Posts Tagged: libraries

Reading Recs: Man vs. Machine

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At Co.EXIST, Jessica Leber pits the algorithms of digital giants Amazon and Goodreads against the ultimate recommendation engine: librarians. Leber details her experience with the Brooklyn Public Library’s BookMatch program, in which real librarians respond to patron’s requests for reading recommendations based on other books they’ve enjoyed.

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Surveillance in the Stacks

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Librarians have hard-won reputations as defenders of open information and patron privacy, but what about third-party providers of library services? Slate’s Future Tense explores some recent revelations from companies like Adobe, whose Digital Editions e-book software has been criticized for transmitting reader data in plain text—making it an easy target for surveillance by the government, and other private companies.

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From Papyrus to PDF

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Mike Kelley delivers a useful overview of the outlook for preservation of e-books for Publishers Weekly. In addition to the upkeep necessary to combat digital decay, which is at least analogous to the challenges of paper-book preservation, libraries are now confronting the particular difficulties of texts in proprietary file formats, with limited licenses, and without common identifiers like an ISBN.

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Young Adults Still Go to the Library

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The Pew Research Center recently released a report about younger Americans’s (ages 16-29) attitudes toward libraries. As it turns out, young adults still read books, they still visit libraries—at least as much as older Americans—and many use library services. There are some key differences between younger and older generations when it comes to libraries—younger patrons, for example, are less likely to say a library closure would significantly impact them—but the findings still suggest libraries play important roles in communities.

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Books for the Future

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Margaret Atwood’s next book won’t be published for a hundred years. The Future Library project is collecting a hundred manuscripts to be released in the year 2114 with Atwood’s manuscript the first to be added to the collection. Earlier this year, 1,000 trees were planted that will eventually be harvested to publish the books collected by the project.

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A Floating Library Comes to New York City

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NPR reports that floating library pop-up is coming to New York City in the Hudson River. The Floating Library is the work of artist Beatrice Glow and will feature books and chapbooks of underrepresented authors and poets as well as an outdoor reading room. The project will run from Saturday, September 6th through October 3rd and will be housed on an old steamship.

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The Future of Libraries

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Librarian Justin Wadland attempts to answer the question “What is the future of libraries?” at the Los Angeles Review of Books by reading three recent books about them. He suggests the future of libraries depends on our relationship with them. He also explains that the question is in no way simple:

Flooded with data as we are, each day brings even more innovations and technologies to help us mine, sort, and generate even more information.

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e-Books Threaten Libraries

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Libraries have adapted to the modern era by lending out e-books. In many cases, electronic books provide patrons easier access to materials. But a new study says that they also threaten an old system of distribution, reports GalleyCat. The main problem is how electronic content is never really owned, but instead, licensed:

Unlike the print book business model, in which libraries buy a certain amount of books for a set price and distribute those texts widely, most digital content is licensed with specific conditions about when and where it can be distributed.

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House of Library Catalog Cards

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The New York Public Library owns an absolutely peculiar collection: a 6000+ cards  catalog of hand-typed children books reviews, written by librarians over the years. Lynn Lobash, NYPL reader services overseer, explained to Quartz that, “There’s about a billion card catalogs in the library, but these are special in that they were used as a tool for collection development, for the staff to evaluate the children’s collection.”

Be sure to check out NYPL’s Instagram account, where new review cards are posted every Tuesday.

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Libraries Are Essential

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Libraries are not “Netflix for books,” Kelly Jensen argues over at BookRiot, but serve as centers of their communities. Corporations like Netflix are driven by profits, while libraries, at least in North America, are free for their users. The real danger is in training people to think of libraries not as essential public services, but as services users pay for:

The biggest issue with equating the library with a Netflix for books is that it sends a false message that libraries are worth little more than $8 or $12 or $20 a month.

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A Book Voyage with No Guide

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As the number of Americans who read books has declined, those who do read have begun wearing t-shirts, carrying tote bags, and sticking magnets on their fridges declaring their love of reading. Some book lovers even perform “book stunts,” reading through the encyclopedia or the dictionary over the course of a year.

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Book Deserts Threaten Vulnerable Readers

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Writing at BookRiot, Josh Corman draws attention to yet another potential crisis facing low-income neighborhoods: book deserts. Anti-government and knowledge-fearing Congressman Paul Ryan has proposed funding cuts to the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, an agency that provides critical money to libraries, many located in otherwise underserved communities.

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