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Posts tagged ‘Public Libraries’

Houston Public Library Has A Book Vending Machine


BookLink, the first two book vending machines were opened this week in downtown Houston — one is located in One Allen Center next to Amille’s Coffee and the other is in the food court at The Shops at Houston Center.

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Actress Tika Sumpter Mother Arrested For 10$ Library Fine In N. Carolina


Jim Spellman via Getty Images

The actress claims her mom was arrested for a $10 library balance.

Actress Tika Sumpter says her mother was arrested Monday because of a $10 late fee at her local library in North Carolina. The arrest took place in Johnston County, N.C., where the Public Library of Johnston County & Smithfield calls home. According to the library’s website, overdue books elicit a 25-cent fine per day, while audio books, movies and CDs run an offender 50 cents every 24 hours. Sumpter’s mother is also a retired corrections officer named Janice Acquista who Sumpter said had no previous rap sheet — actually returned the book that prompted the fine a long time ago.


Hidden Apartments In New York Public Libraries


A 100 years ago people resided in hidden apartments above New York’s public libraries there are thirteen left.When these libraries were built, about a 100 years ago, they needed people to take care of them. Andrew Carnegie had given New York $5.2 million, worth well over $100 million today, to create a city-wide system of library branches, and these buildings, the Carnegie libraries, were heated by coal. Each had a custodian, who was tasked with keeping those fires burning and who lived in the library, often with his family. “The family mantra was: Don’t let that furnace go out,” one woman who grew up in a library told the New York Times

But since the ’70s and ’80s, when the coal furnaces started being upgraded and library custodians began retiring, those apartments have been emptying out, and the idyll of living in a library has disappeared. Today there are just 13 library apartments left in the New York Public Library system.

 Fort Washington, the front room.

 Inside the apartment, looking past the living room and kitchen doors. 

Inside the apartment, looking past the living room and kitchen doors.

The back bedroom.

Fort Washington plan. (Image: New York Public Library)

Another bedroom, used for storage.

Read More On Library Apartments


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Prior to digital surveillance and the government’s Snooper’s Charter, it was much harder for the state to spy on its citizens.
Without the technology we have today, the government relied on manpower, specifically from society’s most innocent members – minors. Children in the UK especially were much easier to manipulate.
I-Spy books were subsequently published by the state and given as gifts, as well as distributed to schools, youth clubs and infant terror organizations . The books transformed the act of surveillance into play, encouraging children to routinely observe and record the actions, speech and private correspondence of people who the government deemed to be enemies of society. The completed books even prompted children to spy on themselves, which many found difficult, even with the mirrors provided.
Each completed book was sent to a local government councillor whose job it was to forward the data to the relevant renditions team, and also to decide if any compensation was due to the child; for example, if the surveillance data they had submitted led to the arrest and execution of a parent.

Kilton Public Library Turns TOR Back On


New Hampshire’s Kilton Public Library has been in the tech headlines in the last week after the Department of Homeland Security contacted them and “asked” them to shut down their TOR node. The library was the first to ever operate a TOR node, which stands for The Onion Router – an anonymizing system for internet traffic. Within one month after beginning their TOR operation, the DHS came calling and the library shut down the node until the board of trustees could meet and make a final decision.

, They decided to turn it back on! Tuesday 

UPDATE:  According to Free Keene commenter Lee Sussman, Allison Macrina, the director of the Library Freedom Project mentioned that there had already been several libraries that had stepped up and volunteered to join, and that all the recent press surrounding the situation at Kilton had prompted at least a dozen more to contact her.

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Public Library Became Part Of The Anonymous Web Surfing Service—- TOR


TOR – A project to equip local libraries with technology supporting anonymous Internet surfing. In July, the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was the first library in the country to become part of the anonymous Web surfing service Tor. The library allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their Internet traffic through the library, thus masking users’ locations.

Soon after state authorities received an email about it from an agent at the Department of Homeland Security. After a meeting at which local police and city officials discussed how Tor could be exploited by criminals, the library pulled the plug on the project and currently has TOR on pause.

Used in repressive regimes by dissidents and journalists, Tor is considered a crucial tool for freedom of expression and counts the State Department among its top donors. But Tor has been a thorn in the side of law enforcement; National Security Agency documents made public by Snowden have revealed the agency’s frustration that it could only identify a “very small fraction” of Tor users.

The idea to install Tor services in libraries began initially from Boston librarian Alison Macrina’s Library Freedom Project, which aims to teach libraries how to “protect patrons’ rights to explore new ideas, no matter how controversial or subversive, unfettered by the pernicious effects of online surveillance.

After Macrina conducted a privacy training session at the Kilton library in May, she talked to the librarian about also setting up a Tor relay, the mechanism by which users across the Internet can hide their identity.

The library board of trustees unanimously approved the plan at its meeting in June, and the relay was set up in July. Law enforcement became involved  after ArsTechnica wrote an article about it. Boston DHS office forwarded the article to the New Hampshire police, who forwarded it to a sergeant at the Lebanon Police Department.

Although the use of a Tor browser is not, in [or] of itself, illegal, the protections that Tor offers can be attractive to criminal enterprises or actors and HSI [Homeland Security Investigations] will continue to pursue those individuals who seek to use the anonymizing technology to further their illicit activity.

Deputy City Manager Paula Maville said that when she learned about Tor at the meeting with the police and the librarians, she was concerned about the service’s association with criminal activities such as pornography and drug trafficking. “That is a concern from a public relations perspective and we wanted to get those concerns on the table,” she said.

Faced with police and city concerns, library director Sean Fleming agreed to turn off the Tor relay temporarily until the library board  of trustees could reconsider.and vote on whether to turn the service back on at its meeting on Sept. 15.

Woman Gets Library Card After 73 Years Because Of Her Race


Pearl Thompson wanted to check out a book from a North Carolina Library in 1942 while a student at Shaw University. She was told she could not because she is not white. A county library official changed that Thursday, years after the 1942 incident during the days of racial segregation.”She came to the library in 1942 to use a book for a paper she was writing, and she was denied access because she was African-American,” said Ann Burlingame, deputy director for Wake County Public Libraries.

Read More On Pearl Thompson & Her Library Card Experience Here

Pearl Thompson, 92, approaches the checkout desk before receiving a Wake County library card Thursday, July 2, 2015 at the Cameron Village Regional Library in Raleigh. Thompson was a student at Shaw University in 1942 when she was told she couldn't check out a book from the Olivia Raney Public Library because she was black.

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