When the economy gets bad, people head to the library. So says a press release on the ALA’s 2008 State of America’s Libraries Report. The report finds that library usage across the United States is up by more than 10% from 2001 usage, the last time the study was done. Nationwide over the past year, Americans visited their public libraries nearly 1.3 billion times and checked out more than 2 billion items. Summer reading programs have also seen a huge increase in participation as families who are staying close to home look for ways to keep the kids busy while school is out. It warms my heart to hear how much people and communities love their libraries. At the same time it makes me even more confused why politicians continue to cut funding to public libraries. They obviously don’t get it.
Continuing with libraries, here is a really cool video recently created called I Am–The Library. It was inspired by the the work of Jesse Jackson who, as a college student, fought to desegregate his hometown public library. The title and idea of the video is modeled after Jackson’s 1971 speech I Am–Somebody.
And now, bookmobiles, sort of. Audrey Niffenegger fans who have read her short story “The Night Bookmobile” will be delighted to read the serialized graphic novel version at the Guardian. And if you haven’t read the wonderful short story, well, here’s your chance.
In personal library school news, class is essentially done. We are wrapping up discussion this week. All of my assignments are turned in and all but my final project have been graded. The last assignment on Library of Congress subject headings I think I mentioned. We had to choose five books we have read that weren’t textbooks, fiction or biographies and assign them an LOC subject heading. Then we had to look them up and see what the professionals assigned them. And finally, we were to write a short analysis/comment on our subject headings and the actual subject headings. My prof thought my commentary clear and well-written, but what really tickled me was her comment that my books selection sure was interesting. The books I used were The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Art of Happiness at Work by the Dalai Lama, The Histories by Herodotus, Seduction and Betrayal: Women and Literature by Elizabeth Hardwick, and The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel. That is sort of an eclectic book grouping. Makes me wonder what books my classmates chose.