Dream Job for 91 year old Librarian

Herb Jorgensen stands alongside a shiny, red 1931 Packard -- a stereotypical gangster car built when he was 12 years old.

Gazing across the car collection, the 91-year-old archivist for the Blackhawk Museum knows he's enjoying a car buff's dream job.

The Blackhawk Museum, the brainchild of Blackhawk developer and car collector Kenneth Behring, opened its doors in 1988. Now affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, the museum boasts two spacious buildings and about 100,000 square feet of upscale exhibition space that plays host to a rotating display of nearly 100 automobiles.

For the past 22 years, Jorgensen has overseen the building of the museum's modest-size research library, a collection that currently stands at approximately 100,000 publications. Many are in excellent condition, while others, including a 1904 Auto Car magazine, have covers that are a bit dog-eared and showing their age. All of them, however, provide a glimpse into the history of a machine that has changed the world.

"It probably is as good a library on old cars that you'll find anywhere," Jorgensen said. Story from Contra Costa Times.

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

New York's Beautiful J.P. Morgan Library Gets a Facelift

The classic library has been around since 1906, was opened to the public in 1924 and recently received some refurbishment as reported by Art News.

Some history: At a contentious meeting of bankers during the 1907 financial crisis, J. Pierpont Morgan locked the doors of his private library and study in New York's Murray Hill, refusing to let his fellow financiers leave until they had agreed on a national-rescue plan. In that grand but intimate building, designed by Charles Follen McKim after an Italian Renaissance palazzo, Morgan also convened meetings of the acquisitions committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which he was president. After Morgan's death, the building became the heart of the institution that for more than 80 years has made his collections available to the public. Now the Morgan Library & Museum is restoring and reinstalling the rooms of his domain to better tell the story of its collections and the man behind them.

When the McKim building reopens on October 30, the North Room, originally the librarian's office, will be accessible to the public for the first time. Visitors will also be able to peer inside Morgan's vault. The interiors will be cleaned, the furniture restored, state-of-the-art lighting installed, and hundreds of additional objects placed on view. The refurbishment, which has closed the building since June, has cost $4.5 million.

Seattle's Top Librarian Might Be Heading to Washington DC

After just a year and a half as the city librarian, Susan Hildreth may be leaving Seattle — at President Obama's request.

Hildreth has been nominated to be the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, she confirmed on Wednesday.

"It's a great honor," Hildreth said, adding that the opportunity to serve in Obama's administration is "very compelling."

The Senate must confirm her nomination, so it would likely be months before Hildreth took the position. The institute is responsible for distributing all federal funds allocated to the country's libraries and museums, she said.

Hildreth estimated that her annual salary is about $165,000. She would not comment on whether she pursued the position or if the White House contacted her.

Hildreth was named Seattle's librarian in November 2008. Since assuming the post in early-2009, she has led the library system through a challenging period of deep budget cuts.

Seattle Times reports.

Vonnegut Library to Open in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — Three years after his death, pieces of Kurt Vonnegut's life are coming together in his hometown, where a new library will chronicle the "Slaughterhouse Five" author's harrowing World War II experiences and his works that struck a chord with the Vietnam generation.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is scheduled to open this fall in downtown Indianapolis will be part library and part museum, with a collection including first editions of his books, a replica of his writing studio, his Purple Heart and multiple rejection letters that preceded his success.

The 1,100-square-foot space will also house an art gallery featuring his distinctive line drawings and a gift shop that will help generate income for the nonprofit library, said Julia Whitehead, the museum's executive director and founder.

Whitehead approached Vonnegut's son, Mark, in 2008 and proposed the idea of a memorial center. Weeks later, all three of Vonnegut's children signed on.

Vonnegut's eldest daughter, Edie Vonnegut, said her father loved libraries and would have wanted visitors to learn about his perseverance in the face of dismissive publishers. Among the items she's loaning the library are some of his rejection letters.

Historic Magna Carta Stuck in New York Due to European Travel Restrictions

The Magna Carta may have helped establish our right to protection against unlawful legal detention, but that doesn’t mean the venerated document can’t be held in New York a little longer than expected while Europe resolves its travel woes.

The Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan said a rare manuscript of the Magna Carta that it will show starting Wednesday would remain on display through May 30 while arrangements were made to transport it home to Britain. As all good schoolchildren know, the original Magna Carta was signed by King John of England in 1215 at Runnymede, putting limits on the king’s power and enumerating legal principles like the writ of habeas corpus. The version at the Morgan, which dates to 1217, is one of 17 surviving originals produced in the 13th century that bear the royal seal. It had been held by the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and was transported to New York for a special Oxford event, but could not be returned to Britain as a result of travel restrictions imposed after the eruption of an Icelandic volcano. Through the end of May, Britain’s loss is America’s gain.

Olympic Fever in Canada's Libraries

Canada's caught Olympic fever, and the country's libraries are not immune. Library and Archives Canada has mounted two outdoor exhibits, one in Vancouver and one in Ottawa, featuring portraits of Olympians past. Twenty-three of the finest athletes the land of the maple leaf has produced are the stars of Portraits In The Street and Portraits On Ice. Photographs, drawings, and paintings all combine to showcase medalists and other history-making participants in the Winter games.

The Great Gretzky Meets The Great Warhol.
(Serigraph On Paper by Andy Warhol, 1983.)

More from Seattle PI's Book Patrol.


At Nixon Library, Mao Statue Rankles Some

A statue of deceased Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at the Nixon Presidential Library &Museum is the subject of a protest planned for Thursday, on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The statue has been in the Hall of World Leaders since the Nixon Presidential Library opened. Kai Chen – a Chinese-American organizing the protest – is the first person to launch a complaint about it, said Sandy Quinn, assistant director of the Nixon Library &Birthplace Foundation.

"To even mention Mao with democratic leaders such as Churchill and Golda Meir in the same breath is truly an insult to human intelligence and offensive to all the freedom-loving people in the world," said Chen, who emigrated from China in 1981 and lives in Los Angeles.

"Having several figures in the world leaders' (section) doesn't mean we endorse their policies," assistant library director Sandy Quinn said. OC Register.

Another article from the LA Times points out that the library,
once privately run, is making a transition to government operation..."and that has turned statues of Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai into political footballs".

The Field Museum Library Joins Flickr Commons

On April 30,2009, Chicago's Field Museum Library joined the ranks of public institutions like the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian in becoming a member of Flickr Commons. The goal of Flickr Commons is to allow users access to the world's public photography archives, and encourage user interaction through comments and tagging.


Books as Objets D'Art on Exhibit in Minneapolis

Many collectors will tell you that books are works of art. Not just for their words, but as objects of art. Many artists at some point in their careers have made books. The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is celebrating the book as an art form with it's exhibition "Text/Messages." It features books created by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Kara Walker, among others.

Story, slide show and audio from Minnesota Public Radio.


Subscribe to Museums