Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Finns Love Libraries

Helsinki has a library to learn about the world, the city, and each other.
One of the goals of the Oodi library is to make them less afraid of the various contemporary anxieties and from more informed citizens.

Nordic-style social services have not shielded the residents of Finland’s largest city from 21st-century anxieties about climate change, migrants, disruptive technology, and the other forces fueling right-leaning populist movements across Europe. Oodi, which was the product of a 10-year-long public consultation and design process, was conceived in part to resist these fears. “When people are afraid, they focus on short-term selfish solutions,” Laitio said. “They also start looking for scapegoats.”

The central library is built to serve as a kind of citizenship factory, a space for old and new residents to learn about the world, the city, and each other. It’s pointedly sited across from (and at the same level as) the Finnish Parliament House that it shares a public square with.
KottkeCity Lab | ALA Architects

Monday, November 4, 2019

Sign The Petition

Tell Macmillan Publishers that you demand #eBooksForAll
America’s libraries are committed to promoting literacy and a love of reading with diverse collections, programs and services for all ages. Libraries are invested in making sure millions of people can discover and explore new and favorite authors through digital and print collections. Downloadable content and eBooks are often many reader’s front door to accessing material at their local library.

But now one publisher has decided to limit readers’ access to new eBook titles through their libraries.

Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers allows libraries—no matter the size of their city or town—to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release.

This is personal.
This embargo limits libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all. It particularly harms library patrons with disabilities or learning issues. One of the great things about eBooks is that they can become large-print books with only a few clicks, and most eBook readers offer fonts and line spacing that make reading easier for people who have dyslexia or other visual challenges. Because portable devices are light and easy to hold, eBooks are easier to use for some people who have physical disabilities.

Sign the petition.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Open Book Project

It’s harder to get an open source e-reader than you might think. Kindles are popular, but they lock you into Amazon’s ecosystem. Amazon’s books come with digital rights protection and the company can remove them from your device whenever it wants. Those problems exist on tablets from Barnes and Nobles, Google, and Apple, too. When it comes to open source reading, there’s just no good options. The Open Book Project wants to change that.

As first spotted by, “the Open Book aims to be a simple device that anyone with a soldering iron can build for themselves,” designer Joey Castillo said on the GitHub repository for the project.

One day, Castillo hopes people will be able to read millions of free eBooks on the open source devices. The Open Book is a work in progress, and Castillo hopes to have finalized the basic design by the end of the month. “I'll also have to start writing an open source firmware that can hold a library on an SD card and let people read, but hey, one thing at a time,” he said on his GitHub page. VICE

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Read Woke

Mississippi School librarian Cicely Lewis created the Read Woke School Reading Challenge

Woke? It’s a feeling. A form of education. A call to action, and our right as lifelong learners. It means arming yourself with knowledge to better protect your rights. Learning about others so you treat people with respect and dignity, no matter their religion, race, creed, or color.

Cicely Lewis concluded that a Woke Book must:
• Challenge a social norm
• Give voice to the voiceless
• Provide information about a group that has been disenfranchised
• Seek to challenge the status quo
• Have a protagonist from an underrepresented or oppressed group
Get a little more woke with these fiction and nonfiction titles from Ms. Lewis' #ReadWoke book list.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible

King County Library System is offering a free, limited-edition, all-access library card featuring Russell or Ciara Wilson. Available while supplies last, now through October 2019. Learn the story behind the cards.

Teen Programs: Skills, Confidence and Role Models for Success
The King County Library System provides youth with a wide variety of programs including: STEAM education, homework help and mentoring, coding classes, ESL support, SAT prep and much more.

And, as part of DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible, the campaign provided underwriting for KCLS’s Teen Voices program which was offered at six King County Library System libraries to motivate, empower and prepare students to be tomorrow’s leaders. Learn how to get involved with teen programs at

Why Not You Scholars
As part of DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible, the Why Not You Foundation awarded $100,000 in college scholarships in May 2019 to eight deserving students in King County. The Why Not You Scholarship program is in partnership with the College Success Foundation. Four students were awarded $20,000 ($5,000 annually, towards a four-year university), and four students were awarded $5,000 ($2,500 annually, towards a community college or trade school). These need-based scholarships were awarded to King County students who exemplified how they are DREAMING BIG and believing ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Learn about our 2019 cohorts.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Boy Lifts Book; Librarian Changes Boy's Life

Judge Olly Neal grew up in Arkansas during the ’50s and didn’t care much for high school. One day he wandered into the library, where he came across a book by African-American author Frank Yerby. The cover piqued his interest, but Olly didn’t want to risk his reputation by letting his classmates see him voluntarily reading. So rather than check out the book, he stole it. (animated video) NPR article
Attending his 13-year high school reunion, Neal ran into the school's librarian, Mildred Grady. She had seen him trying to steal The Treasure of Pleasant Valley years ago.

"She told me that she saw me take that book when I first took it," Neal said.

"She said, 'My first thought was to go over there and tell him, boy, you don't have to steal a book, you can check them out — they're free.'

"Then she realized what my situation was — that I could not let anybody know I was reading."

Grady told Neal she decided that if he was showing an interest in books, "she and Mrs. Saunders would drive to Memphis and find another one for me to read — and they would put it in the exact same place where the one I'd taken was." 

So, every time Neal decided to take a book home, the pair would set off to the city to find another book for him.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Capturing Historic Smells

Eau de tome These 15 compounds help make up the smell of old books, according to a study carried out by researchers at University College London.

However pleasant it might be for book lovers, Nelson says that old-book smell is ultimately a sign of a book’s slow decay.

“There’s this wonderful romance around old books, but as a curator, that smell makes me think, ‘ooh, that book’s had a hard life,’ ” Nelson laughs.

Chemical analyses such as the ones performed by Bembibre and Strlič could provide opportunities to step in and preserve an item before its degradation passes the point of no return.

Besides aiding with conservation, this chemical analysis of odors will help researchers understand the building blocks of important historical smells, possibly allowing the scientists to recreate those scents, which have largely been lost to time. Chemical & Engineering News