Major report on UK libraries' future slammed as over-optimistic

A report on the future of public libraries from the prestigious Carnegie Trust has been slammed as “over-optimistic”, amid calls for it to be withdrawn. Leading library campaigner Tim Coates has filed a formal complaint with the charity’s trustees, claiming that the report, published last month, “seriously avoids the truth” about the long-term decline of the sector and misrepresents data on library use.
From Major report on libraries' future slammed as over-optimistic | Books | The Guardian
Topic: 

Gladstone Library, a Refuge for Liberal Values

From the New York Times (a liberal bastion of journalism), an article about the liberal bastion of libraries on the England-Wales border Gladstone's Library.

A library was established by Britain’s high-minded Victorian Liberal prime minister, William Gladstone in the late 19th Century and its now enjoying a boom in use. Unlike the US where all former Presidents establish a library, it is the only Prime Minister's library in the UK. Access is free to all.

The restaurant at Gladstone’s Library, close to the border between Wales and England, is called Food for Thought, and the caterers have been busy recently. Interest has surged in an institution that houses Gladstone’s books and papers and that sees itself as a temple of liberal values, delighting its director, Peter Francis, who believes the trend is a reaction to the rise of populism in Britain to the upcoming Brexit.

Why We’re So Hypocritical About Online Privacy

To address this question, a recent meta-analysis of 166 studies, including 75,269 participants of 34 countries, explored the so-called “privacy paradox,” that is, the puzzling fact that people’s concerns about privacy rarely appear to translate into protective behaviors. Contrary to previous studies, the findings of the meta-analysis revealed that individuals who are more concerned with and informed about privacy tend to use fewer online services, set stronger security settings, and disclose less personal information. However, when it comes to social media use, there is indeed a privacy paradox, as even individuals who express concerns behave quite carelessly, engaging in uncensored or inappropriate self-disclosure, making a great deal of their digital footprint public, and allowing a wide range of external apps to access their data. It has been estimated that nearly 40% of Facebook content is shared according to the (rather unsafe) default settings, and that privacy settings match users’ expectations only 37% of the time. Thus, it appears that no amount of privacy concerns will make social media users more cautious.
From Why We’re So Hypocritical About Online Privacy

Cities Are Driving a Public Library Boom in Australia

Perth opened a new central library last spring in a gleaming cylindrical building that is both a book silo and an architectural exclamation point for one of the world’s most isolated cities. Perth has experienced 50 years of steady growth, topped by a downtown building boom to serve Western Australia mining, making it the nation’s Houston or Denver. So it was high time for the first new municipal building since a concert hall in 1972. The striking design stacks seven levels on the edge of a low bluff overlooking Perth’s rapidly developing recreational waterfront. When I visited one Saturday afternoon, visitors were taking in the view from upper-level balconies, and the floors dedicated to kids were hopping with children exploring the world of ideas.
From Cities Are Driving a Public Library Boom in Australia – Next City
Topic: 

Harvard Libraries to Extend Loan Periods, Eliminate Standard Late Fees

Harvard libraries will no longer charge 50 cent per day fees on overdue books. The change, one of several detailed in a post on the Harvard Library system’s website, went into effect on April 1. Though standard fees have been eliminated, fees for overdue recalled material have been raised from two dollars a day to three dollars a day, with a 45 dollar maximum. “The goals of these changes are to improve the student experience and embrace a ‘One Harvard’ approach for borrowing material across Harvard Library,” wrote Steven Beardsley, Harvard's associate director for access services administrative operations and special projects, in an email.
From Libraries to Extend Loan Periods, Eliminate Standard Late Fees | News | The Harvard Crimson

A Case For Federally Funding Public Libraries

Under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, federal funding for public libraries would be eliminated. Our guest explains why he calls the plan an attempt to suppress transparency. He also discusses why he says libraries are “essential” to society, and on this “Take Action for Libraries Day,” how people can advocate for continued funding.
From A Case For Federally Funding Public Libraries | Wisconsin Public Radio
Topic: 

