Showing posts with label libraries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label libraries. Show all posts

30.3.20

Library Poster: "Read a Book"

Printable poster from stonesoferasmus.com to encourage reading — Read a book

22.1.20

Book Face: Pharaoh Amasis of Two Egypts Holding Court in Memphis on the Nile River

I’m a high school English and Ethics teacher. Sometimes I’m tired of being a grownup so I play with the book faces in my school’s modest library. Today, I’m covering an ancient pharaoh from ancient Egypt. Also, today is National Shelfie Day.
Book Face of Amasis Pharaoh of Egypt
What’s my book 📖 face?
Standing in the @gardenschoolnyc library serving up some Egyptian Pharaoh realness as Amasis, ruler of Two Egypts - where I’m holding court in Memphis on the River Nile. Who or what am I pointing to? The god Horus has sent me a sign - a golden slipper so bright that every maiden in Egypt must try it on. P.S. Thanks @joellegarcia__ for snapping the photo for this epic Book Face photo.
I'm Amasis — a Pharaoh of Egypt. Read more on my blog stonesoferasmus.com

17.6.19

According to the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man (from 2002) Smart High School Students from Queens Study at the 42nd Street Library

The 42nd Street Library (The Stephen A. Schwartzman Building)
If you live in New York City, everyone knows the 42nd Street Library on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The building (flanked by its two iconic lions - Patience and Fortitude) represents the city's public library system - even though the site is not a branch library (it's a humanities research library) and the city hosts three public library systems. The building is also embedded in the medium of American popular culture - everything from Ghostbusters, Sex and the City to Day After Tomorrow and Breakfast at Tiffany's have featured the library. So considering Spider-Man is New York city's own superhero - he's a teen from Queens, after all - it's fitting that the 2002 original Spider-Man movie starring Tobey Maguire would feature this iconic spot.

Uncle Ben's Famous Speech: "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"
Peter Parker needs to study, so Uncle Ben drives him from their home in Forest Hills in his massive gas-guzzling Cadillac to the front steps of the library. It's there that he gives his famous speech: "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility." Besides being a motivational speech given by a surrogate father to his maturing son, the address serves as foreshadowing to what's to come. Uncle Ben dies in a shoot-out caused by the trigger-happy actions of a thief (whom Peter Parker was unable to capture). Peter feels directly responsible for his Uncle's death - and it is his death that propels the Spider-Man story forward.


Do Kids from Queens Use the 42nd Street Library to Study?
How many kids from Queens go to the 42nd Street library to study? I am a teacher in Queens, so I really want to know. My experience is that Queens' kids stick to their neighborhoods - be it Jackson Heights or Forrest Hills. So I guess it shows that Peter Parker is an outlier - he chooses to expand his horizons. In reality, if you live in Queens, you are more than likely to use the Queens Public Library - which is actually a separate entity from the New York Public Library - but I digress.

Great Places to Study if You Want to Do a Peter Parker and Get Out of Bed
If you really want a quiet place to study but you don't have Uncle Ben's wheels to take you to Manhattan here are a few of my favorite places to explore in Queens:
  • Forest Hills Branch, Elmhurst Branch, and Jackson Heights Branch of the Queens Public Library - these are just three of my favorite branches in the Queens system.
  • Museum of the Moving Image - If the weather is beautiful - and you don't mind paying the entrance fee (15 for adults 11 for students and 9 for kids) - the outside patio is a comfortable place to study and read.
  • If you are looking for a sweet spot in Jackson Heights try Espresso 77 - but be warned you cannot use a laptop on weekends - and on weekdays laptop people are relegated to a particular table.
  • The J, Z, F, M, R, E, G, and 7 trains of the New York City Subway all go into Queens - so grab a metro card and sit, ride, and read (not recommended for very prolonged periods).

