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
Posts Tagged: libraries
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
Preserving information and data archives in the digital age presents a new kind of challenge. Physical books may degrade over time, but even a book in poor condition can be taken down off a shelf and read. Digital storage devices, however, require functional systems to access any of the data....more
Libraries are major hubs that serve the community, and even more so in times when people are looking for help. Over at the Atlantic, Deborah Fallows details the efforts to preserve the San Bernardino library, which has seen an increased sense of community after the tragic shootings last year:
When I asked people what felt different in [San Bernardino], some of the language was new.
It’s no secret that libraries have had a rocky relationship with publishers since the ebook boom began in the late aughts. Publisher’s Weekly suggests three ways the two could work to heal the rift, but one of the suggestions is surprising: librarians need to stop “book shaming”:
What today’s library elite seems to forget is that reading is a maker activity—and a profound one.
Not all libraries are free and open to the public, and for much of modern history, private subscription libraries with paying patrons were the norm. While most libraries in the United States are now public institutions, a few specialty subscription libraries remain....more
One of the great challenges of libraries and archives is preserving the collections. Not all materials decay at the same rate and while some items can last thousands of years, other items are much more fragile. Now, scientists studying hundreds of European archival documents have developed a formula to predict the end of library materials....more
Public libraries should not be run like businesses, argues Linda Holt over at the London Review of Books. They serve as a critical resource for a variety of marginalized populations:
…libraries became far more than an intellectual version of the mythical sweet shops of childhood.
The New York Public Library holds more than 16 million volumes, making it the 4th largest library in the United States. Many of those volumes are stored in the Milstein stacks, two levels of the library directly under Bryant Park. To maximize the storage capacity of these facilities and allow for patrons in the main library above ground to request volumes on site, the NYPL turns to some interesting technology....more
A unique library project in India is helping people who are blind access books. Printed books are converted in audio formats so blind readers can listen to them, with the target audience students between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five....more
Fifty years ago, a kid named Haruki Murakami borrowed books from his school library in Kobe, Japan. This week, the Kobe Shimbun, a local paper, published a list of the books he checked out, as compiled on book checkout slips—and Japanese librarians are up in arms, accusing the paper of violating Murakami’s right to privacy....more
Why stuff your body with Thanksgiving leftovers when you could be stuffing your bag with used books?
It was another reminder that I will surely die before I read all of my books, that my descendants will one day be forced to shovel through it all, skeptically asking one another, “Did he actually read all these?”
(On second thought, go ahead and finish those sweet potatoes.)...more
For Slate, Jacob Brogan suggests that despite “shrinking book racks,” libraries play an important political and social role. This is particularly true in low-income areas, as libraries provide computer access for job searchers and entrepreneurs:
Libraries are powerful precisely because they’re spaces of potentiality.
Libraries find a way. Some libraries are squeezed into a vending machine while others are placed on the backs of animals. The Times of India has a rundown of some of the more unique libraries around the world....more