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The value of libraries

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:44:00 +0000

Topic: 
Most library activity is entertainment, not research, not knowledge. It's still difficult, even with SAILS, to find good technical books. Romance novels, detective stories, sure, hundreds of those. But the tech side is weak at best. So my question is this: would the general public support libraries if all that entertainment went away? I don't think they would
From The value of libraries
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Information is garbage

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:26:43 +0000

Topic: 
And tsunami is an apt description of what we now face. We all generate and consume information on countless screens. Information is now free-form. It’s evident in our move away from formalized data stores into call-and-response APIs. It’s evident in our information-gathering habits – now more a process of grazing than a formal process of gathering. And it’s evident in our media which now comes at us with a force unmatched in history. The world around us wants to offer us all the information all the time and we have no time to assess what is true, what is not, and, most important, what is valuable.
From Information is garbage | TechCrunch
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Fall from Grace (well sorta) for Milo Yiannopouloss

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 22:50:04 +0000

From Mediaite, news that Simon & Schuster has cancelled publication of Milo Yiannopouloss book (after creating hell for all their other authors). He has also left the extreme right-leaning Breitbart News.

Here's another piece from the Washington Post. And Ryan Lizza's piece from the New Yorker.

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Trump appointment pushes book to #1 on Amazon

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:53:18 +0000

Topic: 
On February 20, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump named McMaster to serve as his National Security Advisor following the forced resignation of Michael T. Flynn on February 13.

Blurb about book: (First published in 1997) Dereliction Of Duty is a stunning new analysis of how and why the United States became involved in an all-out and disastrous war in Southeast Asia. Fully and convincingly researched, based on recently released transcripts and personal accounts of crucial meetings, confrontations and decisions, it is the only book that fully re-creates what happened and why. It also pinpoints the policies and decisions that got the United States into the morass and reveals who made these decisions and the motives behind them, disproving the published theories of other historians and excuses of the participants.

Dereliction Of Duty covers the story in strong narrative fashion, focusing on a fascinating cast of characters: President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, General Maxwell Taylor, McGeorge Bundy and other top aides who deliberately deceived the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Congress and the American public.

Sure to generate controversy, Dereliction Of Duty is an explosive and authoritative new look at the controversy concerning the United States involvement in Vietnam.

Book -- http://amzn.to/2mgGLlq
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Library Hand, the Fastidiously Neat Penmanship Style Made for Card Catalogs

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 21:44:16 +0000

Topic: 
Dewey and his crew of “a dozen catalogers and librarians” spent, in his estimation, “an hour daily for nearly an entire week” hashing out the rules of library hand. They started by examining hundreds of card catalogs, looking for penmanship problems and coming up with ways to solve them. They concluded that the “simpler and fewer the lines the better,” and decided that, while a slant was best avoided, a slight backward slant was acceptable. Then they got to the more nitty-gritty stuff, such as whether to opt for a “square-topped 3” or a “rounded-top 3.” (The rounded-top 3 won out, as it is less likely to be mistaken for a 5 during hasty reading.)
From Library Hand, the Fastidiously Neat Penmanship Style Made for Card Catalogs | Atlas Obscura
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Dropping Late Fees, Now a Thing

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 16:38:14 +0000

From Slate, why libraries are dropping late fees.
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Thieves steal £2m of rare books by abseiling into warehouse

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:46:10 +0000

Topic: 
Antiquarian books worth more than £2m have been stolen by a gang who avoided a security system by abseiling into a west London warehouse. The three thieves made off with more than 160 publications after raiding the storage facility near Heathrow in what has been labelled a Mission: Impossible-style break-in. The gang are reported to have climbed on to the building’s roof and bored holes through the reinforced glass-fibre skylights before rappelling down 40ft of rope while avoiding motion-sensor alarms.
From Thieves steal £2m of rare books by abseiling into warehouse | UK news | The Guardian
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The fight against fake news is putting librarians on the front line - and they say they’re ready

