Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Public Library’s Contemporary Condition

irredenta:

A most excellent, impassioned essay by Zadie Smith:

Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.

In the modern state there are very few sites where this is possible. The only others that come readily to my mind require belief in an omnipotent creator as a condition for membership. It would seem the most obvious thing in the world to say that the reason why the market is not an efficient solution to libraries is because the market has no use for a library. But it seems we need, right now, to keep re-stating the obvious. There aren’t many institutions left that fit so precisely Keynes’s definition of things that no one else but the state is willing to take on. Nor can the experience of library life be recreated online. It’s not just a matter of free books. A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012
We need to recognize that we don’t have all the answers. We need other people and we need to set our egos aside and allow others to come to the table and work with us. When we do good deeds in the community, we can’t take all the credit. Sometimes we may even have to take a back seat and let others be in front. If we’re going to hear people we have to be open in spite of hearing pain. We may have to go hear how the library is failing in our community. We need the humility to recognize that we simply can’t be all things to all people

Richard C. Harwood, president and founder of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation speaking at ALA President’s Program

See also: public schools, religious organizations, government, et al. 

(h/t thelibrarianontherun)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Few institutions have been more challenged by the rise of the internet and mobile connectivity than the local library,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project. “Many libraries have responded with innovations and sweeping overhauls in the way they deliver on their missions. With the Gates Foundation’s support, the Pew Internet Project will provide an in-depth, data-driven analysis of how libraries are responding to technology trends, and how communities’ expectations are changing at a time when library functions are in flux. We’re very happy to announce our new 3-year research initiative to study the changing role of public libraries and library users in the digital age, supported by a $1.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation! Learn more (via pewinternet)
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 Wednesday, October 5, 2011 Wednesday, September 21, 2011 Tuesday, September 6, 2011 Saturday, August 20, 2011 Thursday, August 4, 2011 Monday, July 11, 2011
kelleydoesthelibrary:

“The Edmonton Public Library lets its card-holding members skip a lengthy search of the shelves. An offsite vending machine like the one seen here allows users to check out books, DVD, CDs, and video games, all without ever being shushed by a librarian. There’s even a return bin.”

kelleydoesthelibrary:

“The Edmonton Public Library lets its card-holding members skip a lengthy search of the shelves. An offsite vending machine like the one seen here allows users to check out books, DVD, CDs, and video games, all without ever being shushed by a librarian. There’s even a return bin.”