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robertogreco : librarians   31

The Room of Requirement - This American Life
"Libraries aren't just for books. They're often spaces that transform into what you need them to be: a classroom, a cyber café, a place to find answers, a quiet spot to be alone. It's actually kind of magical. This week, we have stories of people who roam the stacks and find unexpected things that just happen to be exactly what they required."



"Prologue
One Monday earlier this month, we sent five producers to record what happened at library reference desks around the country. (5 1/2 minutes)

Act One
In Praise of Limbo
By Zoe Chace
There is a library that's on the border of Canada and the United States — literally on the border, with part of the library in each country. Producer Zoe Chace interviews journalist Yeganeh Torbati about how lately, it's become a critical space for a surprising set of visitors. (7 minutes)

Act Two
Book Fishing In America
By Sean Cole
In Richard Brautigan's novel "The Abortion," he imagines a library where regular people can come and drop off their own unpublished books. Nothing is turned away. The books live there forever. It’s the kind of place that would never work in real life. But someone decided to try it. Producer Sean Cole has the story. (28 minutes)

You can explore the manuscripts of the Brautigan Library online.
[http://brautiganlibrary.com/index.html ]

Act Three
Growing Shelf-Awareness
By Stephanie Foo
Lydia Sigwarth spent a lot of time in her public library growing up – all day, almost every day, for six months straight. Producer Stephanie Foo returned to that library with her, after years away. (13 1/2 minutes)"
libraries  thisamericanlife  homelessness  homeless  2018  librarians  richardbrautigan  selfpublishing  publishing  borders  canada  us  zoechance  seancole  stephaniefoo  books  self-publishing 
january 2019 by robertogreco
sister-hood interview with Mona Eltahawy. Feminist author and public speaker. - YouTube
[2:00] "For some reason — I don't know who did this because there's no women's and gender studies program in that university to this day — some renegade librarian or professor had put all these feminist journals on a bookshelf that I discovered. And they had all these feminists from my heritage, from the Middle East, from Muslim backgrounds, and also other feminists from different backgrounds. And I remember when I first discovered the word 'feminism' and discovered their writing. [It] terrified me. It terrified me. I would just put these books down and these journals down and just walk away because I was really scared because I understood that the more I got into that, the more it would just unravel everything. And I use that experience now to tell people, "when something really scares you, it's an indication that it's something you really need because it's going to really unsettle all of the things that you need to shake up in you life." Feminism saved my life and feminism saved my mind. And thanks to Saudi Arabia, ironically enough, I became the woman I am today."
monaeltahawy  feminism  change  books  2018  unlearning  learning  patriarchy  librarians  libraries 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The Radical Tactics of the Offline Library on Vimeo
[parts of the video (from the introduction): "1. Libraries existed to copy data. Libraries as warehouses was a recent idea and not a very good one 2. The online world used to be considered rhizomatic but recent events have proven that it is actually quite arboretic and precarious. 3. A method of sharing files using hard drives is slow, but it is extremely resilient. This reversalism is a radical tactic agains draconian proprietarianism. 4. There are forces and trends that are working against portable libraries."]

[Book is here:
http://networkcultures.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NN07_complete.pdf
http://networkcultures.org/blog/publication/no-07-radical-tactics-of-the-offline-library-henry-warwick/ ]

"The Radical Tactics of the Offline Library is based on the book "Radical Tactics: Reversalism and Personal Portable Libraries"
By Henry Warwick

The Personal Portable Library in its most simple form is a hard drive or USB stick containing a large collection of e-books, curated and archived by an individual user. The flourishing of the offline digital library is a response to the fact that truly private sharing of knowledge in the online realm is increasingly made impossible. While P2P sharing sites and online libraries with downloadable e-books are precarious, people are naturally led to an atavistic and reversalist workaround. The radical tactics of the offline: abandoning the online for more secure offline transfer. Taking inspiration from ancient libraries as copying centers and Sneakernet, Henry Warwick describes the future of the library as digital and offline. Radical Tactics: Reversalism and Personal Portable Libraries traces the history of the library and the importance of the Personal Portable Library in sharing knowledge and resisting proprietarian forces.

The library in Alexandria contained about 500,000 scrolls; the Library of Congress, the largest library in the history of civilization, contains about 35 million books. A digital version of it would fit on a 24 TB drive, which can be purchased for about $2000. Obviously, most people don’t need 35 million books. A small local library of 10,000 books could fit on a 64 GB thumb drive the size of a pack of chewing gum and costing perhaps $40. An astounding fact with immense implications. It is trivially simple to start collecting e-books, marshalling them into libraries on hard drives, and then to share the results. And it is much less trivially important. Sharing is caring. Societies where people share, especially ideas, are societies that will naturally flourish."
libraries  henrywarwick  archives  collection  digital  digitalmedia  ebooks  drm  documentary  librarians  alexandriaproject  copying  rhizomes  internet  online  sharing  files  p2p  proprietarianism  sneakernet  history  harddrives  learning  unschooling  property  deschooling  resistance  mesopotamia  egypt  alexandria  copies  decay  resilience  cv  projectideas  libraryofalexandria  books  scrolls  tablets  radicalism  literacy  printing  moveabletype  china  europe  publishing  2014  copyright  capitalism  canon  librarydevelopment  walterbenjamin  portability  andrewtanenbaum  portable  portablelibraries  félixguattari  cloudcomputing  politics  deleuze  deleuze&guattari  web  offline  riaa  greed  openstudioproject  lcproject 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Buddy, the Library Isn't a 7-Eleven | Literary Hub
"Today someone handed me a Costco card. For what purpose? To check out books, of course! This is the fourth time in my illustrious library career that this has happened.

