Library Of Congress

Library Of Congress

Library of Congress Digital Library Pioneer Retiring: Laura Campbell

Digital Preservation Pioneer: Laura Campbell June 14th, 2012 by Mike Ashenfelder Twenty years ago, Dr. James Billington hired Laura Campbell to join the Library of Congress as director of Library Distribution Services. Through Campbell’s previous consultation work with the Library, he recognized her great talent. http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2012/06/digital-preservation-pioneer-laura-campbell/

New Poet Laureate Appointed At LC

The Office of Communications at the Library of Congress announced that Mississippi Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey was named 19th US Poet Laureate. Trethwey will hold the positions concurrently. Poets.org has a profile posted of the new appointee. Huffington Post and the New York Times have more on the appointment as well.

Waste charges rattle Library of Congress

Management at the Library of Congress, the world’s largest storehouse of knowledge, has a poor memory. For a decade, problems of overspending, no-bid contracts, and improper care for some of mankind’s rarest books and artifacts have been brought to upper-level attention—but problems have only worsened. For more see http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2012/06/waste-charges-rattle-library-congress/56163/?oref=govexec_today_nl

Interested in an Internship at Library of Congress This Summer?

Here's an opportunity for talented college-age students headed for the field of LIS:

This summer the Library of Congress once again is offering special 10-week paid internships to college students. For a stipend of $3,000, the 2011 class of Junior Fellows Summer Interns will work full-time from May 29 through Aug. 3, 2012, with Library specialists and curators to inventory, describe and explore collection holdings and to assist with digital-preservation outreach activities throughout the Library.

In addition to the stipend (paid in bi-weekly segments), interns will be eligible to take part in programs offered at the Library. Applications will be accepted online only at usajobs.gov , keyword: 308129000, from Friday, Jan. 27 through midnight, Monday, Feb. 27. For more details about the program and information on how to apply, visit www.loc.gov/hr/jrfellows/. Questions about the program may be sent to [email protected].

The Library of Congress is an equal-opportunity employer. Women, minorities and persons with disabilities who meet eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to apply. [ed. note: not positive about transgendered individuals, see previous story on LISNews.]

Henry Rollins Speaks On His Consciousness-Expanding Trip to the Library of Congress

Henry Rollins Speaks On His Consciousness-Expanding Trip to the Library of Congress
Yes, THAT Henry Rollins. Like Kendra Said "It's like every old school hardcore kid turned librarian's wet dream".

"I know that collector types can be a pain in the neck and seem perpetually frozen in time -- or at least in their parents' basement -- but someone has to look out for the past, lest it slip away forever. It was amazing to be around people who are dedicated to making sure there is a trail, who work with painstaking care to maintain the integrity of what came before. I was told I was doing the right thing by diligently saving fliers in acid-free protectors and transferring my analog sources to digital, and to keep up the good work."

Librarian of Congress has no Plans to Retire

How many government employees in Washington have been there since the Reagan years? Not too many, but one of them is James Billington, Librarian of Congress.

He moves a little more slowly now, at 82, and gets more questions about whether he’s thinking of retiring, but that seems to be the last thing on James Billington’s mind as he begins his 25th year as the Librarian of Congress (however, he is not credentialed as a librarian).

“I have no plans at this point — sorry to disappoint you,” a reflective Billington said during an hourlong interview with The Hill. “The Lord’s been very kind, and I’m in the middle of a lot of interesting things. And of course, it’s a time when all cultural institutions are facing lots of challenges.”

Billington, who was sworn in as the 13th Librarian of Congress on Sept. 14, 1987, outlined some of those challenges when asked about the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, given that the Library was the first to publish Osama bin Laden’s autobiography and the first to discover papers that raised concerns about terrorists hijacking airliners.

“Speaking as an American, like all other Americans I share in the horror and outrage and the deep concern and expressions of sympathy, and in the way in which the country was suddenly conscious of fragility when we all thought we were secure,” he said.

