Issaquah bookbinder among handful at libraries nationwide still operating a ‘mendery’

Donald Vass, who has spent the past 26 years mending and tending to books for the King County Library System, has seen mechanical and human-inflicted damage and more. At 57 and with not many years left before retirement, he says he believes he will be the last full-time traditional bookbinder ever to take up shears, brushes and needles here. The skills take too long to learn, he said, and no one is being groomed to take his place in “the mendery,” Room 111 at the library’s central service center, where not so many years ago, 10 people worked.
From Issaquah bookbinder among handful at libraries nationwide still operating a ‘mendery’ | The Seattle Times
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Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems

Badly worded or poorly conceived questions on standardized tests are not uncommon (remember the question about a “talking pineapple” on a New York test in 2012?). But here’s something new: The author of source material on two Texas standardized tests says she can’t actually answer the questions about her own work because they are so poorly conceived. She also says she can’t understand why at least one of her poems — which she calls her “most neurotic” — was included on a standardized test for students.
From Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems - The Washington Post
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UK Book sales the week before Christmas were highest in 10 years

Christmas trading for the UK book market saw its strongest sales in 10 years, new figures have revealed.  Nielsen BookScan reports that a total of £83.3m worth of print books were sold in the run-up to Christmas, which marks the highest since 2007.
From Book sales the week before Christmas were highest in 10 years | The Independent
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The Title Character Has Disappeared But His Story Lives On

Perhaps you're acquainted with Edinburgh University's Library Cat? Here's the Facebook page where I first met him. Sadly I must report that Library Cat has gone missing this past summer, and has not shown up at the Uni library nor any of his other favorite spots. There appears to be a usurper, the so-called Library Cat 2.0. Here's the story of Library Cat's tenure at the library and his disappearance. He will be missed greatly. But his ghostwriter, PhD student Alex Howard has published his inner thoughts in a wonderful volume, shown here. It's been published in the UK but is available elsewhere via BookDepository.com.

Barnes & Noble holiday sales sink as coloring-book fad fades

Barnes & Noble Inc. posted its first decline in holiday sales in three years, hurt by a downturn in the coloring-book category, bringing another sign that the Christmas season wasn’t kind to retailers. Same-store sales sank 9.1 percent for the nine-week holiday period, the New York-based company said on Thursday. Coloring books and other art supplies — products that had surged last year in part because adults were embracing them — were particularly weak. Still, Barnes & Noble expects to bolster its operating profit by keeping a tight lid on expenses.
From Barnes & Noble holiday sales sink as coloring-book fad fades – The Denver Post
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Information illiterate: Challenges libraries face in this fake news era

In such an environment, how is a librarian or faculty member supposed to respond to a bright student who sincerely asks, “How can you say that a blog post attacking GMO food is less credible than some journal article supporting the safety of GMO food? What if the journal article’s research results were faked? Have the results been replicated? At the end of the day, aren’t facts a matter of context?”
From Information illiterate: Challenges libraries face in this fake news era - Salon.com
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Privacy is still alive and kicking in the digital age

Privacy is a democratic value. It is free thought and independence. Studies show that people change their behavior when they feel watched. They seek information less freely, act and express themselves less freely, are afraid to stand out and go against the flow. Trevor Hughes, CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, IAPP, has a good explanation of the importance of privacy: “As humans, we seek solitude when we feel vulnerable. Sometimes, this is related to physical vulnerability. We seek to exclude ourselves from our societies when we are sick, or in moments of particular risk (think: sleeping, toileting, sex, etc.). But we also seek to exclude ourselves when we feel emotionally vulnerable. We seek private space to explore new identities or ideas.” Privacy and the space to think and act without feeling watched is a prerequisite for individuals’ ability to act independently and freely. A private life ensures that each person can create his or her own unique identity and determine his or her life’s direction — the right to fail along the way or to go against the tide. The right to privacy is thus a prerequisite for active democracy. https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/25/privacy-is-still-alive-and-kicking-in-the-digital-age/

Internet history is fragile. This archive is making sure it doesn’t disappear

What’s online doesn’t necessarily last forever. Content on the Internet is revised and deleted all the time. Hyperlinks “rot,” and with them goes history, lost in space. With that in mind, Brewster Kahle set out to develop the Internet Archive, a digital library with the mission of preserving all the information on the World Wide Web, for all who wish to explore. Jeffrey Brown reports.

Full story
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Fake readers help save books

After allegations by an unidentified person made in November, an investigation by the Lake County clerk of courts' inspector general's office concluded that Finley was a fake, and the county has since requested a systemwide audit of its libraries.

The goal behind the creation of "Chuck Finley" was to make sure certain books stayed on the shelves - books that aren't used for a long period can be discarded and removed from the library system.

George Dore, the library's branch supervisor who was put on administrative leave for his part in the episode, said he wanted to avoid having to later repurchase books purged from the shelf. He said the same thing is being done at other libraries, too.

http://www.newsherald.com/news/20170102/fake-readers-help-save-books

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Call Me Ishmael - The Hobbit

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UC Santa Cruz "De-Duplicates" 80,000 Volumes

From Mercury News, a math professor protests after the library rids itself of a majority of its book collection.

