Friday, August 30, 2013

New Value of Libraries Megapost – Stephen's Lighthouse

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About The Author

Stephen Abram is a librarian and consultant with Lighthouse Partners and Dysart & Jones. He blogs on library strategies for direction, marketing, technology and user alignment.

 Value of Libraries Megapost

I have been pulling together all of my posts on studies and reports on the value of public libraries for my work with the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries.  I thought I might as well post it here too. I’m sure I’ve got some dupes in here but c’est la vie!  Hope you find it useful!  There are many useful talking points and proofs in this research.
We look forward to the value studies report from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto that is in process right now for Toronto Public Library that is expected to be released in late 2013.

The Value of Public Libraries

Selected (mostly free) Web References:
CULC Analysis of Canadian Public Library Trends
In 2011 the  Canadian Urban Libraries Council commissioned a study of library trends over the last decade. An Analysis of Public Library Trends is useful document for Canadian public library advocates, leaders and planners.
Video: LibValue: Comprehensive Approaches to Defining Library Value
Tactic: Highlighting the Value of Library Use
Texas Public Libraries Return on Investment Study Available (223 page PDF)

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Hidden History of New York City’s Central Library Plan | The Nation

The Hidden History of New York City’s Central Library Plan

This May 20, 2011, photo shows the marble lion "Fortitude," one of a pair created by Edward Clark Potter in 1911, at the main entrance to the New York Public Library in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

On the morning of February 1, Anthony Marx, president and CEO of the New York Public Library, met with a group of business and political leaders who had assembled in a majestic room inside the 42nd Street library. Marx was introduced by a prominent Manhattan real estate developer, William Rudin. Near the end of his spirited presentation, Marx digressed from library policy and asked his audience to buy commercial real estate in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue and 40th Street—the location of the Mid-Manhattan Library, which the NYPL is determined to sell under its Central Library Plan (CLP), the core of which envisions a colossal, $300 million–plus transformation of the 42nd Street library by the architect Norman Foster. 

The CLP has been the subject of mounting controversy for almost eighteen months. In the spring of 2012, hundreds of scholars and writers protested the NYPL’s scheme to remove 3 million books from 42nd Street—a backlash that prompted the NYPL to raise $8 million to build shelving for 1.5 million books under Bryant Park, behind the library. In December, the late architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable declared, in her final essay, that “after extensive study of the library’s conception and construction I have become convinced that irreversible changes of this magnitude should not be made in this landmark building.” On June 7, Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic of The New York Times, told New York magazine: “If you’re going to be spending untold millions on this plan, it better be what the city really, really needs. Otherwise, this will be considered one of the calamities of the city’s history, along with Penn Station.”  Read more...
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Classroom Connections: Lists for Lesson Planning (Gr. 6-12) | The New York Public Library

 young people's librarians and students, 1938., Digital ID 434280, New York Public LibraryAguilar Library, 1938 - Librarian w/ students. Want to know more about our current educational initiatives? See From the Collections to the Classroom by NYPL President Tony Marx

We have just shuttered the doors on our first Education Innovation @ NYPL Summer Institute. During this three week Institute, master teachers from NYC (and further afar) met curators from our Research Divisions, explored our Archives, and connected with members of our Strategy Department—all with the intention of addressing how we can better identify materials from our collections for use in the classroom, and how we can better connect these materials to teachers. The New York Public Library offers some of the best collections in the world. Our Digital Collections alone encompasses more than 700,000 images including historical photos, political cartoons, maps, and more that you can explore digitally. The challenge for us becomes—how do we curate this wealth of material in an accessible and efficient way for classroom use, especially to help meet Common Core State StandardsRead more...
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8 Reasons You Should Be Using Google Voice (If You’re American)

Google Voice has been out for years, but many people in the US still haven’t given it a try. Google Voice offers many features you can’t get elsewhere, and almost all of them are free.
There are ways to sign up for Google Voice outside of the US, but even if you manage to do so you’ll be left with a US number. That’s a bit awkward if you live outside the US.

Place and Receive Calls From Gmail

Google allows anyone to place free calls to the US and Canada from Gmail. However, these calls will appear to come from a random shared number that your recipients won’t recognize. If you switch to Google Voice, calls you place from Gmail will appear to come from your own personal Google Voice number.
Best of all, you can even receive incoming calls in Gmail and answer them from your computer. Google Voice integration is now part of Google Hangouts, so it’s also integrated into Google+ and the Hangouts Chrome extension. Read more...
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Google is preparing for screenless computers - Quartz

