Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Prisons Want to Use Tech to End In-Person Visits — These Librarians Have a Different Plan

Across the country, jails are replacing in-person visits with a glitchy, expensive system called "video visitation" — think of it like Skyping in to see your incarcerated loved one, if Skype was low-resolution, difficult to install and cost as much as $1.50 a minute.

But the librarians of Brooklyn are racing to roll out a more humane solution.
The Brooklyn Public Library is planning to build its own video visitations in 12 of its locations in neighborhoods with high rates of incarceration. Unlike visitation centers at country jails, the libraries will build visitation centers that are comfortable, humane and don't charge families exorbitant fees for connecting with loved ones.

"It's an intentionally human experience," Nick Higgins, Director of Outreach Services at Brooklyn Public Library, said in a phone call. "Anything that we do in jails or marginalized communities, we want to create a sense of belonging and inclusion. How life should be."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

At this library, story time doesn’t end because a parent is in prison

TeleStory, a two-year-old program run at a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, increases childhood literacy by using free live video conferencing to connect children to incarcerated parents.
By Liz Dwyer, TakePart June 24, 2016 
Snuggling up next to each other on the couch to read a book aloud is one of the special bonding rituals between parents and children – and one that research shows helps make a kid more successful in school. When a parent gets locked up, it brings an abrupt end to sitting on the sofa and turning the pages of "The Cat in the Hat" together.

But children and incarcerated parents in New York City can still connect and read a book together thanks to TeleStory, a two-year-old program run at a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The initiative increases childhood literacy by using free live video conferencing to connect children to incarcerated parents at Rikers Island and borough-based Department of Corrections Jails. Read more...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

An Amphitheater. A Laptop Bar. It’s a New York Library Like No Other. Building Blocks By DAVID W. DUNLAP JUNE 20, 2016

Ching-Yen Donahue, the cataloging coordinator at the 53rd Street branch of the New York Public Library. Credit Santiago Mejia/The New York Tim   

More a theater for learning than a citadel of research, the new 53rd Street Library offers one surprise after the next as it unfolds below the sidewalks of New York.
Monday was opening day.

The 53rd Street Library is the long-awaited, long-delayed replacement for the Donnell Library Center, a beloved and heavily used branch of the New York Public Library system. Donnell was also that increasingly precious thing: a free civic amenity in one of the poshest areas of Manhattan.

It closed in 2008. Its replacement was supposed to be ready in three years, but the redevelopment of the site, between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas, was derailed by the national economic crisis. Ultimately the library sold the property for $67.4 million in 2011 to Tribeca Associates and Starwood CapitalRead more...

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Freedom to Read: The history of ALA's vital statement on intellectual freedom

March 15, 2016

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower (left) and Dartmouth President John Sloan Dickey at the Dartmouth College commencement, June 14, 1953. Courtesy of Dartmouth College Library   

“Don’t join the book burners,” President Dwight D. Eisenhower implored Dartmouth College graduates on June 14, 1953. “Don’t be afraid to go to your library and read every book as long as any document does not offend your own ideas of decency.”

Eisenhower’s words shocked many because they constituted his first public challenge to McCarthyism—an ethos enveloping the country at the time and fed by Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.), who inferred communist conspiracies everywhere in American culture, including books on the shelves of 194 information libraries that the US State Department operated in 61 foreign countries.

Like-minded individuals also saw communist threats in the images on the covers of magazines, paperbacks, and comics that were stacked face-out on newsstand racks across the country. The US House of Representatives even set up a Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials to investigate the publishers. Outside Washington, the National Organization for Decent Literature (NODL) sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church issued monthly lists of condemned titles that local parishioners used to police newsstands (and, on occasion, local public library shelves). Owners who passed muster received NODL seals of approval to display in their windows; sales at newsstands that did not display a seal invariably suffered. Read more...

Library Field Responds to Orlando Tragedy

Vigil at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center, June 13
Photo credit: Erin Sullivan

By on June 15, 2016

In the wake of the shooting in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on the night of June 12, which killed 49 people and injured 53 others, library administration and staff, organizations and vendors have stepped up with statements of solidarity, offers of help, and opportunities to join forces with the LGBTQ and Latino communities—the shooting occurred during Pulse’s Latin night—to mourn those killed and wounded.

Mary Anne Hodel, director and CEO of Orlando’s Orange County Library System (OCLS), posted a message on the library’s homepage, decrying the “despicable act of violence, and pointing users to a resource guide assembled by OCLS for those coping with the loss and looking for ways to support others. She  added, “Moving forward, we will be exploring other ways that OCLS can be part of the healing process. Thank you, Orlando, for being so strong and so brave. We are proud to be part of this community.”

