Digital Divide – Status Check

June 1, 2008

Today’s Chicago Tribune looks into the digital divide. Summary: it’s still there. From the article:

“I was tired of eating at soup kitchens,” Marie said. “I didn’t feel like a real person. I didn’t have an e-mail address.”


The Library in the New Age

May 22, 2008

The New York Review of Books has a very nice essay on the nature and impermanence of information, the role of research libraries in the digital age, and one of our favorite recurring topics here, Google Books.

U.S. to Create Digital Libraries in Muslim Countries

May 22, 2008

The United States has offered to establish 10 digital libraries in Muslim countries “to help the Organization of Islamic Conference pursue scientific and technological advancement.”

Read more at the Associated Press of Pakistan.

How Green Is My Library?

May 15, 2008

Not all important library technologies are information technologies. Appalachian State University News today highlighted its “Carol Grotnes Belk Library and Information Commons” which has recently been recognized by both Library Journal and American Libraries for excellence in green design.

“The green features of Belk Library include an emphasis on natural lighting as well as advanced mechanical equipment for energy savings, cork flooring, energy-efficient elevator system, electronic sensor faucets and toilets, computer-controlled shades and recycled/recyclable carpeting.”

Who Needs Technology?

May 14, 2008

Here’s a nice break from all this technology stuff: the Christian Science Monitor has a piece celebrating the Old Fashioned Library, card catalog included. “What our town has is unique: The library is more a reading room than a repository with technological aids; more a literary salon – although a loosely structured one – than a hushed space with little interaction among patrons.”

Online Reservations and Rising Circulation

May 11, 2008

This brief article from today’s Chicago Tribune highlights the Chicago Public Library’s Netflix-like online reservation system. The The CPL credits the new system with a significant increase in numbers: circulation up by over 28% since last year and holds up by over 92%.

Interestingly, the author wonders how much of the circulation increase is due to economic worries, noting anecdotal accounts of people switching from bookstores to libraries as a money-saving measure.

Avatars in Peril

May 11, 2008

Illinois Republican Congressman Mark Kirk has proposed banning Second Life access in schools and libraries, citing concerns over minors accessing explicit content. The articles notes that the ALA is strongly opposed, and while I didn’t see a statement specifically opposing the Second Life proposal, ALA has consistently opposed attempts at legislation that would ban library-based access to social networking sites.