Thursday, February 4, 2016

The loss of libraries is another surefire way to entrench inequality Mary O'Hara Mary O'Hara

 ‘Having a library within walking distance of home was a way for a young girl from a poor background to access the same breadth of reading material as anyone else.’ Photograph: Getty Images

As someone who grew up in a home without books, no spare cash to buy them and no tradition of reading bedtime stories, my local library offered something unique and indispensable. It’s hard to think of anything that brought me more joy as a primary school-aged child than walking back from the Falls Road library in west Belfast with a bundle of books.

Having a library within walking distance of home was a way for a young girl from a poor background to access the same breadth of reading material as anyone else – at no expense. It stripped away at least some of the disadvantage that came with being from a low-income family. So every time I hear of another library closure – and there were more than 100 last year alone in Scotland, Wales and England, according to official figures – it hits a nerve. The loss of libraries is simply another surefire way to entrench inequality.
From providing books for people of all ages and backgrounds, to kids clubs and hubs for older people, to computer terminals that those with no access to the internet can use to find job vacancies, libraries are about as democratic and diverse as is possible to imagine. When properly funded and resourced they are educational and social anchors in communities everywhere. Yet, despite knowing all this, in the past five years the relentless funding constraints placed on local authorities have seen library budgets slashed by an astounding amount.  Read more...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February, 2016 is...Library Lovers Month

Stop hugging that library. No wait, my mistake, I forgot that it’s Library Lovers Month – and it seems to have come at just the right time as many local libraries are struggling during the economic downturn.

So why love your local library? Libraries are a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life; they offer security and peace and quiet. They are also a place where you can focus surrounded by likeminded people with the desire to acquire knowledge.
It’s important to understand that not everything is available on the internet (yet), libraries can have vast digital stores of qualitative and quantitative information escaping from opinion led snippets and snapshots from online. There may be some crossover of information but in most cases libraries are a much more economically viable solution when looking for information than the internet.
Love your library for what it is, a community meeting place or treasure trove of ideas. Why not push against the declining attendance of libraries and go and learn something new that will expand your knowledge of who you are, of where you live or what you do?ou live or what you do?

Monday, February 1, 2016

What happens when libraries are asked to help the homeless find shelter By Marc Vartabedian January 27

And staffs are totally unsure how to handle the influx of low-income people with special needs

In 2008, the San Francisco Public Library considered a very unusual question. How, they asked the city’s homeless, can our library better serve you? 
Officials weren’t looking for book club ideas. Over the past decade, the shrinking social safety net has turned many libraries into major care providers for the underprivileged. The homeless, in particular, rely on libraries for daytime shelter. It’s a big job, one that libraries — perpetually cash-strapped and understaffed  aren’t sure they’re equipped to handle.
Take San Francisco. Officials knew that homeless patrons had a range of special needs. Some had immediate medical concerns. Others wanted help finding temporary shelter or using the Internet to apply for unemployment benefits, disability insurance and jobs. These needs required time and full-time staff, not harried librarians.  Read more...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

He's 48, just graduated from high school and owes it all to the library

Ron Hagardt at his graduation at the L.A. Public Library ceremony for adults who earned high school diplomas from the Career Online High School.
 (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

Now he’s 48, four years sober -- and a high school graduate. On Tuesday, Hagardt wore a blue cap and gown and moved the golden tassel across his mortarboard during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Public Library in downtown.
The library paid the $1,100 tuition, and Hagardt spent eight hours a day in front of a computer for about six months, either in the library or at home, finishing high school. He’s one of 30 L.A. adults who earned a high school diploma through a partnership between Los Angeles Public Library and Career Online High School, an accredited high school degree program for adults.
In 2014, 8.4% of California’s adults over the age of 25 had attended high school without earning a diploma. That percentage was higher in the city of Los Angeles, where almost one-tenth of adults over 25 fell into the same category, according to 2014 U.S. Census Bureau estimates from the American Community Survey.
With each diploma or degree, Americans are poised to make more money, and are less likely to be unemployed. Read more...

