A scene of homeless misery greets patrons trying to use Santa Ana's award-winning library

ut a visit to the downtown library has become, on many days, a walk through a gantlet of misery: Homeless men and women sleep in the lawn while others plead with visitors for change. Inside the building, signs warned people to avoid restrooms where some homeless use sinks and even toilet water to bathe themselves and wash their clothes. Some of Santa Ana’s down and out used the study carrels to look for jobs — others shot up drugs, with syringes found discarded in planters and even a box of toilet seat covers. Security guards carry syringe disposal kits on their tool belts.
From A scene of homeless misery greets patrons trying to use Santa Ana's award-winning library - LA Times

Robot-written reviews fool academics

Using automatic text generation software, computer scientists at Italy’s University of Trieste created a series of fake peer reviews of genuine journal papers and asked academics of different levels of seniority to say whether they agreed with their recommendations to accept for publication or not. In a quarter of cases, academics said they agreed with the fake review’s conclusions, even though they were entirely made up of computer-generated gobbledegook – or, rather, sentences picked at random from a selection of peer reviews taken from subjects as diverse as brain science, ecology and ornithology.
From Robot-written reviews fool academics | THE News

When Libraries Don’t Provide Value

Librarians tend to agree that their libraries deliver value to community members. But what exactly does that mean? What type of value? Time saving value? Life changing value? Those are quite different. What value do libraries offer? New research identifies 30 types of value of four levels in a Maslow’s like hierarchy. We need to be intentional about designing for value delivery.
From When Libraries Don’t Provide Value – Designing Better Libraries
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In Banned Books Scavenger Hunt, The Prize Is Literary 'Smut'

The whole idea for the hunt was motivated by the desire to have more of the public involved in Banned Books Week, which runs this year from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, says Linnea Hegarty, executive director of the D.C. Public Library Foundation. When books are banned, their supporters disguise them and circulate them surreptitiously, she says, and the idea was to capture that spirit.
From In Banned Books Scavenger Hunt, The Prize Is Literary 'Smut' : NPR
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Old books imitate art?

With the invention of the e-reader and digital downloads of books, you might not be buying as many books as you used to. But what if you have dozens of vintage books from over the years? Book readers, you can turn your books into art and home decor! Make sure you don’t have any first editions, of course, and then consider the following hints:
From Hints From Heloise: Old books imitate art? - The Washington Post
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ALA Executive Director Fiels Announces Retirement

In announcing his retirement to ALA staff, Fiels said, “It has been an incredible honor to have served my colleagues, libraries, and the public in this position for going on 15 years, during which we have made significant strides—and weathered a few storms. The staff and membership of ALA are the most amazing group of individuals that anyone could ever ask to work with.”
From ALA Executive Director Fiels Announces Retirement | American Libraries Magazine
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Will school libraries soon be gone?

However, as a result of the lack of funding from No Child Left Behind, several districts have been forced to close libraries or asked teachers to pick up those responsibilities. "This has hurt the state and schools because school libraries aren't supported in the state of Michigan," Lester said. "Currently, only 8 percent of libraries have a full-time certified librarian staffing them." The decline first started in 2003 and has steadily been on a downward slant ever since, Lester said.
From Will school libraries soon be gone?

Japanese Craftsman Brings Old Books Back to Life by Making Them Look Brand New

This Tokyo-based Japanese craftsman brings old books back to life by making them look brand new through his amazing technique obtained after more than 3 decades of experience in his shop from the Suidobashi area of Japan’s capital.
From Japanese Craftsman Brings Old Books Back to Life by Making Them Look Brand New - Gypsy.Ninja
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Letter: Libraries are huge tax burden

The letter on Aug. 23 by Bill Weller is a prime example of entitlement and why our taxes are so high. I’ve been saying for years that libraries should no longer be on the tax roles and under the burden of the taxpayer. I’m not saying libraries are not useful, because they are. I know there are many advocates for libraries, but it should no longer be the responsibility of the taxpayer to supply people with books, videos, computer cafes, and personal entertainment. Most schools have libraries, so your kids already have access to the books they need and we all know who pays for the schools.  
From Letter: Libraries are huge tax burden | Northwest Herald
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On Refusing to Read

My small act of countercultural scholarly agency has been to refuse to continue reading or assigning the work of David Foster Wallace. The machine of his celebrity masks, I have argued, the limited benefits of spending the time required to read his work. Our time is better spent elsewhere. I make this assessment given the evidence I have so far accumulated — I have read and taught some of his stories and nonfiction, have read some critical essays on Wallace’s work, and have read D.T. Max’s biography of Wallace — and without feeling professionally obligated to spend a month reading Infinite Jest in order to be absolutely sure I’m right. If I did spend a month reading the book, I would be adding my professional investment to the load of others’ investments, which — if we track it back — are the result of a particular marketing campaign that appealed to a Jurassic vision of literary genius.
From On Refusing to Read - The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Strange Way People Perceive Privacy Online