In honor of this brave soul (who owes me 600 Costco-sized boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese and a legit flight of boxed wines if they try this again), I present to you a collection of interesting items people have asked for at the circulation desk:

– My full coffee mug, my breakfast, my lunch, my dinner, the gum from my mouth

– Birthday party supplies (for a party they were planning to throw in in the library, SURPRISE!)

– Ibuprofen

– Plastic bags to clean up after a dog (where was the dog, we don’t know)

– The newest season of Game of Thrones that had not yet aired on TV

– A ream of copier paper

– Two reams of copier paper

– Printer ink

– Eight feet of “heavy duty” chain

– Birdseed

– Tampons (this one I get—tampons and sanitary pads should be free, and they should be available in every restroom, don’t @ me)

– Tomorrow’s newspaper

– Lottery tickets

– Cigarettes

– A VHS player

– The book with the blue cover, the book with the red cover, the book with the green cover

– The book that’s about horses . . . but not like about, horses, you know?

– Breath mints (cinnamon preferred)

– Tip for pizza delivery (delivered to the library, didn’t even offer me a goddamn slice)

– A microscope

– JOANN Fabric coupons

– A book of clean jokes (for a bachelor party)

– A scooter repair kit

– A fishing license

– Any items from Lost & Found “worth over 100 dollars”

– Eyeglasses

– My eyeglasses

– Sunglasses

– My sunglasses

– Canned corn

– Sunscreen, a beach towel, a swimsuit

– A terrarium

– The hair tie on my wrist

– “I like that necklace you’re wearing can I borrow it”

– Breakfast cereal, “but not that sugary crap”

– A spare tire

– A lawnmower

– Pasta sauce

– Glow sticks “for a rave”

– Keys to the library to come in after hours and “do some stuff”

– Wart remover

– A dictionary, but only one that doesn’t include swears

– A sharpie, to “mark out the swears in the books”

– Chapstick

– Alvin and the Chipmunks puppets

– An exorcism kit (“What do you mean what’s an exorcism kit??”)

– A cello

– 20 to 30 inflatable balloons (red preferred)

– Tax forms

– TAX FORMS

– T A X F O R M S

– “Do you guys have any eclipse glasses”

– “Do you guys have mayo—not Miracle Whip?”

– Markers, but only the ones scented like fruit

– A fake mustache

– A frisbee

– Any plants the library “isn’t currently using”

– Sidewalk chalk (“How can you guys not have sidewalk chalk? This is the worst library!”)

– Electromagnetic detectors for ghost hunting

– Sunflower seeds

The best part about this list is I’ll just get to keep adding to it, forever and ever, amen.

My fellow librarians and library staff: what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever been asked for at the circulation desk? I’ll feature the best answers in my next column!

Okay, gotta go, someone wants to borrow my car."
libraries  humor  librarians  2018  retail  us  capitalism  kristenarnett 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Are.na / Blog – Towards A Library Without Walls
"Collaboration has also become key to the way we conceive associative indexing on today’s version of the Internet, which could not have been anticipated by Bush at today’s scale. In “As We May Think,” Bush does acknowledge the possibility of sharing links generated by the Memex in the example of a researcher reproducing a trail on the Turkish bow for inclusion in a colleague’s “more general” trail.6 However, the scale of a hypertextual tool such as Are.na, which has over 20,000 users, far exceeds the one-to-one exchange Bush envisioned for his Memex, with significant implications for associative indexing. This phenomenon has its own neologism, “crowdsourcing,” wherein large numbers of users, most typically through the Internet, contribute to an information platform, as seen widely from commercial endeavors such as Google-owned Waze to non-profit projects such as Wikipedia. The relative advantages and disadvantages of crowdsourcing for knowledge production are the subject of much literature but could be briefly alluded to here in terms of diversity of material, collective intelligence, increased scale, and lack of consolidated control. But at its most promising, crowdsourcing creates the potential for rich communities that can form around information sharing, as is well articulated by Paul Duguid and John Seely Brown writing on the social life of information:
“[D]ocuments do not merely carry information, they help make it, structure it, and validate it. More intriguing, perhaps, documents also help structure society, enabling social groups to form, develop, and maintain a sense of shared identity. Viewing documents as mere information carriers overlooks this social role.”7
"



"Considering the ways in which Are.na operates within a community of artists and culturally-engaged individuals, contrasting Are.na with Bush’s Memex highlights the importance of conceiving how knowledge forms, knowledge tools, and knowledge communities all interplay with one another. By acknowledging other forms of knowledge beyond the scientific and better understanding the role sociality plays in our contemporary experience of information, we can better define what constitutes information and how best to describe, classify, organize, and make it accessible as librarians. Rather than prioritizing static information, fixed organization, and solitary experiences as the conventional library environment is known to do, those of us who work in LIS can adopt the more boundless strategies that we encounter in hypertextual tools such as Are.na for the benefit of the communities that we serve, essentially working towards becoming a library without the brick walls that Lampland and Star refer to in regards to infrastructure that fails to serve user needs. Parallel to thinking about what Are.na might mean for librarianship, we can look to extant projects such as the Prelinger Library and the Sitterwerk’s Kunstbibliothek, whose methods for organizing their material also exist as an alternative to more traditionally-organized libraries.

So to expand on Sam’s question and its inverse: What could a reference interview that uses Are.na look like? What would happen if books in an OPAC were nodes that could be linked by users? And what if the discovery tools we design actually encouraged research that is social, elusive, and nonlinear?"
are.na  libraries  internet  web  online  2017  karlywildenhaus  mlis  archives  archiving  marthalampland  susanleighstar  hypercad  hypertext  vannevarbush  paulotlet  tednelson  stéphanemallarmé  knowledge  information  clissification  taxonomy  accessibility  librarians  social  memex  paulduguid  johnseelybrown  crowdsourcing  aswemaythink  connections  collaboration 
june 2018 by robertogreco
How Libraries Won Over The Hearts Of Millennials | GOOD Education
[See also: "Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries"
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/21/millennials-are-the-most-likely-generation-of-americans-to-use-public-libraries/ ]

"It’s true that more millennials have a college degree than any other generation of young adults, but respondents to Pew’s survey weren’t talking about going to a library to cram for finals. In its survey, Pew made sure to use “wording specifically focused on use of public libraries, not on-campus academic libraries.”

