I Love Libraries
Small-town libraries struggling to keep up with technology
A yellowing copy of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” has a much longer life span than the computer used to look up its location in the library.
For decades, American libraries served as a hub of timeless classics and new releases. But as technology has developed, so has the library's role.
Books still dominate the shelves in libraries throughout the country, but patrons are seeking more than stories. In rural communities, 70.3 percent of libraries reported they are the only place that provides free Internet and computer access to their residents, according to a 2012 report from the Information Policy and Access Center at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Literary Landmark: Windmill at Stony Brook
The windmill at the Southampton campus of Stony Brook University of New York was dedicated a Literary Landmark in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams (1911-1983).
The site was selected because playwright Williams spent the summer of 1957 living in the windmill and writing the experimental play “The Day on Which a Man Dies” in response to the death of his friend Jackson Pollock the summer before.
On libraries, Las Vegas and Elvis
Who knew that Elvis was a convincing 3-D printer pitchman?
In late June, I attended the American Library Association meeting in Las Vegas along with 18,000 other library lovers – librarians, trustees, and library friends from public, private and academic libraries.
I went as a library trustee through a travel grant awarded by United for Libraries, a sub-group of library trustees, foundations, and “Friends.” I met library directors, staff, trustees, friends, and exhibitors of a wide array of goods and services and saw Elvis in action.
Who can be a library advocate? Anyone who cares about America's libraries! Library advocates play a key role in educating our communities about why libraries and librarians are essential in an information society. Read more...
Mobile Commons allows ALA to send text messages to a mobile list. From there, advocates can connect directly to their legislators simply by responding to the text. Mobile Commons also enables ALA to post click-to-call alerts on our webpages. The alert connects advocates, whether they're on the mobile list or not, to their legislator's office simply by entering their phone number on our page and clicking "call." Read more...
‘Agri-Terrorism’? Town’s Seed Library Shut Down
A public library in small Pennsylvania town offered a new public resource for its patrons: a seed library. That is, until the state Department of Agriculture pulled the rug out from under the plan.
Launched on April 26, the seed library at Mechanicsburg’s Joseph T. Simpson Public Library would have held. Its first seed trove, with help from the Cumberland County Commission for Women, came from Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving heirloom seeds.
Early on August 24, the Northern California city of Napa was hit by a 6.0 earthquake, the largest in the region since 1989’s destructive Loma Prieta quake. The temblor caused books to be knocked off the shelves at all four branches of theNapa County Library, which reopened after cleanup on August 27 (except for the Calistoga branch). Library Director Danis Kreimeier (right) said there was no structural damage to the main library, but the district attorney’s staff is setting up in the library’s meeting room, as their office was completely trashed, including water damage to files and records....
Los Angeles Times: Jacket Copy, Aug. 25; ALA Think Tank, Aug. 26; Napa County Library
A minister is leading a petition to have certain books removed from the shelves of the teen section at Austin Memorial Library in Cleveland, Texas. The books include Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, the House of Night series by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast, and other YA books that have a theme of vampires in relationships with young teens. Phillip Missick, pastor of King of Saints Tabernacle, is concerned that these books do not build a teen’s character in a positive way....
Cleveland (Tex.) Advocate, Aug. 21
Michael E. Ruane writes: “This striking 150-year old tintype (right), one of the most enigmatic images from the Civil War, was just donated to the Library of Congress by a collector who bought it to give to the library. It can be found in the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photos. The 1861 photograph shows Sgt. Andrew Martin Chandler of the 44th Mississippi Regiment and his ‘servant,’ Silas Chandler, who was one of 36 slaves owned by the soldier’s mother. The photograph presents modern Americans with an enduring image of the role of race in the US.”...
Washington Post, Aug. 24
The son of a former California Supreme Court justice won approval August 20 from a state senate panel as the new California State Librarian after initial concerns that he had never worked in the field and had no formal training as a librarian when he was nominated. Gov. Jerry Brown had named Greg Lucas (right) of Sacramento to the $143,000-a-year post in March. Lucas said he began studying for an online MLS degree from San Jose State University in August....
Associated Press, Aug. 20
The oldest continuously operating free library in the United States is faced with another cash crunch, which could cause the facility to close its doors for good before the end of the year. The Darby (Pa.) Free Library (right) has been around for 271 years, but officials say they may have to radically change their operations if they can’t find money for their everyday expenses and some capital improvements....
KYW-TV, Philadelphia, Aug. 27
At the end of 12-month training with Auburn Montgomery’s Alabama Training Institute on becoming a next-generation library, employees of the Montgomery (Ala.) City County Public Library celebrated on August 21 by taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the Morgan Branch Library downtown. The group has challenged all other library systems in the state. Watch the video (0:16). Other library folk getting under the ice bucket include Noyes Children’s Library in Kensington, Maryland; Boone Area Library in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania;Dean B. Ellis Library at Arkansas State University; Niles (Ill.) Public Library; and EBSCO....
Huntsville (Ala.) Times, Aug. 21; Bethesda (Md.) Magazine, Aug. 25; Southern Berks (Pa.) News, Aug. 23; YouTube, Aug. 21, 24; Vimeo, Aug. 22
The remorseless destruction of our national public library system continues. Librarians are sacked, books sold or thrown away, and buildings closed. Unison estimates that nearly 500 of the country’s 3,100 libraries are being cut. No one expects things to get better, or even to stop getting worse. But it did not need to happen like this. The collapse marks a failure of will and imagination, not an inevitability....
The Guardian (UK), Aug. 25; Liverpool (UK) Echo, Aug. 15
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