Saturday, December 31, 2011
Libraries are so much more than buildings that house books (or computers for free Internet access). They are also a link between the general public and the artistic community. This link provides entertainment and education to the public, often for free, while giving wider exposure to the creative output of writers, painters, poets, dancers, musicians, and more - all while garnering greater attention for libraries.
Award-winning author Toni Morrison at the New York Public Library in 2010.
photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/livefromthenypl
Underscoring the vital connection between the arts, the people, and libraries is a new project called Library as Incubator. A trio of library school students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison started the project in 2011 in reaction to budget cuts to both the arts and to libraries. They realized that a partnership between libraries and the arts would buoy both and benefit the public. Erinn Batykefer, one of the students who founded Library as Incubator, discussed the project in a Huffington Post article that I've reposted below.
Huffington Post * December 29, 2011
Art Incubators: How Libraries Offer More Than Books
By Erinn Batykefer
The world's largest collection of Apple Inc. artifacts can be found at the libraries of Stanford University.
In 1997, Apple donated "documents, hardware, software, videotapes, memorabilia and artifacts [that] encompass the business and technological history of the company" to Stanford, according to a press release issued by the university in November of that year. These materials were originally intended for an Apple museum, plans for which were axed upon Steve Jobs's return to the company in 1997.
As impressive as the Apple Archives are, they are not available for viewing by the general public. Thankfully, the Associated Press videotaped its recent tour of the collection. You can watch below.
Associated Press * December 30, 2011
Inside the Apple Archives at Stanford Libraries
By David Peskovitz
In 1997, Apple gifted the Stanford University Libraries its historical collections of paperwork, hardware, software, artifacts, and other materials documenting the organization since Woz and Jobs founded it in 1976. The Associated Press toured the collection. No, it's not available for public viewing.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
The New York Public Library recently reminded its fans on Facebook that they can check in at NYPL locations on foursquare. I didn't even know it had a presence on the location-based social networking site.
The NYPL's Foursquare "Centennial" badge.
image source: http://aboutfoursquare.com/nypl-badge
After doing a bit of research, I learned the New York Public Library partnered with foursquare in March as a way to both publicize and celebrate the 100th anniversary of its Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street. Users of foursquare who checked in at NYPL locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island could unlock a special "Find the Future Centennial" badge from the library. The badge was "the first ever awarded to a public library," stated the NYPL in a press release dated March 30, 2011.
Two patrons, Emily Vargas and Tracy Musacchio, unlocked the badge by checking in at the Schwarzman Building more than 10 times. They talk about their love of the NYPL and foursquare in this video:
Increasingly, other library systems across the country and around the world are teaming up with foursquare to stay connected with patrons for whom social networking is second nature. In the wake of the New York Public Library's success with foursquare, NYPL's e-communications manager Johannes Neuer granted an interview to the Routledge Library Newsletter, in which he discussed foursquare and how it could work for your library. A slide presentation of this interview is below.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The Library of Congress, in a deal made with Twitter, will archive every public tweet ever sent. Why? "To find and analyse interesting trends" through the public's use of this social medium, according to the Daily Mail article below.
Tweets will be put under a magnifying glass.
image source: http://www.123rf.com
"There have been studies involved with what are the moods of the public at various times of day in reaction to certain kinds of news events," said Bill Lefurgy, of the Library of Congress. "There's all these interesting kinds of mixing and matching that can be done using tweets as a big set of data."
If everyone knew that their tweets would ultimately be housed underneath the same roof as the Declaration of Independence, perhaps a few would have communicated something more erudite than, "I spent the last hour molding a little man out of Starbursts and now I have to explain to him about death."*
* An actual tweet, from http://funtweets.com
Daily Mail (UK) * December 8, 2011
Library of Congress to Archive Every Tweet Ever Made
By Daily Mail Reporter
If you were thinking that tweet you just sent would soon disappear into the ether, you couldn't be more wrong.
It will soon be stored alongside Thomas Jefferson's draft of the American Declaration of Independence and a Gutenberg Bible.
