Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey [review]

Library advocacy | Digitization | Libraries | User experience | Book review

BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of GoogleBiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey

Reviewer: Stephanie L. Gross, MSLIS, MATESOL
August 16, 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewer bio:
I am an academic librarian whose main responsibility has been to establish and maintain a large database for electronic reserves. I have a solid background in public service, and have mentored library school students and recent graduates for over 10 years. I am conversant in issues relating to access and technology relating to digitization of materials as well as those born-digitally. Since I follow library news on a daily basis, I read this book more as a review of the known, while noting sources for future use. Most of those concerned digitization of material and aspects relating to institutional repositories. A second focus was based on a new work responsibility, that of personal librarian to undergraduate honors students.

This volume was written by a "feral" librarian with a law degree. It included the major areas where and how libraries are ever-relevant today: users, spaces, platforms, hacking, networks, preservation, education and copyright. Noteworthy highlights for me were the discussions of how some librarians and advocates are reinventing libraries while acknowledging their tradition roles in democratic society. Public, academic, school and special libraries were included. The ‘hybrid-ness’ of libraries is emphasized, along with the innovative factor of digitization of a variety of materials. Risks are involved when print is not saved to backup data. “Data rot” happens when technology fails, but also when newer forms outpace older, obsolete ones. Budgets are stretched to accommodate both digital and analog materials. The author calls for the ‘collaboration’ among librarians, the establishment of library networks, consortia, and private as well as public funding. The conundrum of copyright, data rights and collection policies was briefly examined.

Additional Subject headings might include:

Digital libraries
Web archiving
Digital preservation
Archival materials – Digitization
Library materials -- Digitization

View all my reviews

Monday, August 14, 2017

Eulogy for the Information Age: The Future is Impact Not Access

New Librarianship | Impact | Access |

 RD Lankes

On Racism, Ignorance, and Librarianship | RD Lankes

Librarianship | Racism | Activism | Advocacy

RD Lankes August 13, 2017

On Racism, Ignorance, and Librarianship

I begin this post by condemning the racists, white supremacist, and Nazi actions in Charlottesville.

The past few days have been extremely troubling, and left me wondering what I can do. I then remembered I was asked that exact question after the Charlie Hebdo attack in France. I put together this post:

This morning I re-read it and while I stand by it, I don’t think it went nearly far enough, and I need to amend it.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jeff Bezos Should Put His Billions Into Libraries

Advocacy | Philanthropy | Public Libraries

by Susan Crawford | Backchannel | 09 August 2017

Ira Gay Sealy/Getty Images
Imagine that you are Jeff Bezos. For four hours two weeks ago, you were the richest person in the world. And though Wall Street knocked you down a notch, pretty much everyone thinks it’s inevitable that you’re going to be number one again. You’re starting to be aware of the smell of the tar pits and you’re casting about for a way to put all that loot to some good. You're eying the Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge and thinking that if you donate half your fortune it should make a difference. You're comfortable with making older but meaningful institutions great again.
So far, you’ve concentrated on things that might benefit our distant successors—space travel, cancer treatments, AI, and a clock that will keep running for 10,000 years. But you want to do something more immediate. You say you want your philanthropic activity “to be helping people in the here and now—short term—at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.” You are open to suggestions–so much so that you even recently tweeted a “request for ideas.”  Read more...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

25,000+ 78RPM Records Now Professionally Digitized & Streaming Online: A Treasure Trove of Early 20th Century Music

Streaming Music | Internet Archive | The Great 78 Project

by Josh Jones August 9, 2017

Every recording medium works as a metonym for its era: the term “LP” conjures up associations with a broad musical period of classic rock ‘n’ roll, soul, doo-wop, R&B, funk, jazz, disco etc.; we talk of the “CD era,” dominated by dance music and hip-hop; the 45 makes us think of jukeboxes, diners, and sock-hops; and the cassette, well... at least one subgenre of music, what John Peel called “shambling,” jangly, lo-fi pop, came to be known by the name “C86,” the title of an NME compilation, short for “Cassette, 1986.” (Readers of the magazine had to clip coupons and send money by postal mail to receive a copy of the tape.) Read more...

