Great example of smart, strategic, inflammatory activism and subsequent storytelling in a municipality.
I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it ~ overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands.
F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby
(shared earlier today by the best Friday afternoon spot, Ample Hills)
In the 1950s, having the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the bookshelf was akin to a station wagon in the garage or a black-and-white Zenith in the den, a possession coveted for its usefulness and as a goalpost for an aspirational middle class. Buying a set was often a financial stretch, and many families had to pay for it in monthly installments.
This is sad, even though I understand all the reasoning and good that will come from pouring energy into the online and educational resources. But gosh, I used to LOVE spending hours reading our encyclopedia (circa 1996) and accidentally learning about alphabetically-similar places, ideas, tools, and people to what I was intending to look up. That stumble-upon method of learning is continuing to be lost on the dusty shelves of libraries in lieu of curated, search-by-keyword internet sites.
Although what I think I feel is sad, it’s probably more so nostalgia. We should embrace the exciting opportunity to have greater access to up-to-date resources at lower cost rather than wanting something that certainly was incredible for 244 years but perhaps is becoming too outdated for this increasingly fast-changing world.
Here’s to the next era of Britannica.
Source: The New York Times
New York architect John Locke saw a unique opportunity and now has made very cool-looking and practical libraries/book drops that fit nicely on our existing infrastructure. Some say they will be trashed, but I honestly don’t think they will be any more than anything else.
I support this project and will definitely donate a book when I find one!
How cool and practical is this art/furniture?!
These bookshelves that can be taken apart and reconstructed into a coffin are pretty amazing. No, I’m not being morbid….just think about how awesome it is that you fill the shelves with items of importance or that were at some point a part of you, and that the same wood that holds components of your life eventually holds you. It’s also a cool statement about one’s relationship to death - that the owner is willing to acknowledge its eventual takeover, but also that they are in control of what surrounds them and is on display in life. The construction is thoughtful both as a design triumph and poetic musing. Not to mention that it’s resource efficient…
My buddy Kate asked friends about their favorite books and compiled a list. Here’s the list (which I’m super excited to dive into!) and her email if you’re interested in being a part of the shared google doc.
Edwind Abbott, Flatland Paul Auster, City of Glass Anthony Beevors, Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin Roberto Bolaño , 2666 Paul Bowles, The Spider’s House Italo Calvino, If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler James Clavell, Shogun Richard Dawkins,, The Blind Watchmaker Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince Antoine de St Exupery, Sand, Wind and Stars Don DeLillo, White Noise Daniel Dennett, Kinds of Minds Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehe Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo <===== editor's note: my contribution to the list. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance” Hans Fallada, Everyman Dies Alone William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 100 Years of Solitude Joseph Heller, Catch-22 Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Short Stories Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf Douglas Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach INCITE!, The Revolution Will Not be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex Henry James, Portrait of a Lady James Joyce, Ulysses
Shouldn’t there be some sort of super-excited-feeling that goes with this?!?!
I never wrote an “aftermath” post to the Find the Future game that I played back in May, because the truth is, I felt a little deflated. Unimpressed for sure. Disappointed overall. It was tricky to articulate that, because I didn’t want to pop the balloon for everyone else who (completely fairly) loved it.
The library itself is a masterpiece, as are the artifacts in it including books, paintings, technology relics, timepieces, cultural symbols, the stacks, and the architecture itself. The game was not a masterpiece - what work really is on the first go around though? - but to me fell very short. It fell a little bit too short, where I felt like many driving game mechanics for me - including the hand-in-hand qualities of cooperation and competition, and following a set of rules - missed the mark, and where the seven secrets (of the artifacts, powers, stories, teams, collaboration, clock, and stacks) felt terribly unimportant for and disjointed from the achieving the ultimate goal of writing a book. The size of the game, web interface, time of play, and mechanism for unlocking each artifact seem like the biggest areas of improvement, and their combined shortcomings unfortunately lowered my appreciation for the game. The experience on whole was fine enough, but the promise of a really neat social game was relatively unfulfilled.
I think I felt let down on the game aspect because I went in with very high expectations. I love Jane McGonigal’s whole paradigm of changing the world through games, because it makes sense both in theory and, with time, in practice. The short term game didn’t live up to either my personal expectations or the expectations created from the opening speech, that’s for sure, and the structure and mechanics just felt off. But, Jane did say that we wouldn’t play the whole game that night. What she meant in context was that we’d have to come back to find all of the artifacts on our own and write all of our own stories, but my glimmer of hope is that the game’s not done in a different way. The game might, in the long term, ultimately be a success in the change-the-world kind of way because of this: I (and, I think, everyone else there) met some pretty neat people and interacted with even more. I’m now buddies with them on Twitter and Facebook. As a result, they have and continue to in many ways influence my thinking, and my future opportunities, and my approach to group interactions. So, while this doesn’t help me win the Find The Future game anymore, I think there’s potential for the overall experience to feel like a win over time.
So, am I psyched about the published author thing? Meh. But maybe when I go see what promises to be a gorgeous book with some stuff I’ve never read in it, it’ll hit me how cool this is and how we won together.
We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.
Q:you are so lucky to be staying overnight! i work at the library and i wish they could pay me overtime to stay overnight but unfortunately they'd probably say no cause i'm not even 18 -_- have fun! take photos if you can and let me know how you like the smell of the stacks! mmm old, dusty book smell <3 lol
Working at the library must be super cool. The collection is so vast and building is just so darn beautiful. That smell though….wow! It hits you like whoa the second you walk into the reading rooms! I’ve never experienced that anywhere else though, so that’s definitely neat. Photos and reflections will DEFINITELY be posted to this blog sometime the following day (after I sleep a little!!!). And, if you have any tips or fun library tips I should know, drop me a line!