Category Archives: Libraries

Libraries

Nancy Pearl, ‘America’s Librarian,’ knows why people need libraries – CSMonitor.com

Nancy Pearl, possibly America’s best-known librarian and recommender of books, shares her thoughts on choosing what to read, and when to stop reading.

By Rebekah Denn, Correspondent, November 16, 2021

Susan Doupe, Courtesy of Nancy Pearl

It’s not every librarian who has an action figure modeled after her. But Nancy Pearl, who was honored at the National Book Awards on Nov. 17, comes to her superhero status by her encyclopedic knowledge of books and powerfully engaging recommendations in almost every form of media.

In 1998, Ms. Pearl launched a program at the Seattle Public Library called “If All Seattle Read the Same Book,” which led to the worldwide group-reading phenomenon known as One Book, One City.

In 2009, Ms. Pearl’s ability to connect readers with the right book gained a wide following when she published “Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason,” which became a surprise hit.

More recent work includes “Book Lust” sequels, a novel, and a collection of author interviews. Known as “America’s Librarian,” Ms. Pearl received the 2021 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community for her work in expanding audiences for reading. Past recipients include poet Maya Angelou and NPR’s “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross.

Source: Nancy Pearl, ‘America’s Librarian,’ knows why people need libraries – CSMonitor.com

A Slice of American Life from the FSA/OWI Photograph Collection | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos | Library of Congress

November 18, 2021 by Kristi Finefield

Moreno Valley, Colfax County, New Mexico. Mary Mutz making an apple pie on the Mutz ranch. Photo by John Collier, Jr., 1943 Feb. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8d26282

Thanksgiving in America is pie’s time to shine, as one or more of these delightful desserts often provide the sweet finish to Thanksgiving feasts across the country.

Depending on where you live or your family hails from, the pies could contain pecan, sweet potato, pumpkin, apple, or a wide variety of other delicious fillings.

The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) collection includes photo stories in which the photographer captures a simple task of daily life, sometimes taking a series of photographs of the steps it takes to complete it.

Two photo series I found illustrate the everyday task of making a pie, offering visual insight into life in the 1930s and 1940s, and a chance to observe if anything has changed in the intervening decades. As I plot my pie plan for next week, I’ll share these two stories of pie making from the FSA/OWI collection below.

Mary Mutz of Moreno Valley, California puts together an apple pie through five photos, from filling the pie crust, adding the top crust, trimming and crimping it, sprinkling sugar on top and baking the pie. The negatives aren’t always numbered in order so it’s important to look closely when putting together the sequence, as seen below…

Source: A Slice of American Life from the FSA/OWI Photograph Collection | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos

This library lets you borrow people instead of books. It just may help bridge our bitter divisions – CNN

By John Blake, CNN, Updated 7:14 AM ET, Sun November 14, 2021

Two women — one Muslim, one not — talk at a Human Library event in London in 2018.

(CNN)On a rainy spring morning in Muncie, Indiana, a White, middle-aged, conservative woman met a transgender woman for a date.

It did not start well. The transgender woman was waiting at a table when the other woman showed up. She stood up and extended her hand. The other woman refused to take it.

“I want you to know I’m a conservative Christian,” she said, still standing. “I’m a liberal Christian,” the transgender woman replied. “Let’s talk.”

Their rendezvous was supposed to last about 30 minutes. But the conversation was so engrossing for both that it lasted an hour.

It ended with the conservative woman rising from her seat to give the other woman a hug.”Thank you,” she said. “This has been wonderful.”

This improbable meeting came courtesy of the Human Library, a nonprofit learning platform that allows people to borrow people instead of books. But not just any people. Every “human book” from this library represents a group that faces prejudice or stigmas because of their lifestyle, ethnicity, beliefs, or disability. A human book can be an alcoholic, for example, or a Muslim, or a homeless person, or someone who was sexually abused.The Human Library stages in-person and online events where “difficult questions are expected, appreciated, and answered.” Organizers says they’re trying to encourage people to “unjudge” a book by its cover.

