Library robots




Libraries have always been at the forefront of adopting new technology, but their innovations usually have something to do with organizing and retrieving information. The online library catalog is a good example. Now some libraries are borrowing technology from manufacturing: robots that shelve and retrieve physical books. It may come as a surprise to some people that printed books are still such a big deal to academic libraries. After all, much of formerly huge reference collections has been replaced by online databases. Long runs of many important journals and other periodicals are likewise available as full text online. Ebooks have … Continue reading






Assorted bookworms




When I googled “bookworm,” almost the entire first page of hits concerned an online word game. The lone exception was for a long-running radio program about books. I suppose a fair amount of book clubs, book stores, book review newspaper columns, etc. have the name bookworm or bookworms. I even came across Bookworm Socks! And why not? Bookworm is a long establish idiom for someone who spends a lot of time reading or studying. I take it the term is not entirely complimentary, as in this illustration: ” The girl who would rather stay inside and read than go out … Continue reading






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






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






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