ISIS Commits Libricide in Iraq reports on the burning of 8000 rare texts and manuscripts by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

The near and far future of libraries

The Rosetta Disk, for example, is one of its attempts to create a permanent archive: it’s a wafer of nickel containing all the world’s languages in raised microscopic text. “We aren’t creating the Rosetta Disk specifically with an apocalypse in mind, or for a society that's undergoing major upheaval,” Long Now Director Laura Welcher told Hopes&Fears, “but over the span of millennia, I think you have to expect that to happen occasionally.”

Let us now turn to the human experts for answers.

From The near and far future of libraries — Hopes&Fears — flow "Technology"


The Secret Life of a Public Library Security Guard | Narratively | Human stories, boldly told.

In between the rare maps and historical stacks, fishing out fornicators and nixing narcotics transactions are all in a day’s work for one of Portland’s finest.

From The Secret Life of a Public Library Security Guard | Narratively | Human stories, boldly told.


Homeless People Need Libraries and Libraries Need Homeless People Too

From the AP:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jeffery Bailey spends nearly every day at his public library. It's not just that he loves books. For the 43-year-old who sleeps in a tent outside a local church, the library is pretty much the only place he can go that won't charge him to provide safety, warmth, useful services and entertainment.

Many public libraries discourage homeless people from hanging around all day. "It could be the way you dress, the way your hair is," says Bailey, whose scruffy denim jacket could use a good wash.

But just as Bailey needs his library, the library needs him: In this digital age, many people who used to depend on libraries can find what they need online without leaving home. Menaced by budget cuts, many public libraries are effectively failing to justify their relevance, reducing their hours year after year.

Is there a library-sized hole in the internet?

David Weinberger is senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and has been instrumental in the development of ideas about the impact of the web. Shortly before his recent keynote presentation at OCLC’s EMEA Regional Council Meeting in Florence, he spoke with Sarah Bartlett about the library-sized hole in the Internet and how a ‘library graph’ might help librarians to fill it.

From Is there a library-sized hole in the internet? - Research Information - Is the Library Really Dead?

Libraries are in rough shape these days. Long treasured as bastions of knowledge, they’re being assailed on two fronts: funding cuts and technological disruption. Why borrow a book when you’ve got the Internet and a Kindle?

But rumors of the library’s demise are greatly exaggerated. The challenges that libraries face have spurred their radical reinvention as makerspaces and digital archives built to last thousands of years. 

The libraries of the future will preserve and transmit knowledge as always. You just might not recognize them.

From - Is the Library Really Dead?


The most popular books at some of New York’s public libraries

But other titles were less predictable — a book on salesmanship was tops in Hell’s Kitchen, zombies are big in The Bronx, and a book about the infamous Kitty Genovese murder in Queens was the most checked out in Great Kills, Staten Island.
Here are the most popular books at a selection of library branches, based on January 2015 data for the NYPL

From The most popular books at some of New York’s public libraries | New York Post


Breathe a Small Sigh of Relief for the Contents of Middle Eastern Libraries

From The New York Times Arts Blog:

LONDON — At a moment when libraries and archives in the Middle East face threats of damage and destruction from war and ideology, the British Library has announced that it has now made four million images from its Endangered Archives program available online.

The initiative, established in 2004 and supported by the Arcadia Fund, has so far financed 246 projects in 78 countries, attempting to preserve manuscripts, records, newspapers, photographs, sound archives and even rock inscriptions that are at risk of loss or deterioration.

“What’s at stake is what beliefs and biases will shape the way history is told,” Holland Cotter wrote in The New York Times in a 2012 article about the Great Mosque in Djenné, Mali, and the Endangered Archives program’s attempt to preserve and digitize the thousands of Arabic manuscripts housed in the mosque and in the city.

At Your Service: Information Sleuth at the New York Public Library -

Mr. Boylan and the eight other full-time researchers sit in a network of cubicles in the library’s Main Branch at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and field about 300 requests a day.

“In a certain sense, the work I do begins where the Internet ends,” Mr. Boylan said. “Certain things you can’t find with Google.”

From At Your Service: Information Sleuth at the New York Public Library -


Save Little Free Libraries from Uncultured Killjoys

I want a world of people who do what Yeon-mi Park did. After escaping North Korea, she “read and read and read, even when I didn’t know what I was reading.” She read Orwell, too, and found that “it made complete sense to me. I was still so angry and hateful at this time because of the way I’d been treated.” Reading Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, she says, taught her compassion to balance that anger.

From Save Little Free Libraries from Uncultured Killjoys



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