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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.
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.
Book News on NPR
Even though it's not Friday, Tasha Saecker's Sites and Soundbytes blog has a small sample of some funny-bone crushing 1950's style dime novel covers with a library bent.
"I just can’t stop giggling at these fifties-style paperback covers converted to library humor. There are things here for everyone who has worked in a library."
Via Fast Company: In 1994, photographer Robert Dawson began an odds-and-ends project. Whenever he traveled, he'd take pictures of public libraries. Then, a handful of years ago, he started taking trips across the United States just for the libraries--like the shed that served a one-person county in Nebraska, or the Texas library that housed a "petroleum room" with all sorts of George Bush-themed collectibles. He documented everything from a library found in a suburban strip mall to the the air-conditioned institution that functioned more like a refugee camp in sweltering Detroit July.
All told, Dawson journeyed through 48 states, fascinated and inspired by the common role libraries played in society. Libraries, he found, didn't only serve as a refuge for the poor who didn't have any place else to go, but gateways that opened up all corners of the world to anyone inquisitive enough to take a stroll among the shelves. The result is his new book: The Public Library, A Photographic Essay, published by Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-61689-217-3. The book includes 150 photos, plus essays by Bill Moyers, Ann Patchett, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, and many more.
Nice slideshow on the author's website.
The Warwickshire Libraries have installed a book vending machine at George Eliot Hospital. The following is a short video on how to use the machine. I think you will see several interesting things as you watch the video. In addition to seeing the technology used you also see how this service extends the reach of the library. I see numerous positive things in this video.
Queens Library Board votes not to suspend big-spending director Thomas Galante
Elected officials called for the library board to shelve Thomas Galante while city and federal investigations probe his eye-popping salary, luxury office renovations and undisclosed side job. Following a five-hour meeting, much of it behind closed doors, the library’s board voted 9-9 not to force him to take a leave of absence. The tie meant the motion to suspend did not carry.
Sharing Economy: Seed Libraries Open all over the Country
These efforts appear to be popping up all over the country. In Cleveland, for instance, the Public Library has four branches participating in its seed library effort; in Fairfield, Connecticut, the Seed to Seed Library is in its fourth year. This article discusses some of the benefits of these kinds of exchanges.