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 The Flybrary Project (@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 The Flybrary Project (@flybraryproject) on May 24, 2019 at 11:09am PDT

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

Library of Congress releases 11,700 freely usable photos of "roadside America," taken by John Margolies

For decades, architectural critic and photographer John Margolies obsessively documented roadside attractions: vernacular architecture, weird sculpture, odd businesses and amusements. By his death in 2016, his collection consisted of more than 11,000 slides (he published books of his favorites, with annotations). Read the rest

The world's largest occult library has a public online archive

Amsterdam's Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (AKA "The Ritman Library) houses more ths 25,000 occult texts, covering "Hermetics, Rosicrucians, Theosophy, alchemy, mysticism, Gnosis and Western Esotericism, Sufism, Kabbalah, Anthroposophy, Catharism, Freemasonry, Manichaeism, Judaica, the Grail, Esotericism, and comparative religion." Read the rest

Public library receipt shows how much money you saved by borrowing instead of buying books

Reddit user penguinska9 posted that their library "keeps track of how much you save by not buying books and borrowing instead" and shows the dollar amount on the receipt when you check out a book. Genius! I don't know how common this practice is but the following is from a Wichita Public Library posting from last year:

“While libraries offer tremendous benefits to their communities, sometimes the benefits are more abstract or require long term studies to show the value of their programs,” said Jennifer Lane, communication manager, Wichita Public Library. “Including this information is a way to easily quantify one of the ways the Library is a value to its users...."

So far this year, the highest dollar amount saved by a customer's account is $64,734.12. And the highest dollar amount saved by a customer's account since this feature was implemented is $196,076.21.

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Data-mining reveals that 80% of books published 1924-63 never had their copyrights renewed and are now in the public domain

This January, we celebrated the Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain, as the onerous terms of the hateful Sonny Bono Copyright Act finally developed a leak, putting all works produced in 1923 into the public domain, with more to follow every year -- 1924 goes PD in 2020, and then 1925, etc. Read the rest

Linkedin to libraries: drop dead

For years, libraries across America have paid to subscribe to lynda.com for online learning content; four years ago, lynda.com became a division of Linkedin, and this year, the company has informed libraries that they're migrating all lynda.com users to Linkedin Learning, which would be fine, except Linkedin only allows you to access Linkedin Learning if you create and connect a Linkedin profile to the system. Read the rest

Countries with longer copyright terms have access to fewer books (pay attention, Canada!)

Rebecca Giblin (previously) writes, "We've just dropped a new study we've been working on for a year. You know how it keeps being claimed that we need longer copyrights because nobody will invest in making works available if they're in the public domain? Heald and some others have done some great work debunking that in the US context, but now we've finally tested this hypothesis in other countries by looking at the relative availability of ebooks to libraries. It's also the first time anyone has been able to compare availability of identical works (by significant authors) across jurisdictions. The books we sampled were all in the public domain in Canada and NZ, all under copyright in Australia, and a mix in the US (courtesy of its historical renewal system)." Read the rest

How fanfic archives lead the world in data organization

Since the earliest days of the "semantic web,", millions of dollars and hours of coding effort have been thrown at the problem of really organizing large corpuses of information, with two approaches emerging: rigid ontologies (like the Dewey Decimal system) that require a system's users to be deeply expert in the structures they're working in; and "folksonomies" (aka hashtags), which allow anyone to tag anything with anything, and leads to fragmentation (like #sign or #signs; or #photos, #pix, and #pictures, etc). Read the rest

10 fascinating online collections at the New York Public Library

We've written extensively about the glories of the New York Public Library, from its talented book-sorters to its circulating collection of neckties and briefcases for job-seekers to the subway cars it turned into virtual ebook libraries to its pioneering work on e-lending platforms to its astounding online collections, which include some of the best-presented public domain resources in the world. Read the rest

Print book reading is surging, just not in research libraries

US booksellers and public libraries are reporting strong growth in demand for print books, but research libraries are increasingly serving as archives, rather than references. Read the rest

To do in Toronto: the Retro Futures exhibit at Metro Reference Library

Toronto's Metro Reference Library is hosting a Retro Futures exhibition until July 28, filled with exhibits from the collection of the Merril Collection (previously), the largest science fiction reference collection in any public library in the world. Read the rest

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