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:44:09 +0000

Topic: 
As fake news and complex immigration orders have inundated the public sphere, libraries are opening their doors and fact-checking skills to people of all backgrounds seeking information. 
From The fight against fake news is putting librarians on the front line – and they say they’re ready - CSMonitor.com
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Why these librarians are protesting Trump's executive orders | PBS NewsHour

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:38:48 +0000

Topic: 
Librarians who spoke to the NewsHour said these orders touched a nerve, especially for those who work at public libraries, which often serve a diverse population that includes new immigrants. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, 55 percent of new Americans use a library at least once a week. “We are huge resources for newcomers to this country, whether it’s for connection to this country, legal resources, testing preparation, citizen tests, services like storytimes or homework help,” said Elizabeth McKinstry, a public librarian based in Dedham, Massachusetts, who has been vocal in rallying librarians online post-election. “We are there for the most vulnerable folks in our communities, people on the other side of the digital or language divide.”
From Why these librarians are protesting Trump's executive orders | PBS NewsHour
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What’s wrong with presidential libraries?

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:17:39 +0000

Topic: 
There's a huge problem with access. The federal government estimates that, at the current pace, it will take 100 years for the national archives to fully open a given presidential library's records. No record is available under FOIA for five years. Initially they thought all the records could be arranged and processed in that time. It was a stunningly shortsighted view of how long it would take. There are records from the Truman library that are still being withheld. My favorite example: three years ago a researcher requested a single electronic record at the George W. Bush library and received a reply that said it's in the queue and we estimate that it will be fulfilled in 12 years.
From What’s wrong with presidential libraries? | On Culture | Chicago Reader
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Memory and the Printing Press

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:33:46 +0000

Topic: 
Before the printing press, memory was the main store of human knowledge. Scholars had to go to find books, often traveling around from one scriptoria to another. They couldn’t buy books. Individuals did not have libraries. The ability to remember was integral to the social accumulation of knowledge. Thus, for centuries humans had built ways to remember out of pure necessity.
From Memory and the Printing Press
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Why Great Critics Make Disastrous Judgments

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:07:37 +0000

Topic: 
What, then, are the underlying intellectual, creative, and aesthetic issues that can cause even brilliant critics to misfire? An answer can be found in the tension between what we might call literary time and critical time. Critics, of course, have deadlines. A given review or essay must appear by such and such a date, generally just before or after the book’s publication. But as Terry Eagleton points out in Literary Theory: An Introduction, the designation "classic" or "literary masterpiece" is almost always retrospective. By showing how literary genius can be found in works as diverse as Plato’s dialogues, Bacon’s essays, Keats’s poetry, and Hemingway’s prose, Eagleton establishes that there is no intrinsic property that can safely lead a critic to confer the coveted tag of "literary value" to a work:
From Why Great Critics Make Disastrous Judgments - The Chronicle of Higher Education
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Watching Wikipedia's extinction event from a distance

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:18:38 +0000

Topic: 
So what's the big deal about one tiny little article? Who cares if one little sea squirt on the reef gets destroyed? I care, but not enough to re-engage with Wikipedia's deletionists. Wikipedia went from people writing an encyclopedia to people writing rules about writing an encyclopedia, or writing bots to defend an encyclopedia, but without enough safeguards to save content from deletionists.
From Watching Wikipedia's extinction event from a distance / Boing Boing
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Free to All: Carnegie Libraries & American Culture, 1890-1920

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:38:45 +0000

Familiar landmarks in hundreds of American towns, Carnegie libraries today seem far from controversial. In Free to All, however, Abigail A. Van Slyck shows that the classical façades and symmetrical plans of these buildings often mask a complex and contentious history.
Book - Free to All: Carnegie Libraries & American Culture, 1890-1920
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Top Hat Raises $22.5 Million to Go After Pearson, McGraw-Hill

