Academic Libraries

“The Quiet Volume,” Stealth Performance piece at New York University’s Bobst Library

From The New York Times Arts Beat:

What is the sound of two heads reading?

On Tuesday, in a hushed sixth-floor reading room in New York University’s Bobst Library packed with students cramming for final exams, the answer might have seemed to be: nothing much.

But for three pairs of readers scattered among the laptop-laden tables, wearing special headphones hooked up to iPod Nanos and shuffling through a pile of suspiciously literary books, the act of reading was transformed into a strange — and sometimes very loud — drama of turning pages, pointing fingers and eerily drifting thoughts.

“The first thing you notice is that for a place dedicated to silence, there’s not really that much silence at all,” a British-accented voice whispered into the readers’ ears. “After a while you start to think that it might be better considered as a place dedicated to the collection of sounds.”

The readers, who had signed up in advance, were both the audience and the stars of “The Quiet Volume,” a 55-minute stealth performance piece by the British artists Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells being staged through Sunday by Performance Space 122 as part of the PEN World Voices Festival. (The piece, which also comes in a Spanish-language version, is also running at the Schomburg Center in Harlem.)

“The whole thing made you think about the nature of your sensory experience while reading, the relationship between the voice in your head and the words on the page,” said Jessica Harris, a graduate student who had just finished performing the piece with a friend.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #237

This week's program starts off with a brief essay talking about the disintegration of having a coherent "popular culture" in the United States then turns to the strange case of the Harlem Shake in Oxford. After that the episode wraps up with a news miscellany.

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Beyond the Books: Harvard Libraries’ Quirkier Collections

It's common knowledge that Harvard's libraries house the country's second largest book collection. To those of you unimpressed by shelves upon shelves of dusty tomes, these more eccentric acquisitions may pique your interest. We at Flyby have compiled a list of the quirky, the bizarre, and the questionably useful relics found in Harvard's libraries.

Librarian's Research Focuses on Child Stars of Viral Videos

Interesting story from Rutgers University about an academic librarian who is pursuing a study of what happens to children in popular YouTube videos after their fifteen minutes/seconds of fame have ended.

Child-centric viral videos are turning young stars into internet sensations, but a Rutgers–Camden researcher warns against exploiting the children by cashing in on the fame.

“We just don’t know what kinds of affect this internet fame will have on these children in the future,” says Katie Elson Anderson, a librarian at the Paul Robeson Library on the Rutgers–Camden campus.

Anderson has examined the implications of the YouTube videos for her essay, “Configuring Childhood on the Web,” which is featured as a chapter in the book Portrayals of Children in Popular Culture: Fleeting Images (Lexington Books, 2012).

“Viral videos starring children have become a real phenomenon,” Anderson says. “David After Dentist,” the video in which a father taped his young son dealing with the effects of anesthesia, has been viewed more than 117 million times. “Charlie Bit My Finger,” in which a baby boy bites his big brother, has been seen more than 511 million times.

“I think the early videos — the ones with Charlie and David, for example — were organic,” Anderson says. “People didn’t really know that these videos could become viral. They just posted videos for family. Now, it seems that people are posting videos because they are seeing the fame that can result from it. There’s actually money to be made.”

Library users plead for quiet places to read, write and study

Libraries are LOUD... For rich people, that’s not a problem. They live in spacious homes, glide along in hermetically sealed cars, book weekends in restful spas, dine in restaurants where the nearest table is 6 feet away. Quiet is one of the sweetest luxuries they’re able to afford. But most rich people don’t use libraries. For the rest of us, refuge from this cacophonous world is getting harder and harder to come by. Let’s hope librarians are listening to all the patrons asking them not to take it away.

Scholrly: another attempt at academic search?

scholr.ly: Research, fine-tuned.
The first users in the early days of the Internet were professors and academics who shared their research and resources with unprecedented ease and speed. But nowadays, there is a dearth of lovingly crafted tools made for those who first popularized the Internet.
[VIA]

Cornell brings nature inside libraries

The grass is always greener, and now so are two of Cornell University’s libraries.

Students from the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis have installed small lawns in the lobbies of Olin and Mann libraries, as well as Duffield Hall and the Physical Sciences Building. The grass is surrounded by potted plants and chairs and, in at least one spot, a plastic caution sign warning students to beware of snakes.
The project was intended to help students relax during one of the most stressful times of the school year.

U Of M bookbinder reaches final chapter after 63 years

Wow!
For more than 63 years, Craven has bound books and conserved artifacts on Michigan's Ann Arbor campus.

On Friday, the 81-year-old Craven leaves campus, retiring as the longest-serving staff member in the university's history.

He began working part-time at the university in 1947 while he was still in high school in a bookbindery in the basement of the Hatcher Graduate Library.

University student who shot himself in library in critical condition

A University High School student who accidentally shot himself inside a library in Orange City is still in the intensive care unit at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, a police detective said Friday morning.

Has your Library Gone to the Dogs?

With the recent stories about disasters, legal wrangling, and futurism, let's look at a hands down, slam dunk, win-win idea for libraries: dogs! Many school and public libraries use therapy dogs in their reading programs, calming children to widespread acclaim. Academic libraries also make use of therapy dogs, calming homesick students during finals week. These projects involve minimal costs and have a profound impact. Don't let a lawyer or administrator use absurd logic to deny you this wonderful opportunity to have patrons perceive the library as a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. And remember: refusing to allow a service animal in to a building is also a violation of federal law. What are your dogs in libraries stories?

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