The crazy scale of the US’s benefactor-driven museum boom

Museums in the US are growing rapidly—and so is the money at stake. They spent nearly $5 billion between 2007 and 2014, according to the Art Newspaper. The publication’s study of 75 museums across 38 countries found that, when it came to building new wings and galleries, the US spent more than all the 37 other countries combined. The boom is all the more spectacular as it came amid the worst recession since the Great Depression.
From The crazy scale of the US’s benefactor-driven museum boom - Quartz
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How Shakespeare Lives Now

Shakespeare’s death on April 23, 1616, went largely unremarked by all but a few of his immediate contemporaries. There was no global shudder when his mortal remains were laid to rest in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. No one proposed that he be interred in Westminster Abbey near Chaucer or Spenser (where his fellow playwright Francis Beaumont was buried in the same year and where Ben Jonson would be buried some years later). No notice of Shakespeare’s passing was taken in the diplomatic correspondence of the time or in the newsletters that circulated on the Continent; no rush of Latin obsequies lamented the “vanishing of his breath,” as classical elegies would have it; no tributes were paid to his genius by his distinguished European contemporaries. Shakespeare’s passing was an entirely local English event, and even locally it seems scarcely to have been noted.
From How Shakespeare Lives Now by Stephen Greenblatt | The New York Review of Books
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Librarian under house arrest in Moscow accused of anti-Russian propaganda

She's accused of inciting ethnic hatred and violating human dignity. Natalya Sharina is a 58-year-old Russian librarian in Moscow  and though the Russian government says she's not on the Kremlin's radar, someone thinks she and her books are a threat.
From Librarian under house arrest in Moscow accused of anti-Russian propaganda - Home | The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti | CBC Radio
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How much is a library worth?

It is doubtful, however, that that is why those behind Americans for Prosperity want to close our libraries. More likely possibilities include the privatization of our library system, resulting in even more public funding finding its way into the pockets of the already wealthy. Or perhaps they just want to slash one more public benefit to increase the taxpayer-funded corporate welfare programs without running into budget deficits. Regardless of the reasoning, the people most hurt by libraries closing will, as usual, be those who can least afford it. Almost half of all surveyed by Pew indicated that libraries help people find jobs. But when you look at those in households with incomes of less than $30,000, that percentage increases to 53 percent.  Among African Americans it’s 55 percent, and among Latinos it is 58 percent. 
From How much is a library worth?
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With Romance Novels Booming, Beefcake Sells, but It Doesn’t Pay

How hot are romance novels? Over all, annual sales totaled $1.08 billion in 2013, according to the Romance Writers of America, which tracks sales. And their popularity is expected to grow. Last year Scribd, an e-book subscription service, sharply reduced the number of romance and erotica novels it offered because it couldn’t afford to keep up with readers’ appetites. (Scribd pays publishers every time a book is read and loses money if a book is too popular.) Despite the perception that blockbusters like “Fifty Shades of Grey” drive sales, self-publishing has proved a boon for this particular genre. E-books make up nearly 40 percent of all purchases, according to the writers group. And there are categories for every reader’s taste, among them, adventure, Christian, multicultural, L.G.B.T. and paranormal.
From With Romance Novels Booming, Beefcake Sells, but It Doesn’t Pay - The New York Times
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White House wants more sharable, reusable code

The White House is looking to make software code used by the federal agencies more open, sharable and reusable. In a March 10 blog post, federal CIO Tony Scott announced a new draft Federal Source Code policy that would create a new set of rules for custom code developed by or for the federal government. Once the new policy takes effect, software developed at agencies or created by contractors specifically for government use will be available to share and reuse across agencies.
From White House wants more sharable, reusable code -- FCW
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A spiritual successor to Aaron Swartz is angering publishers all over again

