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Mini and free libraries may be nearer than you think!

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)
posted by Lynsey on Jul 4, 2014 - 26 comments

Celsus: A Library Architecture Resource

Celsus is a collaborative wiki for articles related to the history, design, construction, and renovation of libraries. [more inside]
posted by carter on Jun 17, 2014 - 1 comment

Why Libraries Matter

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.
posted by cashman on May 17, 2014 - 6 comments

Discovering Literature through the collections of the British Library

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.
posted by Horace Rumpole on May 15, 2014 - 6 comments

Oxford University Press Celebrates National Library Week

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]
posted by jedicus on Apr 14, 2014 - 20 comments

Which Dewey Decimal Category Are You?

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!
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Apr 14, 2014 - 57 comments

Love Letter to Libraries

“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."
posted by Rykey on Apr 9, 2014 - 36 comments

Kickin' it Old School

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.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 9, 2014 - 10 comments

The Book, the Medium and the Library.

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]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 20, 2014 - 3 comments

The final frontier of intimacy

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.
posted by Chrysostom on Feb 11, 2014 - 101 comments

I'd have used MY robot hand for good.

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]
posted by cellar door on Feb 7, 2014 - 25 comments

OverDrive library platform to drop DRM-enabled WMA files

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.
posted by wenestvedt on Jan 24, 2014 - 30 comments

Remember, if approached by a librarian, keep still. Do not run away.

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]
posted by jetlagaddict on Dec 26, 2013 - 13 comments

Always a Borrower or a Lender Be

"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.
posted by cenoxo on Nov 22, 2013 - 14 comments

<3 Books

I'm not always a Neil Gaiman fan, but this rousing paean to books and libraries definitely brightened my day.
posted by dame on Oct 16, 2013 - 31 comments

404 No More

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.
posted by Lutoslawski on Sep 24, 2013 - 19 comments

It's open just two hours a day, and only in the summer

For you to borrow, some libraries have to go begging: NPR story about public library funding, featuring MeFi's own jessamyn. (previously)
posted by mark7570 on Aug 19, 2013 - 13 comments

Here we glimpse a future in which all mysteries are solved

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]
posted by theodolite on Jun 8, 2013 - 5 comments

Every library and museum in America, mapped

“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.”
posted by EvaDestruction on Jun 7, 2013 - 18 comments

The Last of the Great Chained Libraries

"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."
posted by brundlefly on May 18, 2013 - 18 comments

Digital Public Library of America launches their beta today

Today at noon eastern time, the Digital Public Library of America launched its beta website... The Digital Public Library of America, having worked since 2010 to try and find ways to organize and group an array of disparate digital resources, finally launches it's beta today. While it's come under some criticism from parts of the library community, the DPLA is moving forward by providing both access to resources and an API upon which existing libraries can build their own tools. Previously on the blue.
posted by griffey on Apr 18, 2013 - 15 comments

Public Libraries: Stealing Authors' Paychecks?

"We can't give everything away under the public purse. Books are part of the entertainment industry. Literature has been something elite, but it is not any more. This is not the Roman empire, where we give away free bread and circuses to the masses."
UK children's author Terry Deary (Horrible Histories series) on Britain's public libraries. Neil Gaiman and others respond.
posted by Rykey on Feb 22, 2013 - 104 comments

Cats:

walking on your shit... since the 15th century. (via)
posted by Namlit on Feb 18, 2013 - 32 comments

Hwæt!

In 1731, a fire broke out in Ashburnham House, where the greatest collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, the Cottonian Library, was then being stored. Frantically, the trustees raced into the burning library and hurled priceless and unique manuscripts out the windows in order to save them. One of these was the sole manuscript of Beowulf. Today, bearing the charred edges of its brush with extinction, it's been digitized by the British Library, along with a group of other treasures including Leonardo Da Vinci's Codex Arundel and the Harley Golden Gospels.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Feb 11, 2013 - 25 comments

The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre

"People haven’t been fascinated by this book because the translation is mellifluous or beautiful,” said Michael F. Suarez, a professor of English at the University of Virginia who directs the Rare Book School there. “People haven’t been attracted to this book because the presswork is beautiful. It’s not.” Instead, the Bay Psalm Book is treasured for being the first surviving piece of printing done in the British North American colonies. Only 11 copies, many incomplete, today survive. Remarkably two of those copies belong to the same owner, Boston's Old South Church. This month, the church made the controversial decision to sell one (the first such sale in 65 years), and it could bring as much as $20 million for the church's endowment.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Dec 25, 2012 - 7 comments

My little piece of Heaven

People posting photographs of their bookshelves:
Father in Law's Library, built by hand in about 5 years: The card file. Details & overview.
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare: Building Wall Shelving for 9000 Books.
“…first time in years I've been able to get most of my books out of cardboard boxes and onto shelves…”
My desk after four months of working in a bookstore.
Nigella Lawson's library. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Dec 14, 2012 - 54 comments

"Some remarkable Books, Antiquities, Pictures and Rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living."