The Orlando Public Library (OPL) branch of OCLS broadcast news on the big screens in its lobby and Library Central area, which has a stage and seating area. “We have also given staff info on how to access our Employee Assistance Program, to make sure that anybody who needs a grief counselor has access to one,” OCLS public relations administrator Erin Sullivan told LJ. Library managers are also accommodating staff members who wish to donate blood, as there is currently a five to seven hour wait at local blood banks.

OCLS has set up monetary donation opportunities through its staff association, and has donation boxes throughout library branches for nonperishable food items for the families of victims. And the library is giving in more ephemeral ways as well. OCLS will be providing the LGBTQ community with information about its EPOCH (Electronically Preserving Obituaries as Cultural Heritage) database, a community-sourced obituary website created through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, so that victims’ families and friends will be able to post and access obituaries.

In addition, reported Hiawassee branch manager Ken Gibert, the OPL Reference Central department has been collecting photographs of flowers, gifts, and displays at the candlelight vigil held on the night of June 13 at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center, to post on the Orlando Memory heritage site.

While the library has been concentrating on ways to help, it has also been on the receiving end of others’ generosity. Digital distributor OverDrive donated 50 ebooks on grief, coping with tragedy, and healing to OCLS, Gibert told LJ. ILS provider SirsiDynix has made a monetary donation.

All branches have installed banners in their windows proclaiming #OrlandoStrong, one of several hashtags for social media users to show solidarity and get updates. Read more...

Friday, June 10, 2016

France’s libraries discovering a new lease of life beyond just books

Seminars, events and cafes are helping some formerly staid institutions reinvent themselves as social ‘third spaces’ beyond work and the home

 Turning a page: the new, Zaha Hadid-designed library in the Pierres Vives Building, Montpellier. Photograph: View/Alamy

Back in the 1950s Juliette Gréco sang Je hais les dimanches (I hate Sundays), but would she have found them quite so dull if public libraries had been open? It is still an open question in France, where museums and cinemas welcome the public on this day of rest, but not yet libraries.
Things may finally be changing, thanks to a bill originally more concerned with shopping than the arts. An amendment, put forward by former arts minister Aurélie Filipetti, to the “growth, business and equal economic opportunities” bill currently grinding through the French parliament, seeks to oblige local councils to organise a debate before introducing Sunday opening for libraries and shops. Her successor, Fleur Pellerin, has endorsed this proposal and asked a member of the upper house to look at how library opening hours could be adapted.
Although it may be some time before it becomes law, a vote in favour of the bill could have symbolic impact. It would certainly draw attention to the role now played by libraries, institutions that have taken on other missions than simply providing books.
Workshops, events, exhibitions, training courses and encouraging public participation in their management have become part of libraries’ roles. In some you may talk without whispering, use a phone, eat and even play computer games. Reading has become a source of sociability and the books on offer are supposed to encourage “social cohesion”. This trend towards greater openness, which started a few years ago, has only taken hold in a few of France’s 3,000 public libraries. But, it seems, it’s spreading. Read more...

Can reading make you happier? by Ceridwen Dovey

June 9, 2015

“Can Reading Make You Happier?” by Ceridwen Dovey (June 9th)ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH MAZZETTI
Several years ago, I was given as a gift a remote session with a bibliotherapist at the London headquarters of the School of Life, which offers innovative courses to help people deal with the daily emotional challenges of existence. I have to admit that at first I didn’t really like the idea of being given a reading “prescription.” I’ve generally preferred to mimic Virginia Woolf’s passionate commitment to serendipity in my personal reading discoveries, delighting not only in the books themselves but in the randomly meaningful nature of how I came upon them (on the bus after a breakup, in a backpackers’ hostel in Damascus, or in the dark library stacks at graduate school, while browsing instead of studying). I’ve long been wary of the peculiar evangelism of certain readers: You must read this, they say, thrusting a book into your hands with a beatific gleam in their eyes, with no allowance for the fact that books mean different things to people—or different things to the same person—at various points in our lives. I loved John Updike’s stories about the Maples in my twenties, for example, and hate them in my thirties, and I’m not even exactly sure why.Read more...

