Boing Boing 

No future for you: cultural institutions can't afford to play along with pointy-headed bosses


My new Guardian column, Go digital by all means, but don't bring the venture capitalists in to do it, is an open letter to the poor bastards who run public institutions, asking them to hold firm on delivering public value and not falling into the trap of running public services "like a business."

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Difficult questions posed to the NYPL reference desks before the net


In the New York Public Library's Instagram account, Information Architect Morgan Holzer is posting images of 3x5 cards pulled from a shoebox collecting 50 years' worth of weird questions that were posed to the system's reference desks, which were strange and notable enough to warrant addition to the collection.

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Delware school district wants kids to get signed permission before checking out YA library books


The Appoquinimink, DE school board is contemplating requiring parental permission slips for students who want to check YA novels out of their school library; district secondary education curriculum director Ray Gravuer came up with this silly idea in response to a parental complaint.

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Toronto's public library under threat from Rob Ford's Library Board

The Toronto Library Board appointed by the disgraced former mayor Rob Ford has continued its programme of cutting library budgets, cutting way past the bone and threatening the Toronto public library system altogether.

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Library's seed sharing system threatened by Big Ag regulations


The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has threatened the Duluth library's free seed-sharing program because it doesn't conform to the seed-distribution rules laid out for big agribusinesses.

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Tabletop Superheroes: remixable RPG


The Parkes Library in NSW, Australia mashed up my Dungeons and Dragons variant for toddlers with School for Supervillains, creating a superhero game for kids of all ages for its Fun Palace week,

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UK cultural institutions leave their WWI cases empty to protest insane copyright


They want the term of copyright changed to life plus 70 years, instead of 2039 for unpublished works of uncertain date, a standard that makes it impossible to reproduce or display things like letters home from the front.

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Profile of MITSFS, MIT's 65-year-old science fiction club


(Pronounced "Misfits") They maintain one of the finest science fiction libraries in the world, have a host of deeply, awesomely nerdy traditions, and are still going strong after influencing the lives of countless happy mutants. I've spoken at their meetings, and it's even cooler than this article suggests.

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Adobe responds to scandalous news of secretly spying on readers (not really)

A week ago, Adobe was caught spying on people's reading habits -- they index all your books and send a full dossier to themselves, in the clear. Now, they've responded to the American Library Association (whose members are the major customers for this terrible stuff) by saying they'll say something next week. (Thanks, Jay!)

Librarians on the vanguard of the anti-surveillance movement

The American Library Association's code of ethics demands that library professionals "protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality" and they've been taking that duty seriously since the first days of the Patriot Act.

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Tom Sawyer: the Big Read


Lucas writes, "Through Oct, the Lewis & Clark Library of Montana hosting a Big Read of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Running a vast series of events throughout the month, each will be tracked on a special adventure map to represent the experiences that shape us and our understanding of the classic novel."

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Drone flythrough of Toronto's magnificently renovated reference library

Ab writes, "Toronto Reference Library (TRL) recently completed a multi-year revitalization project (to spotlight the new changes in the Reference Library, we also flew a mini drone around TRL to get a bird's eye view of what's new): the library is celebrating the completion of this project with an event on Friday, Sept. 19."

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Petition: remove child-specific antipersonnel device from Welsh library

The Port Authority in the Welsh town of Milford has installed a "Mosquito" -- a sonic weapon that produces tones that are mostly perceptible to children and teenagers -- at the library, where it has been used during opening hours.

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Libraries can't afford to ignore Itunes' awful licensing terms

Jessamyn writes, "Itunes-only music is licensed for personal use. This does not include libraries' ability to offer it for lending. Kevin Smith, Duke University's Scholarly Communications Officer, outlines the real problems libraries encounter when trying to obtain legal access to digital-only files that have restrictive licensing."

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UC Riverside's world-class science fiction library under threat

Science fiction author Nalo Hopkinson, a professor at UC Riverside, sounds the alarm about a change in management at the Eaton Science Fiction Collection, the largest public science fiction and fantasy in the world.

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School libraries in Racine, WI raided by untrained city workers, thousands of books discarded

School librarians say they weren't consulted about throwing away classics and important parts of the collection.

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Fla principal broke rules by cancelling summer read of Little Brother


You'll remember that my publisher sent 200 copies of Little Brother to Booker T Washington High School after the principal canceled the summer One Book/One School reading program because he was opposed to the book's "anti-authoritarian" message.

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Singapore library will destroy LGBT-friendly kids' books at behest of bigot


Singapore's National Library Board will pulp three LGBT-friendly children's picture books that it earlier removed from its collections.

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Cory coming to SLC and PDX


I'm heading to Salt Lake City this week for Westercon, followed by an appearance at the SLC Library on Monday. Next week, I'll be in PDX for three library gigs: Beaverton, Tigard, and Hillsboro. See you there!

