Monday, June 21, 2010

Save your local libraries

Libraries remain a crucial social resource, but in these times of cuts they appear like an 'easy cut' to make (for politicians). An old friend from my show-biz days made this short film in support of the local library where he now lives - in Australia - but it seems relevant wherever you live!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Top 8 Books Written by Librarians

Currently, Abebooks has displayed their top 8 books by librarians!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Darien Statements on the library and librarians

Down the right hand side you will see links to several members of the librarian blogosphere (as a non-professional library assistant I feel like a gate-crasher), which I browse at times.

I visited In The Library With the Lead Pipe to read a discussion of what librarians are for, etc - and a footnote to that article pointed to the Darien Statements, which cheered me up no end.

I offer a sample (as a teaser) but please click the above link to read the whole (brief) statement.

The Role of the Library

The Library:

• Provides the opportunity for personal enlightenment.
• Encourages the love of learning.
• Empowers people to fulfill their civic duty.
• Facilitates human connections.
• Preserves and provides materials.
• Expands capacity for creative expression.
• Inspires and perpetuates hope.

The Role of Librarians


• Are stewards of the Library.
• Connect people with accurate information.
• Assist people in the creation of their human and information networks.
• Select, organize and facilitate creation of content.
• Protect access to content and preserve freedom of information and expression.
• Anticipate, identify and meet the needs of the Library’s community.

Librarians on space hoppers

According to Manchester Libraries' Facebook Page, librarians on space-hoppers will be seen in a street parade on Sunday 20th June.

It relates to this year's Summer Reading Challenge - more details at the fun webpage at SpaceHop.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Digitization - the future of libraries?

Here's an interesting article at the BBC, about the process of putting the National Library collection online as a free resource - in competition with Google Books' ambition to do similar things...

One of the comments references a definitive critique of the difference between Google Books and a proper library system...

Google Books: A Metadata Train Wreck

Love those books (oh, and the internet)

Cardiff Central Library, on The Hayes
A quick follow up to the previous post about Welsh Libraries increasing their number of visitors.

Here's an article from the South Wales Echo, available online at WalesOnline, including an interview with Cardiff Central Library's manager...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Keith Richards - wannabe librarian

Keef strikes a blow for the stereotype of the librarian - apparently in his forthcoming autobiography he admits to a massive reading habit, and his attempts to sort the thousands of books in his house...

Keith Richards - It's Only Books and Shelves (from Times Online).

"When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser."
- Keith Richards

Some better news

Paige Turner (over at Swansea Libraries) had a link to this BBC page, which shows Welsh Libraries doing better than average across the UK.

Swansea Central Library came top. For a glimpse of the new look to the design of libraries, go look at this page on Opening The Book.

Swansea Central Library - floor plan

How to ask a Library Angel

Image used without permission - from Wim Wenders' film 'Wings of Desire' Ahem - after my little rant I thought I should find something more charming and interesting for you.

How To Ask a Library Angel

I found this after reading A Whole New Mind (by Daniel H. Pink), which (in the design section) recommended the work and websites of Robin Williams the designer.

Be careful what you wish for... IMHO

Making libraries more accessible to all, by allowing the use of mobile phones, eating and drinking, no shushing, no need to be a member, etc seems like the current management style in many libraries (not just us) but it comes at a price.

We now have gangs of young people milling around, fighting, tearing each other's hair out, screaming, giggling, etc. Did the plan include losing the peaceful sanctuary of the old-fashioned library?

The parallel for me remains old churches. As a lifelong atheist I still enjoy the peace of churches and cathedrals (especially when travelling) as places to think, contemplate or meditate - although I could do without the images of torment that seem so popular in the West. I mention churches, however, precisely because even I (doomed heretic though I am) respect the atmosphere generated by years of respect for the space. I take off my hat, I don't do flash photography, etc.

If we sacrifice the 'atmosphere of respect for learning' that libraries traditionally have, then perhaps we drive away the previous users, in exchange for people who have no real use for what we offer.

If libraries no longer offer sanctuary and peace, where can a quiet person now go, when in town? The park, maybe?

Of course, being 'currently fashionable management style' means we may well reverse this approach somewhere in the future, but it could prove hard to reclaim the pleasant atmosphere of mutual respect after this foray into popularism.

Eating, drinking, running and screaming in the library - next thing you know they'll be allowing singing in church. Oh, wait...

This feels more like trying to attract people to church by having rock concerts.
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