libraries

Then Libraries Came for the Memes

I recently mentioned the prolonged work in progress that is the US Library of Congress’s Twitter archive, but while we wait for it, other digital archives have finally come to fruition. In an effort to preserve the aesthetic and language developments that have defined the past decades, the Library of Congress has created the Webcomics… Continue reading Then Libraries Came for the Memes

books · libraries

What Happens When a Library Stops Charging Late Fees?

Sometimes library fines can add up. A man returned a book that was overdue by 41 years and had a fine of $299.30. A 47 year overdue book had a fine of $345.14. And other books have been so overdue that libraries give up altogether on collecting fees. (US President George Washington, for example, borrowed The… Continue reading What Happens When a Library Stops Charging Late Fees?

libraries

How the Library of Congress is Trying to Archive Twitter

Losing the remnants of the past is one of the nightmares of historians. There are so many fragments that simply don’t survive the march of time, and as they disintegrate so too does our ability to understand the past. The modern era and its technologies raise new questions about how archivists, historians, and other interested… Continue reading How the Library of Congress is Trying to Archive Twitter

books · libraries

Kids Who Read May Not Be Millionaires, But They Can Still Party Like Ones

When I was a kid, I participated in my local library’s summer reading program. Starting in June, I would fill out reading logs, each of which had room to list five books. Then I would read. For every completed log that I turned in, I earned “Book Bucks” that I could redeem for various prizes… Continue reading Kids Who Read May Not Be Millionaires, But They Can Still Party Like Ones

books · libraries

The Library at the End of the World

People like to prepare for end of the world, and sometimes they use libraries to do it. There is, of course, the Survivor Library, a digital collection of over 7,000 freely available PDFs intended to help humanity rebuild after a cataclysm. It contains information about “[h]ow to make water safe to drink. How to build… Continue reading The Library at the End of the World

books · libraries

Like a Car Wash for Books: How Libraries Clean Reading Materials

As much as I like to imagine that library books remain perfectly clean, the reality is a little different. Sometimes books get gunky. Oil from people’s skin rubs off onto them. Someone spills a cup of coffee on a book cover. A child drops her novel in the garden. In cases like these, libraries have… Continue reading Like a Car Wash for Books: How Libraries Clean Reading Materials

libraries

10 Ways Libraries Serve Local Communities

For nearly 60 years, the American Library Association has chosen a week in April in which to celebrate, promote, and support libraries. In the 1950’s research indicated that people in the US were spending less and less time reading. They were instead being distracted by radios and those newfangled television sets. Creating a National Library… Continue reading 10 Ways Libraries Serve Local Communities