Earthquake Shakes Up the East Coast

Did you feel it? Any books fall off the shelves? A 5.9-Magnitude (corrected to 5.8) earthquake struck the Eastern US shortly before 2:00 pm EST, centered in Virginia, but it was felt from the Carolinas to Toronto. Lots of libraries and other buildings were evacuated (some on Wall Street in NYC); here's a story from Spartanburg County, SC:

Spartanburg County Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Bryson was attending a state emergency managers’ meeting in Columbia discussing Hurricane Irene when the room began shaking. “It was a weird feeling,” Bryson said. “The floor and chairs were all shaking. Apparently, it’s affected the whole East Coast.” Bryson said he began getting calls about the quake but had not heard of any damage so far in Spartanburg County. The quake shook the shelves at the Spartanburg County Headquarters Library, which was briefly evacuated.

More reports from Patchogue NY, the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg VA, and the Nation's Capital, where the Library of Congress was evacuated.

Naked Man Rescued from Missouri River Wanted to Float to Library of Congress

Naked Man Rescued from Missouri River Wanted to Float to Library of Congress
Firefighters rescued a naked man from the Missouri River on Thursday morning. Crews were alerted after his friend called police. Police said the man wanted to float down the river to the "Library of Congress."

DON'T YOU DARE TELL ME THIS ISN'T A LIBRARY RELATED STORY!

Library of Congress unveils National Jukebox to stream free music

For the first time, the Library of Congress is streaming some of its vast collection of sound recordings of popular music, speeches and comedy online for free.

Full story

National Jukebox at LOC here.

Glenna Hall, CIA Librarian

By Glenna Hall, guest contributor to The Atlantic:

When Jim (James Fallows, regular columnist on temporary book leave) asked us to send him some biographical information, I mentioned that during my five-year stint at the U.S. Library of Congress, I had worked for several obscure non-library-service outfits, one of which was funded by the CIA. At that time, in the late '60s and early '70s, there were numerous peculiar units stuck around LOC -- in basements, in the stacks, in odd corners. For almost a year, another group I worked for was tucked away beneath the gorgeous ceiling of the Great Hall during a major overhaul of the Reading Room. Why was all this stuff located there? Well, that's where the books were.

My second job at LOC was with a group called the International Organizations Section. When I first arrived, I was struck by how many of the employees spoke English as a second language or were fluent in a number of languages. My immediate supervisor spoke and read Greek; one of my eventual friends was a Czech who also spoke Polish (he taught me how to pronounce "Zbigniew Brzezinski"). There were upward of a dozen desks, arranged in a block. The real feature of the big room, though, was a huge tub file filled with index cards and card dividers.

Small Fire Extinguished at Library of Congress

Washington Post : The Madison Building at the Library of Congress in Washington has reopened Friday after being briefly evacuated because of a small electrical fire in the basement.

The fire broke out in the morning and was contained to a basement. D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer says the fire stemmed from an electrical problem involving a generator, but the exact cause has yet to be determined.

U.S. Capitol Police say there were no injuries and no immediate reports of damages. The building on Independence Avenue was evacuated and neighboring streets were shut down.

Additional details from The Hill.

The Hawk Has Left The Building

The elusive "LOC Nest Monster", a Cooper hawk that had been roosting in the rotunda of the Library of Congress' Main Reading Room for the last week, has met her match. The hawk that has been avoiding capture inside the LOC was finally corralled Wednesday morning by bird experts. Report from NBC Washington. Click READ MORE for video. And more from NPR on how the capture went down.

Hawk Trapped in Library of Congress

Bird experts struggle to free a hawk from the dome of the main reading room. The hawk, nicknamed "Shirley" by staff members, has been trapped in the Library of Congress since Wednesday. (The bird has been recently fed and is in no immediate danger.)

Full story here.
Additional hawk updates from the LOC Blog.

Library of Congress Blocks Wikileaks

From The Guardian:

The Library of Congress tonight joined the education department, the commerce department and other government agencies in confirming that the ban is in place.

Although thousands of leaked cables are freely available on the Guardian, New York Times and other newspaper websites, as well as the WikiLeaks site, the Obama administration insists they are still classified and, as such, have to be protected.

