Terry Pratchett was a true great, the equal of Swift

In an age of fundamentalisms, the author embraced doubt, the possibility that a stupid belief might have something going for it

From Terry Pratchett was a true great, the equal of Swift | Frank Cottrell Boyce | Comment is free | The Guardian

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Book that helped Henry VIII annul his marriage and challenge the Pope discovered in Cornwall

A book that helped Henry VIII take on the Pope and annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon has been discovered in a library in Cornwall

From Book that helped Henry VIII annul his marriage and challenge the Pope discovered in Cornwall | Culture24

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Google Art Project - Chrome Web Store

Art Project masterpieces from Google Cultural Institute in your browser tabs
Breathe a little culture into your day! Discover a beautiful artwork from the Google Art Project each time you open a new tab in Chrome.

With this extension, you’ll see masterpieces from Van Gogh, Degas, Monet and other iconic artists from museums around the world in every new Chrome tab. The artwork is refreshed every day, or change the settings to see a new image every time you open a new tab.

From Google Art Project - Chrome Web Store

Running for Public Office? Pay Those Library Fines First

A candidate in the race to be Kentucky's next lieutenant governor was arrested Wednesday on charges apparently connected to an overdue library book.

Johnathan Masters, 33, a Democratic challenger for the office, was driving to Bowling Green for a TV interview when a Kentucky State Trooper pulled him over. "He said my tags were expired," Masters told The Huffington Post. "I thought he was going to let me go because he was real friendly, but then he went back to his patrol car and was gone for about 15 minutes.

"When he came back, he asked me, 'Did you take out a library book 11 years ago?'" Masters said. It seems Masters had a warrant out for his arrest on of the charge of “theft by failure to make required disposition of property," a misdemeanor when the property is under $500.

"I started to laugh, but he said, 'This is serious!' and he took me to jail for three hours," Masters said.

Masters was booked on the outstanding warrant and paid $100 bond to get out. He is scheduled to be arraigned March 30.

"I plan to fight the charges," he said. "I'm going to request a jury trial."

For 80 years, ancient gold treasure rested undisturbed in UB library

That’s what happened to University at Buffalo faculty member Philip Kiernan, who heard a rumor from a UB alumnus in 2010 that the UB Libraries housed the rare coins.

Three years later, Kiernan, an assistant professor of classics, channeled his inner Indiana Jones and journeyed to the depths of the UB archives to find them.   

From For 80 years, ancient gold treasure rested undisturbed in UB library - University at Buffalo

What We Know, Now, About the Internet’s Disruptive Power

When we worry about the pace of change, Bell suggests, we’re focusing on the wrong variable. What is important is not that the pace of change is accelerating but that “the scale on which changes have taken place has widened, and changes in scale, as physicists and organization theorists have long known, requires essentially a change in form.” The question we should be asking is not what utterly unpredictable new things will turn up to annihilate our businesses but what form of organization is appropriate to capitalize on them. A knotty question to be sure, but not an impossible one.

From What We Know, Now, About the Internet’s Disruptive Power - HBR

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BBC News - Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66

He was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2007, but continued writing, completing his final book last summer.

The author died at home "with his cat sleeping on his bed, surrounded by his family," Mr Finlay said.

"In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him," he added.

"As all who read him know, Discworld was his vehicle to satirize this world: He did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention.

From BBC News - Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66

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Interview With a Jeopardy! Clue Writer

How cool a job is this?

The game show institution that is Jeopardy! has much more going on behind the scenes than it might appear. Every time you look at that board full of categories and clues, a highly coordinated effort has taken place to make sure everything is just right—including dozens of things you probably never even considered. After all, someone has to make sure that “Who is Harriet Tubman?” isn’t the answer to more than one clue a game, or even more than one clue a week. Billy Wisse is the head writer for Jeopardy! He’s been there a while, because, as he says, there isn’t much turnover on the staff at his game show. And once you learn just what his job consists of, it’s not hard to understand why. Working for Jeopardy! sounds like one of the coolest gigs you could ever hope to land. Read on to find out how the clues get written, what kind of things Alex Trebek vetoes, and what the best question is that you will never, ever see on the show.

Story from AV Club. HT @helgagrace.

Charter schools less likely to have libraries

Charter schools are far less likely than traditional schools to have libraries or librarians, surveys show.

During the 2011–12 school year, 49 percent of public charter schools reported having a library media center compared to 93 percent of traditional public schools in the United States, according to a survey by the National Center on Education Statistics.

