Adventures in Links — September 4, 2015 (Libraries)

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Photo taken by Fadi J

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Photo taken by Fadi J

Theme: Libraries

Libraries do and always have had a special place in my heart. They’re not just depositories for books that occasionally have the odd, dilapidated computer. They’re also community hubs, job placement centers, research sources, and cognitive development learning centers. They’re run by people that are advocates for some of the most marginalized people including transgender people, queer people, refugees, illegal immigrants, and the homeless. These people often care about their patrons (or “customers,” as we now say) and go above and beyond what is expected of them, befriending them, learning skills to deal with their unique problems, advocating for them in government, and partnering with other organizations to create better service. They can also be incredibly funny and kind. So I’m sharing a few library-centric links I’ve recently collected in the hopes of inculcating a bit of my enthusiasm in some of you. Enjoy!

One of the coolest recent innovations is 3D printers, but they’re often too expensive for the average person to buy ($2500 right now). However, libraries all across the US are investing in them and allowing their patrons to use them, helping them innovate, design, and even save lives. Click here to read about how libraries are doing just that.

A traditional service that libraries offer is providing people with books (that’s basically a given), but several libraries across the US are innovating that too. Librarians, teachers, and volunteers are transporting books to “book deserts” (places without libraries) and bringing the books directly to the community — often on bikes! As a fellow book transporter, I love these services, especially the bike ones. Click here to learn more.

Many people think of libraries as purely utilitarian; all they need are some shelves, right? Well, actually, libraries can be home to gorgeous architecture and innovative designs. Click here to see 15 Incredible Libraries from around the World.

Book Burning Party – Troy Library from Leo Burnett Detroit on Vimeo.

Unfortunately, not everyone supports libraries. Some politicians will even claim that we should close them and use government money on other things like jails (What?). One library in Troy, Michigan was facing such a closure when they decided to get smart by creating a controversial campaign that emphasized how important libraries are. Click here (or watch the above video). It’s super cool.

Of course, sometimes librarians need to blow off steam too. Despite how awesome they are, people can get rather… shirty with them. For anyone that wants an insider’s perspective on what librarians face (or is a librarian themselves), click here for Librarian Problems.

Now, if you want a fake insider’s perspective on libraries and librarians, check out this silly Facebook Page — Fake Library Stats (although I’m inclined to believe that not all of them are fake, especially the ones about tea and cats).

Finally, while librarians are known for their laser death glare, many are actually incredibly silly people that just want to have fun and make people excited about new things. That’s why I leave you with this librarian parody of “Uptown Funk” – “Unread Books.”

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