The library is safe thanks to Egyptâ€™s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters. I am there daily within the bounds of the curfew hours. However, the Library will be closed to the public for the next few days until the curfew is lifted and events unfold towards an end to the lawlessness and a move towards the resolution of the political issues that triggered the demonstrations.
The Boston Globe [via Associated Press] has a short article comparing bringing broadband to rural America to the rural electrification program which finally wired up the last of Vermont towns in the early 60s. The story is what you would expect, except that it’s a little maddening that the options offered are 1. wait for broadband and suffer with dial-up, or 2. nothing. The byline of East Burke points to a town with a teeny library that is open 12 hours per week. West Burke has a larger library but it’s still not large enough to have a website. According to the VT Department of Libraries’ statistics it doesn’t have a single public access computer. Lyndon is the closest town with high speed at their library. Not too far, but still several miles.
Doing a quick autofilter on the DoL’s list shows 183 public libraries in the state of Vermont. Ten have dial-up internet access. Thirteen have nothing. Seventy-five libraries have no wireless internet access. It’s possible I’m reading the statistics wrong, but this is fewer libraries with internet than in 2009. I sure hope I am reading the charts wrong.
Dial-up user Val Houde knows this as well as anybody. After moving here four years ago, the 51-year-old mother of four took a correspondence course for medical transcription, hoping to work from home. She plunked down $800, took the course, then found out the software wasnâ€™t compatible with dial-up Internet, the only kind available to her.
Selling items on eBay, watching videos, playing games online? Forget it. The connection from her home computer is so slow, her online life is one of delays, degraded quality, and â€œbufferingâ€™â€™ warning messages. So she waits until the day a provider extends broadband to her house.
Sometimes it’s a good thin to remember that libraries have big imacts on people who do big things. The ripple effect is hard to quantify, but it’s a good thing to remember. From my inbox
- Ronald McNair was one of the astronuauts killed in the Challenger explosion 25 years ago. There was a piece on NPR about his brother reminiscing about how McNair was adamant about using his public library in South Carolina despite the fact that it was supposedly for “whites only”
- Wil Wheaton, actor and blogger shared a short bit he wrote for a literacy project explaining why he thinks librarians are awesome.
- In the comments of that post is a link to this poem published in Library Journal: Why I Am In Love With Librarians.
- Another booster site that I forgot to mention earlier is the Library History Buff site. Larry Nix is a retired librarian and library history enthusiast. I’ve linked to his library history page many times over the years, but I’m not sure if I’ve linked to his blog. He recently did a post wrapping up the work he did in 2010 and pointing to the page he created for it. Good stuff, worth reading.
I don’t get time to sit down and read blogs as much as I used to, but I still see them scooting through my feed reader, or in the profiles of people following me on Twitter, or sometimes just linked in random places. A few I’ve been enjoying lately.
- Lenny Likes Libraries – full of photos of books and shelves and library buildings. The Dead Libraries post is especially poignant.
- Libraries and Transliteracy – not that new, but consistently great with a stable of terrific writers. Learn about all kinds of literacies.
- Koha: One Library’s Experience is a great blog about the ins and outs of really getting started with Koha, by the Arcadia Public Library in California.
- Aaron Tay’s Musings About Librarianship has been a favorite for a while. I get great ideas from it but I haven’t just said “hey go read the whole thing.” Last weekend’s post about library social media campaigns that work is a great summary of some good news.
- Not a blog but a neat project, VLA is doing a 2012 Public Libraries calendar. One lovely library from every county (they hope), professionally designed and full of neat library facts.
I have really been enjoying Library Journal’s column on games and gaming in their print magazine and should probably be adding Liz Danforth’s blog to my “to read” list. I enjoyed Allen McGinley’s post in 8bit Library talking about gaming for kids with special needs, with computer and non-computer games. Good list for a starting gaming program.