Libraries, ebooks, and the freedom to read




Libraries have long championed its patrons’ right to privacy. The American Library Association first adopted a document known as the Library Bill of Rights in 1939. Basically, it states that whatever anyone chooses to read is no one else’s business, and there is no good reason for the government or any other entity to interfere. Much more recently, librarians eagerly pursued means of lending ebooks to their patrons, only to find unexpected incompatibilities between doing so and freedom to read. Libraries and privacy Every once in a while, some spectacular criminal act will have people suggesting that maybe the police … Continue reading






New technology in libraries




I suppose all professional organizations have regular large, national or international meetings where members gather to learn about the latest developments. Normally they feature an exhibit hall where various vendors display their wares. In recent decades these exhibits always include plenty of fancy new computer technology. Libraries have always been on the forefront of information technology. We think of information technology as requiring the use of computers to store and manipulate data about data, or metadata. In fact, a library catalog entry is and has always been metadata, long before computers existed. When experts at the Library of Congress devised … Continue reading






Graphic novels at the library




The graphic novel is a strange beast in a way. It looks just like a comic book, except it usually has a stronger cover. Where a novel is definitely a form of fiction, a graphic novel can be any kind of narrative, even non-fiction. Oh well, “comic” books, which are really magazines, can have dramatic stories. The English language never has really made any sense, so why should we expect it to when it comes to graphic novels. The reason for this post is that libraries are collecting them seriously. Consider how many movies and TV shows have been based … Continue reading






Teenagers, libraries, digital media, and learning




To many grownups, teenagers always seem to be goofing off with various electronic toys: cell phones, music players, game consoles, portable computers, and the like. Teenagers certainly consume a lot of digital media. Libraries are discovering that this same passion for digital technology can help develop creativity and critical thinking skills. In November 2011, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, along with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, made grants of $100,000 to twelve museums and libraries across the country to develop digital learning laboratories for teenagers. They will announce another round of grants in November 2012. … Continue reading






10 authors on books and libraries




The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading in order to write. A man will turn over half a library to make a book. – Samuel Johnson If I have to spend time in purgatory before going to one place or the other, I guess I’ll be all right as long as there’s a lending library. – Stephen King A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them. … Continue reading