Los Angeles! Come see me at Exposition Park library this Thursday, talking about Big Tech, monopolies, mind control and the right of technological self-determination

From 6PM-730PM this Thursday, May 23, I'm presenting at the Exposition Park Library (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library, 3900 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062) on the problems of Big Tech and how the problems of monopolization (in tech and every other industry) is supercharged by the commercial surveillance industry -- and what we can do about it. It's part of the LA Public Library's "Book to Action" program and it's free to attend -- I hope to see you there! Read the rest

LA! Come see me this Saturday at the Nebula Awards Conference, and next Thursday at Exposition Park Library!

This Saturday, May 18, I'll be appearing at the Nebula Awards Conference, at the Marriott Warner Center in Woodland Hills: I'll be participating in the 1:30PM mass signing in the Grand Ballroom and then I'll be on the "Megatrends for the Near Future" panel at 4PM in A/B Salon. Read the rest

Duke University acquires the archives of Charles N Brown, founder of Locus Magazine

Charlie ("Charles N") Brown was the force behind Locus Magazine (previously) until his death in 2009; he hired me to be a columnist for the magazine in 2006 and I've been writing for them ever since. Read the rest

Talking Radicalized with the LA Public Library: Trump derangement syndrome, engagement algorithms, and novellas as checked luggage

The LA Public Library's Daryl M interviewed me about my new book, Radicalized, specifically, about how my Trump anxiety (created, in part, by the platforms' relentless use of "engagement" tools to nonconsensually eyeball-fuck me with Trump headlines) led to the book's germination, as well as the specific inspirations for each of the four novellas, and the delights of working in novella form. Read the rest

San Diego! I'm keynoting the 40th anniversary of the Friends of the Public Library today (then: UCLA and LA Times Festival of Books)

Tonight (Thursday, April 11), I'm headlining a free event celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Friends of the San Diego Public Library from 7-9PM: it's at the Central Library's Neil Morgan Auditorium (330 Park Blvd., San Diego 92101). The tl;dr of my speech: "libraries as one of the few remnants of a world where people were valued because of their humanity, not their money, and how that works in the current moment of extreme inequality, epistemological incoherence, and fear of imminent collapse." Read the rest

Burbank! I'll be at Dark Delicacies today! (then San Diego, UCLA, LA Times Festival of Books)

Next week is my Southern California nonstop Radicalized and advocacy week: I'm starting with a signing at Burbank's Dark Delicacies on Sunday at 4PM, alongside Leslie S. Klinger & Lisa Morton, who are signing their new anthology Ghost Stories: Classic Tales of Horror & Suspense. Read the rest

Socal! I'll be in Burbank on April 7, San Diego on April 11 and UCLA on April 12

I've got a couple of hometown appearances coming up, including a rare west-side event: on Sunday, April 7 at 4PM, I'll be at Burbank's Dark Delicacies for a final signing in their old store before they occupy their new digs around the corner, and then I'm taking off my writer hat and putting on my activist hat to do two more events in the area. Read the rest

Libby is my very most favorite app because free books

With the help of my public library, books magically appear on my eReader.

Libby is the app my local library uses to make it's ebook and audiobooks collections easily available to the public. Discovering it has improved my life.

I have long since accepted that paper books are a quaint and funny affectation, like organized religious or dial-up modems, that will someday go away. I have a HUGE collection of physical books but try to limit purchases to books that truly benefit from being in physical form: magic and cooking.

Everything else takes up space.

The bulk of what I read is science fiction and other storytelling. I need a constant stream of stories, or I won't be able to sleep. The Libby app is the first place I check to see if I new book I've heard of is available.

Libby indexes whatever my library, or libraries if you have cards at more than one participating organization, has to offer via the internets. Audiobooks, which are not really my bag, and ebooks are pretty easily searchable by the various criteria you'd expect. If what you desire is immediately available you can read or listen via the Libby app, or send the media to other players. I have Libby connected to my Kindle, and a simple click or two sends books directly to it.

The hold system is a huge surprise benefit, imho!

