New Yorkers: help defend local libraries at June 8-9's Read In

Libraries in New York City are facing a potential $106 million cut to their budgets. Should these cuts go through, more than 60 neighborhood libraries will close. More than a thousand librarians and library staff will be laid off.

Once again, for a fourth year, New Yorkers will be standing up for libraries at the 24 Hour Read In, which takes place from June 8th & 9th at the gorgeous Brooklyn Public Library Central Library. Poud library supporters will read around the clock: a literal full day of reading in support of libraries throughout the five boroughs. Read the rest

Giant Origami Fractal

A three-dimensional, modular origami fractal has taken form for the first time in the history of the world—and perhaps the universe—at the USC Libraries in Los Angeles.
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A Little Storm-Shelter Library

On Monday, Oct. 29, Sandy headed for the East Coast, looking to make landfall in my home state of New Jersey. Days before, my local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) group staffed a Red Cross shelter at Chairville Elementary School in suburban Medford, NJ. Having volunteered to staff a shelter there last year during Hurricane Irene, I knew there would be residents with worried minds and lots of time on their hands, in need of distractions. Read the rest

Time-Traveling Librarians from Outer Spa... from Texas

When I first heard of the Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library, a new Houston-based bookmobile venture, I felt myself get a bit unstuck in time. For one thing, I usually see “traveling library” used to describe the library boxes that were shipped as part of early extension efforts that were especially popular in the 1890s. And the photos used to promote it so far, like this one of the first bookmobile in Texas, are decidedly and delightfully old school. Read the rest

Idea Box draws community to public library

The Idea Box at Oak Park Public Library is a new experiment in community participation and library programming that invites visitors to “explore, learn, and play.” The 9 x 13 glass-enclosed space opened in March and has already played host to several popular exhibitions. Read the rest

Words on the Water

Avast, mateys! If you’re a literature lover and a seafaring type, you might be surprised to find that you can satisfy both your passions at a public library. With libraries and librarians across the country finding ways to be more embedded in their communities (hello, Radical Reference, Street Books, and Little Free Libraries!), Kitsap Regional Library is taking to the water.

Our county relies on Washington State Ferries for easy access to most of the area’s population centers, especially Seattle. (Yes, you may now be jealous that our daily commute often involves a leisurely sail across Puget Sound.) Because a large number of our residents are gathered on these boats each morning and evening – often passing the time with a good book - we realized this would be the perfect place to build some community around reading. Read the rest

SparkTruck: Taking Making on the Road

Meet SparkTruck, an “educational build-mobile” for the twenty-first century.

Dreamed up by a group of Stanford students and funded through Kickstarter, SparkTruck is a mobile maker space currently traveling across the United States. At schools and summer camps and libraries around the country, the SparkTruck team offers workshops to help kids “find their inner maker” as they design and build projects like stamps, stop-motion animation clips, and “vibrobots.” Read the rest

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Maker Station in Library Parking Lot = All Kinds of Awesome

A collaboration between the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and a local nonprofit called TekVenture has created a hub of awesome for local makers called the TekVenture Maker Station.

Although it looks plainer than even the most generic bookmobile (or school mobile classroom), this 50-foot trailer is packed with the kinds of tools that makers can’t wait to get their hands on: a CNC Milling Machine, Metal Lathe, a Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer, an Egg-Bot, a CNC Router, tools for welding, an injection molder, and laptops to program everything a maker could imagine. Read the rest

Take a trip through the Grateful Dead Archive Online

UC Santa Cruz launched the Grateful Dead Archive Online last Friday with tens of thousands of items. But it wouldn't be a Grateful Dead archive if all you could do was look at stuff, so you can also:

Add your own photos and stories - you can even tell us a story over voicemail. • Use the map to search for things related to a particular Dead show and venue - like photos, backstage passes, and envelopes that fans sent in to request tickets, and tapes from performances hosted at • Read Dick Latvala's original notebook from 1978 describing and commenting on fan tapes • See Jerry and Bob with a tiger - and send us a comment if you can identify the two other folks in the photo! Our team has done a lot of work to get as many names on these things as possible, but did I mention the "tens of thousands of items" thing? It's a big job, and we appreciate your patience as we work to get comments posted and metadata updated.

We've logged visits from 97 countries so far (Hello there in Moldova, Montenegro, and Malaysia!), and as of yesterday the average visit lasted four minutes and twenty seconds, which we can't help but interpret as a good omen. The messages we're getting from the community have been full of warmth and love - of course! - and we're pleased as punch to be able to open up this collection to such a great (grateful?) bunch of fans, scholars, and researchers. Read the rest

Release a deadly monster: a DRM-free ebook crowdfunding startup

Back in May, Cory posted about the then-brand-new website's campaign to unlock the classic scholarly book Oral Literature in Africa through crowdfunding. That campaign was successfully wrapped up last week, and soon anyone with an internet connection will be able to download a Creative-Commons licensed (CC-BY) version for free. Read the rest

The Librarian and the Hot Rod Shop

What do you get when you cross a librarian with a hot-rod shop? Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it isn’t. A provincial Libraries and Literacy grant and a directive to ‘create a mobile initiative to promote adult literacy’ was the beginning of Fraser Valley Regional Library’s (BC, Canada) Library Live and On Tour, the first project of its kind in the library world and a literacy advocacy tool like no other. Read the rest

Seed Libraries Crop Up

Just as one seed can produce many seeds, one idea can change many lives. Free public libraries were revolutionary in their time because they provided access to books and knowledge that had not previously been available to a large segment of the population. A free seed lending library can also provide people with a chance to transform their lives and communities by providing access to fresh, healthy food that may not otherwise be available. Read the rest

Library staircase delightfully transformed into live interactive game board

Four flights of seventy-two stairs were transformed into a giant game board using 1,200 feet of wire and 48 Internet-connected tin cans decorated with green and gold helium balloons at DIY: Physical Computing at Play. These were our targets. Read the rest

Listening to the past: NPS releases historic audio recordings

The National Park Service has released a dozen historic sound recordings originally made on wax cylinders in 1889-1890. The recording engineer, Theo Wangemann, was an assistant of Thomas Edison who experimented on ways to improve musical recordings. The recordings include the first Chancellor of the German Empire Otto von Bismarck reciting poetry and songs in four languages. Read the rest

Expert medical help and a listening ear‐at the library

In her first week working at the Pima County Public Library, Registered Nurse Emily Pogue helped a newly-homeless woman find safe shelter and access to the medications she needed. She listened to the stories of military veterans, helped them organize a buddy system, and she helped library staff deal sensitively with a child's case of head lice. In just a month, library staff noticed a drop in calls to 911 and experienced far fewer behavioral incidents.

Where people gather in large numbers, public health is always a consideration. But a trained health responder has been missing from the library—until recently. Read the rest

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