Archive for November 2011

'Lulu' California $4,000 shipping container home

'It's really a shed with windows': Single mother builds $4,000 home using an old shipping container and flatbed trailerCalifornia mother 'Lulu' creates 160 sq ft home in former shipping containerIt’s one of the most innovative uses of a shipping container ever seen - but this single mother’s only child hasn’t quite yet made her mind up about whether she likes living in what is essentially a shed.A California woman calling herself Lulu has created an astonishing 160 sq ft home for $4,000 after turning the structure into a living area with insulation, windows, cabinets, doors, water and heating.The mother decided she needed a bit more space and so she also built a bedroom for her and her daughter on a flatbed trailer from which she can watch the moon rise, reported


Wardell and Sagan Container Home San Francisco

Wardell and Sagan Container Home San Francisco
Two San Francisco art and travel addicts overhauled a loft—and customized a pair of shipping containers—to accommodate their collection and reflect their passions.
To customize the apartment and containers, Wardell brought in Pat Carson, a furniture designer and builder who shares the couple’s love for travel and industrial design
Story From Dwell

Close to home

An important document of relevance to Public Libraries was published recently. It is the Equality and Human Rights Commission report; Close to home: an enquiry into older people and human rights in home care.

The report contains no mention of libraries and there is absolutely no reason why it should. It is not about libraries at all; and yet it is very relevant to the whole debate about the role and future of libraries.

Some librarians and library campaigners might even think that the report damages the case for libraries and provides ammunition for those who want to cut local authority library budgets. One argument that has been used by the leaders of local councils is that much as they would like to maintain funding for libraries they are forced to make decisions about priorities. The cost of providing support for the growing population of elderly people is a major and increasing part of the local authority budget and therefore they have no choice but to cut back on other, non-essential areas such as libraries. Libraries, they argue, are nice and may have widespread support, but the priority has to be looking after vulnerable people in the community.

This report makes it clear that there are many failing in the quality of home care for elderly people. The inquiry revealed many examples of older people’s human rights being breached, including physical or financial abuse, disregarding their privacy and dignity, failing to support them with eating or drinking, treating them as if they were invisible, and paying little attention to what they want. The inevitable and immediate conclusion is that more money should be spent on home care and that to find this extra money library budgets have to be cut. There is little doubt that many politicians, council officers and commentators will take this line.

Does this mean that librarians, and those who campaign in support of libraries, should ignore this report, or dismiss it as not relevant? I think the answer is no. We should pay attention to this report and think about what it means. For those whose job is to run public library services, or who believe in the value of libraries, we must not bury our head in the sand. This report demonstrates an important reality about the situation facing local authorities; a reality that we cannot ignore.

But I am not conceding that this report means that it is futile to fight for libraries. I believe that we need to develop library services that meet the needs of our communities and advocate for the value of libraries, and both of these can only be done with a full understanding of the reality of the situation facing local authorities. I don't think that we deserve to be listened to if we can't show that we fully appreciate the challenge facing our authority's social services department. Above all I believe that this reality strengthens our case.

By this I don't just mean that there are aspects of the library service that can benefit those receiving home care. There is a bigger and more fundamental issue.

This key message of this report is that it is essential that care services respect people's basic human rights. Councils need to take a holistic approach. It is not enough to provide care workers to wash and feed elderly people in their homes. They have to consider their needs as people and to recognize that they have basic human rights. Public authorities also have ‘positive obligations’ to promote and protect human rights. The underlying causes of bad practices are largely due to systemic problems rather than the fault of individual care workers and are caused by a failure to apply a human rights approach to home care provision. The report states;

"Whilst financial restraint is an inescapable reality, our evidence shows that some local authorities are still successfully finding innovative ways of doing things differently, rather than doing less of the same".

The report also highlights a clear need for supportive senior leadership on the central importance of quality, including respect for human rights principles such as dignity and personal autonomy, in the services commissioned. It warns that commissioning care should not be focused only on price.

I believe that this person-centred approach to decision making will highlight the value of library services as an essential and integral part of supporting the dignity and human rights of elderly people. It shows that cutting library services in order to fund social services not only does not produce a significant amount of cash but also contradicts the core goal of the local authority. Libraries are central to human rights and civilisation. You cannot have a human rights focus to care and not take account of libraries.

As I said above, this is the big message to be found in this report, but I will finish by enumerating some of the specific ways in which the public library service can contribute to the human rights of elderly people receiving care.

