Three Cities Face Off for President Obama's Library

From the Guardian:

There is sometimes a wistful note in Barack Obama's voice when he speaks in public these days. The US president makes regular references to his "remaining time in office" and notes that there are just two and a half years to finish the work that will define his legacy. That legacy will find a physical home in his presidential library, the museum-archives America's leaders build after leaving office to stand as a testament to their time as the world's most powerful man.

Mr Obama's library is still years from completion but every step in its planning process serves as another reminder that his presidency is reaching the beginning of its end. Monday is the deadline for cities to submit their proposals to be a host site for what will one day be known as the Barack Obama Presidential Library.

The final chapter for a South Buffalo bookstore

http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/south-buffalo/the-final-chapter-for-a-south-buffalo-b...

Paperback Trading Post will close next weekend after nearly four decades in business.

By next Sunday evening, the store’s old, metal cash register will have rung up its final sale.

Gerry Maciuba ran the shop for 38 years, mostly in the first floor of his home, which he dubbed “the big yellow house on Seneca.”

He suffered from muscular dystrophy and died on Jan. 5 at age 66.

Rose Maciuba, 62, walked around the store Saturday morning, rattling off all the genres offered. Tens of thousands of used paperbacks fill wooden shelves stretching from floor to ceiling.

Against (Too Much) Library Philanthropy

If there’s still room on the list of “things I didn’t go to library school to do,” I’d like to add riding a bookcycle around town. Special training in peddling a heavy bicycle isn’t something they should add to the library school curriculum.

But that’s at least a realistic way to get library services out to people who might need them, especially those children who don’t read over the summer and fall behind.
If only all those children were being sent to enriching summer camps. That’s what rich people do for their children, after all.

What rich people aren’t doing much of these days is giving money to libraries, but at least one person thinks they should.

Full commentary by the Annoyed Librarian

Marks of Genius at The Morgan Library & Museum

In a New York Times review by William Grimes, entitled "A History of Awesome in One Room", the JP Morgan Library's new exhibit from Oxford's Bodleian Library is described as featuring "some of the loftiest texts ever recorded"; the poetry of Sappho, the Magna Carta, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, Euclid’s Elements, Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Shelley's Frankenstein and an illustrated score by Felix Mendelssohn.

"Marks of Genius” works hard at its theme. Stephen Hebron, the Bodleian’s curator of the exhibition, carefully traces the changing meanings of genius since antiquity in a concise but wide-ranging catalog essay. The exhibit runs through mid-September at The Morgan Library.

How a Librarian Made Me a Surveillance Skeptic

From Marketplace.org: I was at a dinner table about a year ago, right after the first Edward Snowden leaks, when I heard for the first time an argument I've heard many times since.

"Why should I care? I'm not doing anything wrong." This appears to be the opinion of the majority when it comes to the idea of the government using surveillance to fight terrorism. By Pew Research's estimates, 56 percent of Americans support the government listening in while it fights the "bad guys." And it has been this way for something like 12 years -- right after the September 11th attacks and the beginning of the war on terror.

All of this thinking about surveillance, government, and legislation has also reminded me of a chapter in my own history that I haven't thought of in a while. During my junior year of college in 2003, I worked in the D.C. office of a moderate Republican Congressman. My main job was to answer constituent correspondence with letters that represented the Congressman's policy positions, which he would then sign. One day near the end of my spring semester, I had an assignment I couldn't complete: I was supposed to answer a constituent letter about a proposed expansion of the Patriot Act. The letter had been sent, and signed, by librarians throughout the Congressman's home state who were opposed to the Patriot Act's allowance of officials to access library records. They were asking the Congressman to oppose any extension or expansion of the legislation, and really to roll it back entirely. As I was preparing to tell the librarians that the congressman fully supported the legislation, I made a discovery. One of the librarian signatures on the constituent letter was familiar to me. It belonged to my mother.

Because after all, it is not information that wants to be free, it's us

The beauty of hackers, says cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari, is that they force us to evolve and improve. Yes, some hackers are bad guys, but many are working to fight government corruption and advocate for our rights. By exposing vulnerabilities, they push the Internet to become stronger and healthier, wielding their power to create a better world.

Pollen: the book is a program

At the core of Pollen is an argument:

First, that digital books should be the best books we’ve ever had. So far, they’re not even close.

Second, that because digital books are software, an author shouldn’t think of a book as merely data. The book is a program.

Third, that the way we make digital books better than their predecessors is by exploiting this programmability.

That’s what Pollen is for.

http://mbutterick.github.io/pollen/doc/

Librarian Laurence Copel Earns Lemony Snicket 'Noble Librarians' Recognition

Laurence Copel, youth outreach librarian and founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, is the inaugural recipient of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. On June 29, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) will present her with a $3,000 check, $1,000 travel expenses, a certificate and "an odd object from Handler's private collection" during the American Library Association's Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.

"Copel is recognized for her extraordinary efforts to provide books to young readers of the Ninth Ward," said ALA president Barbara Stripling, adding that she "is a brilliant example of how librarians can serve as change agents. Her leadership and commitment show the vital role that librarians and libraries play in energizing and engaging the communities that they serve."

Known to the children in the Lower Ninth Ward as the Book Lady, Copel moved to New Orleans from New York City in 2010 and opened a library in her home through self-funding and small donations while living on $350 a week. She also converted her bicycle to a mobile book carrier allowing her to reach children and families that could not travel to her home. Story via Shelf-Awareness.com.

