International

International

Necessity Was the Mother of this Phone Box Library

A resident dreamed up the idea when the tiny village lost its phone box and mobile library in quick succession. But fortunately, a traditional red phone box has been recycled into the Westbury-sub-Mendip (population of approximately 800 in Somerset) Library, stocking a total of 100 books.

British Telephone has received 770 applications for communities to 'adopt a kiosk', and so far 350 boxes have been handed over to parish councils. Westbury-sub-Mendip Parish Council bought the phone box from BT in a national scheme for a token £1. More from the BBC...

...and yet another article from BBC Local.

First Internet-Based TV in the French Pacific

Making Online Possible Offline

In the midst of the Ubuntu Developer Summit for the forthcoming long-term support release named Lucid Lynx, a new issue arose. This was an issue of intense partisanship perhaps. The GNU Image Manipulation Program, otherwise known as GIMP, was proposed for removal from the default installation on the distributed live CD.

Documentation for this is skimpy at the moment. The desktop team's blueprint does not explicitly state that this will happen. The Internet Relay Chat log for that particular session has barely any details except that the popularity contest package for measuring usage ranked GIMP on par with F-Spot. Although the session was filmed, the relevant Ogg Theora video file has not tumbled down the podcast distribution chute yet for review. A blog post at fan site unaffiliated with Canonical is what broke word for those not attending the summit.

Opinions on Identi.ca were across a bit of a range from being okay with the change to opposition through thoughts of counter-proposal to sadness. One user on Identi.ca noted that it is a big difference between stripping something from a live CD and removing something from repositories.

This whole matter presents concerns from the perspective of the Ubuntu NGO Team's blueprint. One of the areas of work enunciated in that plan was that the team would work on offline documentation. Offline repositories are something also considered in a discussion paper on the team's wiki site.

How can the GIMP be made available for those with sub-optimal Internet access? A case might be made that stripping GIMP off the live CD would reduce access to the package for those with less than optimal access to the Internet or no access at all. Unfortunately such is anecdotal at present and there is no hard data to properly back such a notion up.

The first tool to surmount this issue is the Ubuntu Customization Kit. At present that package's own project site shows examples of use in creating localized editions by language. For putting GIMP back into a live CD while stripping out other packages would create a derivative version of the distributed disc images which can over time create things like Linux Mint, CrunchBang Linux, and Katian.

A different work-around that may work better would be to go the route of APTonCD. APTonCD is one option for off-line movement of packages that does not require access to the Internet for installing anything. A similar tool for a command-line world would be AptZip that instead may allow shifting the download burden elsewhere such as to perhaps run on a public access computer at a public library.

As an overarching shift in live CD design, the inclusion by default of APTonCD would alleviate any worries like this in the future perhaps. Backers of GIMP and other packages that might not fit on the disc but still have strong communities can make images of APTonCD discs available. This is a short run solution, though. Increasing the availability of repository mirrors in public access Internet service settings would be a far more preferable solution in the long run.

Within the Ubuntu project, this would be a matter of liaison between the NGO Team and the Desktop Team, perhaps, as it touches upon the matter of trying to make the Ubuntu experience as equal as possible between the industrialized West and the Global South. Outside the Ubuntu project, this remains a matter of knowing what is going on with what you use. Just as it may seem simple to drive an automobile, quite a lot is going on under the hood. Compared to Windows or MacOS, Linux in general is the hotrod that you can upgrade and change just as drivers in the 1960s and 1970s could fuss over vehicles from manufacturers like AMX.

Creative Commons License
Making Online Possible Offline by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info.

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New Dublin library stands idle with 20,000 books but no staff

<A HREF="http://www.independent.ie/national-news/new-library-stands-idle-with-20000-books-but-no-staff-1944408.html">Read all about it at the Irish Independent</A>

And Dancing in the Streets...

Following up on our story last month, today's New York Times features a photo of Chile's President Michelle Bachelet dancing with the librarian who invited her to join him in La Cueca.

President Bachelet is a pediatrician and a single mother. Her unorthodox style has left a mark on the country’s political culture. During her state of the nation address in May, she joked about losing a shoe while kicking a soccer ball at a stadium inauguration, saying investment in four new stadiums would include money for “the flying shoe.” In the recent interview, she joked that her gender parity plan for the cabinet was intended to ensure that everyone had a dance partner.

Flash Dancing at the library

South Dublin's County <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7fPrSWO6dw">Library gets in the groove</a> with a Flash(mob)Dance, as reported by <a href="http://www.library.ie/weblog/2009/10/28/when-is-a-library-not-a-library/">Library.ie</a>. Looks like great fun!

New Zealand Gets Local Libraries Focus From Local Governments Minister

Sean Murgatroyd wrote at The Room of Infinite Diligence that the local governments minister has directed local councils to regard libraries as core services as well as a few other functional areas. Murgatroyd pointed out that this came from a postcard campaign launched by LIANZA.

(h/t The Room of Infinite Diligence...you ARE subscribed to their RSS feed, aren't you?)

A Mighty Wind

This is an amazing interview clip. Take the eight minutes to watch it. My comments on it are afterward (and might make more sense after viewing the clip than without).

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-october-7-2009/william-kamkwamba

(Note: I can't get the video to display properly on the entry. So, please follow the link.)

It’s a great story about a young man who found something at the library that set off a chain of events that changed his village. It’s also a great story for librarians as an example of the importance of information access. Without access, our collections mean virtually little or nothing. Even with William’s limited access to library materials, he was able to find a piece of information that was of interest to him.

