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Are librarians blockchainable?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:46:13 +0000

Topic: 
"Information professionals should note the shifts that are happening with the advent of blockchains. From smart contracts that do not require trust brokers (such as banks or lawyers) to broker-less authorities (such as governments obviated by direct democracies), blockchains promise the upheaval of tradition and staid, white-collar positions." http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/Blockchain-Roundup-for-Info-Pros-115124.asp
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Hidebound: The Grisly Invention of Parchment

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:46:36 +0000

Topic: 
While most of the Old World was writing on papyrus, bamboo, and silk, Europe carved its own gruesome path through the history books.
From Hidebound: The Grisly Invention of Parchment : Longreads
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We LOVE Our Librarians

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 18:21:21 +0000

Topic: 
The New York Times has announced the winners of their annual contest. Send these peeps your best.

The 2016 I Love My Librarian Award recipients include three academic librarians, four public librarians and three school librarians. This year’s winners are:

Danielle S. Apfelbaum, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, New York

Andrea Bernard, Tyler Memorial Library, Charlemont, Massachusetts

Olga Valencia Cardenas, Stanislaus County Library, Modesto, California

Elissa Checov, Gwinnett Tech. College / Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, Georgia

Kathryn Cole, Northside Elementary School, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Tabatha “Tabby” Farney, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Sherri Ginsberg, Hillsides Library, Pasadena, California

Lia Kharis Hillman, San Francisco Public Library

Jamille Rogers, Marguerite Vann Elementary School, Conway, Arkansas

Roosevelt Weeks, Sr. Houston Public Library

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What's the fastest way to alphabetize your bookshelf?

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:55:14 +0000

Topic: 
You work at the college library. You’re in the middle of a quiet afternoon when suddenly, a shipment of 1,280 books arrives. The books are in a straight line, but they're all out of order, and the automatic sorting system is broken. How can you sort the books quickly? Chand John shows how, shedding light on how algorithms help librarians and search engines speedily sort information.
From What's the fastest way to alphabetize your bookshelf? - Chand John - YouTube
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Chicago Offers Free Library Benefits to Public Transit Riders

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 22:43:06 +0000

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Taking the Books to Homeless Children

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 00:02:06 +0000

Topic: 
From the New York Times a lovely story about a Bronx librarian and his weekly visits to read to children in the homeless shelter.

Colbert Nembhard looks more like a traveling salesman than a librarian in his dark suit with his rolling suitcase. He strolls 10 minutes to the Crotona Inn homeless shelter from the Morrisania Branch Library, where he has been the manager for 25 years. As he dug through the dozens of books stuffed inside the suitcase, an announcement crackled over the intercom inside the shelter, where 87 families live: “Mr. Nembhard is here to read stories and sing songs to your children.”

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Colson Whitehead, Rep. John Lewis Among National Book Award Winners

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 17:36:38 +0000

Topic: 
"The past week has mad me feel like I'm living my life all over again — that we have to fight some of the same fights," Lewis said. "To see some of the bigotry, the hate, I think there are forces that want to take us back."

When he later accepted his medal for young people's literature, for his work with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell on March: Book Three, Lewis drew from memories of his own childhood for a tearful speech.

"I remember in 1956 when I was 16 years old, going down to the public library, trying to get library cards, and we were told that the libraries were whites-only and not for coloreds," Lewis said.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/16/502349046/colson-whitehead-and-rep-john-lewis-among-winners-of-national-book-awards

I recommend listening to the piece so you can hear the emotion with which Lewis gives his speech.
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How To Weather the Trump Administration

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 20:14:37 +0000

Topic: 
"Head to the library" says the LA Times (or maybe you're already there). In small towns and large, in red states and blue, libraries poll better across the political spectrum than any public trust this side of the fire department. In districts where millage increases don’t require a two-thirds vote (and frequently where they do, as in California) modest library bonds usually win.

Librarians may be the only first responders holding the line between America and a raging national pandemic of absolutism. More desperately than ever, we need our libraries now, and all three of their traditional pillars: 1) education, 2) good reading and 3) the convivial refuge of a place apart. In other words, libraries may be the last coal we have left to blow on.

