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Virginia History and Bunny Men

From The Washington Post:

"We Virginians, we really love our history,” said Laura Wickstead, director of the Virginia Room at the City of Fairfax Regional Library. “That’s for sure.”

“We’re sitting within a virtual stone’s throw of the Library of Congress, the National Archives and these fabulous university collections,” Laura said, “but even these smaller public library collections are superb and have things you don’t find other places.”

There’s certainly a lot to love. After all, this is the part of the country that produced George Mason, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Virginia was a hotbed of the Civil War. More recently, it’s where the mysterious urban legend known as the Bunny Man did whatever it is that Bunny Men do.

The Race to Save America's Public Media History

A new archive is trying to digitize thousands of hours of tape from TV and radio stations across the country—before those tapes disintegrate. "The scary thing about it is that they are on physical formats that are deteriorating," Karen Cariani, director of WGBH's library and archives told me. "Video tape and audiotape is not a stable format. After 40 or 50 years, they are disintegrating. And the information—pictures, sounds on that physical medium—is disappearing. Unlike a piece of paper or a photograph that might last 100 years, media formats are extremely fragile."

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/02/the-race-to-save-americas-public-media...

Subterranean trove of books, papers at risk in NYS Education Building

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/State-Library-s-tough-calls-on-what-to-save-what-515...

It is an eerie bibliophile's netherworld, accessible by cramped cages of creaky service elevators, dark and cool and redolent of mildew, old leather bindings and sloughing paper that litters the floor like snowflakes. There is no climate control among miles of metal shelves, and accessing the hundreds of thousands of volumes is an arduous task. From the time a patron requests a book at the State Library, it typically takes two days to retrieve. A clerk drives a van four blocks around the Plaza, descends into the stacks, hunts among the haphazard holdings and drives back with the book.

[Thanks Elaine!]

The Cleveland Public Library Found a Lost First Edition Copy of 'A Christmas Carol'

The Cleveland Public Library Found a Lost First Edition Copy of 'A Christmas Carol'
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2013/12/cleveland-public-library-found-l...
Cleveland librarian Kelly Brown had far more modest plans when she first began collecting items for a holiday traditions display at the Cleveland Public Library. But when she began poking around the stacks, she stumbled on a fairly unexpected Yuletide surprise: a first-edition copy of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

A School Librarian Found The First Ransom Note in American History

The Story Behind the First Ransom Note in American History

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/2013/12/the-story-behind-the-first-ransom-note-in-am...

One day last March, Bridget Flynn, a school librarian who lives in Philadelphia, was searching for an old family drawing to print on the invitations to her daughter Rebecca’s bridal shower. As she and Rebecca rummaged through the several generations of family artifacts—letters, photographs, an envelope of hair cuttings—she keeps in plastic bins in her basement, they found a stack of small envelopes tied together with a black shoelace.

“Oh, honey, these are love letters,” Flynn said...

Ray Bradbury's Books to Go to Waukegan Library

From the Daily Herald:

Author Ray Bradbury moved to Los Angeles in 1934 and spent the rest of his life on the West Coast, but his fondness for Waukegan IL never dissipated.

After his death, in June of last year, library officials learned Bradbury had bequeathed his personal book collection to the County Street facility. It's no small gift.

"Every room had a bookshelf overflowing," said Rena Morrow, the library's marketing, programming, and exhibits manager. The collection contains some books that could be valuable, such as first editions of noted works or autographed books, Morrow said.

The library also stands to receive copies of books Bradbury wrote, including some in foreign languages. The collection's value is being appraised.

The library may receive some of Bradbury's personal belongings, too.
"We'd like to get one of his typewriters," library Executive Director Richard Lee said. "He had four."

Library and Archives Canada private deal would take millions of documents out of public domain

Library and Archives Canada has entered a hush-hush deal with a private high-tech consortium that would hand over exclusive rights to publicly owned books and artifacts for 10 years.

The plan is scheduled to be announced publicly on Friday and according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen, a gag order has been placed on everyone involved in the project until then.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Library+Archives+Canada+private+deal+would+take+millions+docume...

The Card Catalog is Dead; Long Live the Card Catalog

The Boston Herald reports on a project undertaken by Greenfield, MA Community College Librarian Hope Schneider.

On a wall in the corner of Greenfield Community College's Nahman-Watson Library, 128 artifacts from the library's card catalog hang preserved in a glass case — signed by the authors who penned the very books to which the cards once led.

The project has been 14 years in the making for librarian Schneider, who wanted to memorialize the cards after the library's catalog went digital in 1999. In the years that followed, Schneider sent cards to local authors and artists, asking if they would sign their card and make some contribution to the display. A decade later, after GCC's library was expanded, she resumed her quest — sending letters across the country to novelists, poets and politicians.

Library Director Deborah Chown said Schneider's project captures a time when people would find new books through serendipity — simply because it was next to another book or classified through a similar subject matter. Chown and Schneider don't deny the advantages that new library technology offers — the opportunity to search rapidly through online databases and access books, journals and newspaper articles.

But there was also some surprise and sadness when a tour of prospective students came through the library, saw the display and didn't recognize the cards.

Documents That Changed the World Podcast

Documents That Changed the World [ITunes Link]
A look at documents that have made a difference in the world. Joe Janes, of the University of Washington Information School, tells the stories of these important information objects, how and why they were created, and the impacts they've had. These documents also tell the story of human society. and its never ending evolution.
[Thanks Zamms!]

Leaving Cloister of Dusty Offices, Young Archivists Meet Like Minds

Archivists are the specialists who snatch objects from oblivion. They have long spent their careers cloistered, like the objects they protected. But now many of these professionals are stepping out. A main reason is the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York. The group, which recently surpassed 500 members, holds monthly events that draw a young, well-dressed crowd, hungry for chances to network, train and socialize. Members not only work at libraries, where archives have long resided, but also at such organizations as the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Junior League, the Episcopal Church, the Philharmonic, the Stock Exchange and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Full article in the NYT

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