Committee reviewing books pulled from summer reading list in Chesterfield VA

The decision to pull books from a summer reading list in Chesterfield County after parents complained that they were laden with sexually explicit language and violence has drawn the attention of a state senator and criticism from national free-speech advocacy groups.
From Committee reviewing books pulled from summer reading list in Chesterfield - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Chesterfield County News

The lost infrastructure of social media

More than a decade ago, the earliest era of blogging provided a set of separate but related technologies that helped the nascent form thrive. Today, most have faded away and been forgotten, but new incarnations of these features could still be valuable.
From The lost infrastructure of social media. — Medium

How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better

Richardson's system actually works: they're using it in NYPL and many affiliated libraries. It makes reading ebooks from the library one trillion times better, and it lets anyone improve it, at anywhere in the stack -- it lets commercial suppliers play, too, but prevents them from locking libraries, publishers or readers in. It is a model of how mission-driven public agencies and nonprofits can be truly game-changing in online ecosystems that have been dominated by a single, monolithic corporation.
From How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better / Boing Boing

Keep the Patrons Happy

Some Good Customer service "precepts" by Paula Laurita via Pub-Lib

Okay, my number one rule is no blood in the library. But aside from that I have a few general rules:

2. We don't work at the "no" factory. The first response isn't "we can't do that". Try and find the "yes" if possible without infringing on another patron. Some staff took this at first that we never say no. That's not a blanket yes to more computer time if someone else is waiting. It's not a blanket yes to extending a summer reading book when there is a holds list. But, is there really a reason why someone cannot have a special check-out period for Huck Finn while they are sailing on the Mississippi?

3. Take the money. Cousin Fred checked out a book using Cousin Beatrice's card. Fred racked-up the late fines, but doesn't have Beatrice's card. He wants to pay the fines. Take the money. Give Fred the cash register receipt. Save the account receipt for Beatrice. Don't inconvenience them both.

4. This isn't the cosmetics counter at the local department store. Don't chase people to make the sale. "May I help you find anything?" "No, I'm just browsing." "Okay, if I can help please let me know." Give people privacy and the gift of time to look.

5. No weltschmerz. Well thought out complaints are fine. General whining is not.

Tracking Excavator: Uncovering Tracking in the Web's Past

As users browse the web, their browsing behavior may be observed and aggregated by third-party websites ("trackers") that they don't visit directly. These trackers are generally embedded by host websites in the form of advertisements, social media widgets (e.g., the Facebook "Like" button), or web analytics platforms (e.g., Google Analytics). Though web tracking and its privacy implications have received much attention in recent years, that attention has come relatively recently in the history of the web and lacks full historical context. In this work, we conduct a longitudinal archaeological study of tracking on the web from 1996 to 2016. Our key insight: that the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine enables a retrospective analysis of properties of the web, even though researchers did not anticipate in advance the need to study these properties over time. We evaluate the potential and limitations of the Wayback Machine for this purpose and offer strategies to overcome several challenges we encountered in relation to using its data to study tracking.
From Tracking Excavator

The origins of children’s literature - The British Library

By the end of the 18th century, children’s literature was a flourishing, separate and secure part of the publishing industry in Britain. Perhaps as many as 50 children’s books were being printed each year, mostly in London, but also in regional centres such as Edinburgh, York and Newcastle. By today’s standards, these books can seem pretty dry, and they were often very moralising and pious. But the books were clearly meant to please their readers, whether with entertaining stories and appealing characters, the pleasant tone of the writing, or attractive illustrations and eye-catching page layouts and bindings.
From The origins of children’s literature - The British Library

Library custodian who pilfered books after hours sentenced to probation

A woman who worked as a custodian at Krause Memorial Library apologized for taking dozens of books, games and CDs, saying she never intended to hurt the Rockford library. “I feel bad for doing that to the library,’’ 33-year-old Sarah Lynn Fifelski told a judge at sentencing Tuesday. “I was grateful for the opportunity of working there and I feel bad for betraying their trust.
From Library custodian who pilfered books after hours sentenced to probation |

Removal of Confederacy books opens debate; director calls it routine process

The Danville Public Library has spent the past two years purging its collection of worn, duplicate and rarely checked-out books. That hasn’t prevented the library’s director from receiving complaints from at least one resident convinced that books on the Confederacy are being targeted for removal. Residents have also criticized the library’s actions on Facebook. Danville Public Library Director Joe Zappacosta said the library has not set out to remove books on the Civil War and the Confederacy.
From Removal of Confederacy books opens debate; director calls it routine process | Danville |

Three new e-books written by JK Rowling appear on multiple bookseller websites

Now, three new e-books set in the fantastical world are reportedly set to be release. While Rowling hasn’t officially announced the releases,, Barnes & Noble and Apple's US iBook store have all listed three E-Books, written by the author about the world of Harry Potter.
From Harry Potter: Three new e-books written by JK Rowling appear on multiple bookseller websites

'Treasure trove' of 5,500 films will be made accessible by Halifax Public Libraries

Thousands of hard-to-find films will be saved for the public as an iconic rental store gets set to close.  Halifax Public Libraries and Dalhousie University said Tuesday they will buy the films from Halifax's Video Difference. "To have parts of that collection live on and be available for the public is really part of the lasting legacy of Video Difference," Halifax Public Libraries chief librarian and CEO Asa Kachan said in an interview.
From Video Difference film collection being bought by Halifax Public Libraries, Dalhousie - Nova Scotia - CBC News

