News

Canadian Library Association Dismayed by Seizure of Occupy Wall Street Movement Library

http://clagov.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/ows-library/

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) is dismayed by the reported seizure of The People’s Library, which had been operated by the New York Occupy Wall Street movement, and echos the support of the American Library Association for the volunteers who are working to re-establish the library.

CLA President Karen Adams stated: “The Occupy Movement libraries are meeting the information needs of specific communities, and are documenting the history of those communities. Libraries are critical to an open and democratic society. We support those who are working to rebuild the People’s Library in New York, as well as those who are operating the Occupy Movement libraries across Canada.”

Milwaukee budget proposal for 2012 would roll back library cuts

In a rare bit of good news, Milwaukee appears poised to restore some funding to the public library system,

"Milwaukee Public Libraries would be open longer hours and expand their educational programs for children, under the 2012 city budget that Mayor Tom Barrett will unveil Tuesday.

Barrett said he's seeking to roll back the library service cuts of previous years, in recognition of the libraries' importance in helping residents improve their lives.

As recent statistics show increasing poverty in Milwaukee, Barrett said, "I remain convinced that education, and access to education, and access to books, is one of the best things we can do to combat that. We're trying to foster a positive learning environment.""

Michael Hart, Project Gutenberg Founder Dies

From Infodocket, news of the passing of Michael Hart, creator of Project Gutenberg.

Here are two passages from an obituary written by Greg Newby:

Michael S. Hart left a major mark on the world. The invention of eBooks was not simply a technological innovation or precursor to the modern information environment. A more correct understanding is that eBooks are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature. Access to eBooks can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy. Literacy, the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.

In July 2011, Michael wrote these words, which summarize his goals and his lasting legacy: “One thing about eBooks that most people haven’t thought much is that eBooks are the very first thing that we’re all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realize we are in the right job.”

Here is Michael Hart's obituary on the Project Gutenberg Website.

WorldCat Turns Forty

News today from OCLC that WorldCat has turned the big 4-0. Some more statistics are available.

Did one invention lead to the decline of newspapers?

What led to the decline of news?
Look, this post has a point. By now it should be obvious: One invention did not lead to the decline of newspapers, and one firm did not do it either. The loss of readers and the loss of ads came from the accumulation of a number of events. Who is responsible? Let’s count. We have blamed Craigslist, other online classified sites, Overture, NSF funding, Silicon Valley’s ecosystem, the efforts of many clever computer scientists, and the efforts of many bloggers. And that is just the short version of the story. The problems with newspapers did not arise at the hand of a single invention or a single firm. It was a gang.

Vatican to Digitize Prohibited Archives

Hot on the heels of their successful iPhone app/Apple Store and drive-through confessional, the BBC News reports that the Vatican has announced plans to digitize their pornography collection and make it available online to paying subscribers. Given what the church has planned for the project's profits, here's hoping they learn lessons from the the New York Times paywall loopholes. Is anyone in on the Indulgentia beta?

All The News That's Fit To Sell

The New York Times is again playing with online subscriptions. A new model unveiled today gives you 20 article views a month before you hit a paywall. Other online papers have tried to charge for access with limited success. It's been interesting to watch the news models and industry develop over time.

Small Fire Extinguished at Library of Congress

Washington Post : The Madison Building at the Library of Congress in Washington has reopened Friday after being briefly evacuated because of a small electrical fire in the basement.

The fire broke out in the morning and was contained to a basement. D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer says the fire stemmed from an electrical problem involving a generator, but the exact cause has yet to be determined.

U.S. Capitol Police say there were no injuries and no immediate reports of damages. The building on Independence Avenue was evacuated and neighboring streets were shut down.

Additional details from The Hill.

Lost Jewish Texts Show Up in New York

As the Nazi's power grew in the early 1930s, a Jewish librarian living in Frankfurt published a catalogue of of 15,000 books he'd collected.

When the war hit, large portions of the collections disappeared, a frighteningly common occurrence with Jewish literature and writing in Germany just before and during World War II. Yet somehow many of these books made their way to America, to the shelves of the Leo Baeck Institute where they were recently re-discovered.

More from the New York Times.

Are libraries finished? Five arguments for and against

The BBC News Magazine asks the question and provides both yea and nay answers.

"But no matter how eloquently Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy or author Colin Dexter extol their virtues, the fact is library visitor numbers - like their budgets - are falling.

So what can the internet provide that a library can't, and when is there simply no online substitute for a trip to your local library? Here are five examples on either side"

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