Libraries

Dropping Late Fees, Now a Thing

From Slate, why libraries are dropping late fees.

The fight against fake news is putting librarians on the front line - and they say they’re ready

As fake news and complex immigration orders have inundated the public sphere, libraries are opening their doors and fact-checking skills to people of all backgrounds seeking information. 
From The fight against fake news is putting librarians on the front line – and they say they’re ready - CSMonitor.com
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Why these librarians are protesting Trump's executive orders | PBS NewsHour

Librarians who spoke to the NewsHour said these orders touched a nerve, especially for those who work at public libraries, which often serve a diverse population that includes new immigrants. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, 55 percent of new Americans use a library at least once a week. “We are huge resources for newcomers to this country, whether it’s for connection to this country, legal resources, testing preparation, citizen tests, services like storytimes or homework help,” said Elizabeth McKinstry, a public librarian based in Dedham, Massachusetts, who has been vocal in rallying librarians online post-election. “We are there for the most vulnerable folks in our communities, people on the other side of the digital or language divide.”
From Why these librarians are protesting Trump's executive orders | PBS NewsHour
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What’s wrong with presidential libraries?

There's a huge problem with access. The federal government estimates that, at the current pace, it will take 100 years for the national archives to fully open a given presidential library's records. No record is available under FOIA for five years. Initially they thought all the records could be arranged and processed in that time. It was a stunningly shortsighted view of how long it would take. There are records from the Truman library that are still being withheld. My favorite example: three years ago a researcher requested a single electronic record at the George W. Bush library and received a reply that said it's in the queue and we estimate that it will be fulfilled in 12 years.
From What’s wrong with presidential libraries? | On Culture | Chicago Reader
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Memory and the Printing Press

Before the printing press, memory was the main store of human knowledge. Scholars had to go to find books, often traveling around from one scriptoria to another. They couldn’t buy books. Individuals did not have libraries. The ability to remember was integral to the social accumulation of knowledge. Thus, for centuries humans had built ways to remember out of pure necessity.
From Memory and the Printing Press
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Why Great Critics Make Disastrous Judgments

What, then, are the underlying intellectual, creative, and aesthetic issues that can cause even brilliant critics to misfire? An answer can be found in the tension between what we might call literary time and critical time. Critics, of course, have deadlines. A given review or essay must appear by such and such a date, generally just before or after the book’s publication. But as Terry Eagleton points out in Literary Theory: An Introduction, the designation "classic" or "literary masterpiece" is almost always retrospective. By showing how literary genius can be found in works as diverse as Plato’s dialogues, Bacon’s essays, Keats’s poetry, and Hemingway’s prose, Eagleton establishes that there is no intrinsic property that can safely lead a critic to confer the coveted tag of "literary value" to a work:
From Why Great Critics Make Disastrous Judgments - The Chronicle of Higher Education
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Watching Wikipedia's extinction event from a distance

So what's the big deal about one tiny little article? Who cares if one little sea squirt on the reef gets destroyed? I care, but not enough to re-engage with Wikipedia's deletionists. Wikipedia went from people writing an encyclopedia to people writing rules about writing an encyclopedia, or writing bots to defend an encyclopedia, but without enough safeguards to save content from deletionists.
From Watching Wikipedia's extinction event from a distance / Boing Boing
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Free to All: Carnegie Libraries & American Culture, 1890-1920

Familiar landmarks in hundreds of American towns, Carnegie libraries today seem far from controversial. In Free to All, however, Abigail A. Van Slyck shows that the classical façades and symmetrical plans of these buildings often mask a complex and contentious history.
Book - Free to All: Carnegie Libraries & American Culture, 1890-1920

Top Hat Raises $22.5 Million to Go After Pearson, McGraw-Hill

That’s a weakness Top Hat Chief Executive Officer Mike Silagadze said he’s trying to exploit. He started by selling software tools to professors that help them engage their students, such as smartphone apps that let them tell lecturers if they understand new concepts in real-time. The company, which launched in 2009, has 2 million students using its products. The next step is to go directly after the textbooks and digital course content made by Pearson and McGraw, Silagadze said in an interview. In November, they launched an online content marketplace, where professors can create course materials and sell it around the world. The idea is to cut out the publisher and let professors sell directly to students and each other, Silagadze said.
From Top Hat Raises $22.5 Million to Go After Pearson, McGraw-Hill - Bloomberg
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Publishers Still Fighting to Bury Universities, Libraries in Fees for Making Fair Use of Academic Excerpts

On behalf of three national library associations, EFF today urged a federal appeals court for the second time to protect librarians’ and students’ rights to make fair use of excerpts from academic books and research.
From Publishers Still Fighting to Bury Universities, Libraries in Fees for Making Fair Use of Academic Excerpts | Electronic Frontier Foundation
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