These Librarians are Heroes

At a time when the term “slacktivism” often defines social movements, and protest means ticking a box on someone’s online petition, it’s worth pausing to celebrate some good old-fashioned civil disobedience. For those of you too busy playing Candy Crush on your smartphones to notice, public libraries around the world are struggling to survive in an … Continued

Culture

If You Build a Little Free Library, Will People Read?

This summer I’ve been to two beaches—one in New Jersey and one in Connecticut. At both places my kids found free “libraries.” On one boardwalk, a boat shaped bookcase invited beachgoers to grab a title and settle in under their umbrella. At the next beach, a cart with rows of books for the taking next … Continued

Culture

Another Reason to Love Librarians

Librarians are some of our culture’s most persuasive people. They help you navigate the library, of course; but they have also been the vanguard in the fight against intrusive government surveillance. They track down scofflaws who have neglected to return their library books (well, at least on sitcoms they do).   They have even spawned … Continued

Culture

The Virtues of Book Ownership

“Can you spare a dollar so I can buy this book?” I heard a man’s deep voice ask this question as I raced up a flight of stairs, speeding my way to the second floor of the local public library to drop off some overdue books. His voice was coming from the library’s “sale room” … Continued

Books

Why Books are the Best Furniture

My son walked in from school the other day, a new book from the library tucked under one arm. “What’s the book about?” I asked. “A book on the Alamo,” he replied. “The librarian said it was beyond my level.” “What did you say?” I asked. “Ahhhh . . . I just took it out … Continued

Books

What Happens When Homes Have No Books

Carol Rasco, President of Reading is Fundamental, recently asked, “Can you imagine a childhood without books?” Rasco’s piece noted that two-thirds of the country’s poorest children don’t own a single book. These children are little different than the character Francie, the poor girl living in the Williamsburg slums of New York in 1912, who has … Continued

Books, Culture

Why Schools Need Bookshelves, Not iPads

Nancie Atwell, a life-long educator and literacy expert who runs the impressive Center for Teaching and Learning in Maine, wants to fill classrooms with bookcases and volumes of rich and enticing collections of literature. If Atwell had unlimited funding she’d buy enough books to fill all the classrooms of the world. If she had influence … Continued

Books, Tech

Will Millennials Kill off Libraries?

A recent article in the Washington Post highlighted how millennials (age 25-34) change the cities and suburbs in which they choose to settle down. In Arlington, Virginia, the impact has been felt acutely by the county library system: The county’s public library system has built a robust series of programs that cater to young professionals, … Continued

Culture

Why Libraries Need Focus More than Change

Last week the American Library Association, the world’s oldest library organization, held its annual meeting in California. The theme of the meeting? “Transforming our Libraries. Ourselves.” Reminiscent of the 1970s feminist bible Our Bodies, Ourselves, it was not surprising that the association chose as its keynote speaker feminist Gloria Steinem. Steinem addressed patriarchal power and … Continued

Books, Culture

Books, Bookstores, and Libraries

Recently some friends and I were talking about a new women’s magazine. I told one friend who was looking to get a copy, “Barnes and Noble plans to carry it so you can get it …oh…actually, sorry all the stores I know of are gone.” All the bookstores are dying. Borders, as we know, is completely gone. … Continued

Books