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I was Racially Profiled at the New York Public Library

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 15:55:00 +0000

At an event to honor Harry Belafone one guest stated that he was stopped and questioned upon his entrance to library, story from The New York Post.
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Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 15:18:04 +0000

Topic: 

Book -- Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers

From beloved New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein, Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores invites you into the heart and soul of every community: the local bookshop, each with its own quirks, charms, and legendary stories.

This collection of seventy-five of the most cherished bookstores from around the world features evocative paintings by Eckstein paired with colorful anecdotes about each shop, featuring a roster of great thinkers and artists of our time, including David Bowie, Tom Wolfe, Joe Frank, Tracy Chevalier, Jonathan Lethem, Michael Palin, Roz Chast, Deepak Chopra, Bob Odenkirk, Robin Williams, Patricia Marx, Philip Glass, Paul McCartney, Dave Berry, Michael Jackson, Jonathan Ames, Terry Gross, Mark Maron, Neil Gaiman, Ann Patchett, Jo Nesbo, Diane Keaton, Chris Ware, Molly Crabapple, Amitav Ghosh, Patti Smith, Mo Willems, Alice Munro, Dave Eggers, Roxanna Robinson, Garrison Keillor and many more.

Page by page, Eckstein perfectly captures our lifelong love affair with books, bookstores, and book-sellers that is at once heartfelt, bittersweet, and cheerfully confessional.

Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers

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Bad News for British Public Libraries

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 15:34:10 +0000

From Inside Higher Ed, Barbara Fister writes:

Last March, the BBC reported that 343 public libraries have closed in the U.K. and another 111 were scheduled to be closed this year. That’s about 15 percent of all public libraries in the UK. Nearly 300 libraries were handed over to community groups to sustain or were outsourced to commercial management. UK libraries have been forced to lay off a quarter of their staff because of budget cuts.

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Some libraries deserve to close, says 'digital inclusion' charity

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 23:39:34 +0000

Topic: 
“I love libraries. But I love them when they’re fulfilling their potential. When they are not, I believe they are bringing the institution down. I believe they are letting local people down. And I’m fed up of seeing them get a free pass, when other community hubs ­and community centres­ are also at the brink of closures, and also faced with the really pointy end of the local council cuts,” said Tinder chief executive Helen Milner.
From Some libraries deserve to close, says 'digital inclusion' charity | Books | The Guardian
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Library of the Future

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 23:08:28 +0000

Book: Man and the Computer (1972) John G. Kemeny Man and the Computer is an expanded version of the widely acclaimed Man and Nature Lectures delivered at the American Museum of Natural History in the fall of 1971. Chapter 8 of the book is - Library of the Future
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Time Lapse: Thousands of Books Get Reshelved Before the Rose Main Reading Room Reopens

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:50:51 +0000

Topic: 
In preparation for the reopening of the Rose Main Reading Room, watch 52,000 books being shelved...in just two minutes:
From Time Lapse: Thousands of Books Get Reshelved Before the Rose Main Reading Room Reopens - YouTube
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MIT task force releases preliminary “Future of Libraries” report

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 01:35:20 +0000

Topic: 
The MIT task force arranged ideas about the MIT Libraries into four “pillars,” which structure the preliminary report. They are “Community and Relationships,” involving the library’s interactions with local and global users; “Discovery and Use,” regarding the provision of information; “Stewardship and Sustainability,” involving the management and protection of MIT’s scholarly resources; and “Research and Development,” addressing the analysis of library practices and needs. The preliminary report contains 10 general recommendations in these areas.
From MIT task force releases preliminary “Future of Libraries” report | MIT News
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It's Not Too Late to Save the Stacks

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 14:23:14 +0000

For in-depth assignments, nothing replaces the chance to introduce students face-to-face to a nonvirtual librarian who can help them navigate the research process. One invaluable lesson of standing next to a real person undertaking real-time information browsing: Students learn that good information takes time to locate. Even the experts have to problem-solve through some deadends and overgeneralized hits before finding a good source. And when something suitable turns up, students can share that eureka moment or the relief of genuine gratitude with another person. All of this takes place in the physical space of the library and its community of books and people.
From It's Not Too Late to Save the Stacks - The Chronicle of Higher Education
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Penguin Galaxy - Science Fiction series

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 04:04:54 +0000

Topic: 
Penguin Galaxy, a hardcover collectible series of six sci-fi/fantasy classics, featuring a series introduction by Neil Gaiman.

