Category Archives: children

Library campaigners descend on parliament to defend public funding

Authors including Cathy Cassidy and Philip Ardagh have joined librarians lobbying MPs to protect the service from cuts that have seen 441 branches closed since 2010.
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Writers & illustrators supporting libraries including John Dougherty, Philip Ardagh and Jake Arnott and Sarah McIntyre. Photograph: @jabberworks/Twitter
At a packed hall in Westminster, flanked with colourful handmade banners with “save our libraries” slogans, bestselling authors including children’s authors Alan Gibbons, Cathy Cassidy, and Philip Ardagh joined the Speak Up for Libraries campaign, Librarians and supporters from across the UK to urge MPs to focus on what they see as the root cause of the decline in libraries – the “apathy and ignorance” in local and central government.
Library funding has been cut by more than £180m over the last five years – a drop of 16% – corresponding with a 93% increase in volunteers working in libraries and a 22% drop in staff since 2010.

Guide to fictional Libraries #14 Non-fiction: Mobile libraries

I always think of the yellow county council vans of England when someone mentions Mobile Library Services.

mobile-library-in-rural-northumberland-237869600Here are a few imaginative alternatives:

BiblioburroColumbia

5c59556827c01994fc55781ebbe91671Mongolia.

451341f078cc6c5caa3041a24c6bd74fCartagena de Indias, Colombia

500dada17de63bc011f5d1b5fac2ce29Airstream Library. USA

5ae3f36d2d655d30c0274986f885530eApparently owned by Jim Hensen.

Thanks to http://www.thepolisblog.org for the wonderful post from which much of this information has been cribbed.

Guide to fictional Libraries #13 Non-fiction: The world’s smallest libraries

Stranger than fiction? Small is beautiful? Here are some curious community ideas to help enter fictional space:

1.

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As phone boxes are no longer in use, BT gave Westbury-sub-Mendip the option of either having the box removed or  buying it for £1.

The village chose the latter and after a tea party was held, the idea to turn it into a library was decided upon.

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2. In New York a bright yellow plastic water tank housing 40 books allows city-dwellers to take a break from the pace of life in the metropolis by chilling out with a good story.

article-2335595-1A22EF94000005DC-685_634x493The Little Free Library was designed by Venezuelan architects Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente using recycled materials to create an ‘inhabitable’ environment, which immerses its users in the experience of browsing books while also protecting the books inside from the elements.

article-2335595-1A22F0F3000005DC-24_634x392article-2335595-1A22F46F000005DC-757_634x442article-2335595-1A22EDAC000005DC-285_634x5993.

The Corner Library, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY was created by artist, Colin McMullan, as an art project.

Anyone in the local area can access the library.  They just need to obtain a “library card” first from Colin.  The “card” consists of the code to unlock the library.  Once a person has become a member they can borrow any item from the library and share any items they want.

worlds-smallest-libraryOf course the library is always open to members and you certainly don’t have to worry about it being closed due to budget cuts.  We think it’s a great idea.

4.

Bruce Blaisdell, of Mankato, Minn., decided to build his own Little Library free book exchange after seeing one in a neighboring town. He’s noticed that children use it most often. They walk by the retired teacher’s Marshall Street home on their way to and from Jefferson Elementary. His “Little Library” has a note on the window that says the kids are free to take a book or leave one.

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5. This library in Cardigan, on Prince Edward Island, Canada, operated by John A. MacDonald, sits in a building that measures 3.5 x 3.5 metres, and holds about 1,800 books; a lifetime membership costs $5, and it runs on an honour system.

213498-b_smallest_library_Cardigan_CanadaCourtesy of: World Record Academy; BBC; Bob Dolby; Daily Mail; publiclibraries.com/blog/ ; The Augusta Chronicle…

Guide to fictional Libraries #12 The Unseen University Library

Following the lead of The Matilda Project The Alibi Library has decided to produce a short series highlighting the work of some of the best fictional libraries:

In a month that saw the great Terry Pratchett attack the Education Minister’s reforms, the Alibi Library has chosen to honour his fantastic book cycle and the Unseen University Library.