In a previous report on library usage, Pew wrote that “notable shares of Americans do not know that libraries offer learning-related programs and material.” Libraries have made a significant transition over the last two decades from being mere repositories of books to being resource-stacked centers of community engagement and learning — and that seems to have attracted younger folks.

Research released by Pew in 2014 revealed that millennials actually outread every other generation. However in its most recent report, Pew suggests that one of the main drivers of millennial public library usage is that they are coming in to access free computers and internet connections. That’s backed up by what librarians themselves are seeing. Millennials “are familiar with the fact that the library offers them the bandwidth and wireless access they might not get anywhere else," Julie Todaro, president of the American Library Association, told CNN.

It also doesn’t hurt that the ALA trains librarians on how to reach the public on social media. A two-day ALA workshop in Chicago in August will teach librarians how to market library services to Snapchat users. (And you thought librarians only learned the Dewey Decimal System.)

Although the internet might be luring millenials into libraries, they’re likely sticking around because of the depth and breadth of educational resources and cultural programs. A visitor to one of the 73 branches of the Los Angeles Public Library can check out a photography book (good luck reading that on your smartphone or tablet), take a free class that prepares them for the civics test required to become a U.S. citizen, or attend a talk given by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” host RuPaul Charles.

Overall, 46% of all adults ages 18 and older have used the resources offered by their public library or bookmobile during the previous year, reported Pew. “When we say that the library is for everyone … we really mean that there is something that everyone can find at the library to fulfill the desire of reading, entertainment, internet access, self-help, technology assistance or social desire,” Kimberly Bowen, the director of the Denison Public Library in suburban Dallas, told the Herald Democrat. “I think it’s simply that we are asking the community what they want from their library, and we are listening.”

Of course, all this doesn’t mean that millennials don’t take selfies in public libraries. But now the folks snapping and posting those pics on Instagram might just be the librarians themselves."
lizdwyer  2017  libraries  librarians  socialmedia  instagram  snapchat  millennials  education  internet  web  online  learning  howwelearn  lcproject  openstudioproject  community 
june 2017 by robertogreco
All I Know Is What’s on the Internet — Real Life
"For information literacy to have any relevance, schools and libraries must assume that primary sources and government agencies act in good faith. But the social media prowess of a Donald Trump scuttles CRAAP logic. Not only does Trump disregard information literacy protocols in his own information diet — he famously declared during the campaign, “All I know is what’s on the internet” — but he operates with an entirely different paradigm for making public statements. He speaks as a celebrity, confident in the value of his brand, rather than as a politician or technocrat, making recourse to facts, tactical compromises, or polls.

There is no reason to think that the Trump administration will be a “valid” source in the sense of making truthful, accurate statements. Instead, Trump has backed into Karl Rove’s famous idea of the reality-based community: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again.”

Trump-based reality is now spreading into other government agencies. In late 2016, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology used its .gov homepage to question causes of climate change, while the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources recently changed reports to claim the subject is a matter of scientific debate.

Benjamin ends “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by arguing that “fascism attempts to organize the newly created proletarian masses without affecting the property structure which the masses strive to eliminate. Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves.” This recasts social media in a more sinister light. Fascism is on the rise not because students can’t tell fake news from the slanted news promulgated by hegemonic interests. Rather, fascism is resurgent because freedom of expression has turned out to have little to do with what we can create and much more to do with how much we can consume.

The promise of social justice and upward mobility through education has largely gone unkept, and many citizens who believed in democratic progress have turned to different promises. Information literacy fails not only because it serves a broken system, but because it is affectively beside the point. Its cerebral pleasure pales in comparison with fascism’s more direct, emotive appeals.

Information today is content, a consumable whose truth value is measured in page views. To combat this, the validation of knowledge must be localized, shared in communities between engaged citizens. Information-literacy rubrics implemented by individuals are insufficient. We must value expertise, but experts must also commit to forging community through shared development. The one-way diffusion of knowledge must be upended.

Information literacy is less a solution than an alibi for the problems ailing education. “Solving” fake news will only compound the real problem. Without substantial work to subvert the traditional and promote the outside, the feel-good efforts of information literacy will not serve America’s promised rebound. Instead they will signify democracy’s dead-cat bounce."

[See also this response: https://twitter.com/holden/status/821904132814442496 ]
schools  libraries  information  informationliteracy  fakenews  internet  education  rolinmoe  2017  democracy  outsiders  content  knowledge  validation  socialjustice  upwardmobility  medialiteracy  literacy  multiliteracies  fascism  donaldtrump  propaganda  crapdetection  criticalthinking  walterbejnamin  consumption  creativity  freedom  engagement  vannevarbush  shielawebber  billjohnson  librarians  community  media  massmedia  hierarchizationknowledge  economy 
january 2017 by robertogreco
TILTY #21 - Selected Annotated Bibliography for the Librarian Resistance
"I am writing but I am mostly still listening. Letting my friends and community know I am here for them. And reading poetry.

[screenshot of Wendell Berry’s "The Peace of Wild Things"]

Not to be all "Hey it's going to be fine if we all just reconnect with nature and not let it bother us" but more that self-care is useful and the birds don't give a shit about this election so sometimes it can be good to just sit with them to recenter before you get back to work.

