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The search for reinvention of libraries from the deepest belief in the social relevance of a save harbour in the public domain
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Save your local! Should volunteers help keep our public libraries open?

Save your local! Should volunteers help keep our public libraries open? | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

Kensal Rise Library in London, where volunteers have set up a community library. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Readers checking a book out of the village library might not immediately notice much of a difference, but Congresbury is the latest public library to haven been handed over “to the community”. You may be used to libraries being run by volunteers – maybe your local is – but this structure is relatively new. Over the last decade, as many libraries began closing across the UK due to swingeing cuts to local authority funding by central government – 121 libraries closed last year alone – some have instead been handed over by councils to the community to run.

Since librarian Ian Anstice began charting the cuts to UK libraries on his campaigning website Public Libraries News in 2010, 500 of the UK’s 3,850 remaining libraries have now been taken over, at least in part, by volunteers. “I’ve been looking at the count going up steadily for the last few years,” says Anstice. “In 2010, there were a handful – perhaps 10 in the whole country. So this is quite a staggering change.”

Paid library staff fell by almost 1,000 in the year to March 2016, from 18,028 to 17,064, according to official figures from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa). In the same period, volunteer numbers rose by more than 3,000, from 41,402 to 44,501.

Anstice warns that the rise in volunteer-run libraries is masking how dramatic the decline in the library service actually is

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Rebuilding Mosul's libraries book by book - BBC News

Rebuilding Mosul's libraries book by book - BBC News | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
Old media meets new as a blogger in Iraq seeks to restore collections of literature destroyed by IS.
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4 important things users want from a library (and how to offer them)

4 important things users want from a library (and how to offer them) | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

Sometimes, there is a big imbalance between what the users wish to have in a library and what they really get. As Mick Fortune mentions in our previous post, for many years libraries measured their success primarily by footfall and they only focused on that. Only in the last few years, libraries have really started focusing on getting to know their users better. Even so, all the studies, such as those made by The Pew Internet, Carnegie UK Trust, Museums Libraries & Archives UK, etc. end up showing the same results.
In this first post, we will focus on the 4 most important things users want from a library.

1. A good range of books
2. Longer opening hours
3. Core library service for free
4. Help from knowledgeable librarians

We all love librarians because they represent the human Google of our local community. But what people love more is social interaction. 

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Libraries Are Not Neutral Spaces: Social Justice Advocacy in Librarianship | ALA Annual 2017

Libraries Are Not Neutral Spaces: Social Justice Advocacy in Librarianship | ALA Annual 2017 | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
For Cory Eckert, doing social justice work in libraries is not radical. “It’s what we’ve always been doing, but now we’re thinking about it through a different lens.” Eckert, a 2014 LJ Mover & Shaker, reminded attentive listeners on Sunday, June 25 that libraries are not neutral and have never been so.
Before embarking on her current role as a librarian at the Post Oak School (TX), Eckert worked at the Houston Public Library and the Octavia Fellin Public Library (NM). In this latter role, she served a primarily Navajo community where children rarely saw themselves positively represented in literature. Eckert asked the audience to consider whether their libraries perform outreach in English (or other languages), and which parts of town they advertise in (or don’t).
Collection development, organizing displays and shelving, labeling materials with stickers, and taking a stance for or against legislation such as the PATRIOT Act are other common library decisions that may appear neutral but lack objectivity. For those interested in further reading, she cited April Hathcock’s blog At the Intersection. “These are our patrons,” Eckert asserted. “If we can’t make the library nice for them, what are we doing?”
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A tribute to librarians, heroes of modern times

A tribute to librarians, heroes of modern times | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

What would we do without librarians? Although very discreet, librarians have had a pivotal role in the information society and in the world at large, a proof that true heroes of modern times are not those who first come to our mind. Both traditional and digital libraries are extensively covered by the media, but what about all those who work there, especially librarians in small or underfunded libraries?

