This March, Sidsel Bech-Petersen a Library Transformer at Aarhus Public Libraries and I have proposed a session at South By Southwest Interactive.  It’s called Library Machines, and essentially, it’s a discussion/workshop to explore new ideas and directions for libraries.  It will be the spiritual sibling of last year’s Libraries: the Ultimate Playground.

During the Library Machines session, we’ll all go through a quick, “mad libs” style design exercise, and use that as a jumping off point for a larger discussion through the rest of the session.

1) If you’re going to be at SXSW, join us! this will be a discussion and making session, not a presentation

2) If all goes according to plan, outside this session we should be facilitating a bunch of library “innovation”-y fun stuff so reach out if you’re interested in helping!  (jgoldenson AT

Give it a thumbs up, a tweet and if inspired, make an Library Machine in the comments!  

12 Best Fictional Libraries :: Blogs :: List of the Day :: Culture :: Paste
Meh. Sort worth a look. – David Weinberger

The Story of Maria’s Libraries
Fantastic post on libraries as a network of local resources for community needs, in Kenya – David Weinberger

3-D printing: Public libraries’ latest step into the digital world –
– David Weinberger

Google textbook service offers new way to save hundreds on college expenses | Deseret News
– David Weinberger

University libraries are shaping the future of learning and research | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional
– David Weinberger

On the Return of a Long-Lost Library Book, the World Rejoices
I love what what these stories say about the stability of the library. Libraries for the long haul — physical instantiations and as a cultural institution. – Matt Phillips

British Library builds fire-proof home for 750m newspapers
“There are going to take most of the oxygen out of this place. There will be no people in here.” – Matt Phillips

Abandoned Walmart is Now America’s Largest Library via
– David Weinberger

The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish
“Publishers are simply not publishing copyrighted titles unless they are very recent.” – Matt Phillips

Educational Leadership:Technology-Rich Learning:Our Brains Extended
Curricula for the networked age – David Weinberger

Little libraries go a long way in building community | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
– David Weinberger

Here’s how Amazon self-destructs –
– David Weinberger

Do Things that Don’t Scale
“one sort of initial tactic that usually doesn’t work: the Big Launch. I occasionally meet founders who seem to believe startups are projectiles rather than powered aircraft, and that they’ll make it big if and only if they’re launched with sufficient ini – Matt Phillips

Libraries and makerspaces join up in DC, Chicago – Boing Boing
– David Weinberger

Looking Beyond the Recipes: An Academic Approach to Reading Cookbooks
Libraries build communities — “One of the most thrilling aspects of being here is being in the same room with so many international cookbook readers and writers,” – Matt Phillips

US Libraries Offer More Than Free Book Loans
– David Weinberger

First Look at gets some love. – Matt Phillips

$1 Million Gates Grant to Fund Chicago, Aarhus Libraries’ Innovation Partnership | ALA Annual 2013
– David Weinberger

Books on Bikes| The Economist
– David Weinberger

Book discovery sans metadata: No Names, No Jackets
– David Weinberger

E-books strain relationship between book publishers and libraries — Opinion — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine
– David Weinberger

Every Library and Museum in America, Mapped
More public libraries than McDonald’s – Annie

face to gif
face to gif is a simple webapp that lets you record yourself and gives you an infinitely looping animated gif – Matt Phillips

Watch the world’s longest domino chain made of books
Seattle Public Library kicks off summer reading – Annie

Public Library: An American Commons | Robert Dawson Photography
– jeff

Tell-all telephone | Data Protection | Digital | ZEIT ONLINE
– jeff

Coyle’s InFormation: Rich snippets
Using to enable page snippets with bib info – David Weinberger

The “Bookless” Library | The American Conservative
– David Weinberger

The Reading Nest: A New Installation by Mark Reigelman Using 10,000 Reclaimed Boards | Colossal
This might be a bit big for the Labrary – Annie

Library reference desks still exist – Chicago Tribune
– David Weinberger

Report emphasizes role libraries, museums play in early learning – The Washington Post
– David Weinberger

10 | These Amazing Twitter Metadata Visualizations Will Blow Your Mind | Fast Company | business + innovation
– jeff

Building a Bicycle Barometer
“A networked dial makes it easier to choose whether to ” x or y – Matt Phillips

Houghton Library
Images from the Houghton Library, in blog form – Matt Phillips

The Library Test Kitchen at Harvard University – Books – The Boston Globe
– David Weinberger

On Wednesday and Thursday I went to the second LODLAM (linked open data for libraries, archives, and museums) unconference, in Montreal. I’d attended the first one in San Francisco two years ago, and this one was almost as exciting — “almost” because the first one had more of a new car smell to it. This is a sign of progress and by no means is a complaint. It’s a great conference.

But, because it was an unconference with up to eight simultaneous sessions, there was no possibility of any single human being getting a full overview. Instead, here are some overall impressions based upon my particular path through the event.

  • * Serious progress is being made. E.g., Cornell announced it will be switching to a full LOD library implementation in the Fall. There are lots of great projects and initiatives already underway.

  • * Some very competent tools have been developed for converting to LOD and for managing LOD implementations. The development of tools is obviously crucial.

  • * There isn’t obvious agreement about the standard ways of doing most things. There’s innovation, re-invention, and lots of lively discussion.