Library use in England fell dramatically over last decade, figures show

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has measured the public’s usage of libraries in England since 2005. In the 12 months to March 2016, it reported that just 33.4% of adults had used a public library, compared with 48.2% of adults in 2005/2006, when the survey began. This marks a drop of 30.7% over the decade, and is the first time the government department has highlighted a “significant decrease” in the proportion of adults who used public libraries. In comparison, the proportion of adults visiting heritage sites, museums and galleries increased over the decade.
From Library use in England fell dramatically over last decade, figures show | Books | The Guardian

IFLA Trend Report Update For 2016

In 2013, the IFLA Trend Report identified five high level trends which are in the process of transforming our global information environment. These evolving developments spanned access to information, education, privacy, new forms of digital engagement and technological transformation. Deliberately conceived to embody more than a stationary snapshot of detected trends, the IFLA Trend Report was designed to serve as a catalyst for wider discussion, analysis and action across the international library community. Key themes and questions • Re-envisioning library services and the future role of libraries • Does the digital disruption of education present new opportunities? • Libraries need to play a physical and digital role in their communities • How can libraries communicate their achievements more effectively? • Learners still need a blend of digital and face-to-face environments • How can librarians embrace innovation without replacing themselves?
From Update 2016 | IFLA Trend Report

Librarians Continue Disappearing From Chicago Schools

In 2012, Chicago Public Schools had 454 librarian positions in the budget. That dropped to 313 in 2013 and 252 in 2014. Last year there were 217 library positions in the budget. This year, there are just 160 librarians budgeted. “Less than 300 librarians was crazy,” Wiltse said. “We were pretty confident that that was a low point that really needed attention and needed correcting. And now, here we are.”
From Librarians Continue Disappearing From Chicago Schools | WBEZ

Will Reading Romance Novels Make Artificial Intelligence More Human?

This past spring, Google began feeding its natural language algorithm thousands of romance novels in an effort to humanize its “conversational tone.” The move did so much to fire the collective comic imagination that the ensuing hilarity muffled any serious commentary on its symbolic importance. The jokes, as they say, practically wrote themselves. But, after several decades devoted to task-specific “smart” technologies (GPS, search engine optimization, data mining), Google’s decision points to a recovered interest among the titans of technology in a fully anthropic “general” intelligence, the kind dramatized in recent films such as Her (2013) and Ex Machina (2015). Amusing though it may be, the appeal to romance novels suggests that Silicon Valley is daring to dream big once again.
From Will Reading Romance Novels Make Artificial Intelligence More Human? | JSTOR Daily

Welcome to The Last Bookstore

Great video of the owner of LA's Last Bookstore (11 & 1/2 minutes but worth it)

To Your Brain, Audiobooks Are Not ‘Cheating’

This question — whether or not listening to an audiobook is “cheating” — is one University of Virginia psychologist Daniel Willingham gets fairly often, especially ever since he published a book, in 2015, on the science of reading. (That one was about teaching children to read; he’s got another book out next spring about adults and reading.) He is very tired of this question, and so, recently, he wrote a blog post addressing it. (His opening line: “I’ve been asked this question a lot and I hate it.”) If, he argues, you take the question from the perspective of cognitive psychology — that is, the mental processes involved — there is no real difference between listening to a book and reading it. So, according to that understanding of the question: No, audiobooks are not cheating.
From To Your Brain, Audiobooks Are Not ‘Cheating’ -- Science of Us

Too Poor to Afford the Internet

All summer, kids have been hanging out in front of the Morris Park Library in the Bronx, before opening hours and after closing. They bring their computers to pick up the Wi-Fi signal that is leaking out of the building, because they can’t afford internet access at home. They’re there during the school year, too, even during the winter — it’s the only way they can complete their online math homework.


Cloud Atlas 'astonishingly different' in US and UK editions, study finds

David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is a popular choice for book groups around the world. But it turns out that American readers may be enjoying a rather different experience to those in Britain, after an academic uncovered “astonishing” differences between the US and UK editions of the award-winning novel. Professor Martin Paul Eve of Birkbeck, University of London was writing a paper on Cloud Atlas, working from the UK paperback published by Sceptre, and from a Kindle edition of the novel, when he realised he was unable to find phrases in the ebook that he could distinctly remember from the paperback. He compared the US and UK editions of the book, and realised they were “quite different to one another”.
From Cloud Atlas 'astonishingly different' in US and UK editions, study finds | Books | The Guardian

AMLABEL, the electronic paper gallery display

Museums can keep pace with the times and changing attendance rates by adopting a modern and interactive way of presenting the items on display. The AMLABEL Digital Gallery Display is an editable, real-time in-gallery digital label developed on electronic paper to replace existing gallery cards.
From AMLABEL, the electronic paper gallery display

New Book on the "Bad-Ass" Timbuktu Archivists

The heroic story of the men who saved thousands of manuscripts from being destroyed by al-Qaeda from the Times Literary Supplement, London.

Librarians, of all groups, may not usually be associated with “bad-ass” fearlessness in the face of extreme violence. Yet in 2012, two of them secretly evacuated about 340,000 early Islamic manuscripts from archives in Timbuktu, when the ancient city was occupied by a coalition of al-Qaeda jihadists and Tuareg separatists. Joshua Hammer, an American journalist, has written a pacy and engaging account of this risky act of cultural salvation. Acting calmly and cannily, the heroes of the story loaded manuscripts into metal trunks and shipped them to safety up the River Niger under the noses of al-Qaeda. It is an inspiring story. The manuscripts had been gathered from private homes and mosques across the Sahel by an enterprising archivist starting in the 1970s and later by his librarian son, Abdel Kader Haidara. These documents formed a detailed record of a humanistic, West African strand of Islam. Here's info on the book:

Joshua Hammer THE BAD-ASS LIBRARIANS of Timbuktu And their race to save the world’s most precious manuscripts 288pp. Simon and Schuster. $26. 978 1 4767 774


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