Please don't microwave your library books

The Kent District Library in Grand Rapids, Michigan is imploring its patrons to please not attempt to disinfect borrowed books by putting them in the microwave. The books contain metal RFID tags that will burn the pages and potentially cause a fire. From KIRO7:

“I don’t know if it was something that they saw on the news — that they thought maybe the heat would kill COVID-19,” Kozlowicz told The Detroit Free Press.

The library said it uses U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines to ensure safety for using library materials. It also keeps all materials in quarantine for at least 72 hours.

For more on libraries' sanitization practices: "Do libraries fumigate books to disinfect them?" (Boing Boing)

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Do libraries fumigate books to disinfect them?

AskSmithsonian always has a fascinating and eclectic collection of reader questions and answers from Smithsonian Institutions experts on topics ranging from scientific phenomena to art history to pop culture. (What exactly is duck sauce? Has anyone ever run for president from prison? How does a hippopotamus swim so fast?) In the current issue, a reader asks if libraries fumigate books to disinfect them. Here's the answer:

That practice was used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when book-borrowing was seen as a possible disease vector. Today, collections use nonchemical methods, like freezing, to treat mold and insect infestations. The observation that the coronavirus can survive on paper and cardboard for up to one day is leading libraries to disinfect nonporous surfaces and quarantine recently circulated materials for 24 hours, says Vanessa Haight Smith, the head of the Smithsonian Libraries’ Preservation Services Department.

image: David Flores/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) Read the rest

The rise in home videoconferencing lets us browse more people's bookshelves

When I was young, the first thing I'd do when visiting someone's apartment for the first time was to browse their bookshelf and record (or tape or CD) collection. That was a great way to find connection with others and spark conversation. These days, most people's musical tastes aren't reflected in any tangible way. Same mostly holds true for books but I do think many avid readers still like having some printed matter around. These days, lots of celebrities are streaming appearances from their homes where a full bookshelf makes a nice backdrop. So what are we seeing in their home libraries? In the New York Times, Gal Beckerman looks at the books in the background at the homes of Cate Blanchett, Stacey Abrams, Prince Charles, Anna Wintour, Jane Goodall, and others. From the New York Times:

Jane Goodall On “PBS NewsHour,” April 22

1. “The Hidden Target,” by Helen MacInnes: This 1980 spy novel tells the story of an American college student on a world tour who becomes entangled with secret agents looking to stop a terrorist plot.

2. “The End of Food,” by Thomas F. Pawlick: Danger abounds at the grocery store in this 2006 expose of our current method of food production. Pawlick reveals that the vitamin, mineral and nutritional content of food is in shocking decline.

[...] Paul Rudd On “Saturday Night Live,” April 25

1. “Code of Conduct,” by Brad Thor: The 15th installment in Thor’s thriller series has counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath uncovering the inner workings of a secretive committee of elites running the world.

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Virtual library tourism: visit 7 of the world's most beautiful libraries

Atlas Obscura has rounded-up seven different libraries that offer online virtual tours. Read the rest

Porn video shot in public library upsets citizens

Residents of the Ocean Park neighborhood in Santa Monica, California are angry that adult film performer Ellie Eilish and a colleague allegedly filmed a porn movie inside the local public library. The video apparently turned up on PornHub where, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press, "library porn is not uncommon." From the SMDP:

The video, which was posted three weeks ago, shows 19-year-old entertainer Ellie Eilish exposing herself while walking around Ocean Park, outside of the John Muir Elementary School and Santa Monica Alternative School House campus, and inside the Ocean Park branch library. Eilish then performs sex acts inside the library with a man, whose face is not shown...

The city of Santa Monica issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

“We are deeply disturbed to learn about this video. Sex in public spaces is against the law and the Santa Monica Police Department will be looking into this incident.”

image credit: Santa Monica Public Library (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

Bill from Missouri's Rep Ben Baker threatens librarians with prison sentences for allowing minors to read books banned by town committees

Under Missouri House Bill 2044 -- the "Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act" -- each town will elect a committee of five local people (librarians are not permitted to serve) who will take local submission for books to ban. If they choose to ban a book, any librarian who allows a minor to check out or read that book will face up to a year in prison, and their libraries will be de-funded. Read the rest

Newton's Principia Mathematica, George Washington's journal: archivist stole $8m worth of rare books from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Library

Gregory Priore -- former archivist for Pittsburgh's Carnegie Library -- has pleaded guilty of stealing $8m worth of rare texts from the collection over a 25 year period, fencing them through John Schulman's Caliban Book Shop (Schulman has also pleaded guilty, and admitted to forgery as well). Read the rest

One of the world's largest private equity firms just bought one of the world's largest library ebook companies

KKR is one of the largest private equity funds in the world. Overdrive is one of the largest e-lending suppliers to the world's libraries, supplying 43,000 libraries in 75 countries. Read the rest

Radicalized is one of the LA Public Library's books of the year!

