23 of the most incredible libraries around the world

From Vogue

“By reading books, we can travel the world, shape-shift and experience what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes without leaving our chairs. And with libraries, we can have these extraordinary experiences even if we have no money or means. “The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of all human beings,” says contemporary American writer, Libba Bray. “It is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.” From libraries steeped in history, like Trinity College Old Library in Dublin (where Harry Potter was filmed), to modern marvels, like Musashino Art University Museum & Library in Tokyo, where the focus is on digital information sharing, libraries endure as precious public spaces – spaces where anyone with a passion for learning is welcome to pull up a chair and stay as long as they like.”


NY Times now free in all 1,200 California public libraries

From The Hill

” The New York Times announced Tuesday that its content will now be offered for free in all 1,200 of California’s public libraries.The 23 million library card holders in the state will have free access to the Times’s website by registering with their library card. “A library card is the best bargain around, and having free access to The New York Times makes your library card even more valuable,” Greg Lucas, California’s state librarian, said in a press release announcing the partnership. “We’re excited to partner with The Times to make an important news source available to Californians at their local library. To say nothing of the creative lesson plans in the Learning Network.” Registered card holders will be able to access the Times either through a library computer, on their own device connected to a library’s Wi-Fi, or through the libraries’ website when accessing it remotely.”


Contra Costa: After protests, an estimated 500 attend East Bay library’s ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’

From SF Gate

“There were some in Brentwood who felt that a literary event at the Brentwood Community Center on Monday night was inappropriate for kids. Why? The public reading in Contra Costa County featured a drag queen reading children’s books to, well, children.But the 25 or so people who showed up to protest mostly peacefully outside the venue were well outnumbered by the 500 people Contra Costa County Libraries estimated to have attended the event. It was more people than the organization expected to attend to hear Bella Aldama read to young guests, a spokeswoman for the group told SFGATE, but it was nevertheless a rousing success.”


Santa Monica: 100 Years of History at Ocean Park Library

From Santa Monica Mirror

“By the early 1900s, as Santa Monica evolved into the city it is today, it was apparent that the Santa Monica Public Library had outgrown its quarters.In 1906, the Clapp Brothers Drug Store on Pacific Avenue established a book exchange where patrons of the public library went to pick up and return books. Elfie Mosse, the City Librarian, requested funding to build Santa Monica’s first branch library, and on February 15, 1918, after a $12,500 grant from Andrew Carnegie, the Ocean Park Branch Library opened its doors to the public.A century later, the Ocean Park Branch Library is one of the few remaining pieces of the Carnegie legacy in Southern California and a testament to the unique history and diversity that make up the roots of Santa Monica.”


Plumas County: Chester Library celebrates 90 years

From Plumas News

” In 1929 the Chester Library opened its door to the local community, and 90 years later is continuing to provide services far beyond simply lending books.There will be functions throughout the year to celebrate this anniversary. These events are intended to educate people of this historical library and the Chester Museum, which shares space at 210 First Ave. in downtown Chester.For 90 years this library has had the fortune to survive when many others have had to close their doors. She is a symbol of strength, need and utilization. She is the epitome of the saying, “Great things come in small packages.” Being a rural library, she serves the entire Chester/Lake Almanor Basin’s full time population, and the multitude of visitors during the summer resort season.Take away the new entry gable and the museum addition and the Chester Library doesn’t look much different than it did circa 1929. Celebrating 90 years of service to the Chester/Lake Almanor area, the library is planning several special events intended to educate the community about its history and expanding service to the community. The building itself has the unique status of being the only log library in California.”


South Pasadena: Library Improvements Coming Soon

From South Pasadena Review

” Changes taking place on the main floor of the South Pasadena Public Library will update its look, add space and improve library services, according to officials.Circulation and reference services will be centralized, and public computers with internet connections will double in number, according to Cathy Billings, Assistant Library Director.No changes will be made in the Children’s Room.The sizable circular desk at the entrance to the library used by staff for checking items in and out will be removed Feb. 19, Billings said.The substantial reference desk, which is located toward the back of the library, will be retired at the same time. Staff has used these desks to serve patrons since the library expanded in 1982 – nearly 40 years.Taking their place just inside the main entrance is an already installed almost 20-foot-long oak desk a few feet from the west wall. It will serve as the single-point service desk for both checkout and reference services.Storage cabinets and a book drop have been installed along the wall. Corian countertops give the new structures a sleek look.”


Planned drag queen storytime ruffles some feathers in Brentwood

From Times-Herald

“An upcoming library story hour on inclusion and tolerance is stirring up a commotion in Brentwood.Since the recent announcement that East Bay drag queen Bella Aldama Word will do the reading, social media has gone into a frenzy and people have been calling to express their displeasure or voice their support, according to Brentwood Library staff.The Friends of the Library-sponsored Drag Queen Storytime — the first such one — will be held across the street from the library at the larger Brentwood Community Center at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11, followed by a heart wand craft-making session. Regular storytimes are held in the mornings at the library.Contra Costa County Library spokeswoman Brooke Converse said some mistakenly thought Aldama is going to give a nightclub-like performance, which isn’t the case.”