Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ISIS burns Mosul library: Why terrorists target books - CSMonitor.com

From the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in 391 AD, to
the burning of Kabul libraries in 2002, to the the obliteration of the
Library of Baghdad in 2003, oppressive regimes have historically
targeted libraries.



In the latest example, on Sunday, in northern Iraq, Islamic State militants burned the Mosul public library, which housed more than 8,000 rare old books and manuscripts.



According
to reports, ISIS militants rigged the entire building with explosives
and carried out multiple detonations to raze the historical landmark and
its contents. Among its lost collections, according to the Fiscal Times,
were manuscripts from the 18th century, Syriac books printed in Iraq's
first printing house in the 19th century, books from the Ottoman era,
Iraqi newspapers from the early 20th century, and treasured antiques
like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs. Read more...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ISIS Burns 8000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul - Yahoo Finance

ISIS Burns 8000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul


While
the world was watching the Academy Awards ceremony, the people of Mosul
were watching a different show. They were horrified to see ISIS members
burn the Mosul public library. Among the many thousands of books it
housed, more than 8,000 rare old books and manuscripts were burned.

“ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library.
They used improvised explosive devices,” said Ghanim al-Ta'an, the
director of the library. Notables in Mosul tried to persuade ISIS
members to spare the library, but they failed. Read more...

The future of the book | The Economist




In which something old and powerful is encountered in a vault
FINGERS stroke vellum; the calfskin pages are smooth, like paper,
but richer, almost oily. The black print is crisp, and every Latin
sentence starts with a lush red letter. One of the book’s early owners
has drawn a hand and index finger which points, like an arrow, to
passages worth remembering.


In 44BC Cicero, the Roman Republic’s great orator, wrote a book for his son Marcus called de Officiis
(“On Duties”). It told him how to live a moral life, how to balance
virtue with self-interest, how to have an impact. Not all his words were
new. De Officiis draws on the views of various Greek
philosophers whose works Cicero could consult in his library, most of
which have since been lost. Cicero’s, though, remain. De Officiis
was read and studied throughout the rise of the Roman Empire and
survived the subsequent fall. It shaped the thought of Renaissance
thinkers like Erasmus; centuries later still it inspired Voltaire. “No
one will ever write anything more wise,” he said.



Read more...

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. - The Washington Post

Although American University student Cooper
Nordquist, 21, uses his laptop most of the day, he still likes to read
from the printed word for enjoyment. Despite that fact that most college
students do a majority of their socializing and school work
electronically, many still like to read from actual hard copy printed
books. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how
they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting
sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.



Schembari
is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other
bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through
a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar
irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.



“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in
a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s
not going off. It’s not making sounds.”



Textbook makers,
bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still
strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises
reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other
content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital
textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions
of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

Read more...

Monday, February 16, 2015

For Books, Print Is Back


Unit sales of print books sold through outlets that
report to Nielsen BookScan rose 2.4% in 2014, with total units topping
635 million. The gain was driven by a 3.4% increase in unit sales
through the retail and club channel relative to 2013, which offset a
1.8% decline in sales through the mass merchandiser channel and others
during the same period. Units through retailers and clubs, which include
Amazon and all types of bookstores, rose to just under 519 million; in
2013, print units through the channel fell 2.5% compared to the previous
year.

BookScan estimates that it captures
approximately 80% of print-unit sales made in the U.S. The company added
Walmart to its mass merchandiser panel in 2013, but was not able to
include historical data, making it difficult to track precise long-term
unit trends. Still, the 2014 figures are further evidence that print
books are selling better than they have since sales of e-books exploded
in 2010 and Borders closed its doors in 2011. Total print-unit sales
bottomed out in 2012, falling to 590 million, but in the two years since
then, units have risen 7.6% (helped to some degree by the addition of
Walmart to BookScan). Read more...


Friday, February 13, 2015

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter to Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy | Brain Pickings

“When a library is open, no matter its size or shape, democracy is open, too.”
 

“A library is many things,” E.B. White once wrote in a letter to the children of a little town to inspire them to fall in love with their new library. “But
particularly it is a place where books live, and where you can get in
touch with other people, and other thoughts, through books… Books hold
most of the secrets of the world, most of the thoughts that men and
women have had.”





