International and Comparative Librarianship

DEDICATED TO PIONEERS   INCLUDING:
S. R. Ranganathan, P. N. Kaula, R. N. Sharma, J. F. Harvey, D. J. Foskett, J. P. Danton, M. M. Jackson, etc.
This Blogosphere has a slant towards India [a.k.a Indica, Indo, South-Asian, Oriental, Bharat, Hindustan, Asian-Indian (not American Indian)].

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The secret libraries of history, BBC


"After news emerged about an underground reading room in Damascus, Fiona Macdonald discovers the places where writing has been hidden for centuries."
Highlights:
  • French sinologist Paul Pelliot in the Library Cave at Dunhuang in 1908 reading the manuscripts (Credit: The Musée Guimet)
  •   The Vatican Secret Archives includes Pope Leo X’s 1521 decree excommunicating Martin Luther (Credit: Capitoline Museums, Rome)
  • Solomon Schechter recognised the significance of the manuscripts in the Cairo genizah (Credit: Wikipedia)
  • Historian Erik Kwakkel discovered “hidden libraries” within Medieval book bindings (Credit: Erik Kwakkel)  ... continue reading the full article
On the same shelf:

Thursday, August 04, 2016

'People view librarians as peons' James Nye

James Nye in conversation with The Telegraph's Sanjib Mukherjee
"Known for his efforts in documenting thousands of records relating to South Asia, James Nye, the bibliographer for south Asia at the University of Chicago Library, was in Bhubaneswar to speak at the Odisha Knowledge Lecture series hosted by the state government. His connection with India began in 1960s, and since then, he has been coming to this country twice every year. His initiatives also include making the records available online. Anwesha Ambaly of The Telegraph spoke to him on various issues related to archiving of documents and his association with India's history ...
♦ Do you feel that the role of a bibliographer is significant in India as it is in western countries?
There is also a cultural problem where people have viewed librarians nothing more than peons. There is a deep need for people across all the fields in library sciences. From people selecting or cataloguing to administrators, who could run library as organisations, the needs are rising but the gap is huge. But, there are great opportunities and the country needs to realise that...." Full text here and here

On the same shelf:
  • The Indiana Jones of words, In a telephone interview, with MEHER MIRZA, The Hindu
  • Conservation of cultural assets need of hour: Nye Indian Express
    "Delivering the fifth lecture of Odisha Knowledge Hub (OKH) in the State Secretariat here, Nye emphasised on conservation and open access to cultural assets and heritage." [also here]

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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

“Take a Book; Return a Book" : Little Free Libraries

Note: The Little Free Library is an organization and movement that began in Madison, WI in 2009, that has since swept the country (and the international community) with the goal of spreading free books to all.

"My Little Free Library war: How our suburban front-yard lending box made me hate books and fear my neighbors This gift from my wife was supposed to be harmless fun — but now when people stop, all I feel is dread," DAN GREENSTONE, http://www.salon.com

Extract:
Little Free Library has a seductive marketing slogan that’s carved into the top of every unit: “Take a Book; Return a Book.” Such a simple equation. And such wishful thinking. Take? Oh, absolutely. People are, in fact, really good at that part. For example there was the young mom who lifted her toddler up to the box, watching uncritically as he scooped up “Imaginary Homelands,” Salman Rushdie’s collection of criticism and essays. Which I’m sure he enjoyed.

When it comes to returning, people mean well. For example, I don’t doubt the sincerity of that young mom when she told her greedy little urchin, “We have to remember to come back soon and give them some books.” The problem is that, to borrow my favorite report card phrase, remembering, for most people, “remains an area of growth.” It’s not that I blame my (mooching) neighbors. Indeed, I, myself, seldom return books to the public library on time. And they fine you if you don’t. But since I don’t punish people (unless you count silent, withering judgment), I’ve got no leverage. The truth is laziness is just part of human nature. It’s what separates us from the beavers.
On the same shelf:
  • Free Books! How to Start a Little Free Library in Your Neighborhood by Alya Hameed
  • A LITTLE RANT ON LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES (AKA PROBABLY AN UNPOPULAR POST)
  • Little Libraries / Las Bibliotequitas
  • where to locate your neighborhood's little library
  • The Crackdown on Little Free Library Book Exchanges
  • 10 things to know before building your Little Free Library
  • Private Circulating Libraries in India


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    Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    The oldest library in the world just opened to the public — the al-Qarawiyyin library, Fez, Morocco

