
A Florida library is looking beyond books and media to draw in more patrons. The Temple Terrace library has started a “Beyond Books Lending Program,” offering everything from power tools to sewing machines. The program requires only a library card to participate....more
Most libraries have limited physical shelf space, so if they want to purchase new books for their collections, often they have to remove some old ones. Two librarians, Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner, know this can be a tough pill for book lovers to swallow, so they’ve been working to bring attention to the issue through their blog, Awful Library Books:
They often feature books with outlandish titles, like “Little Corpuscle,” a children’s book starring a dancing red blood cell; “Enlarging Is Thrilling,” a how-to about—you guessed it—film photography; and “God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod: The Art of Loving Correction for Christian Parents.”
Library use has been declining, but that decline probably isn’t due to a decreasing interest in reading. Plenty of pundits blame the rise of digital technology, but even libraries that offer digital services like ebook lending have seen declines. The real culprit is the same crisis afflicting all of American infrastructure: a lack of investment....more
Ridwan Sururi had a horse. Indonesia’s small mountain towns needed a library. Now, several days a week he loads up his horse with books and travels from town to town, earning him the name “the Don Quixote of literacy.”...more
For VICE, Amelia Dimoldenberg asks people in London why they visit their local libraries. Since 2010, UK has lost nearly 350 libraries because of cuts in local spending. But the answers Dimoldenberg receives show how necessary libraries still are:
“The library is a great part of the community, especially for young people who find it hard to study at home.
Former librarian Michelle Anne Schingler is tired of people questioning her credentials. At Book Riot, she argues that an MLS isn’t required for the most important parts of a librarian’s job:
Library theory isn’t at the fore when you’re helping someone navigate the computer for an online application, or when you’re putting together a display to feature underloved books.
Parsons School of Design students collaborated with the New York Public library to design better book carts to serve incarcerated readers. The carts are intended to facilitate easy browsing. The partnership has produced four carts that will be used at places like Rikers Island and the Manhattan Detention complex....more
Not every library can be a grand palace. Consider for a moment the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library, a far less glamorous workhorse than the more famous cathedral of books located at Bryant Park. Over at the New Yorker, Ada Calhoun recounts her experiences in some of the smaller library branches around the city....more