Archive for January, 2009

Been looking into city-wide reading initiatives this afternoon and realise that The Lost World Read launches this week. The initiative is part of an even bigger project;  Darwin 200 which celebrates the bicentenary of Charles Darwin and his transformational scientific ideas.   


The Lost World Read 2009

Participating cities up and down the UK will start reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic adventure story about dinosaurs and exploration; The Lost World.    

If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the participating cities then pop into your local public library where you should be able to pick up a free copy of the book; or keep an eye out for discarded copies on park benches, coffee shops and buses as The Lost World is being shared as part of the Bookcrossing initiative.  


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It took me a while to get into Twitter but I’m really starting to enjoy it now…  twitter

Although some people boast in excess of 10,000 followers I only have 10; and I’m only following 17. But that’s enough for me at the moment.  

I’m finding it a useful tool for professional networking rather than keeping up to date with what my friends are up to – we’ve already got Facebook for that!  

Some people do just tweet about what they’re having for lunch, but others, like Library Journal, Tim O’ReillyPhil Bradley,  scotlibraries and library blogger Joeyeanne regularly post links to interesting articles, breaking news and new technologies. 

Microblogging is the future, apparently…but if you’re still not sure if Twitter’s for you then check out this amusing article from the New York Times.

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Inauguration 2.0…

If, like me, you’re excited about Obama’s inauguration speech then check out this blog entry from the Guardian.  It’s packed full of lots of advice about where to find the best web 2.0 coverage of today’s activities.  


I’ve bookmarked the following:

Inaugural Blog, Twitter, FlickrFacebook*, YouTube*, BBC and Huffington Post.  

I don’t want to miss a thing!

*Search for “Barack Obama Inauguration” on Facebook and “Obama Inauguration” on YouTube.

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The programme for Glasgow’s annual Aye Write Book Festival is now online.  


Lots happening this year; author events, poetry slams, workshops, plays…even a Doctor Who extravaganza!  

Seems like the Mitchell Library is the place to be for book lovers in March!

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recession1I covered this a bit last week but there’s a great story in the Wall Street Journal today which also highlights the essential role that public libraries are playing in helping people deal with the current financial crisis.  

According to the article, American libraries are reporting up to a 65% rise in attendance over the past 12 months as droves of people visit their local library to make use of the free services on offer.  

It seems that the bulk of these new visitors are turning to the library after being made redundant from their jobs, with many needing urgent help and advice on how to search for jobs, update their CVs and survive the credit crunch.  In addition to ever popular lending services, free broadband internet access, counselling services and careers workshops are also proving a massive draw.

Surely this current trend of people turning to their libraries in times of crisis highlights one of the most important aspects of the public library; the fact that it exists!  

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So, it’s been revealed that performing two Google searches from your desktop computer could generate as muchtea carbon dioxide as boiling your kettle for a cup of tea.  

Apparently, every time you search for something on Google your query isn’t sent to one server, but lots of different servers, located across the US, Europe, Japan and China.    Each server competes against the other to retrieve results faster – and this leads to increased energy consumption.

There are lots of impressive figures to support the claims of the project’s researcher, Dr Alex Wissner-Gross, but I’m not a huge fan of quantitative studies so I’m not as outraged as some by these revelations.  As pointed out by another sceptic on the Technologizer Blog you could be searching for information about a life threatening disease or browsing results for your favourite TV show and what these statistics fail to recognise is that each of these searches has a different value, or worth, to the searcher.  

In their own response, Google hints at the energy being saved by performing searches online and questions the validity of the results.  All makes for interesting reading.  

Whatever your opinion, the research carried out at Harvard does make us stop and think about ‘searching the internet’ as an environmental issue, and that’s a good thing.  Although, I did perform about 8 different Google searches this morning to find out more information about the environmental impact of Google.  Oh, the irony….

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Hurrah, we’ve made it through the first working week of January!  Here’s something for you to browse through at your own leisure…19 Really Cool Gadgets for your Office.  

I’m seriously considering treating myself a little something…maybe a little USB Humidifier with Aromatherapy or perhaps a Portable Sleeping Cube

USB Humidifier with AromatherapyPortable Sleeping Cube






Link found via ALA newsletter

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Doing a bit of research on public library architecture today and stumbled upon the Designing Libraries website.  Their database consists of descriptions and images of innovative library architecture dating back to the 1990s.   

Idea Store BowLowestoft Library

So, if you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to apply to your own library design project, or like me, you just fancy a wee nosey around some cool libraries without having to leave the comfort of your desk, then this is the site for you.

There’s even an option to  send your favourite library image as an e-card to all of your library friends.  Enjoy!

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In times of economic hardship people have less disposable income and thus tend to cut down on their luxury goods expenditure.  The purchasing of books, DVDs, music, new technologies and branded groceries, alongside outings to the theatre, cinemas and football matches become less frequent as we all try to tighten our belts a little.  

We’ve been speculating for a few months now that the latest credit crunch might have a positive impact on public library usage and we’re starting to see some real evidence of that.  Recent news stories from America reveal that public library authorities in Santa Fe  and Frederick County have enjoyed an increase in visitor numbers over the last 6-9 months.  There’s also been a shift in how people have been interacting with their local libraries and the types of services that they’re accessing.  Once again, the public library is emerging as a lifeline and invaluable resource for people trying to find new jobs, learn new skills or simply escape from the harsh realities of the recession by rediscovering the joy of reading…

Even a few of my friends who’ve always bought their books from Amazon and who had previously admitted to me that they’d rather browse the shelves of Borders than visit their local library have signed up for library memberships!  Telling times indeed!  

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At the end of 2008 Unison published this timely report which looked at the current state of the public library service in the UK and its volatile future.  

Unison Campaign Leaflet

Unison Campaign Leaflet

The report highlights the public library as a “priceless – if often underused – link with the community” and calls for the government and local authorities to implement the following five point plan to ensure its future success as an involved, relevant, imaginative, welcoming and valued public service in the 21st century:

1. Adequate resources and funding for library services, staff and premises

2. Empowerment of staff and communities to shape services together

3. Partnership working between libraries and councils across the UK to share information and good practice

4. Responsiveness to library users from all backgrounds

5. Provision of staff training and professional development

Concise explanations for each point are provided in the full report –  Taking Stock: the future of our public library service (Unison, 2008).

An incredibly informative and enjoyable read; ideal for anyone currently facing the challenge of having to defend the value of public libraries within our communities!

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