Monday, September 10, 2007

libraries as refuges

I watched a speech by Garrison Keillor to ALA conference goers that was televised on Book TV over the weekend. You can watch it on Book TV's website if you have Real Player:

He made a case for public libraries as refuges where people can go to escape from the craziness of the modern world. A place where people can gather their thoughts and think.

He compared a library to a secular church and concluded by saying that libraries were sacred places.

As someone who has been caught up in the role of libraries in bridging the digital divide, I am somewhat concerned about this potential loss of library as refuge. I remember seeking refuge in libraries at various times in my life. The library was a place you could go to escape from family pressures as a teenager, from annoying roommates in college. There aren't very many places like that available.

So, perhaps while we're planning for our next bank of computers and printers, let's make sure we set aside a few quiet spaces for refuge.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

lots of news on the ebook front

There's more on Amazon and Google stepping into the ebook fray in today's NYTimes:
Envisioning the Next Chapter for Electronic Books
Published: September 6, 2007
Two new offerings from Web giants this fall will test if consumers are ready to leave the paper book behind.

There are also some interesting comments to the article on TechCrunch.

Plus, Google is offering a new tool enabling people to embed the text from a book directly into a blog or other website.