The books are:
Stranger in a Strange Land
Dune
2001: A Space Odyssey
Neuromancer
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Once and Future King

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The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Bob Dylan

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 12:30:33 +0000

Topic: 
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Bob Dylan The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".
From The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 - Press Release
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The world's most valuable scientific books and manuscripts - an overview of the marketplace

Sun, 09 Oct 2016 20:20:43 +0000

Topic: 
After several months researching the marketplace, we've compiled a list of the 50 most valuable scientific documents sold at auction. This article is a preview of the research and an overview of the scientific documents and manuscripts marketplaces. Over the next week we'll reveal our findings in detail, counting down to number one in a series of articles that provide an intriguing insight into both the history of science and the value of its most important writings.
From The world's most valuable scientific books and manuscripts - an overview of the marketplace
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There’s a word in Japanese for the literary affliction of buying books you don’t read

Sun, 09 Oct 2016 20:20:06 +0000

Topic: 
Tsundoku is the stockpiling of books never consumed. Sahoko Ichikawa, a senior lecturer in Japanese at Cornell University, explains that tsunde means “to stack things” and oku is “to leave for a while.” The word originated in Japan’s late 19th century Meiji Era from a play on words. Sometime around the turn of the century, the oku in tsunde oku was replaced with doku, meaning to read. But because tsunde doku rolls awkwardly off the tongue, the mashup version became tsundoku.
From There’s a word in Japanese for the literary affliction of buying books you don’t read — Quartz
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How to help libraries learn about open source

Sun, 09 Oct 2016 20:19:43 +0000

Topic: 
Right now, if you walked into my public library and pelted me with questions about open source—like, "What is it?" "How does it work?" "How can I use open source?"—I'd rattle off answers so fast you'd be walking out with a new tool or technology under your belt. Open source is a big world, so of course there are some things I don't know, but guess what? We have the Internet and books right at our finger tips. Saying that you don't know the answer is fine, and patrons will respect you for it. The key is helping them find the answer.
From How to help libraries learn about open source | Opensource.com
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Inside the New York Public Library's Last, Secret Apartments

Sat, 08 Oct 2016 13:37:10 +0000

Topic: 
Some have spent decades empty and neglected. "The managers would sort of meekly say to me—do you want to see the apartment?" says Iris Weinshall, the library's chief operating officer, who at the beginning of her tenure toured all the system's branches. The first time it happened, she had the same reaction any library lover would: There’s an apartment here? Maybe I could live in the apartment. "They would say, look, just be careful when you go up there," she says. "It was wild. You could have this gorgeous Carnegie…" "And then… surprise!" says Risa Honig, the library's head of capital planning.
From Inside the New York Public Library's Last, Secret Apartments | Atlas Obscura
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WA State Dems push to unblock LGBT material at schools, libraries

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 23:54:44 +0000

Topic: 
Several House Democrats have put forward legislation that would ban schools and libraries from banning Internet access to LGBT material, which is sometimes blocked by filters aimed at keeping out obscene content. The "Don't Block LGBTQ Act," from Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., is meant to ensure that young LGBT people are able to access material that might help them.
From Dems push to unblock LGBT material at schools, libraries | Washington Examiner
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"We set out to build the bookstore of the 21st century"

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 17:41:44 +0000

Topic: 
Among the factors that have made Kepler’s a sustainable operation, two stand out. First, Madan and his team have built on the store’s heritage as a place that achieves impact not just as a book retailer but also as a community center. And second, they have explored the potential of using a hybrid structure that combines for-profit and nonprofit elements.
From Turning the Page | Stanford Social Innovation Review
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Does Reading a Single Passage of Literary Fiction Really Improve Theory of Mind? (NO)