Since the 15th century, after the birth of the printed book, librarians have worked hard, with great conviction and little means, in all kinds of general and specialized libraries. At first, librarians were local historians and had other volunteer roles. After decades of discussions at many levels – local, national, regional, international -, being a librarian has become a job and even a profession.

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Authors' Love Letters to Public Libraries

Authors' Love Letters to Public Libraries | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
In 2011 I was the Teen Librarian in a public library in Nova Scotia, Canada. That same year, the library was poised to celebrate its 10th birthday.

I had recently read an article about a librarian who had written to authors in 1971 asking them to write to the children of her library and explain why reading is important.

I decided to steal that idea and write to as many authors as I could, asking them if they’d write me back to wish our library a happy birthday and tell the teens in our area why libraries are so important.
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Toy libraries in public squares Argentina

The public space as ludic activity! The toy library has the aim of fostering the ludic practice and the creative use of free time, enabling the public space as a place of meeting and inhabiting this space with ludic experiences. This is a place that fosters new meaning to the pleasure of playing with others.
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Skype Translator...Speak With Students & Teachers In Their Own Language!

Skype Translator...Speak With Students & Teachers In Their Own Language! | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
Using Skype in the library to connect to others around the world made such a difference in the students lives.  It gave them the opportunity to connect with authors, illustrators, experts and places like never before. 

It also let them connect with other children around the world.  We learned about New Orleans and Mardi Gras; learned about going to school in Australia; and learned favorite things to eat in Ireland.  

There were times with our Skype connections, that the language differences made it a little difficult.  

Well, now Skype has created something that makes it possible for our young people to connect with others around the world regardless of the language they speak
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Libraries Resist: A Round-Up of Tolerance, Social Justice, & Resistance in US Libraries

Libraries Resist: A Round-Up of Tolerance, Social Justice, & Resistance in US Libraries | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
Libraries are not, nor have they ever been, neutral spaces. They are political. Every decision made in a library, from books to be included in the collection, to displays created, to special populations to reach, is political. Many believe that libraries and librarians are apolitical, but it’s simply not true. It’s impossible to be a neutral space with the goal of reaching a community, be it the public or the academic or the special population the library serves. By inviting all in a community to be in a shared space, libraries embrace the idea of encouraging education, encouraging acceptance and tolerance, and on a much smaller scale, they create policies that ensure these very things happen in their spaces.

No act in the library is too small to foster tolerance and acceptance.

That said, some libraries can and do, thanks to their own policies, embrace their non-neutrality in much louder ways than others. Here’s a look at some of the recent actions taken by libraries of all shapes and sizes and specialties around the USA. The selection of libraries here were submitted by librarians and friends of libraries; in these instances, I’ve included some of the comments received, too, about the ways their communities or administrations have or have not criticized their efforts.
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A Love Letter to My Library — Library Lover's Day

A Love Letter to My Library — Library Lover's Day | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
Valentine's Day isn't the only thing happening on February 14—it's also a day to pay some respect to your local library by celebrating Library Lover's Day. We don't observe every random holiday around here, but libraries are definitely worthy of our affection.
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Information illiterate: Challenges libraries face in this fake news era

Information illiterate: Challenges libraries face in this fake news era | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
Imagine, for a moment, the technology of 2017 had existed on Jan. 11, 1964 — the day Luther Terry, surgeon general of the United States, released “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States.”

What would be some likely scenarios?

The social media noise machine explodes; conservative websites immediately paint the report as a nanny-government attack on personal freedom and masculinity; the report’s findings are hit with a flood of satirical memes, outraged Facebook posts, attack videos and click-bait fake news stories; Big Tobacco’s publicity machine begins pumping out disinformation via both popular social media and pseudoscientific predatory journals willing to print anything for a price; Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater characterizes “Smoking and Health” as a “communist-inspired hoax.”