Post-election time in America is time for a lot of reflection, frustration, and planning and scheming for whatever is coming down the road. I've been reading and assessing.

My peripatetic lifestyle has always held some risks and that hasn't changed. My position otherwise is not that risky. Many people are being thrown into incredibly vulnerable positions as a result of this election--positions that were only getting slightly stabilized over the last decade--and this is happening at a national or international level, not just in our local communities. I'm proud of what libraries have been able to accomplish in the world so far. I offer a reading list and hopes that we can weather this storm together and form an effective and ruthlessly efficient resistance.


Brief Annotated Bibliography for the Librarian Resistance

• While I am still helping people get their first email addresses, people are blaming algorithms for losing the election for HRC. I am not forwarding this position personally (also not NOT forwarding it) but it's a fascinating look at what can happen when we can't get under the hood of our systems. Noted for later.

• The folks from We Need Diverse Books came out with a post-election statement.

• EFF has provided a very good Surveillance Self-Defense page for those who feel they need to communicate significantly more securely than they have been.

• Helping people with questions about what this all means for them? Lambda Legal has a post-election FAQ for GLBTQ folks. More specifics for other vulnerable populations can be found at Concrete Suggestions in Preparation for January 2017’s Change in American Government a nice repurposable online document (sometimes overloaded with readers, try again if you can't get it).

• Libraries can be a health lifeline for people most at risk, according to a US study (headline is from Reuters, let me know if you'd like me to email you the PDF of the study)

• Rebecca Solnit's book Hope in the Dark is available for free for a few more days.

• Libraries step up (in times of crisis) is a place on Facebook where you can get help with library issues concerning this recent election.

• How to weather the Trump Administration? Head to the library. An OpEd piece in the LA Times.

Librarians may be the only first responders holding the line between America and a raging national pandemic of absolutism. More desperately than ever, we need our libraries now, and all three of their traditional pillars: 1) education, 2) good reading and 3) the convivial refuge of a place apart. In other words, libraries may be the last coal we have left to blow on.

**********

Urban Libraries Unite is having their annual fund drive and will send you a My Library is for Everyone button if you donate, or you could just make your own button (but donating anyhow is a good idea, I did).

[image]

Maybe you don't know what to do? Letting people know that the library is for everyone, maybe just "surfacing" the policies that you already have like Lawrence Public Library has done, can show people that you know that this is a tough time for many and that you are there for them.

[image]

Or something like this? Other suggestions from Programming Librarian.

**********

I am bad at talking about my feelings, so I will continue mostly not to. I am better at talking about, and taking, actions. Pointers welcome. Replies to this newsletter always read and replied to. Signing off with a quote from Toni Morrison

"I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art."

and another poem from Wendell Berry.

[screenshot of Wendell Berry’s "The Real Work"]"
jessamynwest  libraries  politics  resistance  donaldtrump  2016  wendellberry  tonimorrison  poetry  librarians  inclusivity  protection  rebeccasolnit  eff  security  privacy  refuge 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — John Holt, How Children Learn Children do not...
"After I re-read that section, I was reminded of Laurence Weschler writing about David Hockney, and how “interest-ing” for Hockney is a verb: it is the continual projection of interest. (The more you look at something, the more interesting it gets.) This was certainly the case with me after I started reading this book, and Holt in general: I, who felt like a somewhat enlightened parent, started noting all the ways I wasn’t paying attention to them, and over time, they have become more interesting to me, not because I’m doting on them more, or even spending more time with them, but because I am looking at them like little scientists, or just little people, who are worthy of interest. (It sounds so stupid: of course a parent should find their kids interesting, but think about how many parents and teachers and adults you know — maybe including yourself — who, secretly, probably don’t.)

Holt’s work has really shaken me up, blown my mind, and given me a different way of thinking about my kids. Some of my favorite bits, below."
johnholt  howchildrenlearn  education  learning  children  trust  austinkleon  lawrencewescheler  davidhockney  art  interestedness  interested  interesting  attention  payingattention  noticing  parenting  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  librarians  teachers  purpose  belonging  work  community  conversation  cv  pacing  meaningmaking  unschooling  deschooling  departmentalization  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  control  independence  anxiety  howchildrenfail  testing  assessment  reggioemilia  punk  games  play  standardizedtesting  love  2016  listening 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Meme Documentation
""That’s why I love Meme Documentation so much. Because it’s made for Tumblr users by Tumblr users.… And I think that is super important, that communities should be self-archiving. It’s your local library. Every community on the internet needs a local library to go to and find their own history. Know Your Meme is amazing, but it’s also the Library of Congress, and they’re not going to know what this tiny town in Internet Land is doing. I want to stress the importance of communities to realize that everything is fleeting on the internet, and something can get deleted really quickly, and you lose a whole thread of whatever history you’re looking at."

— shoutout to meme librarian Amanda Brennan (@continuants) for mentioning Meme Documentation in an interview on the podcast @fansplaining"

[via: http://finalbossform.com/post/136195165572/thats-why-i-love-meme-documentation-so-much ]
amandabrennan  memes  knowyourmeme  2015  tumblr  internet  web  fleeting  documentation  librarians  archiving  history  recordkeeping  ephemerality  archives  online  socialmedia  ephemeral 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Google’s slow fade with librarians — The Message — Medium
"Written in response to “Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job” [https://medium.com/message/never-trust-a-corporation-to-do-a-librarys-job-f58db4673351 ]"



"Time passed. The newsletter started to be written by someone with the job title Associate Marketing Manager, Librarian Outreach in March of 2007. Librarian Central also got a blog in 2007 which they updated like crazy all through the early part of the year. We Googled “limerence” and brushed up on the five love languages. We’d always been big into acts of service.

