94% decline in librarians for Philadelphia's public schools

Since 1991, the number of full-time librarians working in Philadelphia's cash-strapped, budget-slashed public schools has declined by 94% -- only eight remain, while the state continues to trail the nation in literacy scores. Read the rest

Automated book-culling software drives librarians to create fake patrons to "check out" endangered titles

Two employees at the East Lake County Library created a fictional patron called Chuck Finley -- entering fake driver's license and address details into the library system -- and then used the account to check out 2,361 books over nine months in 2016, in order to trick the system into believing that the books they loved were being circulated to the library's patrons, thus rescuing the books from automated purges of low-popularity titles. Read the rest

Librarians must resist trumpism

Radical librarian Jason Griffey (previously) wants librarians to continue their 21st century leadership in the resistance to surveillance and persecution -- a proud record that includes the most effective stands against GW Bush's Patriot Act -- by pledging to make libraries safe havens from trumpism and its evils: electronic surveillance; racial and gender-based discrimination; and the assertion that ideology trumps empirical reality. Read the rest

Eating at all of LA's grand old restaurants and dives, one at a time

The Remains of LA blog has a mission: to "visit all the cool old places in LA (not all at once)." I met its proprietress today, working at my local Burbank library, and I share her passion for LA's old restaurants, though I lack her devotion! As she notes, "sometimes the food is good, and there are nice people." Read the rest

Germany-wide consortium of research libraries announce boycott of Elsevier journals over open access

Germany's DEAL project, which includes over 60 major research institutions, has announced that all of its members are canceling their subscriptions to all of Elsevier's academic and scientific journals, effective January 1, 2017. Read the rest

Behold, the short-lived, wonderful 19th century Waverley Type-Writer

Typewriter historian Martin Howard (previously) writes, "I was able to pick up a rare and exquisite Waverley typewriter (1896) this summer in Scotland and have just the other day posted it to my website all cleaned and ready to show." Read the rest

That time Walt Disney's oppo researchers claimed his business rival was laundering money for Jimmy Hoffa

Len Testa writes, "Back in the early 1960's, Walt was interested in buying and developing the Mineral King ski area in California, which was being put up for sale by the U.S. government. Another potential bidder on the project was industrialist Robert Brandt, husband of Hollywood actress Janet Leigh." Read the rest

Grass sprouted in worn Persian rugs

Austrian artist Martin Roth created an installation of grass sprouted in worn Persian rugs at the UK's Korean Cultural Centre; the grass sprouts, dies, and ruins the rugs. In between, the room looks and (apparently) smells amazing. Read the rest

Modelling Borges's Library of Babel in Sketchup

Jorge Luis Borges's short story The Library of Babel describes an infinite library containing all possible books ("its polished surfaces represent and promise the infinite ... Light is provided by some spherical fruit which bear the name of lamps"). Read the rest

Stupendous library cake

This amazing cake was created by Kathy Knaus. (via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

Machine learning, deep-fat fryers, and community cultivation

Maciej Cegłowski's (previously) speech at the Library of Congress, "Deep-Fried Data," describes the way that data begs to be analyzed and how machine learning is like a deep-fat fryer -- a fryer makes anything you put in it "kind of" delicious, and machine learning "kind of" finds insights in your data-set. Read the rest

Douglas County, OR using dirty ballot tricks to finish off the slow murder of its libraries

For years, the Douglas County commissioners have reduced the budget of the county's 11 libraries, serving 100,000 residents, and they've vowed to zero out its budget next year, so the library's supporters got a ballot initiative to create a Special Library District that would keep the doors open -- naturally, the county has removed all mention of the initiative from its website, using dirty tricks to finish off its dirty work. Read the rest

New York Public Library installs high-tech, wall-climbing book-train

The new conveyor system will open the week of October 3, ferrying books from the vast, subterranean archives beneath Bryant Park to researchers working in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Read the rest

Australian library releases free, remixable webcomics maker

Australian libraries and games guy Matt Finch (previously) writes, "This year the Queensland State Library has designed and built a drag and drop comic maker for Fun Palaces and released the code on Github too. Read the rest

How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better

Leonard Richardson isn't just the author of Constellation Games, one of the best debut novels I ever read and certainly one of the best books I read in 2013; he's also an extremely talented free/open source server-software developer who has been working for the New York Public Library on a software project that liberates every part of the electronic book lending system from any kind of proprietary lock-in, and, in the process, made reading library ebooks one trillion times better. Read the rest

The surprising spryness of fighters in 15th C armor

Paris's Musée national du Moyen Âge teamed up with The University of Geneva to make this video demonstrating the fighting techniques available to people in 15th century armor, which are much more fluid and athletic that I had presumed -- turns out you can really move in those tin cans. (via We Make Money Not Art) Read the rest

The New York Public Library is surprisingly CHUD-friendly

As this spectacular cross-section of the NYPL main branch demonstrates, the library was designed to service the needs of all the city's dwellers, even the CHUDs. (via From Deco to Atom) Read the rest

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