libraries | play | information | media | policy | culture


I Hate [Heart] Google

They already own the search market, host waaaay too much of our data on their networks, and track our online behavior in ways too creepy to think about. But, damn it, they keep making products that I want to play with.


Learn Languages. Online. For Free.

As a follow-up to my prior call to tell Mike Bloomberg where to stick his budget cuts, I thought it worthwhile to highlight a new service—one of thousands of services—that NYPL offers its cardholders: free language lessons. The best part? It's all delivered online using an audio- and slide-based method designed by Mango Languages, so you can learn at your own pace from the comfort of anywhere you can find an Internet connection.

NYPL's subscription covers nine of world languages, from French to Greek to Spanish to Chinese, and offers recent immigrants from Spain, Brazil, or Poland ESL lessons in their native tongues. Each language is covered by 100 lessons and each lesson has about 120 slides. That's a fairly comprehensive introduction that should give anyone the foundation to travel or build some fluency.

By the way, you need not be a NYC resident to get an NYPL card. If you live anywhere in the state or work out of an office in the city, you can apply for one, too. Could someone please tell me why Bloomberg has targeted them for cuts?


How to Tell Mike Bloomberg He's Wrong

As Norman Oder of Library Journal reports, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a 22% budget cut across New York City's three library systems.

This makes sense. What better way to save a few municipal dollars in a down economy than to cut access to a major provider of job-search advice and tools to an out-of-work public? And if spiking usage numbers are any indication, even those still lucky enough to be employed but looking to tighten their collective belts in hard times are taking advantage of public library services.

I think every library that subscribes to the Bloomberg information service should withhold payment in solidarity with the New York systems until Bloomberg retracts his proposal.

I know, I know. He hasn't run the company since he became hizzoner. But he did found the company, and he won elective office on the back of the wealth and fame he gained from it. What better way to tell him that he is terribly, terribly mistaken than to put a small dent into the coffers of the company that still prominently bears his name?