Happy Labor Day from Down the Shore

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During another lifetime, I lived in number of seaside towns on the New Jersey coast. Labor Day is always a bittersweet holiday for shore communities. For seasonal tourists, it marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the school year, but locals secretly rejoice to see the crowds leave and to get the beaches back to themselves.

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And then there’s this library

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I received a decent undergraduate education at the University of Florida. At the heart of the sprawling campus was a substantial library housing wide-ranging collections that  included rare book and manuscripts. It even had a terrific comic books collection. So I was a bit nonplussed to see that the state university system has opened a new campus—Florida Polytechnic University—that boasts a remarkable main building designed by Santiago Calatrava and a library with no books.

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Actually, FPU doesn’t even have a true library; it has “the Commons”, which provides an area for “library services”. There are librarians, and a digital catalog with a whopping 135,000 e-books, but other than that it’s essentially bookless. Apparently, if a student wants to access tradition books they can only apply for interlibrary loans.

I’m no Luddite, but even a science and technology focused university deserves a real library, with real books. Although they won’t have to worry about Calatrava’s roof leaking on the books.

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Do Libraries Float

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I love libraries and I love boats; what could be better than a library on a boat ? The Floating Library is a new pop-up project that will open at New York City’s Hudson River Pier 25 on the Lilac Museum Steamship. The special library collection will focus on art books and is being curated by artist Beatrice Glow. Sadly, the Floating Library will only be open from Saturday September 6 through October 3, 2014.

Here’s some more on the project from the website:

The ship’s main deck will be transformed into an outdoor reading lounge to offer library visitors a range of reading materials from underrepresented authors, artist books, poetry, manifestoes, as well as book collection, that, at the end of the lifecycle of the project, will be donated to local high school students with demonstrated need. Ongoing art installations include a Listening Room that will feature new works by six sound artists in response to literature, site-specific paper rope swings, The Line, by Amanda Thackray, and Leading Lights by Katarina Jerinic in the Pilot House.

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Been There

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If you’ve been searching for a simple way to keep track of your peregrinations, the free iOS app Been, created by Martin Johannesson, is an elegant way to record visits to U.S. states and nations around the world. The app provides graphic visualization, as well as lists and ratios of countries by continent. Download it here.

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Literary Map NYC

Inspired by some of the terrific literary maps of New York City that have been popping-up online, the Jewish Book Council created this super Jewish literary Map of New York City.

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Color Studies

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One of the joys of visiting the Netherlands during Spring time is the profusion of multicolored tulip fields throughout the nation. Rome-based photographer Simone Sbaraglia took to the air this April to capture the breathtaking hues and vibrant geometry of blooming fields.

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all images © Simone Sbaraglia

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Drone Day Tuesday

If you can’t travel this summer, you can at least take brief mini-vacations thanks to some very talented drone-operating videographers.

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Murakami’s Tokyo

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Regular visitors to TBTP are probably familiar with my fervent enthusiasm for the writings of Haruki Murakami. This month marked the much anticipated release of the English translation of his latest novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. I won’t bore you with a review of the book. Instead, I’d rather direct you to the wonderful, Japan-based blog Randomwire, which celebrated the publication with a personal pilgrimage to sites around Tokyo that have featured in Murakami’s books over the years.

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If you are a fan, or you just want to take a vicarious trip around the city, checkout the fascinating three-part story right here.

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And Now Something Completely Different

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I have been accused of posting way too many maps on TBTP, but here’s a set of practical maps that may just save your life. These hilarious maps were created by Toronto-based designer Ryan McArthur and are all available for purchase as posters from his Design Different Studio website.

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Yeah, More Maps

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Once again the serendipitous randomness of the internet pointed me in the direction of an extraordinary artist/cartographer. Searching for local maps in the Canadian Yukon, I stumbled across the wonderful illustrated maps by London-based artist Katherine Baxter. You might opt for Google Maps when traveling, but you can’t top these aerial view, pictorial maps for shear fun. Take a look and be sure to visit Baxter’s website and Facebook page then consider purchasing a poster version here if you enjoy what you see.

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