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What's the point of a library or a librarian in the digital era? Who needs a physical space for books and archives, and librarians to police their use, when all that material will soon be available to anyone with a decent internet connection at the click of a mouse?
Rhetorical though they may be, blogger Rory Cellan-Jones makes an effort to find answers to these questions and more with the assistance of the director of the National Library of Wales, Andrew Green.
30 Libraries, Million Books for Liberia
At least two public libraries will shortly be constructed in each of Liberia's 15 counties.The project is set for implementation by a Liberian organization based in the American State of North Dakota, Liberian Center for Growth and Development.
As part of the project, one million books will be given to the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Education, for use by students.
Cordelia Jenkins writes: I sauntered out of my apartment at 12 noon a couple of Sundays ago in pursuit of a good book. The temperature, I have since checked, was an ambitious 111 degrees and, as I walked in the direction of the market, I hummed that Noel Coward song about mad dogs and Englishmen. Appropriate – as I’ve noticed that the sight of a foreigner walking for any length of time in Delhi provokes the kind of disdain usually reserved for its street dogs.
I was just getting to the bit about how “Englishmen detest-a siesta” when two thoughts struck me. Surely there are libraries in Delhi? And How much nicer it would be to borrow a book than to buy one! A quick stop in an Internet café confirmed my suspicions. There are indeed public libraries in Delhi. And the nearest one to me was but a stroll away in Andrews Ganj. I strode off confidently towards the flyover and quite soon I found myself outside the gate of a concrete building bearing a blue and white sign, which read Delhi Public Library.
Read more of the author's adventure at the Livemint blog (WSJ).
More than 90 per cent of teacher-librarians in Australia are believed to be over 40, compared to half of teachers generally. Many teacher-librarians also retire early because of a lack of promotional opportunities reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Meanwhile, there are just four tertiary courses nationally to train them, from a peak of 15, and only about 100 graduates a year.
Library associations say job security is poor, discouraging potential students. In Victoria, rationalisation during the Kennett era and dwindling budgets has meant many principals have chosen to hire extra classroom teachers instead of librarians to reduce class sizes.
''The view is that libraries are not important because students just access information online,'' Mrs Ellingworth told The Sunday Age. ''But the thing is, students have got information overload. They don't know where to start.''
Ms Ellingworth conducts sessions for students on finding, assessing and publishing information safely on the internet. But she would like to offer the students more.
''We used to have specific library programs … but now we work with teachers and classes..''
TRIBUTES have been paid to a Cambridge University librarian who died after being hit by a train. Richard Savage, of Greville Road, off Mill Road, Cambridge, died at Royston station on Friday morning.
Colleagues at the university’s Department of Plant Sciences in Downing Street have spoken fondly about the 59-year-old who worked there for 20 years.
Howard Griffiths, professor of plant ecology at the department, told of how his friend had “hidden depths” and a keen sense of humour.
He said: “Richard seemed to embody the layman’s view of a librarian. He was well-read, had a keen sense of humour, and hinted at an interesting past by using off-beat literary references when sending reminders and messages ‘from the librarian’s cage’.
Haiti's Libraries: History At Risk
The earthquake in Haiti, aside from killing a couple of hundred thousand people in the space of a heartbeat, has put so many survivors' lives in danger that even now, two months after the cataclysm, it is difficult to think about any thing else. It's hard to imagine worrying much about artifacts and archives when so many human lives have yet to be saved.
Amazon is seeking to set up a physical base in Canada, The Bookseller has revealed, and has applied to the government to open a a "new Canadian business".
The move could lead to a huge shake-up of Canada's book trade. Amazon.com does not have a physical operation in the country, but sells books through its domain Amazon.ca. Moving into the country would mean the company could ship to Canadian consumers more quickly and cost-effectively. But to operate there, Amazon must receive permission from Canada's heritage ministry.
The application is subject to a confidential inquiry by the Canadian government, which will assess whether it breaks Canada's tough cultural protection rules, which are designed to prevent American influences from overpowering Canada's culture.
The move could prove to be a boon to Canadian publishers, but it would also hit the country's retailers. Dominant Canadian bookseller Indigo declined to comment.
Amazon launched its Canadian site in June 2002, amid protests from Canadian booksellers who argued that the online store violated regulations that prohibit foreign ownership. The Canadian government ruled that this was not the case since Amazon.com did not have a physical business in the country.
Story from Bookseller UK.
Learned about the February 22 opening of the new "EPFL" Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne here in Book Patrol, and researched further to find the website, here.
Light is brought in through the Swiss-cheese holes in the roof, and the pristine whiteness of the concrete surfaces creates a snowy plane, airy, bright, and infinite. The result is a communal space without fixed function. A softly curvy, feminine expanse without hierarchies or straight lines. A series of calm and silent connected spaces created to nurture collaboration, communication, and cooperation over competition. Library, offices, restaurants, and auditoriums are harmoniously linked between a cloud-like canopy above, and a floor that gently rises and falls like a living organism as it inhales and exhales. "Human movements are not linear like in a train, but curve in a more organic way," said architect Ryue Nishizawa, one-half of the Japanese architectural team SANAA, explaining his vision. "With straight lines we only create crossroads, but with curves we can create more diverse interactions."
Have you read an e-book yet? Do you think it means the end of bookshops and libraries as we know them? Will book people have to turn into e-book people to meet the brave new world? It's all a bit early to say.
I [Philip Harvey, see below] haven't read an e-book and when asked by borrowers if I feel that my profession of librarian is under threat, I ask them if they themselves have used an e-book. No, is the consistent reply. But they know chapter and verse about the developments, usually from what they have seen on the internet. The new slimline gadgets can display everything a text maniac wants to get their hands on. Or so it seems.
More on ebooks, Google, digitisation, and the Information Revolution from Philip Harvey, President of the Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association in Australia's Eureka Street.