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:12:09 +0000

Topic: 
That’s a weakness Top Hat Chief Executive Officer Mike Silagadze said he’s trying to exploit. He started by selling software tools to professors that help them engage their students, such as smartphone apps that let them tell lecturers if they understand new concepts in real-time. The company, which launched in 2009, has 2 million students using its products. The next step is to go directly after the textbooks and digital course content made by Pearson and McGraw, Silagadze said in an interview. In November, they launched an online content marketplace, where professors can create course materials and sell it around the world. The idea is to cut out the publisher and let professors sell directly to students and each other, Silagadze said.
From Top Hat Raises $22.5 Million to Go After Pearson, McGraw-Hill - Bloomberg
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Publishers Still Fighting to Bury Universities, Libraries in Fees for Making Fair Use of Academic Excerpts

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 14:09:15 +0000

Topic: 
On behalf of three national library associations, EFF today urged a federal appeals court for the second time to protect librarians’ and students’ rights to make fair use of excerpts from academic books and research.
From Publishers Still Fighting to Bury Universities, Libraries in Fees for Making Fair Use of Academic Excerpts | Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Roadside Picnic (Rediscovered Classics)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 01:15:59 +0000

Topic: 
First published in 1972, Roadside Picnic is still widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction novels, despite the fact that it has been out of print in the United States for almost thirty years. This authoritative new translation corrects many errors and omissions and has been supplemented with a foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin and a new afterword by Boris Strugatsky explaining the strange history of the novel’s publication in Russia.

Book: http://amzn.to/2kvqZlb

Wikipedia entry about book:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
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The New York Public Library is Fashions Latest Runway

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:16:33 +0000

From the New York Times. Designer Phillipp Plein has never had a fashion show in the US, his last one of course was in Milan. His associate de Boni began looking for a show venue in August and considered both the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and the Statue of Liberty, but the New York Public Library won out and the show is taking place there this week.

Here are Getty Images of the show this week. Madonna and Paris Hilton among others were in attendance.

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New Checklists to Support Library Patron Privacy

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 15:57:25 +0000

Topic: 
LITA’s Patron Privacy Interest Group has partnered with the ALA IFC’s Privacy Subcommittee to create new checklists to support library patron privacy policies. The checklists cover: data exchange between networked devices and services e-book lending and digital content vendors library management systems/integrated library systems library websites, OPACs, and discovery services public access computers and networks students in K-12 schools.
From New Checklists to Support Library Patron Privacy – LITA Blog
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What should you think about when using Facebook?

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 15:19:27 +0000

Topic: 
TL;DR: Facebook collects data about you in hundreds of ways, across numerous channels. It’s very hard to opt out, but by reading about what they collect, you can understand the risks of the platform and choose to be more restrictive with your Facebook usage.
From What should you think about when using Facebook? – Vicki Boykis – Data, tech, and sometimes Nutella
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The Maps We Wandered Into As Kids

Sun, 29 Jan 2017 17:38:12 +0000

Topic: 
If I ruled the world, or at least a publishing company, all books would contain as much supplementary information as possible. Nonfiction, fiction — doesn’t matter. Every work would have an appendix filled with diagrams, background information, digressions and anecdata. And of course, maps. Lots and lots of maps. This predilection probably sprang from the books I read as a kid — books like The Phantom Tollbooth, The Hobbit and The Princesss Bride — all of which feature engaging maps that serve as gateways to imaginary lands. Here, say these maps, you’re in this other world now.
From The Maps We Wandered Into As Kids
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Bibliomania: the strange history of compulsive book buying

Sat, 28 Jan 2017 13:31:56 +0000

Topic: 
An essayist looks into the curious past of pathological collectors – and considers her own lifelong urge to hoard ever more volumes
From Bibliomania: the strange history of compulsive book buying | Books | The Guardian
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Your Child Should Read Banned Books

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 20:54:41 +0000

From pediatrician Perri Klass via the New York Times, why children should read banned books, and some recommendations.
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'New York Times' Cuts a Range of Bestseller Lists