The reason, Mamonov thinks, has a lot to do with people’s perceptions of surveillance. He guessed study participants would have wanted to protect themselves against it; instead, he says, the magnitude of the threat seems to have instilled a sense of helplessness that made them less likely to put an effort into securing themselves.
From The Strange Way People Perceive Privacy Online - Nextgov.com

Author dashes into house to save laptop, 2 completed novels from fire in New Orleans' Broadmoor neighborhood

Gideon Hodge, 35, describes himself as a playwright, novelist and actor. When his fiancée told him that their apartment was on fire, he left work in Mid-City and rushed to the scene. That's when he realized that his only copies of two completed novels were on a laptop inside. Clad in a T-shirt that said #photobomb next to an illustration of the Joker photobombing Batman and Robin, Hodge dashed into the building. He ran past the smoke and the firefighters yelling at him to stop and managed to grab the precious laptop.
From Man dashes into house to save laptop, 2 completed novels from fire in New Orleans' Broadmoor neighborhood | Crime/Police | theadvocate.com
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Sorry, Dewey, the Decimals are Outdated; the Catalog of the Future will Aid Indies

So now we’re at an impasse. Online systems are raising all boats fast, making accessible titles that might otherwise have languished in obscurity. (Case in point: Amish space vampires.) They’re doing it without making readers use Dewey and they’re doing it in innovative social ways that encourage book discovery. But physical books aren’t going anywhere - indeed, they’re resurging in popularity - and the quaint cataloging system that patrons still stumble through is only really useful with the aid of an OPAC that, itself, is largely keyword based.
From Sorry, Dewey, the Decimals are Outdated; the Catalog of the Future will Aid Indies — Foresights — Foreword Reviews
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Beyond Books: Libraries Reach Out to the Public

Outside the Lines is a week-long celebration of creative library events and experiences to introduce, or re-introduce libraries to their communities. The idea grew from a collaboration between passionate Colorado library directors and marketers, including the Colorado State Library and Anythink Libraries, a public library system in Adams County, Colorado, Erica Grossman of Anythink described to me.
From Beyond Books: Libraries Reach Out to the Public - The Atlantic
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Amazon dominates self-publishing in books

A recent report (pdf) from Bowker, the US company that issues International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN), shows that self-publishing is growing rapidly. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of ISBNs from self-published books grew by 375%. From 2014 and 2015 alone, the number grew by 21%. And perfectly positioned to take advantage of the growth is Amazon, whose DIY print business CreateSpace has become far and away the biggest self-publishing platform in the United States.
From Amazon (AMZN) dominates self-publishing in books — Quartz
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The Library of Congress Was Hacked Because It Hasn’t Joined the Digital Age

Hayden’s reputation as a technologically savvy reformer is well deserved, having modernized Baltimore’s flailing Enoch Pratt Free Library and ushered in a period of unprecedented expansion for Baltimore’s library system in an otherwise bleak time for the city. Hayden even became a beacon of stability and normalcy after the Freddie Gray riots with her decision to keep the library open despite the unrest. With Hayden in the top job, policy advocates and scholars might have a glimmer of hope that the former crown jewel of American libraries can be pulled out of mothballs and dragged into the 21st century.
From The Library of Congress Was Hacked Because It Hasn’t Joined the Digital Age | Motherboard

Critics question spending librarian's donation on football scoreboard

Alumnus and longtime library employee left largely unrestricted bequest to U of New Hampshire. It is spending $100,000 on the library and $1 million on a video scoreboard for the football stadium.
From Critics question spending librarian's donation on scoreboard
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Once your kids can read easy books, start reading them hard ones, says reading expert Doug Lemov

There are multiple benefits to reading kids hard books, he argues. Some are obvious, like exposing them to more complex vocabulary. Some are less so, such as exposing them to more complicated sentences and more elaborate plot lines, which better prepares them for when they encounter those on their own further down the road.
From Once your kids can read easy books, start reading them hard ones, says reading expert Doug Lemov — Quartz

Controversial books added to VA County Schools reading list

Chesterfield County Schools decided today to leave their summer reading list the way it was, even with the books that some parents were calling inappropriate. Just last month, the school system pulled three books off of their reading list to be reviewed, but based on the recommendation from a committee, the school decided to keep the books on the list.
From Controversial books added to Chesterfield County Schools reading list | WRIC

Carla Hayden becomes the first woman, first black to lead Library of Congress

Chief Justice John Roberts is slated to swear in Carla Hayden on Wednesday to lead the Library of Congress, the world's largest library, created in 1800 by President John Adams. Hayden, 64, the first woman and the first African American to serve as the Librarian of Congress, sat down with USA TODAY's Capital Download to talk about her battle against provisions of the USA Patriot Act and her decision to keep Baltimore's libraries open in the wake of violence over the death of Freddie Gray. Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.
From Carla Hayden becomes the first woman, first black to lead Library of Congress
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