Posts Tagged: libraries

3-D Printers Modernize Libraries

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American libraries have always been a place for ideas and the exchange of knowledge. In recent years, libraries have invested in computers and other new technologies. One of those popular technologies has been 3-D printers. Now, libraries with those tools are operating at the forefront of modern manufacturing techniques.

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Learning to Work with Rare Books

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In 1983, Terry Belanger created a curriculum for librarians to learn how to deal with rare books at Columbia University. Nine years later, the University of Virginia hired him and the Rare Book School moved to Charlottesville. The school now has 80,000 rare volumes and runs highly competitive five-day session where students are taught the ins and outs of rare books.

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Librarians in Wartime

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Over the holiday weekend, Linton Weeks wrote for NPR’s History Dept. on the critical role of librarians in World Wars I and II. Weeks spoke to Cara Bertram, an archivist for the American Library Association:

The books that did make it into the hands of the troops, she says, boosted morale, provided connections to people back home and offered technical guidance.

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A Library for Lumberjacks

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Lumberjacks of yesteryear cut trees from remote camps before shipping the lumber to sawmills. One mill owner built his lumberjacks a rolling boxcar library so the workers could enjoy books even while in distant logging camps. The Bonner mill library car was built in 1921 and functioned as a library through the 1950s, during which time more than 8,000 books were checked out.

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A World Without Libraries

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Libraries are under threat, and those that want to survive will need to modernize. But what does the world look like if libraries change too much, or cease to exist at all? Over at Huffington Post, Lindsey Drager examines what a future without books might look like by defining what libraries do:

What concerns me about this shift in the ontological status of library-hood is what might be lost in transition.

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NYPL as Budget Hostage

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A scathing indictment from Jim Dwyer at the New York Times this week accuses city leaders of depriving funding from the library system, and its mayors of holding the NYPL hostage for leverage in budget negotiations. As Dwyer points out, city libraries draw more annual visitors than the museums, sports stadiums, and performing arts institutions combined—and the funding just doesn’t add up.

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Shelters for Families, and Books

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Twenty homeless shelters serving NYC families will be getting their own libraries as part of a new initiative from the Departments of Education and Homeless Services. The project, supported by Scholastic and a number of literacy organizations, aims to address the needs of the city’s growing population of homeless children; last year there were over 76,000 homeless students in K-12 schools.

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Redefining the Commons

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A library is rarely ever just a library, often evolving alongside the community it serves. The Lacuna Project is taking this idea literally by building a library made entirely of books for this year’s Bay Area Book Festival. Festival-goers will be able to remove (and keep) books without damaging the structure, whose lighting and acoustics will change in response to their collective impact.

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Keep Warburg Weird

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The future of the Warburg Institute, one of London’s most influential and strangest libraries, is examined at length in this week’s New Yorker. Adam Gopnik covers the history of the center, from its founding in pre-Nazi Germany through the height of its influence on the world of art history, and attempts to articulate the particular properties of Warburg, the philosophy and aesthetics and modes of scholarship, that make it unique.

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James Patterson, Philanthropist

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Bestselling author James Patterson is giving school libraries $1.25 million in grants of $1,000 to $10,000 for books, reading programs, and technology, reports the Washington Post. Patterson has previously pledged $1 million to 175 independent bookstores. His generosity is all part of a broader goal to encourage more reading nationally.

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Harvard Library’s Deep Storage

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A new interactive documentary called Cold Storage invites viewers to peer beyond Harvard’s flagship Widener Library—the tip of the iceberg in terms of the university’s massive collection—and into the vault where more than 9 million books and artifacts are stored. Gizmodo reports on the viewing experience, describing a world designed for the convenience of the machines in charge of storing and retrieving items, and oddly removed from the typical culture of reverence for books as a category of uniquely valuable objects.

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