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.)

Escaping the Summer Heat in a Bookmobile

A recent study found that making books available to low-income children had a significant impact on preventing the reading gap.

On NPR this morning, W. Ralph Eubanks reminisces about visiting the bookmobile as a child. He is the author of The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South and Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past and Director of Publishing at the Library of Congress.

"When I feel the summer heat steaming from the pavement, my childhood memories of the bookmobile provide a cooling sensation to my spirit. This feeling came back last summer on a visit to Chicago when I happened upon a parade of bookmobiles of various ages. There it was: an old Ford grille with big, round headlights that was a dead ringer for the bookmobile that stopped at my house as a child. "

More from NPR.

LOC and Partners Preserving the Internet

This week in Washington, DC, the Library of Congress is gathering its "Digital Preservation Partners" for a three-day session -- one of a number of such meetings the library has been holding under a broad initiative called the "National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program." Its multi-year mission is "to develop a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations."

It's what Dan Gillmor of Salon calls a non-trivial task, for all kinds of technical, social and legal reasons. But it's about as important for our future as anything I can imagine. We are creating vast amounts of information, and a lot of it is not just worth preserving but downright essential to save. Gillmor's role this week, and at a workshop he joined last year, is to be thinking about the news.

LOC as Concert Hall and Sir Paul McCartney as Headliner

Paul McCartney confessed he was "slightly nervous" in the leadup to Wednesday's big concert at the White House, where President Barack Obama was presenting McCartney with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

An all-star cast lined up to perform at the East Room tribute concert, including the Jonas Brothers, Faith Hill, Stevie Wonder and Jerry Seinfeld. Also to appear: Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, White Stripes singer and guitarist Jack White and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. McCartney himself was to perform as well.

McCartney, 67, is the third recipient of the Gershwin prize, awarded by the Library of Congress. It is named for the songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin, whose collections are housed at the library. Previous recipients of the Gershwin award are Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.

McCartney played a private concert at the library on Tuesday, and said he'd grown up listening to music by the Gershwin brothers. Librarian of Congress James Billington credited McCartney for "symbolizing and humanizing the global soundscape," with his music and his activism around the world.

Those not lucky enough to snag tickets to the East Room gig can catch the concert July 28th, when it's televised on PBS' "In Performance at the White House." AP story.

Every. Single. Tweet. Now on the LOC Blog

Ars Technica reports: The Library of Congress is archiving for posterity every public tweet made since the service went live back in 2006. Every. Single. Tweet.

The LOC announced the news, appropriately enough, on Twitter. Twitter isn't just about being pretentious and notifying the world about the contents of your lunch (though it's about those things too).

Matt Raymond, one the Library's official bloggers, notes that "important tweets in the past few years include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, President Obama’s tweet about winning the 2008 election, and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter."

But even those billions of other tweets and retweets, the ones about how you just got back from the worlds' most epic jog or how you're sick at home with the crocodile flu or how your crappy Internet connection just went down again and you can't take it any more—those matter too.

Try the blog (it was down when I tried); the LOC says on Twitter:
" Sorry, LOC blog having some disruptions. Twitter acquisition story also on Facebook" about 1 hour ago via web.

The New York Times weighs in on Twitter on LOC.

Library of Congress Sued for Former Employees Firing

The ACLU has sued the Library of Congress for firing a former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo military commissions.

Col. Morris Davis (now retired from the military) was fired for criticizing the system in which detainees at Guantanamo are tried while being employed by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, where he worked as an assistant director in the foreign affairs, defense and trade division.

The Library of Congress, which oversees CRS, said Davis had shown poor judgment and that his criticism “could do serious harm to the trust and confidence Congress reposes in CRS,” according to a letter sent to Davis in November by Daniel Mulhollan, the director of the CRS.

The LOC cited rules that require employees to explicitly disassociate themselves from the LOC when writing or speaking about controversial topics. The letter singled out criticism Davis expressed in two op-eds written in November; here's Davis's Wall Street Journal op-ed and his Washington Post letter to the Editor.

Story from The Hill.

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