International

Bangkok Librarians Visit Ohio Librarians and It's All Good

Dateline Lancaster OH: Anchalee "Lee" Tumthong works in an eight-story, 500,000-book library in the largest city in Thailand, but all she can talk about is a library she traveled about 20 hours by plane to see.

Sitting inside a conference room in Ohio University Lancaster's student library, "space" is the first word to come to mind when Tumthong describes her current surroundings. "There is so much space here," Tumthong, 40, said of OU-L's library. "In this library there are a lot of books and materials for the students."

Her praise is echoed by Phapada "June" Noikhamyang, 37, who also is from Thailand. The two are part of a exchange program at OU-L for librarians from another country to come to Lancaster and learn about how libraries in the U.S. operate.

OU-L's library is one of several that Tumthong and Noikhamyang will visit during their 18-day stay. They have visited the library at Ohio University's Athens campus and plan to visit the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the libraries at Ohio State University, OSU-Newark and Mount Carmel Hospital.

In addition, the two have done their share of sight-seeing; Lancaster, they've observed, is full of both "friendly people" and "a lot of trees."

Beth Fish: Discovering Book Bloggers Around the Globe

Today is the first day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010! This yearly event of giveaways, blog hopping, blogging, and awards is all about you! And you and you and you and me. It is the brain child of Amy from My Friend Amy.

Each day this week blogger Beth Fish Reads is hosting an international giveaway (winners announced on Monday), so please come back to see what she has in store.

Beth Fish Reads says: I'm taking today's blogging theme and putting my own twist on it. One of the best things about book blogging is getting to know readers from around the world. Daily, I read blogs from across the United States, Canada, the UK, Europe, Asia, South America, and the Pacific.

Read more about the book blogging community and Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) at BookPage's The Book Case.

Home From the US, Indian Couple Sets Up Children's Library in Their Own Country

A little over a decade ago, if anyone had told Vimala and Umesh Malhotra that their mission in life would be to set up libraries for children, they would probably have laughed. But then, they wouldn't have accounted for boredom.

The Malhotras were a typical IT couple and had just moved back to Bangalore in 1999 with their four-year-old son Tarutr, after nearly eight years at Infosys in California. But little Tarutr was bored. What he and his mother missed the most was a good library. Vimala says, "We used to go to the library for my son, and it had so many activities; back in India, the lack of a good library where children could have their space, where no one tells them to keep quiet, and it is their hangout zone was lacking."

That got her thinking about setting up a library. More from Forbes.com.

Dublin gets UNESCO City of Literature status

Following a bid led by Dublin City Libraries, Ireland's capital has been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature, only the fourth city to be so designated.

www.library.ie has the story.

School Librarians Called On To Fast for 24 Hours in S. Africa

What is the 24 Hour Fast for School Libraries?

Equal Education (EE) calls on everyone to join our Fast for School Libraries from 6:00 pm on Thursday 29 July until 6:00 pm on Friday 30 July to show government that all children deserve a quality education which includes properly stocked libraries, managed by librarians.

Why is Equal Education fasting (not eating) for 24 hours?

As a result of EE's consistent campaigning a National Policy recognising the need for a library or library stocks in every school was published by government on 11 June 2010.

In addition, School Libraries Guidelines have been drafted, but these must be improved to give schools a clear instruction to establish libraries and must be accompanied by a budget allocation. It is crucial that post for school librarians are established.

Most importantly, Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure must be finalised for all schools. All these document will only be implemented when government has a budget, plan and timetable to ensure that all schools in South Africa have libraries with a librarian.

The campaign is working but there is a long way to go!

Prison Library Wins Praise and an Award

Scotland’s only library with a waiting list has been given a top award for the impact it has had on the lives of its readers – the inmates at Saughton Prison.

The prison came first in the Libraries Change Lives Awards on Tuesday, after judges heard the purpose-built facility had welcomed more than 12,500 inmates through its doors in its first year.