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Frankfurt Book Fair Opens Today With China as Major Focus

BERLIN — Organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair worked for 15 years to secure China as the guest of honor at their five-day showcase of global trends and best sellers that opens to industry delegates Wednesday. Organizers are steeling themselves for lively discussions and the possibility of protests at the fair, which boasts about 6,900 exhibitors from more than 100 countries.

In her speech inaugurating the 61-year-old event, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "There can be — and I am sure there will be — no taboos in discussions" at the fair. But the director of the German Book Sellers Industry, Gottfried Honnefelder, went one step further insisting that: "We view freedom of opinion as an inalienable right."

In September, members of the Chinese delegation walked out of a pre-book fair symposium after two authors they had insisted not attend showed up anyway. Yet China's appearance this year is expected to generate the most buzz, given censorship in China. The September spat erupted when dissident writers Dai Qing and Bei Ling attended the symposium, despite a Chinese attempt to block them.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping praised the fair for presenting a chance for an exchange in learning about each other's cultures.

WWII G.I. Returns German Books to Archives

After 64 years, veteran Robert E. Thomas returns books that he took from a salt mine in Germany during WWII that contained national treasures hidden by the Nazis. Both books were incunabula, one written in Latin and one in German. The National Archives facilitated the transfer.

Story and video from The Washington Post.

It Takes A Librarian

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet has celebrated her 58th birthday by dancing a traditional Chilean cueca — with a library worker who plucked up the courage to ask.

Bachelet was inaugurating a library in the Santiago district of Cerrillos on Tuesday when she was surprised by a group of musicians who played a "cueca brava" — a popular version of Chile's folkloric dance — for her birthday. While the musicians sang, a library worker asked Chile's president to dance — and she accepted. LA Times.

Fury as Gardener is Appointed Assistant Librarian

Library hiring can be problematic no matter the location.

In South Africa, concerned residents of Tzaneen in Limpopo have called for an investigation into the municipality’s decision to appoint a gardener as library assistant.

The residents claim the gardener was appointed at the Haenertzburg library though she does not have a matric certificate.

The gardener, whose name is known to Sowetan [ed- why aren't they reporting it?] reportedly attended interviews but did not qualify for the position.

But, the chief librarian of Haenertzburg, Mienie de Villiers, allegedly recommended that she be appointed. More from Sowetan.

Library Parks in Medellín Colombia

From librarian Aaron Schmidt (via facebook and Aaron's website):

The five library parks in Medellín, Columbia are amazing and not just because of their architecture.

Included in the network are five library parks, known as “hearts of knowledge.” Located throughout the city in some of Medellin’s most marginalized communities, the library parks have become cultural centers, providing broad, community access to information and educational resources. The network’s libraries offer a range of training programs, including how to use the computer and access information online, and English for the Internet.


More photos here.

The project was recently awarded the 2009 Access to Learning Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Twilight Banned At Australian School- Deemed Too Racy

Twilight, though an international bestseller, isn't faring so well in Strathfield, NSW. School administrators and librarians at the Santa Sabina College say the book is too racy for school children to read and have even gone so far to hold seminars on paranormal romance. Librarians have removed the book from the shelves of the school library.

The head librarian, Helen Schutz, says "We wanted to make sure they realise it's fictitious and ensure they don't have a wrong grasp on reality."

More from The Daily Telegraph.

In the UK, On Loan Along With Books...Electric Smart Meters

In Reading, United Kingdom, borough libraries are loaning out the Owl 'energy smart' meters like books, letting people see exactly how much electricity they are using.

Reading East Green campaigner Rob White said it was a victory for his campaign to get more people using the meters, adding: "We are in the middle of a recession and everyone wants to save money.

"These energy-smart meters will help people reduce their electricity bills, saving money and tackling climate change at the same time. This is a great result for Reading and the Green Party. With the smart meter, you can see how much electricity you are using in real-time.

"The librarian was telling me that before they were on the shelves, staff were borrowing them and testing them at home to see how they work and they loved the idea."

Meet The Censor

The British tech publication, The Register, interviewed Peter Robbins of the Internet Watch Foundation in the UK. El Reg broached the questions of blocking, the width of the net cast by the group, and the groups position on the online world. Robbins is a former borough police commander in Hackney.

Another Living Library at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library

For the second time in 2009, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System (Central Library) hosted a <a href="http://www.socialweb.net/Clients/AFPL/central.lasso?id=96272">Living Library program</a> on September 2. The Living Library is an international movement designed to bring library patrons face-to-face with living objects of prejudice and discrimination. Library patrons can "check-out" living "books" for 30 minutes of private conversation.

Seattle's Former Librarian Serving as Director of Global Libraries Initiative

Deborah Jacobs went from helping build Seattle's state-of-the-art Central Library to visiting libraries overseas with no heat or running water and budgets as low as $30 a month. In her first year on the job at the Gates Foundation, she has directed an expanding program called the Global Libraries Initiative, which aims to improve free access to computers and the Internet in public libraries.

Today she is presenting a $1 million prize to a foundation in Medellín, Colombia, for its innovative use of technology in libraries to promote community development. More from The Seattle Times.

Google 1, France 0

French pride took a knock today with news that the National Library is giving up a four-year fight for a Gallic riposte to Google and bowing to the might of the Californian search giant.

"Google has won", said the front-page headline in La Tribune newspaper. It reported that the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) is on the verge of a deal under which Google will add its stocks to its controversial digital library. More from Times Online.

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