The aim of this research, conducted by researchers from Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Disciplinas Proyectuales (INSOD), was to reveal the characteristics of current newspaper reading habits in Buenos Aires. This quantitative research, carried out by Fundación UADE Argentina, aimed to compare the differences between printed and digital formats. In order to collect the data, a structured online questionnaire was answered by the sample, which included 503 people who live, work, or study in Buenos Aires. The quantitative results showed that almost 80 percent of all respondents read news at least once a month (either in printed or digital formats), which is associated with having a university degree. In addition, the same percentage of people read traditional newspapers at least once a week. Another relevant finding is that 50 percent of people claim to enjoy reading the printed format. Regarding printed formats, broadsheets are associated with the image of elder people, while tabloids are considered to be a format for younger ones. Overall, the results of the research show that both formats complement each other for readers in Buenos Aires, and the paper edition still remains a valid format.
Since the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the government has instituted several laws that have become more invasive of private life, including the reading and viewing habits of Americans. As a result, public libraries have been asked to comply with FBI or other government agency requests about patron information. In 2005 the National Security Agency demanded patron records from four Connecticut librarians. In addition, these librarians were issued a “gag order,” prohibiting them from speaking about this issue, even with their own families. In 2007 residents tried to prevent a library in Cheshire, Connecticut from shelving a book about a gruesome murder that took place in that town. In 2011 another Connecticut library was pressured to cancel a showing of Michael Moore’s “Sicko,” a provocative film about the US health care industry. As these three examples show, free speech is not so alive and well. Nevertheless, as this article will also show, these three public libraries (and their librarians) fought to keep or show controversial media or literature, along with fighting the US Government to maintain library patron confidentiality. If these examples show how free speech in the United States is under assault in the twenty-first century, it also shows how the public library has come to be the first line of defense for one of our most cherished values.
A Little Free Library is a “take a book, bring a book” free book exchange. The libraries come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box, mounted in front of a house, that the individual fills with books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share. I examine how little free libraries change our relationship to books that circulate on loan. Public and private lending libraries have clearly articulated conventions that establish a contract between library and borrower. Little Free Libraries, on the other hand, forego a contractual relationship. I interrogate, for example, what it means for a book to be deemed “free” from cataloguing, from membership requirements, from records of circulation, from return. There is a playful anarchy in the world of these libraries. Through interviews with stewards in Takoma Park, Maryland, I analyze both what these sites of exchange mean on a personal level and what they mean on a community level. In this community study, I explore what custodianship means to various stewards—from learning why they choose to stock particular books to interactions they have with those who take books from their libraries.