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VOA News: The U.S. Library of Congress is well known for being the world's largest library. That is, in the traditional, paper format. Now, the library is on the way to hosting the largest digital collection in the world with more than 700 terabytes of data.
Right now, here and there all over the world, people are sitting down with a good book and enjoying a good read. Sprawled on the lawn, curled up on the sofa, sitting on the steps in the piazza — they’re communing with a great author, or a funny author, or an author who’s telling them how to cook or knit or fix something in their life that’s broke.
Saturday, more than 120,000 of them are projected to be on one lawn, in one city, at one time: on the National Mall at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. It’ll happen from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., rain or shine — free of charge. Authors will also sign books for their fans.
The Library of Congress will showcase its Library of Congress Experience and social-networking activities, including this blog, its Flickr page and its Facebook page. The whole thing will be on Twitter (@librarycongress, hashtag #nbf). Also, our website for the book festival is a great place to plan for this feast, complete with fresh podcasts from more than a dozen of this year’s authors. There’s a Young Readers’ Toolkit there, too. And the day of the book festival, webcasts of many of the author presentations will be available on the festival website.
No mention this year of the former First Lady.
An Internet radio company has filed a straight-on challenge to the constitutionality of the Copyright Royalty Board, the three-member panel that determines the rates companies pay for statutory copyright licenses.
In a complaint filed yesterday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Live365, an Internet radio aggregator, argued that the royalty board violates the Constitution’s appointments clause, because its members are selected by the Librarian of Congress. The suit argues that because of their significant authority, these non-Article III judges are “Principal Officers of the United States” who must be selected by the president.
FYI, our current Librarian of Congress is James Billington, who was appointed by President Reagan (way back) in 1987.
There is currently speculation about the possiblity of a new LoC being appointed...see this story from Library Journal.
Interesting story with significant implications from Legal Times.
For the past year, Kay Ryan has been serving as America's 16th poet laureate, tapped by the librarian of Congress to be ambassador for American poetry. Profile, with poems written and spoken, from Voice of America.
The august marble-and-gilt halls of the Library of Congress, where Ryan has her official headquarters, seem an unlikely place for someone raised in what she calls the "glamour-free, ocean-free, hot, stinky, oil-rich, potato-rich" San Joaquin Valley of California. But then, growing up, Ryan didn't want to be poet.
"It [to declare oneself a poet] seemed like putting on airs," she says. "It seemed self-absorbed. It seemed like something that my oil well driller father wouldn't understand at all and that my mother would disapprove of, because it was just showing off."
Ryan nearly turned down the offer to become U.S. poet laureate. She says she wanted to protect her privacy and keep writing without being distracted by the job's many public duties.
"I think poetry is indestructible, and I don't worry about it, and I don't think it needs the protection of me or the advocacy of me or anyone."
Ryan likens poetry to gold coins: "You can lose it in the couch, or in the ground, or anywhere and when it's dug up its going to be valuable, so that real poetry utterly protects itself, [and] takes care of itself."
Report from The Washington Post:
A 35-year-old Southeast Washington woman was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for using the purloined identities of Library of Congress employees to purchases nearly $40,000 in goods.
Federal prosecutors said Labiska Gibbs enlisted a relative, a Library of Congress worker, to access an internal database and give her the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of at least 10 employees, prosecutors said. Gibbs used that information to open credit accounts at retailers, including Target and Victoria's Secret. In court papers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn S. Leon said Gibbs made a living selling gift cards she fraudulently purchased.
Gibbs's second cousin, William Sinclair Jr., 27 (who worked in HR at the LOC), was sentenced to three years of probation for his role in the scam. Prosecutors said Gibbs approached Sinclair and that he did not receive any money for his participation.
AP: The Obama administration is not fighting a nearly $500,000 judgment for a Library of Congress hiree (Diane, formerly David Schroer) who lost the job while undergoing a gender change from a man to a woman.
The Justice Department let the deadline to appeal the decision pass Tuesday, a day after President Barack Obama hosted gay supporters at the White House and promised to be their "champion." Some activists have complained he has not led on their causes, including ending the ban on gays in the military.
The Library of Congress and President George W. Bush's Justice Department had argued unsuccessfully that discrimination because of transsexuality was not illegal sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act.
Diane Schroer, a retired Army Special Forces commander from Alexandria, Va., had been offered a job at the Library of Congress when he was a man, David Schroer. The job was rescinded the day after Schroer told a library official he was going to have an operation to become a woman.
You nation’s Library has millions of stories to tell, so we’re trying to tell them as many places and to as many people as possible–whether on our own website or elsewhere. And now you can add another biggie to the list: iTunes U.
For those who don’t know, iTunes U is an area of the iTunes Store offering free education audio and video content from many of the world’s top universities and other institutions. (The iTunes application is needed to access iTunes U, and is a free download from www.apple.com/itunes.)
The Library’s iTunes U page launched today with a great deal of content, with much more to come. (Link opens in iTunes.) A nice bonus, for those in the know, is that the content is downloadable and even includes materials such as PDFs.
So as long as people keep finding new ways to get information, we’re going to keep finding ways to get it to you!
Today is a significant day for the Library of Congress:
The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities today marked a major milestone in their partnership to digitize historic U.S. newspapers and make them widely available to the public on the Internet. During an event held at the Newseum, Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, announced that the Chronicling America website—a free, national, searchable database of historic American newspaper pages published between 1880 and 1922—recently posted its millionth page.
Congrats to both the LOC and NEH.
From The Washington Post: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) charged today that top officials at the Library of Congress have interfered with investigations conducted by its independent watchdogs and have frequently admonished investigators for the tone and focus of their investigations.
"Your office's attempts to influence and/or control the OIG appear to be in direct contravention of the principles underlying the creation of the Inspectors General," Grassley wrote in a sharply worded letter delivered today to Librarian of the United States James H. Billington. "Independence is the hallmark of the Inspectors General throughout the country."
The Library of Congress YouTube Channel that Birdie previously reported on is now live. So far, it includes historical footage, book talks and readings, and short films narrated by Library of Congress staff, with more content to be added in the future.