First libraries started loaning records, then toys, then films and games - now they're loaning out people. The Living Library Project allows members to hear people's stories not on the page, but in person.
In economic hard times, public libraries generally get a lot busier. With that in mind, here's a handy list of the top 20 things librarians in public libraries wish patrons knew or did (original article here).
Europeana is the new EU digital library. It gives multilingual access to two million digitized books and other items of cultural and historical significance held in over 1,000 institutions in the 27 EU states. There will be 10 million by 2010. Soon after its launch the website froze, its servers overwhelmed by over "10 million hits an hour".
OCLC, owners of WorldCat, are getting greedy. It's now demanding that every library that uses WorldCat give control over all its catalog records to OCLC. It literally is asking libraries to put an OCLC policy notice on every book record in their catalog. It wants to own every library. It's not just Open Library that's at risk here -- LibraryThing, Zotero, even some new Wikipedia features being developed are threatened. Basically anything that uses information about books is going to be a victim of this unprecedented power[ ]grab. It's a scary thought. [more inside]
What happened to Dorcas Snodgrass? I don't know who did this research on this nurse, but she's haunting me and the articles hint at a tragic mystery but leave many unanswered questions.
Literary Dealbreakers: "This book so deeply resonates with your soul that if a potential partner finds it risible, any meeting of minds (or body) is all but impossible." [more inside]
The Unofficial Stephen Jay Gould Archive, an online library dedicated to the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002). Includes an excellent selection of videos. And The Official Stephen Jay Gould Archive [still under development], which includes two of his books and his Harvard course online. [more inside]
Uncle Bobby's Wedding: A librarian's rebuttal to a book removal/relocation request involving a children's title dealing with gay marriage. Via MyLiBlog.
You're planning on baking a cake, but you're bored of your plain old square pan, round pan, or bundt pan? If you live in the US Midwest, it's very possible that your nearby library allows you to check out cake pans. [more inside]
Libraries are neat. The New York Public Library has uploaded a collection of menus dating from 1851 to 1956 thanks largely to the efforts of collector Miss Frank E. Buttolph, a "mysterious and passionate figure whose mission in life was to collect menus" and whose unique collection aroused the interest of the NYT of her day (1, 2).
Mazes and Monsters? Dungeons and Dragons? Faugh! When the Earth's very history is at stake, it's time for Tomes and Talismans! Learn the Dewey Decimal System and other library skills with Ms. Bookhart, a librarian cryogenically preserved from the 1980's and revived by The Users to save the books of Future Earth from technology-destroying race of alien beings, The Wipers. 260 of the geekiest minutes ever committed to video.
The Historic American Sheet Music archive at the Duke University Library has over 3000 pieces published in the United States available online, from the 1850s up to 1920. Composers represented include well-known names such as Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, and John Philip Sousa. All the music is now in the public domain, and may be printed and performed freely. [Note: Language or stereotypes may occasionally be NSFW.]
Prvi svetski rat - Gritty and poignant Serbian postcards from the First World War. Just one of the seriously interesting (e.g. check out the collection of 78s) holdings at the Digital National Library of Serbia.
"New Deal Programs: Selected Library of Congress Resources was created to serve as a starting point for research using Library of Congress collections of New Deal program materials." Includes links to numerous collections of digitized materials, including photos, posters, music, manuscripts and more. [more inside]
The Worlds Best Books (1909), One Hundred Best Books (1916), One Thousand Books for a Village Library (1895), The Book Lover, a Guide to the Best Reading (1889), The Choice of Books (1905), A Thousand of the Best Novels (1919), Comfort Found in Good Old Books (1911), A Guide to the Best Historical Novels (1911), A Guide to Historical Fiction (1914), and lots more..
