Libraries Remember Robin Williams

The Challenges of Broadband in Rural Libraries

http://www.govtech.com/network/The-Challenges-of-Broadband-in-Rural-Libraries.html
Ninety-eight percent of libraries now provide free public access to Wi-Fi, up from 89 percent in 2012. But digital differences among states still exists -- as does an urban/rural divide, according to the new 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey released by the American Library Association (ALA).
http://www.ala.org/research/digitalinclusion

State Funds Withheld from Missouri Libraries

Joplin Library Director Jacque Gage says county libraries will be the hardest hit. Those are the ones that depend on the state funds to keep their doors open. She encourages everyone to contact the governor's office to get the funds restored.
http://www.ozarksfirst.com/story/d/story/state-funds-withheld-from-missouri-libraries/42757/...

The economics of a web-based book: year one

"Take the ex­am­ple of desk­top web browsers. Let’s face it, un­less you’re re­al­ly slow on the up­take, you’ve out­fit­ted your web brows­er with an ad block­er. Ha ha, you win! But wait—that means most web ads are only reach­ing those who are re­al­ly slow on the up­take. So their dol­lars are dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly im­por­tant in sup­port­ing the con­tent you’re get­ting ad-free. “Not my prob­lem,” you say. Oh re­al­ly? Since those peo­ple are the only ones fi­nan­cial­ly sup­port­ing the con­tent, pub­lish­ers in­creas­ing­ly are shap­ing their sto­ries to ap­peal to them. Even­tu­al­ly, the con­tent you liked—well, didn’t like it enough to pay for it—will be gone."

http://practicaltypography.com/economics-year-one.html

Academic urban legends

Many of the messages presented in respectable scientific publications are, in fact, based on various forms of rumors. Some of these rumors appear so frequently, and in such complex, colorful, and entertaining ways that we can think of them as academic urban legends. The explanation for this phenomenon is usually that authors have lazily, sloppily, or fraudulently employed sources, and peer reviewers and editors have not discovered these weaknesses in the manuscripts during evaluation. To illustrate this phenomenon, I draw upon a remarkable case in which a decimal point error appears to have misled millions into believing that spinach is a good nutritional source of iron. Through this example, I demonstrate how an academic urban legend can be conceived and born, and can continue to grow and reproduce within academia and beyond.
http://sss.sagepub.com/content/44/4/638.long

GITenberg a collaborative, trackable, scriptable digital library using Git

https://github.com/GITenberg/
GITenberg
Project GITenberg is a Free and Open, Collaborative, Trackable and Scriptable digital library. It leverages the power of the Git version control system and the collaborative potential of Github to make books more open.
https://gitenberg.github.io/
Currently there are over 20,000 some odd books in GITenberg.
a collaborative, trackable, scriptable digital library using Git

Unpopular books flying off branch libraries’ shelves

At the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library, clustered volumes fill only half of many long, red shelves; the rest stand empty. In the adult nonfiction section, some shelves are completely barren.
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08/07/bpl-push-reduce-books-community-branches-stirs-c...
The library, in Roxbury, once brimmed with books. But officials have been steadily culling its collection the past few months as part of a push by BPL administrators to dispose of up to 180,000 little-used volumes from shelves and archives of branches citywide by year’s end. Library officials say the reductions help assure that patrons can comfortably sift through a modern selection that serves their needs.

Petition To Stop Hennepin County Library's plan to shut down the KidLinks and Teenlinks websites

https://www.causes.com/campaigns/77615-save-kidlinks-teenlinks-birthtosix

Hennepin County Library is planning to shut down the KidLinks and TeenLinks websites. Tell the Hennepin County Commissioners to support children and teens by continuing to provide reading development through these outstanding online resources.

Taxes go to operation of presidential libraries

In the nearly 60 years since the federal government became the official caretaker of former U.S. presidents' historical documents, presidential libraries have engaged in a delicate dance to keep the private foundations that build them and the taxpayers who keep them running from stepping on each other's toes.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-presidential-libraries-funding-met-20140808-story.html

This Sex-Ed Book Is Way Too Sexy, Parents Complain

Teaches ninth-graders about masturbation, like they've never heard of it before
California parents are complaining that a new sex-education book for ninth-graders has way too much hot, naked sex in it.
http://time.com/3094386/sex-ed-teens-fremont-parents-virginity/

Omaha's proposed budget would cut funding for libraries

If you’ve been patiently waiting for a library copy of a best-seller like “The Fault in Our Stars,” the City of Omaha’s proposed budget for next year might come with some bad news.

The plan headed to the City Council for a public hearing Tuesday comes with a cut for the city’s libraries; the department’s $13.1 million budget is down about 5 percent from last year.

To avoid cutting staff or library hours, officials have plans to reduce the library’s materials budget — which means fewer opportunities to buy new books, e-books, DVDs and other materials, and longer wait times for some of the most popular titles.

