International

International

New Dutch LibrarySchool Spurs Innovation

In the Netherlands, an innovative LibrarySchool welcomes its first students into a university program designed to educate a new wave of public librarians.

British Poem Protests Library Closings

UK author Julia Donaldson has penned a poem in protest at planned library closures.

The writer, who was named Children's Laureate and awarded the MBE last year, said she had used libraries since she was a child and still visited her local branch to research and write her best-selling books.
Her poem, released on Friday to mark National Libraries Day, describes them as places to "meet your heroes, old and new, from William the Conqueror to Winnie the Pooh". The 62-year-old writer, who was born in London but lives in Glasgow, said she wanted to make a serious point in a fun way. She said: "It's just more interesting to put the reasons I love libraries in that form rather than write an earnest article about it. If we lose libraries, we would lose readers and we would become a less literate country." Campaigners say hundreds of libraries face closure, with some groups taking legal action in a bid to save them.

Her Library Poem reads: "Everyone is welcome to walk through the door. It really doesn't matter if you're rich or poor. There are books in boxes and books on shelves. They're free for you to borrow, so help yourselves.
"Come and meet your heroes, old and new, from William the Conqueror to Winnie the Pooh. You can look into the Mirror or read The Times, or bring along a toddler to chant some rhymes.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #182

This week's episode brings a segment-sized version of the infamous Tech for Techies as well as an essay looking at the legislative steps for the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and how there may yet be other points at which the bill could be killed. Direct download link: MP3

Creative Commons License
LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #182 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Some Books Saved by Egyptian Protestors at the Institut d'Egypte

Further to our earlier story on Cairo's library fire, here's some positive news:

From Al Masry Alyoum (Egypt Independent) :

In the wake of the fire that destroyed much of the manuscript collection at the Institut d'Egypte on Saturday, scores of pro-democracy protesters have told of their efforts to salvage books and other rare documents from the smoking ruins.

The institute, which was built by Napoleon Bonaparte on Qasr al-Ainy Street, was set ablaze during fighting between security forces and pro-democracy protesters on Saturday morning. Many rare documents dating back to Napoleon's campaign in 1789, including an original copy of the Description de l'Egypt, were damaged by fire or else by water used to put out the flames.

Protesters began salvage operations later on Saturday, as fighting continued around them, removing books and manuscripts from the building and arranging them on the pavement outside. They made contact with officials at the Ministry of Culture, who arranged to collect the works and remove to the safety of the Dar al-Kutub building on the Corniche.

Death and Destruction at Cairo Library During Political Clashes

Cairo (CNN) -- The new round of bloody clashes between pro-democracy protesters and Egypt's security forces left 10 people dead Saturday, including six by live ammunition, even though the new prime minister denied that live fire was being used by his forces.

Meanwhile, 213-year-old Egyptian maps and historical manuscripts -- described as "irreplaceable" -- were destroyed after a library in Cairo was among structures set ablaze during the clashes, officials said.

Egypt's Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri, appointed by the military earlier this month, condemned the library attack, which he called an "arson committed by the protesters who portrayed no patriotism in protecting the symbols of the historical civilization of this nation." The 200,000-book library is called the Scientific Center.

Destroyed in the fire were the original manuscript of the "description of Egypt" and "irreplaceable maps and historical manuscripts preserved by many generations since the building of the Scientific Center in August 1798 during the French Campaign," Ganzouri said in a statement

Reports from CNN and DP News.

CILIP/National Literacy Trust Press Release on School Libraries

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the British counterpart to the American Library Association, issued jointly with the UK's National Literacy Trust a press release condemning the announced 2012 closure of Hertfordshire Schools Library Services.

Killing It With Legislation, Not Force

Rik Myslewski reports in The Register that Wikipedia is looking at a possible upcoming blackout. Declan McCullagh at CNET notes that this is part of a possible protest response to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act being debated by the United States Congress that has potential extraterritorial effects. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt characterizes SOPA as criminalizing the fundamental structure of the Web and all its interlinked nature.

Demographic Rambling

Four years of podcasting with LISNews.org has been interesting. The statistics make things even more interesting. Sadly, I do not have a complete set of data points. Those that I do have worry me.

Location is key. When it comes to covering the Library & Information Science world, our main focus is not geography but instead topical matters. Based upon what data I can derive from FeedBurner's limited statistics, we may cover the right topical matters but hit all the wrong areas of geographical coverage.

From the limited geographical data I have, the bulk of listeners to LISTen: An LISNews.org Program happen to be located in places like the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. US listenership actually comes in a bit lower than would be expected. This may also reflect regional preferences in how you subscribe to podcast content since the FeedBurner link is but one way to subscribe. We simply lack data for some means of subscribing to the podcast.