As the daughter of a formally trained librarian and an enormous lover of, collaborator with,
and supporter of public libraries (you may have noticed I always
include a public library link for books I write about; I also re-donate a
portion of Brain Pickings donations to the New York Public Library each year) I was instantly enamored with The Public Library: A Photographic Essay (public library | IndieBound) by photographer Robert Dawson
— at once a love letter and a lament eighteen years in the making, a
wistful yet hopeful reminder of just what’s at stake if we let the
greatest bastion of public knowledge humanity has ever known slip into
the neglected corner of cultural priorities. Alongside Dawson’s
beautiful photographs are short reflections on the subject by such
celebrated minds as Isaac Asimov, Anne Lamott, and E.B. White.
From architectural marvels to humble feats of human ingenuity, from the
august reading room of the New York Public Library to the
trailer-library at Death Valley National Park, braving the glaring sun
at one of the hottest places on earth, from the extraordinary vaulted
ceilings of LA’s Children’s Library to the small shack turned into a
book memorial in the country’s only one-person town, the remarkable
range reveals our elemental need for libraries — as sanctuaries of
learning, as epicenters of community, as living records of civic
identity, and above all as a timelier-than-ever testament that
information and human knowledge belong to everybody; not to corporate
monopolies or government agencies or ideological despots, but to the
people. Read more....

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job — The Message — Medium


As Google abandons its past, Internet archivists step in to save our collective memory


Google wrote its mission statement in 1999, a year after launch, setting the course for the company’s next decade:
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
For years, Google’s mission included the preservation of the past

In 2001, Google made their first acquisition, the Deja archives. The
largest collection of Usenet archives, Google relaunched it as Google Groups, supplemented with archived messages going back to 1981.  Read more...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US | Comment is free | The Guardian



Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is among writers whose work has been removed from Arizona
schools under an anti-ethnic studies initiative. Photograph: Koen Van
Weel/AFP/Getty Images


Recently,
I found out that my work is mentioned in a book that has been banned,
in effect, from the schools in Tucson, Arizona. The anti-ethnic studies
law passed by the state prohibits teachings that "promote the overthrow
of the United States government," "promote resentment toward a race or
class of people," "are designed primarily for pupils of a particular
ethnic group," and/or "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the
treatment of pupils as individuals." I invite you to read the book in
question, titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, so that you can decide for yourselves whether it qualifies.




In fact, I invite you to take on as your summer reading the
astonishingly lengthy list of books that have been removed from the
Tucson public school system as part of this wholesale elimination of the
Mexican-American studies curriculum. The authors and editors include
Isabel Allende, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Kozol, Rudolfo Anaya, bell hooks,
Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, Howard Zinn, Rodolfo Acuña, Ronald
Takaki, Jerome Skolnick and Gloria Anzaldúa. Even Thoreau's Civil
Disobedience and Shakespeare's The Tempest received the hatchet.  Read more..

5 Things That People Don’t Realize their Librarians Do | INALJ

by Rebecca Tischler, Head Editor, INALJ Tennessee


5 Things That People Don’t Realize their Librarians Do

rebeccatischlerMany
people still have the stereotypical image of a librarian stuck in their
head: an older kind of frumpy woman wearing glasses on a chain, her
hair up in a bun, shushing people with one hand while stamping books
with the other. Many of my Jr. High classmates predicted that I was
going to be a librarian because I liked to read, and, during those
years, I was very quiet and wore glasses. I still love to read and
always have something to read, but since I’m much more comfortable with
myself, I don’t know if people would still say that I look like a
librarian. Ironically, I did become a librarian, but for completely
different reasons (part of it is the sheer variety involved in the
profession).





As a librarian, we help to teach people how to become self-sufficient
on the computer, find the answer to patron’s questions (no offense
Google, but while you may come back with a million answers, we
librarians come back with the right
answer), develop graphic designs for advertisement, act as a social
media managers, handle reader’s advisory, teach information literacy
classes, act as storytellers, and teach children, to name just a few of
our duties. We wear many many caps. Read more....

Monday, January 26, 2015

Plans for Brooklyn Branches Have Merit - NYTimes.com



Photo



A rendering for the proposed Brooklyn Public Library in Brooklyn Heights that has apartments on top.

Credit
Brooklyn Public Library


Two
proposals to sell and develop local library sites are wending through
the Brooklyn Public Library pipeline, and, predictably, opponents have
manned the barricades, citing the usual arguments about selling off
public land to rapacious developers.

But
for a change, the plans look promising. There is good and bad
development, after all, and sometimes, with foresight and some help from
City Hall, a community asset like a public library can anchor positive
development.

One
plan envisions updating, but shrinking, a branch in Brooklyn Heights
built in the 1960s. The other overhauls a popular, decrepit branch, from
the 1970s, in Sunset Park. Both involve housing, a fair chunk of it
subsidized, mostly on top of new storefront libraries.