Then they said they were taking a break. A break? Just for the summer, they said, then didn’t update for a year. Maybe we should have taken a hint? But we were so sure that we were made for each other.

They made one additional post to the blog in 2008 , its last. It was written by someone whose job was Product Marketing Manager, without a clip art book or library in sight. In early 2009 the Librarian Central URL just started redirecting to the blogspot blog. OK, we can take a hint.

We were having our own doubts, of course. How could you not? The Google Books project seemed to be letting itself go. Things any librarian would notice: bad scans; faulty metadata; narrowing the scope of public domain; having machines do jobs that should be done (or at least overseen) by humans. They seemed to be restricting and worsening access to cultural content, not expanding and improving it. Maybe we were going in different directions?

The last issue of the Google Librarian Newsletter in April 2009 directed people to the Inside Google Books blog. We saw Jodi around there until 2010. That blog hasn’t been updated since August 2012. Its last post, by a Google Play Operations Specialist, directs readers to the general Google Search blog. We know when we are getting the runaround.

Sometime in 2014 between August and October, Google removed the Librarian Central blog entirely, took down all the posts and memory-holed it. Maybe it was because of the comment spam. You can still read the posts from the blog through the Internet Archive. Sure, the Archive is not as flashy, but they get the work done and they’re always there for you.



Google came back to the annual ALA Conference in June of 2012 claiming to be a First Time Exhibitor. They looked great, the years had been good to them. They were selling something of course… to libraries or really to anyone. We walked by a few times but they didn’t seem to recognize us.

But we still remember when they were there before. Librarians remember.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re doing pretty great on our own, better than ever really. We’ve gotten a bit more independent, not putting all of our eggs into any one basket, gotten better at establishing boundaries. Still not sure, after all that, how we got this all so wrong. Didn’t we both want the same thing? Maybe it really wasn’t us, it was them. Most days it’s hard to remember what we saw in Google. Why did we think we’d make good partners?"
libraries  archives  google  publicgood  2015  internet  web  online  jessamynwest  librarians  persistence 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Library as Infrastructure
"For millennia libraries have acquired resources, organized them, preserved them and made them accessible (or not) to patrons. But the forms of those resources have changed — from scrolls and codices; to LPs and LaserDiscs; to e-books, electronic databases and open data sets. Libraries have had at least to comprehend, if not become a key node within, evolving systems of media production and distribution. Consider the medieval scriptoria where manuscripts were produced; the evolution of the publishing industry and book trade after Gutenberg; the rise of information technology and its webs of wires, protocols and regulations. 1 At every stage, the contexts — spatial, political, economic, cultural — in which libraries function have shifted; so they are continuously reinventing themselves and the means by which they provide those vital information services.

Libraries have also assumed a host of ever-changing social and symbolic functions. They have been expected to symbolize the eminence of a ruler or state, to integrally link “knowledge” and “power” — and, more recently, to serve as “community centers,” “public squares” or “think tanks.” Even those seemingly modern metaphors have deep histories. The ancient Library of Alexandria was a prototypical think tank, 2 and the early Carnegie buildings of the 1880s were community centers with swimming pools and public baths, bowling alleys, billiard rooms, even rifle ranges, as well as book stacks. 3 As the Carnegie funding program expanded internationally — to more than 2,500 libraries worldwide — secretary James Bertram standardized the design in his 1911 pamphlet “Notes on the Erection of Library Buildings,” which offered grantees a choice of six models, believed to be the work of architect Edward Tilton. Notably, they all included a lecture room.

In short, the library has always been a place where informational and social infrastructures intersect within a physical infrastructure that (ideally) supports that program.

Now we are seeing the rise of a new metaphor: the library as “platform” — a buzzy word that refers to a base upon which developers create new applications, technologies and processes. In an influential 2012 article in Library Journal, David Weinberger proposed that we think of libraries as “open platforms” — not only for the creation of software, but also for the development of knowledge and community. 4 Weinberger argued that libraries should open up their entire collections, all their metadata, and any technologies they’ve created, and allow anyone to build new products and services on top of that foundation. The platform model, he wrote, “focuses our attention away from the provisioning of resources to the foment” — the “messy, rich networks of people and ideas” — that “those resources engender.” Thus the ancient Library of Alexandria, part of a larger museum with botanical gardens, laboratories, living quarters and dining halls, was a platform not only for the translation and copying of myriad texts and the compilation of a magnificent collection, but also for the launch of works by Euclid, Archimedes, Eratosthenes and their peers."



"Partly because of their skill in reaching populations that others miss, libraries have recently reported record circulation and visitation, despite severe budget cuts, decreased hours and the threatened closure or sale of “underperforming” branches. 9 Meanwhile the Pew Research Center has released a series of studies about the materials and services Americans want their libraries to provide. Among the findings: 90 percent of respondents say the closure of their local public library would have an impact on their community, and 63 percent describe that impact as “major.”"



"Again, we need to look to the infrastructural ecology — the larger network of public services and knowledge institutions of which each library is a part. How might towns, cities and regions assess what their various public (and private) institutions are uniquely qualified and sufficiently resourced to do, and then deploy those resources most effectively? Should we regard the library as the territory of the civic mind and ask other social services to attend to the civic body? The assignment of social responsibility isn’t so black and white — nor are the boundaries between mind and body, cognition and affect — but libraries do need to collaborate with other institutions to determine how they leverage the resources of the infrastructural ecology to serve their publics, with each institution and organization contributing what it’s best equipped to contribute — and each operating with a clear sense of its mission and obligation."



"Libraries need to stay focused on their long-term cultural goals — which should hold true regardless of what Google decides to do tomorrow — and on their place within the larger infrastructural ecology. They also need to consider how their various infrastructural identities map onto each other, or don’t. Can an institution whose technical and physical infrastructure is governed by the pursuit of innovation also fulfill its obligations as a social infrastructure serving the disenfranchised? What ethics are embodied in the single-minded pursuit of “the latest” technologies, or the equation of learning with entrepreneurialism?