What can I do with having primarily a foreign audience while the content is primarily produced with a domestic US focus? Some changes in content focus may be necessary perhaps. The big problem with that is that we have virtually no budget and are tethered to the south shores of Lake Erie in a township called Ashtabula. We really do not have the assets in place to cover stories in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Expansion of assets would otherwise be necessary and we do not have a way to do so quite just yet.

The fifth year of the program is now underway. I want to make changes this year. A big one would be to secure funding for shortwave distribution. With the lessons of this year in terms of how fragile the Internet is, having a backup is important. Considering how much of the listenership is located outside North America, such would be a viable backup that would also skirt around national blacklists and firewalls.

Getting the resources to cover foreign stories is an even harder thing than simply buying blocks of airtime with money we don't have. Foreign collaborators would be necessary. Without any way to compensate them it is kinda hard to recruit such people. Indigenous correspondents would allow for better coverage anyhow compared to trying to secure a travel budget and visa clearances for international travel. We could previously handle this sort of thing through judicious use of Skype but with as unreliable as Time Warner Cable has been locally we cannot go with that option.

These speed results help illuminate what we are paying USD$39.95 to get:



The easy part is knowing what you want to do. The hard part is finding the resources to bring such to fruition. The search for resources is the big challenge for year five, it seems.

Creative Commons License
Demographic Rambling by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info.

British Library Website Defaults to Amazon.com, and Booksellers Aren't Happy

MediaBistro reports: The venerable British Library is being criticized this week for a new suggested sales platform that it is currently testing. The online catalog for the British Library now includes an extra link on most book listings. In addition to request reserve, and checkout a title, patrons can now also find the book on Amazon.co.uk. If Amaozn doesn’t have the title then the page lists a “More titles to consider” link instead.

Naturally this has Amazon’s competitors up in arms. Johnny de Falbe, co-owner of London’s Sandoe bookshop, had this to say: “The British Library, a public institution, should not be offering this link to Amazon, which is not (last I heard) a public institution. And if the British Library, of all people, are not supporting British bookshops, and positively steering business away from independents, then why should anyone else have any faith, or interest, in independents?”

And he’s not alone. James Daunt, managing director of Waterstone’s, was not pleased with the development, saying: “It’s disappointing to say the least that a very British institution is driving readers away from local libraries and high street bookshops."

The British Library is on the record as saying that this was not a deliberate choice; it’s the default option for the platform offered by ExLibris, the company who built the British Library’s website.

16.1 million visits to public libraries - the Movie!

There are 16.1 million visits to public libraries in Ireland each year and the Irish Library Council has produced a nice video publicizing the fact and promoting public libraries - see it on <a href="http://www.vimeo.com/30071645">Vimeo</a>.

A Librarian On the Other Side of the World

Interesting profile of Yeri Nurita, a librarian at the National Library of Indonesia in the Jakarta Globe.

Among other subjects, the interviewer asks her about the sort of problems the library deals with...

"First and foremost is maintenance. It’s really essential to fumigate the books frequently to protect them from insects, but fumigants are scarce and we can only do it once every two years. Second, fungi. Fungi appear due to the humidity inside the library. We can’t afford to keep the air-conditioner running 24 hours a day, but it should been on the whole day to keep the room less humid. Also, security issues — books keep going missing, either from being misplaced or by theft."

Thunder in the Libraries

Thunder in the Libraries
Why would a blind person go into a library? Maybe to borrow a book in Braille, or more likely to borrow a talking book, CD or DVD. In Lambeth (UK) the new answer is to learn to use a computer.

UP student wins intl award for building libraries in rebel hotspots

UP student wins intl award for building libraries in rebel hotspots
A 16-year-old Filipina Christian-Muslim won an international award for building libraries and distributing books in areas known to be hotspots of rebel and terrorist groups in the Philippines.

In the Riot-Torn UK: Not One More Library Must Close

Boyd Tonkin: If it wished to rebuild mutual trust, social capital and motives for hope and change in the riot-wrecked streets of a nation's cities, where might a truly idealistic society begin? Perhaps its policy-makers, with money no object, would plan a network of more than 4000 dedicated cultural and community centres, their locations scattered throughout urban areas – not just in downtown hubs and comfortable suburbs. It would protect these centres with a core role defined by statute, but give them enough flexibility to innovate, to connect and to co-operate.

Hopelessly utopian, I know. Except that Britain's network of public libraries already exists. Or rather, it hangs on by the skin of its under-resourced teeth. Roughly 10 per cent of the total, more than 400, currently stand at risk of closure. Dozens have already shut.

I know and have heard all the possible objections to a view of local libraries that puts them at the heart of community renewal. Potential rioters and looters don't care about them anyway. To enter a library in the first place identifies a young person as part of the solution, not the problem. Feral teens who trash the shops will not take an interest in the library until the day dawns when it agrees to stock top-brand ,sportswear and flat-screen TVs.

More from The Independent.

Memories of a Library Assistant in Edinburgh

MANY years ago I used to work in a library. Now that you've stopped laughing I'll continue. It wasn't just any library, it was THE library, the numero uno of book depositories, the largest in the nation . . . the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge. Let's face it, if you're going to hand out books for a living you might as well aim for the top.