Save your local! Should volunteers help keep our public libraries open?

Public libraries | UK | Volunteers

Alison Flood  | Tuesday 8 August 2017

Kensal Rise Library in London, where volunteers have set up a community library. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian    
Readers checking a book out of the village library might not immediately notice much of a difference, but Congresbury is the latest public library to haven been handed over “to the community”. You may be used to libraries being run by volunteers – maybe your local is – but this structure is relatively new. Over the last decade, as many libraries began closing across the UK due to swingeing cuts to local authority funding by central government – 121 libraries closed last year alone – some have instead been handed over by councils to the community to run.

Since librarian Ian Anstice began charting the cuts to UK libraries on his campaigning website Public Libraries News in 2010, 500 of the UK’s 3,850 remaining libraries have now been taken over, at least in part, by volunteers. “I’ve been looking at the count going up steadily for the last few years,” says Anstice. “In 2010, there were a handful – perhaps 10 in the whole country. So this is quite a staggering change.”  Read more:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

8 Ways to Become a Library Catalog Power User

Library Catalog | Public Libraries | How-to | Info Lit

This is a guest post from Abby Hargreaves. Abby is a New Hampshire native living and working as a Children’s Librarian in Washington, D.C. She fulfills the gamut of the librarian stereotype with a love of cats, coffee, and crocheting (and she likes a good run of alliteration). Her favorite color is yellow.

Sample Catalog Record
By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Whether you’re searching your local library catalog from home or looking for items while in-house, you’re probably overlooking some cool features in your library catalog. When I’m working the reference desk at the library and a visitor asks about the availability of materials on a particular topic, one of my favorite things to do is show them some tricks so they walk away not only with what they need, but with a solid grasp on how to make the catalog work for them in the future. 

Libraries use different software systems, so all of these features might not be available at your local library. Librarians and administrative teams often appreciate feedback on catalog systems, however, so if you see something you like, talk to your librarian about adding it. Read more...

Monday, August 7, 2017

The World’s Most Glamorous Librarian | Podcast

Women librarians | Special librarians | African-American History

07-27-17 Annotated | Bookriot

 In this episode: the life of Belle De Costa Greene, the most glamorous and influential librarian in early 20th Century America, who kept a life-long
secret that could have ended her career.

See also  :

Belle da Costa Greene in Wikipedia

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Anyone With A Library Card Can Now Stream Thousands Of Feature Films, Including The Criterion Collection

Public libraries | NYPL | Streaming media

Vivre Sa Vie, 1962

In July, LAist announced that you could stream hundreds of movies from the Criterion Collection for free if you had a Los Angeles Public Library card. We immediately reached out to the New York Public Library inquiring about our own hidden benefits as library card holders, and at the time they did not offer access to Kanopy's streaming service, which the LAPL uses. But lo and behold, they have now decided to add it (you're welcome?)—starting Friday August 4th, anyone with a library card (both NYPL and Brooklyn Public Library) will have access to hundreds of movies. Here's what you need to know....

Don't have a library card? You can get one instantly through the NYPL's SimplyE app; that card will get you immediate access to hundreds of thousands of NYPL e-books, but for physical materials and any other databases (like Kanopy), you will need to go to a branch, and "upgrade" your e-card to a full access library card.
More information on getting a NYPL card can be found here; and more on getting a BPL card can be found here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

4 important things users want from a library (and how to offer them)

Public Libraries | Library Services | Phone Reference



Sometimes, there is a big imbalance between what the users wish to have in a library and what they really get. As Mick Fortune mentions in our previous post, for many years libraries measured their success primarily by footfall and they only focused on that. Only in the last few years, libraries have really started focusing on getting to know their users better. Even so, all the studies, such as those made by The Pew Internet, Carnegie UK Trust, Museums Libraries & Archives UK, etc. end up showing the same results.

