The novel is dead (this time it's for real)

Literary fiction used to be central to the culture. No more: in the digital age, not only is the physical book in decline, but the very idea of 'difficult' reading is being challenged. The future of the serious novel, argues Will Self, is as a specialised interest

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/02/will-self-novel-dead-literary-fiction

F Scott Fitzgerald stories published uncensored for the first time

Sexual innuendo, drug references and antisemitic slurs removed by newspaper editors restored in new edition of Taps at Reveille

The original editions of the stories, she said, "will give people the sense that Fitzgerald is actually a bit edgier, particularly in his later stories; that there is more grit in these tales than people think."

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/01/f-scott-fitzgerald-stories-uncensored-sexual-in...

The false promise of the digital humanities

Technology Is Taking Over English Departments
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117428/limits-digital-humanities-adam-kirsch

"It makes no sense to accelerate the work of thinking by delegating it to a computer when it is precisely the experience of thought that constitutes the substance of a humanistic education. The humanities cannot take place in seconds. This is why the best humanistic scholarship is creative, more akin to poetry and fiction than to chemistry or physics: it draws not just on a body of knowledge, though knowledge is indispensable, but on a scholar’s imagination and sense of reality."

Teen Makes Robotic Hand for Younger Friend on Library's 3D Printer

Feel good story via American Profile.


Matthew Shields flashes a smile and high-fives Mason Wilde with the prosthetic on his right hand. Born without fingers on that hand, Matthew, 9, now uses his Robohand to open doors, carry books and catch a ball—thanks to Mason, 17, who made the device with a 3-D printer at the Johnson County Library in Overland Park, Kan.

“It definitely made me proud,” says Mason, a junior at Louisburg (Kan.) High School. Matthew’s mother, Jennifer Shields, noticed last fall that her son’s birth defect was making the third-grader self-conscious and affecting him socially. But even with health insurance, the single mother knew she couldn’t afford a professionally made prosthetic.

Researching online, Jennifer found Robohand, the mechanical hand invented by South African carpenter Richard van As, who lost four fingers in a circular saw accident, and theatrical props maker Ivan Owen, in Bellingham, Wash. The pair posted the free digital design last year on thingiverse.com. “I looked at the plans, but had no idea how to do it,” recalls Jennifer, 43.

Her teenaged son Mason, however, eagerly accepted the challenge. A straight-A student who aspires to be an engineer, he previously had read about three-dimensional printer technology. “I downloaded all the files and spent about three hours scaling the hand to fit Matthew,” Mason says.

Your own personal librarian

The Multnomah County Library has taken a step further into the digital era, offering patrons a more personal online experience than ever before.

Several weeks ago, the library quietly launched My Librarian, an online tool that lets readers connect with a real-life librarian, without actually visiting a library branch. Instead, readers can build a relationship with one of 13 librarians through video chats, blogs and phone calls to discuss their favorite books.

Full story

Inside the Supreme Court 'gamble' on same-sex marriage

"Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality," follows the five-year legal battle over same sex marriage that ensued after California passed Proposition 8. The book digs beneath the surface with personal narratives of those who had been the public face of this major civil rights case. Jeffrey Brown talks to journalist and author Jo Becker.

Opting Out Is Nearly Impossible

http://time.com/83200/privacy-internet-big-data-opt-out/

The myth that users will “vote with their feet” is simply wrong if opting out comes at such a high price. With social, financial and even potentially legal repercussions involved, the barriers for exit are high. This leaves users and consumers with no real choice nor voice to express our concerns.

Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be Paper

http://www.wired.com/2014/05/reading-on-screen-versus-paper/

“Reading is human-technology interaction,” says literacy professor Anne Mangen of Norway’s University of Stavenger. “Perhaps the tactility and physical permanence of paper yields a different cognitive and emotional experience.” This is especially true, she says, for “reading that can’t be done in snippets, scanning here and there, but requires sustained attention.”

Toronto Public Library Asked To Remove Hop On Pop For Encouraging Violence

Here's [PDF] the Materials Review Committee Reconsideration of Materials Summary for 2013 from the Toronto Public Libraries... It lists a complaint against Hop on Pop... Encourages children to use violence against their fathers: Remove from collection and issue an apology to fathers in the GTA and pay for damages resulting from the book. "The children are actually told not to hop on pop. "

Freeze! It's the Library Police

Observations from librarian/writer Roz Warren:

After 15 years of library work, this is what I’ve learned:

Most library patrons are decent, honest, honorable people who wouldn’t dream of stealing from us.

The scum who do want to steal from us will do so and can’t be stopped.

A while back, a woman applied for a library card at my library, received it, then checked out our entire astrology section and carried it off forever.

She ignored all of the polite overdue notices we emailed her. Then she ignored the many fretful mailings the library dunned her with.

Something else I’ve learned, working at the library? Dunning an unrepentant book thief is a complete waste of postage.

