Feb 062012

So many posts in the pipeline, so little time, such a large title.

1. New York Public Library

I have a huge unfinished post about visiting the New York Public Library in December , seeing an amazing array of cultural treasures in the 100 years anniversary display and evaluating the reference collection in the reading room. The highlight for me, as an educator of librarians, was the exam for children’s librarians in 1944. It contains questions like:

You are in charge of a Children’s Room that formerly had a staff of four professional children’s librarians. You now have a war emergency staff consisting of yourself, the only professional person; an alert young woman, wife of an army officer, who is a college graduate and taught Junior High School five years ago; a full-time clerk; and a half-time Hunter College girl who is at the library all day Saturday and every afternoon from three to six.Indicate how you would allocate the work, which includes weekly story hours and picture book hours, three class visits a week within the library and a weekly visit to a neighborhood nursery school;


In selecting stories to tell to children with a foreign inheritance what books would you choose for children from:

  • Denmark
  • Turkey
  • Brazil
  • Italy
  • Czechoslovakia

In naming the source, give title, author or translator, illustrator and publisher.

Click image for large view

2. Espresso Book Machine at Darien Public Library

Visiting Darien Public Library in Connecticut I made the six minute movie below showing the process of printing and binding a complete book from selecting the item on screen to a finished object coming out of the chute. I love the kids in the background narrating every point.

Two things that stood out for me:

  1. The machine was staffed as a “concession”, so in the same way as a library cafe may be in the United States. The person who staffed the machine did not work for the library, but was trained by the On Demands Books people.
  2. Usage was not very high yet, but there were signs that it was being used not so much for delivery of otherwise out of print or out of stock books, but that the main interest was in library users who wanted to self-publish their own work. In other words, there was a real role for this to encourage creation of content instead of just consumption.

3. Amanda Palmer Ninja Gigs in Public Libraries

Congratulations to Aimee Rhodes from the Melbourne City Library service and Corin Haines from Auckland Libraries for putting their libraries forward to host Ninja Gigs for author Neil Gaiman and singer Amanda Palmer (Melbourne) , and then Amanda’s band, the Boston-based Cabaret-Punk outfit, the Dresden Dolls (Auckland). I blogged last year about the self-distribution model used by Amanda Palmer and why libraries should take notice of this (Who would feel OK asking libraries for money ? ) .

Aimee was very gracious and replied to my questions in an email interview. As soon as I have enough time, I will post it here. I was most interested in fitting this kind of activity into the library’s traditional/future purpose, as I think it is definitely the space we should occupy. In the mean time, here is an account of how it happened from Amanda Palmer’s blog (The most important thing I learned in 2011 by Amanda Fucking Palmer (starts about half way down) , from Aimee’s blog (Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman Ninja Gig at City Library )and from Corin’s blog (Dresden Dolls at Auckland Library ).

Added bonus, Mein Herr being performed at Auckland Libraries (uploaded by Kcajamos )

 4. State Library of Western Australia – filtering and adding value with video

A nice start to a project that I hope develops further. State Library of Western Australia staff create small digital stories using their collection of local content, for example the one below – The last tram in Perth .



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