Thursday, June 27, 2013

Library reference desks still exist - Chicago Tribune

Reference lives on, no question

20,000 librarians will gather in Chicago this week, and many of them work in the go-to place for homework questions, trivia and computer help. But the desk of old has evolved with the times.

June 22, 2013|Christopher Borrelli
(Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune)
When I was a child, for as long as I could remember, my family's Encyclopedia Britannica set was missing two volumes — the two volumes that always seemed to pertain to my homework assignments. And so within an hour or so of getting home, I would sit at the kitchen table and call my neighborhood library and ask for the information desk. The operator would correct me: "You mean 'reference desk?'" And I would mumble that I did, then there would be a pause, a ring-ring-ring, a click, followed by a stern, erudite voice: "Reference ..." Read more...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tour of the Nolen Library at Metropolitan Museum

Librarian Naomi Niles described the Nolen library as a “jewel box”. The library is certainly small and beautiful. The rooms are wonderfully open with large glass windows on two sides. The bannisters and shelving gleam with light gold wood. It even smells new.

The open form of the library space reflects the openness of the library’s policies. The Nolen Library is the only one of the Met’s many department libraries which has open stacks. Anyone can come in and use the wi-fi, books, scanners and study space, even without paying admission to the Metropolitan Museum. The Thomas J. Watson library is open to any adult patron, but the books have to be paged, and children are discouraged. Nolen has a children’s space with picture books and storytime events. Computer terminals at a child’s height, give access to whitelisted sites such as National Geographic.

The subjects collected by the library are equally wide, stretching from gardening to history.  Naomi Niles says the library collects anything that would help a patron understanding of art, which, of course, includes many topics. A large collection of art documentary tapes and DVDs cover the walls of a meeting space at the back of the library, and Nolen even has a small, but beautiful graphic novels section.

The library is staffed by a group of fifteen librarians who rotate between Watson and Nolen with occasional stops at the department libraries. Ms. Niles herself, started as an intern 20 years ago. She said at first she could not imagine living in New York City for more than a few years, but here she still is and she loves the Met.

Ms. Niles encouraged librarians to use the Metropolitan Museum’s online research materials, including teachers resources, and images. Metmedia is a great collection of interactive, audio and video resources about the collections. The Met is also scanning all of its publications from around 1900 to the present.

If you feel like dropping by, the Nolen library is located in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Education Center on the ground floor of the Metropolitan Museum. The ground floor is one floor down from the lobby. You can enter the Education Center from an entrance at 81st street, or you can take an elevator down from the Greek and Roman wing. Nolen library is open 9:30-5pm Tuesday through Friday and 10-5pm on the weekends.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech | Mobiledia

The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech

The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech
Where's the books?
By | June 10, 2013

This isn't your childhood library. The Hunt Library at North Carolina State University is beautiful. The main floor looks more like a sleek Apple showroom than a stuffy library. And instead of a Genius Bar, there's an Ask Me alcove, where you can get help on everything from laptops to flash drives.

Rather than the Dewey system, color-coded walls, stairs and elevators help you find not just books and research papers, but also media rooms, video game collections and even a 3-D printing lab to create plastic models. But the best part? Built with state funds and private donations, it's open to the public.

Welcome to the library of the future.

"There's a lot of talk about how libraries should change, but very few ideas of how they should be shaped," said Vaughn Tan, a member of the Harvard's University Library project. "Every library should figure out what they want to be and just do that." Read more...
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder | Technology |

Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman

Web-based programs like Google's Gmail will force people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that will cost more and more over time, according to the free software campaigner 
Richard Stallman, creator of the GNU computer operating system
Richard Stallman on cloud computing: "It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign." Photograph:
The concept of using web-based programs like Google's Gmail is "worse than stupidity", according to a leading advocate of free software.

Cloud computing – where IT power is delivered over the internet as you need it, rather than drawn from a desktop computer – has gained currency in recent years. Large internet and technology companies including Google, Microsoft and Amazon are pushing forward their plans to deliver information and software over the net.

But Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the computer operating system GNU, said that cloud computing was simply a trap aimed at forcing more people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that would cost them more and more over time.

"It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign," he told The Guardian. Read more...
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

ALA, It’s Time to Step Up for School Libraries | Editorial | School Library Journal

ALA, It’s Time to Step Up for School Libraries | Editorial

SLJ1306w Editorial Librarian ALA, It’s Time to Step Up for School Libraries | Editorial  

As the end of the school year approached, the library listserv LM_Net considered several distressing strands: How do you close a library for the summer when it may never reopen; how do you hand off library duties to a nonlibrarian; and how can we transform library service to serve more students with fewer staff? Situations like these result from administrative decision making based on short-term gains—with long-term losses for our kids. Wouldn’t it be nice if these local problems had been countered by a professional association actively engaged in stopping these cuts by providing solid data on the value of school librarians at the highest state and national levels?

As I travel to the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Chicago later this month, I will inevitably carry the baggage of an unresolved disconnect. Those of us inside Libraryland know what our K–12 peers deliver, yet that value is clearly not understood by administrators, who are cutting school librarian positions nationwide. I can’t help but think that a key resource is being squandered out of sheer ignorance. Read more....
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Monday, June 3, 2013

World's Tiniest Library Pops Up In New York City - John Metcalfe - The Atlantic Cities

World's Tiniest Library Pops Up In New York City

The "Little Free Library" that recently appeared in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood would seem to have a major design issue: Get more than one person inside, and turning a page suddenly becomes a violent ballet of jousting arms and elbow pokes.
But such is the cost of cuteness, which this teeniest of media centers has in spades. The adorable object, which sits outside St. Patrick's Old Cathedral School at 32 Prince Street, looks like a big doughnut on stilts or, if you imagine it with a few flourishes, a peevish robot: Read the whole article.
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