Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Catching Up

I’ve been busy transitioning into a new position, so here is a backlog of posts. The main branch of the New York Public Library was dedicated 100 years ago. An article in The Atlantic, “What Big Media Can Learn From the New York Public Library,” lauds an “old and august” institution that is flourishing in the digital age: 
Everywhere you look within the New York Public Library, it's clear that the institution has realized that its mission has changed. It's no longer only a place where people take out books and scholars dig through archives. The library has become a social network with physical and digital nodes.
An analysis of 120 years of census data on librarians is available over at the OUPblog. From “Librarians in the U.S. from 1880-2009”: 
Starting from a very small beginning, librarians grew into a large profession after in the mid-20th Century.  Like other professions related to the media: books, newspapers, magazines, recorded music and movies, the internet seems to be having an effect on the field, as it has faced a significant decline since 1990.  That decline seems to have slowed substantially since 2000, as librarians adjust to and find new roles in the internet age and the extensive increase in information that it has brought about.
The Chronicle reports on how much of the web is archived, an article in the Times focuses on distant reading, and there is a defense of paper books at the Independent.

Finally, there is an article in Time about bookless libraries. From “Is a Bookless Library Still a Library?”:
From a design perspective, some architects also lament the inevitable trend toward booklessness. Steven Holl, architect of Queens Library's new branch, in New York City, says books still provide character and are a nice counterpoint to technology. "Acknowledging the digital and its speed and putting it in relation to the history and physical presence of the books makes it an exciting space," Holl says. "A book represents knowledge, and striking a balance in a library is a good thing."