My library loans books for 21 days and if someone is waiting for the book I feel like a real heel holding on to it. Read the rest

Save the ARC, the largest popular music library in the United States

New York City's ARChive of Contemporary Music (ARC) is a cultural treasure packed with actual treasures. Inside the walls of this not-for-profit private research library in TriBeCa are 3 million physical audio recordings, many on vinyl records. The ARC's founder, Bob George, is also a cultural treasure -- warm, obsessive, kind, committed, and a walking encyclopedia of popular music -- from obscure folk to the avant-garde. In recent years, Bob's been working closely with the Internet Archive to digitize many of the ARC's scarce 78s for broader access and, yes, preservation. Bob launched ARC in 1985 when his own record collection outgrew his apartment. Now the ARC needs help. They've launched a GoFundMe to raise $100,000 to keep the ARC alive. From Rolling Stone:

Far from the kind of crackpot hoarding that sometimes happens in cities, George’s archive has been supported by powerhouses in music and entertainment. It houses Keith Richards’ blues collection. Their current board is varied enough to include both Youssou N’Dour and Paul Simon (Lou Reed and David Bowie were both once members). It consulted for Tom Hanks on the making of That Thing You Do. It’s the go-to repository for album art for everything from Grammy exhibits to Taschen books... George’s commitment is dogged. When Martin Scorsese wanted an obscure Italian song in Goodfellas, George roamed Little Italy humming the tune until someone recognized it (“You can solve every problem in New York if you just walk through it,” he says).

At a time when some in the city were scrubbing Keith Haring murals off subway platforms, George was welcoming every genre, including then-unpopular punk and hip-hop (among the archive’s greatest collection is a trove of punk 45s).

Read the rest

The Lunar Library: nano-etched civilizational archives of 30m pages, designed to last for billions of years

The Arch Mission Foundation is nano-etching 30,000,000 pages' worth of "archives of human history and civilization, covering all subjects, cultures, nations, languages, genres, and time periods" onto 25 DVD-sized, 40-micron-thick discs that will be deposited on the surface of the moon in 2019 by the Beresheet lander. Read the rest

The EU's plan for algorithmic copyright filters is looking more and more unlikely

After the last-minute collapse of negotiations over the new EU Copyright Directive, things have only gone from bad to worse for the beleaguered (but deadly and far-reaching) internet regulation. Read the rest

New Yorker calls a Sylvia Plath story "lost," but it is easy to find

Here's a tidbit I came across in the excellent Book Curious newsletter:

The Lilly Library Twitter account had some excellent words for the New Yorker headline describing the recent publication of a new Sylvia Plath story as "lost." In subsequent tweets, the Lilly's own Rebecca Baumann deftly navigated the line between pointing out erasures of the labor involved in libraries and archives, while encouraging researchers to continue looking for real discoveries.

Read the rest

The most magical little free library is inside a hollowed-out tree stump

Librarian, artist, and bookbinder Sharalee Armitage Howard of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho decided that rather than dig up the stump of the 110-year-old cottonwood tree in her yard, she'd transform it into a little free library, or rather little tree library. Her creation sparks the imagination and exudes a sense of wonder and welcoming. Like a good book.

(via Bored Panda) Read the rest

A roundup of 2018 roundups

From the Library Journal's Infodocket: "A Curated Collection of Recently Published or Updated Data-Rich Reports Available on the Web", from climate cost breakdowns to Nielsen's top nonalcoholic beverages (sparkling water is very much on-trend) and much, much more. (Thanks, Gary!) (Image: Meg Stewart, CC-BY) Read the rest

Competitive book-sorting event pits New York library workers against Washington State's

Big library systems struggling with the task of sorting interbranch requests for distribution on the library's delivery vehicles can buy a $2 million Lyngsoe Systems Compact Cross Belt Sorter, whose conveyor takes precisely hand-placed materials down a line of bins, scanning each item and tipping it into a bin destined for the right branch. Read the rest

Bram Stoker's reference materials for Dracula discovered at the London Library

Bram Stoker's working notes for Dracula were discovered in 1913 (but not published until 2008); now researchers at the London Library have pulled the titles Stoker referenced and shown that these were the very books that Stoker used -- they can tell because he defaced the library books, circling the phrases he later made notes on. Read the rest

You can request hand-crafted reading-list recommendations from the Brooklyn public library online

The Bklyn BookMatch is a free service that matches readers with custom lists of recommendations: fill in a webform with "the titles, authors, and/or types of books you enjoy, and why" as well as "movies, TV, games, and other interests" and any books you dislike, as well as format and age preferences and within two weeks, a librarian will send you a customized reading list that you can check out of the Brooklyn library (or your own local library -- the service seems to be open to everyone!). (via Kottke) Read the rest

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