Tuesday News: Chinese bookstores, online archives, history of Labor Day, and League of Legends art
Bookstores brave digital onslaught – An interesting story on China’s attempt to adapt to the changing book market, which has been challenged by factors such as drastically increasing commercial space rents and, according to this article, at least, the rise of digital reading. These bookstores seem to be going through the same kind of transition we saw with Borders and then Barnes & Noble in the US:
Liu Gui, managing director of JIC Books Investment Ltd, a cultural investment arm of comprehensive investment group JIC Group, said bookstores have been undergoing an evolutionary transition. The 1,500-square-meter bookstore of JIC Books focuses on biographies of business figures, celebrities, statesmen and cultural icons, and hosts a cafe, a function room, a library and a gallery.
“The bookstore is more like a space that attracts people with shared interests, and they can talk, appreciate art, listen to music, and hold meetings. It can serve as a gallery that displays creative works, and it can offer space for forums and salon. It is no longer just a pure-play bookstore. It is ‘bookstore plus’, offering a comprehensive space for guests,” said Liu. – China.org
The Tenuous Nature of Online Archives – I am definitely one of those people who is guilty of feeling falsely secure in the existence of online archives. But this piece is a great and chilling reminder that unless we exercise our shared societal interest in maintaining public archives — and KEEPING them public — we may lose many crucial primary sources, and in the process, all the real-life voices representing lived historical experience.
If historians are going to keep writing awesome political histories and other histories, we are going to need access to primary sources. Increasingly those primary sources are online. But as we know, anything online can disappear in a blink. There was that moment early in Google’s history when it hoped to digitize everything. But then it decided it had no interest in providing great public services it couldn’t monetize. So that died. In the case of the newspaper in Milwaukee, its newspaper archives simply became so expensive that the public library couldn’t afford the service. – Lawyers, Guns & Money
The bloody history of Labor Day – For all of the folks who relaxed yesterday for the US recognition of Labor Day, without knowing the holiday’s history, which is grounded in a movement for humane worker’s rights. Which, as the article pointed out, are very much in decline today, making the holiday significant as far more than a token remembrance.
The first inklings of America’s Labor Day took shape in 1882, when the Central Labor Union (CLU) met in September in New York City for a labor festival. It’s disputed who first proposed the idea. It might have been Peter McGuire, a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), who was inspired by a parade in Toronto in 1872 in support of a strike against 58-hour work weeks. Other research points to Matthew Maguire, a machinist and member of the Knights of Labor. But somehow or another, the idea for a parade and yearly holiday to honor American workers was hatched. – The Weekly
League Of Legends’ Free “Art Book” Is Incredible – If you’re a fan of game art or League of Legends, in particular, this free resource is for you:
It’s simply called The Art of League of Legends, and is structured just like a book, only you click through it instead of thumbing through actual pages. There are sections devoted to Summoner’s Rift and each individual Champion, as well as a roundup covering LoL’s wider stuff like esports and pool party skins. – Kotaku
It’s a shame that the US govt. can’t get behind digitizing collections through the Library of Congress and making them free to the public. Oh wait, that would be a public good that doesn’t involve giving themselves a pay raise that’s never gonna happen
I blogged about the history of Labor Day. I first wrote about it when working for a union magazine.