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 19:11:49 +0000

Topic: 
The New York Times has eliminated a number of bestsellers lists, although the exact number could not be confirmed Thursday morning. Cutting the various lists is part of an overall plan by the paper to revamp its coverage of publishing. A note sent on Wednesday to subscribers to the advance bestsellers lists said, “Beginning with the Advance BSL edition that will be delivered today for Feb. 5, 2017, there will be revisions to multiple categories in the publication. These changes will span weekly and monthly lists.”
From 'New York Times' Cuts a Range of Bestseller Lists
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The Psychomachia: An Early Medieval Comic Book

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 02:18:44 +0000

Topic: 
What do Captain America, Wonder Woman and a 10th-century Anglo-Saxon manuscript have in common? The answer may be more surprising than you think. The Psychomachia, or ‘War of the Soul’, was composed by the Late Antique poet Prudentius in the 5th century and depicts an action-packed battle between the Virtues and Vices for possession of the human soul. This allegory of good versus evil was hugely popular in the medieval period with about 300 surviving copies of the work, 20 of which were illuminated. Two illuminated Anglo-Saxon copies are held at the British Library (now Additional MS 24199 and Cotton MS Cleopatra C VIII) and their illustrations can be compared to our comic books today.
From The Psychomachia: An Early Medieval Comic Book - Medieval manuscripts blog
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Texas Aggieland Bookstore no longer selling books

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 14:19:54 +0000

Topic: 
A longtime College Station business is making a big change. The Texas Aggieland Bookstore is no longer selling books. Buying textbooks for college classes isn't how it used to be. "I find it easier just to get on my tablet and have my books on there," said Texas A&M student Zachary Williams. He wasn't surprised that the Texas Aggieland Bookstore is pulling textbooks from shelves.
From Texas Aggieland Bookstore no longer selling books
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You Can Watch Porn At Chicago Libraries, But That Doesn't Mean You Should

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 14:18:35 +0000

Topic: 
The man wasn't wearing headphones or using a privacy screen filter — he was recording the porn with his phone. Hansen found a security guard standing 15 feet away from her computer, but didn't find much help when she told him about her neighbor. "He said 'Yeah, I know, but there's nothing we can do about it,'" Hansen said.
From You Can Watch Porn At Chicago Libraries, But That Doesn't Mean You Should - Downtown - DNAinfo Chicago
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US Museums, Libraries Collect Signs From Women's Protests

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 14:17:40 +0000

Topic: 
Homemade signs that protesters waved when marching against President Donald Trump across U.S. cities last weekend were being collected for posterity Tuesday by museums and libraries, officials said. The National Museum of American History in Washington and smaller institutions said they were collecting and sorting through protest signs they now considered records of nationwide protests of historic proportions.
From US Museums, Libraries Collect Signs From Women's Protests
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Equipping librarians to code: ALA, Google launch ready to code university pilot program

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 13:57:40 +0000

“Libraries play a vital role in our communities, and Google is proud to build on our partnership with ALA," noted Hai Hong, who leads US outreach on Google's K-12 Education team. “We're excited to double down on the findings of Ready to Code 1 by equipping librarians with the knowledge and skills to cultivate computational thinking and coding skills in our youth. Given the ubiquity of technology and the half-a-million unfilled tech jobs in the country, we need to ensure that all youth understand the world around them and have the opportunity to develop the essential skills that employers – and our nation's economy – require.”
From Equipping librarians to code: ALA, Google launch ready to code university pilot program | News and Press Center
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George Orwell's 1984 Is Now the #1 Bestselling Book on Amazon

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:40:41 +0000

Topic: 
George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, 1984, has suddenly surged to the very top of the Amazon’s bestseller list. Though first published in 1949, it’s back with a vengeance. And George only has the new administration to thank.
From George Orwell's 1984 Is Now the #1 Bestselling Book on Amazon | Open Culture
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