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And I am biased, obviously and enormously: I'm an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults. For about 30 years I have been earning my living though my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.
...on horseback, in supermarkets, in vending machines, on burros, in Walmart stores, etc.
BookRiot has put together a list of unlikely locations for libraries.
For example, here's the pack horse library in Hindman Kentucky.
During the Great Depression, as part of an effort to boost employment for women, the Works Progress Administration funded the Pack Horse Library Project of Eastern Kentucky, which sent women out on horseback to deliver books to parts of the Cumberland Mountains inaccessible to cars and trucks. You can learn more about the Pack Horse Library and the women who made it possible in Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer’s recently-released Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky (HarperCollins).
All of these prospects for the future of libraries sound nice on paper (figuratively, not literally, of course). But I’m also worried that some of us are kidding ourselves. These theoretical places are not libraries in the ways that any of us currently think of libraries.
That’s the thing: it seems that nearly everyone is actually in agreement that libraries, as we currently know them, are going away. But no one wants to admit it because calling for the end of libraries seems about as popular as the Dewey Decimal System.
Fascinating piece in the New Yorker about an ancient Chinese library in Dunhuang, unearthed about one hundred years ago, and where scholars are now in the process of digitizing thousand year old Chinese manuscripts.
A portion of the article equating print with prayer...
"The paper items preserved in the Library also shed light on the origins of another information technology: print. The Diamond Sutra, one of the most famous documents recovered from Dunhuang, was commissioned in 868 A.D., “for free distribution,” by a man named Wang Jie, who wanted to commemorate his parents. In the well-known sermon that it contains, the Buddha declares that the merit accrued from reading and reciting the sutra was worth more than a galaxy filled with jewels. In other words, reproducing scriptures, whether orally or on paper, was good for karma. Printing began as a form of prayer, the equivalent of turning a prayer wheel or slipping a note into the Western Wall in Jerusalem, but on an industrial scale."
One doesn't usually see library related stories at Comic Book Resources, but here you go:
The Northlake Public Library in suburban Chicago unveiled its Hulk statue earlier this month to a crowd of more than 300. Trustee Tom Mukite, who joined the board specifically to spearhead the statue campaign, called the event the “largest turnout at the library ever.”
The Franklin Park Herald-Journal also covered the story,
"The lobby filled with local residents such as Amanda Efta, who carried her nephew Aiden Kolanizios. A library trustee offered green cupcakes to visitors.
“This is the biggest crowd the library’s seen in a while,” Northlake Mayor Jeff Sherwin said.
As the sheet was removed from the statue, people applauded, cameras clicked and little kids gazed up or rubbed the big toe — about the size of a grapefruit."
From Rocket News a report of a furry assistant librarian manning (or should we say...catting?) the circ desk in Novorossiysk Russia.
Kuzya showed up at the library’s door one day and impressed staff with his uncanny ability to look cute and fluffy. After arching his back and running his face along people’s legs he was able to procure food and (secretly) a warm place to spend cold winter days.
Unfortunately, Kuzya lacked the proper documents to be kept in a public space such as a library, so the staff, seeing the cat’s potential, worked to acquire it. Kuzya would need a cat passport, which apparently does exist. To get it he had an ID chip embedded along with a rabies vaccination.
With the paperwork in order, Kuzya could now openly roam the aisles of the library. Under his new title of “pet” he worked hard licking himself, looking cute, and taking naps so much that the library saw a significant increase in patronage. It turned out that people would come for the cat but stay for the book lending service.
Due to his success, the library promoted Kuzya from “pet” to “assistant librarian”.
Small blurb at Wired.com about bedbugs and libraries.
Visiting Libraries and Other Smart Things Bedbugs Do