The Birmingham Central Library, one of the largest and most important public libraries in Europe, has often been vilified as one of the ugliest buildings in Britain. A prime example of Brutalism, English Heritage has (controversially) recommended that the structure should be listed. Others want it to go the way of Portsmouth's hated Tricorn Centre. [more inside]
30 years ago, Richard Brautigan's last collection of poems, June 30th, June 30th, was published. [more inside]
Citations on the fly. WorldCat previously, the world's online largest catalog of library holdings, got its own Facebook page in early 2008. That was pretty cool, but now WorldCat has upped the ante again by introducing another Facebook app called CiteMe. Using CiteMe, Facebook users can look up any item in WorldCat (there's over 1 billion of 'em) and get its properly-formatted citation (choose from APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA, or Turabian styles) instantly. For more than a few citations, you can still build a bibliography of any size in your favorite style, directly on the WorldCat site.
"Schools should continue to require library research so they can see how old folks used to Google stuff."
The continuity I have in mind has to do with the nature of information itself or, to put it differently, the inherent instability of texts. In place of the long-term view of technological transformations, which underlies the common notion that we have just entered a new era, the information age, I want to argue that every age was an age of information, each in its own way, and that information has always been unstable. Let's begin with the Internet and work backward in time.The Library in the New Age by Robert Darnton, historian and Director of the Harvard Library. A wide-ranging overview of the status of libraries in the modern world, touching on such subjects as: journalist poker games, French people liking the smell of books, bibliography at Google, news dissemination in the 18th Century, book piracy and the different texts of Shakespeare. Some responses: Defending the Library of Google, The Future in the Past and Librarians Need a Better Apologetic.
We're all used to animal cams at the zoo. You can watch animals in the wild or in captivity. But how about a live animal cam at...the library!
Los Angeles libraries offer video games to kids - Yes, they play Guitar Hero in the library these days. Over half of the LA public libraries are offering video game nights to encourage kids to visit libraries. Also, this Friday is 'gaming @ the library day', part of the effort to get children more comfortable at the library.
The Library of Congress has unveiled a baseball history section on their website. You can see old baesball cards, panoramic shots, a section for teachers and, coolest of all, a video of a baseball game shot by Thomas Edison in 1898.
The University of South Carolina recently completed an ambitious survey of all medieval texts in the state for an exhibit at the university library. All the works were scanned and archived electronically. However, not only can you view the texts online, you can hear the university's chorus sing (MP3) the musical manuscripts. [more inside]
"Hendon's library's opening hours have been cut, a cafe has taken the place of part of the fiction section, and a computer learning zone has replaced the periodicals room. When I complained, a local councillor wrote back to say that he did not feel that the cut in opening hours was a great hardship for anyone."
The Guardian writes on the long slow death of libraries.
The Guardian writes on the long slow death of libraries.
Brilliant bookshelves by color. What's that? You can't find The Scarlet Letter? Did you look under lipstick red? [more inside]
The George W. Bush Presidential Library : visualizations
The Pritzker Military Library, a "public institution for the study of the citizen-soldier as an essential element for the preservation of democracy." Found while doing some after-film research on Charlie Wilson's War, the site is a trove of largely non-partisan, often refreshingly candid military perspectives. Particular highlights are video and audio interviews with Jim Lovell and Congressional Medal of Honor winners.
“I tried ‘Gravity’s Rainbow,’ and I thought it was fraudulent:” Art Garfunkel’s Reading Habits. (previously on MeFi)
Housing, preserving, and providing access to these small-scale, homemade rags that document some corner of [often do-it-yourself and punk rock] culture, zine archives can be found via independently operated centers in Georgia (physical library in construction), New Orleans (myspace link, www address out-of-commission), Florida, Minneapolis, Denver, Cambridge, Olympia, Chicago, Seattle and... [more inside]
An obscure 1911 British law requires a copy of every published book, journal, newspaper, patent, sound recording, magazine etc.. to be permanently archived in at least one of five libraries around the country. The British Library has the most complete collection and is currently adding about 12.5km of new shelf space a year of mostly unheard of and unwanted stuff. A new state-of-the-art warehouse is being constructed with 262 linear kilometers of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen temperature controlled environment. It is not a library, it is a warehouse for "things that no one wants." BLDG Blog ponders on what it all means.