Musæum Clausum is a catalog of invented books, pictures and antiquities written by 17th Century Englishman Sir Thomas Browne. It is a fantastical and witty meditation on the ravages of time on literature and other works of man. The Musæum Clausum is perhaps the finest example of the invented, or invisible, library, a genre which seems to have originated with Rabelais. The genre has been of special interest to Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog (older posts), where he has written about the invisible libraries of writers such as Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, H. P. Lovecraft and invisible libraries in video games. The natural medium for invisible libraries might be pictures, and Musæum Clausum inspired a suite of etchings by Erik Desmazieres.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 31, 2012 - 30 comments

The Kids are All Right: A higher percentage of Americans under 30 read for pleasure than those over 30.

Younger Americans' Reading and Library Habits: "The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has taken a special look at readers between the ages of 16 and 29... This report examines how they encounter and consume books in different formats. It flows out of a larger effort to assess the reading habits of all Americans ages 16 and older as e-books change the reading landscape and the borrowing services of libraries."
posted by ocherdraco on Oct 24, 2012 - 63 comments

Montaigne's Library

On the day he turned thirty-eight, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne retired from public life to the tower of the Château de Montaigne, there to spend the next ten years composing an assay of his life's experience. That his mind might thrive, he turned the tower into a "Solitarium" and its top floor into a sumptuous library, lining its round walls with some 1,500 books. Even the roof beams were made to bear his thoughts: on them he inscribed 46 quotations, here collected and translated.
posted by Iridic on Oct 11, 2012 - 22 comments

It's a Happening, Who Cares About Book Theives?

John Locke builds, installs, and creates libraries in payphone booths in New York City. “There aren’t a lot of people out,” he said. “You can just go down, find a good booth, carry it out, latch it in. It takes seconds. And then just fill it up with books and let’s wait and see what happens.”
posted by Xurando on Sep 8, 2012 - 48 comments

The Preserved Silent Animation project, part of the UCLA Digital Library Program

"Although best-known for its restoration of feature films, UCLA Film & Television Archive has been preserving animated films for more than three decades, with over one hundred titles to its credit. The short subjects, trailers, and promotional films presented here provide a representative sampling of that work. They have been preserved from best-surviving and sole-surviving 35mm nitrate and 16mm prints, showcasing many forms of animation spanning the entire silent film era." The UCLA Preserved Silent Animation project, one of over 80 collections made available through the UCLA Digital Library Program.
posted by cog_nate on Aug 30, 2012 - 4 comments

Beyond Books

"This technology cannot simply substitute for the great libraries of the present. After all, libraries are not just repositories of books. They are communities, sources of expertise, and homes to lovingly compiled collections that amount to far more than the sum of their individual printed parts. Their physical spaces, especially in grand temples of learning like the NYPL, subtly influence the way that reading and writing takes place in them. And yet it is foolish to think that libraries can remain the same with the new technology on the scene. The Bookless Library, by David Bell (print ready version). [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jul 18, 2012 - 13 comments

The Grateful Dead Archive Online

UC Santa Cruz announced today the launch of the Grateful Dead Archive Online. It contains over 25,000 digitized items - posters & photographs, audio & video, t-shirts, envelope art... you can even contribute your own content.
posted by gyusan on Jun 29, 2012 - 31 comments

This is my book. There are many like it, but this is mine.

In 1989 the Japanese Government passed the Media Betterment Act, permitting censorship of any media deemed to be harmful to society. On the basis of the imperative for libraries to resist any attempts at suppression of free speech, local governments created an armed resistance force to combat censorship. The conflict between the government and library forces continues to 2019, where the story of Library War begins. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Jun 15, 2012 - 12 comments

vintage children's books online

vintage children's books my kid loves (a blog) & scans of vintage Little Golden Books (scroll down a bit) & The Children's Object Book (1880s) & if you want to read and look at even more vintage children's books online, you could start with browsing the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature with almost 6000 classic books (some may be unsuitable for modern sensibilities) [more inside]
posted by flex on Jun 11, 2012 - 11 comments

The Library of Utopia

"Despite the challenges it faces, the Digital Public Library of America has an enthusiastic corps of volunteers and some generous contributors. It seems likely that by this time next year, it will have reached its first milestone and begun operating a metadata exchange of some sort. But what happens after that? Will the library be able to extend the scope of its collection beyond the early years of the last century? Will it be able to offer services that spark the interest of the public? If the DPLA is nothing more than plumbing, the project will have failed to live up to its grand name and its even grander promise."
posted by davidjmcgee on Jun 7, 2012 - 10 comments

