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At the turn of the century a library without books was unthinkable. Now it seems almost inevitable. Like so many other time-honored institutions of intellectual and cultural life—publishing, journalism, and the university, to name a few—the library finds itself on a precipice at the dawn of a digital era. What are libraries for, if not storing and circulating books? With their hearts cut out, how can they survive?
The recent years of austerity have not been kind to the public library. 2012 marked the third consecutive year in which more than 40 percent of states decreased funding for libraries. In 2009, Pennsylvania, the keystone of the old Carnegie library system, came within 15 Senate votes of closing the Free Library of Philadelphia. In the United Kingdom, a much more severe austerity program shuttered 200 public libraries in 2012 alone.
Ours is not the first era to turn its back on libraries. The Roman Empire boasted an informal system of public libraries, stretching from Spain to the Middle East, which declined and disappeared in the early medieval period. In his book Libraries: An Unquiet History, Matthew Battles calls such disasters “biblioclasms.” -- Read More
The International Publishers Association released a document on how the day is celebrated around the world.
Since 1995, the 23rd of April (birth date of Shakespeare and Cervantes) has been designated by UNESCO as World Book & Copyright Day, with many events taking place to celebrate books, authors and reading.
In Madrid, the Premio Cervantes, the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish language, will be awarded by the King of Spain to Elena Poniatowska, a Mexican writer and journalist. In Budapest, the International Book Fair will open. In the United States, volunteers will distribute 500,000 books provided free by publishers, with one third going to school pupils. In many other countries, World Book Day events take place on March 6th.
You can read about the different traditions and events associated with World Book Day in a specially commissioned IPA report, available here as a pdf.
It's also World Book Night USA! I'm giving away copies of Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet at my Brooklyn subway plaza. Any other givers out there? Chime in!
“We’re trying to bring together and make openly available to the world the contents of America’s archives, libraries and museums,” Mr. Cohen said. “As much material as we can get online and made available, the better.”
Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others are competing to dominate the cloud. The winner or winners will have a lot of control over the Internet. Their choices affect issues like data privacy, and as virtual landlords, their terms and prices could control who gets to build what on the Internet, and for how much.
Dive into the world of home libraries
Is the book you are looking for too expensive or always unavailable in your local library? Would you like to save both money and nature and rather buy a used one?
BiblioFair helps you find publications available for sale, donation or lending in home libraries located close to you!
ABC Local: Kickstarter has been used to fund everything from new gadgets to space missions -- but in Berkeley, CA a group of kids just successfully used it to fund a library. A can-do attitude is at the core of the REALM Charter School's curriculum. Now in its third year, the school has classrooms full of technology and teachers full of energy, but no library. The eighth grade class is about to change that. "I really want the future students to love it because we worked really, really hard on this," student Agustina McEwen said. Call it a legacy, when they graduate, they're leaving behind a gift. They're calling it "x-space." "It's a space made out of x's and we use these x's to make
everything in here" Agustina said.
From the bookshelves, to the tables and chairs, it all started in their design class taught by a local group called Project H. "It's sort of humbling and awe inspiring to watch a 13-year-old build something that came from their head, that they prototyped on their desk, and now is full scale," Project H founder Emily Pilloton said.
On 4/21/2014, the library science academic community lost Eliza Dresang, a respected friend, colleague, teacher and community member. Eliza held the endowed Beverly Cleary Professorship in Children and Youth Services at the University of Washington iSchool.
Eliza Dresang was a champion of children’s literature and digital resources. She was widely known for her 1999 book, Radical Change: Books for Youth in a Digital Age, which helped countless librarians and teachers better understand and evaluate literature created for computer-savvy children.
Eliza Dresang – In Memoriam
From Milwaukee's JSOnline:
"The Milwaukee Public Library board will meet Tuesday to discuss the possible sale or permanent loan of one of its treasures, "The Bookworm," the most famous canvas by German romantic painter Carl Spitzweg.
The board will consider an active offer from an undisclosed party for the work, which is valued at $400,000, said Paula Kiely, director of the Milwaukee Public Library."
An Illinois House committee endorsed a plan today to contribute $100 million in state funds toward construction of a Barack Obama presidential library in Chicago.
The proposal, pushed by House Speaker Michael Madigan, goes to the full House next.
After a long-standing feud over allowing their metadata to be accessed by subscribers via other discovery services, EBSCO has announced a metadata sharing policy wherein they "will be making available all metadata (and full text when contractually allowed)" . . . except for when they don't want to: "The only EBSCO research databases that are not yet included in the above policy are those resources that are built upon and subscribed to primarily for their subject indexing."
News story via Lancaster Online, about State Librarian Stacey Aldrich's address to Pennsylvania librarians about modifying the focus away from technology in libraries.