The proposed new home of the National Library of the Czech Republic. The old one looks like this. The new one ... well ... is it an octopus? What the hell is this thing?
So, whatcha readin? The
John Ashcroft Alberto Gonzales Michael Mukasey Book Club wants to discuss your latest reads. Amazon thinks it's none of their business. So does your librarian. While it may seem that your reading list is safe, fact is you're actually just one National Security Letter or subpoena away from full disclosure. Want to change that? One step in the right direction would be to contact your Senator about getting S.2088 out of Committee and on to the floor. Oh, and tell them to vote for it. And then to override the veto.
The 100,000th photograph has been scanned into the National Library of Australia's digital database. It is a picture of an oprhaned joey wearing a winter overcoat. But there's still 999,999 other photos for you to peruse. Check out a large selection of them here!
Why do we like, have to like, read so much in school? Why can't there be like, a library with only like, books with like, not a lot of pages? Lazy Library, for those with short attention spans, tight schedules, or a report due tomorrow.
Future Reading. Anthony Grafton explores what we can learn about the future of the text from the history of libraries, publishers, and the sorting of books. [more inside]
A sample of the Cleveland Public Library's collection of movie bookmarks, on Flickr. The bookmarks were designed starting in 1926 to promote Hollywood feature films of the day as well as the Library's vast collection of print materials, which many of those films were based on. Mutiny on the Bounty. Silver Dollar. Last of the Mohicans.
School libraries are wasting away, unused by children and underfunded by headteachers, according to research which found that pupils borrow on average only one library book a term.
Almost 1700 Carnegie Libraries (wikipedia) were built in the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from Pennsylvania to California, from Florida to Oregon, and almost every other single place in between . (Scotland, too!) Some of them are still in use as libraries. Others aren't. This person is trying to collect post cards of as many of them as possible.
Digitized Book of the Week. An eclectic collection of works digitized from the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They include books and serials from its collections that focus on Illinois history, literature, and natural resources; rural life and agriculture; railroad history and engineering; and works in translation. A project of MsMolly.
UCLA releases the results of an independent investigation into an incident where a UCLAPD officer repeatedly tasered a passively resisting student (previously on MetaFilter). The investigation found that the officer violated UCLA's use of force policies. Furthermore, it found that these policies are "unduly permissive" and that "the UCLAPD policy stands alone in its legitimization of the Taser as a pain compliance device against passive resisters." An internal investigation by UCLAPD previously determined that there was no violation.
The British Library is posting the Diary of Dr. Saad Eskander, the courageous director of the Iraq National Library and Archive. His entries "detail the daily hurdles of keeping Iraq’s central library open, preserving the surviving archives and, oh yes, staying alive."
Imagine a library that collected all the world's information about all the world's books and made it available for everyone to view and update. We're building that library.
The Prelinger Library is a small privately owned "public library" in San Francisco with the unique philosophy that browsing library stacks can reveal new knowledge, if the books are arranged for browsing. This is counter to most public libraries who rely on computer terminal searching, databases and the Dewey Decimal system to atomize books and subjects, with stack browsing a sort of random after effect, and in some places--like the Library of Congress--normally not even allowed. Now a (real) public library in Arizona has joined the revolution and claims to be the first public library in the nation to drop the Dewey Decimal system. Instead, books will be shelved by topic, similar to the way bookstores arrange books. The demise of the century-old Dewey Decimal system is overdue, county librarians say: "People think of books by subject. Very few people say, 'Oh, I know Dewey by heart.' "
What they didn't teach us in library school. An article written by a former public librarian in Salt Lake City, concerning the dilemmas of dealing with the homeless. [via alternet]
New York University's Tamiment Library, one of the world's foremost centers of learning on labour history and the Left, has been given the archives of the Communist Party USA. (alternate non-NYT link) The donation includes 20,000 books, journals and pamphlets and a million photographs from The Daily Worker’s archives. Highlights include the original, hand-written will of Joe Hill.
IntraText Digital Library - a few thousand texts in English and many other languages in a heavily hyperlinked concordance format.