Full article:
http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/omaha-s-proposed-budget-would-cut-funding-for-libraries/arti...

Amazon's Battle Over Ebooks Heats Up

More than 900 authors protest Amazon in NYT ad

More than 900 authors have signed an open letter condemning Amazon's boycott of Hachette authors over the online retailer's contractual dispute with the publisher.

Full piece here.

Technology making us "smarter than you think"

With every advance in technology, skeptics lament the loss of a more meaningful and simpler time, arguing that attention spans are shrinking and critical thinking is corroding. But in his book, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, journalist Clive Thompson offers a different take. Brooke spoke with Thompson last year about how all of the YouTube videos, blogs, Twitter feeds, and Wikipedia pages have produced a unique human intelligence.

Google, Barnes & Noble Team Up To Take On Amazon

Google and Barnes & Noble are joining forces to tackle their mutual rival Amazon, zeroing in on a service that Amazon has long dominated: the fast, cheap delivery of books.

NYT

Aiming to Be the Netflix of Books

Monthly subscription services from Amazon, Oyster and Scribd offer access to unlimited e-books, but many newer books aren’t yet available.

NYT article

Mike, the Liberian Librarian. Trying to Help His People While Dealing With Civil Wars, Illiteracy and Now Ebola

Via Huff Post:

In his 60 years Michael Weah, like most Liberians, has had to contend with realities most of us in the United States can not even comprehend. Thirty-four years ago, when he was 26, came the bloody military coup staged by Samuel Doe, that upended what had been the social and political order in Liberia since its colonization by American freemen and former slaves in 1820. Then in 1989 Charles Taylor overthrew Doe, and Liberia slid into a period of on-again-off-again civil wars.

During the period of the civil wars, when life in Monrovia was restricted by a curfew that began in the late afternoon, Michael Weah established a small lending library, supplying anyone who asked with reading material - books, magazines, newspapers, donated from overseas. All he asked was that when a person was through with the reading material they pass it on to someone else who would use it to sustain them through the interminable periods of daily isolation.

During the decade-plus of civil wars, the initial operation grew into the We-Care Library, the only real library in Monrovia, Liberia's capital city. Every day the library is literally jammed with school children of all ages, who come to study, do their home work, and expand their horizons.

The library recently had to close due to the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa. As Mike wrote the other day to friends in the U.S. and Canada, "family wise, I have lost three persons: my doctor, the man who clears our books from the port, and a young nephew. Everybody fled from the house when the young boy started to show the symptoms. He died alone and his body is still lying on the porch where he passed. The health workers were called about six hours ago. They may come or may not."

How a New Dutch Library Smashed Attendance Records

From Shareable:

Facing declining visitors and uncertainty about what to do about it, library administrators in the new town of Almere in the Netherlands did something extraordinary. They redesigned their libraries based on the changing needs and desires of library users and, in 2010, opened the Nieuwe Bibliotheek (New Library), a thriving community hub that looks more like a bookstore than a library.

Guided by patron surveys, administrators tossed out traditional methods of library organization, turning to retail design and merchandising for inspiration. They now group books by areas of interest, combining fiction and nonfiction; they display books face-out to catch the eye of browsers; and they train staff members in marketing and customer service techniques.

With out-facing books, the New Library looks more like a bookstore than a library. Oooh, nice!

Harsh Children's Book Reviews

From Quartz.

"One hundred years before post-millennial parents were deeming Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs inappropriate for young vegans, the children’s librarians of the New York Public Library kept a card catalog of hand-typed kids’ book reviews.

“There’s about a billion card catalogs in the library,” says Lynn Lobash, who oversees reader services at the NYPL. “But these are special in that they were used as a tool for collection development, for the staff to evaluate the children’s collection.”

Fave comment written in 1975 on an index card is "Just what we've been waiting for. A DIRTY TEENAGE NOVEL" about Judy Blume's Forever.

Summer Reading Programs Finishing Up

Many public libraries have summer reading programs. Does yours? Please comment below to let us know how it's going/gone...

From My Eastern Shore Maryland:

STEVENSVILLE — Whoever said summer reading is a drag hasn't been to the Queen Anne's Public Library this summer. On July 31, parents and children gathered at the library in Stevensville for the Summer Reading Wrap-Up, an event to celebrate the end of the library's annual summer reading program. Children built structures with Legos, made art pieces on paper plates, watched science demonstrations, and talked about the books they've read this summer.

George Burchill, a 9-year-old from Stevensville, said that his favorite books this summer have been the “Ranger's Apprentice” series by John Flanagan. The soon-to-be fourth-grader has read 21 books so far over summer vacation, all several hundred pages long. Asked how he could read so much in that amount of time, he laughed, “Most of the day I read.”

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