But suddenly in 2016, the tale has new life. The Washington Post decries it as academic research's Napster moment, and it all stems from a 27-year-old bioengineer turned Web programmer from Kazakhstan (who's living in Russia). Just as Swartz did, this hacker is freeing tens of millions of research articles from paywalls, metaphorically hoisting a middle finger to the academic publishing industry, which, by the way, has again reacted with labels like "hacker" and "criminal." Meet Alexandra Elbakyan, the developer of Sci-Hub, a Pirate Bay-like site for the science nerd. It's a portal that offers free and searchable access "to most publishers, especially well-known ones." Search for it, download, and you're done. It's that easy. "The more known the publisher is, the more likely Sci-Hub will work," she told Ars via e-mail. A message to her site's users says it all: "SCI-HUB...to remove all barriers in the way of science."
From A spiritual successor to Aaron Swartz is angering publishers all over again | Ars Technica

Inside the most incredible libraries in Britain

Worth writing home about: Inside the most incredible libraries in Britain, from Oxford's historic reading rooms to a futuristic wonder in Liverpool The existence of many libraries is under threat and nearly 350 libraries closed in Britain over the past six years Thankfully there are still plenty of breathtaking libraries to explore from historic rooms to modern glass buildings Oxford's Codrington Library has spectacular white marble statues that contrast with its rows of dark bookcases
From Inside the most incredible libraries in Britain | Daily Mail Online
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How to Make Psychology Studies More Reliable

There’s another way, says Eric Luis Uhlmann from INSEAD: Get your own studies independently replicated before they are published. He is leading by example. In August 2014, he asked 25 independent teams to repeat all of his group’s unpublished experiments, before he submitted them to academic journals.
From How to Make Psychology Studies More Reliable - The Atlantic

Library Offers Homeless People Mental Health Services, And It's Working

Libraries have long served as havens for homeless people. But it’s only recently that these institutions have started taking advantage of their unique position. Those who live in shelters typically have to vacate during daytime hours and use their free time to find jobs. And libraries are an optimal place to go since admittance is free and it’s often the only spot in town that has gratis Internet and computers. In fact, nearly two-thirds of libraries provide the only free computer and Internet access in their communities, the Associated Press reported last year. 
From Library Offers Homeless People Mental Health Services, And It's Working
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Meet the man who is turning D.C. libraries into a national model

But Reyes-Gavilan’s ambitions go beyond bricks and mortar. He wants to put the D.C. Public Library at the forefront of American libraries, to be a model for the nation by embracing a “hacker” culture that treats library patrons not as passive consumers of information, but as creators. His mantra is “libraries are not their buildings,” but “engines of human capital.”
From Meet the man who is turning D.C. libraries into a national model - The Washington Post

Proposed Alaska state budget cuts zero out funding for library internet

“It’s taken off, and people are just starting to see the many opportunities that it brings us,” Julene Brown says. “It’s just kind of ironic to see these state agencies that are trying to figure out how to deliver services with the budget cuts that they’re face. This video conferencing is one way they’re able to do that.” Back in Haines, Miles Curtis says with the world becoming increasingly paperless, access to the web is no longer just a privilege. “It’s gotten to a point where I would consider it a right,” he says. “Everything is going in the direction where it would be difficult to function, and have access to the information that everyone should be entitled to.”
From KHNS Radio | KHNS FM » Proposed state budget cuts zero out funding for library internet
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In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed Because Of Late Fines

Alexander is more careful than most.Half of the current cardholders at the Biblioteca branch owe money, and most — 65 percent — are barred from borrowing materials and using computers because they owe $10 or more. San Jose’s charges are exponentially higher than comparable cities like San Francisco, where there is no charge for late materials for users 17 and younger and a charge of 10 cents a day for adults. “Fifty cents a day for middle-class families is a slap on the wrist,” said Maria Arias Evans, the principal of Washington Elementary School in San Jose, which is behind the Biblioteca Latinoamericana. Given the choice between paying fines “and putting food on the table and a roof over the children’s head, it’s a no-brainer: It is better not to check out library books.”
From In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed - The New York Times

Reading Project - Take My Books Please

Piles of books were left in high-traffic locations around NYC which were all taken and have now travelled to more than 30 countries as part of The Reading Project. Part-commentary on the way we live today and part-experiment, the project saw stacks of books accompanied only by a simple note that encouraged passers-by to take a book for free, read it and on completing the book, email me.
From Reading Project — MADE BY SHERRY
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The Future of Academic Style: Why Citations Still Matter in the Age of Google