There’s
reason for skepticism. In 2007, the New York Public Library sold off
its Donnell site in Midtown Manhattan for what now seems like a song.
Library authorities also cooked up a scheme
to pool resources and cash in on the property values of the
Mid-Manhattan branch and a science library at 34th Street, consolidating
both in the 42nd Street building by demolishing its historic stacks.
That derailed last year in the face of stiff protests and runaway cost
estimates. So did a separate proposal to demolish a century-old branch
near Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Read more...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Yeshiva University News » Gottesman Library to Get Makeover

New Design Will Create Updated Student-Focused Research and Study Center


The Mendel Gottesman Library,
research center and student hub at Yeshiva University’s Wilf campus,
will soon undergo a major renovation. Thanks to a generous donation from
David S. Gottesman, former chairman of the YU Board of Trustees, and
his wife, Ruth, the library is receiving a complete overhaul that will
see the ground level through the fourth floor revamped. Mr. Gottesman, a
grandson of Mendel Gottesman, also participated in the planning and
design of the library.


The library renovations will feature new floor-to-ceiling windows
The library renovations will feature new floor-to-ceiling windows

“The library was completed in 1969 and has really terrific features,
but modes of study and learning have changed significantly since then,”
said Dean of YU’s Libraries Pearl Berger. “Fifty or 60 years ago, the
primary function of library buildings was to house collections. While
library collections retain great significance, today’s university
libraries are student-centered and are designed to support the variety
of learning activities in which students engage. The planned renovation
is focused upon our students, with the aim of creating library
environments that support student needs.”








“Times have changed, but the facility has essentially remained the
same,” said Vice President for Administrative Services Jeffrey
Rosengarten, who is spearheading the project. “We knew that as a leading
academic research institution, we needed to focus on updating the
library to meet 21st century demands.” Read more...




Friday, January 16, 2015

Kentucky Contingencies | EveryLibrary





Kentucky Contingencies

Coolidge Quote on Taxes

When “any tax is a bad tax”, the library is an instrument of tyranny.


The Tea Party of Northern Kentucky case against two libraries is set to be ruled on by the state Appeals court any day now.
This appeal follows a loss by the libraries in the lower state court. 
The loss would roll back funding for 99 out of 104 libraries in Kentucky
to at least 1979 levels.  To date, the Supreme Court has refused to rule on the case, remanding it to the Appeals court.  Likewise, the legislature in Kentucky failed to pass a bill at the end of last session to ‘fix’ the points of law at the root of the case.  The President of the Senate wanted to let the Courts sort it out.  The points of law are pretty thoroughly discussed
in other places. We don’t have a way to handicap the Appeals court
deliberations, but we – and the rest of the national library advocacy
ecosystem – do need to anticipate their ruling.



EveryLibrary has been tracking this case since 2013 for two reasons:  If
the Tea Party ultimately prevails, the 99 libraries affected by the
ruling may have to go out for Petition or Ballot to reset their tax
rates to current levels; and, that this is a situation where a small
group of anti-tax ideologues sued libraries, and that technique for
‘shrinking government’ has been proven viable. If the libraries prevail
in their appeal, the funding picture for libraries in the Commonwealth
of Kentucky is more stable, but the underlying anti-tax climate
there – and across the country – has only been handed temporary setback.
When the URL one of the local plaintiff groups is “TaxlessSociety.com”,
they will be back.  They are on a mission.  Read more....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Charlie Hebdo | R. David Lankes

This morning in a Tweet Bredebieb asked me “what should public
libraries do,” about the Charlie Hebdo attack. It was frankly a bit of a
humbling and scary question. After all, I am not in Paris, and I cannot
claim to know everything that French libraries do now. However, it
would be an obvious act of cowardice to simply claim ignorance or to
respond with some high level non-answer like “help the communities have a
conversation.” So I provided some ideas:


“provide a safe place to talk about the attack and the reasons for the attack and free expression. Provide access to Charlie.”


“host talks and forums on free expression and democracy. Host a human library event with different faiths.”


“host sessions with therapists and parents on how to make kids feel safe.”


“above all use this as an opportunity to be a safe place to express feelings and help your community.”


“help your community compose a narrative and then project it to the
world. Is it ‘we shall overcome?’ Or ‘we stand with Charlie?’”
and ended with:


“all libraries should provide safe place to recover and the tools to turn tragedy into action and understanding.” Read article....