12 Authors Write About the Libraries They Love - The New York Times

For most readers and writers — and book lovers in general — the library holds a special place of honor and respect. We asked several authors to tell us about their local public library or to share a memory of a library from their past.
From 12 Authors Write About the Libraries They Love - The New York Times
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Mystery Of A Massive Library Fire Remains Unsolved After More Than 30 Years : NPR

Susan Orlean's new book is like exploring the stacks of a library, where something unexpected and interesting can be discovered on every page. The Library Book tells the story of the 1986 fire that damaged or destroyed more than one million books in Los Angeles' Central Library.
From Mystery Of A Massive Library Fire Remains Unsolved After More Than 30 Years : NPR
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Libraries are about democracy, not just books

Libraries Work!, a research report released last month, demonstrates that every dollar invested in Victorian public libraries generates more than four times that value in benefits to the local community.
From Libraries are about democracy, not just books
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The Internet’s keepers? “Some call us hoarders—I like to say we’re archivists”

The longtime non-profit’s physical space remains easy to comprehend, at least, so Graham starts there. The main operation now runs out of an old church (pews still intact) in San Francisco, with the Internet Archive today employing nearly 200 staffers. The archive also maintains a nearby warehouse for storing physical media—not just books, but things like vinyl records, too. That’s where Graham jokes the main unit of measurement is “shipping container.” The archive gets that much material every two weeks. The company currently stands as the second-largest scanner of books in the world, next to Google.
From The Internet’s keepers? “Some call us hoarders—I like to say we’re archivists” | Ars Technica
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In 1979, a chain email about science fiction spawned the modern internet.

But the message sent to Cerf’s email wasn’t a technical request. And it hadn’t been sent just to him. Instead, an email with the subject line “SF-LOVERS” had been sent to Cerf and his colleagues scattered across the United States. The message asked all of them to respond with a list of their favorite science fiction authors. Because the message had gone out to the entire network, everybody’s answers could then be seen and responded to by everybody else. Users could also choose to send their replies to just one person or a subgroup, generating scores of smaller discussions that eventually fed back into the whole. About 40 years later, Cerf still recalls this as the moment he realized that the internet would be something more than every other communications technology before it. “It was clear we had a social medium on our hands,” he said.
From In 1979, a chain email about science fiction spawned the modern internet.
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Inside Wayback Machine, the internet’s time capsule

“On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change,” he wrote. “It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours… need to design for change. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible.” According to anonymous sources, the Wayback Machine has since become more selective about accepting omission requests. In a “post-fact” era, where fake news is rampant and basic truths are openly and brazenly disputed, the Wayback Machine is working to preserve a verifiable, unedited record of history — without obstruction. “If we allow those who control the present to control the past then they control the future,” Kahle told Recode. “Whole newspapers go away. Countries blink on and off. If we want to know what happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago, [the internet] is often the only record.”
From Inside Wayback Machine, the internet’s time capsule
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Archivist who skipped work for a decade without anyone noticing spent his free time running a male brothel and drawing erotic comics.

He was paid a 50,000 euro ($80,000) salary as an archives director in Valencia’s provincial government, would show up to the office every morning at 7:30am to clock in using the fingerprint scanner before heading home, only returning to the office at 3:30pm to clock out. He kept up the routine for 10 years before colleagues began to raise suspicions. After Spanish newspaper El Mundo broke the story 18 months ago, he was finally sacked, despite his insistence that he had done nothing wrong. “I have only done what they have asked me to do,” he told the paper in January.
From Spanish public servant who skipped work for a decade gets nine-year ban
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Web Design Museum

Welcome to Web Design Museum The museum exhibits over 900 carefully selected and sorted web sites that show web design trends between the years 1995 and 2005.
From Web Design Museum
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Hopkins librarian forced to leave country quickly over H-1B visa woes

A British academic said she had to depart the U.S. quickly after her institution declined to submit paperwork to renew her temporary H-1B work visa on the grounds it likely wouldn’t be approved under standards used by the Trump administration.
From Hopkins librarian forced to leave country quickly over H-1B visa woes
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The board of a West Virginia library reverses decision to refuse ‘Fear’

Connie Perry, the president of the trustees of the Morgan County Public Library in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said Friday afternoon by phone that her town library will carry Bob Woodward’s “Fear.” Perry said the library board did not know that the library director had refused to accept a donated copy of “Fear” until the issue was raised in media reports. “The board didn’t know anything about this,” Perry said. “We have corrected that. The book has been accepted — in fact, two of them.”
From The board of a West Virginia library reverses decision to refuse ‘Fear’ - The Washington Post
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Opinion | To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library - The New York Times

