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The world’s largest ever indoor photo – and it’s a library
September 29, 2014 | 12:25 pm

One of the most monumental photographs ever made, and still apparently the largest single indoor image (by information density) ever created, is in fact the interior of a library. The Strahov Philosophical Library in Prague dates back to the 18th century, part of an older monastery complex founded in the early Middle Ages, and contains "approximately 200,000 volumes, estimated to hold 260,000 works," as well as rare manuscripts and other treasures. And it's also the subject of a huge 40-gigapixel panoramic view, "the largest indoor Photo in the world as of March 2011," put together from a mosaic of images that...

Why library e-book posters should go on the walls of check cashing stores
September 22, 2014 | 2:26 pm

What if the walls of check cashing stores and other establishments serving poor people did not just carry the usual commercial ballyhoo? Suppose colorful posters also promoted cell phones as a way for the poor to find books to read themselves---or read to their children....

How cell phone book clubs could help get young people reading and change their lives
September 10, 2014 | 2:25 pm

BertelKingNote: Although David Rothman posted the article, he says the author is really Bertel King, Jr., SF/fantasy novelist and a journalist. Read about Bertel at the end of his cogent essay. Go here to learn how to start your own cell phone book club. Also check out related essays here and here. In 2008, I graduated from Southampton High School, which did an admirable job of preparing me for college. I say “admirable” because at the time I had no idea just how disadvantaged my county was compared to the wealthy suburban schools of Northern Virginia and Richmond that populate most...

God Bless America as books beat burgers
September 3, 2014 | 12:25 pm

booksThose snide European putdowns about America as a nation of cultureless junk-munchers might have to be retired, if an infographic from H&R Block is anything to go by. Although not the most likely source for such a study, H&R Block is credited with this wonderful library information digest which shows, among other facts, that there are 16,766 public libraries in the U.S., and only 14,157 McDonald's. Also, every America taxpayer contributes $31 per year on average for library services. With figures like that, I won't worry too much about the revelation that "every year, Americans spend three times as much...

Carnegie UK Trust provides funds for library innovation
August 13, 2014 | 2:25 pm

The Carnegie UK Trust, "one of over twenty foundations established by Andrew Carnegie," is releasing some £200,000 ($335,440) to help UK public libraries "future-proof their services." According to the Trust, "the three year funding programme, ‘Carnegie Library Lab’ will create partnerships with up to 15 public libraries to support innovative practice and show that book lending is only one of many services that libraries can deliver." Without directly challenging recent UK government policy on libraries, the Trust states in its materials that: The Carnegie name is synonymous with support for public libraries and Carnegie Library Lab has been launched to continue this...

Overdrive adds “auto checkout” feature
August 5, 2014 | 12:22 pm

Overdrive auto checkoutI was adding a book to my Overdrive Holds list at my library yesterday and stumbled across a new feature: auto checkout. Curious, I went to the Overdrive site to learn more. According to Overdrive, when you sign up for auto checkout, you'll receive an email when your book is ready and automatically checked out. I haven't had a chance to try it, but I assume you'll then go to your account and select the format you prefer from the borrow menu. I'm excited about the option because it address a concern of mine. We camp several time a year with little...

American Library Association welcomes Macmillan frontlist availability
July 31, 2014 | 4:19 pm

AmericanLibraryAssociationFollowing the news Macmillan Publishers is making its entire digital frontlist available through the company's library e-lending pilot program, the American Library Association (ALA) has put out a statement welcoming the news. ALA President Courtney Young had this to say: The Macmillan expansion of its library ebook program represents another important development for improving the ability of libraries to serve America’s communities. One of the most fundamental relationships and roles of libraries is to connect authors and readers. Library lending encourages experimentation, enabling people to sample new authors, topics, and genres, and stimulates the market for books. Thus libraries are a critical de...

TARDIS mini-libraries prove libraries are bigger on the inside
July 28, 2014 | 12:39 pm

Doctor Who fans everywhere will be able to tell you that the TARDIS, the Doctor's iconic time and space travel machine, is bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside - which is a fine metaphor for a library, whose content can encompass a universe and range far across time and space. And it seems that many U.S. exponents of the Little Free Library movement have made the connection and created TARDIS Little Free Libraries. The TARDIS Little Free Libraries seem to be popping up in as many different guises as the Doctor's various regenerations. The Pinterest board on...

Kirklees considers “nuclear option” as UK libraries holocaust continues
July 28, 2014 | 10:24 am

The West Yorkshire town of Kirklees is contemplating closure of all but two of its 26 libraries, along with other services like braille books for blind readers, as one option while it seeks to more than halve its library budget. According to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Kirklees Council has to find cuts to bring its £6.3 million ($10.7 million) library budget down to £2.8 million ($4.75 million) by 2017. Kirklees Council leader Clr David Sheard called the all-but-complete-closure plan the "nuclear option," versus a lesser program of cuts which would save some more of the library network and services, but which also...

ALA finds 90 percent of U.S. libraries now lend ebooks
July 25, 2014 | 4:25 pm

New data shared by the American Library Association confirms that "90 percent of libraries lend e-books, up from 76 percent in 2012." The study, ALA's Digital Inclusion Survey, which "collected data from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013" and "received 3,392 responses, for a 70.1 percent response rate," also found that "98 percent of libraries provide free public access to Wi-Fi, up from 89 percent in 2012," and "98 percent provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media." Although focused primarily on...

School district protests removal of books by untrained ‘helpers’
July 25, 2014 | 12:25 pm

booksVia Boing Boing came this story, of a school district in Wisconsin whose librarians were appalled to discover that untrained volunteers were sent in to 'help' librarians clear out less-used books, and they were making a mess of it. The workers were reportedly removing many books which were published before 2000 or were not being checked out regularly, and a few librarians reported returning to work to find boxes of literary classics boxed up for donation or disposal. From the article: “There is no possible way for to me to explain tonight all of the criteria that librarians consider when developing a library...

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
July 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

textgirl2A friend of mine in his 40s is about to start teaching in Houston, Texas, and he recently shared a discovery. Many teenagers in Houston tote cell phones, but don’t know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. This would jibe with a 2012 poll showing similar ignorance among Americans at large. A bigger issue also comes up. Just how much do young people care about books in the first place? Americans 15-19 spend only about four minutes reading for fun on a typical weekend day. Too bad. Students who love books are more likely to excel in school....