From Charter schools less likely to have libraries - The Washington Post

Facebook Killing Off FriendFeed

Remember FriendFeed? It used to be a live social media network popular with librarians. The Register reports that Facebook is killing it off in one month. As of April 9th the service will disappear and it appears that content posted to the service will not be transportable to other formats/networks.

Why I became a librarian

The answer to the first question was "I love reading books," but it was obvious that there was no career in reading for me. Then I remembered my library experiences as a student, and I wondered if there was such a thing as a master's degree for librarians. Google told me there was such a thing, so I enrolled in 2002, finished my graduate degree in library and information science by 2004, took the board exam for librarians, got my license to practice, and eventually left for Canada to study for a PhD in book history.

From Why I became a librarian

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Bill Watterson talks

Bill Watterson, that master of timing, waited decades to give a truly in-depth interview. As he did with his beloved strip, the “Calvin and Hobbes” creator knows when and how to aim for, and deliver, the exceptional. He was in the interviewer’s chair for one of the best cartoonist Q&A’s published last year (his sit-down with the “Cul de Sac” creator for “The Art of Richard Thompson” retrospective book).

From Bill Watterson talks: This is why you must read the new ‘Exploring Calvin and Hobbes’ book - The Washington Post

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The Collection and the Cloud – The New Inquiry

I wonder if the data collected by platforms will at some point become more transparent, and at what cost or contextual shift. Will my daughter be able to sift through my dark data profiles and learn about the egregious number of times I looked at someone else’s profile? Will there be a new round of data mausoleums, offering to sell us peeks at the past? Is data like defaulted debt, ready to be bought and sold at a fraction of the price and subject to a secondary market?

From The Collection and the Cloud – The New Inquiry

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Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right.

"Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place...Schembari is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print."

The scoop from the Washington Post.

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The World’s Weirdest Library - The New Yorker

It is a library like no other in Europe—in its cross-disciplinary reference, its peculiarities, its originality, its strange depths and unexpected shallows. Magic and science, evil eyes and saints’ lives: these things repose side by side in a labyrinth of imagery and icons and memory. Dan Brown’s hero Robert Langdon supposedly teaches “symbology” at Harvard. There is no such field, but if there were, and if Professor Langdon wanted to study it before making love to mysterious Frenchwomen and nimbly avoiding Opus Dei hit men, this is where he would come to study.

From The World’s Weirdest Library - The New Yorker

Unequal shelves in D.C. school libraries benefit wealthier students

Reading and literacy are high priorities for the urban school district, as proficiency rates for its poorest students dwell below the averages for major cities. But the District dedicates no annual funding for school-library collections, instead relying on the largesse of parents or the kindness of strangers to stock its shelves through donations.

As a result, an unequal system has developed.

From Unequal shelves in D.C. school libraries benefit wealthier students - The Washington Post

James Patterson pledges $1.25 million to school libraries

This morning, Patterson announced his plan to give away $1.25 million to school libraries. In partnership with children’s publisher Scholastic, he will make individual donations of $1,000 to $10,000. The money can be used for books, reading programs or even technology and repairs. Scholastic Reading Club has pledged to match each grant with bonus points that can be used for books and classroom materials.

From James Patterson pledges $1.25 million to school libraries - The Washington Post

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Kids and Family Reading Report From Scholastic Inc.

The Kids & Family Reading Report is a national survey of children ages 6–17 and their parents exploring attitudes and behaviors around reading books for fun. It is a biannual report with 2015 unveiling the fifth edition in the series.

From Kids and Family Reading Report | Scholastic Inc.

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Philly Mayor Nutter Apologizes Again For Trying To Close Libraries « CBS Philly

Mayor Nutter’s budget address to city council this past week featured a deja-vu moment.
He apologized for trying to close libraries back in 2008, even though he had delivered the very same apology in his budget address last year.
It was on March 6, 2014 that Mayor Nutter, delivering his budget to City Council, ad libbed a surprising apology for trying to close 11 library branches.

From Mayor Nutter Apologizes Again For Trying To Close Libraries « CBS Philly

Diversity in kids’ books grew (some) last year

So why aren’t people more excited about an increase in multicultural materials for children?

The numbers of African-American books don’t show steady growth, for one thing. 2013 was a very low year. So 2014 looks better, but it actually recorded only 7 books more than in 2008. And in 2001, there were more books about African-Americans: 201.

From Diversity in kids’ books grew (some) last year : 77-square

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