But the problem that libraries face today isn’t irrelevance. Indeed, in New York and many other cities, library circulation, program attendance and average hours spent visiting are up. The real problem that libraries face is that so many people are using them, and for such a wide variety of purposes, that library systems and their employees are overwhelmed. According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, about half of all Americans ages 16 and over used a public library in the past year, and two-thirds say that closing their local branch would have a “major impact on their community.”
From Opinion | To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library - The New York Times
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Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell on why we need libraries – an essay in pictures

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell on why we need libraries – an essay in Two great champions of reading for pleasure return to remind us that it really is an important thing to do – and that libraries create literate citizens
From Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell on why we need libraries – an essay in pictures | Books | The Guardian
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Every Book Tour Should Include a Public School

In my rare calm moments as a curator (when I’m not sending a hundred emails or moving a hundred chairs), I often reflect that the literary world should make greater efforts to reach teenagers, and more high schools should promote contemporary literature by living authors. How else will we build the next generation of literary readers? Writers need young people. Sigrid Nunez agreed. “I don’t think most people realize how much you can learn about the world from listening to young adults.”
From Every Book Tour Should Include a Public School | Literary Hub
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EU and national funders launch plan for free and immediate open access to journals

EU and national funders launch plan for free and immediate open access to journals The architect of ‘Plan-S’, Robert-Jan Smits, hopes to force a major change in the business model of academic publishers. The effect will be similar to the abolition of mobile phone roaming charges in Europe, he says
From EU and national funders launch plan for free and immediate open access to journals | Science|Business
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Lou Reed’s Archive, Coming to the New York Public Library

Anderson, from the beginning, wanted people to have access to the complete collection, and wanted much of it digitized and made available online. So she and Fleming reached out to the performing-arts library, which has extensive music collections and artists’ archives. “We were really impressed with the performing-arts people,” Anderson said.
From Lou Reed’s Archive, Coming to the New York Public Library | The New Yorker
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Why the Future of Data Storage is (Still) Magnetic Tape

It’s true that tape doesn’t offer the fast access speeds of hard disks or semiconductor memories. Still, the medium’s advantages are many. To begin with, tape storage is more energy efficient: Once all the data has been recorded, a tape cartridge simply sits quietly in a slot in a robotic library and doesn’t consume any power at all. Tape is also exceedingly reliable, with error rates that are four to five orders of magnitude lower than those of hard drives. And tape is very secure, with built-in, on-the-fly encryption and additional security provided by the nature of the medium itself. After all, if a cartridge isn’t mounted in a drive, the data cannot be accessed or modified. This “air gap” is particularly attractive in light of the growing rate of data theft through cyberattacks.
From Why the Future of Data Storage is (Still) Magnetic Tape - IEEE Spectrum
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A neuroscientist explains what tech does to the reading brain

Why is it zero-sum, though? Surely it’s good to be able to skim when needed. Why does one take away from the other? This is a question that requires a very careful attempt at explanation. It’s not zero-sum, but we have grown used to skimming. People like you and me who spend six to 12 hours a day on a screen are led to use the skimming mode even when we know we should use a more concentrated, focused mode of reading. It’s an idea I call “cognitive patience.” I believe we are all becoming unable to take the time to be patient because skimming has bled over into most of our reading.
From A neuroscientist explains what tech does to the reading brain - The Verge
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Is Literature Dead?

This, in an elliptical way, is what Noah was getting at. How do things stick to us in a culture where information and ideas are up so quickly that we have no time to assess one before another takes its place? How does reading maintain its hold on our imagination, or is that question even worth asking anymore? Noah may not be a reader, but he is hardly immune to the charms of a lovely sentence; a few weeks after our conversation at the dinner table, he told me he had finished The Great Gatsby and that the last few chapters had featured the most beautiful writing he’d ever read. “Yes, of course,” I told him, pleased at the observation, but I couldn’t help thinking back to our earlier talk about the novel, which had ended with Noah standing up and saying, in a tone as blunt as a lance thrust: “This is why no one reads anymore.”
From Is Literature Dead?
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Man discovers mother’s ‘classified’ murder case in Montreal library

Roxanne Luce, 36, was found on her bed the next morning and died in a hospital days later. Thirty-seven years later, the case remains unsolved. Last year, Luce founded a non-profit called Meurtres et Disparitions Irrésolus du Québec, bringing together families affected by cold cases.
From Man discovers mother’s ‘classified’ murder case in Montreal library | Montreal Gazette
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How Frankenstein and Its Writer Mary Shelley Created the Horror Genre

The fact that these big questions still inform the social implications of science in the 21st century is a key reason that the popularity of Mary Shelley’s story has only grown over time. Since its first publication, the book has never been out of print. Stage productions of the story followed as early as 1822. In the 20th century dozens of films told and retold the Frankenstein story. The most iconic version was produced by Universal Pictures in 1931 and starred Boris Karloff in what became his signature role.
From How Frankenstein and Its Writer Mary Shelley Created the Horror Genre
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