Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Libraries Still Matter

"Why Libraries Still Matter." Salon / Laura Miller.
San Francisco: Salon Online, May 11th 2011.
"Some would also say that it's a superfluous part. Public libraries across the nation and the globe now face drastic funding cuts from politicians and administrators who often claim that they're obsolete. For months, Britain has been rumbling with protests against plans to close as many as 400 local branches. Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he was cutting all state funding to California's libraries, leaving cities to pick up the slack. Defenders of such cutbacks typically ask why, in the age of Google and e-reader devices, anybody needs libraries.

Let's set aside the obvious rejoinder that many citizens can't afford e-readers and, furthermore, can only access Google via a library computer. The anniversary of the NYPL's main building is an occasion to talk about why the library needs to be a place as well as an ethereal mass of data residing somewhere in "the cloud." Not everything we need or want to know about the world can be transmitted via a screen, and not every experience can be digitized."

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Society for Librarians Who Say Mother******

"The Society for Librarians Who Say Mother******." The Hour Community / Anne Lagacé Dowson.
Montreal:, May 19th 2011.

"Last week I was invited to address a congress of librarians. I discovered all over again why they are some of my favourite people.
There is something subversive about librarians and libraries. The library remains a place where information isn’t bought and sold. Even if you think of them as being fussy and discreet, what librarians do radically empowers ordinary people, enabling them to use information outside the control of elites. ...
In an age of information glut, no algorithm can replace intelligence and analysis. ...
In Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Finland, there are big national programs to improve school libraries, not close them, as we are doing."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Networked Librarian

We're Not Dragons in Pearls, Say Librarians, We're Just Misunderstood

"We're Not Dragons in Pearls, Say Librarians, We're Just Misunderstood." Sydney Morning Herald / Dan Harrison & Kim Arlington.
Sydney: SMH Online, May 24th 2011.

"SCHOOL librarians have poured their hearts out to a parliamentary committee, telling how they are stereotyped as dragons in cardigans, derided by colleagues who think they do little more than check books in and out, and are starved of the resources to do their jobs properly.

A report by the House of Representatives education and employment committee yesterday backed the librarians, declaring it ''indisputable that the value of teacher librarians' work has been eroded over the years and undervalued by many in the community.'' ...

The report found librarians felt undervalued, unrecognised and professionally isolated, under constant pressure to justify their existence as administrators hunted for savings. NSW is the only state in Australia that mandates each school to have a teacher librarian."

Dragons in pearls, I kinda like that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Edinburgh Free Public Library

Shutting Libraries is Child Abuse

"Shutting Libraries is Child Abuse: Alan Bennett Speaks Out as Cuts Put 4,000 at Risk of Closure." Daily Mail / Tim Shipman.
London: Daily Mail Online, May 25th 2011.

Mr Bennett's exact words:
""A child can learn to read at home as I did 70 years ago. But my only access to books, which changed my life, was at the local library. Deprive a child of that and you hinder its development and damage it for life. Closing libraries is child abuse." "
Hear, Hear!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Don’t Discard the Librarians

"Don’t Discard the Librarians." The Globe & Mail / Ian Brown.
Toronto: Globe & Mail Online, May 20th 2011.

"Even a Globe and Mail editorial called for the death of libraries as “book-centred and quiet places” and their resurrection as “noisy digital hubs” – all to save money, because no one uses libraries any more. “Libraries should not be content to live in the 20th century,” the Globe declaimed, “as it were.”
That might be an interesting point if it were accurate. A couple of hours at local libraries in Toronto proves otherwise. Physical libraries and actual flesh-and-blood librarians seem to be more necessary than ever."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Future of the Library

"The Future of the Library." Seth Godin's Blog / Seth Godin.
New York: Seth Godin's Blog, May 16th 2011.

"The librarian isn't a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user."