Source: This library lets you borrow people instead of books. It just may help bridge our bitter divisions – CNN

Will There Be Libraries in 25 Years?  | Time

By Brewster Kahle, October 22, 2021 1:21 PM EDT
Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. Member, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Internet Hall of Fame
Getty Images

When I started the Internet Archive 25 years ago, I focused our non-profit library on digital collections: preserving web pages, archiving television news, and digitizing books. The Internet Archive was seen as innovative and unusual.

Now all libraries are increasingly electronic, and necessarily so. To fight disinformation, to serve readers during the pandemic, and to be relevant to 21st-century learners, libraries must become digital.

But just as the Web increased people’s access to information exponentially, an opposite trend has evolved. Global media corporations—emboldened by the expansive copyright laws they helped craft and the emerging technology that reaches right into our reading devices—are exerting absolute control over digital information.

These two conflicting forces—towards unfettered availability and completely walled access to information—have defined the last 25 years of the Internet. How we handle this ongoing clash will define our civic discourse in the next 25 years.

If we fail to forge the right path, publishers’ business models could eliminate one of the great tools for democratizing society: our independent libraries.

Source: Will There Be Libraries in 25 Years?  | Time

How Memphis Created the Nation’s Most Innovative Public Library | Innovation | Smithsonian Magazine

You can play the ukulele, learn photography or record a song in a top-flight studio. You can also check out a book

By Richard Grant, Photographs by Ariel Cobbert

Cloud901’s maker space is equipped with such high-tech tools as laser cutters and 3-D printers. The workshop is open to all ages, not just teens. Ariel Cobbert

The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, a building of pale concrete and greenish glass, rises four stories in midtown Memphis. Walking through its automatic doors on a weekday afternoon, I hear unexpected sounds, muffled but unmistakable, almost shocking in a library context: the deep, quaking bass beats of Memphis hip-hop, plus a faint whine of power tools cutting through metal.

It’s difficult to summarize the myriad changes taking place in American public libraries, but one thing is certain. Libraries are no longer hushed repositories of books.

Here at the Central branch in Memphis, ukulele flash mobs materialize and seniors dance the fox trot in upstairs rooms. The library hosts U.S. naturalization ceremonies, job fairs, financial literacy seminars, jazz concerts, cooking classes, film screenings and many other events—more than 7,000 at last count.

You can check out books and movies, to be sure, but also sewing machines, bicycle repair kits and laptop computers. And late fees? A thing of the past.

Source: How Memphis Created the Nation’s Most Innovative Public Library | Innovation | Smithsonian Magazine

Using Wayback Machine for Research | The Signal | Internet Archive | Library of Congress

October 26, 2012 by Butch Lazorchak

The following is a guest post by Nicholas Taylor, Information Technology Specialist for the Repository Development Group at the Library of Congress.

The 2006 Library of Congress website displayed in Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine

Prompted by questions from Library of Congress staff on how to more effectively use web archives to answer research questions, I recently gave a presentation on “Using Wayback Machine for Research” (PDF).

I thought that readers of The Signal might be interested in this topic as well. This post covers the outline of the presentation.

The Wayback Machine that many people are familiar with is the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive is an NDIIPP partner and a Founding Member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium.

Their mission includes creating an archive of the entire public web; the Wayback Machine is the interface for accessing it. While the Internet Archive has been primarily responsible for the development of Wayback Machine, it is an open source project.

Internet Archive also devised the name “Wayback Machine;” it is a reference to The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show’s homophonous “WABAC” Machine, a time machine itself named in the convention of mid-century mainframe computers (e.g., ENIAC, UNIVAC, MANIAC, etc.). The contemporary Wayback Machine thus appropriately evokes both the idea of traveling back in time and powerful computing technology (necessary for web archiving).

Source: Using Wayback Machine for Research | The Signal