In the following blog posts, we’re going to explore the various things users want from a library and suggest a few ways how libraries can set this right. In this first post, we will focus on the 4 most important things users want from a library.


1. A good range of books

Read article 



Monday, July 24, 2017

The Library of Congress opened its catalogs to the world. Here’s why it matters

Library of Congress | Online catalog | Research

library of congress
The Library of Congress has made 25 million digital catalog records available for anyone at no charge. Photo by Flickr user casajump

Imagine you wanted to find books or journal articles on a particular subject. Or find manuscripts by a particular author. Or locate serials, music or maps. You would use a library catalog that includes facts – like title, author, publication date, subject headings and genre.

That information and more is stored in the treasure trove of library catalogs.

It is hard to overstate how important this library catalog information is, particularly  as the amount of information expands every day. With this information, scholars and librarians are able to find things in a predictable way. That’s because of the descriptive facts presented in a systematic way in catalog records.

But what if you could also experiment with the data in those records to explore other kinds of research questions – like trends in subject matter, semantics in titles or patterns in the geographic source of works on a given topic?

Now it is possible. The Library of Congress has made 25 million digital catalog records available for anyone to use at no charge. The free data set includes records from 1968 to 2014. Read more...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Want to Raise Your Child to Love Reading? Read These Secrets

Children's books | Literacy | Reading

A class at Public School 682, the Academy of Talented Scholars, in Brooklyn. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times

“You’re the children’s books editor?” Someone has said this to me, usually with a smile, at least once a week in the almost three years I’ve been at The New York Times. “What a cool job!” is the subtext. But lurking in the background are almost always other questions, sometimes more pressing ones about kids’ reading in general. “What should my second grader be reading?” a colleague asked the other day, adding, “She’s obsessed with the books in that series with the different flower fairies, and I can’t get her interested in anything else.” A neighbor recently approached me with a worried look and said, “My 10-year-old will only read graphic novels. What should I do?”

Clearly, there’s a lot of uncertainty out there among parents when it comes to children’s books, and also an earnest desire to make the right choices and do the right thing. Parents realize the stakes are high, and childhood passes quickly.

So when the Guides team approached Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book Review, about writing a guide to raising readers, and she asked if I was interested, I jumped at the chance. (Find it here.)

Much of what I do every day is sift through new books, deciding which ones we should assign for review, or which ones might make for a good feature story. I try to balance for different ages, different genres and books by authors from a variety of backgrounds. There’s always the thrill of discovering a book I can’t wait to tell our readers about. Read more...

Virtual reality and smoothie bars: What’s in at Bay Area university libraries?

Academic Libraries | Library Design | User Experience

College students still need help finding and interpreting information.

Rodrigo Gris, a summer session student from Spain studying art history, works in one of the new study carrels in Moffitt Library at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. on Thursday, July 6, 2017. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)
Librarians at UC Berkeley are holding workshops for students on what to do with the information they collect using drones. At Stanford, they’re experimenting with virtual reality. And across the Bay Area, as more textbooks gather dust and coursework moves online, universities are reimagining their libraries.

“We’re like fish,” said Sonoma State University librarian Karen Schneider. “If we don’t keep swimming, we die.” 

University libraries used to warehouse knowledge, but they’re places where it’s created now. And that, students and school officials say, makes them more relevant than ever.

Numbers back up that notion. While book circulation is down at each of the libraries the Bay Area News Group surveyed, the number of students using library space is up.

Librarians say students are looking for places where they can take the work they do individually online and use it to collaborate as part of a team in the real world.

“The digital age has actually raised the importance of spaces for people to actually come together,” said Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, Cal’s librarian and chief digital scholarship officer. Read more...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Over 83,500 Vintage Sewing Patterns Are Now Available Online

Design | Archives | Digital Humanities

By Jessica Stewart | July 3, 2017

McCall's, Butterick, Simplicity. If you were into sewing, or simply spent time as a child rummaging through patterns with your mother at the fabric store, these names will bring on a wave of nostalgia. And now, thanks to a fantastic online collection of vintage sewing patterns, it's time to dust of your sewing machine.

