To save precious centuries-old Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians in Timbuktu pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean's Eleven.
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world's greatest and most brazen smugglers. In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. Over the past twenty years, journalist Joshua Hammer visited Timbuktu numerous times and is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Haidara's heroic and ultimately successful effort to outwit Al Qaeda and preserve Mali's - and the world's - literary patrimony.
Hammer explores the city's manuscript heritage and offers never-before-reported details about the militants' march into northwest Africa. But above all, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is an inspiring account of the victory of art and literature over extremism.
Libraries today are more important than ever. More than just book repositories, libraries can become bulwarks against some of the most crucial challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information.
In BiblioTech, educator and technology expert John Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. And libraries, which play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible - by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online.Not all of these changes will be easy for libraries to implement. But as Palfrey boldly argues, these modifications are vital if we hope to save libraries and, through them, the American democratic ideal.
For readers of The Monuments Men and The Hare with Amber Eyes, the story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the small team of heroic librarians now working to return the stolen books to their rightful owners. While the Nazi party was being condemned by much of the world for burning books, they were already hard at work perpetrating an even greater literary crime. Through extensive new research that included records saved by the Monuments Men themselves - Anders Rydell tells the untold story of Nazi book theft, as he himself joins the effort to return the stolen books. When the Nazi soldiers ransacked Europe's libraries and bookshops, large and small, the books they stole were not burned.
Instead, the Nazis began to compile a library of their own that they could use to wage an intellectual war on literature and history. In this secret war, the libraries of Jews, Communists, Liberal politicians, LGBT activists, Catholics, Freemasons, and many other opposition groups were appropriated for Nazi research, and used as an intellectual weapon against their owners. But when the war was over, most of the books were never returned. Instead many found their way into the public library system, where they remain to this day. Now, Rydell finds himself entrusted with one of these stolen volumes, setting out to return it to its rightful owner. It was passed to him by the small team of heroic librarians who have begun the monumental task of combing through Berlin's public libraries to identify the looted books and reunite them with the families of their original owners. For those who lost relatives in the Holocaust, these books are often the only remaining possession of their relatives they have ever held. And as Rydell travels to return the volume he was given, he shows just how much a single book can mean to those who own it.
Award-winning journalist Delphine Minoui recounts the true story of a band of young rebels in a besieged Syrian town, who find hope and connection making an underground library from the rubble of warDay in, day out, bombs fall on Daraya, a town outside Damascus, the very spot where the Syrian Civil War began. In the midst of chaos and bloodshed, a group searching for survivors stumbles on a cache of books. They collect the books, then look for more. In a week they have six thousand volumes. In a month, fifteen thousand. A sanctuary is born: a library where the people of Daraya can explore beyond the blockade.Long a site of peaceful resistance to the Assad regimes, Daraya was under siege for four years. No one entered or left, and international aid was blocked.
Wolfson History Prize Finalist
A New Statesman Book of the Year
A Sunday Times Book of the Year
"If you care about books, and if you believe we must all stand up to the destruction of knowledge and cultural heritage, this is a brilliant read -- both powerful and prescient." -- Elif Shafak
The director of the famed Bodleian Libraries at Oxford narrates the global history of the willful destruction -- and surprising survival -- of recorded knowledge over the past three millennia.Libraries and archives have been attacked since ancient times but have been especially threatened in the modern era. Today the knowledge they safeguard faces purposeful destruction and willful neglect; deprived of funding, libraries are fighting for their very existence. Burning the Books recounts the history that brought us to this point.
In This Book is Overdue!, acclaimed author Marilyn Johnson celebrates libraries and librarians, and, as she did in her popular first book, The Dead Beat, discovers offbeat and eloquent characters in the quietest corners.
In defiance of doomsayers, Johnson finds librarians more vital and necessary than ever, as they fuse the tools of the digital age with love for the written word and the enduring values of truth, service to all, and free speech. This Book Is Overdue! is a romp through the ranks of information professionals who organize our messy world and offer old-fashioned human help through the maze.
An argument for retaining the notion of personal property in the products we "buy" in the digital marketplace.If you buy a book at the bookstore, you own it. You can take it home, scribble in the margins, put in on the shelf, lend it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale. But is the same thing true for the ebooks or other digital goods you buy? Retailers and copyright holders argue that you don't own those purchases, you merely license them. That means your ebook vendor can delete the book from your device without warning or explanation -- as Amazon deleted Orwell's 1984 from the Kindles of surprised readers several years ago. These readers thought they owned their copies of 1984. Until, it turned out, they didn't.
In The End of Ownership, Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz explore how notions of ownership have shifted in the digital marketplace, and make an argument for the benefits of personal property.
Featuring questions for further study and inquiry in each major chapter, this book introduces the key concept of intellectual freedom to those about to enter the profession, providing a concise overview of principles, ongoing and current debates, and best practices. Enshrined in the mission statement of ALA, intellectual freedom is one of the core values of the information professions. The importance of ensuring information access to all, and the historical, social, and legal foundations of this commitment, are powerfully explored in this essential primer. Designed to function as both an introductory text for LIS students as well as a complementary resource for current professionals, this book provides a cohesive, holistic perspective on intellectual freedom.