Nunc id Vides, Nunc ne Vides (“Now you see it, Now you don’t.”)

The Library:

The Unseen University Library features chained books not unlike the Bodleian library at Oxford, although there it is done to protect the books from the students, whereas at UU it is done to protect the students from the books.

Unseen Academicals

The high concentration of magical lore has warped the Library interior into a locus of L-Space.  This library-space, is the ultimate portrayal of Pratchett’s concept that the written word has powerful magical properties on the Discworld, and that in large quantities all books warp space and time around them. The principle of L-space revolves around a seemingly logical equation;

 \text{Books} = \text{Knowledge} = \text{Power} = \frac{\text{Mass} \times \text{Distance}^2}{\text{Time}^3}.

Large quantities of magical and mundane books create portals into L-space that can be accessed using innate powers of librarianship. Because libraries with enough books to open a portal are often large and sprawling, those venturing into L-space may not necessarily know that they have arrived. The floor and ceiling of L-space follow the floor and ceiling of the library used to access it; the best example of this is that the central dome of Unseen University’s library is “always overhead”.  In every direction and as far as the eye can see bookshelves stretch off, meaning the nature of any walls are unknown.

“good bookshop is just a genteel blackhole that knows how to read.”

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Because L-space links every library, (and also possibly Death’s Autobiography Library) it is possible to reach any one of these in all space, time and the multiverse. There are indeed potentially other forms of data storage other than books as it represents every library anywhere. Additionally, one can read any book ever written, any book that will be written at some point and books that were planned for writing that were not, as well as any book that could possibly be written (note that this does not mean knowledge of everything; how would you distinguish the “correct” books from the “incorrect” ones?). As this is a form of interdimensional and time travel, there are strict limits on its use, and the Librarians of Time and Space, that is those who have access to L-space have developed three simple rules to ensure abuse is kept to a minimum:

  1. Silence
  2. Books must be returned by the last date stamped
  3. Do not interfere with the nature of casuality

Librarian_(Discworld)

The Librarian:

Access to libraries of other times or other realities is restricted to the librarian himself.

The Librarian chooses to take the form of an orang-utan having discovered that being one had certain advantages for a librarian – he can climb up to high shelves, for example.

Being an ape, he is known for his violent reaction to most people calling him a “monkey.” He speaks a language whose vocabulary consists primarily of the single word Ook and occasionally Eeek, but most people seem able to understand him.

The Librarian’s name has never been given in any of the books; he is always simply ‘the Librarian though he may once have been Dr. Horace Worblehat. Aside from his library duties his hobbies seem to involve playing keyboards (and his organ has a vox diabolica stop, a thunder pedal, and a 256-ft Earthquake pipe) or spending his leisure hours at the Mended Drum, where he drinks quietly unless provoked, eats prodigious quantities of peanuts, and plays a ruthless game of Cripple Mr Onion with anyone foolish enough to take him on.

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The Clients:

Access to the library is open to inhabitants of Ankh  Morpork, although non-magic users may get lost.  Theoretically, according to the strict word of the Lore, women are barred entrance to the library on the grounds that their inferior brains can’t handle it but in practice this has not been the case.

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Information courtesy of T. Pratchett and the wonderful contributors to Wikipedia

Coming up;  The Plume Library, Charlie Higson, Carole Boston Weatherford

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

from:

The Matilda Project

little-girl-reads-in-book-007-copy3

. The Alibi Library has always been particularly fond of this blog whose mission statement reads:

I’ll scour the world and London, my adopted hometown and the greatest city in the galaxy, by the way (yeah that’s right, take that Martian metropolises) for the little independent bookshops that smell of paper and sell you not just a book, but a little piece of human history.   Every week, no matter where in the world my crazy nomadic lifestyle takes me, I’ll share a new indie bookshop.

Every week one is able to find a scrupulously detailed review of a trusty book seller accompanied by artistically pleasing photography of their premises. Furthermore, to enhance your book shopping experience, a handy map is provided, indicating the location of all the fabulous bookshops reviewed. Indeed the Alibi Library has some ambition to become the first fictional library or book shop reviewed therein.

