Tag Archives: National Library Week 2013

Welcome to the Digital Public Library of America!

As we wrap up National Library Week it’s important to herald the major announcement  of a significant resource, the Digital Public Library of America (http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2013/04/launching-the-digital-public-library-of-america/#.UXFmyZiIdH8.mailto).  Though the DPLA clearly is not the first major digital library resource, planners are firm in their assertion that it is inherently unique:  “What distinguishes the Digital Public Library of America from these other efforts, however, is its aim to serve not as a database or portal or digital repository, but as a large-scale digital public library to preserve U.S. history and enhance the knowledge of the collective U.S. for current and future generations.”

Much was written about the new entry on the digital library scene; for some reason I particularly enjoyed a couple of reviews that I had time to peruse:

–       John Darndon offers a comprehensive history of the DPLA in a recent article in the New York Review of Books (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/apr/25/national-digital-public-library-launched/?pagination=false)

–       Pandodaily offers a slightly different take on the news (http://pandodaily.com/2013/04/19/the-digital-public-library-of-america-a-big-moment-for-open-access-or-too-big-for-its-own-good/)  There are countless others.

–       The NPR blog offers yet another view:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/18/177727014/book-news-vast-digital-public-library-of-america-launches

It is sad to note that the launch of the DPLA was totally eclipsed by the Boston Marathon catastrophe and the ensuing trauma that engulfed the city where the launch event was held.

Recalling that we started the week with the dread tax day, it seems right to note that this is a portal to libraries that are supported by and for the public.  Though the DPLA project did receive foundation support, most public depend on public support.   We are inclined to speak glibly of “free” libraries, the treasures of our public libraries are not free.  Since the birth of this nation we have recognized that libraries are and must remain a public good charged to assure that all American citizens have ready access to the tools essential to an informed electorate who are the deciders in a democracy.  The DPLA is just a handy tool that makes some of those resources more accessible to more people who would be free.

If you are among the many homebound and looking for hope as we struggle through the last blast of Winter of 2013, you may find escape, even hope, by checking out the beta version of the DPLA.  Consider that it will be Spring when you resurface – seriously.

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Crafters give new life to discarded library cards!

Residents of Northeast Minneapolis are extraordinarily proud that the American Craft Council has chosen to establish its permanent home in the neighborhood, at the old Grainbelt Brewery at 1224 Marshall.  This week Northeast shares the treasure with the nation and beyond as the ACC hosts its major Midwest show featuring more than 200 of the country’s finest contemporary jewelry, clothing, furniture and home decor artists.  The Show is April 19-21 at St. Paul River Center

As it happens this is also National Library Week which is why I found great delight in exploring an armchair experience that blends crafts and libraries in wonderfully inventive ways.  The ACC’s Library Card Project left me smiling and in awe of the creativity of the crafters – suffice to say I got lost in learning about what creative minds and hands can do with a discarded library card.  The photos are great and the profiles of the crafters are equally enchanting.

Patricia Johnson is credited with having had the vision of the Library Card Project.  She is a paper crafter and community organizer in Carol Stream, Illinois.  Her idea was to “let new crafters know to step out of their comfort zone and try something on a different scale.”

Crafters did unleash their imaginations.  For example, Patti Millington of Kurtistown, HI, created a piece she calls Archive in which “the cards arranged are on a viewing device which, when rotated to align with a certain card, allow a person to look through the eye piece to see an image from the corresponding book across the gallery.  The book images are situated on a timeline encircling the gallery that indicates the era of the craft represented in the book described on the library card.”  Millington says that “the catalog cards with their Dewey Decimal numbers and handwritten notations spoke of our collective efforts to preserve the information and objects that mark our existence.  The information and dates on the cards were a perfect fit for an idea I’ve had for a piece recording fleeting human impressions on the history of time.”  Millington captures the essence of the project.

The only way to appreciate the Library Card Project is to spend time absorbing the visual images and reading the words of the crafters.  You’ll learn about the expanse of their creative imaginations – and find a beautiful new life for discarded library catalog cards.  Click on http://www.craftcouncil.org/tags/library-card-project.

You’ll also be inspired to drop in at the American Craft Council show in downtown St. Paul this weekend.  For complete information on hours, exhibitors and more go to http://shows.craftcouncil.org/stpaul.