Last year, she spoke mostly the future — advancing technology, and the changing ways that libraries can store information and provide it in new ways to patrons. This year, Aldrich was more reflective. She talked a lot about her travels — to libraries around the state as well as other countries — and she took the group on a visual tour of State Library of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.
She still had a few things to say about technology, though — including the way many people are looking for ways to get away from electronics, even if it’s only for a short break. “A lot of people are looking for ways to disconnect to reconnect,” she said. “They’re turning off the electronics.”
Libraries, which have been scrambling to go high-tech with advanced computer and Wi-Fi options, are also trying to meet the need for patrons to decompress sometimes, Aldrich said. Sometimes, that means sponsoring “digital detox” nights, she said — hosting board games, for instance, and providing opportunities for conversation.
“Look around you. See what people are doing in your community,” she urged.
"It often takes more than a few clicks to reach understanding. You dive down, deeper and deeper with each click, then navigate back up and continue reading. It's very easy to get lost and to lose your context. Don't get me wrong, I realize it's an encyclopedia and not a textbook, and every article can't possibly explain every sub-article it links to. Yet this level of normalization yields a terse, unfriendly tone, which can be frustrating if you're new to the subject and don't understand many of the terms used."
Same as last year's...Captain Underpants.
Just as in 2012, the potty humor of the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey brought the books to the top of the list. Other repeat offenders in the top ten included Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and Looking for Alaska by John Green. The newcomers to the top ten were:
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (second place)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Despite enduring budget cutbacks and being forced to reinvent their services in the face of the ubiquitous Internet, public libraries remain staple institutions in various communities. There's been an increase in the use of public libraries in the U.S. over the past decade. Services such as public computers doubled in usage in the past 10 years, and libraries saw a circulation increase of 2.46 billion materials in 2010, the highest ever reported, according to a report by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Some libraries bring in more than just patrons. They are also popular amongst tourists, drawing visitors by the tens of thousands, if not millions.
The article has photos of twenty-seven libraries big and small across the US.
Friday was the store’s last day at 31 West 57th Street, and the closing came at the end of a painful week for shoppers who value a particular kind of New York store. J & R Music and Computer World, which grew from a 500-square-foot basement operation to storefronts along an entire block in Lower Manhattan, closed, saying it had to be “reimagined and redeveloped.” And Pearl Paint, a store on Canal Street beloved by artists, reportedly put its five-story building on the market.
We posted a story on this from another source the other day. NPR did a piece this weekend.
In order to survive, it was hammered into our brains again and again, a library has to be more than just a “brick and mortar” receptacle of books. It needs to be a technical hub, a community center, a place you might go instead of Starbuck’s.
However, while these ideas may seem new, they’re long part of a forgotten piece of American history: the settlement house. Namely, Jane Addams’s Hull House of Chicago.
Robert Dawson has been photographing public libraries across the country for almost 20 years. And now, just in time for National Library Week, he has published his photos in a new book called The Public Library. It includes reflections on libraries from Dr. Seuss, Amy Tan, E.B. White and others, but the stars of the book are the photographs, from the New York Public Library — which is as splendid as any great European cathedral — to libraries that are housed in shacks and shopping malls.
Phil Shapiro often loans his Chromebook to patrons of the public library where he works. He says people he loans it to are happily suprised at how fast it is. He wrote an article earlier this month titled Teachers unite to influence computer manufacturing that was a call to action; he says that if 20,000 teachers demand a simple, low-cost Chromebook appliance -- something like a Chrome-powered Mac mini with a small SSD instead of a hard drive, and of course without the high Mac mini price -- some computer manufacturer will bite on the idea.
SEC. 3. NATIONAL TECHNICAL INFORMATION SERVICE.
(a) Repeal- Effective on the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the National Technical Information Act of 1988 (subtitle B of title II of Public Law 100-519; 15 U.S.C. 3704b) is repealed.
(b) Transfer of Critical Functions-
(1) CONSULTATION REQUIREMENT- The Secretary of Commerce, the Archivist of the United States, the Comptroller General of the United States, and the Commissioner of Social Security shall consult with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to determine if any function of the National Technical Information Service is critical to the economy of the United States.
(2) GAO CERTIFICATION- The Comptroller General of the United States shall determine which of the critical functions identified pursuant to paragraph (1) are not being carried out by any other agency or instrumentality of the Federal Government.
(3) TRANSFERS AUTHORIZED- Before the effective date set forth in subsection (a), the Secretary of Commerce may transfer the responsibility for any critical function of NTIS (as identified under paragraph (1)) that is not otherwise being carried out (as determined under paragraph (2)) to another office within the Department of Commerce.
(c) Abolition of Functions- Except for the functions transferred pursuant to subsection (b), all functions of the National Technical Information Service immediately before the repeal date described in subsection (a) are abolished on such repeal date.