The Vintage Patterns Wiki boasts more than 83,500 patterns that are at least 25 years old, which makes for a fascinating look back at fashion history. As a collaborative effort, the database is constantly being updated and organized, with any newly uploaded patterns dating prior to 1992. Just click on the cover and browse the list of pattern vendors who have the look. Read more...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Librarian Who Guarded the Manhattan Project’s Secrets

Science libraries | Research libraries | World War II

 The residents of Los Alamos, New Mexico—a town that wasn’t supposed to exist—lived in a viscous state of secrecy during World War II. To disguise the existence of the nuclear bomb being built there, the group of Manhattan Project scientists, security personnel, and families needed to consider and reconsider their every move. They couldn’t leave “the Hill,” as Los Alamos was known, without required passes. Their mail reached New Mexico through a series of forwarding addresses set up across the United States, arriving in a P.O. box 20 miles away in Santa Fe. Food was purchased from a single commissary; a trip to Santa Fe was “a major event.” Read more...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

22 Ambassadors Recommend the One Book to Read Before Visiting Their Country

Travel | Literature from other Cultures | Reader's Advisory

Preparing for a visit to a foreign country can often be overwhelming, with no shortage of things to learn before you go. Where should you eat? Where should you stay? What do you tip? More so than this service information, though, is a sense of cultural understanding that's hard to put your finger on. With this in mind, language learning app Babbel asked foreign ambassadors to the U.S. to pick the book they believe first-time visitors to their country should read before they arrive. Their answers may surprise you.

The Tobacconist (translated into English by Charlotte Collins) is set in 1937 just before the German occupation. It follows 17-year-old Franz, who moves to Vienna to become the apprentice in a tobacco shop. Its quiet wisdom and sincerity resonated with me very deeply." —H.E. Wolfgang A. Waldner

Note: "H.E." stands for His or Her Excellency, the official title for ambassadors to the U.S.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Enter an Archive of 6,000 Historical Children’s Books, All Digitized and Free to Read Online

Archives | Books | e-books | Children's literature

August 30, 2016

We can learn much about how a historical period viewed the abilities of its children by studying its children's literature. Occupying a space somewhere between the purely didactic and the nonsensical, most children’s books published in the past few hundred years have attempted to find a line between the two poles, seeking a balance between entertainment and instruction. However, that line seems to move closer to one pole or another depending on the prevailing cultural sentiments of the time. And the very fact that children’s books were hardly published at all before the early 18th century tells us a lot about when and how modern ideas of childhood as a separate category of existence began. Read more...

How Adele sent her love to libraries | #WhyBooksMatter

Library advocacy | Public libraries | Outreach \ Culture

June 12, 2017

Adele may have headlined Glastonbury and filled arenas across the globe in a worldwide tour that climaxes next month with four sold-out dates at Wembley Stadium, but 10 years ago she was playing a gig in a library in Lancaster for an audience of 175. “You can check out the show online,” says Stewart Parsons. “I am so relieved we filmed that!”
 Parsons, a librarian with more than 30 years of experience, started the Get it Loud in Libraries scheme 10 years ago to introduce new people to libraries by turning them into live music venues for special concerts. Over the last decade, 36,108 people have attended 279 shows put on by acts including alt-J, Florence + The Machine, Imelda May, British Sea Power, Plan B and, of course, everyone’s favourite balladeer, Adele, whose fee that evening in Lancaster was £50.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Horse-Riding Librarians Were the Great Depression’s Bookmobiles

Mobile libraries | Public libraries | Great Depression

During the Great Depression, a New Deal program brought books to Kentuckians living in remote areas
A Pack Horse librarian returning over the mountain side for a new supply of books (Part of Goodman-Paxton Photographic Collection, Kentucky Digital Library)

Their horses splashed through iced-over creeks. Librarians rode up into the Kentucky mountains, their saddlebags stuffed with books, doling out reading material to isolated rural people. The Great Depression had plunged the nation into poverty, and Kentucky—a poor state made even poorer by a paralyzed national economy—was among the hardest hit.