Eventually, the Johnson administration distances itself from the surgeon general’s controversial report.
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#Fake #News, #Alternative #Facts and #Librarians As Dedicated Defenders of #Truth @jenniferlagarde

#Fake #News, #Alternative #Facts and #Librarians As Dedicated Defenders of #Truth @jenniferlagarde | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

"Let's be clear, there's no such thing as "alternative facts."

The same fact can be used by different people to support alternative opinions, but the facts don't change. Different people can use the same facts to emphasize alternative ideas or to inform different theories, but the facts remain the same. Facts are non-partisan. Facts alone are neutral. It's what we do with them that becomes controversial.

That said, there's a not so old saying that goes "we are drowning in information, but starving for knowledge." (Note: the fact that this saying is attributed to at least 5 different people when I do a quick search for the author is an irony that has not escaped me, but I digress). These days, getting answers to your questions is just about the easiest thing in the world. Getting the right answer is more challenging. Librarians (and Neil Gaiman) have known this for years, but one thing is certain, in the information age, discerning fact from fiction is THE "21st century skill."


Via John Evans
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Jeroen Clemens's curator insight, January 28, 4:13 AM
very important task for education
Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, January 30, 2:48 AM
Librarians As Dedicated Defenders of Truth
Character Minutes's curator insight, February 13, 5:46 PM
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12-year-old’s love for books turns him into a librarian - Times of India

12-year-old’s love for books turns him into a librarian - Times of India | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
NAGPUR: Bibliophile would love to read this. Shreenabh Agrawal is the owner of a full-fledged library with almost 3,000 books ranging from fiction to competitive exams at the age of 12.
A Std VIII student of Chanda Devi Saraf (CDS) High School, Katol Road, Shreenabh has been running 'Prarambh — My Library' without charging any fee since the last two years from his mother's research centre at Katol Naka Square. Being an avid reader since the age of 4, Shreenabh has been able to successfully motivate 32 people to read books. Besides the 32 members, another 36 people have on and off borrowed books from his library
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Blood, bookworms, bosoms and bottoms: the secret life of libraries

Blood, bookworms, bosoms and bottoms: the secret life of libraries | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

Stuart Kells
Stuart Kells is an author and book-trade historian. His latest book, The Library, is out now

Saturday 26 August 2017 23.09 BST
I recently had the privilege of circling the world to write a book about libraries. My timing was excellent: after a short-lived e-books scare, physical books are back in fashion, and libraries are the place to be.

My trip was not unlike the pilgrimages made by 18th-century library tourists. On my journey I noticed two trends that are changing how we think of old books and old libraries.

The first is a stronger focus on provenance research. Through whose hands have the books passed? How did those handlers use and mark and protect their books? This branch of bibliography is helping to humanise it.

Library fauna such as bookworms, bedbugs and microbats have long been the subject of study
The other trend involves breaking away from traditional ideas of what constitutes a meritorious book, and from the traditional oppositions of high and low literature. Thanks to this, pulp novels – featuring what Allen Lane called “bosoms and bottoms” cover art – have infiltrated rare book collections. Crime pulps and sci-fi paperbacks are now prized by such hallowed institutions as the Smithsonian, the Houghton and the British Library.

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A Conversation with Author Jeffrey T. Davis | American Libraries Magazine

A Conversation with Author Jeffrey T. Davis | American Libraries Magazine | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

The library card has come to signify much more than just access to the local library. For some libraries, it provides a link to the community, allowing patrons to enjoy local museums and cultural institutions or ride the bus. In his recent book, The Collection All Around: Sharing Our Cities, Towns, and Natural Places (ALA Editions, 2017), Jeffrey T. Davis explores how libraries are using the library card to establish close bonds with their communities.

Davis is branch manager at San Diego Public Library. An excerpt from his book was published in the July/August issue of American Libraries.

What made you want to write this book?