5 Ways to Make the Most Out Of Your Library Card

With the start of the new year, many of us like to start everything with a blank slate: lose weight, get healthy … SAVE MONEY.
What if I told you I had a perfect way for you to stream movies, music, listen to audio books, have access to thousands of books and magazines both online and in person FOR FREE?
It’s TRUE! All you need is a library card!
I know, you are probably like, wait a minute, I have a library card, but I don’t have time to get to the library to check out books or magazines.
That’s the awesome thing: You don’t even have to get out of your pajamas to start the next book in that series you are loving that you finish at 1 in the morning. You can binge read if you want, just like when you started watching Making a Murderer on Netflix. (Don’t lie, you know you did it too during the holiday break.)

Seriously, pin this post or save it to your Facebook links because here are five ways to make the Most out of your Library Card!!!


Hoopla is an app available through the library that is like Netflix, Audible, iTunes, and Kindle all bundled into one, but FREE. Yes, you read that correctly, FREE. Most of our local parishes (St. Charles, St. Tammany, Orleans, Tangipahoa  and Jefferson) offer Hoopla access. Download the app to your computer, tablet, or phone; create a user id and log into your library’s account. From there you will have access to hundreds of movies, audiobooks, ebooks, tv shows, comic books, and music. All of the downloads are FREE with your library card through the app. You can borrow up to 30 titles a month, too! Some of the movie downloads available include Silver Linings Playbook, Django UnchainedDuck Tales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp and A Goofy Movie. They have television show downloads like Thirtysomething, The Librarians, and most of Jillian Michaels’ Shred workouts! The Hoopla app was a life saver for us on our September drive down to Disney. Before we left, I downloaded a couple of movies onto the tablet and that helped tremendously to entertain our son. Hoopla also features music downloads (so you can try before you buy!), comic books, ebooks, and audio books. I always check Hoopla first when I am looking for a new book to read, and if it isn’t available there, I move on to the next way you can make the most out of your library card … Read more...

The New York Public Library Now! | The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library Now! | The New York Public Library: Free Classes, Programs, Exhibitions Discover free Library programs for adults, kids, and teens! Pick up a copy today at any Library location or flip through it online.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to Read 100 Books a Year

by  • 
Does your reading list keep growing? Did you buy books that you’ve never read? It might be time to cross more books from your list this year than ever.
If you’re reading less than you want, you’re not the only one. One year ago I looked at my Goodreads page and noticed that I had read only five books in 2014. That realization frustrated me.
I love books, but since I graduated college in 2011, I’d been reading fewer books every single year. My work and life got in the way of reading as much as I wanted.
Why read 100 books in a year? You read because you want to learn from other people’s experience. Otto von Bismarck put it best:

“Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others.”
Read more....

Thursday, January 14, 2016

You are not what you read: librarians purge user data to protect privacy

US libraries are doing something even the most security-conscious private firm would never dream of: deleting sensitive information in order to protect users
‘Library ethics have long leaned towards protecting the privacy of user data,’ says Graduate Center librarian Polly Thistlethwaite Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Last week, with little fanfare, the Graduate Center at the City University of New York did something very few private companies would ever do to protect its users’ privacy: it quietly began to purge its interlibrary loan records.
“This policy change is motivated by the idea that libraries should not keep more information about their users’ requests than necessary,” wrote Beth Posner, head of library resource sharing at the school.
“We will continue to keep all requests from 2013 forward until further notice; eventually we will only keep a rolling history of one year or less, though, in order to help ensure that ILL requests remain confidential,” she told students and faculty in the email. “Previously, you could find a list of everything you ever requested through ILL.”  Read more...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Secret Life of a Public Library Security Guard By Dana Bialek

Making the rounds at the Portland Public Library means sporadically checking inside the bathroom. It’s not uncommon for security guard Marko Petrovich to uncover suspicious materials, like hypodermic needles and beer cans. Then the gumshoe work begins: Whodunnit? And sometimes whoever done it is still doing it. Long occupancy is call for suspicion. Spend too much time in the john and Petrovich will wind up in there with you, asserting in broken and unabashed English that “you not take shit forty-five minutes.”'
It’s in the bowels of the library where people really sneak around, though. The biography section is tucked deep in the basement, a thicket of high shelves and narrow aisles — a natural hotspot for dubious behavior. There might be drugs slipped between the life stories of Fredrick Douglass and Stephen A. Douglas, and the orange carpeting seems to call to people looking for a nap or even sex, Petrovich says, lowering his voice to a whisper. Troll around with him long enough and you’ll discover that folks do all kinds of things in the library. In a city of more than 66,000, there might be as many as 2,000 visitors every day. Indoor spaces that are actually open to the public are a rare find, and in a city like Portland, Maine — with months upon months of winter and an immense homeless population — the library becomes a living room of sorts. Keeping good guard of the library is delicate work. One must disrupt as few people as possible. Keeping the building safe and comfortable while at the same time truly public can be a precarious balance.

read more:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

On the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack dissenting voices must be protected [IFLA January 7, 2016]

Reaffirming our commitment to protecting free expression

On the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, PEN International has issued a statement aimed at encouraging governments to protect critical voices and freedom of expression.
IFLA and dozens of other free-speech organisations, institutes, and associations have added their signature to the statement in support of the crucial principles outlined and addressed.

