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SWANSEA, Mass. - An outpouring of support for Penny the cat, the unofficial mascot of the Swansea Public Library, has led a Massachusetts man to give up his efforts to evict the cat from the public building.
Patrick Higgins sent an email to Swansea Public Library trustees last Saturday, which said he would file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice if Penny was not removed from the premises. According to Higgins, people allergic to cats would be unable to use the library which meant the public building did not comply with the American Disabilities Act.
As news of Penny’s potential eviction spread, supporters for the neighborhood cat began to rally creating petitions to keep the Penny on the premises. One petition on Change.org has elicited nearly 1,800 signatures.
From the über-conservative American Spectator. Posted by Daniel J. Flynn on Friday Mar 29th at 5:09am
"Today’s public library could be mistaken for a halfway house, homeless shelter, or federal penetentiary."
I write from the public library, which doubles as my city’s daytime homeless shelter. I spend four hours a day there reading and writing. Other patrons, often accompanied by all of their worldly possessions, go there to sleep, masturbate, and stare blankly at the lights. Isn’t this what the local Greyhound terminal is for?
A diversion program for juvenile delinquents apparently meets daily on the first floor. Since the building’s architect imprudently designed the library as a giant open space without walls, their promiscuous use of the “f” word and spirited imitations of famous rappers travel unimpeded to me on the third level — more of a platform two stories above the ground than a separate floor. To encourage such misbehavior, a local library — thankfully not the one I visit — begged its town’s government for $2,000 to buy video games. Libraries once served as refuges against noise. Now the library’s cacophony makes an iPod necessary equipment to drown out the din.
Openness yields to secretiveness elsewhere. Computer cubicles double as makeshift peep-show booths. To protect privacy at the public library, staff has generously equipped computer screens with a tinted gloss that makes the visuals invisible to all save those who look upon them at a direct angle. I mostly glimpse social media and computer games on the screens when I pass. Occasionally, pornographic videos jump out at passersby. Noticing the behavior, rather than the behavior itself, is terribly offensive, so I make it my business to mind my business around pervs who make their business everybody’s business.
This week's program starts off with a brief essay talking about the disintegration of having a coherent "popular culture" in the United States then turns to the strange case of the Harlem Shake in Oxford. After that the episode wraps up with a news miscellany.
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Emily Lloyd:...is the name of a brief slide deck & guest post I have up at Tame The Web, a kind of part two to an earlier guest post on tweeting libraries. I've embedded the slide deck below, too--please set it to full screen if you decide to view it.
I spent a lot of time on Twitter last year, not as myself, but as my library system*. This deck covers some of what I learned. I strongly urge tweeting libraries (and nonprofits, and small businesses, etc) to follow their patrons. Many don't. It's too big a missed opportunity not to mention.
From Mashable, a report on library use by young people.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center published Tuesday, 16-29 year olds are reading more often, largely because of the mass amounts of e-content that is available to them on mobile devices. They’re not just reading short blips of content, either — people under 30 are reading more long-form content on their smartphones and tablets, but also continuing to visit their local libraries.
Eight in 10 Americans ages 16-29 read a book this past year, and more than six out of 10 used their local public library. Of the people who read this past year, 75 percent read a print book while 19% read an ebook, and 11% listened to an audiobook. Forty six percent used the library for research, 38 percent borrowed books (print books, audiobooks, or ebooks), and 23 percent borrowed newspapers, magazines, or journals.
High schoolers, especially, report borrowing books from libraries.
From the Wall Street Journal, Joe Queenan recalls his lifelong habit of reading.
I started borrowing books from a roving Quaker City bookmobile when I was 7 years old. Things quickly got out of hand. Before I knew it I was borrowing every book about the Romans, every book about the Apaches, every book about the spindly third-string quarterback who comes off the bench in the fourth quarter to bail out his team. I had no way of knowing it at the time, but what started out as a harmless juvenile pastime soon turned into a lifelong personality disorder.
If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it's probably because at some level you find "reality" a bit of a disappointment.
Fifty-five years later, with at least 6,128 books under my belt, I still organize my daily life—such as it is—around reading. As a result, decades go by without my windows getting washed.
From the Anchorage Daily News, by Elise Patkotak:
There are great differences between the library of my past and the libraries of the present and future. Some of those differences are simply mindboggling. For instance, in my day a library card meant I could go to a room with a stack of books, choose which I wanted to read and have the books stamped by a nice lady at the desk. Then I got to walk out of the building with my arms full of treasure. Now, a library card means you can sit in the comfort of your own home and download e-books that you can keep for about three weeks before they "return" to the library shelf. How cool is that?
Equally important, perhaps, in a time when we are more and more isolating ourselves from our family and friends through use of electronic media, the library remains a place of vibrant community where ideas can be accessed and shared, discussions held and knowledge gained whether you are rich or poor. It is the ultimate democratizing institution available to everyone in this country.
Today's reality is that if you can't afford a computer, you are at a distinct disadvantage in a very competitive world. Go to the library and find free computer access to anyone with a library card. And that card is also, as always, free. In a world where having information at your fingertips is more critical than ever to succeeding, the library is the one place anyone can go to level the playing field.
Is your library having Snapshot Day? Here's some info from ALA on the phenomenon, started in New Jersey three years ago.
Have you found it to be useful in determining the relative success of your library and its programs? Suggestions for others?