Isn’t this just fabulous art work which often goes unremarked Well done Joachim !

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

1. Harold Bruder’s cover for the 1967 edition of Pyschogeist (1966), L. P. Davies.

Because everyone loves lists…

…I’ve selected from my collection of cover art, placed in no particular order, my fifteen favorite science fiction covers of all time.  Of course, lists being lists, and the fact that I’ve only seen a portion of all the covers ever made, it is incomplete and maleable.  Although many of the most famous sci-fi artists (Powers, Lehr, and pulp masters such as Wesso) feature, some of my favorites are by lesser known artists whose visual contributions to the field should not be forgotten (Bruder, Podwil, Foster, Schongut, etc).

A few points to consider: 1) The artist rarely had control over the font.  If the graphic designer responsible for putting together the final cover wasn’t up to snuff, the text often doesn’t

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Predicting the future in 1953

In 1953 Ray Bradbury wrote about the future in Fahrenheit 451. The character Guy Montag is a fireman in a futuristic world where his job is to set fire to books so that no one will read and consequently understand the hopelessness of reality. His wife lives with tiny shells in her ears and stares at a screen the size of the wall.

How he visualised our world of large screen TVs and I-Pods is amazing. He wrote with an amazingly accurate picture and view of the future. He described a world where we are allPredicting the future drugged with consumerism and shackled by entertainment.

However I will never forget this quotation from him

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future”

Ray Bradbury 1920 – 2012

– Science fiction and short story writer

Libraries making a difference !

Future Libraries are alive and kicking and about making a difference to communities and individuals. Healthy Reading in EdinburghWe’ve teamed up with NHS Lothian to launch a new range of books and resources aimed at helping young people and families cope with mental health issues.

The collection, recommended by NHS Lothian’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service , offers information, greater understanding and advice to help children, young people, parents and carers who are dealing with issues such as anxiety, depression, bullying and eating disorders.  The books are all available for loan in public and school libraries.

In addition to the interactive resources and book list there are also some helpful links to various mental health support groups and organisations on the Council website.

Library members can quickly order any book from the list and collect from their local library by using the online reservation service and 24 hour library.

The power of social: improving performance through collaboration

The power of social media is incredible ! It’s not just a fad or something for the future it is part and parcel of daily life for our audiences. Our customers and potential customers have a need to connect with other people to share feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Now social media allows us  to collaborate with them all, to create and maintain  relationships electronically and at the same time build networks and trust

Promotion and marketing is an essential now for libraries and information  services as much as any other business and as we compete more and more for peopl’s time.

By using Facebook , Twitter, YouTube, RSS feeds, Flickr  and  Tales of One City    Social Media, we have competed and undoubtedly grown our business. The cost to enter and participate in the social space is negligible but needs skill and time.

In comparison with traditional forms of marketing, such as print, broadcast and online advertising, the cost to market our services and brand in social media has been very very low.

Building our libraries and information services brand like  has never been so important as today and Social Media allows us to have a voice without a huge budget! It has also brought us visits, friends, partners and issues.

In praise of the virtual library

We increasingly function in a world of e-resources, developing virtual tools and collaborative communities. Opportunities abound and the economic value of producing locally generated, user-generated content will be even more crucial in the future.

In transforming our service for the 21st century we identified an audience that never enters a library, those who prefer “The Virtual Library”. This service is also essential to traditional library users who have experience and expectations of sites like Amazon and other personalised information electronic services. This is key to our strategy not only to transform Edinburgh City Libraries but to ensure that our transformation is apparent to our residents and users across the city.

The Virtual Libraryhttp has been developed to give one access point for all Edinburgh City Libraries online services. It is the first of its kind in the UK an example of best practice that can be replicated by other services. It has raised the awareness of the e-delivery of information and services amongst our customers and has led to an increase in usage. It has offered free promotion of our services to an audience we cannot reach in the traditional manner. Free promotion and marketing replacing expensive paper based materials at a time of shrinking budgets

The Fourth International m-libraries Conference 2012

The  m-libraries conference this year runs from 24-26 September 2012 at the Open University, UK.

This year is  main theme for the “From margin to mainstream: mobile technologies transforming lives and libraries”

Mobile technology has transformed so many aspects of our lives: how we work, how we communicate, how we study and how we play. Since the first successful M-libraries conference in 2007, libraries around the world have made huge advances in harnessing the technology to improve and enhance their services.  The Fourth conference will bring together researchers, technical developers, managers and library practitioners to review achievements to date and consider the creative challenges and opportunities ahead.

I am chuffed to be speaking on “Libraries surviving and thriving in the multi-device, multi connection world”m-libraries logo courtesy m-libraries

I hope to see you there

A unique future place

Amsterdam Library I talk quite a lot about digital and electronic developments in the future of libraries, but equally key is the future role of libraries as a space and in communty, information, inclusion, culture and the arts.

The library of the future will be a unique destination with an offer that can’t be provide by any other organisation. A safe, third place for learning, culture, heritage and information. A modern, inviting place to relax and enjoy coffee and the unique atmosphere from cradle to the grave.

A business hub and an employability and skills haven for young people. A place for people to learn the ICT skills they need

On August 17th in the Edinburgh Festival at the Central Library  Makmed the Miller presents The Grief of Isis and Peter Barratt talks about Alice Hawkins, the life of a suffragette.


Festival of politics

I think it’s impressive that the topic of libraries in the digital age is included as part of this yearLibraries in the digital age‘s Festival of politics.

I am absolutely delighted to join colleagues Martyn Wade of the National Library of Scotland Max Whitbyof  Touch Press  to discuss how libraries can react to 21st century demands. Part of the Festival of Politics.

Not just about technology

The future of libraries  isn’t just about technology, it’s also very much about information and staying relevant and important to communities. Libraries and Information Services in Edinburgh play a key role encouraging healthy minds and physical activity and in making access to these opportunities easier for all of our citizens to all of the opportunities across Edinburgh.

This work is not only about keeping older people active but also about maximising use and profile of Libraries as community spaces for older people, places where they can volunteer, learn and socialise

One of the ways we do this is through our unique annual publication specifically for our young at heart citizens of Edinburgh – Get up & Go – a free guide to what’s on in Edinburgh. It lists activities to keep fit and active, social events and more importantly it has a one stop directory to all the useful organisations across the city.

We worked with an over 50’s advisory and editorial group, we sourced, catalogued and categorised information on activities from across the city and we linked it to Get Up and Go for IT to teach the senior citizens the skills they need to add to it.

The magazine contains everything that’s happening in our libraries across the city and literally brings libraries into everyone’s homes!

The brochure is available at all libraries, Leisure facilities, doctors’ surgeries, health centres, hospitals, and Bus Station.

An electronic version information is also available through our youredinburgh portal Get Up and Go cover image

The future is mobile

We have been extending service provision for citizens and engaging with the wider community through innovative use of electronic services and applications (Apps) for mobile devices.  Our work in mobile devices is best seen in the context of our wide-ranging social media and digital communication strategy.

The first of its kind for a Scottish public library, the Edinburgh Library app has up to date information about library events, activities, and service updates that are usually only available on the library website. The app also includes Bus Tracker, First Bus timetable information, and additional content from Edinburgh City Libraries.

The app is available on the iStore and for Android users. You can also download the app by scanning theEdinburgh's Library App QR (quick response code) into your camera phone

In Edinburgh, Libraries and Information services have demonstrated an innovative contribution to the city’s electronic information, technology at the same time as improving access and quality of service.

Edinburgh’s Libraries are not only about books, learning and formal information provision, they are about healthy communication networks and well informed neighbourhoods.