Thursday, February 25, 2016

Visiting the oldest bookstore in America – and its resident ghost: The Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is still thriving, some 270 years after its founding

‘We’ve created something here,’ says the Moravian book shop’s manager. ‘What you hear people say is we’re an experience.’
 ‘We’ve created something here,’ says the Moravian book shop’s manager. ‘What you hear people say is we’re an experience.’ Photograph: Moravian Book Shop

On a recent Friday morning, I showed up to Moravian Book Shop a little before the store was to open. Moravian is the oldest bookstore in the United States, founded in 1745, and has expanded many times over the years, taking over neighboring buildings. It now occupies 15,000 square feet on Main Street in downtown Bethlehem, Pensylvania. I wasn’t sure where to go in. Such a large footprint means the store has a few front doors.
Lisa Girard quickly spotted me from inside, brought me in out of the wind blowing up from the Lehigh river, and began explaining just how a bookstore (a warm one, I might add) has managed to stay open for so long. Moravian even opened a second location in nearby Allentown last year. That’s an unusual longevity for a business in this corner of the country, where one of the world’s mightiest steel mills, Bethlehem Steel, couldn’t keep a business going long into the new century. Read more...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Introducing Open eBooks

"Today, the White House announced that the Open eBooks app to put ebooks in the hands of lower-income children and young adults aged 4-18, is up and running. The Open eBooks service to provide age appropriate reading materials, was developed in partnership with the Digital Public Library of America, the New York Public Library, FirstBook, and Baker & Taylor. With the app, the Open eBooks service can begin."
First Lady Michelle Obama released a video (1:02) explaining the initiative.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Indie Bookstores Are Back, With a Passion By FRANCIS X. CLINES FEB. 12, 2016

Stocking the shelves at Book Culture in New York City. CreditBrian Harkin for The New York Times

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The loss of libraries is another surefire way to entrench inequality Mary O'Hara Mary O'Hara

 ‘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

As someone who grew up in a home without books, no spare cash to buy them and no tradition of reading bedtime stories, my local library offered something unique and indispensable. It’s hard to think of anything that brought me more joy as a primary school-aged child than walking back from the Falls Road library in west Belfast with a bundle of books.

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

February, 2016 is...Library Lovers Month

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.

So why love your local library? Libraries are a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life; they offer security and peace and quiet. They are also a place where you can focus surrounded by likeminded people with the desire to acquire knowledge.
It’s important to understand that not everything is available on the internet (yet), libraries can have vast digital stores of qualitative and quantitative information escaping from opinion led snippets and snapshots from online. There may be some crossover of information but in most cases libraries are a much more economically viable solution when looking for information than the internet.
Love your library for what it is, a community meeting place or treasure trove of ideas. Why not push against the declining attendance of libraries and go and learn something new that will expand your knowledge of who you are, of where you live or what you do?ou live or what you do?

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

In 2008, the San Francisco Public Library considered a very unusual question. How, they asked the city’s homeless, can our library better serve you? 
Officials weren’t looking for book club ideas. Over the past decade, the shrinking social safety net has turned many libraries into major care providers for the underprivileged. The homeless, in particular, rely on libraries for daytime shelter. It’s a big job, one that libraries — perpetually cash-strapped and understaffed  aren’t sure they’re equipped to handle.
Take San Francisco. Officials knew that homeless patrons had a range of special needs. Some had immediate medical concerns. Others wanted help finding temporary shelter or using the Internet to apply for unemployment benefits, disability insurance and jobs. These needs required time and full-time staff, not harried librarians.  Read more...