Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

One of “100 Ways To 100 (Expert Advice for a Longer Life)”: “Never Stop Reading- Join Your Local Library”

Like the glittering gold of El Dorado the fabled Fountain of Youth eternally beckons- And it sells magazines off the rack at you local pharmacy or convenience store.

We won’t represent this advice as the most authoritative, but we thought our fellow library defenders would find the thought entertaining, and not at all bad advice.  Want to live longer?: Keep reading and read physical books from you local library.

One of our library defenders picked up what appeared to be a sort of one-shot magazine-style publication put out by some group called Athlon Classics: 100 Ways To 100 - Expert Advice for a Longer Life (display until 717/17).  Don’t try to too hard to find anything about it from the internet unless you just want to pick up a copy on Ebay.

In “Section Three- Stay Brain Fit” one of the 100 suggestions to live longer is to “Never Stop Reading- Join Your Local Library” and read physical books.  The tip tells you that “according to a study conducted at Harvard Medical School” reading ebooks from a screen before bed “can trigger some undesirable side-effects” because the “blue light” negatively impacts “your circadian clock.”  We have heard the same thing from Bette Midler in interviews although we can’t say she is an authority either.

The “Stay Brain Fit” tip goes on to advise getting and reading physical books from your local library where, “you’ll get a chance to take advantage of an institution that has nurtured the best minds of American generations for centuries.”  (Bette Midler has said that she was one of those nurtured “best minds” speaking at a Barnes and Nobles talk with Judy Gold about how she had practically been raised is the Morgan-designed library in her native Hawaii.  More recently, Midler has been enlisted to say how spends valuable research time in libraries.)

The “Stay Brain Fit” tip then tells readers that “expert librarians are better-informed search engines than even Google” and goes on to tout the benefit of finding social interactions at the library (one reason we think that working with librarians is more fun than Google).

If the magazine has another tip about staying socially engaged other than some quick advice introducing the Happiness section (“engagement with friends, family and the community” matters), we missed it although there is definitely evidence that social connectedness prolongs life significantly, as the point is made in the research on the subject and bookThe Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest” by Dan Buettner.

Although the magazine advises that reading physical books from a library is helpful for longevity and offers quite a few more tips about how good mental stimulation is good for longevity, it misses mentioning the research that physical books are likely better for learning well than digital books.

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