• Care is about quality of life. For many people reading is a key element of this.

• Isolation and loneliness. For some people reading can help reduce the sense of isolation. A visit from a home library service can be an opportunity for social contact. Getting out of the house is a major problem but if this can be overcome the local library could be a place to visit.

• Information. The report says that older people and their families need to have access to better information when making choices about care provision. The library can provide a range of information.

• The report goes on to say:

"Even when the information is available, it is often not easy to find, or easy to access. For instance, it is often online, although nearly 6 million people aged 65 and over have never used the internet: 42 per cent of those aged 65-74 and 76 per cent of people aged 75 and over. We were also told of information that is inconsistent, out of date or incorrect."

The role of the public library in overcoming the digital divide has been clearly demonstrated e.g. Brighton & Hove libraries winning the Guardian Public Service innovation & progress: transformation award for 2011.
• Support for care workers. The low pay and status of care workers is a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed directly. However the training and development of staff is important. Libraries should be an integral part of the councils' staff development programme and can contribute by developing empathy with elderly people through fiction and non fiction.

Mattie's Poem

What do you see, nursie, what do you see,

what are you thinking when you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman, not very wise,

uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes.

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply

when you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try?"

Who seems not to notice the things that you do,

and forever is losing a stocking or shoe.

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will

with bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,

as I use at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother,

brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,

dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty-my heart gives a leap,

remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own

who need me to guide and a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,

bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty my young sons have grown and are gone,

but my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more babies play round my knee,

again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;

I look at the future, I shudder with dread.....

For my young are all rearing young of their own,

and I think of the years and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman and nature is cruel;

'tis jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart,

there is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,

and now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,

and I'm loving and living life over again.

I think of the years; all too few, gone too fast,

and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nursie, open and see,

not a crabby old woman; look closer - see ME!!

Container Home, New Haven, Connecticut,

Container Home, New Haven, Connecticut, The frame of the two-family house was fashioned by stacking and welding together six steel shipping containers – yes, those 45-footers that are hoisted onto sea-going vessels or loaded onto 18-wheeler flatbeds – three, side-by-side, for each floor. The interior walls of the containers are being carved out to make way for kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms.
Story from Nashua telegraph

Modern Contemporary Interior Design

Modern Contemporary Interior Design, Minimum furniture is used. The size of the beds or the sofas ranges from small to average. Beds are low-lying and made from metal or light woods. Platform beds and Italian leather beds look good in a modern house. In the bedroom, except for two side tables and a closet, there is no need of any other furniture item and even if chairs and tables are placed in a bedroom, care should be taken that only those which have a streamlined look futuristic colors such as silver, bronze, copper and blue, are the most apt. 

People interested in using bright colors for their home orange and green. Green being an eco-friendly color is considered very modern Modern contemporary interior design entails proper space utilization. entire house should be totally clutter free. One should get rid of the unwanted things such as old clothes, books, equipment, etc. There should be proper and adequate storage in the house so that everything

Interior Design Styles 2011

Interior Design Styles 2011, Contemporary or modern interior design styles emphasize on sleek, clear cut, and clutter-free interiors. Minimal furniture and accessories are used. Fabrics with geometrical designs on them are used. Ample space utilization and high functionality medieval look and gives a very dark and heavy look to the house, so it should be chosen only by those who have a large house. In a Gothic house, solid wood furniture, hardwood flooring, wrought iron accessories are used.

 A wooden ceiling and a stone fireplace is a must in a Gothic house. Fabrics used are very heavy and rich. Golden touches are given at various places in the house to give it a brighter look home interior design styles are meant for those who prefer their homes to be comfortable, relaxing and inviting. Large furniture items, such as country style furniture, layered fabrics and whole lots of accessories such as lamps

Mexican Interior Design For India

Mexican Interior Design For India, greatly influenced by the Spanish, Chinese and Mayan culture and designs. The furniture is usually straight lined, with lots of ornamentation on it. Furniture made from pine wood should ideally be used in Mexican interior designs. Otherwise, walnut and cherry furniture look equally good. The furniture items, whether sofas or beds, should be very large and broad, almost similar to country style furniture various furniture items with typical Mexican colors such as red, orange and blue. 

