To do in LA this Saturday: I'm speaking at the Pasadena Loves YA festival!

Angelenos! Bring your teens to the Pasadena Loves YA festival this Saturday; I'm chairing a panel on graphic novels with Mairghread Scott and Tillie Walden; other panels and events go on all day, from 11-4PM, at the Central Branch of Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena CA 91101. Admission is free! Read the rest

You can check out neckties, briefcases, and handbags from the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library's Riverside branch invites you to check out a necktie, briefcase, or handbag suited for a "job interview, wedding, audition, graduation, prom, or other formal event." It's part of their NYPL Grow Up initiative. From the NYPL:

Adults and teens who have low fines (less than $15) or no fines on their library cards can borrow items for a one-time, three-week lending period.

We also have information sheets on job interview tips, free career resources and suggested books, and websites and organizations that can help with professional fashion advice and attire.

(via Open Culture) Read the rest

LA libraries replace fines for young readers with in-library "read-offs"

Stan Rehm writes, "An uncommonly sensible new policy in Los Angeles libraries now allows children with overdue book fees to 'read off' their fines in the library." Read the rest

The New York Public Library's curious collection of authors' personal items

From Gareth Smit's article in The New Yorker:

The Berg Collection’s roughly two thousand linear feet of manuscripts and archival materials were donated to the library, in 1940, by two brothers, Henry W. and Albert A. Berg. The brothers, both doctors who lived on the Upper East Side, were avid collectors of English and American literature—and of literary paraphernalia.

The library categorizes these items as “Realia”—objects from everyday life. The Berg Collection includes Charlotte Brontë’s writing desk, with a lock of her hair inside; trinkets belonging to Jack Kerouac, including his harmonicas, and a card upon which he wrote “blood” in his own blood; typewriters belonging to S. J. Perelman and Paul Metcalf; Mark Twain’s pen and wire-rimmed glasses; Vladimir Nabokov’s butterfly drawings; and the death masks of the poets James Merrill and E. E. Cummings.

Although the Berg Collection is intended to cater to researchers, curators are always keeping an eye out for items that complement the existing archive. Virginia Woolf’s cane may be of little interest to scholars, but it’s an important artifact that was likely the last thing she used before her death.

Read the rest

Librarian photographs all the beautiful libraries he visits

Librarian Thomas Guignard (a.k.a. timtom) has a wonderful collection of Creative Commons photographs of libraries he's taken over the years. Read the rest

New York Public Library making it easier to See Dickens' desk, Woolf's cane, and Kerouac’s boots

NYPL's Berg Collection ranks among the greatest collections of literary ephemera and artifacts, but it's been very hard to see these items until recently. Read the rest

Why these libraries welcome the bat colonies that live among the books

In Portugal, there are two 18th century libraries where colonies of bats are invited to roam free. Why? They eat the insects that would otherwise munch on the pages of the books shelved there. From Smithsonian:

In Coimbra, a colony of Common pipistrelle bats makes their home behind the bookshelves of the university’s Joanina Library, emerging at nightfall to consume flies and gnats and other pests before swooping out the library windows and across the hilltop college town in search of water....

Whether the flittermice took up residence here 300 years ago, when the library was built, or more recently is unknown. Librarians do know they’ve been here since at least the 19th century; they still use fabric made from animal skin, imported from Imperial Russia, to cover the original 18th-century tables, protecting them from scat left by the library’s flying residents. And every morning, just as their forebears did, the librarians remove the skins and clean the library floors.

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Delaware! Tonight, a public vote will determine the fate of one of the state's most important libraries

Walter Stabosz writes, "Delaware was the first state to ratify the US constitution, giving it the moniker 'The First State.' It is also the second smallest state, and has only three counties. Tonight in Delaware's most populous county, New Castle County, there will be a vote that may decide the fate of a library built in one of New Castle's most underserved and at-risk communities. Read the rest

Romance writers sought for library residency at my former Toronto workplace

I was a teenaged page at the North York Central Library in suburban Toronto, working in the Business and Urban Affairs section, shelving books, taping together newspapers while we waited for their microfilm versions to arrive, and fiddling around with the newly installed (and poorly documented) computerised catalogue/lending system -- I worked there with many other would-be writers, like Nalo Hopkinson, who was a public service clerk a few floors down. Read the rest

BBC sound effect archive posted online

The BBC posted an online archive of many of its sound effects. The nature scenes and peculiar things of historical interests are wonderful, though the broad focus seems to be components for radio plays and the like: footsteps, actions, incidental moments.

The BBC license isn't free and has odd stipulations, but the point of the project and its accompanying rules is remarkable: "RemArc, or Reminiscence Archive, is designed to help trigger memories in people with dementia using BBC Archive material as stimulation. " Read the rest

Deciphering "wee old lady" library book code

Georgia Grainger, a Scottish librarian, began a fascinating Twitter thread earlier this week:

Turns out from the ensuing comments that this is a rather common practice. Read the rest

Study finds that for-pay scholarly journals contribute virtually nothing to the papers they publish

In the open access debate, advocates for traditional, for-profit scholarly journals often claim that these journals add value to the papers they publish in the form of editorial services that improve their readability and clarity. Read the rest

Watch a virtual 360-degree tour of BookBot library retrieval system

BookBot is a nifty book retrieval system at North Carolina State University's James B. Hunt Jr. Library. Here's a panoramic book's-eye view of the retrieval process. Read the rest

As a boy, Ronald Clark literally lived in a New York Public Library

In the 1940s, Ronald Clark's father was a custodian at the New York Public Library's Washington Heights Branch. That meant he and his family lived in an apartment in the library. Here's an animated StoryCorps video about Clark's childhood in "The Temple of Knowledge" and "creeping down to the stacks in the middle of the night when curiosity gripped him."

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Garbage collectors open library of abandoned books

Garbage collectors in Ankara, Turkey, have opened a library with all the books that people throw out.

"We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books. And when everyone supported it, this project happened," said Çankaya Mayor Alper Tasdelen, whose local government oversaw the opening of the library. Today, the library has over 6,000 books ranging from literature to nonfiction. There is also a popular kid's section with comic books and an entire section for scientific research. Books in English and French are also available for bilingual visitors. The library is housed in a previously vacant brick factory at the sanitation department headquarters.

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Public library's card catalog and books linked by scent

In 1974, Upper Arlington, Ohio public library launched a program to link their card catalog and shelved books by odor. The project was called: "Stick Your Nose in the Card Catalog." From Weird Universe:

The idea was that the card in the catalog would have a scent, and then the book on the shelf would have a matching scent. So you could find your books by smell. There were about 60 scents in total, including apple, chocolate, garlic, lemon, roses, root beer, leather, pizza, orange, strawberry, candles, pine, cheddar cheese, clover, and smoke.

The library says that they "aren't sure what exactly happened to the scented catalog, but we guess that the cards eventually lost their scent over time, but remained part of the catalog until it was decommissioned" for a digital system in 1989. Read the rest

A deep dive into the race to preserve our digital heritage

Science Friday's beautiful "File Not Found" series looks at the thorny questions of digital preservation: finding surviving copies of data, preserving the media it is recorded upon, finding working equipment to read that media, finding working software to decode the information once it's read, clearing the rights to archive it, and maintaining safe, long term archives -- all while being mindful of privacy and other equities. Read the rest

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