Brian Bethune writes: “On any given day, in one of the world’s busiest urban library systems, 50,000 people come through the doors of the Toronto Public Library’s 100 branches, while 85,000 make an online visit. Canada’s librarians have, with remarkable adroitness, turned their institutions into a key bridge over what they call the digital divide and an essential community hub in modern urban settings.”
Maclean's, Jan. 25
Nadine Wojakovski writes: “Dita Polachova was raised in a loving home in Prague, the only child of book-loving parents, who filled their shelves with German, Czech, and French books. Little did she know that by the age of 14 her life would be saved by a dozen tattered books that comprised possibly the smallest library in the world, in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Polachova and another boy became the children’s block librarians, entrusted to look after a few random books found among the luggage of the arrivals in Auschwitz.”
The Jewish Chronicle, Jan. 26
Barbara Basbanes Richter writes: “Since 1997, UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register has raised awareness of the state of preservation of civilization’s documentary heritage by nominating books or other documents that speak to our common history. In 2018, 90 documents relating to William Shakespeare’s life have been added to the register, mostly dealing with his baptism, burial, property records, and business transactions. Six of those documents hail from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection.”
Fine Books and Collections, Jan. 26
Abbie Weinberg writes: “Book reviews have been a staple of many academic journals for a long time. In my recent work, I have been searching through the early issues of one of the first scientific journals, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (many of which are freely digitized and searchable by the Royal Society) and I was bemused to discover that book lists and reviews were part of this early journal almost from the get-go. The first indication comes in volume 1, January 8, 1665–1666, pages 145–146.”
The Collation, Jan. 18
Alexandra K. Newman writes: “In most ways other than its name, Pliny’s Historia naturalis is the first attempt at creating an encyclopedia in the Western world—it aspires to be a comprehensive summary of knowledge about a particular subject, organized into easily navigable headings that are laid out in the summarium (a proto-index) at the beginning of the work. That Pliny made an effort at predicting the research interests of his readers was just short of revolutionary in 79 AD, when the Historia was first published.”
Unbound, Jan. 19
Expert instructor and librarian Peggy Johnson has revised and freshened Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management, published by ALA Editions, for its new fourth edition to ensure its timeliness and continued excellence. Each chapter offers complete coverage of one aspect of collection development and management, including numerous suggestions for further reading and narrative case studies exploring the issues.
ALA Editions, Jan. 25
Joshua Kim writes: “Google is getting into the audiobook business. Starting this week, audiobooks are available on Google Play. The online store has decent selection of newly released audiobooks for under $10. Even better, your first audiobook purchase is 50% off. Why should those of us in higher ed care that Google is getting into audiobooks? Perhaps having an easy Google audiobook discovery and purchase solution will encourage more higher ed audiobook listening. Lord knows that Audible needs the competition.”
Inside Higher Ed: Technology and Learning, Jan. 24
The ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section and the Society of American Archivists have developed a new standard, “Standardized Statistical Measures and Metrics for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries.” Until now, the absence of commonly accepted statistical measures has impeded the ability of repositories to conduct meaningful assessment initiatives and to articulate and evaluate best practices. The document was approved by the ACRL board of directors in October 2017.
ACRL, Jan. 25
Sarah Brewer writes: “The ALA Archives holds many treasures in unexpected places. The Issue Photographs files of American Libraries magazine is one such place, holding materials like original art and illustrations, such as original cartoons by Richard Lee. Lee’s cartoons for American Libraries, supplementing Will Manley’s column, are a treasure trove of classic and original library humor and were mostly published in the 1990s and 2000s, though many of the jokes are still relevant to libraries today.”
ALA Archives blog Jan. 25
Corin Balkovek writes: “When people find out I work in a library, they seem to always have some sort of observation or comment about libraries or reading that they need to tell me. And a lot of the time, it’s real annoying. I’m sure it happens to all sorts of professions, but in the attempt of being professional and not a total garbage human being, I sometimes have to censor my first reaction and substitute something a little more friendly and personable. After all, libraries want to be open and welcoming to all.”
Book Riot, Jan. 25
Jessica Leigh Hester writes: “Sitting at a Steinway piano in near darkness, Bernie Anderson flicks his eyes between the keys and a movie screen. Over his right shoulder, nearly all of the 203 seats in the Bruno Walter Auditorium on New York’s Upper West Side are full. These enthusiastic viewers have escaped the biting January wind for a screening of the “Silent Clowns” film series. Anderson is set off in a corner of the stage, so as not to distract from the daring, hapless antics. His fingers fly and flutter, and give the cinematic shenanigans an extra dimension.”
Atlas Obscura, Jan. 23
The latest Google Chrome update, announced January 24, includes an update that allows users to mute super-annoying autoplay audio on websites forever. Previously, a Chrome user could right click on a website’s tab to reveal a menu that included “Mute Tab.” With the update, right clicking on the tab now reveals “Mute Site.” This small update, however, will make a big difference. Many websites autoplay videos and blast us all with undesired sound. Now, any site can be permanently shut up.
Mashable, Jan. 25