As Zadie Smith argued beautifully in the New York Review of Books, we risk losing the library’s role as a “different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.” Barbara Fister, a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College, offered an equally eloquent plea for the library as a space of exception:
Libraries are not, or at least should not be, engines of productivity. If anything, they should slow people down and seduce them with the unexpected, the irrelevant, the odd and the unexplainable. Productivity is a destructive way to justify the individual’s value in a system that is naturally communal, not an individualistic or entrepreneurial zero-sum game to be won by the most industrious.


Libraries, she argued, “will always be at a disadvantage” to Google and Amazon because they value privacy; they refuse to exploit users’ private data to improve the search experience. Yet libraries’ failure to compete in efficiency is what affords them the opportunity to offer a “different kind of social reality.” I’d venture that there is room for entrepreneurial learning in the library, but there also has to be room for that alternate reality where knowledge needn’t have monetary value, where learning isn’t driven by a profit motive. We can accommodate both spaces for entrepreneurship and spaces of exception, provided the institution has a strong epistemic framing that encompasses both. This means that the library needs to know how to read itself as a social-technical-intellectual infrastructure."



"In libraries like BiblioTech — and the Digital Public Library of America — the collection itself is off-site. Do patrons wonder where, exactly, all those books and periodicals and cloud-based materials live? What’s under, or floating above, the “platform”? Do they think about the algorithms that lead them to particular library materials, and the conduits and protocols through which they access them? Do they consider what it means to supplant bookstacks with server stacks — whose metal racks we can’t kick, lights we can’t adjust, knobs we can’t fiddle with? Do they think about the librarians negotiating access licenses and adding metadata to “digital assets,” or the engineers maintaining the servers? With the increasing recession of these technical infrastructures — and the human labor that supports them — further off-site, behind the interface, deeper inside the black box, how can we understand the ways in which those structures structure our intellect and sociality?

We need to develop — both among library patrons and librarians themselves — new critical capacities to understand the distributed physical, technical and social architectures that scaffold our institutions of knowledge and program our values. And we must consider where those infrastructures intersect — where they should be, and perhaps aren’t, mutually reinforcing one another. When do our social obligations compromise our intellectual aspirations, or vice versa? And when do those social or intellectual aspirations for the library exceed — or fail to fully exploit — the capacities of our architectural and technological infrastructures? Ultimately, we need to ensure that we have a strong epistemological framework — a narrative that explains how the library promotes learning and stewards knowledge — so that everything hangs together, so there’s some institutional coherence. We need to sync the library’s intersecting infrastructures so that they work together to support our shared intellectual and ethical goals."
shannonmattern  2014  libraries  infrastructure  access  accessibility  services  government  civics  librarians  information  ethics  community  makerspaces  privacy  safety  learning  openstudioproject  education  lcproject  zadiesmith  barbarafister  seattle  nyc  pittsburgh  culture  google  neoliberalism  knowledge  diversity  inequality  coworking  brooklyn  nypl  washingtondc  architecture  design  hackerlabs  hackerspaces  annebalsamo  technology  chicago  ncsu  books  mexicocity  mexicodf  davidadjaye  social  socialinfrastructure  ala  intellectualfreedom  freedom  democracy  publicgood  public  lifelonglearning  saltlakecity  marellusturner  partnerships  toyoito  refuge  cities  ericklinenberg  economics  amazon  disparity  mediaproduction  readwrite  melvildewey  df 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Corinne Hill: LJ’s 2014 Librarian of the Year
"We knew Corinne Hill was destined to be a star back in 2004, when she was named an LJ Mover & Shaker. She had been a librarian for only eight years. A decade later, as executive director of the Chattanooga Public Library (CPL), she is the 2014 LJ Librarian of the Year, an award sponsored by Baker & Taylor. Hill’s career has climaxed in Chattanooga, where she has transformed what consultants June Garcia and Susan Kent called the “ugly, irrelevant, and mismanaged” public libraries of Hamilton County, TN, into the new and vibrant CPL. “She has fostered a culture of change and innovation that has affected nearly every aspect of the library,” says an August report in the Chattanooga Times/Free Press.

Prominent among her tools of transformation is the Gig Library Project. Chattanooga is the first city in the Western Hemisphere to offer one-gigabit-per-second fiber Internet service to all of its residents and businesses, which is driving a culture of technological innovation. “A gig city has to have a gig library,” Hill says. Under her leadership, CPL is one of the first libraries in the United States to offer free gig access to its residents. In addition to providing faster downloads of ebooks and other materials, the library’s gig access opens up partnering potential for the library and can help make it the “creative hub for the community,” Hill told LJ in 2012. “We are looking to create incubator space…. We want to try to address the needs of entrepreneurs,” Hill said."



"Once the look of the place was brightened and new, Hill moved on to rebuilding and reenergizing the library staff. The new CPL ED recruited young librarians, known innovators from all over the United States whose new ideas and projects had already made them library celebrities.
Nate Hill (no relation to the ED) came from San José, CA, to take over as assistant director for technology and digital initiatives in July 2012. Teen librarian Justin Hoenke was hired in November 2012 from the public library in Portland, ME. Youth service manager Alei Burns, who worked with Hill in Dallas, came to CPL in April. Systems administrator Meg Backus was wooed away from the Northern Onondaga Public Library in Cicero, NY, in September.

The new cadre was turned loose to transform CPL, bringing video games, programming tutorials, 3-D printing, rock music, and a new, up-to-date rendition of programs and services to citizens of all ages—an innovative, ever-changing package to awaken a library long ready for a new life. Most important, they brought the creativity to execute their ideas and inspiration. In less than two years, they have reinvented CPL.

