A new tool from Australia’s State Library of Queensland can make a cartoonist out of even the least artistically inclined. The Fun Palaces comics maker lets users place a set of ready-made images into panels, then write their own word balloons to develop a fully fleshed out four panel comic.
These days, collecting deep public input before the design phase of a new construction or renovation of a library is de rigueur, with methods ranging from focus groups to community outreach to social media. But a few libraries are taking it to the next level, not just finding out what patrons need or value and filtering that through the lens of librarian and architect expertise but also letting users directly drive design decisions in collaboration with the professionals.
With a slew of superheroes getting the big screen treatment in recent years, comic books are gaining even more cachet as a cultural touchstone. Big-budget blockbusters and critically acclaimed TV spin-offs have helped to spawn a new generation of comic book fans and reignited the spark in former readers, while alternative titles bring in fans who aren’t the superhero type (see “Picture the Possibilities,” LJ 6/15/16, p. 30ff.). Meanwhile, sf has long since gained mainstream acceptance without losing its ability to stir deep devotion (witness the plethora of Doctor Who merchandise), and anime and manga are reaching ever-larger portions of the American populace, particularly among teens and new adults. Board and card games, too, are seeing a dramatic resurgence in popularity alongside their high-tech counterparts, and once under-the-radar fanfiction and fan art are now far more widely known and accepted.
The seven foot tall stacks at Cornell University’s newest library are kept cool and dry, perfect for cardigan wearing. But that’s where the sense of familiarity might end for many LJ readers, as the space contains no books, and offers no borrowing privileges. The brainchild of Susan Henry and Kathryn Boor, the former and current deans of the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS), Cornell’s wine library was part of a $105 million renovation of the campus’ Stocking Hall. The new space will store wines used for teaching in the school’s Viticulture and Enology program.
For a primer on managing disruptive patrons, knowing when to get law enforcement involved, and how to form the relationships that make that call easier, we spoke to Steve Albrecht. A retired police officer and security consultant, Albrecht is the author of Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities (ALA Editions). (For more from Albrecht, see Playing It Safe: Author Steve Albrecht Tackles Security Measures for Libraries.)
At Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom, users will soon have a novel means of consulting the catalog at the college’s Hugh Owen Library. Rather than typing their request, or asking a reference librarian, students can be led to the title they’re looking for by a robot with access to all of the library’s holdings.