New York Public Library president Tony Marx presides over the largest public library system in America, in a city where 2,000,000 people lack broadband internet access, so he understands as well as anyone the way that libraries bridge the digital divide, a divide that gets deeper and more daunting every day, as key services and opportunities move online.
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I remember the day I realised that my daughter's London school had no library, the shock I felt, the sense that the cuts had gone beyond the bone, and that kids were being deprived of something critical -- and then the discovery that then-Education Minister Michael Gove was planning to spend a fortune distributing Bibles to schoolchildren with his name embossed in metal foil on the cover.
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Starchitect-designed Tianjin Binhai Library is a viral sensation; the Dutch firm MVRDV incorporated a soaring, six-storey spherical atrium with undulating floor-to-ceiling shelves served by striking, irregular white stairs.
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When New Yorker columnist/blowhard Andre Walker "Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools", librarians all over the net gave him what for, and one of the best responses came from self-described "Angriest Librarian" Alex Halpern, a student librarian in Portland, OR, whose tweetstorm went viral.
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Pre-order Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors
through Kickstarter to help cover the expensive printing costs of this 272-page, full-color, story-based book and increase accessibility by charging an affordable list price. Donations are tax deductible. Books will ship before the holidays. Check out the Kickstarter HERE
Last June, Portugal enacted Law No. 36/2017 which bans putting DRM on public domain media or government works, and allows the public to break DRM that interferes with their rights in copyright, including private copying, accessibility adaptation, archiving, reporting and commentary and more. Read the rest
In September 2016, we learned that the University of New Hampshire was going to use $1 million that an incredibly frugal librarian saved while working as a library cataloger for 50 years to buy a new scoreboard for its stadium. Read the rest
Section 108h of the Copyright Act gives libraries the power to scan and serve copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941; it's never been used before but now the mighty Internet Archive is giving it a serious workout, adding them to their brilliantly named Sonny Bono Memorial Collection (when Bono was a Congressman, he tried to pass a law that would extend copyright to "forever less a day" and was instrumental in moving millions of works from the public domain back into copyright, "orphaning" them so that no one could preserve them and no one knew who the copyrights belonged to). Read the rest
Londonist's roundup of cutaway maps -- many from the outstanding Transport Museum in Covent Garden -- combines the nerdy excitement of hidden tunnels with the aesthetic pleasure of isomorophic cutaway art, along with some interesting commentary on both the development of subterranean tunnels and works and the history of representing the built environment underground in two-dimension artwork. Read the rest
Benji Edwards's guide to preserving vintage electronics is a fascinating look into all the ways that even solid-state gear can go off in long-term storage: a lot of stuff (batteries, capacitors and even rubber) can leak viscous, electronics-destroying liquids; plastics break down in UV light; mold and corrosion eat your gear from within; spiders, crickets and roaches make their nests in old gear; and of course, dust gets everywhere. Read the rest
My Walkaway book-tour is basically over, but I'm taking a little victory lap tonight at my local library, the Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Public Library. Hope to see you there! Read the rest
It's been decades since I first discovered my love of science fiction on a school trip to the "Spaced Out Library," the public science fiction reference collection founded by Judith Merril -- that day, I met both Merril (who went on to be a mentor to me) and Lorna Toolis, who has just stepped down as head of the library, which grew in stature and changed names, becoming the Merril Collection of Science Fiction. Read the rest
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is the respected global body representing libraries all over the world; in an open letter to the World Wide Web Consortium, the organization says the recent decision to standardize DRM for the web has undermined the web's openness and the ability of libraries and other public institutions to fulfill their important social role. Read the rest
A Pew survey found that the majority of millennials have visited a public library this year, making them the most prolific library-using generation. An ALA spokesperson attributed this to the libraries' commitment to providing free, fast broadband and the ability to borrow devices such as tablets -- but the survey found that very few patrons use the libraries' apps. Read the rest
Nick Sousanis is the comics creator who broke ground in 2015 by being the first doctoral candidate to submit a dissertation in comics form and ever since, he's been doing wonderful nonfiction work in the form, on subjects ranging from entropy to climate change to elections. Read the rest
Ten MTA cars have been outfitted as Subway Libraries by the New York Public Library: the in-car wifi connects riders to an e-reading repository containing "books, short stories, chapters and excerpts donated by publishers to the New York Public Library." Read the rest
Ginsberg's HOWL isn't merely a masterwork of poetry, nor is it merely a classic; it is also an indelible part of American free speech jurisprudence: when US Customs seized copies of the poem on their way into New York from the British printer's presses, the resulting obscenity trial made history. Read the rest