Book Mountain

October 10th, 2012

How can I resist posting a picture of a five storey Book Mountain?1

Book Mountain

[Via The Morning News]

  1. Actually, it's a new public library in Spijkenissse, near Rotterdam. But 'Book Mountain' is a more evocative term.

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The Right to Roam Libraries

April 24th, 2012

Towards the end of a posting at the Wellcome Library weblog commemorating the 80th anniversary of the mass trespass that led, in time, to the creation of Britain's first National Parks and the establishment of the Right to Roam, the subject turns to libraries:

One of the inspirational presentations [at a symposium in London last year] came from information professionals in the Swedish city of Gävle, describing an initiative that promoted the city's libraries, archives and museums together under the slogan "Kulturell Allemansrät" – the cultural right to roam. A library gives its users the same freedom that the Manchester Rambler needed: access to the whole world of knowledge, without restrictions (except for a few on behaviour that harms other people's rights: [...]), without the concept of trespassing. The world of knowledge is laid out: and readers have the right to roam.

Damn straight.1

  1. Reading that passage, I couldn't help but think that a recording of Jerusalem should have been playing in the background. Well, either that or the Manic Street Preachers' A Design for Life.

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The secret life of libraries

May 3rd, 2011

The secret life of libraries collects a set of anecdotes that serve to remind us of how much more there is to public libraries than mere statistics about the number of books/DVDs sent out on loan each week:

"The council once asked us for an assessment of outcomes, not output," says [retired librarian] Ian Stringer. "Output was how many books we'd stamped out, and outcome was something that had actually resulted from someone borrowing a book. So say someone took out a book on mending cars and then drove the car back, that's an outcome; or made a batch of scones from a recipe book they had borrowed. It lasted until one of the librarians told the council they'd had someone in borrowing a book on suicide, but that they'd never brought it back. The council stopped asking after that."

[Via The Morning News]

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Human Libraries

December 29th, 2010

I wonder if the stock in a human library wear an arm-band that signals what genre they're in:

The idea of a Human Library first emerged in Copenhagen about a decade ago, as a way to break down prejudice by bringing people of different backgrounds together for one-on-one conversation. The Toronto Public Library held its first Human Library event at five branches on Nov. 6, attracting more than 200 users who checked out the likes of a police officer, a comedian, a sex-worker-turned-club-owner, a model and a survivor of cancer, homelessness and poverty. They're all volunteers whose lives would make good reading, but even better one-on-one chatting. The library is considering make the program long-term, so a supply of human books will be regularly available to readers.

Seriously, whilst I don't think the concept is for everyone, I can see how the right 'human book' could be fascinating.

Then again, there could easily be a dark side to this. Can't you just see David Cameron's 'Big Society' requiring recipients of out-of-work benefits to spend a few hours a week as 'stock' in a human library.1

[Via The Millions]

  1. You know, to improve their communication skills for when they manage to land a job interview. Of course, there would be a twist: if the borrower gave their human book a bad review upon checking him/her back in, the benefit claimant would lose a week's benefit.

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Book rental

June 5th, 2008

How to make a librarian cry.

[Via mathowie]

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