Library Links

Happy Friday, friends!  Here’s some library news floating around the internet:

-Have I mentioned yet that it’s Banned Books Week?  Well, you can get some banned and challenged books for free!  Here is a list of 18 “controversial” books, such as 1984, The Call of the Wild, and The Lord of the Rings, that are available for free in ebook form.  Also, you can enter to win 30 ebooks that have been banned/challenged/censored/etc.

-Over on Flavorwire, you can read some authors’ interesting responses to their books being banned.  I personally enjoyed the reactions of Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut; what do you think?

-Meanwhile, the Lawrence Public Library in Kansas asked local artists to submit artwork based on their favorite banned books.  All of the submissions are on display this week at the library (and online), and the library selected 7 to turn into trading cards.  They’ve been giving away one card each day, and this project has become so popular that you can also buy them!

-Obviously, Banned Books Week isn’t the only thing going on in the world.  After 7 years of litigation, publishers and Google have reached an agreement about digitized books and journals for the Google Library Project.  What do you guys think about this?

-With so much information available to us digitally, is there still a need for actual, physical libraries?  The answer is YES, and one person explains why here.

Have you found anything interesting lately in the world of books and libraries?  Let me know!

P.S.-Shameless plug time.  As of yesterday, I also blog for Information Space, the iSchool’s blog.  If you aren’t sick of my rambling on and on about banned books, check out my post over there.

Library as Community Memory: The Nashville Flood Project

2010 Flood 007Source

About a month before I moved to Nashville in 2010, the city was, quite literally, under water.  The flood that occurred there during the first few days of May 2010 devastated large areas of the community.  Homes were ruined, schools were closed for a week, and businesses were forced to close (some weren’t able to reopen until almost two years later).

Right now you’re probably saying to yourself, ok, that’s sad and all, but what does this have to do with libraries?  Well, I’m glad you asked!

As we discussed in class last week, libraries, in addition to serving as a platform for innovation and learning, also serve as a community repository and memory.  The Nashville Public Library has enthusiastically taken on this role, as you can see if you spend any time learning about The Flood Project.

Now, I’ve had my issues with the Nashville Public Library (a story for another post, perhaps), but The Flood Project is something I think is great for the community.  Thousands of people were affected by the flood; it became an integral part of some people’s life experiences, and people are still talking about it now, more than two years later.  I know that the pain and the memories will fade with time, but people’s experiences will be preserved and remembered thanks to the library.

The library has done several important things as part of this project.  They set up a page on the project’s website where people could share their experiences and pictures.  They collected many oral histories detailing personal perspectives and experiences, from reactions to flood damage to rescue efforts to recovery after the flood.  A little over a year after the flood happened, the library opened an exhibit sharing what had been collected at that point in the process.  Most recently, a large number of images and excerpts from oral history interviews have been digitized and added to the library’s Digital Collections.
Flood 2010Source

The project is ongoing, and I’m not sure what the next steps are, although I believe interviews are still being conducted.  Whether the library features another exhibit or focuses on digitally archiving people’s memories, I think this project has been amazing, because the community has been so heavily involved.  The library saw that the community needed a way to work through and preserve this event that became such an immense part of so many people’s personal histories, and responded by creating this project.  Community members provided their photos and videos, community members volunteered to collect oral histories, and community members shared their stories.  In every way, this has been a community project.

The flood was a devastating event in Nashville’s recent history, and thanks to the Nashville Public Library’s commitment to serve as a repository and memory for the community, the people of Nashville will have their stories of destruction and rebuilding, despair and perseverance, preserved for the future.