World tour of libraries, part 1

9 06 2008

A while ago I said I would add a few library stories from around the world, so here are a couple.   It’s interesting to read about how libraries are viewed by those who have little or no access to one.

Firstly, this from Columbia, 

The library system……was managing to survive when educationalists were being pushed out by paramilitaries. Between 1986 and 1988, some 88 teachers were assassinated – but no librarians were killed, despite operating in some of the most dangerous areas of the country. Even the most ruthless outlaws seemed to respect librarians. There was, though, a huge disparity in provision: good, mobile services in some areas, virtually none in others.

Click here to read what is happening now. 

The next piece is the acceptance speech given by Doris Lessing when receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in December last year, in which she speaks of her experiences in Zimbabwe.   I would recommend reading it when you have a few guaranteed uninterrupted minutes to yourself, and, for the more weepy, a tissue at hand.  You may even like to leave a few copies around the staffroom, or even pop it in a newsletter on a slow news week.   

As I sit with my friend in his room, people shyly drop in, and everyone begs for books. “Please send us books when you get back to London,” one man says. “They taught us to read but we have no books.” Everybody I met, everyone, begged for books.

Click here for the entire speech.

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Library-styles of the Rich and Famous

27 11 2007

I’m somewhat concerned that there are still people out there who aren’t convinced of the importance of reading. Here’s a story to pass on if you ever meet one of them.

Again, it’s from the New York Times.  A wonderful site it is.

C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success

Michael Moritz, the venture capitalist who built a personal $1.5 billion fortune discovering the likes of Google, YouTube, Yahoo and PayPal, and taking them public, may seem preternaturally in tune with new media. But it is the imprint of old media — books by the thousands sprawling through his Bay Area house — that occupies his mind.

It’s a great lesson for budding young entrepreneurs.  Make your Business Studies teachers your next library advocate convert.