How to Read 80ish Books a Year (And Actually Remember Them)

Reading is a skill that once you’ve learned, you probably don’t spend much time trying to get better at. (Not all that different from, say, breathing.) And yet, many of us don’t have to look far to see signs that there’s plenty of room for improvement. We only read at the end of the day—and only for the three minutes between cracking open a book and falling asleep. We’re halfway through about nine books. And our bookshelves are littered with titles that we remember reading but don’t exactly remember anything about.
From How to Read 80ish Books a Year (And Actually Remember Them) | GQ
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The Obama Presidential Library That Isn’t

But the center, which will cost an estimated $500 million, will also differ from the complexes built by Barack Obama’s predecessors in another way: It won’t actually be a presidential library. In a break with precedent, there will be no research library on site, and none of Mr. Obama’s official presidential records. Instead, the Obama Foundation will pay to digitize the roughly 30 million pages of unclassified paper records from the administration so they can be made available online.
From The Obama Presidential Library That Isn’t - The New York Times

'I can't even look at the cover': the most disturbing books

From hiding from a copy of The Exorcist to being unnerved by the likes of Shirley Jackson, Stephen King and Iain Banks, here are The Guardian Reader's most alarming reading experiences
From 'I can't even look at the cover': the most disturbing books | Books | The Guardian
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How Do You Preserve History On The Moon? : NPR

Historic preservationists are hoping that the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing this summer will persuade the United Nations to do something to protect Neil Armstrong's footprints in the lunar dust. Some of his boot marks are still up there, after all, along with other precious artifacts from humanity's first steps on another world. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left behind tools and science equipment, a plaque that read, "We came in peace for all mankind," and the U.S. flag, which has likely been bleached white by five decades of harsh ultraviolet light.
From How Do You Preserve History On The Moon? : NPR
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Wayne State to roll out fast-track librarian certificate amid shortage, student demand

Wayne State University is set to offer a new experimental school library certificate to address student demand and a general shortage of certified school librarians in the state. The Detroit-based university plans to offer a 15-credit program through its School of Information Sciences, said Matt Fredericks, academic services officer for the school. The course load is designed to equip students with the necessary media specialist skills without requiring the typical 36-credit master's program.
From Wayne State to roll out fast-track librarian certificate amid shortage, student demand
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Around 2,000 Artifacts Have Been Saved From the Ruins of Brazil’s National Museum Fire

As an array of recovery efforts launched over the past five months attest, the beloved Rio de Janeiro institution’s story is far from finished: Just two weeks after the fire, museum staffers gathered in the front of the burned building to host a temporary exhibition of surviving artifacts, and at the end of the year, Google Arts & Culture immortalized the pre-fire building in a comprehensive virtual tour. The museum even opened an exhibition in mid-January, titled When Not Everything Was Ice: New Discoveries in the Antarctic Continent, at the Museum of the Brazilian Mint, which served as the national institution’s home back in the 19th century.
From Around 2,000 Artifacts Have Been Saved From the Ruins of Brazil’s National Museum Fire | Smart News | Smithsonian
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How American Cities Got Their Libraries - CityLab

A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be. This month, CityLab’s visual storyteller Ariel Aberg-Riger shares the story of how America’s public libraries came to be, and their uneven history of serving all who need them.
From How American Cities Got Their Libraries - CityLab
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The Lab Discovering DNA in Old Books - The Atlantic

In recent years, archaeologists and historians have awakened to the potential of ancient DNA extracted from human bones and teeth. DNA evidence has enriched—and complicated—stories of prehistoric human migrations. It has provided tantalizing clues to epidemics such as the black death. It has identified the remains of King Richard III, found under a parking lot. But Collins isn’t just interested in human remains. He’s interested in the things these humans made; the animals they bred, slaughtered, and ate; and the economies they created.
From The Lab Discovering DNA in Old Books - The Atlantic
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Librarians and Their Memorable Patron Interactions

some reference and book questions stick out more than others. They stand out either because they were truly great questions or because they were absolutely ridiculous. Either way, patrons never fail to keep me on my toes. Just when I think a decade of public libraries has allowed me to see and hear it all, another question or situation leaves me stunned. Here are some of my most memorable patron interactions:
From Librarians and Their Memorable Patron Interactions | Book Riot
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Female Librarians on Horseback Delivering Books, ca. 1930s

President Franklin Roosevelt was trying to figure out a way to resolve the Great Depression of the 1930s. His Works Progress Administration created the Pack Horse Library Initiative to help Americans become more literate so that they’d have a better chance of finding employment.
From Female Librarians on Horseback Delivering Books, ca. 1930s | History Daily
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Some of the Rarest Books in the World Can Be Found in This Downtown Library In Texas