The spread of computing to every corner of our physical world doesn’t just mean a proliferation of screens large and small—it also means we’ll soon come to rely on mobile computers with no screens at all. “It’s now so inexpensive to have a powerful computing device in my car or lapel, that if you think about form factors, they won’t all have keyboards or screens,” says Scott Huffman, head of the Conversation Search group at Google.
Google is already moving rapidly to enable voice commands in all of its products. On mobile phones, Google Now for Android and Google’s search app on the iPhone allow users to search the web via voice, or carry out other basic functions like sending emails. Similarly, Google Glass would be almost unusable without voice interaction. At Google’s conference for developers, it unveiled voice control for its Chrome web browser. And Motorola’s new Moto X phone has a specialized microchip that allows the phone to listen at all times, even when it’s asleep, for the magic word that begins every voice conversation with a Google product: “OK…”
There’s nothing new about voice interaction with computers per se. What’s different about Google’s work on the technology is that the company wants to make it as fluid and easy as keyboards and touch screens are now. That’s a challenge big enough that, thus far, it has kept voice-based interfaces from going mainstream in our personal computing devices. And in cases when they are in use, such as interactive voice response systems designed to handle customer service calls, they can be frustrating. Read more...
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New York Public Library Rethinks Design -


New York Public Library Rethinks Design

In Response to Critics, a New Renovation Plan Will Focus on Books, not Atriums

The New York Public Library, responding to outcry over its plans to demolish century-old book stacks, will this fall unveil a new design that preserves a significant portion of them, its president, Anthony Marx, said Tuesday.

The library disclosed its plans in response to questions from The Wall Street Journal about alternatives it had considered to the $300 million renovation, which has sparked two lawsuits brought by scholars and preservationists, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, aiming to block the stacks' destruction.

Those alternatives, since scrapped, included mothballing the stacks or restoring and opening them to researchers as the Bibliothèque Nationale de France is doing, according to documents obtained from the State Historic Preservation Office through a public-records request. Until now, the renovation plan for the New York Public Library's landmark Fifth Avenue building has called for dismantling the stacks and replacing them with a new circulating library designed by British architect Norman Foster.
Stacks in New York before they were emptied.

The library still intends to build a new circulating library in the 80,000-square-foot space under the Rose Main Reading Room. But in contrast to renderings released in December, which envisioned a vast atrium, the new design will incorporate the stacks as "a prominent feature," Mr. Marx said. They would hold the circulating library's books and be configured in a way that allows patrons to "see and experience" what the stacks were like as originally conceived by the building's architects, Carrère and Hastings, he said.

Reading rooms will be emphasized, "rather than atriums," Mr. Marx said. The design is not yet complete, and the library has not yet calculated its cost, he said. Read more...
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Libraries vary in availability of materials to minors -

When library trustees in north suburban Morton Grove learned that a 16-year-old employee would oversee the showing of an R-rated film at the institution, some of them requested that an adult take over the job.

The incident represents another page in the ongoing debate over the accessibility of adult-themed materials to young library patrons.

"It would be highly offensive to a great number of residents of Morton Grove that the library is using their tax money to employ a 16-year-old to show movies that, under the same circumstances, that person would not be allowed to attend … without parental accompaniment," said Trustee Catherine Peters. Read more...
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Tea Party vs. The Public Library | David Morris

David Morris


The Tea Party vs. The Public Library

Posted: 08/18/2013 6:36 pm


In September 2012 the Library Board of Pulaski County raised property taxes $1 per year for a typical homeowner to maintain the existing level of services in its five libraries. Voters were not given the opportunity to reject the increase; in 2006 however, they were and resoundingly approved a much larger increase to finance a new library.

But in 2006 the county and the country did not have a Tea Party.  That movement sprang up early 2009 in fury at the federal government's attempt to help millions of people facing foreclosure stay in their homes.  In 2010 it escalated into a full-throated attack on the federal government's attempt to expand medical care access to tens of millions.  By 2012 the Tea Party movement's virulent anti-government, anti-tax philosophy and take-no-prisoners, I'm-not-my-brother's-keeper attitude had come to define American politics.

Pulaski County Tea Partiers, justifying their fury by noting the $1 increase had not been voted on by the people began circulating a petition to dissolve the library tax district completely.  The effort's leader declared her group would stop accumulating signatures only if all members of the current library board resigned. Read more...
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Friday, August 16, 2013

E-book sales decline: Do people not want to read books on tablets?

Why Don't People Want to Read E-books on Tablets?

Jeff Bezos shows off a new Kindle Fire.
Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages
We’ve been living through an e-book boomtime. Two years ago, Amazon turned heads by announcing that sales of digital books had eclipsed those of hardcovers, and the trend has only continued. But a recent pair of reports shows that a plateau may be coming. The Association of American Publishers claims that this year’s first quarter saw only a 5 percent increase in e-book sales, which is strikingly low compared with previous quarters. Nielsen reports that e-book sales actually fell in April, if only slightly, compared with same period last year. This is significant because it marks the first-ever decline in the market. If the current numbers hold, then e-books will maintain 25 percent of the overall book market.

Nicholas Carr reflects on these data on his Rough Type blog, and he brainstorms a list of potential culprits. His suggestions include the possibility that we’ve run out of readers willing to make the jump from print to e-reading; that readers are no longer purchasing e-books simply for novelty’s sake; and that the e-book format may be proving conducive only to limited kinds of reading, such as travel reading.* Read more...