Koch Brothers Anti-Library Stance

Via Wonkette:

When you think of Charles and David Koch and their dreams of remaking America into a libertarian paradise, you generally associate them with campaigns to elect rightwing candidates.

And now they’re going after public libraries, because if people want access to books and videos and computers and children’s story hours and public meeting spaces, they should damn well pay for them themselves, not leech taxpayer dollars for the “good” of the “community.”

Little Free Libraries, Good for the Neighborhood?

From Salon, a tale of the down-side of Little Free Libraries.

Dan Greenstone writes: "The lesson was clear. I wasn’t running a library. Libraries are built around the idea of circulation. And circulation implies a circle. What I had, aside from the contributions of a few kind neighbors on my block, was a one-way street of literary handouts. So it wasn’t long before I concluded that if I was going to stay in business, I had to reduce the outgoing volume."

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Not library related but fun

Surprising Lessons From 100 Days of Rejection

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The Purpose-Based Library

In the years since John Huber’s trailblazing Lean Library Management was published, budget pressures on libraries have only increased. Yet libraries who have adopted his strategies have turned conventional management thinking—that if budgets are reduced, customer service suffers—on its head. These libraries have proven that by streamlining and improving customer services, they can eliminate wasteful activities and bring down costs. In The Purpose-Based Library, Huber and seasoned public library administrator Potter build on insight gleaned from decades of experience to demonstrate how libraries can create real growth opportunities through concentrating on their true mission and purpose, and without spending a lot more money. With a focus on putting ideas into action, they point the way towards

New ways to think about metrics
Reexamining customer self-driven services
Effectively leveraging the considerable footprint of libraries
Identifying and assessing community needs and realigning library services accordingly
Actively encouraging community fundraising
Offering cutting-edge services and programs
Packed with boots-on-the-ground commentary, this book presents strategies to help libraries survive and succeed.

http://amzn.to/2ieGUVp
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Modern libraries should be a '3rd place’

Over the last 100 years, the local libraries have changed from books behind a counter to open shelves and self-service. Modern ideas about libraries in 2016 indicate that they should be ‘a third place’, a meeting place which is neither a home nor a workplace. Increasingly the users themselves are not only active participants, but also those who generate content.
From Time for change: | Scandinavian Library Quarterly
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SF Public Library revives plan to install microchips in books

But a spokesperson for the ACLU Northern California said in a statement to the San Francisco Examiner on Monday that the organization continues to oppose the technology and urged The City to reject the effort. “RFID has profound implications for civil liberties in San Francisco, including for immigrants’ rights. It’s more important than ever that San Francisco safeguard privacy, free speech, and civil liberties for all,” Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties policy director of the ACLU of California, said in the statement. EFF spokesperson Rebecca Jeschke told the Examiner on Monday “we do have some concerns about this proposal, but we haven’t looked at it as closely as we’d like.”
From SF Public Library revives plan to install microchips in books - by j_sabatini - The San Francisco Examiner
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Which English Wikipedia articles were edited most in 2016?

A number of celebrities, politicians, and household names passed away, like David Bowie, Prince, politician Jo Cox, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, boxer Muhammad Ali, and singer Christina Grimmie. All showed up in either the full list of most edited by year/by month breakdowns, but are dwarfed by the article on deaths in 2016. Similar to last year, it was by far the most edited of the year.[1]
From Death, politics, and Vincent van Gogh: 2016 as seen through the lens of Wikipedia – Wikimedia Blog
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Carla Hayden on NPR's The Takeaway

Story via NPR's The Takeaway, an 8 minute interview with the new Librarian of Congress.

There have been 14 librarians of Congress since the position was created in 1802. Like any other federal appointment, it's a position that changes with the direction of a given administration. Between 1802 to 1864, political appointees lead the Library of Congress. From 1864 to 1987, most librarians had mixed backgrounds and experience. But one thing that connects all librarians from 1802 to 2015? They were all white, and all men.

Carla Hayden is the first African-American and the first woman to become this country's Librarian of Congress. Oh, and she's interested in retail, she mentioned the LOC's lovely shop.

The American Public Library and the Problem of Purpose

The American Public Library and the Problem of Purpose
http://amzn.to/2hWCocX

The problem of purpose in the title is the 130-year debate within the library community over the proper place for the library in society. Chapters discuss roles for public libraries from the founding of the Boston Public Library with its clear educational purpose through attempts at rational planning for library roles in the 1980s. The controversy about the place of popular fiction in American libraries in the late 19th century; the militant outreach efforts during the early decades of the 20th century; the adult education phase during the 1920s to 1940s; and the library as an information nexus for the people during the late 1960s and 1970s are additional topics covered. The style is highly readable and provides important historical insights that should be of interest not only to library educators and students, but to any public librarian concerned with current service roles.

You can see the table of contents and read the preface here.
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