James Gleick, the author of the best sellers Chaos and Genius, now brings us a work just as astonishing and masterly: a revelatory chronicle and meditation that shows how information has become the modern era?s defining quality?the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world. ?The story of information begins in a time profoundly unlike our own, when every thought and utterance vanishes as soon as it is born. From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long-misunderstood talking drums of Africa, Gleick tells the story of information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness. He provides portraits of the key figures contributing to the inexorable development of our modern understanding of information: Charles Babbage, the idiosyncratic inventor of the first great mechanical computer; Ada Byron, the brilliant and doomed daughter of the poet, who became the first true programmer; pivotal figures like Samuel Morse and Alan Turing; and Claude Shannon, the creator of information theory itself.
While armies have seized enemy records and rare texts as booty throughout history, it was only during World War II that an unlikely band of librarians, archivists, and scholars traveled abroad to collect books and documents to aid the military cause. Galvanized by the events of war intoacquiring and preserving the written word, as well as providing critical information for intelligence purposes, these American civilians set off on missions to gather foreign publications and information across Europe. They journeyed to neutral cities in search of enemy texts, followed a step behindadvancing armies to capture records, and seized Nazi works from bookstores and schools.
When the war ended, they found looted collections hidden in cellars and caves. Their mission was to document, exploit, preserve, and restitute these works, and even, in the case of Nazi literature, to destroythem. In this fascinating account, cultural historian Kathy Peiss reveals how book and document collecting became part of the new apparatus of intelligence and national security, military planning, and postwar reconstruction. Focusing on the ordinary Americans who carried out these missions, she shows howthey made decisions on the ground to acquire sources that would be useful in the war zone as well as on the home front. These collecting missions also boosted the postwar ambitions of American research libraries, offering a chance for them to become great international repositories of scientific reports, literature, and historical sources. Not only did their wartime work have lasting implications for academicinstitutions, foreign-policy making, and national security, it also led to the development of todays essential information science tools.
Illuminating the growing global power of the United States in the realms of intelligence and cultural heritage, Peiss tells the story of the men and women who went to Europe to collect and protect books and information and in doing so enriches the debates over the use of data in times of both warand peace.
On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, "Once that first stack got going, it was 'Goodbye, Charlie.'" The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library - and if so, who?
Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.
In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.
Along the way, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present - from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C.J.K. Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as "The Human Encyclopedia" who roamed the library dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves.
Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean's thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books - and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist's reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.
Digital data collection and surveillance gets more pervasive and invasive by the day; but the best ways to protect yourself and your data are all steps you can take yourself. The devices we use to get just-in-time coupons, directions when we're lost, and maintain connections with loved ones no matter how far away they are, also invade our privacy in ways we might not even be aware of. Our devices send and collect data about us whenever we use them, but that data is not safeguarded the way we assume it would be.
Privacy is complex and personal. Many of us do not know the full extent to which data is collected, stored, aggregated, and used. As recent revelations indicate, we are subject to a level of data collection and surveillance never before imaginable.
A gorgeous visual celebration of America's public libraries including 150 photos, plus essays by Bill Moyers, Ann Patchett, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, and many more.Many of us have vivid recollections of childhood visits to a public library: the unmistakable musty scent, the excitement of checking out a stack of newly discovered books.
Today, the more than 17,000 libraries in America also function as de facto community centers offering free access to the internet, job-hunting assistance, or a warm place to take shelter. And yet, across the country, cities large and small are closing public libraries or curtailing their hours of operation. Over the last eighteen years, photographer Robert Dawson has crisscrossed the country documenting hundreds of these endangered institutions. The Public Library presents a wide selection of Dawson's photographs - from the majestic reading room at the New York Public Library to Allensworth, California's one-room Tulare County Free Library built by former slaves.
Accompanying Dawson's revealing photographs are essays, letters, and poetry by some of America's most celebrated writers. A foreword by Bill Moyers and an afterword by Ann Patchett bookend this important survey of a treasured American institution.
The New York Times bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran returns with a guide to the power of literature in turbulent times, arming readers with a resistance reading list, ranging from James Baldwin to Zora Neale Hurston to Margaret Atwood.
What is the role of literature in an era when the president wages war on writers and the press? What is the connection between political strife in our daily lives, and the way we meet our enemies on the page in fiction? How can literature, through its free exchange, affect politics?
In this galvanizing guide to resistance literature, Nafisi seeks to answer these questions. Drawing on her experiences as a woman and voracious reader living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life as an immigrant in the United States, and her role as literature professor in both countries, she crafts an argument for why, in a genuine democracy, we must engage with the enemy, and how literature can be a vehicle for doing so.
Drawing on newly declassified government files, this is the dramatic story of how a forbidden book in the Soviet Union became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West. In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout took a train to a village just outside Moscow to visit Russia's greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the original manuscript of Pasternak's first and only novel, entrusted to him with these words: "This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world." Pasternak believed his novel was unlikely ever to be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as an irredeemable assault on the 1917 Revolution. But he thought it stood a chance in the West and, indeed, beginning in Italy, Doctor Zhivago was widely published in translation throughout the world.
Poudre River Public Library District
Including the collection of Front Range Community College, Larimer Campus
Poudre River Public Library District
Including the collection of
Front Range Community College, Larimer Campus