Library de Kimpel

Belgium’s Library de Kimpel is the latest library featured at arch daily. Designed by Adem Architecten  the new library was part of a master plan that included turning the existing library into offices and an exhibition center and the construction of a new youth center. The project was completed in 2015.

The interior of the library is designed and organized around 5 subject areas: Music, Literature and Poetry, Lifestyle and Sport, Art and Architecture and Travel.

More photos here

All photos © Adem Architecten

The Maine Event: Local pastors lose it when when they spot LGBTQ books in banned books display

Those of us living in the Northwest corner of the US have always had a quiet affinity with our brethren living in the Northeast corner. I think those days might be over.

The unconscionable vote by Maine senator Susan Collins  to help put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court is a gamechanger. Then this story out of Rumford, Maine doesn’t help either. It appears that local pastors got all bent out of shape by the LGBTQ books that were part of this display of banned books at the Rumford Public Library. So what do they want to do? They want to to ban the LGBTQ books from the banned book display! 

Story via NCAC.

Image of display via Katje Fae (Twitter: @katjefae) 

BiblioTech: Keeping Hope for Libraries Alive in the Digital Age


John Palfrey’s lucid, passionate account of the state of American libraries reminds us both how important public libraries are to a healthy democracy and how close they are to going the way of the dodo bird.

We are in the midst of a tectonic societal shift from print to digital and without a concerted effort to transform the library into its 21st century equivalent we just might lose these hubs of democracy for good.

The disconnect is huge; survey after survey remind us how important libraries are to their communities while in budget after budget funding for libraries continues to get slashed.

We are off-course.  As the below graphic shows us, and by no means is Sonoma County in the minority, our priorities are out of whack. I don’t want to do one more story related to a public school library that is underfunded, understaffed or closed. We are playing russian roulette with our kids and our future. It is insane.

Sonoma County budget

In BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google Palfrey gives us a handy guide for how to begin to right the ship.

Remember, the library spectrum is wide. From the neighborhood branch of your city library to the special collections of the closest university to your local historical society. From providing unfettered access to information to preserving  both our country’s source material as well as its detritus the library is on the front lines of a healthy democratic society.

Palfrey leans digital but he clearly understands the staying power of the analog in the library universe and that any conception of  a ‘library’ in the near future needs to include printed material. One cannot deny; however, that analog has lost its monopoly as information provider and adjustments need to be made.

Much of the current digital output is falling through the cracks. Without immediate attention to the preservation and archiving of our digital data we risk losing a chunk of the historical record of these amazing times.

There is much to be done.  Librarians need to be retrained, libraries need to learn how to play together better, tons of material needs to be digitized (and an equal amount of material that is holed up in special collections and archives across this land still needs to be processed in the first place!).

Palfrey makes it clear that new models are needed for the library to survive in the near term and blossom in the future. We need to get creative and we need to get political, fast.

The money has to come from somewhere.

Yes, partnerships with appropriate private companies should be encouraged and there are plenty of denizens of the 1% that understand the value and necessity of libraries and can give generously  but a “public option” is mandatory and all of us who believe in the power of the library must dig in our heels and fight not only for their survival but for their transformation. As Palfrey reminds us libraries are “some of the last physical, public spaces that are not devoted to commercial pursuits.”

For libraries, the future is now. We cannot afford to lose them.

Buy: Powell’s | Amazon