Friday, May 20, 2011

I ❤ Books by Colour

Mind on Fire

*sigh* so aesthetically pleasing

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Save the Librarians: Cutting Our Way to the Future Won’t Work

"Save the Librarians: Cutting Our Way to the Future Won’t Work." Weekly Alibi / Stuart Heady.
Albuquerque, NM: 20.19, May 12th-18th 2011.

"Their profession has instilled in them core values of free access to information, confidentiality and privacy, democracy, diversity, education and lifelong learning, intellectual freedom, preservation, the public good, professionalism, service, and social responsibility."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

School Libraries & Information Literacy

School Libraries & Information Literacy / People for Education.
Ontario: People for Education, May 2011.

"Results from the data analysis showed that:
• the presence of trained library staff is associated with a higher proportion of grade 6 students attaining level 3 (the provincial standard) on reading tests;
• schools without professional library staffing tend to have lower achievement on the grade 3 reading tests (both in terms of average achievement and attaining level 3); and
• the presence of teacher-librarians is associated with more positive attitudes towards reading in both grade 3 and grade 6 students."

See Also:
School Libraries & Student Achievement in Ontario / OLA

Monday, May 16, 2011

Librarians Fight For a Role in a Digital World

"Librarians Fight For a Role in a Digital World." The Globe & Mail / Kate Hammer.
Toronto: Globe & Mail Online, May 16th 2011.

"Teacher-librarians have been among the first to be sacrificed when boards make cuts, and the digital innovations they help students navigate are now being used as the justification for eliminating their jobs, and Canada is bucking an international trend of investing in school libraries."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Library is Many Things

"A Library is Many Things." Letters of Note / Shaun Usher.
Manchester: Letters of Note, May 6th 2011.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Revamping Reference: The User Experience

"Revamping Reference: The User Experience." Library Journal / Aaron Schmidt.
America: Library Journal Online, May 1st 2011.

"Some librarians are afraid that pro­active reference is bothersome to patrons—too aggressive, a crass retail approach. If done badly, it can be all of those things. Quality reference work takes more than just being able to construct a complicated Boolean search; it takes social intelligence, too. Just the way librarians develop a command of information resources, they should also develop a greater understanding of people."

Typographical Zeal

Gimbel Design Library

Addressing Detroit’s Basic Skills Crisis

Addressing Detroit’s Basic Skills Crisis / Detroit Regional Workforce Fund.
Detroit: Detroit Regional Workforce Fund, 2011.

"The National Institute for Literacy estimates that 47% of adults (more than 200,000 individuals) in the City of Detroit are functionally illiterate, referring to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills in everyday life situations."

See Also:
Spare Detroit Library Branches, Public Asks Commission

"The closures of the library, you are talking about committing cultural genocide," [Glenn Stevens, president of the Friends of Duffield Branch] said."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When the Rights of the Many Outweigh the Rights of the Few: The “Legitimate” Versus the Homeless Patron in the Public Library

"When the Rights of the Many Outweigh the Rights of the Few: The “Legitimate” Versus the Homeless Patron in the Public Library." / Julie Murphy.
Santa Cruz:, c2000.

"Homeless people can be smelly and mentally disturbed, but what many people forget is that non-homeless people can also be smelly and mentally disturbed. Because more affluent patrons claim that they pay the taxes that support the library, librarians are keen to hear their complaints about the growing numbers of homeless people in the library. Librarians must deal with these complaints on a daily basis, and must deal with the presence and aroma of the homeless as well, leading to lowered morale and less-inviting working conditions. But librarians are also conscious of the need to serve all patrons equally and provide equal access to the library itself."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reading in Canada Still Strong

"Canadians Purchased or Borrowed More Than 2.7 Million Books Last Week". TD National Reading Summit / National Reading Campaign.
Montreal: National Reading Campaign, January 19th 2011.

