Archive for June 2011

La Boite Cafe Shipping Container Austin TX

La Boite is built from a re-purposed 20 foot shipping container. The concept was borne from the desire to re-use existing materials and to provide a clean, functional space.


MDU is a 40ft shipping container that has been modified into a relocatable dwelling. The container accommodates several modules for various functions such as cooking, washing and sleeping. These modules sit within the container so that during transportation the MDU largely resembles any other container sitting on a ship or a dock.Once the MDU has been delivered to a site, the modules slide out of the container like extrusions and create an inner hallway in the newly created void inside the container.

Freedom of Information

The "mission statement" for the website is "To help you find out inside information about what the UK government is doing" It achieves this by helping members of the public submit Freedom of Information requests to national and local government. Full details of the FoI requests and the responses are made available on the site.

The site currently contains details of a request made to Leeds City council under the heading Rationalisation of Library Services: e-mail from officials, which asks: "Please supply all emails by or to council officer Catherine Blanchard that relate to the current proposed Leeds Library Services changes and cuts."

The correspondence is of interest on many levels. It shows the local authority as being slow to respond to the request and defensive. Perhaps this is justified. There is such a thing as "vexatious" requests and from the Whatdotheyknow website you can see that this applicant has made over 600 FoI requests. Does this make him a champion of human rights fighting on behalf of his community or a serial complainer out to cause trouble?

At one stage in the correspondence the local authority objects to the fact that the request has come through rather than from a private e-mail address. This raises an interesting question about the role of the library in helping users with the FoI legislation. The mission statement quoted above could be applied directly to the library service. It is clearly our professional role to "help you find information about what the UK government is doing". Libraries provide access to government publications, newspaper reports, websites, etc. Librarians would be expected to provide information about FoI legislation and material on how to use it. Providing signposting to must be seen as part of this. But would library users be able to access it from the library or might they find it is blocked by the council's filtering? Would members and senior officers be happy with the library directing users to such a site? Would some librarians impose censorship by, for example, not listing this site under sources of government information? Our responsibilities as professionals are clear.

Another issue is that it serves to remind to library managers and leaders of the concept of freedom of information. At one point in the correspondence, the Information Commissioner's office is quoted as saying:

"It is the view of the Information Commissioner's office (ICO) that staff acting in a professional capacity must have a reasonable expectation that comments and opinions that they make in the course of their work may fall under a request made ... While the disclosure of comments... may result in embarrassment to the
staff concerned and to ... the organisation, the data cannot be withheld unless there is a valid exemption"

One would hope that information professionals are information savvy. One would also hope that they are technically savvy and would not accidentally copy e-mails to people they are not intended for, and that they are aware of the requirements of the FoI legislation and the principles of freedom of information in general. It is not a bad idea to think that any e-mail you send might enter the public domain and to ensure that what you are saying is professional at all times.

One effect of FoI legislation will probably be to ensure that when people want to make potentially embarrassing comments they won't do it in a recorded form such a e-mails. If you want to tell a colleague that the local library campaigners are a bunch of nutters who should be ignored then do it face-to-face! But the real lesson should be that the public do have a right to know what government is doing in their name and that libraries exist to help them achieve that.

Stefan Sous mirror container

Stefan Sous, Versailles, 2011, - the Dusseldorf-based artist Stefan Sous designed an interior as exterior mirror housings container as sculpture

Asbury Park Boardwalk Container Shops

Asbury Park Boardwalk Container Shops
Asbury Park, NJ will become home to four awesome new pop-up shipping container shops this summer. Designed by Madison Marquette, the containers were salvaged from a shipyard and painted to fit in with the boardwalk‘s other bright and colorful stores. The versatile containers are 100% recycled and are sure to add to the Jersey Shore’s goals of becoming a low carbon footprint destination.

