Library Of Congress

Library Of Congress

Paul McCartney to be honoured by US Library of Congress

Paul McCartney is to be awarded the Gershwin Prize For Popular Music in Washington in spring 2010.

The former Beatle will be the third musician – and the first non-American – to receive the prize, which is awarded by the US Library Of Congress. Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon were the previous recipients, with the former's award being presented to him by US President Barack Obama in February 2009.

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The Library of Congress Makes Room for Kids

Seattle PI: On October 23 the Library of Congress will unveil the The Young Readers Center. It will be the first area devoted exclusively to children in the library's 200+ year history.

The Center, which is housed in a renovated recording studio, will open with about 800 books. Most will be donated by publishers or culled from the library's duplicate and exchange department.

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US Library of Congress' Digital Collection One of World's Largest

VOA News: The U.S. Library of Congress is well known for being the world's largest library. That is, in the traditional, paper format. Now, the library is on the way to hosting the largest digital collection in the world with more than 700 terabytes of data.

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Next Saturday -- National Mall -- Be There or Be Square

For the Library of Congress National Book Festival.

Right now, here and there all over the world, people are sitting down with a good book and enjoying a good read. Sprawled on the lawn, curled up on the sofa, sitting on the steps in the piazza — they’re communing with a great author, or a funny author, or an author who’s telling them how to cook or knit or fix something in their life that’s broke.

Saturday, more than 120,000 of them are projected to be on one lawn, in one city, at one time: on the National Mall at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. It’ll happen from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., rain or shine — free of charge. Authors will also sign books for their fans.

The Library of Congress will showcase its Library of Congress Experience and social-networking activities, including this blog, its Flickr page and its Facebook page. The whole thing will be on Twitter (@librarycongress, hashtag #nbf). Also, our website for the book festival is a great place to plan for this feast, complete with fresh podcasts from more than a dozen of this year’s authors. There’s a Young Readers’ Toolkit there, too. And the day of the book festival, webcasts of many of the author presentations will be available on the festival website.

No mention this year of the former First Lady.

Librarian of Congress Appointees Questioned

An Internet radio company has filed a straight-on challenge to the constitutionality of the Copyright Royalty Board, the three-member panel that determines the rates companies pay for statutory copyright licenses.

In a complaint filed yesterday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Live365, an Internet radio aggregator, argued that the royalty board violates the Constitution’s appointments clause, because its members are selected by the Librarian of Congress. The suit argues that because of their significant authority, these non-Article III judges are “Principal Officers of the United States” who must be selected by the president.

FYI, our current Librarian of Congress is James Billington, who was appointed by President Reagan (way back) in 1987.

There is currently speculation about the possiblity of a new LoC being appointed...see this story from Library Journal.

Interesting story with significant implications from Legal Times.

Kay Ryan, Poet Laureate

For the past year, Kay Ryan has been serving as America's 16th poet laureate, tapped by the librarian of Congress to be ambassador for American poetry. Profile, with poems written and spoken, from Voice of America.

The august marble-and-gilt halls of the Library of Congress, where Ryan has her official headquarters, seem an unlikely place for someone raised in what she calls the "glamour-free, ocean-free, hot, stinky, oil-rich, potato-rich" San Joaquin Valley of California. But then, growing up, Ryan didn't want to be poet.

"It [to declare oneself a poet] seemed like putting on airs," she says. "It seemed self-absorbed. It seemed like something that my oil well driller father wouldn't understand at all and that my mother would disapprove of, because it was just showing off."

Ryan nearly turned down the offer to become U.S. poet laureate. She says she wanted to protect her privacy and keep writing without being distracted by the job's many public duties.

"I think poetry is indestructible, and I don't worry about it, and I don't think it needs the protection of me or the advocacy of me or anyone."
Ryan likens poetry to gold coins: "You can lose it in the couch, or in the ground, or anywhere and when it's dug up its going to be valuable, so that real poetry utterly protects itself, [and] takes care of itself."