"2,714, 946 books in seven days means that in a typical week in January, Canadians bought or borrowed as many books as they purchased tickets to the top box office film. In fact, it is likely that more people picked a book than watched a game on Hockey Night in Canada. We do so much to promote film and to encourage youth to play hockey. Do we do as much to advance reading? The NRC believes our nation can do much more."
See Also:
National Book Count Tallies Canadians' Love of Reading / Natalie Samson

"Though the National Book Count is meant to reflect a typical week in Canadians’ reading habits, it’s worth noting that the figure is likely a conservative one. The count, which organizers say captures roughly 80 per cent of the Canadian book retail market, comes less than a month after the busiest time of year for retailers, during a comparatively fallow period on most publishers’ lists. Moreover, the circulation figures account for 22 major public libraries across Canada, but not rural and academic library systems.
Still, it’s a compelling snapshot of the voracious reading habits of Canadians. Extrapolated over a year-long period, Canadians purchase or check out more than 140 million books.
In addition, [Jamie] Broadhurst says the National Book Count highlights the potential for growth in Canadian readership. “Reading levels in Canada are actually high … but we are worried about the long-term future of reading, and of whether this passion for reading reaches across all regions of the country,” he says."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Secret Life of Libraries

"The Secret Life of Libraries." The Guardian / Bella Bathurst.
London: The Guardian Online, May 1st 2011.

"Collins believes that libraries are just as vital now as they were during the 40s, when Philip Larkin complained of stamping out so many books in a week that his hand blistered. Even so, he spends much of his time in a ceaseless game of catch-up. "Libraries are always trying to prove themselves because what they provide is so intangible. How do you quantify what someone gets from a book or a magazine?""

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

If Reference is Dead Why Am I So Tired at the End of the Day?

"If Reference is Dead Why Am I So Tired at the End of the Day?" Closed Stacks / The Librarienne.
America: Closed, May 2nd 2011.

"Reference can’t be dead because when I’m on the reference desk, I rarely have a moment’s reprieve.  I’m the young one, and also a distance runner, but I often go home exhausted. If people are using the reference desk, who are we to decide that it’s no longer needed?  Yes, our role is evolving, but it has always done that, and will always do that.  Saying our core function is no longer needed is not something we get to do–that’s up to the library users.
The biggest argument against the reference desk is that people are tech-savvier and don’t need our help as much. Ok, that’s fair, but with increased access to information comes the increased need to filter out good information from bad.  That’s always been our job. ... 
Also, let us not forget that many public library patrons are not tech savvy at all.  Twenty percent of people do not have a computer at home, and the bulk of library users probably grew up with keyboarding and typing classes rather than computer classes.  We’re supposed to be breaking down the digital divide and enabling people to access technology, not shutting them out because they’re not savvy enough to use the library anymore.  Ever seen an old man pick up a computer mouse and aim it at the screen like a remote control?  I have, and I don’t think it’s rude to say that that man will not be taking advantage of ebook downloads."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


"Glimpses." From The Library Floor / Floor Librarian.
Southfield, Michigan: From the Library Floor, March 9th 2011.

"The impact we have on peoples' lives as librarians is something denied to us.

Unless, they come back or you get a glimpse of a fleeting moment that says quite loudly, that  you've touched a life irrevocably. ...

Case in point:

A guy comes asking about a companies history, vision and departmental breakdowns. He doesn't have money, so we float him the cost of the pages, which we cover by paying in the money ourselves (no funny business!), and he leaves happy.
He returns, having scored an interview the next day, and he needs more information.
We give it too him, pay the costs from our pockets and never expect to see him again.
A month later he comes back in, dressed to nines.
And he takes out his books and we ask him, did you get the job?
He smiles, says yes, then leaves."

The Record Books: Music as Literature

The Record Books / See Gee

Should We Allow Porn in Libraries?

"Should We Allow Porn in Libraries?" Salon / Tracy Clark-Flory.
San Francisco: Salon Online, April 28th 2011.

Sunday, May 1, 2011