Libraries

Omaha's proposed budget would cut funding for libraries

If you’ve been patiently waiting for a library copy of a best-seller like “The Fault in Our Stars,” the City of Omaha’s proposed budget for next year might come with some bad news.

The plan headed to the City Council for a public hearing Tuesday comes with a cut for the city’s libraries; the department’s $13.1 million budget is down about 5 percent from last year.

To avoid cutting staff or library hours, officials have plans to reduce the library’s materials budget — which means fewer opportunities to buy new books, e-books, DVDs and other materials, and longer wait times for some of the most popular titles.

Full article:
http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/omaha-s-proposed-budget-would-cut-funding-for-libraries/arti...

Mike, the Liberian Librarian. Trying to Help His People While Dealing With Civil Wars, Illiteracy and Now Ebola

Via Huff Post:

In his 60 years Michael Weah, like most Liberians, has had to contend with realities most of us in the United States can not even comprehend. Thirty-four years ago, when he was 26, came the bloody military coup staged by Samuel Doe, that upended what had been the social and political order in Liberia since its colonization by American freemen and former slaves in 1820. Then in 1989 Charles Taylor overthrew Doe, and Liberia slid into a period of on-again-off-again civil wars.

During the period of the civil wars, when life in Monrovia was restricted by a curfew that began in the late afternoon, Michael Weah established a small lending library, supplying anyone who asked with reading material - books, magazines, newspapers, donated from overseas. All he asked was that when a person was through with the reading material they pass it on to someone else who would use it to sustain them through the interminable periods of daily isolation.

During the decade-plus of civil wars, the initial operation grew into the We-Care Library, the only real library in Monrovia, Liberia's capital city. Every day the library is literally jammed with school children of all ages, who come to study, do their home work, and expand their horizons.

The library recently had to close due to the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa. As Mike wrote the other day to friends in the U.S. and Canada, "family wise, I have lost three persons: my doctor, the man who clears our books from the port, and a young nephew. Everybody fled from the house when the young boy started to show the symptoms. He died alone and his body is still lying on the porch where he passed. The health workers were called about six hours ago. They may come or may not."

Sad Book Returned to NYPL After 54 Years

From Melville House:

Every so often, a book is returned to the library so late, it makes headlines. The due date of the sad book in this particular headline was August 17, 1959.

The New York Public Library recently received a copy of Ideal Marriage by Th.H. Van de Velde, M.D. The librarian reports it’s a “very wordy” and scientific guide to sex from 1926. (It’s “certainly more juicy than The Tropic of Cancer,” writes Billy Parrott of the Mid-Manhattan Library.)

It was such a source of shame, it wasn’t returned by the patron, but by his in-laws after the patron’s death:

We found this book amongst my late brother-in-law’s things. Funny thing is the book didn’t support his efforts with his first (and only) marriage… it failed! No wonder he hid the book! So sorry!!

A shocked in-law

UNLV Students creat solar-powered book drop to roast bed bugs

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/07/18/4014220/libraries-battle-bed-bugs-in-books.html
UNLV undergraduate engineering students Jack Cheney, Nicole Ramos and Vachara Maneeraj created a solar-powered book drop that roasts bed bugs to death. The project was part of UNLV's engineering senior design competition in May. All engineering students must collaborate for a year to produce a product using their engineering skills.

Books out, 3D printers in for Reinvented US Libraries

How about that headline folks?

From New Scientist:

IN THE small town of Fayetteville in northern New York, you'll find the local library in an old furniture factory dating from the turn of the 20th century. The refurbished building retains hints of its industrial past: wooden floors, exposed beams, walls lined with carefully labelled tools.

But instead of quietly perusing stacks of books, many of the patrons are crowded around a suite of 3D printers. One machine is midway through a pink mobile phone case; another is finishing up a toy sword.
This is Fayetteville's maker lab – and it may very well be the future of libraries.

In 2011, Fayetteville became the first public library in the US to set up a maker lab. Besides 3D printers, the space features a laser cutter, electronics kits, workshop tools, Raspberry Pi computers and an array of sewing machines. It functions somewhere between a classroom and a start-up incubator – a place where people from all over the region can get involved with state-of-the-art technology.

Since the lab opened, similar spaces have been popping up across the country, including in cities like Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Denver and Detroit. According to the American Library Association, about 1 in 6 libraries now dedicates some of its space to maker tools and activities. The New York Public Library – one of the largest in the country – is watching these developments to inform its upcoming renovation.

Darwin's Entire Library Aboard The HMS Beagle Is Now Available Online

This from the usually forward looking site io9, "A historian has reconstructed the lost library of books that accompanied Charles Darwin during his five-year scientific voyage across the world, allowing the public to read the more than 400 volumes that served as reference and inspiration for the young naturalist whose theories would revolutionize biology.

The library was dispersed at the conclusion of the voyage. But now, nearly 180 years later, it has been electronically reconstructed in its entirety by historian John van Wyhe and is freely available at his Darwin Online website. The collection consists of more than 195,000 pages containing over 5,000 illustrations."

Here's the link to the Charles Darwin Beagle Library

What Do Kansas and Nebraska Have Against Small Libraries?

http://time.com/2970649/tiny-libraries-violating-city-ordinances/

“We were all envisioning the mayor pulling up in a Subaru and taking an axe to it,” says Barbara Arendt, who spearheaded the library’s construction. “We didn’t realize we were behaving egregiously.”

What libraries need from key U.S. technology program

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/10/what-libraries-need-from-key-...

FCC Chairman Wheeler’s draft proposal—which no one but other commissioners have been able to read in detail—will not single-handedly boost global competitiveness nor will it kill E-rate as we know (and value) it. It is, however, an important first step in connecting all learners to the high-capacity broadband critical for digital opportunity. Wi-Fi doesn’t work without adequate broadband to support it, and there is more work to be done to further improve and strengthen the E-rate program for more productive years ahead. But to further delay action will shortchange our nation’s public libraries and the communities they serve.

Prison is a Great Place to Get Reading Done

From the New Yorker, a story of one man's favorite activity while in prison.

ps - don't do heroin.

Sweet Surprise Within a Cambridge U. Library Book

From Cambridge UK News:

A sweet surprise was waiting for Cambridge students during the exam period – hidden within the pages of a library book. During a stock check of the Newnham College Library, a student discovered a secret stash of chocolate concealed within the pages of The Oxford Companion to English Literature by Margaret Drabble, herself a Newnham alumna. The mysterious treat-giver had hollowed out the pages of the book and stowed a Crunchie and a Dairy Milk bar within.

Scrawled inside the pages is a message encouraging the lucky finder to enjoy the contents.

The note reads: “Dear student, congratulations on finding this book.
“Take your prize and return with one for the next person.”
The tome is not a Newnham College library book, and it believed to have been spirited in for the express purpose of concealing the chocolate bars.

Jo Tynan, a spokeswoman for Newnham College, told the News: “We do regular stock checks at the library and a student stock taker came across this book last week. “It didn’t have any issue numbers on it so she opened it and the inside had been completely hollowed out.”

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