Identity Theft at the Library of Congress

Report from The Washington Post:

A 35-year-old Southeast Washington woman was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for using the purloined identities of Library of Congress employees to purchases nearly $40,000 in goods.

Federal prosecutors said Labiska Gibbs enlisted a relative, a Library of Congress worker, to access an internal database and give her the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of at least 10 employees, prosecutors said. Gibbs used that information to open credit accounts at retailers, including Target and Victoria's Secret. In court papers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn S. Leon said Gibbs made a living selling gift cards she fraudulently purchased.

Gibbs's second cousin, William Sinclair Jr., 27 (who worked in HR at the LOC), was sentenced to three years of probation for his role in the scam. Prosecutors said Gibbs approached Sinclair and that he did not receive any money for his participation.

Obama White House Not Appealing Transgender Ruling

AP: The Obama administration is not fighting a nearly $500,000 judgment for a Library of Congress hiree (Diane, formerly David Schroer) who lost the job while undergoing a gender change from a man to a woman.

The Justice Department let the deadline to appeal the decision pass Tuesday, a day after President Barack Obama hosted gay supporters at the White House and promised to be their "champion." Some activists have complained he has not led on their causes, including ending the ban on gays in the military.

The Library of Congress and President George W. Bush's Justice Department had argued unsuccessfully that discrimination because of transsexuality was not illegal sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act.

Diane Schroer, a retired Army Special Forces commander from Alexandria, Va., had been offered a job at the Library of Congress when he was a man, David Schroer. The job was rescinded the day after Schroer told a library official he was going to have an operation to become a woman.

Previous LISNews reports on the case: here, here, and here.

Hey U, Tune In: The LOC Is Now on iTunes U

Library of Congress iTunes. Blog. Twitter. YouTube. iTunes. Yeah, we speak Web 2.0.

You nation’s Library has millions of stories to tell, so we’re trying to tell them as many places and to as many people as possible–whether on our own website or elsewhere. And now you can add another biggie to the list: iTunes U.

For those who don’t know, iTunes U is an area of the iTunes Store offering free education audio and video content from many of the world’s top universities and other institutions. (The iTunes application is needed to access iTunes U, and is a free download from www.apple.com/itunes.)

The Library’s iTunes U page launched today with a great deal of content, with much more to come. (Link opens in iTunes.) A nice bonus, for those in the know, is that the content is downloadable and even includes materials such as PDFs.

So as long as people keep finding new ways to get information, we’re going to keep finding ways to get it to you!

Millionth Page in Chronicling America Program

Today is a significant day for the <a href="http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2009/09-123.html">Library of Congress</a>: The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities today marked a major milestone in their partnership to digitize historic U.S. newspapers and make them widely available to the public on the Internet.

Congressman Complains of Library of Congress Interference

From The Washington Post: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) charged today that top officials at the Library of Congress have interfered with investigations conducted by its independent watchdogs and have frequently admonished investigators for the tone and focus of their investigations.

"Your office's attempts to influence and/or control the OIG appear to be in direct contravention of the principles underlying the creation of the Inspectors General," Grassley wrote in a sharply worded letter delivered today to Librarian of the United States James H. Billington. "Independence is the hallmark of the Inspectors General throughout the country."

Library of Congress YouTube Channel Up and Running

The Library of Congress YouTube Channel that Birdie previously reported on is now live. So far, it includes historical footage, book talks and readings, and short films narrated by Library of Congress staff, with more content to be added in the future.

Via Library of Congress Blog

LOC will Upload Digital Materials to Online Services

"Fishing where the fish are", the Library of Congress will soon be uploading its audio archives to iTunes, and posting videos on YouTube.

The library already offers the materials at its own Web site and through interactive exhibitions on its new, personalized Web site, but the expansion to YouTube and Apple's iTunes is part of the library's efforts to make its 15.3 million digital items more accessible, said Matt Raymond, the library's director of communications.