The extension, which opened in November 2008, has now become the only library in Scotland, public or private, to have attracted a waiting list. Since the new facility opened, staff say the number of books being damaged has also reduced from 80% to zero.

One prisoner commented: "When I first came into jail I found it really hard to read because I wasn’t good at concentrating and I would have to read the same paragraph over and over but after persisting with it and practising all the time, I find reading just as easy as breathing. I have to admit that reading is now a hobby for me. I love it and I would be lost without it as it’s helped me through my sentence."

The library, run by experienced librarian Kate King, aims to address social inclusion issues amongst prisoners and provide education and employment opportunities to ease the transition back to life on the outside.

Nordic Noir is Hot

From the New York Times:

Publishers and booksellers are in a rush to find more Nordic noir to follow Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, known for the indelible characters of Ms. Salander and the investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. The books have become a publishing phenomenon, selling 6 million copies in the United States and 35 million copies worldwide — nearly four times the population of Sweden. The third and final book in the series, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” was published last month in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf and instantly became the must-read book of the summer.

“The question is, after everybody reads ‘Hornet’s Nest,’ what are they going to do?” said Stan Hynds, a book buyer at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt. “I’ve got this funny feeling that every publisher is going to come out with the next Stieg Larsson.”

Well, maybe not every publisher — but a lot of them. Scandinavian crime fiction has been popular among serious mystery readers for decades, but even best-selling novelists like Henning Mankell, Camilla Lackberg and Jo Nesbo are not yet widely known in the United States.

If there is a formula to the genre, it often includes a cold, stark setting and a grizzled detective figure who consumes too much coffee and junk food. The book covers tend to the bleak and icy, with images of frozen lakes, barren forests and perhaps a foreboding bloodstain.

Google to Digitize Austrian National Library Books

VIENNA — Austria's National Library said Tuesday it has struck a 30-million-euro deal with US Internet giant Google to digitise 400,000 copyright-free books, a vast collection spanning 400 years of European history.
Dr. Johanna Rachinger, Director of the Austrian National Library
Johanna Rachinger the head of the ONB library, (whom I met a year ago and had the opportunity to photograph), hailed what she called an "important step," arguing at a news conference that "there are few projects on such a scale elsewhere in Europe."

The Austrian library project concerns one of the world's five biggest collections of 16th- to 19th-century literature, totalling some 120 million pages, the ONB said in a statement.

Under the deal, Google will cover the costs of digitising the collection -- set at around 50 to 100 euros (60 to 120 dollars) per book -- a sum the library says it was unable to raise without external funding.

A Bad Idea in Britain; Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion attacks 'Catastrophic' Plan for Volunteers to Run Libraries

Guardian UK reports that Andrew Motion, the former poet laureate, has dismissed suggestions from consultants KPMG that libraries are "not very much used" and should be run by volunteers as foolhardy, outlandish and potentially catastrophic.

A new report from KPMG into public sector reform says that "giving councils total freedom on libraries could mean that they create huge social value from engaging a community in running its own library, backed up with some modern technology, whilst also saving large amounts of money on over-skilled paid staff, poor use of space and unnecessary stock".

Speaking on the Today programme earlier this week, one of the report's authors, Alan Downey, said that although "libraries are hugely important in the national psyche ... there is a problem with libraries, that they are not very much used and very expensive to run".

"We're not suggesting in this report that libraries should be closed down, we are saying that libraries and other community facilities might be better off if they're run by [a] community that values them rather than by the state," he said.

A Swedish National Library Discovery

There might be hope for those Stieg Larsson aficionados that are lamenting the publication of his final book.

Two early science fiction stories by the late crime novelist have been uncovered at the Swedish National Library in Stockholm.

Library spokesman Hakan Farje says it received the two short stories as a private donation in 2007.

Farje says Larsson sent them to a Swedish science fiction magazine when he was 17, hoping to have them published, but the magazine rejected them. AP reports.

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