26.8.14

Public Libraries Still Matter in the Age of Amazon

Poets House in Battery Park City (Manhattan)
is a good model for how libraries should look and feel.
News flash: libraries have been offering e-books for free long before Amazon started doling out an e-book subscription service. With Amazon’s recent Kindle Unlimited service, readers can access thousands of books for free. The catch? It’s ten dollars a month. But libraries have been offering a similar service for free to patrons for years. Why not more press on libraries? To answer some questions about libraries, free books, and bridging the digital divide, I teamed up with New York University Reference Librarian Ray Pun to discuss how libraries are helping to mind the digital gap. The result is this commentary.
Use It Or Lose It
There's a saying that goes "use it or lose it." It’s an apt reason to keep your brain active, because, you know, you’ll lose it. The analogy applies to why we use libraries and how they’re helping to not only bridge the digital divide but adding more fodder to the trough. If you don’t use books — well — I don’t even want to think about what it would be like to lose it.
Libraries Matter
I have a hunch that people think that since there’s the Internet then libraries don’t matter. It’s just a hunch, but it’s hidden in the comments I get on being a librarian: “You need a degree to do that?” Yes, librarians need a degree to do “that.” Putting aside my rancor for such questions, I think it tells us a little bit about the current cultural zeitgeist and where we’re going.
There's a misconception that if I can Google it then it must be free. While the open Internet is indeed a treasure trove of knowledge, it's also a depository of useless junk. Librarians keep the door open between the open Internet and its mass chaos of information and the stuff that’s behind closed doors.
To give an idea of what I am talking about, take a look at the Internet Public Library. It’s a deceptively simple website, but it does something different that Google does not do. Behind the HTML code and links are a team of librarians who are constantly updating links to provide access to good information. So, if you need to get reputable and accurate sources you could Google it, but knowing that a team of information specialists curate and cull the “good stuff” makes the Internet Public Library, a unique place.
Knowledge Deserves To Be Free
We tend to think of libraries as brick and mortar buildings that house books, and while this is true, the concept of “the library” is less about locking knowledge up in a safe deposit box, and more about the free dissemination of ideas. The word free is cheap, and I do not mean to suggest that “free” equates with “worthless.”
Libraries are free in the sense that they keep us as a community free from all the nasty stuff that comes from not being free. What would it look like to live in the tyranny of a library-less world? I’d say it would be rather gloomy. And not too pretty.
We might think, “I already own an iPad, and my house has enough books, so why should I bother about using the library?” The logic that stipulates freedom with “I already have that” is the logic that one day could threaten the very concept libraries embody — equal access to knowledge. I use knowledge in the broadest sense of the term. Knowledge cannot be confined by a book, iPad, or even Google’s vast search engine. Yet -- not everyone owns an iPad. And while according to an April 2014 Pew Research study, 87% of adults have access to the Internet, it isn’t 100%. Some libraries have started to mend the gap by lending out tablets such as iPads to people, library users, and complete strangers with library cards! Other institutions such as the New York Public Library are experimenting with a new service: lending portable MiFi Hotspot devices to underserved youth and communities by allowing them to have Internet access outside of the library hours.
Knowledge is bound up with community. Knowledge is supposed to be shareable, and the access we enjoy through our libraries is only as free as we struggle for its freedom. That’s why libraries, even though they are strapped with mounting operational costs and the threat of being cut off from state, local, and federal funding, continue to innovate, to continue to bridge the digital divide. For example, the simple innovation of providing MiFi devices to users who cannot access library services during opening hours closes the gap a little bit. Or loaning out iPads and laptops to users who otherwise cannot afford these gateways to knowledge.
Support Libraries
Support your public library, starting today and in numerous ways: whether it is with monetary or book donations, paying off your library fines or writing to your state and local assembly person about why your library is important to you and your community. You need to stand up for your library because you are standing up for your community. When you keep visiting your libraries, it brings up their “public services metrics” or in layman’s terms, the “headcount” reader goes up, which translates into more resources libraries can roll out for public use. Keeping the building filled with people who use it is good for the library. They can then report to their constituents about the increases of public users in their libraries on a quarterly basis.
I'll End With A Story
It reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me that I thought reflects what libraries do. When he was a teenager, he lived in a small town in South Louisiana with a local municipal public library. He went to the library in the Summer to find a book he wanted to read. He told me, “I don’t remember who told me about the book, but it was called Birdy by William Wharton.” The library did not have it nor did any of the local branches, so the librarian looked at him with a smile on her face and said, “Let’s do an interlibrary loan.” He told me that he didn’t know what an interlibrary loan was, but it sounded neat. “She had me fill out a form — and mind you; this was before the Internet was all the rage,” he said. “In a few weeks, the book arrived from the State Library, and I was able to read the book. I had no idea such a small miracle was possible.” For him, it was like Christmas in July; he’s now a writer and teaches philosophy. Now that ninety percent of all libraries in the U.S. loan out e-books, interlibrary loan looks like an antiquated version of lending, but most libraries still have it and it’s the most thanked-for feature of public libraries by patrons.
Librarians intrinsically know the value of libraries. We just don’t talk about it enough. Let’s spread the word. A call to action: use it and don’t lose it — for the present and future lovers of knowledge out there. Including me. And you. All of us. You can still subscribe to Kindle Unlimited if you want, but check out the library too.
By Greig Roselli (with Ray Pun)

N.B.: The above article is a reprint from the same LinkedIn Pulse article.
Image Source: Poets House

23.5.11

100 Years at the New York Public Library in the Midst of City Budget Cuts

At the one hundred year exhibit of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, there were tours this past weekend of the stacks of the arts and humanities research library, the Stephen. A. Schwartzman building, the one with the iconic lions. The stacks are seven levels divided by catwalks (which also extend outward beneath Bryant Park). The stacks are beautifully hewn cast iron bulwarks donated by Andrew Carnegie. Walking along the catwalk, one can look down and see floor upon floor of sheer "book." To take such a tour stirs the soul and restores hope in humanity. The books are categorized by size (not by Dewey or LC, which are the two most popular category systems in the United States).  
Reading Books in the Rose Reading Room  
To read one of the books in the research collection means filling out a request slip and waiting fifteen minutes for your book to be retrieved by a page who, once it is located on the shelf, sends it up via a Ferris wheel conveyor belt. It is all so mechanically proper and print oriented. The card catalog was scrapped in 1983, but interestingly enough, even though the catalog is digitized now, the library took photographs of every card and bound the images twenty to a page in a printed dictionary catalog of the collection. Why do this? Librarians through the years made notes on cards indicating other sources in the collection to consult and other such marginalia that is beneficial for researchers. The bound dictionary catalog is a snapshot of the collection before it went digital. 
Even With a Glorious Library in Manhattan the Truth is Libraries Still Suffer from Inadequate Funding 
The sad news in the wake of such a glorious centennial celebration is that budget cuts plague public libraries even though library usage is at an all-time high. To advocate for libraries is so desperately needed. Libraries are a public service to be ranked with the necessity of schools, hospitals, fire houses and police stations that make up a viable, literate population. Please advocate for Libraries today.

5.4.10

Graphic Design: Invocation to the New York Public Library Lions

One of the flanking lions that guard the entrance to the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan
I am a reader.
     As a kid, I read fantasy novels and Mad Magazines. As a college student, I read a lot of philosophy (which stimulated my brain). As an adult, I read loads of spiritual books and followed random blogs on the Internet. As a teacher, I read for work so I can teach what I have read.
     In the remaining moments, I read a voraciously the New York Times — and when the new issue of Entertainment Weekly comes in the mail I spent at least twenty-five minutes lying in bed flipping through its glossy pages.
graphic design credit: Greig Roselli © 2010