Novel Legal Argument: Unconstitutional For Librarian Of Congress To Appoint Royalties Judges

The Legal Times blog reports that arguments before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals over the Copyright Royalties Board have taken on a new angle. Challengers of the royalties decision that severely increased rates payable by webcasters raised the challenge of whether or not it was constitutional for Copyright Royalties Board judges to be appointed in the manner they presently are. Also raised during the hearing was the notion that since the Librarian of Congress could be fired at will by the President, the Library of Congress is more properly an institution of the executive branch than the legislative.

Miss the Stevie Wonder Concert?

Or want to see it again? You can view it in full at the Library of Congress website.

Wonder performed at the Library in celebration of his being awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. A Feb. 25 tribute concert at the White House was broadcast Feb. 26 on PBS.

LOC.gov is the only place where you will be able to view the Feb. 23 concert. (props to Stevie Wonder and to EMI for giving the LOC rights and permissions!)

Retired LOC Spokeswoman Helen Dalrymple Dead at 68

The Washington Post reports on the recent death of Helen W. Dalrymple, a Library of Congress researcher and spokeswoman. She was the co-author of several books about the library and was a leading authority on its holdings, history and mission She died Feb. 13 in Arlington VA of brain cancer.

"She was quite simply one of the nicest and noblest public servants I have had the privilege of working with," Librarian of Congress James Billington said. "I learned about the Library of Congress from her books before I was librarian." Throughout the 1970s, Mrs. Dalrymple worked closely with Charles A. Goodrum, who was assistant director of the Congressional Research Service and later became director of planning and development for the library as a whole. When Goodrum was asked by the Harry N. Abrams publishing company to write a history of the library, Mrs. Dalrymple became his chief assistant. "Without her," Goodrum said yesterday, "the book couldn't have been written."

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition at LOC

The Library of Congress' Presents an Online Exhibit "Malice Towards None".

The exhibit commemorates the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of the nation’s revered sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln. More than a chronological account of his life, the exhibition reveals Lincoln the man, whose thoughts, words, and actions were deeply affected by personal experiences and pivotal historic events.

The exhibit will be up through May 9.

African-American Firsts, a Timeline

America has its first African- American President. And here from the Tuscaloosa News is a listing of other African-American firsts including the first black man, Daniel A.P. Murray to become an Assistant Librarian of Congress, where he worked from 1871 to 1923.

More on Mr. Murray and his work from the LOC site.

Historical Photos in Web Archives Gain Vivid New Lives

In a similar move to harness the public’s knowledge about old photographs, the Library of Congress a year ago began adding photographs with no known restrictions to a Flickr service called the Commons. The Library of Congress started with 3,500 photos and adds 50 a week.

The project relies on Flickr’s ability to allow users to leave comments, below the picture or even within the picture to fill in the blanks. In a report assessing the project (conclusion: it has been a huge success) the library detailed the information that had been gleaned from Flickr users.

Full story in the New York Times

A Visit to the Library of Congress on the First Day of the 111th Congress

Yesterday, January 6, 2009, was the swearing in of the newly-elected members of the House and Senate on the Hill, and I was fortunate to be in attendance. [ed-my son works for a U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania].

It was a marathon day of visiting the Nation's Capitol and the Capitol Building, along with the beautiful old Thomas Jefferson Building (the original home, photo below) of the Library of Congress. I attended a function in room LJ119 (appropriated named the "Librarian's Reception Room") and also saw the Main Reading Room and other portions of the magnificent Library. A few facts:

1. The LOC is the world's largest repository of knowledge and creativity with more than 142 million items in its collection.

2. The Library is spread over three buildings on Capitol Hill. The Thomas Jefferson Building (1897) is the original separate Library of Congress building; it was not named the Jefferson Building until 1980. The John Adams Building was built in 1938 and the James Madison Memorial Building was completed in 1981.

3. The Library is also the home of the U.S. Copyright Office and several other governmental archives.

4. The Library offers print materials in 470 languages.

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