The end of Academia.edu: how business takes over, again

The lessons to be drawn from this, are the same ones that Siva Vaidhyanathan listed when talking about the Google Books projects. The academic production of knowledge should not be used to make profit, but to improve society. Academic knowledge is, or at least should be a common. The fact that academic knowledge is now part of the ‘for profit’ business can only be understood as the failing of the state and the dominance of neoliberalism. The market destroys academia and the only way to change that is to set up our own platforms. Platforms that only have one goal: to give that knowledge back to society. Fortunately, in a way, this policy shift in Academia.edu now opens a space for new platforms offering genuinely open access for a community of scholars around the world, craving to read and discuss each others' findings, but increasingly constrained by insane paywalls.
From The end of Academia.edu: how business takes over, again | diggit magazine
Topic: 

The Lost Picture Show: Hollywood Archivists Can’t Outpace Obsolescence

These days, nearly all of the films from all of the major studios are shot and edited digitally. Like Lubezki, filmmakers have switched to digital because it allows a far greater range of special effects, filming conditions, and editing techniques. Directors no longer have to wait for film stock to be chemically processed in order to view it, and digital can substantially bring down costs compared with traditional film. Distribution of films is likewise entirely digital, feeding not only the digital cinema projectors in movie theaters but also the streaming video services run by the likes of Netflix and Hulu. The industry’s embrace of digital has been astonishingly rapid.
From The Lost Picture Show: Hollywood Archivists Can’t Outpace Obsolescence - IEEE Spectrum

The most important part of Facebook's disinformation strategy is what it leaves out

But what we’re left with is the real prospect of foreign powers manipulating public discourse, and no clear way to fix it. As with false reporting, Facebook has laid out a plan for more aggressive action against fake accounts, but it’s running up against more serious limits. Even more than false information, disinformation campaigns happen largely outside of Facebook’s control. What should be a reassuring document ends up as an admission of defeat. This is what Facebook can do to fight the problem -- and what it can’t do. The bigger message may be that if we want to protect public discourse, we’ll need more than algorithms.
From The most important part of Facebook's disinformation strategy is what it leaves out - The Verge
Topic: 

UK Book sales hit a record as children's fiction gains in popularity

Children's fiction helped drive UK book sales to a record £3.5bn last year, the Publishers Association (PA) has said. The 6% rise came despite the waning popularity of ebooks, which saw sales fall by 3% to £538m last year. Sales of children's books rose 16% to £365m, with the increase due mainly to the purchase of printed works.
From Book sales hit a record as children's fiction gains in popularity - BBC News
Topic: 

New Round Of Layoffs May All But Decimate San Diego School Libraries

The proposed cuts are on top of pink slips that went out in March to more than half of the aides who staff elementary school libraries. The remaining aides had their schedules reduced to as little as two hours a week. "I just can't even imagine how that's going to be cost effective, because there's just going to be so much lost — lost materials, lost time, lost educational experiences," said Elaine Sabetti, the library technician at Pershing Middle School in San Carlos. "I don't know how they can even do it."
From New Round Of Layoffs May All But Decimate San Diego School Libraries | KPBS

That Wasn’t Mark Twain: How a Misquotation Is Born

“When I started off, it was mysterious exactly where these misquotations were coming from, and it was interesting that sometimes you could find these clues that pointed to how they may have originated,” said Mr. O’Toole, an alias for Gregory F. Sullivan, a former teacher and researcher in the Johns Hopkins computer science department who now spends his time writing.
From That Wasn’t Mark Twain: How a Misquotation Is Born - The New York Times
Topic: 

The rise of reading analytics and the emerging calculus of reader privacy in the digital world

This paper studies emerging technologies for tracking reading behaviors (“reading analytics”) and their implications for reader privacy, attempting to place them in a historical context. It discusses what data is being collected, to whom it is available, and how it might be used by various interested parties (including authors). I explore means of tracking what’s being read, who is doing the reading, and how readers discover what they read. The paper includes two case studies: mass-market e-books (both directly acquired by readers and mediated by libraries) and scholarly journals (usually mediated by academic libraries); in the latter case I also provide examples of the implications of various authentication, authorization and access management practices on reader privacy. While legal issues are touched upon, the focus is generally pragmatic, emphasizing technology and marketplace practices. The article illustrates the way reader privacy concerns are shifting from government to commercial surveillance, and the interactions between government and the private sector in this area. The paper emphasizes U.S.-based developments.
From The rise of reading analytics and the emerging calculus of reader privacy in the digital world | Lynch | First Monday
Topic: 

