Why Libraries Have So Many Toys

I'd had it. I called my library branch to ask them why on earth they lumped those dingy virus-hosting toys with all the magnificent books. I half-expected to get a nodding librarian on the other end, lamenting the end of childhood imagination and cursing the downfall of humanity as we know it. Instead, I was told this was "a new trend in libraries," and that in my city, upwards of 14 institutions now have similar "play spaces." In fact, many are now loaning out toys like they do books. Fine. But when I asked why the toys were set out in the open, it was as if I asked for documentation to prove elementary school is actually educational. The librarian went on about the importance of play in early childhood learning.
From Why Libraries Have So Many Toys | POPSUGAR Moms
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How Are Libraries Doing Around the World?

The Annual Library Budget Survey, a global study that queries 686 senior librarians about their budget spending predictions for the year, was published last week by the Publishers Communication Group (PCG), a consultancy wing of Ingenta, the self-described “largest supplier of technology and related services for the publishing industry.” The survey found uneven growth expectations for libraries worldwide. For North American libraries, the survey was more cautious than optimistic, with librarians in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico expecting only a 1% increase in budget spending. In other developed or “mature markets,” the report says, growth expectations were negative. In Europe, for example, budgets are expected to fall by 0.1%.
From How Are Libraries Doing Around the World? – Flavorwire
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Literary Dopplegängers and interestingness

I started this post with a few digital-humanities posturing paragraphs: if you want to read them, you'll encounter them eventually. But instead let me just get the point: here's a trite new category of analysis that wouldn't be possible without distant reading techniques that produces sometimes charmingly serendipitous results. I'll call it dopplegänger books. A dopplegänger is, for any world-historically great work of literature, a book that shares many of the same themes, subjects, and language, but is comparatively obscure, not widely read, and--most likely--of surpassingly mediocre quality.
From Sapping Attention: Literary Dopplegängers and interestingness
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DPLA Launches Full Support for HTTPS

DPLA is pleased to announce that the entirety of our website, including our portal, exhibitions, Primary Source Sets, and our API, are now accessible using HTTPS by default. DPLA takes user privacy seriously, and the infrastructural changes that we have made to support HTTPS allows us to extend this dedication further and become signatories of the Library Digital Privacy Pledge of 2015-2016, developed by our colleagues at the Library Freedom Project. The changes we’ve made include the following: Providing HTTPS versions of all web services that our organization directly controls (including everything under the dp.la domain), for both human and machine consumption, Automatic redirection for all HTTP requests to HTTPS, and A caching thumbnail proxy for items provided by the DPLA API and frontend, which serves the images over HTTPS instead of providing them insecurely.
From Digital Public Library of America » Blog Archive » Open, Free, and Secure to All: DPLA Launches Full Support for HTTPS
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In Omaha, A Library With No Books Brings Technology To All

"I've always thought of libraries as places full of tools. Books are tools, scrolls are tools, computers are tools," she says. "This vision of bringing technology to everyone in the community, it just gets people very excited." Taxpayers didn't fund this library. Instead, Heritage Services, a coalition of Omaha philanthropists, donated $7 million to renovate the building — which had been a Borders bookstore — and pay for computers, 3-D printers and the Internet bandwidth. Sue Morris speaks for the donors.
From In Omaha, A Library With No Books Brings Technology To All : All Tech Considered : NPR
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Flying With a Book

If you're flying in or out of Chattanooga TN airport, you'll have the opportunity to stop and pick up a book (payment on the honor system) to read on your flight, courtesy of the Friends of the Library. Here's the story from Times Free Press.

