"Anthropodermic bibliopegy, or books bound in human skin," writes Megan Rosenbloom in Lapham's Quarterly, "are some of the most mysterious and misunderstood books in the world’s libraries and museums. The historical reasons behind their creation vary [...] The best evidence most of these alleged skin books have ever had were rumors and perhaps a pencil-written note inside that said 'bound in human skin'...until now." Anthropodermic biblipegy on Metafilter previously and previously. Warning: links may contain details disturbing for some. [more inside]
The University of New Hampshire has sparked criticism with the announcement of plans to spend $1 million from a $4 million bequest from an alumnus and long-time library employee on a scoreboard for the new football stadium that the school has already spent $25 million to construct.. [more inside]
The director of the Athens-Limestone Public Library in Athens, Alabama has announced that the library intends to enforce a 1993 ordinance that allows patrons to be sentenced to up to a month in jail for failing to return overdue library books. [more inside]
Will we ever realize the dream of everyone having access to all of human knowledge? Glyn Moody summarizes the open access movement. [more inside]
The New York Society Library maintains an elegant online database of its circulation records from 1789 to 1805, a period that includes its stint as the first library of the United States Congress. To help you get a handle on the data trove (assembled from 100,000 records tracking every book that every patron checked out), the Library offers visualization tools and two curated lists of interesting readers: 57 representative women and 40 Founding Fathers.
Are you looking to try out some classic synthesizers? Perhaps you're trying to find that perfect fuzz bass tone or psychedelic delay/loop pedal. Well come on down to
Guitar Center the Ann Arbor District Library! [more inside]
In 1885, there were 15 lighthouse districts in the US, and over each served an inspector, who visits every light-station quarterly, and his duties include maintenance of all those aids to navigation in it, the discipline of its personnel and pay to each keeper. When he visits a lighthouse that has a library he takes it away and replaces it (Google books preview). Those traveling lighthouse libraries were carried in heavy-duty, dual-purpose boxes that doubled as small book cases. [more inside]
"Led by The New York Academy of Medicine, the Color Our Collections event invites you to download images from library and cultural institution collections, color them, and share them on social media using the event hashtag #ColorOurCollections."To start with, check out the natural history offerings from the Biodiversity Heritage Library and the medieval offerings from the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library. [more inside]
Scholars who use the New York Public Library are boiling with frustration. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In 2014 the library, under pressure from a coalition that included four senior scholars, abandoned its controversial Central Library Plan, which entailed gutting the stacks at the 42nd Street Library and selling the popular Mid-Manhattan Library across the street. But the situation hasn’t turned out how many critics had hoped.
Metafilter's own Jessamyn West has an extended discussion the future of the Library of Congress and why it's relevant outside of the library community on the Circulating Ideas podcast. [more inside]
First Library to Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS Email
In July, the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was the first library in the country to become part of the anonymous Web surfing service Tor. The library allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their Internet traffic through the library, thus masking users’ locations. ... After a meeting at which local police and city officials discussed how Tor could be exploited by criminals, the library pulled the plug on the project.[more inside]
Our books lived, were killed, and reborn, and released. They were donated, organized, cataloged, seized, destroyed, saved, and became testimony, evidence, burden, and discarded. The Dregs of the Library: Trashing the Occupy Wall Street Library
How to make corks fit. How to adjust a door. How to extract a splinter. A surprisingly useful How to Do It series of mid-19th century cigarette trade cards, digitized by the New York Public Library.
Well before Netflix, there was the circulating library. Although circulating libraries large and small were well-established in Britain by the middle of the eighteenth century--some of them, perhaps most (in)famously the Minerva Press, becoming publishing houses themselves--the most powerful circulating libraries came into being during the Victorian era. [more inside]
California's Homeless Find a Quiet Place. (slNatGeo)
The Real Purpose of Libraries, by Ferguson Library Director Scott Bonner (SLReading Rainbow)
But anyone who looked into the turbulent, shifting waters of Warburg’s actual beliefs knew that there was something more, and much stranger, there. At a minimum, there was something compellingly incongruous: on the one hand, his vision was haunted by half-clothed women dancing ecstatic Dionysian dances; on the other, it was devoted to minute archival research meant to record their choreography through time. [more inside]
"Despite scant funding and resources, London’s Feminist Library is turning their 40th year into a celebration of storytelling, history – and, hopefully, sofas." Stephanie Boland at The New Statesman, 'She blinded me with library science': why the Feminist Library is more vital than ever. [more inside]
The Rocky J. Adkins Public Library in Elliott County, Kentucky recently posted a job advertisement for a new director. The wage? US$7.25 per hour -- in other words, minimum wage. This garnered some immediate expressions of dismmay from librarians on social media. For others, it also reminded them of where they grew up. [more inside]
The University of Glasgow's French Emblems project hosts thousands of 16th century woodcuts and etchings. The archive boasts an unusually thorough metadata scheme, allowing you to browse cryptic images of beards, birds in cages, pointed fingers, triumphal conquerors, and fabulous animals, among many other categories. [more inside]
A toronto artist, Daniel Rotsztain, (video) is drawing all of Toronto's libraries. Current count, 46/102.
The University of Michigan Library, the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries and ProQuest have made public more than 25,000 manually transcribed texts from 1473-1700 — the first 200 years of the printed book. Full text access. Multiple format downloads, including ePUB. Or just download the entire corpus. [more inside]
In this interview the splendid eight-year-old Madison makes it clear that she really loves books and the new Little Free Libraries that are in her Cleveland neighborhood of Fairfax. A Little Free Library [previous and ly] is a small, sturdy box full of books that local communities take are of all over the world. The non-profit organization behind it received the 2014 Innovation in Reading Award from the National Book Foundation.
