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MIT Invites Global Community to “Hack Its Libraries”

MIT invited its university members to “hack its libraries” as part of its Preliminary Future of the Library Report prepared by a faculty/student/staff Ad-Hoc Task Force. After a year of work, the Task Force’s recommendations envision a “global library for a global community.”

eye in a camera lens

Collecting and Destroying Data? Preventing Government Surveillance

Libraries have a lot of uses for big data. It can reveal useful information for librarians, archivists, researchers, publishers, and authors. What does this set of mobile analytics data tell us about users and their behavior?

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FEATURE | Public Libraries in the Age of Fake News

Scrolling through my Twitter feed the afternoon after the election, I was surprised to see so many people tweeting that the results were in: Donald Trump had won the popular vote. It surprised me because earlier that morning I had heard on the radio that Hillary Clinton was pulling even further ahead of Trump. I did some fact-checking and it became clear: I had witnessed another example of the viral spread of fake news.

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FEATURE | Mirrors and Windows: Diversity in Children’s Picture Books

William Caxton printed Aesop’s Fables in 1484, some saying it was the first book directed at children. Nearly two hundred years passed until The Little Book for Little Children by Thomas White was published in 1660, and the first modern picture book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, wasn’t published until 1902.[1] After a very slow start to the publication of children’s picture books, diversity within these books was slower still, and progress even reversed during certain decades. I became interested in picture book diversity after discovering that the first picture book to feature an African American character, The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats, was not published until 1962.[2] I began to investigate this subject further and became concerned by my findings.

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FEATURE | Civil Rights Training at Nashville Public Library

In light of recent and continuing conflicts between citizens and police across the nation, the Nashville (TN) Public Li­brary (NPL) has partnered with the Nashville Police Depart­ment on a groundbreaking diversity education initiative that aims to improve understanding and communication between police forces and citizens. The program, Civil Rights and a Civil Society, uses NPL’s […]

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The Revolution Will Be Musicalized

How much fun has it been for librarians to watch everyone get excited about a piece of US history, the American Revolutionary War? And it’s all thanks to a peppy piece of musical theatre named Hamilton. It may be the music that’s moving folks, but the subject matter is sparking renewed interest in America’s birth story. Here are some suggestions in various formats to satisfy patrons ranging from musical theatre geeks to history buffs.

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Librarian Takes It Off In The Stacks; Goes Viral

Clickbait is certainly nothing new, very much akin to methods used in supermarket tabloids, but what surprised me most is many people believed the fake news and gave credence to outrageous posts that came across their news feed and memes displayed on their phones via social media.

illustration of wallet with money and payment cards

Columbus Metropolitan Library Kicks Off a Fine Free 2017

Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) in Columbus, Ohio, is fulfilling a common library goal, to provide more access to library resources, in a less-common way—eliminating daily late fees on library materials. “What it boils down to is that we want to make it easier for more customers to check out more materials and not be deterred by overdue fines,” said Ben Zenitsky, marketing and communications specialist at CML.

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A Look at Basic Service Design

The five previous posts in this series have all been mostly concerned with physical spaces. Now let’s take a quick look at basic service design.

Colbert Nembhard

Educating Homeless Youth in the Bronx

For the last eight years, Colbert Nembhard has volunteered his time reading to homeless children at the Crotona Inn homeless shelter in the Bronx. He believes in early literacy intervention and strives to cultivate a love of reading in children while they are young. When Nembhard is not providing programming at the Crotona Inn homeless shelter, he manages the Morrisania Branch Library of the New York Public Library. Andrew Hart interviewed Nembhard via email on December 8, 2016.

New York City library

New York Public Library Opens Milstein Research Stacks

How do you store 2.5 million research materials while keeping them accessible? The New York Public Library’s answer is the recently opened Milstein Research Stacks, a two-level 55,600-square-foot underground storage space and a 950-foot railroad with 24 train cars that can cover 75 feet per minute.

Modern day library

Public Libraries: How Relevant Are They?

A recent episode of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Kathleen Dunn Show discussed the relevancy of public libraries in today’s world. Through interviews with Wisconsin Library Directors Paula Kiley and Kelly Krieg-Sigman, Dunn examined how libraries are being used by their communities and how this has changed over time.

german shepherd dog

Lessons From A Dog

If I were a better librarian, I think I’d be more like my dog, Chief. Let me qualify that. It’s not that I wish I were obsessed with rabbits or think wistfully of having a tail to wag, but he does have characteristics that could benefit me if I emulated them.

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The Benefits of Volunteers

In an earlier post, we talked about the challenges that can come with having volunteers in the library. The benefits of having volunteers, however, can be far greater than the obvious labor they provide. Sometimes having a volunteer program in a library is about much more than getting tangible aid.

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Teen Social Justice Symposium with Erin Hoopes – FYI Podcast 016

In the latest episode of PLA’s FYI Podcast, we talk with Erin Hoopes. Erin is head of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Philadelphia City Institute Branch. Here we discuss an initiative she spearheaded at the Free Library, a Teen Social Justice Symposium.