And that was basically what my job consisted of - handing out books. Apart from the exciting times I got to wheel them on a trolley into the rarefied world of the Advocates Library next door. To be clear, I was in no way ever a "librarian", just a lowly deliverer of weighty tomes to the intellectually-gifted few who were allowed up the hallowed stairs to the Reading Room.

I was just out of school, and to even be considered for such an unskilled job I had to be interviewed by a panel of three people. Yes, a triumvirate of academics to quiz a 17-year-old to discover if she's got the necessary qualifications to deliver a book. Apparently, my limbs were deemed acceptable.

Then, the National Library was a daunting place. The Reading Room was run by a matriarchal character called Ms Deas, straight from the pages of a Muriel Spark novel. She had all her staff living in quiet fear - and God help any general member of the public who tried to get into the place without the necessary paperwork. If you weren't an academic or a PhD student you had no chance.

More from Gina Davidson at the Edinburgh News.

Luis Soriano and "Biblioburro", the Donkey Library

Anyone see this on PBS last evening?

"Biblioburro" follows Luis Soriano as he teaches his regular class of children on a Friday in the village of La Gloria, Magdalena Province, in northern Colombia, "in the heart of the conflict zone between leftist guerrillas and paramilitaries." He rides a burro as he travels to villages to loan books to children.

He asks the children to draw pictures of the bad things that have happened in their lives, then share their stories with the class. He asks them, "Where are we going to leave these bad things?" The answer is, "Behind us."

Soriano builds up the children by telling them they are the ones who will save the country. He is preaching the gospel of education as the way they will overcome the killing and poverty in the region, and his love and care for them shines through in the up-close-and-personal filmography directed by Carlos Rendon Zipagauta.

Zipagauta's award-winning film, in Spanish with English subtitles, has all the elements that make the viewer care: children who have faced terrible events, open-air classrooms where real learning takes place and Soriano himself, who has spent a decade living his faith in education.

Britons Sue Government for Closing Libraries

Is closing a library comparable to child abuse? At least one Brit thinks so.

Campaigners are seeking a ruling that decisions to close six libraries in the London (UK) borough of Brent are legally flawed.

The Brent case is expected to be followed in the near future by similar challenges to library cuts proposed by Gloucestershire and Somerset county councils, and on the Isle of Wight.

Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, the Pet Shop Boys and Goldfrapp are among those who have contributed to campaign legal costs.

Playwright Alan Bennett launched a scathing attack when he spoke at a church benefit to raise legal funds to save Kensal Rise library, one of the six under threat in Brent. He compared the loss to ''child abuse''.

Brent campaign lawyers yesterday applied for judicial review, arguing council officers unlawfully failed to assess local needs and the likely impact of closing half the borough's libraries.

From the Telegraph UK.

Censorship Moves West

Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, writing at al-Jazeera English, notes that Internet censorship is moving westward and becoming a more mainstream notion in various countries. Key quote:
Most problematically, setting a precedent of blocking websites simply makes it that much easier for a government or ISP to extend filtering as they wish.

Better Late Than Never: A National Librarian for Malta

Sure, it's a small country, but there are thousands of years of history in these seven small islands. And according to The Times of Malta , "Malta will soon have a national librarian who will be responsible to ensure that priceless books, documents and manuscripts are collected and maintained for posterity.

The lack of leadership had meant that Malta’s national and public libraries did not have a direction and valuable manuscripts were being allowed to rot.

Speaking during the launch of a new restoration machine, Education Minister Dolores Cristina yesterday said a call for applications would soon be issued for the post of national librarian after the awaited Malta Libraries Act was published a few weeks ago.

She added that she was currently working on the appointments to the Libraries’ Council that will work to promote libraries and facilitate collaboration between different stakeholders.

The council, which will serve for three years, will be made up of a chairman, national archivist, the head of the university’s archives studies, director of local council departments and another three members.

The law also sets up Malta Libraries as a legal entity that can enter into contracts, acquire books and manage resources.

Reading Made Easy - Why Just Books Libraries Work

Sunder Rajan, founder of Just Books, is using technology to bring libraries back to the people.

Sunder Rajan, a software engineer from Bangalore, had a bright idea. He hated travelling miles to access a library. So, in May 2008, he decided to start one near his house with the help of his wife. This was the beginning of Just Books. He thought it would be a good part-time run, but he was surprised when he got 1,000 members in three months. He shrugged it off as the initial excitement about a library in the neighbourhood. But after another three months when his fledgling library grew to 2,000 members, Rajan knew he had stumbled onto something. He decided to make it his full-time job. Today, his company has 22 libraries all over India with a revenue of approximately Rs. 4 crore.

Read more: http://business.in.com/article/work-in-progress/reading-made-easy-why-just-books-libraries-w...

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