International

An Ancient Library and Advice from the Buddha

Fascinating piece in the New Yorker about an ancient Chinese library in Dunhuang, unearthed about one hundred years ago, and where scholars are now in the process of digitizing thousand year old Chinese manuscripts.

A portion of the article equating print with prayer...

"The paper items preserved in the Library also shed light on the origins of another information technology: print. The Diamond Sutra, one of the most famous documents recovered from Dunhuang, was commissioned in 868 A.D., “for free distribution,” by a man named Wang Jie, who wanted to commemorate his parents. In the well-known sermon that it contains, the Buddha declares that the merit accrued from reading and reciting the sutra was worth more than a galaxy filled with jewels. In other words, reproducing scriptures, whether orally or on paper, was good for karma. Printing began as a form of prayer, the equivalent of turning a prayer wheel or slipping a note into the Western Wall in Jerusalem, but on an industrial scale."

The Most Loyal Patron

From The Telegraph, UK:

Louise Brown, 91 (NOT the first IVF baby), has read up to a dozen books a week since 1946 without incurring a single fine for late returns.

She borrows mainly large print books because she is partially sighted, and has almost worked her way through her local library's entire stock.

Library staff in Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway, say the pensioner's rapacious reading habits over 60 years could earn her a place in the record books. Mrs Brown, a widow, said: "My parents were great readers and I've always loved books. I started reading when I was five and have never stopped. I like anything I can get my hands on." She said her favourite genres are family sagas, historical novels and war stories, but added: "I also like Mills and Boon for light reading at night." She said she had read too many books to have a favourite or top five, but if she had to choose a preferred genre it would be family sagas or historical novels.

Louise Pride, her daughter, said: "She has aids to help her sight and usually borrows large print books. But the trouble is she has read nearly all of them in the local library. She still finds time to ready a newspaper every day and to watch TV."

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #253

This week: THE BRAZIL INCIDENT

Yes, the repercussions from the NSA spying revelations continue. Now we are seeing looming growth in the fracturing of the Internet with the imposition of national boundaries. Even OCLC may be impacted by this. We take a few minutes to discuss the situation and its implications.

A brief news miscellany is also presented.

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Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec) (Speex), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. Throw a paperback at us via this Amazon picklist.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

10:29 minutes (9.63 MB)
mp3

More Libraries for Libyan Cities & Villages

Dateline Tripoli, Libya -- The Libyan government has signed contracts to equip and furnish 94 pubic libraries and cultural centers in 22 Libyan cities and villages.

The Minister of Culture Mr. Hbib al-Amin told reporters on Saturday that he signed implementation orders with a number of Libyan companies these centers and libraries to be finished this year.

The cost of these projects is 6.6 million Libyan dinar and come as part of this year cultural projects.

The items will be included in the contracts are office furniture, computers, printers, photocopiers, internet service, air conditioners and stationery.

For those wanting to know more about the country, here's the Library of Congress site (albeit dated pre-Gaddafi's death).

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh is the elephant headed god in the Hindu religion, and is a heavenly patron of libraries. Ganesh invented the alphabet, and broke off his right tusk in order to make the first pen. The capital stroke used in Sanskrit letters is made in his honor.

An image of Ganesh is usually placed over the entrance to a library in India.

Something of interest to those who are in to studying library lore.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2013/sep/09/ganesha-chaturthi-festival-mumbai-pictures

A Bookish Haven for Americans in Paris

Little known to tourists, the American Library in Paris has existed since books were first sent to WW1 doughboys. Here the LA Times gives us perspective on both the history of the library and its current operations. Here's the library's website.

Like every library in the world, it is challenged by changing reading habits. “I’ve understood all along — every library understands this — that if all you’re doing is warehousing books and being a lending library, you’re going to die,” director Charles Trueheart, a former foreign correspondent from the Washington Post says. “You’ve got to offer people all kinds of other stuff, now that they may be going for books in another way. ... And our programming is not just authors, but it’s art appreciation, music, fashion, education, politics, current events.”

The library also contracts with U.S. universities to provide services to American exchange students and compiles study material for French students seeking accreditation as English teachers. Indeed, for all its appeal to Americans in Paris, the library has plenty of French members and supporters.

“There are a lot of French people who are very serious about keeping up their English, and they come to events in English at the library,” says author Diane Johnson, who has lived off and on in Paris for decades and chairs the library’s Writers Council, composed of such colleagues as Julian Barnes and Adam Gopnik.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #250

And we're back even though we're now illegal in Vietnam! Then again, so is the rest of LISNews as we discuss in the program. The hiatus is over and normal programming resumes notwithstanding September 2nd being a holiday. In this week's episode we talk about the threat of the Syrian Electronic Army and preparing for it. We also have a unique news miscellany that ends with a fun item from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Related links:

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Speex) (Extremely Hi-Fidelity Audio via Free Lossless Audio Codec), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. New reading material for the Air Staff can be purchased here.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/. -- Read More

24:00 minutes (9.65 MB)
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The Taksim Square Book Club

Protest is taking a new form in Istanbul where I was fortunate enough to visit about a month ago. Individuals are standing in their beloved square and reading books of their choice.

Violent scenes are still occurring around Turkey, including in Istanbul once again this past weekend, but the Standing Man protests continue unabated.

The images in this article explore one aspect of the protest in Taksim Square, ongoing since before the communal standing took off. Public reading and informal education has been notable since the earliest days of the protest, but has since merged with the Standing Man to form "The Taksim Square Book Club".

The chosen reading material of many of those who take their stand is reflective, in part, of the thoughtfulness of those who have chosen this motionless protest to express their discontent.

A Librarian Sets Us Straight

For years, thousands of children throughout the world have been studying a poem about sunflowers believing it to be the work of the 19th-century poet William Blake.

Reading lists have included it for study, websites have included it in lesson plans and four US state school boards have recommended it to students. There is even anecdotal evidence of one of Britain’s Ofsted inspectors accepting “the fact” of Blake’s authorship of the poem when it was presented to her by a group of young students via a project on their display board.

Now though, after a 12-year misunderstanding which illustrates how effectively the internet can spread misinformation, the record could finally be put straight thanks to the diligence of a Hertfordshire librarian and blogger.

Thomas Pitchford, aka “The Library Spider”, has verified that the poem – “Two Sunflowers Move into the Yellow Room” – was written by a 1980s US poet, Nancy Willard, and published in an anthology of hers dedicated to Blake’s work, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn.

Story from The Independent.

Dance @ Your Library

for your Monday entertainment... Britain's Cascade Dance Company at the Tunbridge Wells Library in "Big Dance Library Project", recorded in the summer of 2012.

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