The Pack Horse Library initiative, which sent librarians deep into Appalachia, was one of the New Deal’s most unique plans. The project, as implemented by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), distributed reading material to the people who lived in the craggy, 10,000-square-mile portion of eastern Kentucky. The state already trailed its neighbors in electricity and highways. And during the Depression, food, education and economic opportunity were even scarcer for Appalachians.

They also lacked books: In 1930, up to 31 percent of people in eastern Kentucky couldn’t read. Residents wanted to learn, notes historian Donald C. Boyd. Coal and railroads, poised to industrialize eastern Kentucky, loomed large in the minds of many Appalachians who were ready to take part in the hoped prosperity that would bring. "Workers viewed the sudden economic changes as a threat to their survival and literacy as a means of escape from a vicious economic trap," writes Boyd. 

Read more:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Saving Lives in the Stacks: How libraries are handling the opioid crisis

Public libraries | Safety | Health

June 21, 2017

On June 1, the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the news that the Free Library of Philadelphia’s McPherson Square Branch had a serious problem with opioid use among patrons. By June 3, everybody from the Washington Post to National Public Radio (NPR) had picked up the story.

“As this nation’s opioid crisis has exploded, the staff at the public library … have become first responders,” NPR’s Scott Simon told listeners. “And I gather the librarians there have been obliged to become involved in a way that—well, become involved in a way librarians aren’t usually asked to become involved.”

What Simon didn’t say—but what librarians far and wide know—is that the McPherson Square branch is just one of many American libraries struggling with opioid-related issues such as discarded, contaminated needles; drug use in the library itself; and even on-site overdoses and fatalities. Libraries from California to Colorado, Pennsylvania to Missouri, are finding themselves on the front lines of a battle they never anticipated fighting.

Of course, opiate use isn’t limited to libraries. Neither is anyone claiming that the problem is more severe in libraries than it is anywhere else. Still, the fact that libraries are open to all, offer relative anonymity, and generally allow patrons to stay as long as they like make them uniquely vulnerable to those seeking a place to use drugs.

“It’s just like: What is going on? How can we stem this tide?” says Kim Fender, director of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Brooklyn Academy of Music Puts 70,000 Archive Materials Online

Arts | Archives | Digital Humanities

The musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson in another archival image, from the production “Empty Places” during the Next Wave Festival in 1989. Credit Linda Alaniz/Martha Swope Associates
Merce Cunningham onstage, with the composer John Cage to the right, in “How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run” in 1970. The image is part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s new digital archives. Credit James Klosty 
More than 70,000 playbills, posters and ephemera from the history of the Brooklyn Academy of Music — from as far back as the Civil War era — are now available through the Leon Levy BAM Digital Archive, which opened to the public on Tuesday.

The archive has been in development for several years, paid for by a $1 million grant from the Leon Levy Foundation, the same organization that funded the New York Philharmonic’s digital collection.
Read more... 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Hidden Treasures in Italian Libraries

Libraries | Italy | Librariana

In Florence, Rome and beyond, these buildings are a feast not only for book lovers, but for art and architecture enthusiasts as well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ways to Shelve Your Books on Goodreads

Books | Cataloguing | Social media 

The beauty of Goodreads is the shelves, am I right or am I right? They’re lists of books, but called shelves, because books. Their existence is the main reason I’ve stayed with the site for a decade (whoa).

But the thought of them can be daunting. So many options! So many options within those options!

Never fear. I’ve spent far too many hours spying on Goodreads accounts and taking notes. And let me tell you, people take their shelves *very* seriously.

