| ‘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|
Thursday, February 4, 2016
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
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.
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
Thursday, January 28, 2016
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...
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Thursday, January 14, 2016
|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
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
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.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
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 (nypl.org/publicdomain), 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
***, 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.
|Fred 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.