  • *Some of the most interesting and controversial discussions were about whether libraries are being too library-centric and not web-centric enough. I find this hugely complex and don’t pretend to understand all the issues. (Also, I find myself — perhaps unreasonably — flashing back to the Standards Wars in the late 1980s.) Anyway, the argument crystallized to some degree around BIBFRAME, the Library of Congress’ initiative to replace and surpass MARC. The criticism raised in a couple of sessions was that Bibframe (I find the all caps to be too shouty) represents how libraries think about data, and not how the Web thinks, so that if Bibframe gets the bib data right for libraries, Web apps may have trouble making sense of it. For example, Bibframe is creating its own vocabulary for talking about properties that other Web standards already have names for. The argument is that if you want Bibframe to make bib data widely available, it should use those other vocabularies (or, more precisely, namespaces). Kevin Ford, who leads the Bibframe initiative, responds that you can always map other vocabs onto Bibframe’s, and while Richard Wallis of OCLC is enthusiastic about the very webby vocabulary for bib data, he believes that Bibframe definitely has a place in the ecosystem. Corey Harper and Debra Riley-Huff, on the other hand, gave strong voice to the cultural differences. (If you want to delve into the mapping question, explore the argument about whether Bibframe’s annotation framework maps to Open Annotation.)

    I should add that although there were some strong disagreements about this at LODLAM, the participants seem to be genuinely respectful.

  • * LOD remains really really hard. It is not a natural way of thinking about things. Of course, neither are old-fashioned database schemas, but schemas map better to a familiar forms-based view of the world: you fill in a form and you get a record. Linked data doesn’t even think in terms of records. Even with the new generation of tools, linked data is hard.

  • * LOD is the future for library, archive, and museum data.

Here’s a list of brief video interviews I did at LODLAM:

ASIS&T Announces Management Partnership with DCMI
– David Weinberger

The reinvention of libraries | Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
fact-based SlideShare – David Weinberger

Accountability, libraries’ value at odds | |
Identifying the value of libraries – David Weinberger

Search for 1st Web Page Takes Detour Into NC
Jones said Berners-Lee shared the page with the professor, who has transferred it from server to server through the years. A version remains on the Internet today at an archive Jones runs, ibiblio. – Matt Phillips

This Is Your Brain on Coffee
a cup or three of coffee “has been popular for a long, long time,”, “and there’s probably good reasons for that.” – Matt Phillips

Harvard Library Portal
The Library Innovation Lab’s Stacklife virtual browser application has been added to the Harvard Library Portal as one of the six options for searching items from the Harvard Library collection. – Kim Dulin

The History of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” Album Art
– Matt Phillips

Fokus – Emphasized text-highlighting using JavaScript
Fokus uses JavaScript to emphasize anything you select by covering the rest of the page with semi-transparent black. – Matt Phillips

Designing Libraries That Encourage Teens to Loiter – Amanda Erickson – The Atlantic Cities
– David Weinberger

Libraries expanding availability of free digital downloads |
– David Weinberger

In the Digital Age, What Becomes of the Library? | MindShift
– David Weinberger

3 Cliches To Use Today With Your Company | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
“I won’t invest in a “ask for permission” deal,” he writes. “They don’t work.” – Matt Phillips

The Free Little Library by Stereotank | Colossal
Another street library – Annie

timestamping youtube is great – jeff

▶ Jonathan Zittrain on Protecting Legal Scholarship for Posterity | PolicyCast by Harvard University
Jonathan Zittrain talks about preventing link rot in law review citations. – Kim Dulin

Don’t Panic: Why Catastrophism Fails Libraries | Peer to Peer Review
– David Weinberger

Jetpack for WordPress
Use the WordPress API with self-hosted blogs – Annie

Susanne Dorson came in the LABRARY with her family.

Son pictured here:

We got to talking and she told me about the amazing shop she co-founded just down the road in Arlington called The Little Fox Children’s Resale Shop, aka The Little Fox Shop.  So Annie and I finally took a field trip.



They’ve really got an amazing thing going there, a bulleted list of things we learned.

The space:

  • + The space is attached to the Edith Fox Library in Arlington, MA.
  • + The room was never used by the library however, it previously housed the town depts., so it’s not taking up library space
  • + It’s large (stroller friendly is key they’ve learned)
  • + A Professional look and display is important to sales

It’s a symbiotic relationship, all money goes to the library.  The impact is amazing:

  • + keeps the library open on Friday, one extra day each week
  • + a new paint job for the library
  • + new blinds
  • + computer tables
  • + non-fiction kids books, among other collections purchases made by ….
  • + bean bag chairs
  • + furniture re-upholstery
  • + sing-alongs
  • + signage

Beyond bringing in money, Little Fox Shop relies entirely on volunteers for operations, a unique community building opportunity:

  • + expecting-mother volunteers meet new mothers (while also learning about the who world of baby clothes and gear)
  • + volunteer parents can bring kids along while they work
  • + senior citizens stay connected to folks of all ages, and vice versa – intergenerational


From the moment I heard about LFS, it’s stuck with me.  It’s such a complementary use of space with a library.  Parents come in for a lapsit or sing along, afterwards they wander into the Fox Shop where children can play with toys while they can shop or just hang out and play too.

It’s an interesting thing when libraries, or services in them, begin to sell things. Is this erosion?  Some uses of space seem less so.  A coffee shop can be a natural fit.  Children’s resale shops feel like a fit too.  Perhaps the second hand nature, the grassroots beginnings, the kid’s orientation, plus the free-to-play policy feels sufficiently gentle.  I don’t feel like the Edith Fox Branch “sold out” or something.

As Susanne pointed out, for libraries faced with closure or dramatic reduction in programming and hours, an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving doesn’t hurt.