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New features on Wikipedia iOS app help readers access, explore, and share knowledge

“Each month, nearly half a billion people turn to Wikipedia for everything from preserving cultural heritage, to improving cancer detection, to researching homework. Today, the Wikimedia Foundation is excited to release an update to the official Wikipedia mobile app for iOS. It includes big, beautiful images at the top of every article, the ability to share quick facts and images with your social networks, improved search, and suggestions for further discovery. The updated app is available for iOS users today.” (via Wikimedia blog)

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Scribd Expands Audiobook Catalog in Deal With Penguin Random House

“E-book subscription services are bulking up and expanding their libraries and services, as the competition to become the Netflix of books escalates. On Thursday, the subscription reading service Scribd announced that it would add more than 9,000 audiobooks from Penguin Random House Audio to its platform, increasing its audiobook catalog to more than 45,000 titles.

The deal will give Scribd’s subscribers access to narrations of popular titles by authors like Lena Dunham, John Grisham, Gillian Flynn and George R.R. Martin.” (via NYTimes.com)

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Envisioning a Colorado Haven for Readers, Nestled Amid Mountains of Books

“The project is striking in its ambition: a sprawling research institution situated on a ranch at 10,000 feet above sea level, outfitted with 32,000 volumes, many of them about the Rocky Mountain region, plus artists’ studios, dormitories and a dining hall — a place for academics, birders, hikers and others to study and savor the West. It is the sort of endeavor undertaken by a deep-pocketed politician or chief executive, perhaps a Bloomberg or a Buffett. But the project, called the Rocky Mountain Land Library, has instead two booksellers as its founders.” (via NYTimes.com)

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State Library of Victoria given $5 million in rare books

“A late Melbourne QC’s rare English book collection, estimated to be worth more than $5 million, has been given to the State Library of Victoria. The 5000 works, mostly from the 15th to 18th century, were collected over 46 years by barrister, physicist and bibliophile John Emmerson, who died last year aged 76. In his will, he asked that his personal library, which lined five rooms at his South Yarra mansion, remain intact, in a Melbourne institution.” (via SMH)

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New Orleans’s Once-destroyed Public Libraries a Strong and Necessary Component of Civic Infrastructure

“Shoring up the libraries of New Orleans with a proposed property tax increase will secure “one of the bright and hopeful” lights of civic infrastructure that is still, after nearly 10 years, working to recover from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, according to New Orleans Times-Picayune contributing op-ed columnist Gordon “Nick” Mueller. Most of the 13 branches of the city’s 110-year old library system were destroyed in 2005 by Katrina’s floodwaters. Thousands of volumes, collections, and holdings were lost, and post-storm assessments observed fish in library parking lots, overturned shelves, books floating in water, and doors that were, ultimately, “closed indefinitely.” (via Nonprofit Quarterly)

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New York Public Library’s Renovation Plans Advance

“The New York Public Library is moving ahead with a revamped plan to renovate its flagship Beaux-Arts building on Fifth Avenue and the shopworn circulating library across the street. A formal request for proposals is expected to go out this week to eight architectural firms under consideration to lead the $300 million project, which library officials say will expand public access at the system’s two most heavily used facilities.” (via WSJ)

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Internet Archive and CADAL Partner to Digitize 500,000 Academic Texts

“The Internet Archive and the Chinese Academic Digital Associative Library (CADAL), are pleased to announce that 500,000 English-language, academic books will be digitized through a partnership that leverages strengths from both organizations. This furthers an initiative begun in 2009, The China-US Million Book Digital Library Project, seeking to bring one million texts into the public domain. “We are working together with a valuable global partner, CADAL, to create a digital library of high quality, academic, eBooks for use in China, North America and the world at large; I couldn’t be happier!” Robert Miller, General Manager of Digital Libraries for the Internet Archive, remarked on the collaboration.” (via Internet Archive)

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Declines in state aid to Kansas libraries has forced budgeting changes

“State aid to Kansas libraries dropped 23 percent in the past fiscal year, according to a new report — part of a years-long decline that has caused the Topeka and Shawnee County Library to change the way it budgets. The Kansas Center for Economic Growth said Tuesday state funds to libraries fell approximately 23 percent between fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014 when dollar amounts were adjusted for inflation.” (via CJOnline.com)

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Library of Congress: the Unexpected Diplomat

“One doesn’t typically expect terrorism to become a topic of discussion at hearing about library funding. But that’s exactly what happened on March 17, as the Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee assessed the budget requests of the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol. “You’re the world’s resource and we’ve been reading the news reports of ISIS members destroying artifacts of ancient civilizations,” the panel’s chairwoman, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, said to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, teeing up a question about a little-known aspect of the Library of Congress.” (via Roll Call)

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No-sleeping rule at public libraries unwelcome change for Edmonton’s homeless

“Darren Richards describes the Stanley A. Milner Library as a quiet, safe haven. Richards has been homeless for four years and uses the downtown library daily, as a place to read, charge his cellphone and nap. That will change May 1, when the Edmonton Public Library implements a no-sleeping policy at all its branches. Louise Reimer, director of branch services, said the rule is necessary because the central library has become a “de-facto day shelter.” (via Edmonton Journal)

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