And, of course, she never darkened our doors again. Why would she? She had what she’d come in for.

Those astrology books were hers now.

She was an astrology buff, so maybe she was just doing what that day’s Horoscope had told her to do. “You‘re a Virgo and your moon is in Saturn? This is a good month to steal library books.”

My supervisor, who takes this kind of thing seriously, stewed about our astrology book thief for weeks. She longed to phone her up and say “Shame on you! Return our books this minute. Or else.”

But that goes against library policy, so her hands were tied.

Reprinted from Broad Street Review.

...and More Happy Librarians & Patrons...in Gastonia, NC

I'm on a mission to find all librarian & patron "Happy" videos...suggestions? 

Check out the boogey-ing cop.

Coldplay announce lyric sheet treasure hunt for Ghost Stories album

Coldplay have announced an international scavenger hunt for handwritten lyrics from their new album. The words to all nine of Ghost Stories' songs have been concealed in haunted tales at libraries around the world, beginning with a library in Mexico City.

"¡Ándale! ¡Ándale!" Coldplay tweeted yesterday, sending their Mexican fans on a race to the English literature section of the city's Vasconcelos library. There, in a translated copy of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, a lucky scavenger found Chris Martin's lyrics for Ghost Stories' lead single, Magic.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/apr/29/coldplay-announce-lyric-sheet-treasure-hunt

My Life in Typefaces

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books — remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

Amazon Book List Reveals What's Hot In American Regional Cuisine

From upstate New York's heirloom veggie craze to the Pacific Northwest's baking boom, regional fare is taking off.

But with zillions of cookbooks coming out every year, how do you figure out which culinary jewels will be worth your precious time and shelf space?

Amazon, that giant aggregator of all things, breaks down about 500 regional cookbooks into manageable bites by curating what it considers the best of its vast collection.

Full story on NPR

Great American Eats map

149 pass librarian board exams

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Tuesday that 149 out of 533 passed the Librarian Licensure Examination given by the Board for Librarians in the cities of Manila, Baguio, Cebu, Davao and Legazpi this April 2014.

The members of the Board for Librarians who gave the licensure examination are Yolanda C. Granda, chairperson; Lourdes T. David and Agnes F. Manlangit, members.

Full story

Linked to this to show that there are places where you have to be licensed to be a librarian.

Dorothy Porath - 'Miss Librarian' at Milwaukee system's 75th anniversary

It was the mid-1940s and Dorothy Porath figured she had three career choices.

She'd just graduated from what then was the state teachers college, so she could be a teacher, of course, or a nurse, or a librarian. A part-time job at the downtown library led her to become a librarian and, in 1953, to an unexpected title.

Dorothy Porath was named "Miss Librarian of 1878" as the Milwaukee Public Library system celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Porath, whose husband, Bob, was apparently more impressed with the honor — he's the one who clipped her photo from the Milwaukee Journal's Green Sheet and put it in a scrapbook — died April 13 at her Dousman home of natural causes. She was 89.

Porath had been a librarian for about seven years when the library system planned its anniversary bash.

Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/obituaries/miss-librarian-at-milwaukee-systems-75th-anniversary...

On Her 88th Birthday, Harper Lee Heralds Mockingbird eBook

Mark your literary calendars. Per an announcement today by HarperCollins, on what is author Harper Lee‘s 88th birthday, To Kill a Mockingbird will be available for the first time as an eBook July 8.

http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/harpercollins-harper-lee-mockingbird-ebook_b211726

Parents call cops on teen for giving away banned book

 

From deathandtaxes.com:

"Parents in Idaho called the cops last week on junior-high student Brady Kissel when she had the nerve to help distribute a book they’d succeeded in banning from the school curriculum.

The book in question was Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” Published in 2007, it won the National Book Award and has become popular with young teens, supposedly for its universal themes of fitting in, making sense of race, and sexual discovery."

Full story here

“Librarian’s Librarian” to Become State Librarian of Michigan

A 24-year veteran at the Library of Michigan will be the next state librarian.

Randy Riley will succeed Nancy Robertson, who is retiring this week after almost a decade in the role.
Riley is recognized as a leading family history librarian in the United States.

Riley has been the Michigan eLibrary coordinator and also coordinated the Notable Books program and Center for the Book. Riley says he’s looking forward to steering the library toward “new levels of innovative services, programs and technologies.”

Before joining the library in 1989, Riley was a substitute teacher at schools in Ionia and Montcalm counties and taught at the Valley School in Schwartz Creek.

Read more from The Detroit News .

Bad Campaign Memoirs

It used to be that politicians' lives were recounted after their careers, by professional biographers. Today, writing a memoir has become de rigueur for political aspirants looking to garner votes. Manoush speaks with Politico's Casey Cep, who says these books amount to little more than press releases that consistently fall flat.

MP3 here

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