That's because every public tweet sent since Twitter was launched five-and-a-half years ago is to be archived by America's national library.
Billions of tweets will be archived,
including the very first - sent by
Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey.
The Library of Congress announced the deal with Twitter last year, but yesterday its digital initiatives manager shone more light on the project.
'We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public,' said Bill Lefurgy when he appeared on Federal News Radio's Federal Drive show yesterday.
The archive will be available to Mr. Lefurgy's team of researchers, to find and analyse interesting trends.
'There have been studies involved with what are the moods of the public at various times of the day in reaction to certain kinds of news events.
'There’s all these interesting kinds of mixing and matching that can be done using the tweets as a big set of data.'
And with more than 140 million tweets processed by Twitter every single day, the social networking site has its work cut out with the Library project.
'They've had to do some pretty nifty experimentation and invention to develop the tools and a process to be able to move all of that data over to us,' Mr. Lefurgy said.
Innovative: The first-ever tweet was sent on March 21, 2006.
The archives won't contain tweets that users have protected, but every other message will be stored there - including the very first, sent by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
His tweet, sent on March 21, 2006, simply said: 'Just setting up my twttr.'
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.
It was built in 1800 and is housed in three buildings in the capital, Washington, D.C.
As well as a rough draft of the American Declaration of Independence and a Gutenberg Bible, the Library holds Thomas Jefferson's entire personal book collection.
Friday, December 2, 2011
At least 20 percent of people without broadband service at home depend on their local branch of the public library for access to the Internet, reported the Economic and Statistics Administration (ESA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in a study released last month. This is hardly surprising to anyone who has visited a public library recently.
The New York Public Library's Rose Main Reading Room provides free Internet access.
photo source: bigappleunpeeled.blogspot.com
At almost every branch of the New York Public Library that I've been to in the last ten years, the busiest area was the room with the computers. It was obvious that for many, the library was the only place they could go to use a computer (and thus, access the Internet). A noticeable number seemed to be using the computers to search for jobs and brush up resumes.
So, the fact that for many people, "the public library is the sole source for free access to computers and the Internet" is not really news. The real story is what this means for libraries. In an age where there is still very much a digital divide, the public library is as important as ever to keeping communities connected and thus should be safeguarded as the institution it truly is.
Libraries Connect Communities * November 17, 2011
New Study on Internet Use at Home Ties to the Impact of Libraries
photo source: http://www.ors.ala.org
For teenagers, it's not cool to say that you're going to hang out at the library. Many public libraries are working hard to change their "unhip" status by adding high-tech areas to attract young patrons. The addition of these areas counteracts that long-held notion that the library is strictly a place for silent study.
More public libraries are toning
down the shushing and turning
up the volume to attract youths.
photo source: visualphotos.com
The Chicago Public Library implemented a YOUMedia lab stocked with video games and recording equipment that attracts nearly a hundred teenagers every day. Other libraries, both in the United States and the United Kingdom, are following suit. See the Huffington Post article below for more on how today's public libraries are toning down the shushing and turning up the volume to attract young patrons.
Huffington Post * November 29, 2011
Public Libraries Turn Up the Volume (Literally)
By Lucas Kavner
A makeover at the Chicago Public Library has turned one room into a teen-heaven, stacking the "YOUMedia" lab on the ground floor with video game systems, recording equipment, snacks and beanbag chairs. According to an article in Connecticut's "The Day," this lab, which has been open since 2009, draws up to a hundred teenagers daily. They come to record podcasts, shoot videos and hang around after school.
In the UK, they've been cranking up the volume even more. The award-winning Get It Loud In Libraries program has been active since 2005, aiming to showcase up-and-coming bands in libraries across Lancashire. Their mission: to allow "kids from 5 to 65 to check out bands at close quarters in a book clad feelgood venue before they hit the proverbial big time."
Some of these changes have drawn criticisms from library purists. Writing for the City Room blog in New York Times in April of last year, Sung J. Woo lamented the days of studying and reading in silence. The communal desks have now been "transformed," Woo wrote, "into an open forum for children and adults to chat away as if they were hanging out at Starbucks."