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....more
Posts Tagged: libraries
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....more
In the first step of what will undoubtedly be the robot uprising, two robots will be joining the staff of the Westport, Connecticut library. The robots will primarily assist in teaching coding, but they’re also programmed to recognize faces, practice tai chi, and kick soccer balls....more
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....more
Portland is home to Street Books, a bicycle-based library that serves the city’s homeless population and day laborers. The project started in 2011 with a temporary grant, but has since flourished into a full-time non-profit. The Oregonian takes a look at the people operating and relying on this unique library system....more
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....more
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....more
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.
Florida Polytechnic University has just opened, in a building designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, a completely bookless library. Available to all the students is a catalog of 135,000 e-books that can be consulted in an impressive, completely empty room equipped with internet connections and librarians to help the students....more
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.
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....more
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.
In the story, a young girl, Nancy, mysteriously receives a single Christmas gift – the steamroller. She takes the gift out for a ride and flattens many things along the way, one of which was human, as I recall. I believe the human popped back up, unrealistically.
Mark Luce, who teaches literature and history at the Barstow School in Kansas City, has a new column at Electric Literature, reviewing books that he and the school’s librarian have recently removed from the collection. His first “Discarded Pile” post is on German Secret Weapons: Blueprint for Mars by Brian J....more
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....more
Love libraries? So do we. Know someone who thinks physical libraries will eventually disappear? Have them watch this mini-documentary, Why Libraries Matter, over at the Atlantic. A look at a day in the life of New York City’s public libraries reveals the many reasons people use libraries and why we shouldn’t let them disappear....more
This past week was National Library Week! Still imagine all librarians as the curmudgeonly figures you encountered in elementary school? Think again. Slate has a photo project representing the diversity of librarians—showcasing their personalities, appearances, and many vast fields of study....more
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....more
Libraries without Borders unveiled its latest project at the New York Public Library. They’re shipping a “library in a box,” or Idea Boxes, to refugee camps.
The idea is that food, water and shelter aren’t enough, said Patrick Weil, the group’s founder and chief executive, and a visiting professor at Yale Law School.
Melvil Dewey: inventor of the Dewey decimal system, godfather of modern library science, and…sexist jerk?
According to this Bitch blog post, Dewey helped open the field of librarianship to women by allowing them into his classes at Columbia’s library school, but he also relentlessly sexually harassed them....more
The Green Branch Library has done amazing work providing books and other materials about social and environmental justice to kids in Oakland.
Now they’re hoping to expand their reach to kids all over the Bay Area with a a bookmobile!
Check out the extraordinarily adorable Claymation video they made for their Indiegogo campaign and make a tax-deductible donation!...more
Which book can be comprehensively defined by the keywords “married people,” “college teachers,” and “New England”?
What about “totalitarianism” and “London (England)”?
See how well you can categorize bookshelves with this quiz about Library of Congress subjects from The Toast....more
And all the other library blogs linked in this MetaFilter post, which upload pictures of all kinds of nifty stuff from their stacks, from “the original American serialized version of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House” to century-old cat postcards....more
Who says librarians can’t also be the leaders of organized crime rings?
The very man charged with protecting these treasures, Marino Massimo De Caro, a politically connected former director of the library, is accused of being at the center of a network of middlemen, book dealers and possibly crooked conservators — all part of what prosecutors say is a sometimes corrupt market for rare books…
The New York Times has more, including the best final paragraph you’ll read all week....more