The purposeful change at the heart of librarianship

Adaptation to change that’s based on thoughtful planning and grounded in the mission of libraries: it’s a model that respected LIS thinker and educator Michael Stephens terms “hyperlinked librarianship.” And the result, for librarians in leadership positions as well as those working on the front lines, is flexible librarianship that’s able to stay closely aligned with the needs and wants of library users. Stephens’ new book “The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change,” published by ALA Editions, is a collection of essays from his “Office Hours” columns in Library Journal which explore the issues and emerging trends that are transforming the profession.  Among the topics he discusses are: the importance of accessible, welcoming, and responsive library environments that invite open and equitable participation, and which factors are preventing many libraries from ramping up community engagement and user-focused services; challenges, developments, and emerging opportunities in the field, including new ways to reach users and harness curiosity; considerations for prospective librarians, from knowing what you want out of the profession to learning how to aim for it; why LIS curriculum and teaching styles need to evolve; mentoring and collaboration; and the concept of the library as classroom, a participatory space to experiment with new professional roles, new technologies, and new ways of interacting with patrons.
From The purposeful change at the heart of librarianship | News and Press Center
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How to print things

This page has two main purposes: To present a new method, the “Möbius method”, for printing and reading double-sided, loose-leaf documents. To collect and summarize concise explanations of the pros and cons of different methods for printing and reading loose-leaf documents, including single-sided, standard double-sided, and Möbius double-sided. (If you know of other methods, or have anything to add, please contact me!)
From How to print things | blog :: Brent -> [String]
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Capitol Hill Books Has DC's Most Curmudgeonly Store Owner

Capitol Hill Books’ Jim Toole (“If you have to put an age down, say 110”) had already lived a fairly full life before he took on running the secondhand book shop after its original owner passed away in 1994—he earned a degree in history from UCLA, a masters from American University, and served in the Navy for 30 years. Now he says he spends 85 to 90 hours a week tending to and stocking the stuffed-to-the-brim store across the street from Eastern Market, which he expanded to fill the basement and top floor of the rowhouse.
From Capitol Hill Books Has DC's Most Curmudgeonly Store Owner | Washingtonian
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TLSWikipedia all-conquering

The all-conquering encyclopedia of the twenty-first century is, famously, the first such work to have been compiled entirely by uncredentialled volunteers. It is also the first reference work ever produced as a way of killing time during coffee breaks. Not the least of Wikipedia’s wonders is to have done away with the drudgery that used to be synonymous with the writing of reference works. An army of anonymous, tech-savvy people – mostly young, mostly men – have effortlessly assembled and organized a body of knowledge unparalleled in human history. “Effortlessly” in the literal sense of without significant effort: when you have 27,842,261 registered editors (not all of them active, it is true), plus an unknown number of anonymous contributors, the odd half-hour here and there soon adds up to a pretty big encyclopedia.
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Boys who live with books ‘earn more as adults’

Three economists at the University of Padua – Giorgio Brunello, Guglielmo Weber and Christoph Weiss – studied 6,000 men born in nine European countries and concluded that children with access to books could expect to earn materially more than those who grow up with few or no books. They studied the period from 1920 to 1956, when school reforms saw the minimum school leaving age raised across Europe. They looked at whether, at the age of 10, a child lived in a house with fewer than 10 books, a shelf of books, a bookcase with up to 100 books, two bookcases, or more than two bookcases.
From Boys who live with books ‘earn more as adults’ | Education | The Guardian
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Modern Public Libraries Can Help Bridge the Digital Divide

Yet the digital revolution has proved not to be the demise of libraries, but their rebirth — and today, they are more relevant than ever to the people and communities they serve. Many patrons come to us as generations before them did, in search of good books and helpful research materials. Others, like Kim, pass through our doors determined to change the course of their lives. Taken together, their stories signal a bright future for our society’s most democratic institution.
From Modern Public Libraries Can Help Bridge the Digital Divide – Next City
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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

JOSHUA HAMMER’S new book, “The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu”, traces the story of hundreds of thousands of medieval texts as they are rescued in 2012 from near-destruction by jihadists linked to al-Qaeda in Mali. It is at once a history, caper and thriller, featuring a superherolibrarian, Abdel Kader Haidara, as the saviour of an entire culture’s heritage.
From Paper trail | The Economist
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Library Metadata Specialist – Accidental Computer Programmer

