Business Insider's Chris Weller asked me to draw from our work at Institute for the Future, where I'm a research director, to take a long-distance look at the far future of what libraries could become:
In 50 years' time, Pescovitz tells Business Insider, libraries are poised to become all-in-one spaces for learning, consuming, sharing, creating, and experiencing — to the extent that enormous banks of data will allow people to "check out" brand-new realities, whether that's scaling Mt. Everest or living out an afternoon as a dog....
The definition of a library is already changing.
Some libraries have 3D printers and other cutting-edge tools that makes them not just places of learning, but creation. "I think the library as a place of access to materials, physical and virtual, becomes increasingly important," Pescovitz says. People will come to see libraries as places to create the future, not just learn about the present.
Pescovitz offers the example of genetic engineering, carried out through "an open-source library of genetic parts that can be recombined in various way to make new organisms that don't exist in nature."
"Libraries of the future are going to change in some unexpected ways" (Business Insider)
Larry Murdock just returned a library book that he checked out from the Linton, Indiana Public Library in 1956, when he was just 8 years old. The book is "Moths of the Limberlost." Murdock is now a Purdue University professor of entomology who specializes in the study of moths. He said the book turned up in a box.
"(Returning) it was the right thing to do," he said. "Maybe after all those years there are kids out there who might get some benefit" from the book.
Murdock paid a $436.44 fine.
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
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
Jamie writes, "A photographer filed on Monday a $1 billion copyright infringement suit in New York against Getty Images' American arm, alleging that the company is sending out letters demanding licensing fees for her photos that were donated to the Library of Congress." Read the rest
John from Everylibrary writes, "Please join EveryLibrary in sending congratulations to Dr. Carla Hayden, our new Librarian of Congress, by signing below with your personal comment or reflection of congratulations along with your name. We will take all the signatures and comments made by midnight on Tuesday, July 20th and create a commemorative book for Dr. Hayden. We'll send the book, along with a nice bouquet from all of us, to her this week." Read the rest
Residents of an awfully tony neighborhood in San Francisco, California can't keep their Little Free Library open. Of all the asshole things to do, some vandals keep destroying it!
The idea is to encourage neighborhood interaction, but the Little Free Library at Noe and 15th streets has become an exercise in frustration.
“It’s really just been one thing after another,” said Peter Kupfer, another resident. “It was vandalized. It was knocked down. Someone set fire to it. It was knocked apart and in pieces on the street. It was stolen completely, so a neighbor donated a cabinet, which we had painted and refinished.”
Last week, though, was the topper. The sponsors had bolted the Little Free Library to the sidewalk with metal braces.
“And they just ripped it out of the pavement,” Kupfer said.
Activist/sociologist WEB Du Bois compiled a beautiful set of infographics on the state of black life since the end of slavery that were displayed at the "Exhibit of American Negroes" he created with Thomas J Calloway and Booker T Washington for the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Read the rest
For the first half of the 20th Century, it was common for New York's libraries to have live-in superintendents, whose families would live on-site in hidden apartments -- the last one of these apartments wasn't vacated until 2006. Read the rest
Toronto's public libraries have followed New York and Chicago's lead in offering wifi hotspot lending to low-income families, allowing them to "check out the internet" and take it home with them. Read the rest
16th century barber-surgeon Georg Bartisch began his barber-surgeon apprenticeship in 1548 in Saxony, and three years later, became an itinerant barber-surgeon in Saxony, Silesia, and Bohemia. Read the rest
Hero of the Public Domain Rick Prelinger writes, "Many of you know of Prelinger Library, an independent, experimental research library in San Francisco's South of Market district." Read the rest
Publishing is in a weird place: ebook sales are stagnating; publishing has shrunk to five major publishers; libraries and publishers are at each others' throats over ebook pricing; and major writers' groups are up in arms over ebook royalties, and, of course, we only have one major book retailer left -- what is to be done? Read the rest