Future of Libraries Services in the Big Society

6th National Conference, London 21st June 2011
A conference of this sort is clearly aimed at library leaders; i.e. not just heads of services and senior library managers but also at senior officers and members - those who make the long term policy decisions and control the purse strings. It is this latter group that have the greatest need to hear this sort of discussion - given the widely recognised low level of appreciation of the issues by many library leaders - and it was disappointing but not unusual to find that they were underrepresented in the audience. My own quick rough count of the attendees list shows c40 librarians, 11 senior directors and 4 councillors.

But of course you didn't have to be there in person. I and apparently many others were watching the conference on-line courtesy of Policy Review TV. I would love to know how many heads of service set up viewing sessions for their Directors, Chief Executives and portfolio holders. They would have been able to share and event that, while not exactly earth shattering in terms of new ideas, provided much to consider and debate.

The first speaker was Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture with direct responsibility for libraries. The significance of Government Ministers at events like this is quite arcane. They will arrive, deliver a speech, and then leave, so there is seldom an opportunity for debate. Sometimes they will use the opportunity to deliver a major policy speech but, as in this case, it is usually more subtle. The fact that they have accepted the invitation to appear - and have actually turned up - is often the most important aspect. In this case it suggests that the Government (or at least a part of it) does think that library services have a future. It is not much, but it is better than nothing.

Mr Vaizey's speech went little further than this. He began by saying he was in a positive mood and praised the "fantastic work going on in libraries all over the country". Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick at any rate. He then moved on to specific examples, the coming together of three London boroughs to form a unified library service; the award to Hillingdon of the Bookseller's Library Innovation of the Year award; Lancashire Libraries' partnership with the University of Lancashire and examples of new builds and refurbishments. There was nothing in the way of carrots or sticks to encourage other authorities along the same path except for keeping Mr Vaizey in a positive mood.

The Minister then declared that "… the public library service is a huge asset to be exploited; not a burden to be gradually got rid of". This reference to the Governments consultation on administrative burdens on local authorities suggested a commitment to maintaining the Public Libraries Act, particularly as he moved directly on to the issue of his intervention in library closures under the act. He stated that he would not shy away from doing so if there was a case for it but immediately mentioned two provisos. The first was that the current situation was still fluid. The second was that it was better to have a dialogue with local authorities and that officials from his department had met with officers and campaigners in 5 local authorities to discuss cuts. He added that he would not meet with people personally as this might compromise his position in making a final decision as required. His message to local authorities appeared to be that he was happy to give them plenty of time to discuss options and alternatives but although he was keeping his powder dry he was prepared to use the weapon of intervention if all else failed.

At this point the Twitter feed for the conference was filled with Tweets pointing out examples of library service cuts which appear to show a very strong case for immediate intervention. Inevitably many will see this claim to be holding fire "for the present" as covering up an intention not to shoot at all.

Mr Vaizey then moved on to the options and alternatives that he was inviting authorities to consider. Rationalisation (i.e. mergers) was one option. "Community supported" libraries was another. He did promise that continued council support to community libraries with a core service would be a key factor. He referred to the MLA document Community Managed Libraries and the work of Locality

Finally the Minister referred to the transfer of responsibilities to Arts Council England and the benefits that this would bring. He promised another Future Library project and hinted at a "few more ideas that we need to explore". Opportunities for libraries to access Arts funding were dangled before the audience and the desirability of WiFi enabled libraries was mentioned, without of course any indication of how this might be funded.

Overall it was a disappointing presentation, at least for anyone hoping against hope for a stronger lead on library cuts. His support for the role of volunteers in delivering library services was clear. The Minister did draw a line in the sand and warned councils not to cross it but their room for manoeuvre behind that line is large. His closing remarks that the situation provided "opportunities" for libraries shows that his scriptwriters had run out of any original ideas and were scrapping the bottom of the cliché barrel. However we must take what we can from this speech. Mr Vaizey could have sent his apologies and his phrase that "the public library service is a huge asset to be exploited; not a burden to be gradually got rid of" could well feature on the Voices for the Library website (although the cynics out there may well ask exactly how the "asset" of libraries will be exploited, and by whom!).