The secret lives of Google raters

Few people realize how much these raters contribute to the smooth functioning act we call “Googling.” Even Google engineers who work with rater data don't know who these people are. But some raters would now like that to change. That's because, earlier this month, thousands of them received an e-mail that said their hours would be cut in half, partly due to changes in Google's staffing policies.
From The secret lives of Google raters | Ars Technica
Topic: 

Disciplinary Hearing for Evanston Librarian

Dozens rally for Evanston's only African-American librarian in work dispute according to the The Chicago Tribune.

Lesley Williams, head of Adult Services at the library, said she is on paid administrative leave, ordered by library administrators as they consider disciplinary action in response to what has been called a "personnel matter."

While she said she could not go into specific details about the issue, Williams said she is accused of "gross incompetence, insubordination and not contributing to a healthy work environment." She is the only black librarian in a community made up of 20% of African-Americans.

'Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' Author Robert M. Pirsig Dies At 88

Robert M. Pirsig, who inspired generations to road trip across America with his "novelistic autobigraphy," Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday at the age of 88. His publisher William Morrow & Company said in a statement that Pirsig died at his home in South Berwick, Maine, "after a period of failing health." Pirsig wrote just two books: Zen (subtitled "An Inquiry Into Values") and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals. Full story

Topic: 

The Fascinating History of Card Catalogs

Yes, according to Vox.com the history of card catalogs is weirdly fascinating.

So don't disengage just yet...

The Library of Congress just released a book on the history of the card catalog, and while I can physically feel you clicking away from this article even as I type I recommend that you don't.

The Card Catalog makes a persuasive case that cataloging knowledge is fundamental to the acquisition and spread of knowledge, and that a working library catalog is, in some ways, a basic necessity of civilization. And since cataloging is a calling that attracts neurotic and obsessive personalities, the history of the library catalog charts a weird, twisty path, with a lot of back-tracking followed by enormous leaps forward.

Bookstore on wheels turns heads in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqis guarding Baghdad’s many checkpoints, on the lookout for car bombs and convoys, don’t know what to make of Ali al-Moussawi when he pulls up in a truck displaying shelves of glossy books. The mobile bookstore is the latest in a series of efforts by the 25-year-old to share his passion for reading and revive a love for books in Baghdad, which was once the literary capital of the Muslim world but is now better known for bombs than poems.

AP.

Ivanka Trump Gets Schooled by Librarians

From the Huffington Post:

When the first daughter tweeted about applauding librarians last week, she was not met with much praise. As we know, her father has slashed library budgets wherever he could (and doesn't seem to want to read any books).

Ivanka: This #NationalLibraryWeek, we honor our libraries and librarians for opening our eyes to the world of knowledge, learning and reading!

One of hundreds of responses:

"Defunding libraries as proposed in your dad's budget hurts hardworking Americans," the nonprofit EveryLibrary tweeted back at Trump, before adding, "Cuts to federal funding for libraries are absolutely unconscionable, cruel, and unnecessary. #saveIMLS #library."

The Book



The Book

We may love books, but do we know what lies behind them? In The Book, Keith Houston reveals that the paper, ink, thread, glue, and board from which a book is made tell as rich a story as the words on its pages―of civilizations, empires, human ingenuity, and madness. In an invitingly tactile history of this 2,000-year-old medium, Houston follows the development of writing, printing, the art of illustrations, and binding to show how we have moved from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hardcovers and paperbacks of today. Sure to delight book lovers of all stripes with its lush, full-color illustrations, The Book gives us the momentous and surprising history behind humanity’s most important―and universal―information technology.

The Book
Topic: 

Pages

Subscribe to LISNews: RSS Subscribe to LISNews: - All comments