This week the site beseeches its followers verily:

So friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears and let me beseech you to do me a favour.  If you have a couple of Christmas gifts left to buy, please please consider buying books for your loved ones; they’re the present that never goes out of style!  And please, if you would, make the effort to do it in a bricks and mortar bookshop.  If it’s a nice and friendly local independent one, well then all the better.

And the Alibi Library would like to second this plea.

A reputable and satisfied client!

Dear Archibald Lib and Ignatius Rary,

Thank you for taking the time to find me an appropriate alibi in recent weeks*. I sincerely appreciate the time you spent reviewing my predicament with me and recommending strategies for reaching a satisfactory outcome.  Your advice was of great assistance and gave me a new perspective on available opportunities.

I especially appreciate your offer to connect myself with others working in your network. I plan on following up the contacts you furnished me with right away. I also hope to use the networking resources you recommended to avoid future complications.

Any additional suggestions you may have would be welcome.  I’ll update you as to my progress.

Again, thank you so much for your help. I greatly appreciate the assistance you have provided me.

I am very much in your debt.

Yours,
Rt Honorable    XXXXXX   XXXXX   MP

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland*

* The date and the name of the correspondent have been withheld for reasons of privacy, but should be noted that they do not refer to the present incumbent of this post or indeed to any recent events.

Postable

Henry:  Forget about an alibi.  What you need is a whole new freaking alias.

Thomas:  What do you mean, a new alias?

Henry:  Don´t worry.  I wasn´t trying to be serious or anything.

Archibald:  He means like a new name, a new presence and a new personality.

Ignatius:  We do those too you know.

Kim:  No.  No.  that´s not it.  What he needs is more an absence than a presence.

From  Lie is Worth Living  the sequel to The Alibi Library

Everyday

Every book you read.  Every story.   Every time you switch on the TV and you’re not starring in some drama or other.  Our lives are a constant escape from ourselves.  We seek refuge from the hurly burly of our own existence in the crisis and comedy elsewhere available.  We sit back and let our imagination (or someone else’s) show us a different set of lives and choices, just for a short while.  Just for a bit.  Just for kicks.  Isn’t that a little alibi too?

alibi

The word alibi, which in Latin means ‘elsewhere’, has been used since the 18th century to mean ‘an assertion by a person that he or she was elsewhere’. In the 20th century a new sense arose (originally in the US) with the meaning ‘an excuse’. This use is a fairly common and natural extension of the core meaning, but is still regarded as incorrect by some traditionalists.

noun (plural alibis)

  • a claim or piece of evidence that one was elsewhere when an act, typically a criminal one, is alleged to have taken place:she has an alibi for the whole of yesterday evening
  • informal an excuse or pretext:a catch-all alibi for failure and inadequacy

verb (alibis, alibiing, alibied)

[with object]informal

  • provide an alibi for:her friend agreed to alibi her
    the plea of having been at the time of the commission of an act elsewhere than at the place of commission; also : the fact or state of having been elsewhere at the time

Origin:

late 17th century (as an adverb in the sense ‘elsewhere’): from Latin, ‘elsewhere’. The noun use dates from the late 18th century

from the Oxford and Merriam Webster online dictionaries.

I’ve been trying to fit in for years.   Yes.  Yes.  We’ve all been in the wrong place at the wrong time.  For some it’s that deliciously blurred moment somewhere after midnight and before work or school the next day.  On the other hand, some of us seem to spend most of our days there.  And others appear to have been simply born there.  Of course we can dissimulate.  We can pretend we suddenly fit in though it’s as awkward as a suit with no arms and ten pockets when there’s a bill to be paid.  But now I seem to conflating being in the wrong place with a sort of being-out-of-place faux pas.  And even then, when we’re busy pretending that we’re not as out of place as a mathematical equation scrawled on a urinal wall, that’s when we need the alibi most.  To fit in.  Who am I.  Where have I come from.  As if I was ever going to tell you any of that stuff.  Yes. Yes.  I’ll come up with something to be sure,

better than the truth, or at least more believable.