Acquisitions

Acquisitions

Marginalia as Gold Dust

From the New York Times (scroll about halfway down to Found in the Margins):

In the last few months, foundations have given out hundreds of thousands of dollars to support research on the scribbles in the margins of old books.

Johns Hopkins University, Princeton and University College London have received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to partner on a database, “The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe.” It will focus on 16th-century marginalia from the writers Gabriel Harvey, Isaac Casaubon and John Dee. Earle Havens, a library curator and professor at Johns Hopkins, said in an interview that the three “could not open a book without a pen in their hand.”

“The Archaeology of Reading” will result in searchable transcriptions of the annotators’ outrage, gossip, cross-references to other books and uncensored colloquial reactions. Harvey’s annotations are particularly revealing; he longed, futilely, to overcome his humble origins as a rope maker’s son and become a prominent legal figure.

Lisa Jardine, a professor at University College London, said that in Harvey’s marginalia, “You watch him move up the social ladder, but then he can’t straddle the final hurdles.”

Volumes marked up with handwriting used to be described as “dirty books” among dealers, she added. But in the modern age of words mostly appearing online, marginal notes can actually increase value. “Now they’re gold dust,” she said.

Rockford IL Library As Theater Impressario

From the Rockford Register Star: Quite a generous donation has been made to the Rockford IL Public Library, a large downtown performance space, the Sullivan Center, and the majority of library board members voted to accept the gift.

The mission statements of the Sullivan Center and Rockford Public Library may not mirror one another, but the core values are so close that the Library Board voted 5-2 Monday to take over operations of the downtown theater.

“Their mission statement is written in such a way that I think it’s very similar: promoting performance arts and education,” Trustee Dan Ross said. Marjorie Veitch and Bradley Long voted against the library’s latest acquisition.

The agreement to accept the theater as a gift from the building’s owner, Richard Nordlof, also means accepting Nordlof’s stipulations that the theater not be sold or converted into other uses, such as office space.

The agreement perhaps ends months of debate about whether the board is needlessly venturing into operations beyond its expertise.

“This is not a stretch in what libraries do,” board President Paul Logli said before the vote, and the library has a chance to lead the way in a downtown arts resurgence.

Library World Records is back online

The website for Library World Records, the Guinness Book of World Records for libraries and books is now back online. Library World Records is fascinating book first published in 2004 after research work began on the book in 2002. The book was further extensively updated in a second edition in December 2009. Library World Records provides hundreds of intriguing and comprehensive facts about ancient and modern books, manuscripts and libraries around the world.

Affection for PDA

An interesting article reporting on a recent session at the meeting of the American Association of University Presses (AAUP), relating a discussion about patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) and its impact on library collection development.

"Libraries...are beginning to flip the process of collection-building on its head by striking deals that let their patrons’ reading habits determine which works they purchase."

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/20/research-foresees-demand-driven-book-acquisiti...

"Fill our Shelves, Suggest a Book!" - Public Libraries in Singapore crowdsource for book recommendations

 http://www.pl.sg/suggestabook

The public libraries in Singapore (under the National Library board) are holding a "Fill our Shelves, Suggest a Book!" contest from now until 1 July 2012.

They appear to be using the crowdsourcing platform Uservoice.com that allows users to sign-in and vote and comments on submissions by others.

CrowdSourcing for book recommendations

 

As I write this I estimate there are about 1400 submissions (70 pages of submissions, 20 entries per page), of course quite a few are duplicates or suggestion for books the library already owns (e.g Hunger Games Series). The top recommended title right now is "The Dragon Book of Verse" and has over 50 votes.

Prizes will be give for Top 3 Recommenders (most number of suggestions submitted online) and Most popular title in each category (suggested title with most number of votes)

I am a academic librarian, so I was curious to see which academic libraries have done the same using this or similar platforms like Getsatisfaction.

SLJ & Library Journal Parent Company Acqired by Private Equity Company

Via Mediabistro's GalleyCat:

The private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners has acquired Media Source, Inc. (MSI), the company that owns School Library Journal, Library Journal, Junior Library Guild and The Horn Book.

RLJ founder Robert L. Johnson had this comment in the release: “We believe MSI is a very important company in terms of its contributions to improving library systems and public school systems … We are pleased to own a company that is a trusted resource for librarians and school systems across the country and look forward to expanding in metropolitan markets domestically and internationally.”

On Mistakenly Shredding a Prized Collection

Carla Tracy, director of the Thomas Tredway Library at Augustana College in Illinois writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Shortly after I began my career as a librarian, the Web made its appearance to the general public. Even with the broad scope afforded me through my educational background, I didn't believe the Web would amount to much. I could not imagine that this unimpressive resource would shake the very concept of the library as it had been known for hundreds of years.

The shaking hasn't stopped yet. College librarians are faced with the challenge of expanding digital media and study space while reducing print media. That reduction includes withdrawing books from the shelves, which, in effect, means selling, recycling, giving away, storing off-site (for those who can afford it), discarding, or shredding texts. Suddenly college librarians, among the world's greatest lovers of books, are viewed in certain corners as book destroyers.

