Librarians: have Robert Dawson over for tea

Thanks to Library Bazaar, I now know about the Kickstarter project of Robert Dawson who is traveling the country taking photos of libraries. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a way to crowdsource fundraising for creative-type projects. I’ve supported a few things including the GET LAMP text adventure documentary and a recent MC Frontalot video. If Dawson is coming to your town, or even near it, I’d suggest giving him a call.

some amazing international libraries, not the usual set

Biblioteca
photo by Laureà, thank you!

I never get tired of these gorgeous photos of library buildings, but I do feel like I’ve seen the same ten libraries ten times each. This list of lovely libraries has a few new ones and is using a nice non-click-bait format where you can look at them all at once. I wonder sometimes if photos of libraries are more likely to be Creative Commons licensed than other sorts of photos? [thanks eileen!]

some odds and ends from the mailbag

As per usual I’ve returned from holiday travelling with a lot of cool links to share and the admission that I’m behind on my blog reading — and this is me who is never behind, this is all deeply distressing to me — and I bet you are too. Anyhow, some things I’ve enjoyed reading over the past few days. I’m putting a Computers in Libraries column to bed today and it’s talking about widgets. I like talking about widgets.

  • Phone box becomes mini-library – small community in Somerset turns old phone box into a lending library/free box for books.
  • Portsmouth (NH) public library is having a documentary showing of DIY Nation + artist get together this weekend which looks like fun and a nifty type of program to boot. Plus I sort of stupidly like that they can link right to the book in their catalog. It’s 2009, how many of us can do that yet?
  • One line update/coda to the Des Moines photography situation from the DMPL marketing manager “At this month’s meeting, our board voted to remove the requirement that permission be granted for photos to be taken in our library.” Woo!
  • Curious to know what’s going to happen at the Hayward (CA) libraries when they go to a Netflix model for lending [pay up front, then no overdue fees]. Looking forward to seeing the crunched numbers at the end of this.
  • In another neat model, ArchivesNext reports on the Amsterdam City Archives’ “you ask we scan” approach to digitization. There are some linked slideshows and further data. Interesting model.

what is the rule when taking photos in a public library?

Things with the Des Moines Public Library worked themselves out more or less amicably. I was also pleased to see Carolyn Wright who does the Photo Attorney blog, mention what the legal issues are surrounding photography in public libraries generally. Thanks Carolyn!

leaving des moines

Des Moines Public Library

note: new update from Des Moines PL and the architect’s office below the fold. Short form: “it would be appropriate to change the policy”

I had a great time at the Iowa Library Association conference. I gave two talks and actually scheduled my time such that I could actually attend a few presentations as well as give some. My notes for two talks — Tiny Tech and On-the-Fly Tech Support — are online here. I saw a presentation by the new ALA OIF director about privacy in the age of social software as well as a gadgets talk where I learned more about ebooks.

I also had some time to go to the local public library. I’m often surprised that the local libraries don’t do much to acknowledge that there is a huge library conference in town. Most of the time when I go to the local public library when I’m visiting a new city, there isn’t even a “welcome librarians!” sign out. Karen Schneider [who gave a great keynote in the morning and a talk about open source later in the day] and I actually had a sort of weird experience there. We went in to the library, snapping photos as we do, and were met as we walked in by a library worker who basically asked “Are you taking pictures?” When we said that we were, she said that we weren’t allowed to take photos in the library and if we wanted to get permission to take photos we’d have to go talk to the marketing people up on the third floor.

We were just on a fly-by so we (mostly) put our cameras away. However, I was curious about the policy. I had an email exchange with the marketing director that I am reprinting here with permission. I’m not sure what to think about the whole situation. You’ll note I took a photograph or two anyhow, and I appreciated the very nice email, but it was in stark contrast to both a weird-seeming policy and a weird-seeming policy enforcement mechanism. (more…)