Archive for June, 2008

Seventeen library services across America have been awarded £292,000 to develop a programme aimed at increasing the awareness of library users within urban settings about the importance of physical and brain health.

The ‘Fit for Life’ initiative will provide free, balanced and trustworthy information on issues related to personal health, nutrition, health care provision and physical fitness. With the potential to reach almost 7 million people via branch libraries this project will surely produce enoromous value for both communities and individual users.

Reminded me of a smaller scale project launched earlier this year by East Renfrewshire’s Library & Information Service in Scotland (with financial support from SLAINTE), called My Health; a health information portal aimed at improving access to reliable health information on the web.

Both projects once again illustrating the social value of public libraries and their potential to change lives!

‘Fit for Life’ Story found via ALA Direct.


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I’ll be honest, I was a bit disheartened when a member of my book group chose a graphic novel as our nextTales from the Farm big read. I was worried that it would fail to capture my imagination and that I’d be unable to care about the characters or the story.

How wrong was I? Tales from the Farm by Jeff Lemire is a wonderfully heart-felt story about Lester, a young boy who goes to live with his uncle on a farm in Canada, following the death of his mother.

The illustrations are brilliant and really help to convey the loneliness and alienation felt by the central characters; and their joy as they escape into a fantasy world of superheroes and alien invasions.

It made me think about the importance of stocking a diverse range of graphic novels in public libraries. All too often these collections are made up of popular Japanese manga novels which have mass appeal and are more likely to drive issue figures.

Tales from the Farm offers something a bit different for the genre and has the potential to inspire readers; helping some to come to terms with the transition from childhood to adulthood; and offering others the opportunity to reflect on their early years and childhood fantasies of space exploration and saving the world…a time when anything was possible!

Either way, I feel that graphic novels like this add genuine value to public library collections and to the lives of those who read them.

Thanks to Coll for opening my mind to the wonderful world of graphic novels!

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Library 10, Helsinki - Photo by Chris GurneyAt the recent CILIPS Branch/Group Day at Peebles Hydro in Scotland there was lots of buzz surrounding a presentation by Käri Lamsä from Helsinki’s Library 10

Library 10 is one of the most modern public libraries I’ve ever come across.  It’s a music library, but unlike any music library I’ve ever visited.  It still provides many of the services you’d expect from a traditional public library but really comes alive as a space and place for users to discover, collaborate, perform, record, discuss and perhaps more importantly, enjoy music. 

It seems to have captured the imagination of users across a range of demographics and has successfully appealed to younger users in a non-patronising way!

Their website is really user friendly too, check them out here

Thanks to Alan Poulter for the heads up!

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Photo courtesy of nypl.orgWent to see SATC on Friday night and was delighted to see New York Public Library making a guest appearance in the movie

I had no idea that they’d filmed scenes in the library or that there’d be a dialogue between two of the main characters discussing the pros and cons of borrowing books!   I just love references to libraries in popular culture; especially in high profile movies. 

Perhaps some of those women who copy everything that Carrie Bradshaw does will feel inspired to pop into their own local library to check out the romantic love letters collections!   Could public libraries really be the new Jimmy Choos? 

Hmm, I’m not sure…

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Los Angeles Public Library Digital Collection - The Golden Age of Travel PostersWhilst trying to locate images for a poster session I’m involved in I came across this really cool exhibition of travel posters from the 1920s and 1930s.   

If you’ve got a few minutes to spare have a quick browse through the collection; it  captures superbly the ‘”golden age of travel posters'”

Made me want to pack up my rucksack and head off on my travels again!

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