Dallas Public Library's Used Bookstore Closing After 30 Years

Too bad. Replaced by an office of Vital Statistics. Story here.

The Secret Apartments of New York Libraries

From 6 square ft, a story about the secret apartments of New York libraries. The protagonists being the supers (superintendents) that maintain and live in the libraries.

"In the early to mid twentieth century, the majority of the city’s libraries had live-in superintendents. Like the superintendents who still live in many of the city’s residential buildings, these caretakers both worked and lived in the buildings for which they were responsible. This meant that for decades, behind the stacks, meals were cooked, baths and showers were taken, and bedtime stories were read. And yes, families living in the city’s libraries typically did have access to the stacks at night—an added bonus if they happened to need a new bedtime book after hours."

Would you like to have a little place in the back of your own library?

Rainbow flag over library prompts new rules in Des Plaines

In response to the rainbow flag flying outside the Des Plaines Public Library, city aldermen on Tuesday narrowly passed a measure allowing only the flags of the United States, state of Illinois and city of Des Plaines, and the POW-MIA flag to fly over municipal property. Any other flags would require prior approval from the city council.
From Rainbow flag over library prompts new rules in Des Plaines

Being a librarian now means also being at least a part-time social worker

In a city known for innovation, tolerance, and liberal social policies, homelessness has proven to be an intractable problem. Two out of three of San Francisco’s homeless residents are not living in shelters but on the street, according to federal statistics. That trend, says Hall, has manifested itself inside the library. “There certainly weren’t as many homeless patrons when I began,” Hall said. “But there also weren’t the housing shortages and the income disparities and the issues with injectable drugs. The city really has changed a lot.” And so has being a librarian at the Main Branch. To thrive here, Hall said, one must come to terms with the fact that it is not a sleepy suburban branch nor a cloistered university research library. “We make it very clear to our applicants that this isn’t always a quiet, peaceful place,” Hall said. “People who work here must embrace that urban reality.”
From Being a librarian now means also being at least a part-time social worker — Timeline

Let’s make peer review scientific

So what now? In my field, and perhaps in many others: follow the triallists. First, develop evidence-based lists of items to be included in reporting (mission-sort-of-accomplished for many clinical journals). Journals must accept and promote these guidelines and ensure that reviewers hold authors to them; perhaps they should facilitate training in peer review, which has been shown to improve performance. Finally, manuscript editors and copy editors must uphold the standards. For example, we now routinely reject trial reports that cannot prove registration before inception. This change is large for all involved — authors, reviewers and journal staff — and it is taking years.
From Let’s make peer review scientific : Nature News & Comment

Marrakesh Treaty will limit copyright, easing book access for blind and print-disabled worldwide

The Marrakesh Treaty is a proposed set of rules designed by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a division of the U.N. that helps alleviate cross-border IP issues. Marrakesh would create exceptions to copyright laws, allowing reproduction of works in accessible formats like Braille, audio or e-book, and easing restrictions on passing those works between countries. The range of disabilities, needs and means of access are very wide: A person who is paralyzed or lacks hands has very different requirements from someone who is blind, or someone suffering from dyslexia.
From Marrakesh Treaty will limit copyright, easing book access for blind and print-disabled worldwide | TechCrunch

Adding Classes and Content, Resurgent Libraries Turn a Whisper Into a Roar

Far from becoming irrelevant in the digital age, libraries in New York City and around the nation are thriving: adding weekend and evening hours; hiring more librarians and staff; and expanding their catalog of classes and services to include things like job counseling, coding classes and knitting groups. No longer just repositories for books, public libraries have reinvented themselves as one-stop community centers that aim to offer something for everyone. In so doing, they are reaffirming their role as an essential part of civic life in America by making themselves indispensable to new generations of patrons.
From Adding Classes and Content, Resurgent Libraries Turn a Whisper Into a Roar - The New York Times

Welcome To The Library Hiding In A Garden Hiding In New York City

Stephen Sinon, head of special collections, research and archives at the New York Botanical Garden, describes the Mertz Library “as the largest of its kind in the world under one roof.” Founded in 1899, the haven for plant-related literature is often described as either the largest or the most comprehensive botanical library in the Americas. With over one million items — including The Natural History of the Rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia by James Edward Smith — it sits rather quietly on the property of the Bronx Garden, hiding, one might put it, in plain sight.
From Welcome To The Library Hiding In A Garden Hiding In New York City

The Victorians had the same concerns about technology as we do

Of course, all old technologies were once new. People were at one point genuinely concerned about things we take for granted as perfectly harmless now. In the later decades of the 19th century it was thought that the telephone would induce deafness and that sulphurous vapours were asphyxiating passengers on the London Underground. These then-new advancements were replacing older still technologies that had themselves occasioned similar anxieties on their introduction. Plato, as his oral culture began to transition to a literary one, was gravely worried that writing itself would erode the memory.
From The Victorians had the same concerns about technology as we do

Delay Over Confirmation of Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress

Our obstructionist Congress is saying that LOC Librarian of Congress nominee Carla Hayden is pro-obscenity. Consequently they are delaying a confirmation for the post (a la the Supreme Court). Report via TechDirt.

From the article: " A key issue, of course, is that the Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress, so Hayden would run the Copyright Office as well. In our original post, we already noted the rather snide statement put out by the RIAA , which basically says "Hayden's fine for the library, but she better keep her filthy hands off of the Copyright Office":

“We are gratified that President Obama has chosen a qualified and capable nominee to be the next Librarian of Congress. We look forward to working with Dr. Hayden.

“It is worth noting that the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office have been mutually respectful of each other’s areas of expertise. We would hope that the new Librarian would continue to demonstrate that respect for the Copyright Office’s expertise in copyright policy and recommendations to Congress.”

