Kudos to Nashville Public Library for making a video that explains their new curbside service in 1990 style! "Curb Side Baby" parodies Vanilla Ice's megahit AND relays important info about checking out books with rapping mice puppets ("Vanilla Mice"?). What more could you ask for?
This video was produced in-house by fantastically talented staff: Greg from Main Library Children's Division and Morgan from The Puppet Truck. Rap performed by Justin from The Puppet Truck, and Wicked Ida Puppetry provided the non-marionette puppets.
screengrab via Nashville Public Library
(Nag on the Lake) Read the rest
If the year was 1836 and you were a Royal Librarian at Spain's Real Biblioteca Pública, this was probably your uniform. We can assume pants were part of the deal (right?).
image via CEIP Arias Montano Library (Seville)
(Neatorama, Super Punch) Read the rest
Any California resident with current identification may obtain a Los Angeles Public Library card in moments.
After reading this fantastic list of benefits associated with an LA Library card I immediately pre-registered online. A few minutes later I walked into my local branch and the Librarian was very easily able to finish the process and hand me a card.
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Here are a few extra-awesome highlights:
Free or discounted admission to L.A. cultural institutions like The Broad, the Autry Museum of the American West, Kidspace Children's Museum and more. Most put a limit on how many free passes you can get per month or per year. In most cases, you must make a reservation and print out a pass to show when you arrive. Find a full list of participating places at the library's Discover & Go site.
The New York Times and The Washington Post: Free access to both newspapers' digital sites. The access only lasts 24 hours, but you can log back on immediately. If the logging in and out doesn't bother you, this is a serious money-saver.
Octavia Lab, a new space at the Central Library in DTLA that is full of all kinds of technology and gadgets to help users create. The lab is 3,000 square feet, and includes a 3D printing machine, virtual reality gear, a laser cutter, Final Cut Pro, Logic and much more.
Language learning apps, including the popular Mango. By entering your library card number and PIN, you can log in and start learning at no charge.
Apparently July 17 is National Tattoo Day (it's also my birthday, which means I spend it offline, not paying attention to the internet); to celebrate, the NYPL rounded up a gallery of its workers' literary tattoos.
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NYPL's Berg Collection ranks among the greatest collections of literary ephemera and artifacts, but it's been very hard to see these items until recently. Read the rest
There have been all kinds of neat alt-libraries, places where you can check out things other than books. There are ones for tools, American Girl dolls, and musical instruments (and undoubtedly lots more).
Here in Alameda, at the entrance of a charming estuary on the west end of town called Crab Cove, there's a Beach Toy Library. You can "check out" a sand-friendly toy to play with out of the wooden box, or leave one that you found. I love the spirit of this but given the condition of the toys in the box, I suggest people leave some new toys they "find" at the store.
photos by Rusty Blazenhoff
(I Love Alameda) Read the rest
In Ankara, Turkey, one person's trash is literally another's treasure. Garbage collectors started saving books once destined for the landfill and opened a public library.
For months, the garbage men gathered forsaken books. As word of the collection spread, residents also began donating books directly.
Initially, the books were only for employees and their families to borrow. But as the collection grew and interest spread throughout the community, the library was eventually opened to the public in September of last year...
Today, the library has over 6,000 books ranging from literature to nonfiction. There is also a popular kid's section with comic books and an entire section for scientific research. Books in English and French are also available for bilingual visitors.
The library is housed in a previously vacant brick factory at the sanitation department headquarters...
The collection grew so large the library now loans the salvaged books to schools, educational programs, and even prisons.
(For Reading Addicts), image via CNN Read the rest
The rise of the Information Age has put librarians in more demand than ever, according to this recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
It simply makes sense that a librarian action figure would pop into the market, tiny red cape and all. This one is particularly special because it's fashioned after a real hero, librarian Nancy Pearl of Seattle, Washington.
You can pick one up over at Archie McPhee for $9.95. Read the rest
The Mechanics' Institute is one of my favorite places in San Francisco.
The full service library is wonderful, as is having a comfortable place downtown to just sit, use the internet, and not be bombarded with life advice from baristas. The MI also puts on wonderful speakers series, writers workshops, and is home to the best chess room ever.
Membership is a mere $120 a year. I have an innate resistance to joining things, but this is one heck of a library.
This giving Tuesday, please consider the Mechanics' Institute. Read the rest
The 12th-century Aberdeen Bestiary has just been digitally scanned and made available online. One of the most famous extant bestiaries, the new version includes newly-discovered details on the book's production. Read the rest
An orblike auditorium nicknamed The Eye sits at the center of the new Tianjin Binhai Library that can hold up to 1.2 million books. Read the rest
Atlas Obscura discloses a secret library, The Conjuring Arts Research Center, established to preserve the secrets of magic!
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The not-for-profit organization was established in 2003, “dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of magic and its allied arts.” It was started by William Kalush, who developed a love of magic from the card tricks shown to him by his father, a Marine wounded in World War II. This love of card magic turned to a love of collecting magic books, which now form a wondrous collection of over 15,000 books—some dating to over 600 years old—housed in this hidden location.
“I like early books that no one else has ever seen”, Kalush says, sitting in a high-backed, ornately carved wooden chair that wouldn’t look out of place with a wizard sitting on it. “Books of performances pieces, card secrets, many that are unique.”
Browsing through the shelves stacked with all things conjuring, you will find obscure books on sleight-of-hand techniques, mentalism, deceptive gambling, the history of magic, and the mysterious secrets of card tricks. One book is the seminal The Expert At the Card Table, which appeared in 1902, written by an S. W. Erdnase. It’s one of the most detailed collections of sleight-of-hand techniques and card sharping, a book so iconic and well-studied within magic circles it is known as “the Bible.” Appropriately enough, S. W. Erdnase was a pseudonym. The real identity of the writer has remained a century-old mystery.
The Klencke Atlas is a massive 350-year old bound book that has graced the entrance of the British Library maps room. Now it's being digitized with the latest technology, and the process is remarkable. Read the rest
Inspired by the Library Freedom Project's uncompromising bravery in the face of a DHS threat against a town library in Kilton, NH, that was running a Tor exit node to facilitate private, anonymous communication, the New Hampshire legislature is now considering a bill that would explicitly permit public libraries to "allow the installation and use of cryptographic privacy platforms on public library computers for library patrons use." Read the rest
At the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services, anyone can check out skulls, taxidermy mounts, pelts, and other bits and pieces of dead animals for free. Librarian Celia Rozen says that the most popular items are bear and wolf furs used in Boy Scout rituals and also snowy owl mounts requested by Harry Potter party planners. As you might expect, educators appreciate the opportunity to make their lessons more, er, tangible.
“It gets them excited about being in biology class,” South Anchorage High School science teacher Chris Backstrum told the Alaska Dispatch News. “It starts the year off on a good foot."
"Need a wolf fur? A puffin pelt? All you need is a library card and a visit to the ARLIS library" (ADN)
"Something Preserved" (Great Big Story)
(photos by Marc Lester/ADN) Read the rest
Ubud has been called the cultural center of Bali, and at the heart of Ubud Village sits the literary oasis that is the Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Center. It was one of our favorite hangouts while we visited Bali.
On Sunday, the hallowed nonprofit Henry Miller Memorial Library in magical Big Sur, California will auction off large slabs of old-growth redwood sliced from a 200-foot, 500-year-old tree that fell on the site a couple years ago.
Here's library staff member Mike Scutari recounting the tree's topple:
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