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 17:40:43 +0000

Topic: 
Fiction simulates the social world and invites us into the minds of characters. This has led various researchers to suggest that reading fiction improves our understanding of others’ cognitive and emotional states. Kidd and Castano (2013) received a great deal of attention by providing support for this claim. Their article reported that reading segments of literary fiction (but not popular fiction or nonfiction) immediately and significantly improved performance on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), an advanced theory-of-mind test. Here we report a replication attempt by 3 independent research groups, with 792 participants randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions (literary fiction, popular fiction, nonfiction, and no reading). In contrast to Kidd and Castano (2013), we found no significant advantage in RMET scores for literary fiction compared to any of the other conditions. However, as in Kidd and Castano and previous research, the Author Recognition Test, a measure of lifetime exposure to fiction, consistently predicted RMET scores across conditions. We conclude that the most plausible link between reading fiction and theory of mind is either that individuals with strong theory of mind are drawn to fiction and/or that a lifetime of reading gradually strengthens theory of mind, but other variables, such as verbal ability, may also be at play. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
From PsycNET - Display Record
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“That’s a library? I thought it was a church for a religion that didn’t allow makeup.”

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 13:48:20 +0000

Topic: 
But then. Maybe librarians shouldn’t try to be, maybe the library should be a place where one can focus on the written word, where people can enter the inner conversation instead of the mundane blabber. The library as a place to connect with someone far away (the author) and someone deep inside (the mental model of the reader); the library as a church instead of just another social space.
From The Library and the Church – lib{cache
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Don’t Touch That Dial: Standardizing a Consortial Library System

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 13:24:39 +0000

These issues elicit a lot of crocodile tears, hyperbole, and toxic brinkmanship from those trying to get their way. It’s pointless bickering. We can instead focus only on what’s demonstrably best to alter, making warranted changes at the network level, and leaving the rest alone. To avoid the worst case scenario of a lack of cooperation within a library system, the proactive enactment of best practices and decisive enforcement of consortia-wide settings helps minimize technical errors and redundant efforts; avoids the paradox of choice amongst those with disparate customization philosophies; eliminates unsustainable variations merely based on arbitrary precedents or skeuomorphic design; and ensures our collective installations are as usable, future-proof, and efficiently run as possible, rather than an illustration of how “freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”
From Don’t Touch That Dial: Standardizing a Consortial Library System – Medium
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How Banning Books Marginalizes Children

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 13:21:00 +0000

Topic: 
When librarians and teachers reject works that may be “emotionally inappropriate” for children (a common reason), they’re adhering to the traditional and mostly prevailing view that children’s literature should avoid controversial topics. It’s understandable that adults want to minimize children’s anxiety, and schools are often under intense social and financial pressure to maintain established standards. But it ‘s also important to recognize that this tradition was established in the 19th century to serve the needs of the white, wealthy Protestant producers and consumers who have dominated the field of American children’s literature for much of the past 200 years.
From How Banning Books Marginalizes Children - The Atlantic
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Why Libraries’ Survival Matters

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 13:19:09 +0000

Topic: 
In advance of “Do Libraries Have a Future?” a Zócalo Public Square event in partnership with WeHo Reads, we asked eight writers to reflect on the most memorable library they ever visited, what it meant to them, and whether it should exist in 100 years.
From Why Libraries’ Survival Matters | PublicCEO
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The media of our expression seems to have decreasing longevity.

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 00:06:46 +0000

Topic: 
This experience set me to thinking again about the ephemeral nature of our artifacts and the possibility that the centuries well before ours will be better known than ours will be unless we are persistent about preserving digital content. The earlier media seem to have a kind of timeless longevity while modern media from the 1800s forward seem to have shrinking lifetimes. Just as the monks and Muslims of the Middle Ages preserved content by copying into new media, won't we need to do the same for our modern content?
From 'We're Going Backward!' | October 2016 | Communications of the ACM
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