The New York Times:
“Libraries See Opening as Bookstores Close
By Karen Ann Cullota. Dec 27, 2012
At the bustling public library in Arlington Heights, Ill., requests by three patrons to place any title on hold prompt a savvy computer tracking system to order an additional copy of the coveted item. That policy was intended to eliminate the frustration of long waits to check out best sellers and other popular books. But it has had some unintended consequences, too: the library’s shelves are now stocked with 36 copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Photo: Tyler Bissmeyer for The New York Times
The Atlantic Cities:
Communities Aren’t Just Places, They’re Social Networks.
Richard Florida. Oct 25, 2012.
Cities are obviously more than just the sum of their physical assets — roads and bridges, offices, factories, shopping centers, and homes — working more like living organisms than jumbles of concrete. Their inner workings even transcend their ability to cluster and concentrate people and economic activity. As sociologist Zachary Neal of Michigan State University argues in his new book, The Connected City, cities are made up of human social networks. Neal took time to discuss his book and research with Atlantic Cities, explaining how cities work as living organisms and why what happens in Las Vegas cannot stay in Las Vegas.
RF: In the book, you write that “communities are networks, not places.” Tell us about why and how networks matter to cities?
ZN: We often think of communities in place–based terms, like Jane Jacobs’ beloved Greenwich Village. But, whether or not a place like Greenwich Village is really a community has more to do with the residents’ relationships with one another — their social networks – than with where they happen to live or work. The danger of thinking about communities as places is that it can lead us to find communities where they don’t exist. A neighborhood where the residents never interact is merely a place, but hardly a community. This can lead us to overlook communities that are not rooted in particular places, like a book club with a constantly changing venue.
Communities aren’t disappearing, but to find them we need to stop looking in places, and start looking in social networks.”
Image: easyshutter /Shutterstock
“Colombia Has 100 Tiny Libraries in Public Parks
Sammy Roth. June 27, 2012
It’s no secret that ink-and-paper books are going out of style, mostly due to the rise of e-readers but also because fewer people are reading in general. And considering that the print book industry is pretty bad for the environment, maybe that trend isn’t all bad. Still, not all is lost for fans of old-fashioned books—especially in Colombia, where tiny public libraries are operated out of parks all over the country.
The program was started more than 15 years ago, and it has continued to thrive, operating 51 mini libraries in Bogotá and more than 100 throughout the country. The libraries themselves are rather remarkable—they hold about 350 books each, and they’re operated by volunteer librarians who organize activities and help kids with their homework. They’re only open 12 hours per week, but at least those hours are usually over the weekend. The program is run by the nonprofit literacy group Fundalectura in conjunction with the parks system.
Regardless of how you feel about the future of print, it’s hard not to be impressed by this innovative network of tiny public libraries. And if they manage to get people reading—not to mention spending more time outdoors—it’s hard not to hope that they’ll stick around another 15 years.”
Via: The Atlantic
Photo: Bilingual Librarian