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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.
Friday was the store’s last day at 31 West 57th Street, and the closing came at the end of a painful week for shoppers who value a particular kind of New York store. J & R Music and Computer World, which grew from a 500-square-foot basement operation to storefronts along an entire block in Lower Manhattan, closed, saying it had to be “reimagined and redeveloped.” And Pearl Paint, a store on Canal Street beloved by artists, reportedly put its five-story building on the market.
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.
Phil Shapiro often loans his Chromebook to patrons of the public library where he works. He says people he loans it to are happily suprised at how fast it is. He wrote an article earlier this month titled Teachers unite to influence computer manufacturing that was a call to action; he says that if 20,000 teachers demand a simple, low-cost Chromebook appliance -- something like a Chrome-powered Mac mini with a small SSD instead of a hard drive, and of course without the high Mac mini price -- some computer manufacturer will bite on the idea.
SEC. 3. NATIONAL TECHNICAL INFORMATION SERVICE.
(a) Repeal- Effective on the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the National Technical Information Act of 1988 (subtitle B of title II of Public Law 100-519; 15 U.S.C. 3704b) is repealed.
(b) Transfer of Critical Functions-
(1) CONSULTATION REQUIREMENT- The Secretary of Commerce, the Archivist of the United States, the Comptroller General of the United States, and the Commissioner of Social Security shall consult with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to determine if any function of the National Technical Information Service is critical to the economy of the United States.
(2) GAO CERTIFICATION- The Comptroller General of the United States shall determine which of the critical functions identified pursuant to paragraph (1) are not being carried out by any other agency or instrumentality of the Federal Government.
(3) TRANSFERS AUTHORIZED- Before the effective date set forth in subsection (a), the Secretary of Commerce may transfer the responsibility for any critical function of NTIS (as identified under paragraph (1)) that is not otherwise being carried out (as determined under paragraph (2)) to another office within the Department of Commerce.
(c) Abolition of Functions- Except for the functions transferred pursuant to subsection (b), all functions of the National Technical Information Service immediately before the repeal date described in subsection (a) are abolished on such repeal date.
“If we go it ourselves, then the world is our oyster,” said Pamela Snelson, college librarian at Franklin & Marshall College. “We can do what we want. We have the freedom, but we also have the problems, the challenges of getting it going.”
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/11/liberal-arts-college-libraries-mull-establishi...
Inside Higher Ed
Many of these buildings are iconic structures on their campuses, and have housed generations of studying students. Others were built more recently, and show how technology can shape the future of education.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Former presidents compare their libraries the way other men may compare their - well...
Rather than solely looking at change over time, it’s worth zooming in to a finer level of detail. For each metropolitan area, the BLS calculates a “job quotient,” which measures the number of librarians relative to population. On that basis, with 2.1 librarians for every 1,000 people, Owensboro, Ky., is the Silicon Valley of librarians.
The New Orleans Picayune reports on state legislators choice of an official state book.
Representative Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport), originally filed a bill to declare a specific copy of a Bible, found in the Louisiana State Museum system, the official state book. But by the time he presented the proposal to the committee, he changed language in his legislation to make the generic King James version of the Bible, a text used worldwide, the official state book.
Michael Weil, who heads up the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, said his organization -- which is cultural and not religious in nature -- hasn't take a stance on the bill. But the legislation gives him some personal pause. "I think the state should consider a text that is not religious," he said.
Another story on the same subject from NPR. And opinion from the ACLU: The bill "represents the use of religion to discriminate against Louisianians of minority faiths or who do not adhere to that particular book as part of their belief system. The bill will create more problems than it will solve by telling some Louisianians that their belief system is not full equal," the state ACLU says.
You can comment below or on their Help Us Improve Our Website page.
Book News on NPR
There is always more going on at the Metropolitan Opera House than meets the eye: wig fittings, dance rehearsals, orchestral rehearsals. One particularly busy corner of the Met can be found by descending two stories below the stage level to the music library. Met 2nd violinist Sarah Vonsattel recently visited the library and spoke with Chief Librarian Robert Sutherland and Assistant Librarian Melissa Robason.
When I ask Assistant Librarian Melissa Robason to describe a typical day at the Met, she laughs and replies, “I don’t think you can say there’s a ‘typical’ day, because every day is different and changing.” Chief Librarian Robert Sutherland adds, “The only thing that’s typical about any given day is that usually the day is clobbered by about 9:45am. Then we are just simply trying to stay alive and cover all the bases until about 3, at which point we tend to focus on what we really need to do, which is getting things ready for tonight, tomorrow, next week, next month, next season, the season after.”
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.
NPR Pulled a Brilliant April Fools' Prank On People Who Don't Read
From Boise, ID : The Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) is working with Boise State University Literacy Professor Dr. Roger Stewart to research whether opening school libraries over the summer, along with using a “Book Fair” model of providing free books toward the end of the school year, can maintain or increase children’s literacy skills over the summer months.
The Commission will work with Horizon Elementary School in Jerome ID and its public library partners on a “full-court press” approach, providing $1,500 in funds for personnel to keep school libraries open as well as up to $9,000 in paperback books for all K-2 grade students. Three additional schools will try a “zone” approach, with the Commission providing $1,500 for personnel to keep those school libraries open during the summer, but without the additional books. All six schools serve populations where at least 60 percent of students come from low-income homes.
But unfortunately for the Internet, as the story started to regain traction officials from the school fleshed out the details of what really wraps at least some of the literature in their collection, and discovered it’s not human skin after all—it’s actually sheepskin. “Baaaaaad news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy (binding books in human skin): Recent analyses of a book owned by the [Harvard Law School] Library, long believed but never proven to have been bound in human skin, have conclusively established that the book was bound in sheepskin,” according to a post on the Harvard Library Law School’s blog, dated April 3.