The WPA's horseback librarians

During the 1930s, the WPA sponsored horseback librarians -- all women -- to visit rural Americans, bringing them books; the librarians were only allowed to make deliveries in counties that had existing libraries, so schools and other institutions donated materials to establish libraries that would make their counties eligible. Read the rest

Artist Nan Goldin leads protests at the Guggenheim and the Met over their reputation-laundering of the Sacklers' opioid epidemic fortunes

The Sackler family (previously) is one of the richest in the world, and if you've heard of them, it's probably because their family name adorns so many art galleries, museums, and academic institutions around the world: but they way they got that money is less-well-known. Read the rest

As Macron and Merkel meet to rescue the #CopyrightDirective, the world's libraries call for its rejection

The EU's plan to censor the internet with algorithms that block anything that might be a copyright infringement has only days to go before it will be too late for a vote before the upcoming elections, and so far, progress has been stalled thanks to France's unwillingness to accept tiny, meaningless concessions that Germany feels they must win to retain political credibility. Read the rest

The EU's plan for algorithmic copyright filters is looking more and more unlikely

After the last-minute collapse of negotiations over the new EU Copyright Directive, things have only gone from bad to worse for the beleaguered (but deadly and far-reaching) internet regulation. Read the rest

Photographing computers to show the art inside the black box

[Editor's note: I was utterly taken with the gorgeous photos in the new edition of Core Memory, photographer Mark Richards and writer John Alderman's lavish survey of the vintage computing hardware in Silicon Valley's gem, the Computer History Museum; below is senior curator Dag Spicer's introduction to the book, along with some photos, which the publisher was kind enough to supply -Cory]

What computers mean to us depends largely on what we bring to them. Our expectations, our past experience, the dreams and myths that surround them, their physical characteristics—all these aspects resonate on multiple, often overlapping levels. Read the rest

Medieval book opens six ways, revealing six different texts

A XVIth Century book held in the National Library of Sweden's collection features a "sixfold dos-a-dos binding," meaning that the book could be opened in six different ways to reveal six different texts ("devotional texts printed in Germany during the 1550s and 1570s,including Martin Luther, Der kleine Catechismus"), with the hinges doubling as latches. Read the rest

A virtual re-creation of San Francisco's massive WPA wooden city model

In the 1930s, the Works Public Administration commissioned a 1":100' wooden model of San Francisco; the final model is 38' x 42', with 6,000 removable city blocks spanning 158 pieces. Read the rest

A roundup of 2018 roundups

From the Library Journal's Infodocket: "A Curated Collection of Recently Published or Updated Data-Rich Reports Available on the Web", from climate cost breakdowns to Nielsen's top nonalcoholic beverages (sparkling water is very much on-trend) and much, much more. (Thanks, Gary!) (Image: Meg Stewart, CC-BY) Read the rest

Make: a gingerbread house zoetrope

Andrew Salomone writes, "I work as a preparator for The George Eastman Museum at the Kodak founder's historic estate in Rochester, NY. It's the world's oldest photography museum and has an extensive collection of early photographic and moving image objects, like zoetropes. The house itself is a local landmark and has put on an annual gingerbread house display for decades. This year, a couple of my colleagues and I decided to make a gingerbread house zoetrope and then wrote a tutorial about it. Read the rest

Competitive book-sorting event pits New York library workers against Washington State's

Big library systems struggling with the task of sorting interbranch requests for distribution on the library's delivery vehicles can buy a $2 million Lyngsoe Systems Compact Cross Belt Sorter, whose conveyor takes precisely hand-placed materials down a line of bins, scanning each item and tipping it into a bin destined for the right branch. Read the rest

Gorgeous, illustrated Japanese fireworks catalogs from the early 1900s

The Yokohama Board of Education has posted scans of six fantastic catalogs from Hirayama Fireworks and Yokoi Fireworks, dating from the early 1900s. The illustrated catalogs are superb, with minimal words: just beautiful colored drawings depicting the burst-pattern from each rocket. Read the rest

Gorgeous, stylized portraits of vintage computing hardware

Docubyte's Visual History of Computing 1945-1979 is a mix of superb staging, outstanding photography, and intense nostalgia, and it just made my day. Read the rest

Bram Stoker's reference materials for Dracula discovered at the London Library

Bram Stoker's working notes for Dracula were discovered in 1913 (but not published until 2008); now researchers at the London Library have pulled the titles Stoker referenced and shown that these were the very books that Stoker used -- they can tell because he defaced the library books, circling the phrases he later made notes on. Read the rest

You can request hand-crafted reading-list recommendations from the Brooklyn public library online

The Bklyn BookMatch is a free service that matches readers with custom lists of recommendations: fill in a webform with "the titles, authors, and/or types of books you enjoy, and why" as well as "movies, TV, games, and other interests" and any books you dislike, as well as format and age preferences and within two weeks, a librarian will send you a customized reading list that you can check out of the Brooklyn library (or your own local library -- the service seems to be open to everyone!). (via Kottke) Read the rest

RIP, Little Free Library founder Todd H. Bol

Todd Bol died yesterday of fast-moving cancer at the age of 62, less than a month after receiving his diagnosis; he was the founder of the wildly successful Little Free Library movement (previously). Read the rest

A book made from shelf-stable American cheese slices

The University of Michigan's library recently acquired a copy of American Cheese, 20 Slices, by Ben Denzer, a book made from shelf-stable, plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese. Read the rest

The first science fiction con was held in 1891 at the Royal Albert Hall

Charles Wallace writes, "In 1891 the Royal Albert Hall hosted what may be the first sci-fi convention, centered on the book 'The Coming Race' by our old friend Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The video linked above features a trip to the archives of the Royal Albert Hall by host Brady Haran. Good proto new-age weirdness with through-threads to current neo-nazis. Fun for all!" Read the rest

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