Model books, examples for medieval scribes to copy from and adapt in their work, are like illuminated manuscripts in concentrated form. A post from medieval historian Erik Kwakkel's excellent new blog, a longform complement to his excellent Tumblr (previously).
The DMMapp (Digitized Medieval Manuscripts App) is a website that links to more than 300 libraries in the world. Each one of these contains medieval manuscripts that can be browsed for free. The DMMapp is a product of Sexy Codicology, an independent project focused on medieval illuminated manuscripts and social media. It maintains a great blog about medieval manuscripts, especially those that are available online.
One of the best things about libraries is that they are free. Many are in your own neighborhood. Some will even come to you! (previously)
Celsus is a collaborative wiki for articles related to the history, design, construction, and renovation of libraries. [more inside]
A day in the life of New York City's public libraries: Traveling from borough to borough, this short documentary by Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks reveals just how important the modern library is for millions of people. Why Libraries Matter.
The British Library today unveiled a major addition to its website: Discovering Literature, a portal to digitized collections and supporting material. The first installment, Romantics and Victorians, includes work from Austen, the Brontës, Dickens, and Blake, and forthcoming modules will expand coverage of the site to encompass everything from Beowulf to the present day.
In honor of National Library Week, Oxford University Press is making all of its non-journal products available online for free for the week of April 13th-19th, 2014. This includes the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Handbook series. [more inside]
We know you love your library! Ever wonder what it would be like to become a book? Where would you be in the library? Which Dewey Decimal [hundred] number would you be given? Take this quiz to find out!
“When a library is open, no matter its size or shape, democracy is open, too.” Maria Popova calls the new book The Public Library: A Photographic Essay, which took eighteen years to photograph and compile, "a wistful yet hopeful reminder of just what’s at stake if we let the greatest bastion of public knowledge humanity has ever known slip into the neglected corner of cultural priorities."
Each week for a year, the folks in the special collections library at the University of St. Andrews are taking a how-to book from the collection and following its instructions for a project, in order to get a clearer sense of what life was like a century or two ago. Thus far in 52 Weeks of Historical How-Tos, they've learned how to make shoe polish like an 1825 footman, bake mince pie from 10 different recipes dating from 1710-1862, perform parlour tricks to amaze your friends, and take photographs via the wet collodion process.
Medium has made available the first book-length content (perhaps) on its writing platform. Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World by R. David Lankes is cited as a 164 minute read. For works of this length, Medium offer a feature for bookmarking where you have read to. [more inside]
A few months ago, my husband and I decided to mix our books together. We had known each other for ten years, lived together for six, been married for five.
Louisburg High School junior Mason Wilde had some free time on his hands after giving up football. The perfect project soon fell into his lap: Nine-year-old Matthew, who was born with a condition called limb difference, has only a thumb on his right hand. Wilde modified the free Robohand plans to fit the young boy. Then, using the 3D printer at the Johnson County Library, he created a prosthetic hand that can even hold a pencil. [more inside]
The library platform OverDrive has announced that it will discontinue the sale of audiobooks in the WMA format, and transition solely to DRM-free MP3 files. Many local libaries use OverDrive to offer ebooks and audiobooks for download to their patrons. [Disclosure: my local library does, and I hate it.] Currently, some audiobooks are offered as DRM-enabled WMA files; the are not playable on iOS devices, so this will open up a lot of the collection to a wider user community.
Welcome to a tumblr of wonders. Special Collections, archives, and libraries have many wonderful items, but getting to them all can be a bit like trying to walk into Mordor, unless you have unlimited time and grants. But now, thanks to Tumblr, you too can explore collections around the world, and one of the best comes to us from the University of Iowa. Want a Hamlet quote on a miniature book that unfolds into a tiny Globe Theatre? Of course you do. Actual flying squirrels? Adventure with Alice! Get close to illuminations? Catch a glimpse of hipster frames circa 1504? More awesome librar* tumblrs inside. [more inside]
"Douglas County Model" gives libraries new e-book leverage — The public library system in Douglas County, where bedroom suburbs rub shoulders with century-old ranches, might seem an unlikely game-changer in the world of publishing. But the county's innovative e-book lending platform, which aims to flip the dynamic between publishers and libraries, is giving hope to cash-strapped libraries from Alaska to Australia that they'll be able to offer more electronic material to users, for less money. From The Denver Post, 11/21/2013.
I'm not always a Neil Gaiman fan, but this rousing paean to books and libraries definitely brightened my day.
A new study from Harvard Law School (get the full paper here) reports that nearly half of the links cited in Supreme Court opinions are rotten (sometimes cleverly so).
A new web-service built through collaboration by many of the largest libraries in the world, Perma, currently in Beta, will enable users to create citation links that will never break.
For you to borrow, some libraries have to go begging: NPR story about public library funding, featuring MeFi's own jessamyn. (previously)
Toute la mémoire du monde (1956: 21 minutes) is a remarkably lovely documentary short by Alain Resnais about the Bibliothèque nationale de France in the age of print. Via The Funambulist. [more inside]
“There’s always that joke that there’s a Starbucks on every corner," says Justin Grimes, a statistician with the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington. "But when you really think about it, there’s a public library wherever you go, whether it’s in New York City or some place in rural Montana. Very few communities are not touched by a public library.”
"On a beautiful sunny day last week, the Turning Over a New Leaf project team decided to take a day off from the office to visit a spectacular chained library in the small town of Zutphen (located in the eastern part of the Netherlands). Built in 1564 as part of the church of St Walburga, it is one of only five chained libraries in the world that survive ‘intact’—that is, complete with the original books, chains, rods, and furniture."