What’s a library without books? Some bookless libraries




I read about a library without books sometime in the late 1990s, I don’t remember what college or university in New York  had no room in its library for a computer lab. So it opened one in another nearby building it owned and called it a branch library. Why? Because it was staffed with librarians. In principle, it’s not the presence of a book collection that defines a library. A library simply requires librarians. In recent years, however, libraries have experimented with bookless libraries based on digital technology. That is, they have books, just not printed books. How is that … Continue reading






Treasure trove: New York Public Library Digital Collection




The New York Public library holds many rare and valuable materials. The new New York Public Library Digital Collection makes them easily available. Before the Internet, if you wanted to use them, provided you knew they existed, you would have had to travel to the library and consult them in person. When the library first began to digitize them and put them online, you could have seen and downloaded a low-resolution images. You would have had to pay for, and wait for, a high-resolution image. Discovery and access were still difficult. Perhaps its description of one of its major collection … Continue reading






22 ways to use the library




Do you know what’s going on at the library? Even if you’re a regular library user, you may may be missing something interesting. Libraries represent a kind of “third space,” which is neither home nor work. Unlike many others, they are not a business. They don’t carry with them the expectation that you will pay for something. Of course, libraries offer numerous services you can use. You’re paying for public library services with tax dollars. You’re paying for academic library services if you are part of a college/university community. For most purposes, then, you never have to dig out cash … Continue reading






Academic libraries and how they differ from public libraries




In a sense, a library is a library. It exists to connect people with the information they need. Once upon a time, that information was all printed, except for libraries that owned manuscript collections. The explosion of new formats—sound recordings, film and video recordings, and all manner of electronic media—has affected every kind of library. Still, there are important differences between public and academic libraries. The following two lists by no means adequately describe either public or academic libraries, but they serve to show the contrast. … Continue reading






Something old and something new in a recent research project




I concede: Real research can be done using only web sources. Just not much. Since this month is Earth Month, I want to look back at the first Earth Day in 1970 for one of my other blogs. Can I find enough information on the web to write something about it? Sure. And I’d produce a post every bit as disappointing as an online article I wrote about last fall, which appears to have started out as an undergraduate honors paper. So I had to use some very old research methods. Along the way, I found a new piece of … Continue reading