Thursday, June 9, 2016

7 Short Books Worth More Than an MBA By Geoffrey James Contributing editor,

CREDIT: Getty Images
Over the past few decades, the value of an MBA has declined, probably because the academic world can't keep up with the rapid pace of change in the business world.
Relatively few entrepreneurs have MBAs, but I'll bet that almost all of the successful ones have read and truly treasure these seven short, easy-to-read classics:

1. As a Man Thinketh

Author: James Allen

What It Teaches: Most people labor under the misconception that their life is the result of fate, luck, or circumstances. This book explains that your life is what you make of it, and the only way you'll be successful in life is if you're first successful in your mind. This is the foundation of a successful career in business.  (It's also one of the top 10 motivational books of all time.)

Best Quote: "A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of the hidden powers and possibilities within himself." Read more...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Borrowing a tune: Vancouver Library launches musical instrument lending program by Denise Ryan

Vancouver Public Library's Sandra Singh with the musical instruments that are now available as part of the library's new musical lending program. Mark van Manen / PNG
Starting Tuesday, dozens of musical instruments, including  guitars, ukuleles, banjos, keyboards, xylophones and drums, will be available free to anyone with a library card as the Vancouver Public Library launches an innovative new lending program. The launch, fittingly, will be a musical event jam packed with talent, including Jacob Hoggard of Hedley, Mother Mother, Ryan & Molly Guldemond, as well as students from the Sarah McLachlan School of Music.

The program was the brainchild of Vancouver’s own Shaw Saltzberg of NextStage Entertainment, who, after a career repping global stars such as Diana Krall, Michael Bublé, Elvis Costello and McLachlan, started thinking about how he could bring his love of music to the wider community.

“I wanted to focus on things that would have a real social impact,” he said.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

11 Bookish Things To Add To Your Summer Bucket List by Alex Weiss

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News /Getty Images

Ever since I was a kid, writing up a summer bucket list has been a constant tradition. My past bucket lists have included silly things like attaining the phone number of my middle school crush or reading an insane number of books before school started back up. Bucket lists can include anything from embarking on road-trip adventures to facing a big fear that's been holding you back. It's anything you want, and if you're a book lover like myself, odds are you have a bucket list that contains a lot of books, too.

Spending your summer days with a good book and glass of lemonade is what dreams are made of — at least for book nerds. It's not so much about the tan or the temperature of the beach waves, but more so about the characters and settings within the books we hold close to our hearts. While you probably have a good number of books you're adding to your bucket list this year, consider adding a couple book-related activities to it as well. After all, you will need a little time in-between books that break your heart or blow your mind.

Gather your closest book loving friends and plan for one fantastic summer full of bookstores, arts and crafts, writing, and a whole lot of reading with these 11 fun things to add to your summer book bucket list:

1. Visit A New Or Your Favorite Bookstore Once A Week


Thursday, June 2, 2016

There Are 3 Ways To Raise Lifelong Readers…

Young children enjoy the rituals of bedtime, including tucking in their covers, getting a glass of water, receiving a goodnight kiss and especially, hearing a bedtime story. However, only 53 percent of American children are hearing stories read to them at home at least two to three times a week, according to National Education Association. Reading at home to children promotes a lifetime of literacy in three ways.

Via Paolo Pace          

First, reading with a child at home promotes a sense of intimacy between the parent and the child. This intimacy helps the child become more intelligent and experience a sense of well being and joy. As the children grow older, they read to regain those feelings of intimacy and joy found in being read to when they were younger.

Second, when parents read to their children, the children become calmer and less restless. Reading to a small child teaches that child to focus on one task for a longer period of time. These children will grow up to read more to relax after a long day. The longer attention span on a single task for longer periods allows them to enjoy reading more than a child that wasn’t read to from an early age. Read more...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

More than just books, libraries act as equalizers By Craig and Marc Kielburger

A student enters a library. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)             
If you want to rile up a Canadian, threaten to take away their library.

Craig got his first taste of activism speaking out to save our local library. We've noticed ever since then that when provinces and cities experience a budget crunch, libraries are often first on the chopping block. Yet invariably, citizens rise up to protect them from extinction.

Newfoundland's plan to shutter more than half its public libraries sparked a recent protest by thousands at the provincial legislature. Comedian and commentator Rick Mercer lambasted the government with one of his trademark rants.

When the town council of McNab-Braeside, a rural community near Ottawa, decided to cancel an arrangement that gave residents free access to the library in the neighbouring town of Arnprior, almost a third of the entire township signed a petition in protest. Then they voted out all five councillors in the next election.

In the age of e-readers, search engines, and Wikipedia, why do Canadians still cling so tenaciously to these seemingly archaic institutions? Because libraries are so much more than just repositories for books.  Read more...