Don't sneer at prison libraries, Chief Justice Roberts

For those who are wondering, I’m talking about a remark the chief justice made last month during oral arguments in Bruce v. Samuels, a dispute about federal prisoners paying legal fees. Here I quote from Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog: When reminded that prisons maintain libraries, “Roberts then shot back, presumably sarcastically, ‘I’m sure they are very good libraries too.’”

From Don't sneer at prison libraries, Chief Justice Roberts - Chicago Tribune

Edgar Allan Poe's textbook on seashells was his only bestseller

Because of the shady circumstances of the book's publication, Poe sustained some career damage, being accused of plagiarism and finding himself blacklisted for a time with Wyatt's publisher. Nonetheless, the book's first edition sold out in two months; during Poe's lifetime, the Conchologist's First had the best sales of all his books. 

From Edgar Allan Poe's textbook on seashells was his only bestseller

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Librarians take legal battle against library closures to government

“We’ve had enough. We’ve marked our line in the sand here. The government is behaving as if it doesn’t have a duty of care and they do, under the law. We think it’s time to be clear about what that means,” said Nick Poole, the chief executive of Cilip, after it was announced that more than 100 library branches were shut last year, and as further branches up and down the UK face closure.

From Librarians take legal battle against library closures to government | Books | The Guardian

“To conserve or not to conserve, that is the question”

From time to time this blog shows damaged manuscripts. One may be inclined to think that books are better off in pristine condition. However, Karin Scheper, conservator at the University Library Leiden, explains why it is sometimes better to leave a book be. Here is an intriguing guest post about useful disrepair and the upsides of damage. Enjoy! Erik Kwakkel

From “To conserve or not to conserve, that is the question” | medievalbooks

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A new trove of confidential research goes public

www.CRSReports.com joins at least two other efforts to wrest the highly regarded studies by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service from the confidential files of Senate and House lawmakers, who request the research and keep it secret unless they choose to release it themselves.

[Trying to crack open Congress’s confidential think tank after a century of secrecy]

“What we’re doing is simply accessing publicly available websites and downloading what we think are CRS documents,” said Antoine McGrath, 30, who is based in San Francisco and has a passion for digital archives. “We’re casting a wide net.”

From In the race to open Congress’s secretive think tank, a new trove of confidential research goes public - The Washington Post

Barnes & Noble is dying. Waterstones in the U.K. is thriving.

This large chain in the U.K. made a shocking turnaround by doing something surprising: trusting its booksellers.

From Barnes & Noble is dying. Waterstones in the U.K. is thriving.

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The Best Book Covers of 2015 - The New York Times

Books and their covers are confronting their own awkward questions of relevance and value in the escalating competition for attention against screens the size of Jumbotrons (or, conversely, wristwatches). To see publishers answer this concern with the craft, sophistication and pictorial wit that go into an increasing number of book covers each year reinforces the certainty that one of our oldest technologies remains one of our most perfect. Below are 12 covers from 2015 that made me stop, stare and ask aloud to no one in particular what the cover means, only to turn to the first page and then the following and then the one after that and onward.

From The Best Book Covers of 2015 - The New York Times

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College libraries install desks on which students can study and cycle

First comes the elementary school desk, cramped and rigid (cursed by lefties everywhere), then the desk desk, in your own room in high school or college, and its cousin, the library carrel. After that, if you were lucky, maybe an office desk or cubicle. Then, of course, standing desks burst onto the scene, along with their overeager cousins, treadmill desks. Now, popping up in dozens of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, is another step in desk evolution -- a stationary bike and desk combination called the FitDesk.
Most recently, Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina installed two FitDesks in its library in order “to have a little something different that gets [students] excited about coming to the library,” President Stephen Scott told the News Observer. “A little sizzle on the steak.”

From College libraries install desks on which students can study and cycle | Inside Higher Ed

The Great Failure of Andrew Carnegie's Simplified Spelling Lobby

Despite his embarrassing loss on the phonetics front, Carnegie kept funding the Simplified Spelling Board for nearly a decade afterwards, stopping only after it became inescapably clear that his attempt to influence the country to spell differently had failed.
"I think I hav been patient long enuf," he wrote as he cancelled the funding in 1915. "I hav a much better use for twenty-five thousand dollars a year."

From The Great Failure of Andrew Carnegie's Simplified Spelling Lobby | Atlas Obscura

Mandatory open-access publishing can impair academic freedom

Those who advocate for OA with CC BY argue that there is no reason for authors to object to it: scholars and scientists (the argument goes) have already been paid for the work they're writing up, and since they have little if any expectation that their writings will generate additional revenue for them, why not make their work freely available to those who may be able to find ways to add value to them through reuse and “remixing,” and maybe even to profit from doing so? In any case (the argument continues), authors retain their copyright under a CC license, so what's the problem?
The problem, for many authors, is that their copyright becomes effectively meaningless when they have given away all of the prerogatives over their work that copyright provides.