One example is CPL’s 4th Floor, 14,000 square feet that for years was used to store archives, decorative art, and extra furniture. Under the direction of Nate Hill, who had been web librarian at the San José Public Library, it is now a creative, exciting laboratory and Maker space, full of cutting-edge equipment, including a high-resolution flatbed scanner and a 3-D printer, plus CPL’s gigabit Internet service.

In interviews on TV, former mayor Littlefield mentions the revival of CPL’s 4th Floor to show how Chattanooga is bringing new technology experts to city agencies.

Youth services manager Burns was a children’s librarian and assistant manager of a Dallas branch. Driven by her belief that libraries must reach out to children as early as possible, she is currently engaged in converting a moribund CPL branch into a special library for kids. “I would sign kids up in utero for summer reading if they would let me; they’re never too young,” Burns told a local reporter. She has already created CPL’s new Baby Bounce program for infants.

Hoenke moved CPL’s teen center to the second floor and converted it to a learning center and playground for adolescents, full of computers, video games, consoles, and manga.

Despite their differing responsibilities and specialties, the new team members work as a unit to reinvent CPL. “I think the chemistry we have is absolutely essential to the change that we’ve brought to this place,” Nate Hill says. “If the chemistry was wrong, it wouldn’t work this way.”"
corinnehill  libraries  librarians  chattanooga  natehill  hustinhoenke  2014 
april 2014 by robertogreco
To the Teens | Justin The Librarian
"In your teens and twenties, a lot of people will look at you and your ideas and think they’re a bit bizarre and out there.  However, when you get into your late twenties/thirties something interesting happens…now that you’re older, people start to understand that you’ve had the experiences and matured enough that what you’re doing must be legit.  It’s kind of awesome.  Remember how I helped bring video games into the library for people to play and borrow?  When I talked about how libraries should be doing that when I was younger, people thought I was crazy.  When I got older and did it people thought it was a really great move.  Being 28 years old and having gone through years of video gaming helped me get to do that “crazy thing.”  So, yes, your bones may hurt a bit more (it happens) but you get to do a lot of cool shit when you’re older."
growingup  videogames  gaming  games  families  ideas  change  maturation  2012  adolescents  teens  youth  portland  maine  librarians  libraries  justinhoenke  aging  advice 
september 2012 by robertogreco
www.librarytestkitchen.org [Library Test Kitchen]
"This is a seminar about making. It’s run out of the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Spring, 2012. We will focus on creating products, services & experiences, broadly defined, for the Harvard Library community. With generous funding provided by Prof. Robert Darnton and the Harvard Library Lab, projects will be deployed in «Test Kitchens» — partner libraries, such as the Loeb and Widener Libraries, that allocate portions of their public space to these experiments."
loebdesignlibrary  librarytestkitchen  librarians  harvard  library  libraries 
february 2012 by robertogreco
California Dreamin' | MetaFilter
"Undoubtedly libraries are a good thing. The access and training that we provide for technology isn't offered by any other public service (largely because public services are rapidly becoming a dirty word in this gilded age of decadence and austerity), and without our services it wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would be a significant dimming.

If you can take yourself out of your first world techie social media smart-shoes for a second then imagine this… [lengthy case study]

So that little melodrama right there is every minute of every day at the public library…The digital divide isn't just access, but also ability, and quality of information, , and the common dignity of having equity of participation in our increasingly digital culture."



"Every day at my job I helped people just barely survive. Forget trying to form grass roots political activism by creating a society of computer users, forget trying to be the 'people's university' and create a body of well informed citizens. Instead I helped people navigate through the degrading hoops of modern online society, fighting for scraps from the plate, and then kicking back afterwards by pretending to have a farm on Facebook (well, that is if they had any of their 2 hours left when they were done). What were we doing during the nineties? What were we doing during the boom that we've been left so ill served during the bust? No one seems to know. They come in to our classes and ask us if we have any ideas, and I do, but those ideas take money, and political will, and guts, and the closer I get to graduation the less and less I suspect that any of those things exist."
policy  politics  society  participatory  digitalculture  budgetcuts  povertytrap  poverty  librarians  technology  california  survival  skills  access  informationaccess  information  digitaldivide  education  libraries  learning 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Revolting librarians (1972)
"The pun in the title is intended, of course, for here is a collection of 30-odd poems, stories, and articles on revolting librarians--those who revolt against the system and those who are revolting because they are the system."

Georgia Mulligan, College & research libraries
protest  activism  revolt  revolution  1972  librarians  libraries  books 
january 2012 by robertogreco
David Byrne's Journal: 10.26.2011: Bogota Part 1
"I was recently asked to do a conversation/talk with Janette Sadik-Kahn, our commissioner of transportation, at the  AIA New York Center for Architecture Center (American Institute of Architects).  Since I imagined there might be some architects or designers in the audience, I took some time to share some of my notes and photographs from my summer Latin American bikes and cities tour. I also took this opportunity to finally organize some of the notes I had taken and post them. So here it is, many months late."
davidbyrne  colombia  bogotá  2011  cities  sergiofajardo  enriquepeñalosa  janettesadik-kahn  oscardíaz  kennedydistrict  medellin  transmilenio  buses  bikes  biking  librarians  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  policy  design  giancarlomazzanti  rogeliosalmona  alejandroecheverri  sergiogomez  projecth  emilypilloton  bertiecounty  northcarolina  medellín  projecthdesign 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Children of Troy « Snarkmarket
"This little correspondence cracked like lightning in my head. I mean, it’s no big deal; it’s a small thing, it’s a letter, they were both in Michigan, it makes perfect sense. And yet, and yet: Clifton Wharton, president of Michigan State University, and Marguerite Hart, librarian of Troy—a tangible thread connected them. And as soon as you realize that, you can’t help but imagine the other threads, the other connections, that all together make a net, woven before you were born, before you were even dreamed of—a net to catch you, support you, lift you up. Libraries and universities, books and free spaces—all for us, all of us, the children of Troy everywhere.