Appeals Court Rules Digital Library Doesn't Violate Copyright Law

A U.S. appeals court says a digital library of more than 10 million scanned and searchable texts amounts to "fair use," ruling against a group of authors who claimed copyright infringement.

More info here

A Young Adult Author’s Fantastic Crusade to Defend Literature’s Most Maligned Genre

http://www.nerve.com/books/a-young-adult-authors-fantastic-crusade-to-defend-literatures-mos...

“Anyway,” I said, when we were finished, “Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote an ornery letter to his editor complaining about popular fiction. He went on and on about all the ‘scribbling’ women who sold hundreds of thousands of copies while he sold none. He thought they were dumb simply by virtue of being popular. Don’t you understand?” I scooped a lock of hair behind her ear in a way that said I would support her if she decided to have our baby. “You don’t gain credibility by being widely read, Ruth, you gain credibility by being accepted by rich, white, men.”

After the Belfast Project Fiasco, Time For Another Look At Time Capsule Crypto?

http://it.slashdot.org/story/14/06/08/2117253/after-the-belfast-project-fiasco-time-for-anot...

"I'm curious whether there are good prospects for 'time capsule encryption,' one of several ways of storing information that renders it inaccessible to anyone until certain conditions — such as the passage of time — are met? Libraries and archives could offer such technology as part of accepting papers and manuscripts, especially in the wake of the 'Belfast Project' situation, where a library promised confidentiality for accounts of the Troubles in North Ireland, and then found itself amidst subpoenas from law enforcement looking to solve long-cold cases. But the principle could apply to any person or company thinking that there's a choice between leaving information exposed to leakage, or destroying it entirely. Some suggested solutions are very much out of the box."

Watch this multi-billion-dollar industry evaporate overnight

http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/06/dylans-desk-watch-this-multi-billion-dollar-industry-evapo...

Indeed, Academia.edu, PLOS, and Arxiv.org are doing something remarkable: They’re mounting a full-frontal assault on a multi-billion-dollar industry and replacing it with something that makes much, much less money.

They’re far more efficient and fairer, and they vastly increase the openness and availability of research information. I believe this will be nothing but good for the human race in the long run. But I’m sure the executives of Elsevier, Springer, and others are weeping into their lattes as they watch this industry evaporate.

Maybe they can get together with newspaper executives to commiserate.

James Patterson: Digital revolution threatens American literature

Despite having dozens of best-selling titles to his name, author James Patterson is very worried about the present and future of books in America, as the publishing world continues to grapple with the rise of ebooks and their major distributor, Amazon.

Rethinking the business of publishing

A look at BookExpo, just held in New York.

Greensboro Friends Will Close Library Shop...If They Have To

The Greensboro (NC) News Record reports that the 16 year old shop will be closing down due to lack of staffing and management.

The Friends of the Greensboro Public Library runs the shop, and like many nonprofit groups, it is struggling to remain relevant in a fast-changing world of information. Lea Williams, the group’s new president, says the decision to close the Booklovers Shop had nothing to do with money. The shop has been struggling for years, but it was making a tiny profit, no more than $1,300 in its last fiscal year. The shop’s shutdown had everything to do with managing the place, she says. It was too time-consuming, and after a year of discussion, Williams says, Friends’ board of directors felt the group had steered away from its role of supporting and funding the library’s programs and recruiting new members.

Members of the friends organized a meeting last month with other supporters of the shop, and they came together to vent and talk to Brigitte Blanton, a 27-year library employee and its new director. They also came together to figure out a way to keep the shop from becoming a canteen. They want to find a way to keep the shop open and viable.

“What this shop first started was magic,’’ says book lover Prudence Strong. “Why destroy something so perfect?’’

'Hunger Games' salute used as protest in Thailand

The three-finger salute from the Hollywood movie "The Hunger Games" is being used as a real symbol of resistance in Thailand. Protesters against the military coup are flashing the gesture as a silent act of rebellion, and they're being threatened with arrest if they ignore warnings to stop.

Full article

All the Amazon-Hachette coverage doesn’t seem to cover some important causes and implications

Commentary on the Amazon-Hachette fight by publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin.

Shatzkin says - My “position” on all this is that it reveals an imbalance that only the government can fix.

Another point he makes: Amazon, at great expense and with great vision, made the ebook business happen. Before the Kindle, the ebook marketplace was small and unambitious. The biggest player in terms of sales was Palm, which wasn’t really interested. The most interested party was Sony, which repeatedly tried over more than a decade to establish some sort of ebook device and ecosystem. But Amazon made a significant corporate commitment — creating the Kindle device, pressuring the publishers to make much more of their catalog available as ebooks, and investing heavily in discounted sales and screen real estate to build the consumer market. When B&N with Nook in late 2009 and Apple with iPad and iBookstore in early 2010 entered the market, they were attempting to capitalize on a product class that Amazon had pretty much single-handledly created.

Walmart jumps into the Amazon v. Hachette fight

Last week, we talked about how Amazon was delaying orders of Hachette books as a negotiation tactic in a pricing argument with the publisher. Walmart has now announced that they'll offer customers 40% off on all Hachette books and quick shipping.

Full piece at -- On The Media

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