If a library is a growing organism, then I've felt the growing pains keenly on our campus these last few months. In leading our library staff through an effort to remove certain books used only once in the past 25 years, if at all, I stand at the head of a series of events that inadvertently sent part of a reprint collection, written in classical Chinese, to the recycling center.

More from Chronicle.com.

Who Needs New Books? (or Where to Make the Cuts)

From Yorkshire, the UK: COUNCIL bosses have cut the amount they spend on buying books and stock for North Yorkshire’s libraries by £300,000.

The reduction in funding for new titles, DVDs, newspapers and website subscriptions comes as North Yorkshire County Council looks for ways to cut its budget and involve communities in running the services without making sweeping closures.

The authority’s executive will decide next week whether to implement fresh proposals which would mean libraries in “key centres”, such as Selby, Malton and Norton, Pickering and Sherburn-in-Elmet staying open, but with fewer staff and reduced opening times.

Services in smaller towns, including Easingwold, Helmsley and Tadcaster, would be supported by the council but part-run by volunteers.

Drunk on our own Power

...Cornell University Library recently released a statement saying that they will no longer do business with publishers who refuse to let the library disclose the price they pay for what they get from those publishers: “It has become apparent to the library community that the anticompetitive conduct engaged in by some publishing firms is in part a result of the inclusion of nondisclosure agreements in contracts.

Full blog at Closedstacks.com
http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3288

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Costco, Omega and Libraries

The Library Copyright Alliance today released “The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Costco v. Omega on Libraries.” Prepared by Jonathan Band, the concise, informative paper examines the much-discussed Costco v. Omega non-decision, which left in place a controversial 9th Circuit ruling that could have significant consequences for library lending practices.

Read the Press Release here. Includes a link to the paper.

New Kids Books for Connecticut Library

County Times GOSHEN, CT—The Goshen Public Library has received a grant from the Libri Foundation of Eugene, Ore., a nonprofit organization that donates new children’s books to small public libraries across the country through its Books to Children program.

The Libri Foundation has been serving public libraries for 18 years, and supports the concept that children who learn to enjoy reading at an early age continue to read throughout their lives, according to a press release from the library.

Library Director Barker Steinmayer said the foundation contacted the library because it had received a grant three years ago, and libraries are eligible for the grants every three years.

“When I approached the [Friends of the Library] to see if they were going to match the grant, they were excited about doing that, and we have a number of excellent nonfiction and fiction books that have been circulating,” said Ms. Barker Steinmayer.

According to the release, the library received 83 books worth more than $1,400. The library’s friends group contributed $300.

More iPads Than Any Library in the Country

The Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library(OH) displayed its collection of new equipment at a technology open house mid-month.

Library Director Doug Dotterer said the new hardware includes 51 touch-screen desktop computers and 10 iPads that were covered by a $106,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation plus an additional $6,000 provided by the Ohio Library Foundation.

"We were very fortunate that we were one of 20 libraries in the entire country out of hundreds to be awarded this presidential technology grant," Dotterer said. "It's very prestigious."

Dotterer said they needed special permission from the Apple company to order such a large volume of iPads because of demand. He said that as far as they know, their library has more iPads than any other library in the country.

"Part of the reason it's a big deal," Ohio Library Foundation president Julie Gedeon said, "is they get a lot of people who apply, and they don't award very many of those."

Gedeon explained that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation was responding to the idea supported by President Obama that people need wider access to technology and a means to learn how to use it.

Ann Malthaner, head of public relations for the library, said, "These libraries change lives. "It's two-fold," she said, explaining how the new technology will benefit everyone. "It'll help the people who are currently coming in, plus it could help new users," Malthaner said. I don't really see anything but benefits from this."

MLK Jr. Papers to Be Permanently Housed at Morehouse College

In the years since the city of Atlanta acquired more than 10,000 of Dr. Martin Luther King's personal papers, the collection has been pored over by researchers and used in groundbreaking history courses at Morehouse College. Come February, the writings of Dr. King will be fully available to the public at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. Atlanta Journal Constitution has the story.

"My hope is that more and more people understand the genius and the creativity and the scholarship of Dr. King," said Loretta Parham, Library Director. "So many recognize him as the author of the "I Have a Dream" speech and not much more. He was a whole person and there's another story to tell."

The papers came to Atlanta in 2006 after Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin led an effort to purchase them from the King family before the collection was to be auctioned at Sotheby's. Morehouse, King's alma mater, owns the $32 million collection, which was secured by a loan from SunTrust Banks. Several private donors helped repay the bank loan, a feat completed last fall. Here is the link to the collection.

Not Just Some National Geographic, All Of It

It's the bane of many a public librarian. The phone rings, you answer it, and then politely decline the caller's offer to donate the last 60 years of National Georgraphic magazine to your library.

"Yes, I'm sure they're in fine condition. Oh? Been in your mother-in-law's house for the last 60 years huh? Yes, I know you want to help out, but we've got several years of it already. Yes, sir I can tell you're happy she's dead but we just don't have any use for that many magazines. No, actually they're not all that valuable - you do realize they print several hundred thousand at a time, right? Yes, so they're not exactly rare or anything."

