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Month May 2010


From a (very entertaining) intro to a readers’ advisory service on The Morning News:

It is important to draw a distinction between Amazon’s “Customers Also Bought” feature and the Biblioracle. Amazon is primarily constituted of servers and processors and computer programs. Amazon employs only seven actual human beings plus Jeff Bezos, who is a cyborg. The Biblioracle is flesh and blood.

Reading Rickshaw +

Three students and alumni from the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota have a project called Reading Rickshaw on Kickstarter:

The Reading Rickshaw aims to spread the word about art and books by offering patrons a ride on a 4-person bicycle fully outfitted with an art library. We seek to offer both mobile and stationary programming: Patrons can browse the permanent collection or pick a book from a temporary collection curated by artists, participate in mobile story hour, listen to artist lectures, and many more fledgling ideas. We will focus on creating a presence where a traditional library cannot go: parks, sidewalks, the lakes communities (land of 10,000=popular Minnesota activity), downtown Minneapolis/St. Paul, and high foot traffic neighborhoods. [emphasis mine]

It is interesting when non-librarians observe service gaps, brainstorm solutions and then take matters into their own hands. It sort of makes me feel like libraries aren’t living up to their potential. It is also interesting that often times they don’t consider partnering with established libraries. The IKEA ad I just posted is an example of that. So are the community book exchanges / tiny tomato gardens I see around Portland.

A related project: A group of folks involved with the Art Shanty Projects erected a library shanty on the frozen Medicine Lake:

Come hang out at the Medicine Lake Branch and create a library card, join a book clubs or enjoy the curated shelf-sized art exhibitions.

The Library Book


Ages ago I meant to point to this post about the the Library Initiative in New York. They’ve created some nice looking spaces.

Now there’s an entire book about the project: The Library Book: Design Collaborations in the Public Schools.

The L!brary Book takes readers behind the scenes of fifty groundbreaking library projects to show how widely varied fields and communities – corporate underwriters, children’s book publishers, architects, graphic designers, product manufacturers, library associations, teachers, and students – can join forces to make a difference in the lives of children. – Dexigner

Augmented Deliciousness

Blank Cardboard House

Quite spendy at $65 a pop but couldn’t they make for a great YS program?

Just in case, you can buy them from Ferrol Studio.

Beach IKEA Ad Evokes Library Vibe

I’d love to see a coastal library set up a permanent book exchange like this. Has it been done?

[pic from baddogwhiskas]

Groceries Delivered to the Library

I am way into this program from the Baltimore City Health Department and the Enoch Free Public Library:

On a bright spring morning in Baltimore, retiree Gwen Tates goes over her weekly grocery list — oatmeal, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, pea soup. But it’s where she’s shopping that might surprise you: at the public library.

Under a new city program, patrons can order groceries online and pay with cash, credit or food stamps. The orders are filled by Santoni’s supermarket, a longtime Baltimore grocer. They deliver the items to the library the next day. Tates says she loves the convenience.

“I pay with my charge card. They swipe it right here. I come back to the library tomorrow and they’ll have it all bagged up and ready to go,” she says.


Libraries can become so much more than content mausoleums by facilitating a suite of useful community services. I do worry a bit about feature creep, however. More about this in a forthcoming post about the Garage Library in Malmö.