Neil Gaiman explains the worth and value of libraries

In an absolutely stirring, smashing speech delivered as the Reading Agency annual lecture, Neil Gaiman explains why libraries matter, and what duty we as writers and readers and citizens owe to reading and libraries.

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Photos: library building inspired by brain

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NewImageFelix Loechner created a gorgeous photo series documenting the Philologische Bibliothek on the campus of the Freie Universität Berlin. Designed by architect Norman Foster, the library's form was inspired by the human brain. See the photos over at Designboom.

Harvard Business Review to universities: your subscription doesn't include classroom use

The University of Toronto's School of Business has advised its faculty to avoid assigning articles from the Harvard Business Review to their students. Though the U of T library has a digital subscription to the Review, Harvard has put it -- and other schools -- on notice that they will be billed separately if they are caught assigning, suggesting, or referring to HBR articles in classrooms. That's because the license agreement for academic HBR subscriptions forbids using HBR in coursework, and Harvard is now enforcing those terms, and hoping to extract rent from universities where the profs assume, foolishly, that just because a scholarly journal is in their library on a paid-up subscription, they can tell the students to go and read it.

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Banned Books Week library display


Meghan sez, "My coworker Rachel Moani created this awesome book display for the Lacey Timberland Library highlighting some of the insane reasons books have been banned over the years - including The Wizard of Oz for depicting women in strong leadership roles and The Diary of Anne Frank for being 'too depressing'."

Libraries: We’re With The BANNED

Cory in San Francisco next week for SFPL's One City/One Book events


As I've mentioned before, my novel Little Brother is the San Francisco Public Library's pick for its first One City/One Book citywide book-club. They're already in the middle of the three months' worth of events, from debates to robotics and crypto workshops to movie screenings (and much more), and I'm gearing up to head to San Francisco for several days' worth of school visits and other presentations.

If you'd like to catch me while I'm there, your best bet is my evening presentation with Nico Sell at the SFPL main branch (100 Larkin Street) at 6PM on Oct 2. I'm also doing a presentation at Borderlands Books (866 Valencia St) on Oct 3 from 12:30-1330h. I hope to see you there!

Little Brother bus-ads in San Francisco


How cool is this? My novel, Little Brother, is the San Francisco Public Library's "One City One Book pick for 2013, which means that it's the book for the annual "citywide book-club." The library is advertising the initiative with bus-shelter, bus- and coffee-sleeve-ads all over town, and the librarians just tweeted me this pic of the first ads going up in situ.

Holy.

Awesome.

There's a whole ton of events, from screenings of movies like Sneakers, Source Code and Existenz to a "LED Robot Plushie Workshop + Little Brother Book Discussion" and Lego robotics workshops, and I'm doing a public event in conversation with Wickr/DEFCON's Nico Sell, at the Main Library's Koret Auditorium on Oct 2. I'm totally, utterly thrilled!

We are live around town!

Explaining the benefits of a library card with vintage Penguin covers


Ann sez, "I am a librarian in Arizona in charge of my county's social media. For September, National Library Card Sign-Up Month, I created 30 Penguin-Pelican style vintage paperback book covers representing the benefits of library membership."

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How publishers should learn to stop worrying and love library ebook lending

My latest Locus column, Libraries and E-books, talks about the raw deal that libraries are currently getting from the big five publishers on ebook pricing (libraries pay up to five times retail for their ebooks, and are additionally burdened with the requirement to use expensive, proprietary collection-management tools). I point out that libraries are effectively the last main-street "retailer" of books, and represent a valuable ally for publishing in the age of ebooks, where all the other major players are not just ebook vendors, but ebook publishers as well, and looking to take market-share from the publishers.

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Talking about the future of libraries with the Circulating Ideas library podcast

I did an interview with the Circulating Ideas library podcast (MP3) at the American Library Association conference this year. We talked about information politics, DRM and libraries, my own history with reading and books, and the future of librarianship.

Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" reenacted with librarians

http://vimeo.com/66169135

From the New York Public Library's Tumblr, a great remake of the video for the Beastie Boys' classic "Sabotage," featuring librarians on high-speed chases through the shelves.

Sometimes we just feel compelled to share something awesome. A video combining the Beastie Boys and Librarians = Awesome. (Thanks, Tim!)

Web filter at British Library: Sorry, Hamlet is too violent


The British Library is an instructive test-case as we ramp up for the Great Firewall of Cameron, whereby all British ISPs will have to opt all their customers into an "adult content" filter. The BL's new filter blocked Shakespeare's Hamlet for excessive violence. Because it's dead easy to get enough prudes to look at all the webpages and decide which ones to censor, right?

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Why writers should stand up for libraries

Earlier this summer, I worked with the American Library Association on their Authors for Library Ebooks project -- which is asking authors to call on their publishers to offer ebooks to libraries at a fair price. Right now, libraries pay several times more for ebooks than people off the street -- up to six times more! I recorded this video explaining why libraries and authors are natural allies.

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Dead WalMart reborn as library


A dead WalMart in McAllen, Texas has been remodelled as a library, making it the largest single-floor library in the USA. It's award-winning design makes excellent use of all that space -- two football fields' worth -- and includes an acoustically separated teen space.

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Little Brother-themed team scavenger hunt coming to San Francisco!

My novel Little Brother is the "One City One Book" pick for the San Francisco Public Library this year; and in its honor, they've put together an amazing city-wide scavenger hunt called "Rogue Agent." It features fiendish puzzles and awesome clues, and kicks off on September 14. It's a team-sport, so start thinking about your teammates now; I'll be at the SFPL at the end of September to read from the book and talk about it.

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Libraries and makerspaces join up in DC, Chicago


This morning dawned with two exciting announcements from the world of libraries and makerspaces: first, the Chicago Public Library has opened a popup makerlab in the main downtown branch (this is merely the latest in a series of amazing, interactive, maker-ish initiatives from the CPL system). They've got 3D printers, laser cutters and a milling machine.

The other awesome news is that the 11,000 sqft the DC Library Digital Commons opens today in the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library, with 3D printers, book-on-demand printers, and computers with 3D design software running on them.

This is a great day for libraries and makers -- as I've written, that's a match made in heaven.

(Images: Jacqui Cheng, Benjamin R. Freed)