People N Patrons

Observations on Marginalia in Library Books

MADISON, N.J. — THE graduate student thrust the library book toward me as though brandishing a sword. “This has got to stop,” she said. “It isn’t fair. How can I work on my dissertation with this mess?” As she marched out of my office, leaving the disfigured volume behind, her words stung — for the code of civility on which libraries depend had been violated. She was the third Ph.D. student in less than a year to bring me a similarly damaged volume, and each had expected me as the library director to turn sleuth, solve the mystery, and end the vandalism.

Someone had been defacing modern books containing translations of 16th-century texts. With garish strokes, the perpetrator had crossed out lines, then written alternate text in the margins. It did not take a Sherlock Holmes to observe that it was the work of a single hand, a hand wielding a fountain pen spewing green ink. The colorful alterations were not limited to a few pages but crept like a mold, page after page.

Some months later, in a faculty meeting, I noticed that the colleague sitting next to me was taking notes with a fountain pen. And the ink was telltale green.

More from The New York Times.

Are Your Patrons in Need of "Digital Detox"?

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.

The Most Complained-About Library Book of 2013 Was…

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

The list was excerpted by Time Magazine from the State of America's Libraries Report 2014 [ALA].

St. Paul Public Library's Workplace Program

Check out this amazing video from the St. Paul MN Public Library about their Mobile Workplace program. Libraries have a long history of serving their communities by providing access to resources and information. When the St. Paul Public Library saw a growing need for computer and job search skills, it created a new way to bring its community the tools and access they were searching for. The program primarily caters to newcomers of the Somali, Hmong and Karen (Burmese) populations. Hat tip to Stephen Abram Stephen's Lighthouse.

 

 

The Generousity of a New Yorker Who Loved to Read

Simply because she loved to read, Lotte Fields bequeathed $6 million to the New York Public Library after her death, the library announced on Wednesday.

Mrs. Fields, a New Yorker who died last summer at 89, inherited her wealth from her husband’s family, who were wool merchants.

“One of her great joys was spending the weekend reading with her husband,” said Irwin Cantor, Ms. Fields’s executor, in a statement. “Her donation shows just how much Lotte loved books and how important she felt it was to support her fellow book lovers.” Because Ms. Fields had been a modest – though regular – donor to the library in the past, Tony Marx, the library’s president, said the library was “astounded” by her bequest.

“But we are deeply honored to pick up her mantle and promote the joy of reading,” he added. At Ms. Fields’ request, the library will evenly divide the funds between its branch libraries and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street.

Let's hope they don't apply the donation to destroying the classic Bryant Park Main Library.

Libraries Participating More in World Book Night

From Library Journal:

Library participation in World Book Night US is increasing, with libraries hosting launch events around the country for the fourth iteration of the annual April 23 event, which encourages public reading by distributing about a half-million free books and honors Shakespeare’s birthday.

Some libraries and bookstores host a special reception when the books arrive to foster community spirit among the volunteers. Last year, World Book Night US had volunteers in 5,200 towns and cities in all 50 states and a record 1,055 libraries and bookstores participate, program director Carl Lennertz said.

The New York Public Library (NYPL) main building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street will host a public talk April 22 with several authors whose books have been selected for 2014 World Book Night US distribution. This is the first time NYPL is holding official World Book Night launch events; prior World Book Night events were held at the Barnes and Noble store in Union Square.

The guest list at the main library event includes writers Victoria Bond, Malcolm Gladwell, Garrison Keillor, Walter Dean Myers, Esmeralda Santiago, T.R. Simon, and Tobias Wolff. The talk will take place at 6 p.m. in the 250-seat Edna Barnes Salomon Room, and will also be live-streamed on the Internet.

I'm a "giver" for the third time and delighted to be handing out copies of Jamie Ford's "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." I will be picking up my books at my local branch library in Brooklyn, how about you?

Is The NY Public Library Deceiving the Public?

An interesting facebook post by New York State Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner about the NYPL:

I am profoundly disturbed that the leadership of the New York Public Library (NYPL) is using misleading and deceptive language in an attempt to trick New Yorkers into supporting its controversial Central Library Plan for the main 42nd Street Branch.

While purporting to expand public access to the 42nd Street Library, the Central Library Plan is instead a half-baked real estate deal that will result in the selling off of the largest and most used lending library in New York City, the Mid-Manhattan branch at East 40th Street, and the gutting of the fabled stacks at the NYPL’s Main Branch, which house the world-class collections of books and research materials that make the world's leading free research library truly unique. Millions of volumes currently available on-site in the stacks will be warehoused in New Jersey, lessening public access to a public resource unparalleled anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.

By issuing a mass appeal yesterday urging New Yorkers to ‘Support … the daily work of NYPL's network of 88 branches (and) a renovated central branch library that provides longer hours, additional public space, and more resources for children, teens, teachers, and job seekers,” the NYPL is claiming that selling off its largest circulating branch and eviscerating the Main Library’s fabled stacks, at an estimated cost to City taxpayers of $150 million, is improving the NYPL for everyday New Yorkers, when the exact opposite is the case. This is truly an example of Orwellian double-speak. The NYPL’s leadership must harbor serious doubts about the merits and practicality of its Central Library plan to employ such a willfully deceptive appeal. -- Read More

Boy saves entire year, donates to library

Lalo Nunez-al-Faisal decided to use his saved up money from chores to help other children.

Read more: http://www.kcci.com/news/central-iowa/Boy-saves-for-entire-year-to-help-library/-/9357080/23...

Peter Scott, Creator of Hytel-net and Publishers Catalogs, Dead at 66

According to a posting by family members on Peter's facebook page, Peter died calmly in his sleep at St. Paul's Hospital, Palliative Care Unit in Saskatoon on December 30.

He was an important figure in information and library science, beloved by many.

Here are some biographical bits:

Peter Scott was born February 14, 1947, in Walthamstow UK and moved to Canada in 1976. He was the Internet Projects Manager in the University of Saskatchewan Library in Saskatoon. Along with another Saskatoon librarian, Darlene Fichter he served as the editor and content developer for many online directories.

He was the creator of HYTELNET (1991), the first electronic browser for Internet resources, developed from 1990. In his 1991 video, Peter demonstrates a later version of HyTelnet, while an archive lists the resources available through the service. Peter wrote a blog, Peter Scott's Library Blog for Credo Reference. Other web creations are: Twitter Compendium, RSS Compendium, Weblogs Compendium, allrecordlabels.com, Blogging The Blues, Peter Scott's Library Blog, Libdex - (Sold in 2005) and Publishers' Catalogues . This reporter (birdie) first met Peter (via internet) when I asked him to add my company to the listing thirteen years ago. In the interim, we remained good virtual friends.

He was also also a blues singer and harmonica player, and had the distinction of winning a Juno Award for having his song "TV Preacher" on the album "Saturday Night Blues" which won "Best Roots and Traditional Music Album" in 1992.

Public Libraries Are Better Than Congress, Baseball, and Apple Pie, Say Americans

According to the Atlantic Magazine:

A new Pew study finds that not only do Americans adore libraries, but a majority of us think they’re adjusting to new technology just fine.

Some 94 percent of Americans say that having a public library improves a community and that the local library is a “welcoming, friendly place.” 91 percent said they had never had “a negative experience using a public library, either in person or online.”

These sound like incredible approval ratings for any U.S. public institution. So I wondered: Just how incredible are they? How do other icons of Americana compare?

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