It's not just the CBC and the Wall Street Journal -- I was delighted to see this morning that Radicalized, my 2019 book of four science fiction novellas made the LA Public Library's list of the top books of 2019! "As always his writing is sharp and clear, covering the absurdities that surround and infiltrate our lives, and predicts new ones waiting for us just around the corner. A compelling, thought provoking, macabre funny read." Read the rest

Library Socialism: a utopian vision of a sustaniable, luxuriant future of circulating abundance

SRSLY Wrong is a "research-based comedy podcast" run by a pair of Canadian fellas with a background in radical politics, occupy, and the Pirate Party; in a three part series, hosts Aaron Moritz and Shawn Vulliez; in a series of three long podcast episodes (1, 2, 3), the pair elucidate and elaborate a utopian vision for the future that they dub "Library Socialism." Read the rest

In an age of disappearing prison libraries, jail profiteers provide "free" crapgadget tablets that charge prisoners by the minute to read Project Gutenberg ebooks

The past couple years has seen a rise in prison profiteers who strike deals with state corrections departments to provide "free" tablets to prisoners (these being the flimsiest, cheapest, least reliable hardware imaginable), and then profiting by charging exorbitant sums for prisoners to send emails (selling "digital postage stamps" that have to be affixed to each "page" of email), videoconference with family members, and provide media, charging prisoners for music that they lose every time a prison changes suppliers. Read the rest

The Internet Archive's massive repository of scanned books will help Wikipedia fight the disinformation wars

For years, the Internet Archive has been acquiring books (their goal is every book ever published) and warehousing them and scanning them. Now, these books are being "woven into Wikipedia" with a new tool that automatically links every Wikipedia citation to a print source to the exact page and passage from the book itself, which can be read on the Internet Archive. Read the rest

Social justice is a library issue; libraries are a social justice issue

Radical librarian (and warrant canary inventor) Jessamyn West (previously gave this year's Alice G Smith lecture at the University of South Florida's School of Information. It's called "Social Justice is a Library Issue; Libraries are a Social Justice Issue." Read the rest

The Internet Archive's Open Library will let you sponsor a book, paying for it to be scanned

The Internet Archive's Open Library scans books that they have physical copies of, then lends the resulting ebooks to its patrons, building on the precedent set in 2014's Hathi Trust ruling. Read the rest

Come see me tomorrow in Portland, Maine with James Patrick Kelly!

I'm coming to Maine to keynote the Maine Library Association conference in Newry tomorrow (Sept 30); later that day, I'm appearing with James Patrick Kelly at the Portland, Maine Main Library, from 6:30PM-8PM (it's free and open to the public) This is the first time I've been to Maine, and I can't wait! Read the rest

Come see me in Toronto and Maine!

I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly). Read the rest

Flybraries are little "libraries" for fly fishing

Now folks who fly fish have the opportunity to pay it forward, thanks to the Flybrary Project. Much like the little book lending libraries, at "flybraries" people can leave a fly to share, or take one if they need one. And they are encouraged to create their own flybrary which they can then add to the project's growing registry.

From the backside of signs at boat ramps in South Florida to river-side signs in Alaska, The Flybrary Project connects fly fishers across the world with one another—educating visitors of the fisheries and promoting comradery amongst strangers who share the same passion.

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@hallmost_heaven just put up a new Flybrary in WV. Karma is good. #haveoneleaveone #needonetakeone #flyfishing #communitylove

A post shared by Tailer Trash Fly Fishing (@flybraryproject) on Sep 10, 2019 at 3:54am PDT

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@flylife83 took a more organic route and cobbled together a fantastic Flybrary location. A breath of fresh air! #flybraryproject #haveoneleaveone #buildcommunity #diy #flyfishing

A post shared by Tailer Trash Fly Fishing (@flybraryproject) on May 24, 2019 at 11:09am PDT

(Thanks, Mark Krawczuk!) screenshot via the Flybrary Project Read the rest

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