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The National Park Service has released a dozen historic sound recordings originally made on wax cylinders in 1889-1890.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.

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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.

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Bookless at Madison Public Library


Ever since fire consumed the Library of Alexandria, bibliophiles have been captivated by stories of epic endings to libraries. Madison, Wisconsin recently contributed a memorable ending, answering the question: “What would happen if we cleared all the books out of the Central Library, handed the debris-strewn three-story building over to a bunch of artists, live bands, and DJs, and invited the community to a giant one-day-only party?”

The answer was Bookless, which drew more than 5,000 people to the send-off event for Madison’s now-former downtown library. The Onion’s A.V. Club posted a Bookless video by jazz/rock band Lovely Socialite that does a nice job of capturing the feel of the event and some of the art (yes, the butterflies at 4:45 are made of microfiche), including the somewhat terrifying dragon skeleton leering over the "Bibliotheque Discotheque" in the basement and the pneumatic-tube powered “Ask the Oracle” booth.

For more on Bookless, see Madison Public Library's Bookless a Hit and the MPL Foundation’s Bookless in the News.

—Marc Gartler, Madison Public Library

LibraryLab posts come courtesy of the American Library Association member interest group Library Boing Boing.

Be a Book Giver on World Book Night

This is the first post from the fine folks of the American Library Association, which recently launched a member interest group called Library Boing Boing. They will be posting now and again as LibraryLab.

On April 23, 2012, tens of thousands of people in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Germany will go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving away free books. All you have to do to participate is register by midnight EST tonight.

The goal is to have 50,000 people give a book to a stranger or to people you might know but believe aren’t frequent readers. Go to a coffee shop, a hospital, a park, a church, a community center, an after-work party, a local school, or even just give them away on your daily train ride. WBN will give you 20 specially-produced, not-for-resale World Book Night editions to randomly give away. There are 30 titles to choose from for all types of readers. Basically, if you love any of the books included in the program, you can get free copies to share with others.

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Announcing Library Boing Boing at the American Library Association

Folks from the American Library Association are launching a member interest group called Library Boing Boing, and we're delighted to give our blessing. From Jenny Levine's announcement, at the ALA's Marginalia site:

On the one hand, Library Boing Boing is a collaboration between ALA and the fabulously amazing Boing Boing folks to highlight all of the great new things libraries are doing. The most visible result will be regular posts about those great new things on the Boing Boing site itself.

On the other hand, Library Boing Boing: The Group has its own goals to help happy mutants in local communities connect with their happy mutant librarians to do good, work together on our shared interests, and make the world more better.

Once they're up and running, we'll be publishing regular updates on the group's activities and plans, as well as any events and programs that you can attend or support. For ALA members. the first step would be to sign the ALA member petition to formally establish the Library Boing Boing Member Interest Group; everyone else, watch this space.

ALA Happy Mutants rejoice – Library Boing Boing is coming! [ALA Marginalia]