Small is an important [re]action in libraries

Seems the wheel keeps turning, when it’s powered by cultural and community interest.  I remember when I first moved to my suburb with a young family, over 20 years ago. Beecroft had it’s own children’s library, run and staffed entirely by volunteers. This was the greatest thing, and perfect for an age of literacy, knowledge, curiosity and excitement which was powered by the best in youth works in both fiction and non-fiction collections.

Beecroft Children’s Library was a vibrant and significant part of the Beecroft-Cheltenham community for over 50 years.  It was important for two reasons:

  • it was an important resource for the area’s youth, complementing the high quality schools the area is renowned for; and
  • it was a good example of volunteerism, with it’s fund-raising social activities a focal point for the community, as well as the volunteer staffing of the library.

In our connected era, the notion, purpose, and function of libraries are being challenged. In this context, it’s great to see the ways in which grass-roots action is positioning ‘volunteer’ libraries once again in new ways to meet new needs.

I love the the trend of teeny-weeny libraries in little playhouses. The Corner Library is the latest in a slew of “micro-libraries” cropping up at different locations across the United States. Currently situated in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, this treehouse-sized book shop is the brainchild of artist Colin McMullan. A mini replica of the classic public library, it contains everything from books to ‘zines to newspapers to comics, all available to check out for free- all you need is access to the lock code. Browse the titles and learn more here!

In much the same way the Great British Phone Box seems to be living on as a tiny library. The red telephone box is a British design classic. And many of these iconic boxes, as well as more modern boxes are getting a new lease of life as part of our innovative Adopt a Kiosk programme. Sometimes this newley adopted phonebox becomes a micro-library.

Meanwhile, the Town of Clinton in New York’s Hudson Valley recently christened a bright red British telephone kiosk as “America’s Littlest Library.” The Book Booth, a branch of the Clinton Community Library houses about 100 books and is part of the library’s book exchange program. Staino in the Library Journal  explains how the library’s Friends’ group created the branch library from the classic British telephone booth. The idea came from Claudia Cooley, a library Friend, who was familiar with the recent British trend of transforming no longer used booths into art galleries, toilets, and, in one case, a pub. Cooley envisioned upcycling the booth, which had long stood outside a local café, as a way to bring together a community that does not have a town center.

The Occupy Wall Street library encouraged readers to set up People’s Libraries around the country: “if you’d like to open a branch of the People’s Library in your New York neighborhood, find a [Privately Owned Public Space], bring down some books and meet your neighbors. It all starts with a few books in a box.”

Wow – public spaces that people own adopted for ‘libraries by people’ is great!

GalleyCat also suggests that we explore free eBook collections at eBookNewser, Project Gutenberg or the Internet Archive for ideas. Post your list on your blog, Facebook page, LibraryThing page, Twitter account, Goodreads page or Tumblr blog.

Seems to me that the small [re]action in libraries has a lot going for it!  It’s all part of the cultural voice crying out that LIBRARIES MATTER.

Local Books iPhone application!

Local Books is a new iPhone App which should be of interest to all book lovers. It’s powered by LibraryThing Local, the LibraryThing member-created database of 51,000 bookstores and libraries around the world.

Local Books is our contribution to keeping the book world interesting. Amazon and other online retailers are great. LibraryThing is great too. But book lovers can’t be happy in a world with fewer and fewer physical bookstores, and a rising threat to libraries. The more we know about this physical book world, the better we can foster it, and the better we can use websites like LibraryThing and Amazon to improve our world, not replace it.

This application is unique – as it draws on the power of a socially-connected and created resources. We have the chance to increase the value of the App too.

I’ve downloaded it – tested – and it works a treat!!

More details from the LibraryThing Blog:

How You Can Help. Even with 51,000 venues, not every bookstore and library is in LibraryThing. If you know of one that’s not in there, go ahead and add it. If you represent the bookstore or library in question, you can “claim” your venue page, and start using LibraryThing to connect to your customers or patrons. Even if they’re all there, most are still missing something—a photograph, a phone number, a good description, a Twitter handle. Events—especially indie bookstores and libraries—are a particular need. It’s a virtuous cycle. The better we can make the data, the more people will find the application useful, and the more people who will make it better

Features include:

  • Search for venues (bookstores and libraries) as well as events near your current location using the iPhone’s built-in location features.
  • Search for venues and events at any location or by name.
  • Venues can be sorted by distance, name, or type.
  • Venues are color coded, following the maps on LibraryThing Local (colors correspond to the colors used on maps in LibraryThing Local).
  • Each venue has a detail page with a map. Tap it to jump to the iPhone Maps application.
  • Venues often sport a description, clickable website and phone number links, events, and a photo.
  • You can favorite locations and events, and there’s a “Favorites” list where you can find them.(1)

Check it out on iTunes.

Spotted in the BookBench at the NewYorker and  promoted on  Twitter  by @librarythingtim - of course :-)

Subscribe

New Here? Want to never miss a post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get each post delivered right into browser or email. Thanks for visiting!

Playing with text widgets in wordpress

Sue Waters has been having fun getting ideas on widgets and helping bloggers using edublogs via the new blog The Edublogger.

I have used WordPress.com as my preferred blogging platform, though I also use blogger from time to time. But for classroom use, I have always preferred to use edublogs.org (another wordpress system), because of its various options for use at schools for students, teachers, or for whole campus.

I’ve provided all sorts of support to people with blogging over the last two years, and so have learnt a few tips and tricks along the way.

Sue has asked us to share these with the edublogs community, via our own blogs. So here is one that I used for my super(woman) friend Danni Miller at her blog The Butterfly Effect – an inspiration to girls and women here in Australia. Danni’s blog was nominated for Best New Blog in 2007. I’ve been honoured to provide consultant support to this fabulous dynamo and advocate for girls and women!

Danni particularly wanted to be able to promote her various ideas and resources to her readers. Of course Vodpod took care of her video recommendations. Library Thing was the ideal choice for her book recommendations.

Here’s the code that I used to display a random selection of books from her Library Thing Book Collection as it appears on her blog The Butterfly Effect. This is placed into a text box in your widget tools and can be used in WordPress or Edublogs. I have substituted words in square brackets to indicate where you will need to insert your own links or LibraryThing profile name.

<a href=”//www. [insert the rest of your LibraryThing URL (don't put http:)]“><img src=”http://[for an image you would like to show permanently to promote your collection insert the rest of the image URL]“>
<a href=”http://www.[insert the rest of your LibraryThingURL]“>
<img src=”http://www.librarything.com/gwidget/widget.php?view=
[the name of your LibraryThing profile]
&&width=170&lheight=11;type=random&num=8&hbold=1&ac
=ac8834&tc=000000&bc=EEEEFF&fsize=8″>
</a>

Clicking on either the image or the random selection of books being displayed will take your readers directly to your Library Thing account.

Enjoy!

Oh, and if you need consultant support in your organisation or school for introducing, establishing or using blogging I just might be able to help you out too! :-)