American Dream @ your library Initiative helps Waukegan, Illinois, community members improve their lives and pay it forward

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Forty miles north of Chicago, the Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library (WPL) is giving new Americans the skills and confidence to improve their lives and “pay it forward” to their neighbors, thanks to support from the American Dream Starts @ your library initiative.

Carmen Patlan, WPL’s community engagement and Spanish literacy manager, credits the initiative for giving the library the resources to structure classes that are helping individuals achieve their American Dream. The grant has enabled the library to hire a coordinator who works with a team of ambassadors to reach out and engage the community, conduct market research, and assess the community’s needs and the barriers that may prevent its members from succeeding. The library can then address these needs.

Bridging Cultures: New Immigrants Add to the Fabric of Their Community

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The Township of Plainsboro, New Jersey, is known for the global pharmaceutical corporations and advanced technology laboratories that call it home. Located between the Philadelphia and New York metropolitan areas, the community attracts a diverse population from all corners of the globe. More than 46% of its residents speak a language other than English at home—and the number is growing.

When the Prison Doors Slam Shut On a Teen: Hope in Literacy

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Promoting literacy for incarcerated teens is a challenge. Encouraging reluctant readers to read is only one of many obstacles. Ask Karlan Sick, the current chair of Literacy for Incarcerated Teens  (LIT), a nonprofit library services organization that supports school libraries at the New York City school programs for incarcerated youth.

American Dream Starts @ your library grant allows CA library to expand ESL classes

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A California library system is providing opportunities for patrons who wish to expand their horizons by learning English. Through an American Dream Starts @ your library grant awarded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to the American Library Association, the Riverside County (Calif.) Library System has been able to expand ESL classes for adult learners.

‘Agri-Terrorism’? Town’s Seed Library Shut Down

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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.

Around the World: 14 Beautiful Libraries [Photos]

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Some book collectors do not care very much about where they store their books. The English King Henry VIII, had a fine collection of books, but when visitors came to view them they were horrified by the conditions they were stored in, commenting on how they were stacked randomly on the floor and in untidy heaps covering every available surface. Thankfully, since Roman times, if not before, others have cherished books and wished to show them off to their best advantage.

Incredibly, until now, there has been no single volume tracing the history of library buildings through the ages. For the last three years, I have been traveling the world together with Will Pryce the architectural photographer, visiting and photographing 85 of the world’s greatest libraries in 21 countries. The result is The Library: A World History (Chicago University Press), the most complete account of library buildings to date.

Lemony Snicket Helps ‘Little Free Library’ Advocate Spencer Collins

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A Kansas boy battling through a series of unfortunate events over his front-yard library is getting some support from author Daniel Handler.

Last month, 9-year-old Spencer Collins erected a “take a book, leave a book” structure as a Mother’s Day gift and as an attempt to engage with his Leawood, Kan., community. But then the Leawood City Council ordered him to remove the small library from his front yard and even threatened the young librarian with fines.

Bound in human skin

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Houghton Library contains countless curiosities. Perhaps the most disturbing example is Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame (FC8.H8177.879dc), bound in human skin.

In the mid-1880s, Houssaye (1815-1896) presented his recent book, a meditation on the soul and life after death, to his friend Dr. Ludovic Bouland (1839-1932), a noted medical doctor and prominent bibliophile. Bouland bound the book with skin from the unclaimed body of a female mental patient who had died of a stroke.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ finally going digital

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Harper Lee has signed on for Scout, Boo Radley and Atticus Finch to enter the electronic age.

Filling one of the biggest gaps in the e-library, “To Kill a Mockingbird” will become available as an e-book and digital audiobook on July 8, HarperCollins Publishers announced Monday. Lee, in a rare public statement, cited a “new generation” of fans in agreeing to the downloadable editions of her Pulitzer Prize-winning classic.