What fortune. Born at the right time."

[…]

"And it’s not the librarian laughing and crying at the same time here; it’s me. Every time I’ve read these letters, it’s me."
snarkmarket  robinsloan  libraries  troy  cityoftroy  books  memories  memory  childhood  reading  librarians  connections  knowledge  freespaces  letters  universities  michigan  michiganstate  ebwhite  isaacasimov  cliftonwharton  margueritehart  johnburns  1971  2011  publiclibraries  education  learning  experience  comments 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Why The Next Big Pop-Culture Wave After Cupcakes Might Be Libraries : NPR
"I don't know whether it's going to come in the form of a more successful movie franchise about librarians than that TV thing Noah Wyle does, or a basic-cable drama about a crime-fighting librarian (kinda like the one in the comic Rex Libris), or that reality show I was speculating about, but mark my words, once you've got Old Spicy on your side and you can sell a couple of YouTube parodies in a couple of months, you're standing on the edge of your pop-culture moment. Librarians: prepare."
trends  culture  cupcakes  librarians  libraries  marketing  npr  future  thingstohopefor 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Librarians' Internet Index
"The LII Mission Statement: The mission of Librarians' Internet Index is to provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy, librarian-selected websites, serving California, the nation, and the world."
via:javierarbona  internet  librarians  searchengine  search  reference  online  web  teaching  libraries  database  research  authority 
november 2009 by robertogreco
25 Famous Librarians Who Changed History | Best Online Colleges
"Have you ever wondered the past life or secret dreams of your local librarian as they helped you find research paper resources and swiped the bar code on your books? As it turns out, a lot of world leaders, famous authors and legendary philosophers and scholars had careers as librarians. Read below to find out who."
librarians  libraries  borges  bejaminfranklin  maozedong  marcelduchamp  lewiscarroll  marcelproust  education  learning  via:rodcorp  proust 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Confederacy of Dunces: The Tyranny of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
[dead link, try: https://thesunmagazine.org/issues/204/confederacy-of-dunces ]

"Those of you with a historical imagination will recognize Thomas Jefferson's prayer for schooling - that it would teach useful knowledge. Some places do: the best schooling in the US today is coming out of museums, libraries, and private institutes...

Consider the difference between librarians and schoolteachers. Librarians are custodians of real books and real readers; schoolteachers are custodians of schoolbooks and indentured readers. Somewhere in the difference is the Rosetta Stone that reveals how education is one thing, schooling another."
johntaylorgatto  books  reading  education  learning  schools  libraries  librarians  pedagogy  reform  change  museums  unschooling  deschooling  freedom  authenticity  activism  schooling 
august 2008 by robertogreco
myliblog: Uncle Bobby's Wedding
"if the library is doing its job, there are lots of books in our collection that people won't agree with; there are certainly many that I object to. Library collections don't imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life. ... Although I suspect you may not agree with my decision, I hope it's clear that I've given it a great deal of thought, and believe it is in accordance with both our guiding principles, and those, incidentally, of the founders of our nation."
libraries  freedom  us  censorship  children  parenting  culture  society  ethics  rights  politics  community  librarians  marriage  literature  reading  policy  writing 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Carnegie Mellon Libraries:Library Arcade
"The Library Arcade features games designed to help students develop research skills through entertaining and easy-to-repeat activities. At this stage, we are testing each game to work through any technical glitches and prepare the games for a final versi
e-learning  learning  librarians  libraries  online  simulations  gaming  games  tutorials  books  classification  catalog 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Lorcan Dempsey's weblog: What the reader intends ...
"Did Borges ever imagine a library in which we could know which volumes users were thinking about consulting? [William Gibson]"
borges  books  williamgibson  libraries  user  librarians  software  data  circulation  information 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Librarians' Internet Index
"Every Thursday morning we send out our free newsletter, New This Week, which features dozens of high-quality websites carefully selected, described, and organized by our team of librarians. Topics include current events and issues, holidays and seasons,
catalog  encyclopedia  librarians  libraries  education  learning  directory  knowledge  internet  web  database  databases  information  portal  literacy  evaluation  reference  search  research  content  teaching 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Learning 2.0 - The Things
"Welcome to the original Learning 2.0 Program. This site was created to support PLCMC's Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies and reward them for doing 23 Things."
activities  business  flickr  collaboration  howto  gamechanging  community  learning  lessons  librarians  libraries  management  workshops  web2.0  web  technology  tools  resources  training  reference  networkedlearning  online  pedagogy  professionaldevelopment  courses  progress  tagging  tags  socialsoftware  socialnetworking  wikis  work  education  elearning  folksonomy  free  media  blogs  autodidacts  lcproject  homeschool  unschooling  schools  podcasts  webdesign  myspace  recording  programming  rss  del.icio.us  onlinetoolkit  internet  content  user  webdev 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Remixing the library / Jon Udell / GRL2020 / October 2007
"In an online world of small pieces loosely joined, librarians are among the most well qualified and highly motivated joiners of those pieces. Library patrons, meanwhile, are in transition. Once mainly consumers of information, they are now, on the two-wa
libraries  librarians  future  online  internet  smallpieceslooselyjoined  books  information  search  learning  knowledge 
october 2007 by robertogreco
The library fix | Salon.com
"When politics gets mean and dumb, you can cheer yourself up by walking into a public library."
democracy  libraries  books  librarians  politics  us  future 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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