Sharing top billing with Ed Vaizey was Annie Mauger, Chief Executive of CILIP. Annie's theme was the role and importance of professional librarians in delivering library services. She began by saying that that CILIP members would of course expect her to defend the role of professional librarians but pointed out that CILIP is also a charity with the clear aim of upholding the "public good" and not just the interests of librarians. The two were synonymous. Public libraries always have been living examples of the Big Society in practice - including the use of volunteers. The core professional skill of librarians in knowledge of their community was central to the process; Annie drew a parallel with the role of GP's in the NHS under the Government's reform proposals.

Leaders of library services are often not librarians themselves. This is not important in itself, what is important is that people get a good library service. Everyone seems to think they know how to run libraries but they don't know what they don't know! There are three key aspects of professional skills:

• Librarians know what you don't know. These information finding skills are central to open access and knowledge sharing which are the basis of the Big Society.

• Librarians know their communities. They understand their needs and plan to meet those needs. They make the process so easy that it is almost invisible.

• They are impartial, neutral and safe. Above all they are trusted.

Turning to volunteering Annie pointed out that this had existed within library services for many years but what was new was devolving services to communities. There was talk of a statutory core network and a community network. How do you ensure the standards of the community network? Volunteers need training and support at least. There was a need for a capacity of skills and knowledge. Some communities might be able to provide this capacity but other more deprived communities lack this, and the greatest need is with the latter. Annie stressed that we were talking about "brains not bricks", not about library buildings but services.

"If we lose an understanding of what a professional library services is" claimed Annie "then we lend books but we don't inform, support, educate, help to grow, help local authorities intervene early in the lives of young people; and put some heart into communities."

In conclusion, there is a distinct set of core skills. The library profession has a responsibility to skill-up the library workforce and young professionals need to aspire to a leadership role in librarianship. A key new role for librarians is as a collaborator with communities.

This was an inspiring speech but lacking, it has to be said, an inspiring presentation. Compared with the always inspiring Miranda McKearney who spoke later, Annie was rather subdued. Her message about library leaders not knowing what professional librarians bring to the party is not new but is very relevant. What she could only hint at is that often this is the fault of those professional librarians for not keeping their skills up-to-date and not putting themselves forward. As I said at the start of this blog, how many heads of service have used this conference as an opportunity to get this important message over to their local "Power people"?

Video recordings of the presentations at this conference are available at

Bedroom Interior Design Ideas For 2011

Bedroom Interior Design Ideas For 2011, master bedroom include a double bed, wardrobe, dressing table, bedroom interior design ideas largest one among all the other bedrooms in 

bedroom interior design ideas select a design for this bedroom in a way that it reflects the personality of its occupants 

bedroom interior design ideas neutral colors like light bedroom interior design ideas

bedroom interior design ideas a lot of scope to experiment with the designs of the bedroom interior design ideas looking for a sober lively atmosphere in your 

Interior Bedroom Design 2011

Interior Bedroom Design 2011, master bedroom is the largest one among all the other interior bedroom design can get a lot of scope to experiment with the 

interior bedroom design touch to your bedroom, then opt for some warmer colors like misty peach, buttery yellow

If you are looking for a sober lively atmosphere in your interior bedroom design writing table.interior bedroom design you can keep some formal seating

 interior bedroom design You should select a design for this interior bedroom design pastels and so on. 

Interior Design Small Living Room For 2011

Interior Design Small Living Room For 2011, best way to add that grandeur to your interior design small living room endless and huge look to the room and creates the illusion of the bigger space. 

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 interior design small living room smaller ones, for example, if you are planning interior design small living room works on the walls and tables.