The statement calls on all Governments to:

  • Uphold their international obligations to protect the rights of freedom of expression and information for all, and especially for journalists, writers, artists and human rights defenders to publish, write and speak freely;
  • Promote a safe and enabling environment for those who exercise their right to freedom of expression, and ensure that journalists, artists and human rights defenders may perform their work without interference;
  • Combat impunity for threats and violations aimed at journalists and others exercising their right to freedom of expression, and ensure impartial, timely and thorough investigations that bring the executors and masterminds behind such crimes to justice. Also ensure victims and their families have expedient access to appropriate remedies;
  • Repeal legislation which restricts the right to legitimate freedom of expression, especially vague and overbroad national security, sedition, obscenity, blasphemy and criminal defamation laws, and other legislation used to imprison, harass and silence critical voices, including on social media and online;
  • Ensure that respect for human rights is at the heart of communication surveillance policy. 
  • Laws and legal standards governing communication surveillance must therefore be updated, strengthened and brought under legislative and judicial control. Any interference can only be justified if it is clearly defined by law, pursues a legitimate aim and is strictly necessary to the aim pursued.
Read the full statement: English | fran├žais

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New York Public Library Invites a Deep Digital Dive By JENNIFER SCHUESSLERJAN. 6, 2016

Part of one of the “Tale of Genji” scrolls available for easy exploration now that the New York Public Library has released nearly 200,000 public-domain items from its special collections. CreditSpencer Collection, The New York Public Library

Mansion Maniac, a whimsical online toy created by the New York Public Library, may seem like envy bait for the real-estate have-nots. With the help of a Pac-Man-like icon, users can explore the floor plans of some of the city’s most extravagant early-20th-century residences, culled from the library’s archives.
But the game is what you might call a marketing teaser for a major redistribution of property, digitally speaking: the release of more than 180,000 photographs, postcards, maps and other public-domain items from the library’s special collections in downloadable high-resolution files — along with an invitation to users to grab them and do with them whatever they please.
Digitization has been all the rage over the past decade, as libraries, museums and other institutions have scanned millions of items and posted them online. But the library’s initiative (, which goes live on Wednesday, goes beyond the practical questions of how and what to digitize to the deeper one of what happens next.  Read more...

Friday, January 1, 2016

Lifting the Veil on the New York Public Library’s Erotica Collection

***, the symbol was called.
When *** was handwritten on books and periodicals in the New York Public Library’s permanent collection, it meant one thing: supervision required.
The triple-star code, created some time in the first part of the 20th century, identified the printed works that were considered too hot for the general reader to handle.
Playboy was once classified with a triple star. So were raunchy pulp novels, fliers for Times Square massage parlors, business cards offering phone sex for $2 a minute, even playing cards with illustrations of naked women.
For decades, they were kept in locked cages, accessible only with special permission and viewed in a small, secured area in the main research library.
Isaac Gewirtz, a curator at the New York Public Library, examines a first edition copy of “Lolita” that is held in the library's collections. CreditFred R. Conrad for The New York Times

“Erotica was not something we were particularly going after, but we needed to collect life as it was lived,” said Jason Baumann, a collections curator. “We needed to understand and document for history what the city of New York was like. That meant collecting the good and the bad. It was always part of our mandate.”
The triple-star collection is a miniature version of the vast archive of erotica at France’s National Library. That collection, called “L’Enfer” (“Hell”), dates from the 19th century, when the library, in Paris, isolated any work considered “contrary to good morals.” In 2008, the National Library mounted its first major exhibition of highlights from the collection. It drew record crowds; no one under 16 was admitted.
The New York Public Library, by contrast, has never had a similar exhibition. The materials are not as rich, and the standards of what is considered proper for an exhibition in a public institution differ in France from those in the United States. read more...