Central tables or side tables, which have ceramic tile inlays on the top, can be teemed with this furniture to give a bright look to the room. When choosing the flooring of the house, ceramic tiles or clay tiles gel really well with Mexican interiors.  wooden flooring, you can go in for hardwood flooring homes are full of accessories. So place lots of candles, picture frames as well as mirrors in your home. Accessories made from metal as well as wrought iron should be used. Mexican style hand woven wall hangings should be used to adorn the walls

Home Office Interior Design 2011

Home Office Interior Design 2011, room that allows you to cut yourself off from the ruckus outside will have you looking forward to spending time in your home office. Simply put, you have to concentrate, focus, plan, and achieve goals in this room, so ensure that it is located accordingly. A lot of you may want a room that is closer to the garden, allowing a beautiful break from the monotony of work. If you live in an apartment, the view of the cityscape may be of your choice. Choose an appropriate room and get started foremost comes a desk. 

No matter what kind of work you are doing from your home office, you will require a desk to accommodate your desktop or laptop. Additionally you may need a printer and extra equipment with your computer. Ensure your desk has room for all these necessities. Depending on the kind of work you do, you may need a desk with drawers creative individual who makes crafts, interior designer artist require an additional desk to make your products or sketch, paint, etc. Depending

Log Home Interior Designs For 2011

Log Home Interior Designs For 2011, interior work of your log home, give special attention to shape of the logs and their color. The diameter of the logs to be used play a vital role in giving the log home a royal look. The use of logs with small diameter will possibly not help you achieve your objective. larger the diameter of the logs, better will be the results. However, you use logs with large diameter positioning of the windows in the log house is of prime importance, as your house will get adequate sunlight from the windows.

 The windows should be big enough and well decorated. large windows, you can have a good view beautiful natural environment around your home. You can consider having windows of different shapes like triangular, square, rectangular or circular decorating your log home, ensure that the positioning of the lights is proper to avoid darkness in any room. Like decorative windows, attractive lamps to make the rooms look nice. discuss the flooring of your log home. Avoid using any carpet or mat for your kitchen flooring. Instead, you can use good quality wood flooring for a better appearance

SG Blocks Container Home

SG Blocks Container Home
nice looking shipping container home, location unkown.
from link at SG Blocks

Rimbey home built from 30 steel shipping containers

The Glennon family’s retirement home might just look like a stack of shipping containers of all different colours from the outside.

But once it’s complete, it will be a sprawling, 5,000-square-foot, four storey building — two levels above ground, a walkout basement and another level below — with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a games and media room, garage and workshop, and two enclosed decks.

A massive garden with a potato crop, chickens, and a trout pond, will surround the residence on the eight-hectare property just outside Rimbey, about 180 kilometres north of Calgary.
Story from Calgary Herald 

Masayuki Kimura, Shipping Container Resturant, RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan

Masayuki Kimura, Shipping Container Resturant, RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan
After the tsunami destroyed his business Japanese man reopens a resturant using a recycled shipping container ISBU as a pop up store.
story published in Wall Street Journal

Shipping Container House In Panama

An ongoing project as a family build their home out of 2 x 40 ft ISBU shipping containers in Panama.

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A fable for our times.

A chief librarian is interested in commercial partnerships as a proactive and innovative way of responding to the economic challenges facing his service. One day he is contacted by a frozen food manufactures who say that they have a proposition for him, so he agrees to meet them.
A smartly dressed business man duly turns up at his office with an offer. They will provide a donation of £10,000 in return for product placement in a library book.
“What exactly do you have in mind?” asks the librarian.
“Well take Moby-Dick for example” says the businessmen. For £10,000 all you have to do is change the name of the main character to Captain Birdseye.”
“I can’t do that” says the librarian “it goes against all my professional ethics.”
“How about £20,000 plus a 10% fee for you?” offers the businessman.
“But Moby Dick is a classic – it’s part of the Western Cannon!”
“You drive a hard bargain - £50,000 plus a 20% fee”
I really don’t think I can...”
“How about we throw in a life supply of fish fingers?”
“Well, OK then, but I will have to win over my senior management team”
They shake hands on the agreement and the business man leaves.

The next day the chief librarian calls a meeting of his senior management team – professional librarians with a lifetime of service in libraries.
“I’ve got some good news and some bad news” he begins. “The good news is that Birdseye have offered us £40,000 for product placement in Moby-Dick”
“And what’s the bad news?”
“We have to lose the contract with Starbucks”

Cashel Mall Containers Christchurch NZ

The new temporary city mall has been open in Christchurch now for a week. Buildings damaged in the earthquake have been demolished and replaced with cargo containers to create a new, temporary, Cashel Mall.