Starter ideas for shelves:
  • Year read. I did this for a while, but with the option to mark the dates you read a book in the review section, I’ve only kept a shelf for the current year. (You can view your yearly stats by going to My Books > Tools > Stats. Here’s what mine looks like.)
  • Format/status/location. Audiobook, ebook, print? Library book? Borrowed from a pal? Owned? On deck?
  • Genre. Fiction vs. nonfiction, essays vs. short stories vs. comics vs. poetry. The options here are a little easier to define by going to a book’s page and checking what common shelves are.
  • Author and book identifier. Author of color? Queer? From another country? Book translated from its original language?



The Power of the Russian State vs. a Librarian |

Advocacy | Human rights | Libraries

Natalia Sharina at a hearing in Moscow in May. Credit Kirill Kudryavtsev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 
There is something particularly Orwellian about accusing a librarian of hate crimes because books under her care don’t jibe with government propaganda. That, in essence, is what a Russian court did in giving to Natalia Sharina a four-year suspended sentence because the Moscow Library of Ukrainian Literature, which she formerly headed, purportedly carried literature that didn’t match Russia’s official version of what’s happening in Ukraine.
No matter that most of the books seized in the raid on the library in 2015 and cited by the prosecution were in special storage and not available to the public, or that, according to the library staff, the book deemed most offensive by the state was planted there by the police. The case was not about inciting “interethnic enmity and hatred,” nor was it about the spurious charges of embezzlement that were leveled against Mrs. Sharina. Read more...

365 Books by Women Authors to Celebrate International Women’s Day All Year

Women authors | Book lists | International Women's Day

by Gwen Glazer. Librarian, Readers Services
March 8, 2017


For over a century, International Women's Day has been observed on March 8 — and this year, we've compiled 365 books by women authors from across the globe to keep the celebration going all year long.

This list includes a vast range of women authors, and we hope you find some old favorites and some new discoveries. And we hope that readers can draw strength and inspiration from these 365 books — and the women who wrote them — in the year ahead.

And if you've ever heard someone say they “just couldn't find” a great woman author to read, now you have not one, but 365 suggestions.

1. Leila Aboulela, The Kindness of Enemies
2. Susan Abulhawa, The Blue Between Sky and Water
3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun
4. Etel Adnan, Sea and Fog
5. Marjorie Agosín, A Cross and a Star


Monday, June 12, 2017

8 Reasons to Catalog Your Books (and How to Do It) | LibraryThing

Books | Cataloguing | Inventory | Book collecting

How to Raise a Reader | The New York Times | Books

Children's literature | Reading | Parenting


From the moment you’re expecting your first child, you are bombarded with messages about the importance of reading. For good reason: The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. Happily, raising a reader is fun, rewarding and relatively easy.
When you purchase a recommended book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission.

Start Them Early

First, Reacquaint Yourself With Reading

If you’ve let reading slide to the margins of your life, now is the time to bring it back. Make the space, and time, for books you read for yourself, and books you read with your child. If you want to raise a reader, be a reader.

Baby Books Are a Necessity


You may think you’re off the hook with books until your baby is at least vertical, but not so. Even newborns benefit from the experience of hearing stories (and they can’t complain about your taste in books). So take advantage. Here’s how:


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Announcing #SubwayLibrary: Free E-Books for Your Commute | NYPL Blog

E-Books | NYPL |MTA

by Gwen Glazer. Librarian, Readers Services
June 8, 2017

We're excited to announce the launch of Subway Library, a new initiative between The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library, the MTA, and Transit Wireless that provides subway riders in New York City with free access to hundreds of e-books, excerpts, and short stories—all ready to read on the train.

As part of the Subway Library celebration, don't miss the specially wrapped "Library Train," with the interior designed to look like NYPL's Rose Main Reading Room! The train will alternate running on the E and F lines, running through Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.

How to Access the Subway Library

To access the Subway Library, MTA customers in underground subway stations can connect to the free TransitWirelessWiFi through their network settings and click on the prompt to start reading from a large selection of titles for all ages. The site was developed with the same technology we used to create our free SimplyE e-reader app. Read more...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

San Diego librarians receive Mental Health First Aid training | incl. VIDEO

Mental Health | Homelessness | Public Libraries

BY: Amanda Brandeis