Academic Libraries

A Copy of the Original Star Wars Script Unearthed in a Canadian Library

The all things Science Fiction site, i09, tells of an interesting find at the University of New Brunswick library,

"File this under “Why we need libraries and librarians”: A copy of the original shooting script for Star Wars Episode IV was found sitting on a shelf in the University of New Brunswick’s library in Saint John. And it may settle whether or not Han shot first."

Robert Darnton closes the book | Harvard Gazette

As of June 30, the celebrated historian, digital library pioneer, and champion of books will leave the University he first saw as an undergraduate in 1957. A scholar of Enlightenment France and of the history of the book, he returned to Harvard in 1965 to join the Society of Fellows, decamped to Princeton University in 1968 for 39 years, and came back to Harvard in 2007.

From Robert Darnton closes the book | Harvard Gazette

There's a New Chick at the Library

...a peregrine falcon chick that is.

MassLive reports that a baby chick has hatched on the rooftop of the W. E. B. DuBois Library at the U of Mass. There appear to be a few more still incubating.

The hatching was announced on Twitter, with photos taken from the library's falcon webcam . Enjoy!

A Winning Librarian

From 2Paragraphs (written for the modern attention span):

500 Questions is the new TV quiz game where contestants try to answer a series of rapid-fire questions. The show is being broadcast for seven consecutive nights. Tonight, May 27 is the sixth night (8pm on ABC). .

The contestant who came closest to answering all 500 Questions was librarian Steve Bahnaman. The affable, knowledgeable man works at the Campbell University library.He planned to get a PhD in religion but “that ended up not being something I wanted to do.” Turns out he preferred “being around research and helping people with research.” Bahnaman will return to his job $110,000 richer after answering 167 of the 500 Questions.

Life Is Triggering. The Best Literature Should Be, Too.

That’s why one of college’s most important functions is to learn how to hear and deal with challenging ideas. Cocooning oneself in a Big Safe Space for four years gets it exactly backwards. “Safety” has been transformed by colleges from “protection from physical harm” to “protection from disturbing ideas.”

From Life Is Triggering. The Best Literature Should Be, Too. | The New Republic

BDSM and beheading videos: The evolving role of the librarian

It was awkward, but part of my job as a librarian is to help patrons research a topic, whatever that topic might be. Google has many people convinced that librarians are no longer necessary — probably the same people who predicted our demise when the personal computer was first introduced. Yet we librarians are still here, providing free resources, information and computer access to our communities. The profession is evolving, of course: adapting to new technology and, more significantly, being reshaped by culture.

From BDSM and beheading videos: The evolving role of the librarian - The Washington Post

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

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

Here’s What Will Truly Change Higher Education: Online Degrees That Are Seen as Official

Open credentialing systems allow people to control information about themselves — what they learned in college, and what they learned everywhere else — and present that data directly to employers. In a world where people increasingly interact over distances, electronically, the ability to control your online educational identity is crucial.

From Here’s What Will Truly Change Higher Education: Online Degrees That Are Seen as Official - NYTimes.com

Harvard Library’s “Cold Storage”

Last month, the Harvard MetaLAB released Cold Storage, a mini-documentary about the Harvard Depository (HD), a 127,000-square-foot “guarded compound” 25 miles from campus where approximately 9 million of Harvard Library’s lesser-used books, pamphlets, records, etc. are stored in a space reminiscent of Home Depot.  

From Harvard Library’s “Cold Storage” - The Fine Books Blog

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