Today I’m thrilled to present this interview with writer, publisher, and library-haunter Ander Monson. He’s here today to talk about his relationship to libraries, why he’s passionate about books as physical objects, and his intriguing new book project from Graywolf Press (forthcoming February 2015).
By Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - George Brown, a homeless man in Washington, has a simple answer when asked how often he uses a public library. "Always. I have nowhere else to go".
Brown is among the hundreds of thousands of homeless people who have put the almost 9,000 U.S. public libraries, the most of any country in the world, in the forefront of the battle against homelessness.
Moving beyond their old-fashioned image as book custodians where librarians shush people for talking too loud, libraries have evolved to serve as community centers, staffed with social workers and offering programs from meals to job counseling.
Amazon just announced an All-You-Can-Read service: Unlimited Kindle. It offers a collection of over 600,000 eBook titles for a low price of $9.99 per month. If this truly includes all Kindle books—it is a game changer. Take this Elsevier title for example. It sells for $102. Under the new model I could access this and hundreds of similar high quality titles for just $10 per month.
Trudy Raymakers's insight:
The possibilities leads to fundamental disruption and lead the author to express both deep concern and extreme optimism.
The Lexicon is costing €36.6m to build. In an interesting move, the 6,520m2 building – which will be the central library for the county of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown – will be called the Dlr Lexicon, which reflects the fact that it offers more than a library.
It’s also intended to be a cultural centre, with a café (the tenant is yet to be decided on), a gallery, a small auditorium space, crafts spaces, a local history library, 100 parking spaces and a children’s library.
It’s hoped that this mix of facilities will attract more than 50,000 people to Dun Laoghaire every year.
Rather than being detached from the rest of the town, it is supposed to draw people into the centre of Dun Laoghaire, offering them a space to explore and enjoy before making their way into the town.
The nation’s colleges and libraries have a message for the Federal Communications Commission: Don’t mess with net neutrality.
Echoing almost a decade of pro-neutrality sentiment in academe, 11 higher-education and library groups released a set of 11 principles on Thursday that promote the notion that all Internet content, regardless of origin, should be treated equally.
Designed by Alex Nob for Encore Data Products, the infographic is a summary of what’s happening in American public libraries. As you see, the importance of libraries and librarians is growing in the times of hunting for web access and digital content.
I watch libraries closely now, in this world that feels much harder and colder. Libraries seem to shut down by the day - hitting hard in areas where access to information - for free - is desperately needed. There are also many libraries with no librarian to steer the ship. My own son has no librarian at his public high school. The elementary school where I teach has no librarian yet we have a phenomenal library – but without a librarian, truly, the library has no heart – or perhaps, it’s like it has been lulled to sleep via some cruel curse - and only a librarian can bring it back to life.
Librarians could discuss ad infinitum the predictions, proclamations, worries, fears, hopes, and dreams about what libraries are becoming. In fact, as a profession librarians are obsessed with talking about our future. Books, articles, blog posts, conference sessions, and webinars offer a steady stream of speculation. But honestly, all of this speculation does not matter. We should not concern ourselves with the future of libraries. Instead, we should focus on the factors driving change within the communities we serve and partner with.
It’s often amusing to read big bold statements about libraries from people who don’t know anything about libraries. It’s even more amusing when the statements are ludicrous.
Ah, but what can one expect from a fellow from someplace called the Adam Smith Institute, which bills itself as “one of the world’s leading think tanks,” but which you’ve probably never heard of unless you live in the UK.
The latest ridiculous suggestion is to close all the British libraries and have the government buy everyone a Kindle “Unlimited” subscription, because the writer knows even less about Kindle Unlimited than he does about libraries, apparently having never used either.
He does try to qualify his bizarre opinion by claiming that it’s a “little, not entirely and wholly serious, thought on public policy.” I’m not even sure it can be considered a little thought. More like a little irritable mental gesture that vaguely resembles a thought. A “modest proposal” it’s not.
Amazon has launched the mooted read all you can manage service and called it Kindle Unlimited. It costs, sadly for the US only at present, $9.99 a month and gives unlimited access to some 600,000 titles. Various people have various ideas about all of this.
Trudy Raymakers's insight:
I would say it sounds good but..... does it work? I honestly think you have to do both: availability to all and communitywork and programming.
There has been a substantial increase in students taking online college courses, changing significantly how modern learners access information, and librarians have adjusted to keep pace with an ever increasing demand for knowledge in the digital age.
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