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Libraries

BookTrib Review: ‘Summer Hours at the Robbers Library’ Is Worth Checking Out

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Libraries are here to stay. Long after your corner coffeehouse has been turned into a drug store, your local library will be there to embrace you with an ever-changing community of avid readers. Summer Hours at the Robbers Library (Harper Perennial) by veteran author and journalist Sue Halpern offers an introspective and poignant look at the lives of people who frequent libraries and the unlikely relationships that form between the pages. For Kit, the head librarian at the Robbers Library, libraries offer a sense of peace. No one expects her to talk about the problems that shook her out of the settled, quiet suburban life she thought she’d have forever. Kit’s peaceful life is headed for a surprise, however, with the arrival of 15-year-old,…

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‘Ex Libris’: Award-Winning Film Takes a Fresh Look at the New York Public Library

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As the world is swept into the digital age, the library, too, is swept along with it. From award-winning filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, his new documentary Ex Libris: The New York Public Library examines how the famous library, and its ninety-two branches, are facing the era of all-things technological. Gone are the days of the obligatory shots of the overcrowded bookshelves, the reading tables in the middle of the room, and the librarians at the front desk observing the patrons with suspicion. While the subject of Ex Libris may be The New York Public Library, there are rarely any books to be seen. Patrons line up at the front desk, but instead of checking out books, they’re handed a tablet streaming device by the…

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Big Library Read Kicks off This Month’s eBook Club with ‘Art of the Pie’

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This past week I’ve only been watching one thing on TV: The Great British Baking Show. Netflix recently added more episodes of the addictive British show about amateur bakers who compete to be crowned the best baker in the tent. It’s charming and wholesome and has basically convinced me that I’m secretly a whiz at baking cakes, pastries, biscuits and more. That’s why I’m currently all about Big Library Read‘s eBook club! Logically, I know I can’t learn how to make a perfect blueberry pie by watching it happen on TV. Still, I might be in luck, as Big Library Read just launched their latest digital book club choice: Art of the Pie, by Kate McDermott. For two weeks, from March…

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How Can Libraries Survive in the Digital Age?

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For many of us, libraries are magic. We treasure the feeling when we walk through the door that we’ve entered someplace awesome, the thrill of the hunt through the catalog for exactly what we’re looking for, the wonder of discovering new titles, and the rush of joy we experience when we see the book that we want waiting for us on the shelf. What’s to become of libraries now that the sum total of human knowledge is literally in the palm of our hands? What will happen to libraries when virtually every book, every image, every piece of music ever produced is available instantly in our homes at the touch of a keyboard? Don’t despair. Not only is there still…

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A love-song to libraries that inspired fantastic travels of the mind

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My debut book, Please Do Not Remove (Wind Ridge Books 2014), is an anthology of prose and poetry inspired by old library check out cards. The book’s premise began as a compulsion akin to Maggie Nelson’s attraction to blue, of which she writes in Bluets, “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color… It began slowly. An appreciation, an affinity. Then, one day, it became more serious. Then (looking into an empty teacup, its bottom stained with thin brown excrement coiled into the shape of a sea horse) it become somehow personal.” I was perusing etsy.com at midnight, looking for a Secret Santa gift for a fellow writer, when my obsession began.…

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How will YOU celebrate National Library Week?

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April 13th marks the first day of National Library Week, a celebration sponsored by the American Library Association that has been observed since 1958. The week-long celebration is aimed at promoting the use and support of libraries. According to the “State of America’s Libraries Report” released last year during National Library Week, 53% of Americans reported visiting a library or book mobile in the past year. Whether you count yourself among those 53% or not, this week is a good time to step back and appreciate what our public libraries have to offer. Robert Dawson’s new book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay (Princeton Architectural Press, April) is a good place to start. The book includes photographs taken by Dawson over…

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