Academic style, however, is another thing entirely. This is not to say that there is not “style” in academic writing, contrary to both popular belief and a lot of self-skewering academic jokes. Academic style is dull, jargon-filled, overly ornate, hubristic, timid, and generally bad, and no one says so more than academics themselves. Eric Hayot dug into this reflexive disdain in a recent essay in the journal Critical Inquiry, exploring the oddities of the ways that literary scholars seem to think about scholarly writing, pointing out that “it’s weird for a profession to have one theory of language for its objects and another for its products.” If scholars genuinely care about academic writing, Hayot suggests, we might begin by giving up our contempt for the aspects that make it uniquely our own.
From The Future of Academic Style: Why Citations Still Matter in the Age of Google - The Los Angeles Review of Books

Google BigQuery Public Datasets Includes GDELT HathiTrust and Internet Archive Book Data

Google BigQuery Public Datasets A public dataset is any dataset that is stored in BigQuery and made available to the general public. This page lists a special group of public datasets that Google BigQuery hosts for you to access and integrate into your applications. Google pays for the storage of these data sets and provides public access to the data via BigQuery. You pay only for the queries that you perform on the data (the first 1 TB per month is free, subject to query pricing details). It includes the GDELT HathiTrust and Internet Archive Book Data. This dataset contains 3.5 million digitized books stretching back two centuries, encompassing the complete English-language public domain collections of the Internet Archive (1.3M volumes) and HathiTrust (2.2 million volumes).
From Google BigQuery Public Datasets — Google Cloud Platform

Library Leadership for the Digital Age

To understand the demands for digital leadership, they conducted a comprehensive study of successful digital organizations, as defined by the extent to which they met their mission and achieved profitability. They found ten surprisingly consistent practices among these digital leaders, and for purposes of making the case for digital leadership in libraries; I am borrowing their ten descriptors of successful digital organizations as my headings and adding some interpretation to connect these practices from a broader context of organizational types specifically to academic libraries. . So what are these successful digital organizations doing? 1. Building a comprehensive digital strategy that can be shared broadly and repeatedly across the organization. 2. Embedding digital literacy across the organization. 3. Renewing focus on business fundamentals 4. Embracing the new rules of customer engagement. 5. Understanding global differences in how people access and use the Internet. 6. Developing the organization's analytical skills. 7. Focusing on the customer experience. 8. Developing leaders with skill sets that bridge traditional and digital expertise. 9. Paying close attention to cultural fit when recruiting digital leaders. 10. Understanding the motivations of top talent.
From

When our culture’s past is lost in the cloud

We tend to think of memory as a purely mental phenomenon, something ethereal that goes on inside our minds. That’s a misperception. Scientists are discovering that our senses and even our emotions play important roles in recollection and remembrance. Memory seems to have emerged in animals as a way to navigate and make sense of the world, and the faculty remains tightly tied to the physical body and its material surroundings. Just taking a walk can help unlock memory’s archives, studies have shown.
From When our culture’s past is lost in the cloud - The Washington Post
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Librarians Who Lend Out More Than Books

Cool story from Mental Floss on many of the things that can be borrowed from a library other than books, tapes, etc. Among the objects for loan are neckties, kitchen equipment, guitars and puppets. Let us know if your library loans non-book objects in the comments section.
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Don't mourn the loss of libraries-the internet has made them obsolete

We can, and should, still love books, but we should not be sentimental about libraries, because they are a means to an end. Access to information is now widely available via smartphones: three quarters of us have one, it was one in five in 2010. Library and information services have to be designed with that reality in mind. The true inequality remains access to books and reading. Children who grow up with and around books do better educationally than those who don’t. That is where childcare, nurseries and schools are the key. Libraries must adapt to the changing habits of adults, where there is a clear and irreversible trajectory there. But they must never abandon children. As Groucho Marx once said: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
From Don't mourn the loss of libraries – the internet has made them obsolete - Telegraph
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