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Modern Home Interior Design 2011

Modern Home Interior Design 2011, beds or the sofas ranges from small to modern home interior design low lying and made from metal or light woods. Platform beds and Italian modern home interior design look good in a modern house.

 modern home interior design except for two side tables and a closet modern home interior design colors such as silver, bronze, copper and blue, are the most apt. 

modern home interior design velvety fabrics should be completely avoided in a modern home interior design

modern home interior design colors for their home, can use orange and green which have geometric designs on them look very good 

Best Interior Designers For 2011

Best Interior Designers For 2011, demand for interior design courses in India best interior designers in accordance with the rise of the field itself. 

 best interior designers seem to be a prerequisite in terms of the qualifications employers More best interior designers businesses and public services are turning to

look best interior designers want to be assured of quality best interior designers possible in order to showcase

Interior Designs For Homes 2011

Interior Designs For Homes 2011, interior work of your interior designs for homes special attention to shape of the interior designs for homes to be used play a vital role in giving the interior designs for homes royal look use of interior designs

interior designs for homes diameter, the carpet area of your log homes should also be small diameter will possibly not help you achieve your objective.  

 interior designs for homes rooms also need to be large enough interior designs for homes

 interior designs for homes good view of the beautiful natural environment around your homes royal look use of interior designs

Contemporary Interior Design Ideas 2011

Contemporary Interior Design Ideas 2011, need to simply remember contemporary interior design ideas bold colors. While a major space needs to be occupied by soft or neutral 

contemporary interior design ideas of bold colors that rightly spices up the space blacks, contemporary interior design ideas are also the best part of 

contemporary interior design ideas wall paint colors or furnishings, textured look is a hit in this style contemporary interior design ideas

contemporary interior design ideas. Color themes are the basics of this style. a particular color theme to decorate the 

Interior Living Room Decor Ideas For 2011

Interior Living Room Decor Ideas For 2011, modern living room is functional and uses the interior living room decor ideas very efficiently. These living rooms are spacious and uncluttered.

interior living room decor ideas used are closed types that store things and at the same time give interior living room decor ideas look to the room color and the color of the 

walls interior living room decor ideas to give an ultra modern look to the interior living room decor ideas

 interior living room decor ideas serves the purpose of storage. Many of the furnitures used are geometric in shape. 

Interior Design Living Room For 2011

Interior Design Living Room For 2011, new a color scheme for your interior design living room full of colors that do not match with one another, instead think of 

 interior design living room looks. Now, see the remaining space and decide what all you can add to your interior design living room purpose

a room with just shades of a single interior design living room look calm and classy  

living room must look calm but not boring and stylish interior design living room may be feeling a specific color will look perfect on the walls

SMALLisSMART container based HOUSE

SMALLisSMART container based HOUSE

This shipping container based house has been produced to show that the recycling of shipping containers can provide comfortable to luxury very economical living, and to show that we can down-size from McMansions! As a result of the interest in this project, We have recently designed a house for 2 persons in a 20 ft container. Yes, it has a full bathroom and kitchen,  sleeping for 2 and a 2 meter long desk for students who need study space.
SMALLisSMART HOUSES are ideal for owner builders 

Container Home Info

If your considering building a Shipping Container Home you must watch this free video on stacking & side wall modifications.

There is absolutely nothing new about Shipping Container Homes, except perhaps the fact that they are finally breaking into the mainstream building marketplace.

What this type of information does have the potential to do however is save you the pain and heartache that we ourselves experienced by learning these lessons the hard way by making more than our share of mistakes.

MUVBOX Concept Shipping Container resturant

Hard to believe but when it opens-up in under a minute and transforms into a restaurant, a pop-up store or an art gallery, you'll believe it. It's called MUVBOX because it can be moved. Since it is not set permanently in the ground, there is no need for building permits. It can be dropped anywhere, with relative ease, without a large truck cabin lingering around taking up space. Daily opening and closing and table set-up is simple. And the whole container can be easily transported by road, rail or sea.

Created out of an old shipping container and powered by solar energy, this application of the MUVBOX concept in Old-Montreal is a modern-day reinvention of the old-fashioned canteen. Each night the MUVBOX vanishes back into its cube, and redeploys early the next morning at the touch of a button, in less than two minutes!