When I first saw what Contra Costa County (Calif.) Library was doing with its Discover and Go ticketed pass program, it seemed like such a big deal; a qualitative leap from circulating physical museum passes. I wanted to tell my colleagues about it. I thought more people should be talking about it. I still do. This collided with some other interests—community calendars and library participation in neighborhood placemaking, especially.

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Introducing the Minneapolis Art Lending Library

Introducing the Minneapolis Art Lending Library | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

Founded in 2013, the Minneapolis Art Lending Library is a collection of about 110 pieces of original artwork that are available to the public for free, three-month loan periods. We aim to provide a new model for artists to showcase their work and build a following, while also cultivating a new audience of art supporters. Below, some more details in an interview with co-founder, Larsen Husby. 

Amelia Foster for the LAIP (AF): Tell us about the Minneapolis Art Lending Library– what’s the goal of it? 
Larse Husby (LH): Our mission is to “provide exposure for artists, build ongoing support for the arts, and share the joy of art with all members of our community through the free lending of artwork.” We believe that there is value in living with a work of art, observing it over a long period of time and seeing it interact with the environment of the home. This kind of long-form viewing is hard to come by unless you can afford to buy lots of original art. We hope to provide access to this particular form of art engagement with a wider audience by making it free to borrow original works of art. Additionally, we aim to provide a unique and beneficial form of exposure for artists, allowing them to showcase art in a new format. Through our project, we hope to build support for the arts by connecting artists and art lovers, and introducing our community to the joys of living with art. 

Trudy Raymakers's insight:
In Holland there are many art lending centres (kunstuitleen) since 1955; they are not called libraries. Strange that this is apparently new in America.
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City of Sydney shelves library fines for four years after 70,000 overdue items returned

City of Sydney shelves library fines for four years after 70,000 overdue items returned | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
Gone are the days of heavy-handed deterrence. People can now return overdue library books - without being fined.
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This 400-year-old Jewish library survived Hitler and the Inquisition

This 400-year-old Jewish library survived Hitler and the Inquisition | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Livraria Ets Haim is the world’s oldest functioning Jewish library. As such, it is no stranger to the prospect of imminent destruction.
Founded in 1616 by Jews who fled Catholic persecution in Spain and Portugal, the three-room library is adjacent to Amsterdam’s majestic Portuguese Synagogue in the Dutch capital’s center.

The 30,000-volume collection mostly contains manuscripts written by people who fled the Inquisition on the Iberian Peninsula or their descendants. The oldest document is a copy of the Mishneh Torah, the code of Jewish religious law authored by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, or Maimonides, that dates to 1282. Ets Haim’s volume is pristine but for the scars left behind by an Inquisition censor, a Jew who had converted to Christianity and singed away entire passages of the book.

Ets Haim as a whole faced a similar fate — or worse — in 1940, when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and had 75 percent of its Jews murdered. Yet the Nazis left the Portuguese Synagogue intact, and instead of burning the library’s collection, they shipped the books to Germany. The collection was discovered there, with light damage, after the war, and returned to Amsterdam.

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Belonging, and libraries as empathy engines?

Belonging, and libraries as empathy engines? | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
The discussion was based around the question “What does it mean to belong in Australia ?”. Tim Costello was CEO of World Vision and writes about equity issues. Isabelle Li was born in China, but came to Australia voluntarily to resettle in 1999 after living for five years in Singapore. Abdi Aden was a Somalian refugee who came to Melbourne at 17 and now works as a youth worker.

The most library-relevant part of the talk was Isabelle Li describing her annoyance at being asked “but how could you understand what it was about?” when she revealed that she had read Dicken’s David Copperfield several times as a teen because she loved it so much; the presumption being that a 20th Century young woman in China would not have anything in common with a young lad in Victorian times. But, “of COURSE I could empathise with the characters. That’s the POINT of literature”.