    1,157 years after it first opened, the world's oldest library has finally been restored and unveiled to the public. Located in Fez, Morocco, the al-Qarawiyyin library is part of the world's oldest continually operating university, al-Qarawiyyin University, which opened in 859. The library got several small additions and renovations over its millennium-long existence, but it wasn't until 2012 that Canadian-Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni
    decided to give it a total face lift. 
    world's oldest library
    To show off al-Qarawiyyin's new appearance, the university has opened the space, which had previously been reserved for academics and theologians, to the general public.
    Take a look inside....
    The al-Qarawiyyin university, library, and mosque were founded by Fatima El-Fihriya in 859 — around the time early forms of algebra were being invented.
    Continue reading: The oldest library in the world just opened to the public — the al-Qarawiyyin library, Fez, Morocco

    Monday, May 16, 2016

    International and Comparative Librarianship History Revisited : First Facts About Libraries

    This collection is inspired by many sites that have Interesting Facts About Libraries (sadly, many facts don't have an authentic source). 
    Here are just a few “secrets” or little-known first facts about libraries, with a source:
    1.  Bookboat: The first floating library service began in 1959. "Epos" - Norway's floating library, by Anne Marie Oevstegaard. [source]
    2. The World's Oldest Library. Hans H. Wellisch. "Almost all present descriptions of ancient libraries consider the Library of Ashurbanipal, dating from the 7thc BC and discovered around 1850" [source] [see also:  Library of King Ashurbanipal Web Page]
    3. The world's biggest library is The Library of Congress [source]
    4. The smallest library in the world has appeared on the streets of New York City, it has space for just one reader at a time. - Recommendation : Read a short book (under 150 pages) or a book with a yellow cover [source]
    5. The Harvard University library houses a collection of books bound in human skin. [source]
    6. The latest news maker: A Shikara ride to the library: Innovative cafe near Dal lake is book lovers' paradise in J&K offering rare books of Kashmiri history  [source]
    7. One of the world's biggest books claimed headlines about Bhutan [source]
    8. The highest library in the World at 230.9 m (757 ft 6 in), at the JW Marriott in Shanghai - China [source]
    9. The Filipino librarian has the distinction of being the first librarian in the world to be professionalized through the legislative process. [source]
    10.  The first Bookmobile (mobile library) - The British Workman  reported in 1857  a perambulating library operating in a circle of eight villages in Cumbria. [source]
    11. The world´s most overdue library book: The Oregonian: Borrower returns books 52 years late to Portland State University's library, with unsigned note [source]
    12. The Most Stolen Books From Libraries : The Guinness Book of Records tops the list.[source]
    13. There are more public libraries than McDonald's in the U.S.- a total of 16,604 including branches [source]
    14. The Firstthe nation's first lending library in the United States : Though the Library of Congress was the first official post-revolutionary library, it was not the first governmental library in the United States. The history of the first governmental library stretches back to 1731, when Benjamin Franklin and several of his friends in the Junto society founded The Library Company as a non-profit.[source]
    15. The first library catalog : ... the Seven Epitomes, the first library catalog to establish the bibliographic model in imperial China. [source]
    16. The first comprehensive Arabic national bibliography was compiled by Ibn al-Nadim, ' Kitab al fihrist' [source]
    17. 1 in 3 public libraries across the U.S.A. have Facebook accounts [source]
    18. The first library classification system, eisted during the Han Dynasty, and the first book notation system as well. [source]
    19. U.S. public libraries were some of the first institutions to be racially integrated because whites generally didn’t want to put up much of a fight about them. Some were even ashamed at the time to learn that libraries were segregated. [Source]
    20. Authors get paid every time UK or Irish libraries lend their books. [Source]

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    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    The “Golden Age” of Librarianship? Changes in the Information Profession from 1947-2014

    Extract:
    As a history enthusiast, I really enjoyed learning about the evolution of the library profession in my 9005 Management course and how the profession has changed over the past century. We watched this really interesting vocational video about librarianship from 1947, which gives a good insight about the roles and responsibilities of librarians in the immediate post-WWII era, what kinds of educational requirements are needed, and job prospects for aspiring librarians in the mid-20th century.
    In some ways, not much has changed in the past half century in the library profession. In 1947, the educational requirements were a university degree and attend a specialised library school, while in 2014, the same is true except the requirement is now a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS/MIS/MLS). That is not surprising in that educational requirements for many jobs have increased to at least have a basic college or university degree, but the specialised degree in library school is still the minimum requirement to be a librarian then and now. Another thing that remains true in the field of librarianship are the soft skills required to excel in the profession. While the demand for hard skills may change as technology advances, the human side of the profession remains unchanged as librarians need to have excellent interpersonal skills and must deliver exceptional reference services to patrons. Having a love for books/information and people is as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 1940s, even if librarians now use electronic databases and digital resources. Continue reading