Libraries

Don't leave UK libraries to councils: ringfence their funds

The problem is that libraries aren’t treated fairly as cultural institutions. Instead councils are forced to contrast them with acute public services, such as child protection or social care. This is an impossible comparison.

Robbie Millen, literary editor of the Times, recently argued that councils are incapable of appreciating the real value of libraries as a symbol for culture, art and literature. He believes the answer is privatisation.

http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2016/mar/24/libraries-councils-ringfence-f...

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The libraries of Herculaneum: Not quite destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius?

It may require a particle accelerator, X-ray vision, and a highly toxic metal, but researchers believe they could soon be reading from the libraries of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town destroyed by a volcano to the benefit of archaeology. Scientists have discovered that ancient scholars in the town which, along with its more-famous neighbor, Pompeii, was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius used a lead-based paint, which they may be able to read using X-ray technology, Sonia van Gilder Cooke wrote for the New Scientist. http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0322/The-libraries-of-Herculaneum-Not-quite-destroyed-by-Mt.-Vesuvius
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CMU Speck pollution monitors now available at Carnegie libraries | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

At most libraries, a person can expect to borrow books, CDs or videos but never a device. But in a yearlong pilot project, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has allowed its members to check out — literally and figuratively — the Speck air-quality monitor developed by the Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab that measures indoor air-particulate pollution levels. In fact, the trial has been so successful that all 19 libraries soon will have Speck monitors available for checkout for three weeks, with a library-system inventory now totaling 120 monitors through support from three local foundations. Pilot-project success also has inspired Airviz, the CMU spinoff that sells the device, to give free Specks to 100 libraries nationwide along with support material and training, with a 15 percent discount on additional monitors. CMU robotics professor Illah Nourbakhsh led Speck’s development. http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2016/03/21/CMU-Speck-pollution-monitors-now-available-at-Carnegie-Libraries/stories/201603210015
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Reimagining Libraries In The Digital Era: Lessons From Data Mining The Internet Archive

As the digital revolution fundamentally reshapes how we live our lives, libraries are grappling with how to reinvent themselves in a world in which they are no longer a primary gatekeeper to knowledge. As I wrote in 2014 for the Knight Foundation’s blog, “perhaps the future of libraries lies in a return to their roots, not as museums of physical artifacts for rental, but as conveners of information and those who can understand and translate that information to the needs of an innovative world.” As the Knight Foundation wraps up their most recent Challenge on reinventing libraries for the 21st century (which has attracted over 225 submissions to date) and as the nation prepares for a new Librarian of Congress to shepherd the organization into the digital era, what might the future of libraries look like?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2016/03/19/reimagining-libraries-in-the-digital-era...

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A Mashup Of Laundromat and Library

Poor mothers often spend way too much time hunched over a washboard. What if they could use those hours to curl up with their kids and read a book instead? A group of friends at Oxford University plans to find out by developing a combination childhood education and laundry services center, a concept they've dubbed a "Libromat."

The five team members have extensive backgrounds in childhood education, and they pooled their talents to apply for the 2015 Hult Prize, a $1 million award for young social entrepreneurs tackling some of the world's biggest problems.

This year's challenge: provide self-sustainable education to impoverished urban areas.

From Rinse, Spin, Read To Kids: It's A Mashup Of Laundromat and Library : Goats and Soda : NPR

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Time Travel: The History of Libraries

For thousands of years, people have traveled to libraries in search of knowledge. Once civilization dawned, people needed a place to store information and archives, and thus libraries were born. The earliest libraries are traced to present-day Iraq and stored cuneiform data on clay tablets. China’s creation of paper in the 2nd century BC helped spread knowledge westward at a faster pace, and more libraries appeared in sacred and private spaces.

From Time Travel: The History of Libraries :: Travel :: Galleries :: Paste

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Restoring the world’s oldest library

The ancient al-Qarawiyyin Library in Fez isn’t just the oldest library in Africa. Founded in 859, it’s the oldest working library in the world, holding ancient manuscripts that date as far back as 12 centuries. But modern life had taken a toll on the library, with its buildings falling into disrepair. That’s why in 2012, the Moroccan Ministry of Culture asked TED Fellow and architect Aziza Chaouni to rehabilitate the library so that it can reopen to the general public. She describes the challenges inherent in undertaking a daunting, historic project. (Spoiler alert: she was successful; the library reopens in May 2016!)

From Restoring the world’s oldest library |

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How Libraries Are Becoming Modern Makerspaces

Today, perhaps taking a cue from Franklin, libraries across America are creating space for their patrons to experiment with all kinds of new technologies and tools to create and invent.

From How Libraries Are Becoming Modern Makerspaces - The Atlantic

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'Libraries are vital to freedom of speech'

"Librarians are much needed as valuable guides: to help students and other readers to learn techniques to sift information, question its validity and measure its importance," Jolley said. "To understand what to trust and what to question; and that all information is not equal. Students need to be able to weigh up and sift different sources of research. The University of California Library System saw a 54% decline in circulation between 1991 to 2001 of 8,377,000 books to 3,832,000. It is shocking that some students are failing themselves by not using a broad range of books, and journals that are free from their university libraries to widen and deepen their understanding."

From 'Libraries are vital to freedom of speech' | The Bookseller

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Creating A Public Space: Open Access, Book Theft, and the Epigraphy of Ancient Libraries

Nowadays, I spend a lot of time at the Main Library at the University of Iowa, particularly in the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio. Like the Library of Pantaenus, library patrons at the UI tend to think more about the books inside of libraries than the inscribed surfaces that help to compartmentalize and organize the space itself. However, the various signs, posted maps, and plaques within these repositories help to shape our experience. Moreover the use of locks, doors, and inscribed warnings can communicate something about the institution itself. I have worked for both public and private institutions with adjoining libraries, and I must say that entering a public library is an altogether different spatial experience from entering a private one–which can often feel like entering a prison.

From Creating A Public Space: Open Access, Book Theft, and the Epigraphy of Ancient Libraries – SARAH E. BOND

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