BEHIND A LARGE CAUTION SIGN on a locked door inside the Houston Metropolitan Research Center at Houston Public Library’s Julia Ideson Building downtown, you’ll find the vault. It’s not filled with money or an arsenal, but it does contain the world’s most valuable currency and deadliest weapon—the written word. Researchers must apply to peruse the rare, often centuries-old books and other artifacts inside the room, which is kept at a crisp 60 degrees and cared for by preservation librarian Elizabeth Mayer. We asked her to share some of her favorite rarities with Houstonia readers, and she obliged.
From Some of the Rarest Books in the World Can Be Found in This Downtown Library | Houstonia
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Menu Matters: On Alison Pearlman’s “May We Suggest” - Los Angeles Review of Books

Studies of menus, however, are a little trickier to find. Menus as scholarly artifacts have come a long way in recent years — traveling from the libraries of antiquarians and sentimental dilettantes to invocations in academic monographs about everything from environmental history to immigration patterns to changing trends in graphic design. The New York Public Library’s collection of over 45,000 menus is getting a lot more traffic than it used to, while To Live and Dine in L.A. (2015) — a collaborative project sponsored by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles that resulted in an exhibition and a book — celebrated the menu collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.
From Menu Matters: On Alison Pearlman’s “May We Suggest” - Los Angeles Review of Books
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Hidden Details of the New York Public Library | Architectural Digest - YouTube

Noted historians serve as your personal audio guide through a virtual walking tour of the New York Public Library. Find out about hidden details of the famed NYC building as these expert reveal the history behind the Winnie the Pooh toys, the Rose Main Reading Room, the iconic lion statues Patience and Fortitude, the Stephen A. Schwarzman building, the Milstein Division, the map collection, the book train and more.
From Hidden Details of the New York Public Library | Architectural Digest - YouTube
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Every Page of This Book Is a Slice of Cheese - Gastro Obscura

Last summer, University of Michigan art and design librarian Jamie Lausch Vander Broek acquired 20 Slices—a squat, square volume composed of 20 plastic-wrapped Kraft singles sandwiched between bright yellow covers. “For me, a lot of the purpose of the collection is engaging with people who usually have never seen an artist’s book before,” she explains. “So I have tailored my selections away from subtlety. It’s really important to me that people get excited about the work that I buy, and that it happens quickly.”
From Every Page of This Book Is a Slice of Cheese - Gastro Obscura
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How badly is Google Books search broken, and why?

Partly this is the story that we all know: Google Books has failed to live up to its promise as the company has moved away from its original mission of organizing information for people. But the particular ways that it has actually eroded, including this one, are worth documenting, because it's easy to think that search tools that worked perfectly well a few years ago won't have been consciously degraded.
From Sapping Attention: How badly is Google Books search broken, and why?
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Hold the front pages: meet the endpaper enthusiasts | Books

Faced with the hideous maw that is today’s news cycle, there could be little more soothing than slipping into the esoteric world of We Love Endpapers, a society for enthusiasts to share their favourite examples of the most beautiful pages bookending tomes. Endpapers date back to at least the 15th century, when pieces of old manuscript or vellum would be used to help sew a book block into its binding, and to protect it. By the 17th century, they were being used as decorative items; today, they can feature everything from maps to an extra shot of artwork from a book’s illustrator.
From Hold the front pages: meet the endpaper enthusiasts | Books | The Guardian
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Amazon caught selling counterfeits of publisher’s computer books—again

Amazon markets the service to publishers as a way to have "100 percent availability of books" internationally, and the company has enrolled a number of publishers. The problem is that Amazon apparently doesn't police whether book content uploaded to CreateSpace actually belongs to the person doing the uploading. As others who sell through Amazon have discovered, Amazon has had a problem with mixing legitimate and counterfeit products in fulfillment warehouses because of how it prepositions product for Prime Delivery.
From Amazon caught selling counterfeits of publisher’s computer books—again | Ars Technica
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Why do so many book covers still use the phrase for works of fiction?

Books have used the “XYZ: A Novel” format since the 17th century, when realistic fiction started getting popular. The term “novel” was a way to distinguish these more down-to-earth stories from the fanciful “romances” that came before, says Steven Moore, author of “The Novel: An Alternative History.” Then, as now, it was a tag that identified the kind of literature you were getting yourself into.
From Book covers still use the phrase “A Novel” for works of fiction - Vox
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Meet the woman who took 73 years to return a library book — and wasn’t fined

Slipped behind other books was a lovingly worn copy of the 1929 children’s book “The Postman,” by Charlotte Kuh. Gregg’s mother had checked it out of a Silver Spring, Md., library in 1946, when Gregg was a toddler. Nearly 27,000 days past its due date, Gregg, now 75, decided to return it.
From Meet the woman who took 73 years to return a library book — and wasn’t fined - The Washington Post
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How Libraries Can Make Public Data More Accessible - CityLab

In fact, librarians have long been advocates of digital inclusion and literacy. That’s why, last month, ULC launched a new initiative to give public libraries a leading role in a future with artificial intelligence. They kicked it off with a working group meeting in Washington, D.C., where representatives from libraries in cities like Baltimore, Toronto, Toledo, and Milwaukee met to exchange ideas on how to achieve that through education and by taking on a larger role in data governance.
From How Libraries Can Make Public Data More Accessible - CityLab
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