So by accident or design you found yourself in a position that involves computer programming. A common situation for library metadata specialists. I recall projects in graduate school where we mapped records from one metadata format or standard into another. Yet, we never discussed who creates the scripts to transform the records with your mapping (spoiler: its probably you). The result of this for me, someone who did not come from a computer science background, was getting the skills I needed through a mixture of things recommended by mentors, co-workers, and internet searches. Here is what worked best for me.
From Library Metadata Specialist – Accidental Computer Programmer – Heidi Uphoff
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LYRASIS, DuraSpace Leaders Discuss Dissolved Merger

“I think we’re both looking at this aspirationally,” Miller said. “It’s not ‘what went wrong?’ If anything there was a reinvigoration, ensuring that missions are supported well…. At the end of the day, I think our communities are going to benefit from this…. We’re not for-profits, we don’t have marketing budgets, but maybe this, in some ways, has helped showcase some things that institutions might not have known about DuraSpace and might not have known about LYRASIS.”
From LYRASIS, DuraSpace Leaders Discuss Dissolved Merger

Demonstration of a working Gutenberg printing press

The Crandall Historical Printing Museum has the "most complete and functioning Gutenberg Press in the world" and in this video you can see one of the museum's guides demonstrating it for some visitors.
From Demonstration of a working Gutenberg printing press
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How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet

But like any worthwhile fiction writer, I believe my lies have highlighted an important modern truth: history is more mutable than it has ever been thanks to the explosion of information on the internet. We form rough consensuses based on vast amounts of conflicting data, but who really has the power to verify any of it? This is especially true when the stakes are low. A lot of people will put effort into dispelling rumors that the Moon landing was fake or that Hitler is still alive, sure, but who cares enough about something as meaningless and easy to ignore as Street Sharks to make sure all the information about it online is totally accurate? Some people do, which is why my lies were mostly removed, but that took years and they didn’t fully stamp out every online instance of Roxie or Meathook.
From How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet | News | Geek.com
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Facebook begins tracking non-users around the internet

Facebook will now display ads to web users who are not members of its social network, the company announced Thursday, in a bid to significantly expand its online ad network. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Facebook will use cookies, "like" buttons, and other plug-ins embedded on third-party sites to track members and non-members alike. The company says it will be able to better target non-Facebook users and serve relevant ads to them, though its practices have come under criticism from regulators in Europe over privacy concerns. Facebook began displaying a banner notification at the top of its News Feed for users in Europe today, alerting them to its use of cookies as mandated under an EU directive. "Publishers and app developers have some users who aren’t Facebook users," Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook’s ads and business platform, tells the Journal. "We think we can do a better job powering those ads."
From Facebook begins tracking non-users around the internet | The Verge

With no good libraries in Gurgaon, people exchange books online

Gurgaon is no city for those who like to spend hours in a library. The concrete jungle has over three dozen malls and over 1,000 swanky high-rise residential and commercial complexes, but it is still missing a well-equipped library. In the name of a public library, Gurgaon has one small building with dusty books, broken chairs and erratic power supply. The renovation work of this library near Civil Lines is progressing, but it will take a few months to set the infrastructure and procure new reads. But the city’s bibliophiles have found an alternative to their reading woes, thanks to online social networking. Book-lovers are depending on city-based social media groups to exchange and read books.
From With no good libraries in Gurgaon, people exchange books online | gurgaon | Hindustan Times
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The OKCupid data release fiasco: It’s time to rethink ethics education

In mid 2016, we confront another ethical crisis related to personal data, social media, the public internet, and social research. This time, it’s a release of some 70,0000 OKCupid users’ data, including some very intimate details about individuals. Responses from several communities of practice highlight the complications of using outdated modes of thinking about ethics and human subjects when considering new opportunities for research through publicly accessible or otherwise easily obtained data sets (e.g., Michael Zimmer produced a thoughtful response in Wired and Kate Crawford pointed us to her recent work with Jacob Metcalf on this topic). There are so many things to talk about in this case, but here, I’d like to weigh in on conversations about how we might respond to this issue as university educators.
From The OKCupid data release fiasco: It’s time to rethink ethics education | Social Media Collective

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