From Mandatory open-access publishing can impair academic freedom (essay) | Inside Higher Ed

Ten Stories That Shaped 2015

It's that time of year again! Here's our thirteenth annual rundown of notable library stories from the last twelve months.

10. Go Set a Watchman Raises Eyebrows

Strange circumstances surrounded Harper Lee's first publication since To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. Mixed reviews and strong sales followed.

9. Open Source Textbooks Gain Momentum

This year saw an increased push for more affordable course readings, as well as the growth of the Open Textbook Library.

A History of Punctuation for the Internet Age

Does knowing that history make seeing the outdated usage today less irritating? Maybe, maybe not—but it is interesting. “Language is for everybody,” Crystal said. “Human beings, homo loquens, the speaking animal. I’ve never met anybody who isn’t profoundly interested in language.”

From A History of Punctuation for the Internet Age - The New Yorker

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Altmetric – Top 100 Articles – 2015

The Christmas tree is up in the Altmetric office and it’s Top 100 time again! We’ve queried the Altmetric database to find out which academic articles got the most attention from the mainstream media, blogs, Wikipedia and social networks, as well as amongst a more academic audience in post-publication peer-review forums and research highlights.

Data was collected from the Altmetric database on November 16 2015 and a downloadable file can be found on figshare. News and comment pieces are excluded, as are articles that were published before November 2014.

Remember, this list in no way reflects the quality (high or low) of the articles included; it just provides an indicator of what was widely discussed and shared online.

From Altmetric – Top 100 Articles – 2015

James Patterson announces gifts to booksellers, libraries

The beneficiaries include a manager at the Brazos Bookstore in Houston with a passion for works in translation and a community school in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, dedicated to reaching as many readers as possible.

They are part of James Patterson's $2 million holiday gift program, with grants and bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to schools and libraries and independent bookstores and coordinated with the Scholastic Reading Club and the trade group the American Booksellers Association. Patterson announced Tuesday that 340 libraries and 87 independent bookstore employees had received money.

From James Patterson announces gifts to booksellers, libraries - StarTribune.com

Why Does Moby-Dick (Sometimes) Have a Hyphen?

Whether you chalk it up to typographical error, long-obsolete custom or authorial intention, the hunt for the true story behind Moby-Dick’s hyphen continues. These days, most scholars simply refer to the book with a hyphen and the whale without.

From Why Does Moby-Dick (Sometimes) Have a Hyphen? | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Old Book Illustrations

Old Book Illustrations was born of the desire to share illustrations from a modest collection of books, which we set out to scan and publish. With the wealth of resources available online, it became increasingly difficult to resist the temptation to explore other collections and include these images along with our own. Although it would have been possible to considerably broaden the time-frame of our pursuit, we chose to keep our focus on the original period in which we started for reasons pertaining to taste, consistency, and practicality: due to obvious legal restrictions, we had to stay within the limits of the public domain. This explains why there won’t be on this site illustrations published prior to the 18th century or later than the first quarter of the 20th century.

From About | Old Book Illustrations

Looking Back: the biggest changes in Librarianship this year

As we approach the end of 2015, we asked our Library book series editors Paul T. Jaeger, John Carlo Bertot and Samantha Hines to summarize the biggest changes in Librarianship this year and what they predict to be the main changes during 2016.

From Emerald | Looking Back, Looking Ahead with Jaeger, Bertot and Hines

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Video of Josh Hanagame of the Salt Lake City Library

KUER's VideoWest/RadioWest's intro to the video Ties the Room Together. "Josh Hanagarne is a writer and a librarian in Salt Lake City who's written beautifully about his experiences with Tourette syndrome. We had him on RadioWest to talk about his 2013 book The World's Strongest Librarian. We want to thank Josh for letting us tag along and pry into his life."

Here's a photo of Josh holding an "In My Book, you're quite a character" card in the beautiful SLCPL .

Shipping is free during December, visit www.inmybook.com for more details.

Lolita Turns 60

Though Vladimir Nabokov was living in America when he wrote Lolita, the novel was first published in Paris in 1955—by Olympia Press, whose list included many pornographic titles. On the sixtieth anniversary of Lolita’s first publication, we asked ten writers to reflect on their changing experiences with the novel in the course of their reading lives. Each day for five days, we are posting two reflections, each revisiting a section of pages from the book—we are using Vintage’s 2005 edition, a complete, unexpurgated text. 

From Lolita Turns 60 | New Republic

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What Happens on a Typical Day in the Ultimate Movie Library

Inside is an unprecedented collection that documents the inspiring and powerful history of movies and is available to researchers, students and movie fans.
It would be impossible to detail the millions of remarkable items found within our library, but to give you a sense of the scope of our collection, we’d like to share a small sampling of what we do there on a typical day.

From What Happens on a Typical Day in the Ultimate Movie Library — ART & SCIENCE — Medium

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