After years of military rule books and hope are returning to Myanmar

Myanmar library.

After decades of repression and censorship the people of Myanmar are getting their books and libraries back!

Since the military leadership lost power in 2011, the country has developed a network of mobile libraries to compensate for the vast network of public libraries that are in various states of disarray. Through the non-profit Daw Khin Kyi Foundation foundation, created by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and new leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, resources are being harnessed “to promote health, education and living standards”.

As you can imagine, little energy went to the development or care of the library system during military rule. The libraries were in complete neglect and, according to the Asia Foundation, nearly 90% of the books in these libraries were religious in nature.  

Also underway is the eLibrary Myanmar project which is being implemented by EIFL and will provide academics and students online access to a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary collection of scholarly resources.

Hope has returned. 

Myanmar mobile library

Myanmar mobile library 1

Myanmar mobile library 2

More at CNN World: Myanmar comes in from cold with bookish revival


The challenge is on: How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?

knight foundation bookmobile kitchen

The Good Food and Bookmobile This project will take a traditional bookmobile and add kitchen components to bring core community services to people in rural areas, building community, increasing community capacity, and ensuring access for all.

The mission of the Knight Foundation is simple: To support “transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.”

One way they do this is to pose a challenge to the community at large, sift through the responses and then fund the winners.

The latest challenge is:

How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?

680 responses have been submitted and the challenge is currently in its feedback phase.

“During this phase, we review every entry we received, with the help of a team of outside readers. We also invite the public to look through submissions and offer feedback, ideas, and questions.” Then the refinement period kicks in followed by the evaluation period which leads us to January 30, 2015 when the winners will be announced and the $2.5 million will be distributed!

The submissions are as varied as the patrons that populate our public libraries.

Here is just a taste:

knight foundation library map

The Library Map application: a digital tool to promote physical library use and uncover hidden resources in the library landscape in New York City.

knight foundation pop up digital library

A pop-up digital media literacy lab provides access and training in digital media within underserved communities, connects neighborhoods to libraries and municipal services, and engages residents in collective storytelling across Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

3rd Space: Knowledge, Portals and People in a Real-Time University-Public Library Network. Create an interactive broadcast system for librarians to curate and engage the public using university transmediated knowledge.

knight foundation library card

LIBRARY CARD: Check out a periodical–Turn in a connection Inspired by the nostalgia of old-school library cards that captured the history of a periodical’s use, this digital platform would allow one who checked out a periodical to connect with others who previously checked out that same periodical.

knight foundation library your next skill

Your Next Skill: strengthening the community through a personalized service delivered by public librarians to help people acquire new knowledge and skills tailored to their individual goals and learning styles.

knight foundation F.L.O.W.

Feminist Library On Wheels (F.L.O.W.) Donated feminist texts, artifacts and ephemera on loan for free in Los Angeles through a network of volunteers riding bicycles and industrial tricycles with shelves and storage.

I can go on and on.

Go get lost in the possibilities 

What a great project!

Of Interest : Book Burning, a Bad Library Idea, Go-Sees, Riprap, Jean Prouvé, Peking the Beautiful, Newer Book picks and more

This week’s Of Interest takes us from a rare book on Peking to an anthology of one line poems to a collection of songs inspired by books with a sprinkling of newer books that have caught our fancy.

First a few headlines:


Seems like the burning of books is a hot topic these days – Pro-Russian demonstrators are burning Ukrainian-language books “in small bonfires in the street” 

In what might a first – Vandals torch a Little Free Library near an elementary school in Tuscon, Arizona 



and in what might just be the most nearsighted, wackiest story in some time Forbes posted this story –  Why There Should Be A Starbucks In Every Local Library 

and finally this image of VW bus transformed into a library clearly was one of the highlights of our week:

vw bus library

Now some books:


Zurich: Scalo Publishers, 1999. First Edition. $250.

Profusely illustrated with color photographs of models showing up for work.

Praeger Publishers, 1971. Hardcover. First American edition. $85.

Text in German, French and English. // Chapters on ‘Building Structures,’ ‘Methods of Moulding.’ and ‘Framework of Life;’ with individual sections discussing types of jointed frames (shell, shed, propped, vaulted, centre core, stool, plastic ‘types’) as well as ‘the houses of Abbé Pierre,’ ‘collective dwellings,’ the Meudon houses,’ ‘tropical houses,’ ‘school buildings,’ ‘furniture’ and ‘public buildings.


Shanghai: The Commercial Press, 1927. First Edition. $4500.

Complete with seventy tipped-in photographs (+ a frontispiece), a few of them in color. In the original richly embroidered blue silk binding

rip rap

First book from the ‘Poet Laureate of Deep Ecology’

Origin Press, 1959. First edition. SIGNED. $1350.

The Book of Alphabets and Layouts. The Art of Metal Etching for Sign Purposes.

Cincinnati, OH: The Signs of the Times Publishing Company, 1922. $100.

With 109 Alphabet Plates and 100 Layouts.


but is it poetry

[Pocatello, Idaho]: Dragonfly, 1972. First edition. $45.

Anthology of one line poetry, including Bill Zavatsky, Ray DiPalma, Charles Simic, Michael Benedikt, Albert Goldbarth, William Matthews, Ethel Fortner, D.S. Long, Greg Kuzma, Cathey Ackerson, Peter Cooley, Felix Pollak, Richard Lebovitz.


testimomies heaney

Testimonies by Seamus Heaney.

Empyrean Press, 2003. $90.

Broadside, published in an edition of two hundred copies; this copy is one of twenty-five numbered “OS” (out-of-series) copies.

Printed on the occasion of the Truman Capote Award presented to the author in Iowa City, September 25, 2003.

Newer Stuff:

printers blocks sprinttide press

Printer’s Blocks by Jessica Spring. Springtide Press, 2013. $500.

One of forty numbered copies, containing twenty-eight 1-1/2″ square cubes, entirely letterpress printed. Housed in a custom aluminum box with the title printed on the top.

“Printer’s Blocks is an ‘abecedarium’ composed of vintage wood type and printer’s blocks letterpress printed on Magnani Revere and formed into cubes


Home Burial by Michael McGriff. Copper Canyon Press, 2012. Signed $15

“The poems in Michael McGriff’s second full-length collection, Home Burial, reverberate as they pass through a landscape of old-growth forest, ramshackle farms, moonlit water, lumberyards, and mini-marts.


Wrolstad, Greta. Night is Simply a Shadow. Portland: Tavern Books, 2013. $30

Greta Wrolstad’s long-anticipated first full-length collection. From the expansive opening poem, “Notes on Sea and Shore,” to the final “Fontaine de Vaucluse,” Wrolstad navigates the metaphorical intersection of internal and external landscapes

William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays. Edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. $39.95.

 The first edition in over 100 years of the fascinatingly varied body of plays that has become known as “The Shakespeare Apocrypha”

kate macleod

Kate MacLeod at Ken Sanders Rare Books A collection of songs inspired by books.

Waterbug Records, 2014. $15.

“The songs on this recording were all inspired by books I’ve read. I composed these across a thirty-year span from 1982 to 2012. These songs are different than songs that come solely out of my own thoughts and experience; they are more a digestion of what I’ve gleaned from reading and are also spontaneous responses. I think of books as part of our collective consciousness. They are our record of history and also a canvas for the imagination”

Previous installments:
Of Interest: Bambi, Book of the Dead, Chicago Crime, The Brooklyn Bridge and more
Welcome to ‘Of Interest’ : Fodder for the Book Enthusiast