Card catalogs had their own elegant standardized handwriting

Behold Library Hand, a font designed specifically for librarians without typewriters who created cards for card catalogs. What's cool is the variation within the guidelines: Read the rest

UPDATED: Ransomware creeps steal the entire St Louis library system

Update: The library system has recovered access to its computers.

The libraries of St Louis, MO have been crippled by a ransomware attack that has shut down the public terminals the library provides to the poor and vulnerable of St Louis, as well as the systems used to process book and material lending (the catalog is on a separate, uninfected system). Read the rest

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

Libraries become new domestic terrorism target in Trump wave of hate crimes

Authorities say in recent weeks there has been an unprecedented wave of hate crimes targeting library buildings, books, and the people who read them. The officials told the New York Times they'd rarely seen such before. These crimes are intended to terrorize, and they follow a recent report by the F.B.I. which says hate crimes against Muslim people in America shot up over the past year.

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Library book returned 120 years late

Arthur Boycott borrowed a copy of Dr William B Carpenter's The Microscope and its Revelations from Hereford Library in 1886 or thereabouts. His granddaughter, Alice Gillett, just returned it. The £7,446 late fine was waived, reports the BBC.

Mrs Gillett discovered the book while she was sorting through a collection of 6,000 books following the death of her husband earlier this year. On discovering the HCS library stamp inside the book, Mrs Gillett, who lives near Taunton, decided to return it.

"I can't imagine how the school has managed without it," she said.

Photo: HEREFORD CATHEDRAL SCHOOL Read the rest

This is the fastest way to alphabetize 1,000+ books (or anything else)

From TED-Ed:

You work at the college library. You’re in the middle of a quiet afternoon when suddenly, a shipment of 1,280 books arrives. The books are in a straight line, but they're all out of order, and the automatic sorting system is broken. How can you sort the books quickly? Chand John shows how, shedding light on how algorithms help librarians and search engines speedily sort information.

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Philip Roth donating his personal book collection to Newark Public Library

The Newark Public Library is the scene of Philip Roth's novella Goodbye, Columbus. Now, Roth is donating his personal book collection to that same library. From the New York Times:

Mr. Roth’s library, some 4,000 volumes, is now stored mostly at his house in northwest Connecticut, where it has more or less taken over the premises. A room at the back of the house has been given over to nonfiction. It has library shelves, library lighting — everything except a librarian, Mr. Roth said recently on the phone from his New York apartment. Fiction starts in the living room, takes up all the walls in a front study, and has also colonized a guest bedroom upstairs. Copies of Mr. Roth’s own books and their many translations are stuffed in closets and piled in the attic. The books that were helpful to Mr. Roth in his research for his novel “The Plot Against America” are all grouped together, as are those he consulted for “Operation Shylock...."

The books will be shelved in Newark exactly as they are in Connecticut — not a window into Mr. Roth’s mind exactly, but physical evidence of the eclectic writers who helped shape it: Salinger, Bellow, Malamud, Kafka, Bruno Schulz. Many of the volumes are heavily underlined and annotated...

“I’m 83, and I don’t have any heirs,” Mr. Roth said, explaining why he decided to give the library away. “If I had children it might be a different story. It’s not a huge library, but it’s special to me, and I wanted it preserved as it was, if only for historical interest: What was an American writer reading in the second half of the 20th century.”

"A Scene Right Out of Philip Roth: His Books Come Home to Newark’s Library" (New York Times)

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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

Jewish man arrested at Kansas City library speech after asking "provocative" questions

Take care when asking provocative questions at Kansas City's library events: you might end up in jail.

The executive director of Kansas City Libraries says he's outraged by the charges against Jeremy Rothe-Kushel, a Jewish man grabbed by private security after asking the event's speaker, former diplomat Dennis Ross, uninvited follow-up questions. Off-duty cops moved in to arrest Rothe-Kushel when he objected to the hands-on treatment—as well as a library staffer who had moved to intervene.

The Associated Press reports Kansas City police spokeswoman Capt. Stacey Graves as saying officers "acted properly in helping private security stop an audience member from asking follow-up questions."

Issues arose after Ross finished speaking and took a question from Jeremy Rothe-Kushel concerning whether Jewish Americans like Rothe-Kushel should be concerned about actions by the U.S. and Israel that amount to "state-sponsored terrorism."

"When are we going to stand up and be ethical Jews and Americans?" Rothe-Kushel asked.

When Rothe-Kushel tried to ask another question, a private security guard grasped his arm, followed by an off-duty police officer, both employed by the Jewish Community Foundation. Rothe-Kushel then shouted, "Get your hands off of me right now!"

Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, tried to intervene. Both men were arrested by off-duty officers.

On-duty officers posted to the event apparently did not get involved until later: he was arrested by a man out of uniform and paid by the event's organizers.

Rothe-Kushel was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, was charged with interfering with an arrest. Read the rest

Stupendous library cake

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

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