AIGA | 50 Books/50 Covers Competition

“50 Books/50 Covers” has a long history of celebrating design excellence, with selections exemplifying the best current work in book and book cover design as chosen by a distinguished jury of design peers. The annual competition developed from AIGA's “Fifty Books of 1923” exhibition and past selections have been added to the AIGA Design Archives as well as the physical archives at the Denver Art Museum and in Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Collection at the Butler Library. Since 2011, the competition has been managed by Design Observer. “Justified: AIGA Design Competition” represents the next generation of AIGA’s competitions and seeks stories that reveal the value design created for the client. For book design, AIGA encourages entry in both competitions. 
From AIGA | 50 Books/50 Covers Competition Here are the 2015 winners: Books and the Covers.

Shakespeare: Actor. Playwright. Social Climber.

The new depictions Ms. Wolfe has gathered are all from the 17th century. More than half associate the arms with “Shakespeare the player,” or with William, not John. This material not only proves “that Shakespeare was Shakespeare,” as Ms. Wolfe wryly put it. It also, she argues, underlines the degree to which contemporaries saw the coat of arms as, in effect, being for William. “It makes it abundantly clear that while Shakespeare was obtaining the arms on behalf of his father, it was really for his own status,” she said. Mr. Shapiro said he agreed. “All evidence suggests this was not about the father,” he said, “but about how Shakespeare wanted to be seen.”
From Shakespeare: Actor. Playwright. Social Climber. - NYTimes.com

Mississauga workers’ strike shuts down 18 public libraries

“How do they justify giving (library) director Rose Vespa a 7.3 per cent salary increase the same year we got .5 per cent,” asked librarian and CUPE Local 1989 president Laura Kaminker, after a strike Monday shut down all 18 public libraries in Mississauga. Contract negotiations between the city and the union representing about 390 members who work in the libraries broke down over the weekend, with no immediate plans to resume talks. Late fees won’t be applied while the shutdown continues, and online services are not impacted by the strike.
From Mississauga workers’ strike shuts down 18 public libraries | Toronto Star

The Secret History of Holywell Street: Home to Victorian London’s Dirty Book Trade

Victorian sexuality is often considered synonymous with prudishness, conjuring images of covered up piano legs and dark ankle-length skirts. Historian Matthew Green uncovers a quite different scene in the sordid story of Holywell St, 19th-century London’s epicentre of erotica and smut.
From The Secret History of Holywell Street: Home to Victorian London’s Dirty Book Trade | The Public Domain Review

How Amazon’s team of old-school book reviewers influences what we read

In a company driven by engineers and run by algorithms and metrics, Amazon’s small group of book editors is an anomaly of sorts. But through the Amazon Book Review and other methods, it’s trying to build Amazon’s presence and influence in the world of literary culture.
From How Amazon’s team of old-school book reviewers influences what we read | The Seattle Times

NY Libraries unsure about opioid antidote program

With heroin and opioid abuse now the No. 1 cause of accidental death in the state, a new law makes it possible for public libraries around the state to provide treatment to combat overdoses. But area libraries are unsure whether they'd take part in the voluntary program. On June 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill to allow public libraries to maintain and administer opioid antagonists, such as the antidote naloxone, commonly known by the brand name narcan, for the treatment of overdoses. The original bill was sponsored by Sen. George Amedore of Niskayuna, a co-chair of the New York State Senate Task Force on Heroin Addiction and Opioid Abuse that visited Lake Placid in May.
From Libraries unsure about opioid antidote program - AdirondackDailyEnterprise.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Saranac Lake region — Adirondack Daily Enterprise

What do modern libraries loan? Human books

"A Human Library is just like a real library but instead of paperbacks and hard covers, we have real people on our bookshelves," said Ronni Abergel, cofounder of the Human Library Organization. "You can borrow the bipolar or the Muslim or the transgender or the homeless, and in this way you get a chance to talk to this person and you may just realize what you have in common."
From What do modern libraries loan? Human books

Take it from me: Your local library needs a cat

Critics might wonder whether the energy spent campaigning for — or against — a cat in the library would be better spent improving literacy rates and building up the collection. But both recent cases underscore the rapidly changing role of American libraries in an era in which people can receive a deluge of information in the palm of their hand.
From Take it from me: Your local library needs a cat - The Washington Post

ArXiv preprint server plans multimillion-dollar overhaul

To attract support from donors, arXiv’s operator, Cornell University Library in Ithaca, New York, is hoping to come up with a “compelling vision”, Rieger says. Scientists seem to love arXiv: 95% of the survey’s 36,000 respondents said that they were very satisfied or satisfied with it. And most want to keep it just the way it is, although perhaps with some modernization. They were enthusiastic about the possibility of tweaks to improve the site’s search functions, and about allowing references to be hyperlinked directly to research papers, for example (see ‘What do arXiv users want?’). Some wanted the site to broaden into new subject areas, such as chemistry — although such expansion would require the recruitment of scientists who are willing to moderate the manuscripts, notes David Morrison, chair of arXiv’s scientific advisory board.
From ArXiv preprint server plans multimillion-dollar overhaul : Nature News & Comment

Was Roald Dahl the Best Children’s Author of All Time?

For one thing, he was ruthless. Or, if that’s too strong a word, let’s just say he did not coddle his readers, young or old (and as for what he wrote for grown-ups, he is surely the only successful children’s book author to ever get away with writing stories and novels for adults that are often, as my aunt would have said, prurient, and often just this side of pornographic).
From Was Roald Dahl the Best Children’s Author of All Time? - The Daily Beast


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