Dr. Livingstone's diary deciphered

For more than two years, scholars and imaging scientists have been using advanced scanning techniques to recover the mostly illegible contents of an 1871 field diary kept by the British explorer David Livingstone in Africa. Low on paper and ink, the explorer had resorted to writing on newspaper sheets, with ink made from berries, and over time the original document had become almost impossible to read. Now the team has unveiled an online “multispectral critical edition” with images, transcriptions, and relevant notes, making Livingstone’s first-person account accessible again. They’ve also created a “Livingstone Spectral Images Archive” to give anyone who wants it direct access to the images, transcriptions, and metadata the project has created, no strings attached. Almost everything in both the edition and the archive comes with a Creative Commons license that allows the contents to be reused with attribution. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jun 3, 2012 - 11 comments

5-3-1852: Prince Albert still won't get out of the can

The diaries of Queen Victoria, totaling 47,000 pages and running from the age of 13 until her death, have been digitized. The site will be free to UK users, but open access for the rest of the world only runs through the end of June.
posted by Horace Rumpole on May 24, 2012 - 33 comments

Melvil Dewey Rap

Hi! My name is Melvil Dewey! Nice to meetcha, how you doing? (SLYT). Meet the International Library Hip Hop Superstar and Library Journal Mover and Shaker (literally). 597.3 - SHARKS!
posted by carter on May 3, 2012 - 5 comments

Oh, that old thing

Thanks to a record-breaking £9 million fundraising effort, the British Library has acquired (and fully digitized) the St. Cuthbert Gospel. The manuscript, buried with the eponymous saint in 698 AD, is the oldest European book to survive fully intact. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Apr 16, 2012 - 25 comments

Proof that libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries

Build Your Own Little Free Library. Check out some others. These too. The scoop and the FAQ. "Question #1: Won't People steal the books? No. You can't steal a free book. And if you have a good steward and lots of active users, eventually someone who tries to "steal" books will realize that it's not a good thing to do."
posted by storybored on Mar 18, 2012 - 54 comments

Twenty photos of beautiful private and personal libraries.

Twenty photos of beautiful private and personal libraries.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl on Feb 26, 2012 - 51 comments

It is a Puzzlement

The Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection, given to Indiana University in 2006, is now online, with images and descriptions of some 24,000 puzzles, from an 18th century Japanese puzzle to nearly 300 kinds of Rubik's Cubes. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 27, 2012 - 11 comments

Human Library

Check Out Some New People: The Human Library is an innovative method designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding.The main characteristics of the project are to be found in its simplicity and positive approach. Started in Copenhagen, Denmark 12 years ago, it has since Spread, and new libraries continue to pop-up All Over the Place.
posted by Blake on Jan 26, 2012 - 6 comments

A moving experience

Four years ago, Joshua Heineman (previously) started posting animated GIFs made from turn of the century stereoscope photos, bringing this early 3D technique back to life. Now he's teamed with NYPL Labs to create an interface to let you make your own GIFs and 3D anaglyphs from the 40,000 digitized stereographs in the collections of the New York Public Library. (Background from the NYT)
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 26, 2012 - 8 comments

The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth

After his presidency, Thomas Jefferson took on the task of re-editing the New Testament by literally cutting and pasting a new version of the text, shorn of Jesus's miracles and the Resurrection. Titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (but known more commonly today as the Jefferson Bible), the handmade book had begun to crumble after nearly two centuries. Now, after a painstaking conservation process, the Jefferson Bible has been digitized, and will be on exhibition at the Smithsonian though May 2012. (Previously)
posted by Horace Rumpole on Dec 6, 2011 - 64 comments

An Institution in Transition

Upheaval at the New York Public Library: an article in The Nation which looks at the current state of the NYPL, and highlights many of the problems facing public libraries across the United States.
posted by codacorolla on Dec 5, 2011 - 40 comments

Where Libraries Went Wrong

Where Libraries Went Wrong; a great blog post / article diving deep into some of the issues that face public libraries today. It's centred on UK libraries, but deals with issues facing public knowledge bases everywhere.
posted by ChrisR on Dec 2, 2011 - 28 comments

Paint It Black

The Morgan Library Black Hours, one of the world's most beautiful and striking illuminated manuscripts, has been digitized in its entirety. Richly decorated in blue and gold on black vellum, it is one of a surviving handful of such manuscripts produced in late 15th century Bruges. (Poorer quality, but still interesting, images of another such work, the Black Hours of Charles the Bold, are also online.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Nov 19, 2011 - 21 comments

Whatcha reading, Muncie?

What Middletown Read.
Robert and Helen Lynd's immersive studies of early 20th century Muncie, Indiana, published as Middletown (1929) and Middletown in Transition (1937), are classics of American sociology. Ball State's Center for Middletown Studies has created a database of the circulation records from the Muncie Public Library from 1891-1902, providing a rare glimpse of the reading habits of turn-of-the-century middle America. Slate examines the project and what it reveals.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Nov 17, 2011 - 7 comments

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