Earth Science Far North Queensland Australia

Earth Science Far North Queensland Australia
Remote accomodation is always a challenge in difficult terrain.
What follows is an example of using two conventional shipping containers to create 90 square meters of living space in dense rainforest adjoining World Heritage Rainforest. The facility, on a nature refuge is used for rainforest research. The terrain is extremely difficult and accessed via a narrow track. In less severe terrain a 40' container might be better value, however the larger container at about 3.5 tonnes would require a much larger truck and a much better road. Unloading would also be a problem.
Shipping containers have wooden, not steel floors. It is important to leave some air space below them in wet environments. When stacking containers, most of the weight is carried by the steel frames around the ends of the container. If you wish to stack containers at right angles additional internal support for the bottom container may be required. Some containers have additional support along their side edges but they are hard to find.
 We used two 6m (20') containers placed 3m (10') apart.

The original roof was damaged in a storm.

EBSCO releases Business Source Corporate Plus

EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) has expanded its collection of corporate research solutions with the release of Business Source Corporate Plus.

Business Source Corporate Plus (BSC+) provides researchers with corporate information, latest business news and trends.

BSC+ includes full text from 4000+ quality business journals and trade publications as well as 1,100 full text newspapers and 940,000 full text TV and news radio analyses and as well as many other features.

The company view provides a directory style view of a company. Users can find information on more than 1.1 million public and private companies with detailed company profiles, as well as related industry and market reports. BSC+ will be updated approximately 100 times per day.

For more information on BSC+ visit the website.

Business critical

I recently received an e-mail from the librarian responsible for training in a local public library authority saying that although she had booked four places on our Introduction to training skills course she would probably have to change this to 2 places. She explained:

"I'm really sorry but we have a spending embargo in place now and I can only authorise £250 - was £10,000. Anything over £250 now has to be authorised by our Deputy Director - and has to be deemed business critical."

Of course this is not unusual. The cuts are beginning to bite and whatever we think about the cuts we must all agree that if savings are to be made they should be in areas that are not essential. But how does this Deputy Director decide what is "business critical". Is training staff to acquire training skills critical to the core business of a library service today? When the DD makes this decision in a rational and logical manner (which is how all decisions in Local Government are made), what evidence will they use to inform that decision?

A starting point may well be the recent report from the Future Libraries programme - Change, options and how to get there. The clue is in the title. There will be change in libraries and they need to have the ingredients for generating change. One of these ingredients is the internal capacity to support change. As the report states "Human resource support is also vital …" (p21). Obviously, training skills are a central element of this.

Then the DD could look at the Arts Council strategic document Culture, Knowledge and Understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone - paying particular attention to goal 3 Museums and libraries are sustainable, resilient and innovative and goal 4 The leadership and workforce are diverse and highly skilled. They will note the emphasis on change and innovation, and the need of libraries to adapt to this. The DD will almost certainly highlight the sentence "We will encourage skills development, collaborative working and knowledge sharing, seeking to ensure that mainstream funding responds to the training needs of museums and libraries" and may well scribble "Training skills will help achieve this" in the margin.

Finally they may observe that Training Skills are included under Generic and transferable skills in CILIP’s Body of Professional Knowledge (BPK).

Of course, all these documents are external to this local authority and so may not indicate what is "business critical" to the organisation itself. For this the DD may turn to some internal documents. The library's own document on lifelong learning quotes David Blunket as saying

“Learning is the key to prosperity - for each of us as individuals, as well as for the nation as a whole. Investment in human capital will be the foundation of success in the knowledge-based global economy of the twenty-first century.”

It goes on to say:

"Both national and local Government objectives include creating a learning society where everyone is able to learn and improve their skills via lifelong learning. Learning is at the heart of the local community and fundamental to academic, social, economic and cultural development".

The DD will of course recognise that learning is facilitated by training and instruction.

Finally the DD will turn to the vision, mission and values of their own authority displayed prominently on the office wall which proclaims one of the council's goals to be:

"Striving for Continuous Improvement. This will mean the community would receive better care and their quality of life would improve. Employees will focus on efficiency and improvement and have a can-do attitude."

The DD will know that this is not just an aspirational statement! It means that any activity that contributes to continuous improvement - such as developing staff training skills - is business critical. So the application to send four members of staff on a training skills workshop will be approved.

On the other hand the DD might just think that saving £200 is a good idea.