Now there's a much easier way to get every single issue of National Geographic from the last 120 years and it doesn't involve any donations. You can buy it on its very own hard drive. That's right, you can get every issue of National Geographic since the dawn of humankind on a 160 GB external drive. As a bonus, the collection only takes up 60 GB, so you've got another 100GB to do with as you please.

I wonder if that'd be enough room for every issue of Popular Mechanics...

UT librarian Built Renowned Jewish Collection

Austin Statesman: Nathan Snyder worked as a bibliographer and cataloguer at the Perry-Castañeda Library, the main library on the U. of Texas campus. The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at UT dedicated a library to him in May — the Nathan I. Snyder Library. Snyder created an endowment of his personal collection of books and documents, worth between $15,000 and $20,000, which is at the center.

Snyder died of a brain tumor Sunday. He was 65.

Robert Abzug, a UT history professor and the director of the Schusterman Center, said Snyder single-handedly built up a collection of books used by Jewish studies scholars around the world.

"It's fair to say he helped create one of the most remarkable collections of Jewish studies at any public university in the United States," Abzug said.

Robert King, a UT linguistics centennial professor, said Snyder was shy and eccentric and lived for his work. King said Snyder toiled to build the library's collection — one of his biggest additions was a rare copy of the Torah from Czechoslovakia — and often stayed at the library until 8 p.m. and worked weekends.

Rest in peace.

Ask a Librarian: Marry a Librarian!

Paula Bagwell, a librarian from St. Petersburg College was proposed to on Ask a Librarian! In her own words: “My boyfriend of two years, Josh, just proposed to me via AskaLibrarian!!! Today is our two year anniversary (and also the autumnal equinox). I was covering virtual chat and he signed on and asked me to marry him. Then I learned he was actually at the Clearwater library and was using a computer in the lab...” http://www.tblc.org/askalibrarianblog/2009/09/23/love-on-ask-a-librarian/

Gearing Up For Its Opening in 2013, Bush Wants to Display Saddam's Gun @ His Library

From the NY Times: When the library for George W. Bush opens in 2013 on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, visitors will most likely get to see one of the former President's most treasured items: Saddam Hussein’s pistol.

The gun, a 9 millimeter Glock 18C, was found in the spider hole where the Iraqi leader was captured in December 2003 by Delta Force soldiers, four of whom later presented the pistol to Mr. Bush. Among the thousands of gifts Mr. Bush received as president, the gun became a favorite, a reminder of the pinnacle moment of the Iraq war, according to friends and long-time associates.

Douglas Brinkley, an author and history professor at Rice University, said the pistol opened a psychological window into Mr. Bush’s view of his presidency.

“It represents this Texas notion of the white hats taking out the black hats and keeping the trophy,” Mr. Brinkley said. “It’s a True West magazine kind of pulp western mentality. For President Bush, this pistol represents his greatest moment of triumph, like the F.B.I. keeping Dillinger’s gun. He wants people generations from now to see the gun and say, ‘He got the bad guy.’ ”

Rare books at KU’s Watson Library targeted by vandals

Thieves are ripping off Kansas University’s Watson Library, tearing apart books filled with old and expensive artwork, taking what’s valuable and leaving destruction behind.

Thousands of dollars worth of expensive pages have been cut apart and stolen from rare books dating to the early 1800s, their bindings and remnants left sprinkled in unusual spaces throughout the library.

Publishers Face Pressure From Libraries to Freeze Prices and Cut Deals

From the Chronicle of Higher Education comes an article about possible price freezing for libraries.

"LET'S MAKE A DEAL (MAYBE): The publishers' hall at the recent Association of College and Research Libraries conference, held in Seattle in mid-March, was a study in give-and-take: how much publishers such as Elsevier and Oxford University Press will give in this lousy economy, and how much budget-strapped librarians can take."

Google's Got All the Marbles

Robert Darnton, head of the Harvard library system, writes in a lengthy article in the February 12th issue of the New York Review of Books:

"Google will enjoy what can only be called a monopoly--a monopoly of a new kind, not of railroads or steel but of access to information. Google has no serious competitors. Google alone has the wealth to digitize on a massive scale. And having settled with the authors and publishers, it can exploit its financial power from within a protective legal barrier; for the class action suit covers the entire class of authors and publishers."

He also discusses the economics of professional journals and how the system has changed over the past hundred years. A portion of his commentary:

"The result stands out on the acquisitions budget of every research library: the Journal of Comparative Neurology now costs $25,910 for a year's subscription; Tetrahedron costs $17,969 (or $39,739, if bundled with related publications as a Tetrahedron package); the average price of a chemistry journal is $3,490; and the ripple effects have damaged intellectual life throughout the world of learning. Owing to the skyrocketing cost of serials, libraries that used to spend 50 percent of their acquisitions budget on monographs now spend 25 percent or less. University presses, which depend on sales to libraries, cannot cover their costs by publishing monographs. And young scholars who depend on publishing to advance their careers are now in danger of perishing."

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