Just as one seed can produce many seeds, one idea can change many lives. Free public libraries were revolutionary in their time because they provided access to books and knowledge that had not previously been available to a large segment of the population. A free seed lending library can also provide people with a chance to transform their lives and communities by providing access to fresh, healthy food that may not otherwise be available.
Most libraries aren’t found in barns, but Jackson (N.H.) Public Library happily makes its new home in one. It’s not just any barn, either. Built in 1858 as part of the town’s first inn, the barn was dismantled and stored away in 2008. At about the same time, the library was looking to open a new facility. As the recession made following through on an architect’s design fiscally impossible, the library partnered with the Jackson Historical Society, itself looking for a way to re-erect the barn.
Jackson Public Library is one of several recent libraries to adapt existing non-library buildings (including a factory, a roller rink, and a department store) as new homes. In addition to generally costing less than a new building, and the potential historic value, the practice helps rejuvenate neighborhoods. See the library in a roller rink (and more) at Reused Libraries Rejuvenate Communities [atyourlibrary.org]
Four flights of seventy-two stairs were transformed into a giant game board using 1,200 feet of wire and 48 Internet-connected tin cans decorated with green and gold helium balloons at DIY: Physical Computing at Play. These were our targets.
The National Park Service has released a dozen historic sound recordings originally made on wax cylinders in 1889-1890. The recording engineer, Theo Wangemann, was an assistant of Thomas Edison who experimented on ways to improve musical recordings. The recordings include the first Chancellor of the German Empire Otto von Bismarck reciting poetry and songs in four languages.
In her first week working at the Pima County Public Library, Registered Nurse Emily Pogue helped a newly-homeless woman find safe shelter and access to the medications she needed. She listened to the stories of military veterans, helped them organize a buddy system, and she helped library staff deal sensitively with a child's case of head lice. In just a month, library staff noticed a drop in calls to 911 and experienced far fewer behavioral incidents.
Where people gather in large numbers, public health is always a consideration. But a trained health responder has been missing from the library—until recently.
Ever since fire consumed the Library of Alexandria, bibliophiles have been captivated by stories of epic endings to libraries. Madison, Wisconsin recently contributed a memorable ending, answering the question: “What would happen if we cleared all the books out of the Central Library, handed the debris-strewn three-story building over to a bunch of artists, live bands, and DJs, and invited the community to a giant one-day-only party?”
The answer was Bookless, which drew more than 5,000 people to the send-off event for Madison’s now-former downtown library. The Onion’s A.V. Club posted a Bookless video by jazz/rock band Lovely Socialite that does a nice job of capturing the feel of the event and some of the art (yes, the butterflies at 4:45 are made of microfiche), including the somewhat terrifying dragon skeleton leering over the "Bibliotheque Discotheque" in the basement and the pneumatic-tube powered “Ask the Oracle” booth.
This is the first post from the fine folks of the American Library Association, which recently launched a member interest group called Library Boing Boing. They will be posting now and again as LibraryLab.
On April 23, 2012, tens of thousands of people in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Germany will go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving away free books. All you have to do to participate is register by midnight EST tonight.
The goal is to have 50,000 people give a book to a stranger or to people you might know but believe aren’t frequent readers. Go to a coffee shop, a hospital, a park, a church, a community center, an after-work party, a local school, or even just give them away on your daily train ride. WBN will give you 20 specially-produced, not-for-resale World Book Night editions to randomly give away. There are 30 titles to choose from for all types of readers. Basically, if you love any of the books included in the program, you can get free copies to share with others.