It made me think of libraries, particularly public libraries, as “empathy peddlars”. By providing a wide range of literature, much of it people would not come across for themselves, do we provide more chance for people to put themselves in each others’ shoes? Do our programmes for such a wide cross section of the community give people exposure to ideas and people that they would otherwise avoid ? Does the common purpose of using wifi or a comfy workspace, and the fact that NO ONE IS FORCED TO BE THERE, mean that people get to understand that other people  with whom they think they have nothing in common, actually make similar choices to themselves?
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'Inhaling knowledge in the library' - BBC News

'Inhaling knowledge in the library' - BBC News | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
Scientists at University College London are working on a project to capture aromas for their historic value.
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An Elegy for the Library

An Elegy for the Library | Librarysoul | Scoop.it

By MAHESH RAOFEB. 17, 2017
Credit Josh Cochran
MYSORE, India — It’s an unseasonably hot winter day in this southern city, and the midmorning sun is turning the crumbling yellow stucco of the 100-year-old City Central Library a shade paler. A hawker is yelling on the busy road, trying to drum up business for his collection of old coins and medals. As I take the stairs to the main level, I can see a bit of a line at the water fountain.

The occupants of the small reading room are all middle-age men poring over newspapers in at least three languages. The ceiling fans whir. Pages rustle. Not one man is looking at his phone. Overhead a framed poster features a paraphrase of a line from the novelist Neil Gaiman: “Google can bring you 100,000 answers but a librarian can bring you the right one.” Fighting words.

In the larger reading room the crowd is mixed. An elderly woman looks up from her notebook; a lanky boy is mouthing the words he reads. Every seat is occupied, and I wander between the stacks: Astronomy, Home Economics, Satire in Kannada Literature.

Every so often, there are rumblings, among students gathered on the front steps or in the local press, that the library will close: the predatory gaze of developers is never far. And I’m more conscious than ever of the many things we would lose.

Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve used the library. When I was growing up in Nairobi, Kenya, I would sometimes go to a tiny community library run by a church organization. It was a stronghold of stalwarts; there were hardly ever any new faces. The dust was thick. Branches of a jacaranda tree pressed against the single large window. The place had a vaguely medicinal smell, as though along with tonic for the mind, it administered tinctures and liniments.

One evening a few minutes before closing, the librarian and I were packing up at the same time. He glanced over at one of my books and did a cinematic double take.

“That’s not from this library?” he asked.

“No, it’s mine,” I said, telling the truth but sounding cagey. I was in early adolescence, and everything I said seemed like an admission of guilt.

Mahesh Rao is the author of “The Smoke is Rising” and “One Point Two Billion.”

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

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The (Nearly) Perfect Training Room

The (Nearly) Perfect Training Room | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
Training Rooms in Libraries

Library space, where librarians teach information literacy, should not look like an old-fashioned classroom or a computerized training room which might be found in a computer centre. In a traditional information technology training room or a computer laboratory.  The furniture and its arrangement convey messages to occupants: don’t move, don’t discuss, don’t feel comfortable! Tables are usually placed in rows. There are rarely windows that allow views of the outside world. The computers and large monitors dominate, there might be some digitized displays – but there is limited space for the learners. The students using the facility will become tired very quickly. The following images of traditional training rooms typify the stereotyped and stultifying atmosphere which develops, even if the colours are bright.
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The 19 most beautiful libraries in the U.S.

The 19 most beautiful libraries in the U.S. | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
In honor of their beauty and to underscore their continued relevance in an increasingly digital world, we’ve rounded up 19 architecturally significant museums throughout the United States.
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Keyes: Go on ‘blind date with a book' at local library

Keyes: Go on ‘blind date with a book' at local library | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
How are you planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? A romantic dinner? Chocolate candies? A poetic Valentine card? Red roses? All of the above? These are great ideas, but maybe your budget doesn’t stretch that far.
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Are librarians the key to a Future Ready school?

Are librarians the key to a Future Ready school? | Librarysoul | Scoop.it
School and district leaders should consider a Future Ready Librarian framework to better enable innovative strategies and practices.
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