Death to Book Logos for Public Libraries!

Survey the websites for public libraries in the United States, and how many do you think feature some kind of book as their logo? It’s got to be well over 50% of them.

Some of my own favorite library systems use book logos. Take a look:

Oak Park Public Library in Oak Park, Illinois
Mid-Continent Public Library in Missouri
Garfield County Libraries in Colorado

These are fantastic libraries that do great work in their communities. I follow their work avidly. But seriously—what’s with the book logos?

I’ve developed an almost visceral aversion to seeing book logos on library websites. Why?

Continue reading “Death to Book Logos for Public Libraries!”

Book Review: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Ancillary Justice book cover
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Orbit Books, 2013
Cover art by John Harris

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie has been on my “To Read” list since it swept all of the major SF awards last year. I enjoyed it tremendously.

This is old-fashioned space opera, reminiscent of the classics of the Golden Age. Unlike a lot of modern space opera (which I adore, for the record) Ms. Leckie is less concerned with the technology that makes galaxy- and time-spanning civilization possible and offers us a story focused on character and plot.

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Serendipitous Discovery: A Critical Perspective

Given my passion for serendipitous discovery in libraries, I was delighted to read this paper by Patrick L. Carr:

Serendipity in the Stacks: Libraries, Information Architecture, and the Problems of Accidental Discovery (PDF)

It had never occurred to me to consider serendipitous discovery from this angle before. Serendipity can be construed as a failure of a user-centered information environment to properly meet the needs of a user. Perhaps serendipitous discovery isn’t a benefit so much as it’s a compensation mechanism for the failures of our search systems.

This suggests interesting avenues for inquiry and development. I think it’s a beneficial perspective. Serendipity isn’t all good and librarians should approach it strategically.

I’m particularly struck by this passage on page 18:

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