Wednesday, April 27, 2016

my thoughts on Playing for time: making art as if the world mattered

Playing for Time: Making Art as if the World MatteredPlaying for Time: Making Art as if the World Mattered by Lucy Neal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It is very much about collaborative, community based art work encouraging people to think about their communities, resilience and sustainability. Local sustainable food was a continuing theme. One of the projects looks at transitioning local practice, with the aim of more people in a particular area growing hops for local beer or growing food in areas around bus stops, with the idea of encouraging foraging. Librarians and libraries were key to many projects as there were strong information elements in some of the art works and projects - "the librarian is in". Reading through it sounded like there were collaborations with makers and craftivists as well. Another theme in the book was moving from bystanders to activists, with art, action and inclusion.

There are many ideas for how libraries could work with their communities, without the book being explicit about their inclusion. There was an excellent council project, called the Remakery, where (obviously) things were remade, including wood, textiles, bikes... This is a an excellent fit with maker spaces, as this is another slant on that, and brings together skills in the community, and through reuse, is good for the environment. Creativity was a key part of the Remakery as well, and it helped skills up people with classes in sewing, carpentry, computer repair.

Many projects would lend themselves to collecting material for local studies, like the wonderfully named 'Happiness bottles', recording happiness, and the diarykeepers project where locals recorded what was happening in their gardens. The Happy museum project manifesto is "exploring how contact with cultural experience can kickstart healthier and happier communities".

There is a lot that is whimsical within the book and a lot which is practical. For many of the projects sufficient information is provided so that others can implement in their community, including hints about partners, costs and so on. It is very much about connecting people to other people and to place. They are projects which connect diverse communities and are inclusive. It is highly illustrated to show the projects with lots of description (so you could make the project happen).

It is not a book to be read quickly. It took me a long time to read, mainly because it is large and heavy, and so was not a commute read for me. It also had lots of ideas to think about, and I will read it again.

I did a search on Trove and this book is held in four libraries in Australia.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

a few comments about Cosplay in Libraries: how to embrace costume play in your library by Ellyssa Kroski

Cosplay in Libraries: How to Embrace Costume Play in Your LibraryCosplay in Libraries: How to Embrace Costume Play in Your Library by Ellyssa Kroski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title describes the contents of this book really well. It is all about how libraries can have events which include cosplay. There are very detailed annotated resources lists, and almost step by step guides for different kinds of event planning (for example 'host a comic or anime con in your library', 'how to host a cosplay contest'). These lists would give a new event planner, or an event planner new to cosplay events, a lot of confidence. The helpful event planning information would be relevant for other events as well.

There are some excellent examples of how some public libraries in the USA have been working with cosplay as events or part of events with detailed information about costs, number of participants, information about the events, and links to sites like the Facebook page for the event. I really like the way information about evaluation is included, and the costs provided by libraries allow other libraries an estimate of what to expect (generally staffing costs are not listed in the budgets provided).

This is also a book which can serve as an excellent introduction to cosplay, and the etiquette, protocols and other considerations. It is also a very interesting read. You might like to think about cosplay for your library.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Natural History Museum London, and the science being done

The Natural History Museum in London has a visualisation showing the global distribution of the Museum's zoological specimens with digital records.  This is an impressive way of helping people understand what the collection covers. When you go to the data page to search, they tell you that 
2,927,322 of the Museum's 80 million specimens are now available online.  I really like this because it lets me know there is a lot of information I can find online, but I won't find it all, and that it is being added to all the time.  Specific data set numbers for zoology, botany, mineralogy, palaeontology and entomology are also listed. The data sets can be downloaded and are also available by an API.
If you click on the our science link, the museum website informs you of the number of scientists and of their collaborative publications, so that we understand that the museum is about current science work, as well as so many other areas.

They have developed some very interesting lists on Twitter, bringing together the work of their scientists.  There are many other amazing areas of this website to explore.

I find the different ways they describe and share information very interesting, and with some ideas libraries may think about too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How to explore Guatemala’s Mayan ruins from 4500 kilometres away via @newscientist

How to explore Guatemala’s Mayan ruins from 4500 kilometres away: Virtual tourism is about to take off, giving people the chance to visit the world's most beautiful – and inaccessible – places without leaving home


Go and read the above article.  Then think about the local studies potential.  Imagine being able to visit local places of interest this way.  It would be brilliant for exploring cemeteries, but also for seeing how a suburb or town was decked out for Harmony Day earlier this year, or what was done for a local festival. Consider how this kind of experience would allow people to explore your area in a different way to find out about the recent, and further away past.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spare time?

I follow the work of Ian Anstice by having an rss feed from Public Library News.  In the article 

Libraries lose a quarter of staff as hundreds close it states "Librarian Ian Anstice, who runs the Public Libraries News website in his spare time, said..."

I have not thought of him doing all this work in his spare time. Go back and read the article if you missed this aside. I have though of all the work which produces Public Library News occurring because Ian has prioritised his time, not because he has spare time and was wondering what to do with it.  It shows how careful we have to be about how we describe people's use of their time.  

Do make time to read The most publicity that UK public libraries have had this century? from Public Library News, and consider adding the website or twitter account to your library related news feeds as they are great, and depressing reading.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Reflecting the Rising"

There are some very impressive photographs from Dublin City Library about the recent Easter Rising commemoration, including an interesting, and relevant inclusion of a mobile library. You will need to click on the link because for the photographs all rights are reserved.

Make sure you have a look at the Reflecting the Rising set and Dublin remembers 1916.  This is a very interesting combination of local studies, national and international history.  You can see their list of programs to commemorate this event, and there are are some library specific ones too.

Have a look at their blog to see how they are recording these events for the future.