Judy Blume: parents shouldn't worry about what their kids are reading


Judy Blume -- whose books have been frequently challenged in schools and libraries -- is skeptical of the idea that parents need to be worry about whether the books their kids read are "appropriate". Bloom says that any book a kid is captivated by is, by definition, "appropriate": "[Kids] are very good, I think, at monitoring what makes them feel uncomfortable. If something makes them feel uncomfortable they will put it down."

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Boy, 9, creates library in his front yard. City, stupid, shuts it down.

KMBC-TV, Kansas.


KMBC-TV, Kansas.

In Kansas, 9-year-old Spencer Collins has been told by authorities that he must stop sharing books with his neighbors, and close the little free library--honestly, it's just a bookshelf--in his yard. Its slogan was "take a book, leave a book," but city government is mostly about the taking.

Collins loves reading. He doesn't just dive into a book -- he swims through its pages.

"It's kind of like I'm in a whole other world and I like that," he said. "I like adventure stories because I'm in the adventure and it's fun."

When he tried to share his love for books, it started a surprisingly frustrating adventure.

"When we got home from vacation, there was a letter from the city of Leawood saying that it was in code violation and it needed to be down by the 19th or we would receive a citation," said Spencer's mother, Sarah Collins.

Leawood said the little house is an accessory structure. The city bans buildings that aren't attached to someone's home.

The family moved the little library to the garage, but Spencer Collins said he plans to take the issue up with City Hall.

"I would tell them why it's good for the community and why they should drop the law," he said. "I just want to talk to them about how good it is."

"Bookcase considered illegal accessory building" [KMBC-TV, HT: @lizohanesian]

Optical illusion GIF from 1722 geometry book

tumblr_n6x7p1yMxw1s83h8do1_500

Harvard University librarian John Overholt made an animated GIF from a 1722 geometrical treatise "that attempts to explore every arrangement of square tiles bisected diagonally with black and white shading."

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Why I'm sending 200 copies of Little Brother to a high-school in Pensacola, FL

The principal of Booker T Washington High in Pensacola FL cancelled the school’s One School/One Book summer reading program rather than letting all the kids go through with the previously approved assignment to read Little Brother, the bestselling young adult novel by Cory Doctorow. With Cory and Tor Books’ help, the teachers are fighting back.

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Library check-out card tees


Shopjustwish has a great line of Library Due Date Card tees: there's a women's tee ($20), a men's tee ($20), and even kid sizes ($15).

A day in the life of NYC's wonderful, endangered libraries

Christian writes, "A day in the life of libraries in New York City. Three massive systems that still have a human touch and are doing more with less every year. Look around the rest of the site for personal stories of librarians and patrons. Libraries are all about people and in a city as huge as New York City there are a million stories to be found in the libraries and not all of them are between the covers of books."

Libraries Now: A Day in the Life

Crowdfunding an illustrated A-Z defending libraries

Gary sends us, "a library crowdfunding project I am involved with. It is aiming to creatively highlight the value of public libraries to those who believe they are outdated or irrelevant. This is particularly important at the moment as many local authorities are closing libraries and reducing their hours, as a result of cuts in central government funding."

I put in £20!

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When it comes to learning computers, play is seriously important

Game on? Or game over? [PDF], a brief research report from the U Washington Information School, summarizes some of the findings from the TASCHA report on computer skills acquisition. This particular explainer deals with the relationship between playing games and goofing off on computers and learning to do "productive" things with them, finding (as Mimi Ito did, before) that horsing around is a critical component of mastering computers, and that labs that ban games and other forms of playful engagement with computers are hampering their ability to teach the people they're supposed to be serving.

Europe's first library-powered fablab

Jeroen writes, "about a project I'm working on: FryskLab, Europe's first library-powered FabLab. We're using a mobile lab facility to bring making and 21st century skills to primary and secondary education, trying to find solutions for local socio-economic challenges"

A bedroom of books

Roommmmm

A bedroom of books, provenance unknown. From the inspiring Instagram feed of The Academy New York.

UPDATE: BB reader Bryan McGovern tells us that this is the library room at Mildred's Lane, an artists' residence and museum near Beach Lake, PA.

Librarybox beta goes 2.0: self-powered Wifi file-server that fits in your pocket


Jason writes with an update to the amazing, kickstarted Librarybox project: "The LibraryBox Project, as a part of its ongoing efforts to bring information to areas without communication infrastructures, announced the release of the v2.0 public beta today. Boing Boing was kind enough to post about the very successful Kickstarter from July and this is the next stage of the project arising from that funding.

"LibraryBox is an open source digital distribution device, designed to route around both censorship and poor infrastructure by creating a hyperlocal digital file distribution point for use by libraries, educators, or anyone who wants to share files quickly and easily. The v2.0 release makes building your own LibraryBox easier than ever, while increasing the customizability and flexibility of the interface."

LibraryBox v2.0: Portable Private Digital Distribution (Thanks, Jason!)