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Foundation donates $10 million to Notre Dame libraries

“A charitable foundation named after a Notre Dame graduate and former faculty member and his wife has donated $10 million to the university’s Hesburgh Libraries to fund renovation and to establish an endowment to support digital library services and research projects. The university announced the donation from the Marilyn & Rudolph Navari Charitable Foundation on Friday, the largest gift in the libraries’ history.” (Via KSL)

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Wikimedia projects benefit from Bodleian Libraries residency

“For anyone looking to define Taijitu, Putso or Sangha, or to learn about Elizabeth Fry, the Junior wives of Krishna, or the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, one of the top internet search hits will be Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Articles about these, and hundreds of other topics, are now being improved using the Bodleian Libraries’ historic collections. Images from Digital.Bodleian collection are being uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, the database of freely reusable digital files. From here they can be embedded in articles not just in English Wikipedia, but in other languages and in other educational projects. So far, more than six hundred articles, across many different languages, are illustrated with images from the Bodleian Libraries, reaching a total of nearly 1.5 million readers per month.” (via Wikimedia Blog)

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Improving patent quality one search at a time

“Good patents support innovation while bad patents hinder it. Bad patents drive up costs for innovative companies that must choose between paying undeserved license fees or staggering litigation costs. That’s why today we are excited to launch a new version of Google Patents, which has the power to improve patent quality by helping experts and the public find the most relevant references for judging whether a patent is valid. The ability to search for the most relevant references–the best prior art–is more important today than ever. Patent filings have steadily increased with 600,000 applications filed and 300,000 patents issued in 2014 alone. At the same time, litigation rates are continuing their dramatic climb, with patent trolls bringing the majority of cases, hitting companies of every size in industries from high-tech to main street.” (via Google Public Policy Blog)

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Community Board Approves Redevelopment Plan for Brooklyn Public Library Branch

“A controversial proposed redevelopment plan for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Heights branch, which includes the construction of affordable housing, received a community board’s approval, with provisions, at a heated meeting on Wednesday evening. The board, which met at St. Francis College, voted 25 to 14 in favor, with four members abstaining. The plan, which involves the sale of public land, next moves to the office of the borough president as it makes its way toward the City Planning Commission.” (Via NYT)

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ALA applauds, engages national initiative to support broadband opportunity for public housing residents

“The American Library Association (ALA) today welcomes President Barack Obama’s announcement of the ConnectHome initiative to expand high-speed broadband to public housing residents. The ALA is proud to be a partner in realizing a shared vision to empower more people to thrive online. “Librarians know from our work in communities every day that far, far too many Americans currently lack the technology access and skills to participate fully in education, employment and civic life,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “Broadband is essential, and we are so pleased the Obama administration has made home broadband access a priority.” (Via ALA)

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NLM Digitizes Unique Early English Books, Allowing Free Online Access

“The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces the release through its Digital Collections of nearly 200 items uniquely held by the NLM and printed in the English-speaking world between from 1552 to 1800. NLM’s participation in the English Short Title Catalog (ESTC) helped staff identify the uniqueness of these items. The ESTC is a union catalog managed by the British Library which lists books, pamphlets, and other ephemeral material printed in English-speaking countries from 1473 to 1800, containing over 480,000 items reported by over 2,000 libraries from around the world, including the NLM, British Library, Folger Shakespeare Library, and Library of Congress.” (via NLM)

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No Longer Getting Lost at the Strand

“When I was in my twenties, I went often to the Strand Bookstore, less to buy books than to discover them: the hardcover by an author I’d read about but never read; the tattered, out-of-print paperback that had been mentioned, obscurely, somewhere. The idea was to change my life. I spent hours on these treasure hunts, somehow made sweeter by the inhospitable setting: the grimy floor and high, cramped shelves, the narrow, dark aisles that required you to turn sideways and inhale when another browser needed to pass by. And then there was the staff, who responded to flubbed title requests the way I imagined Parisian waiters might respond to mispronounced orders.” (The New Yorker)

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Brooklyn Libraries, Development and Misdirected Fear

“One day this month, various politicians and officials convened outside the Sunset Park Library on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn to announce an affordable housing initiative, the cornerstone of which would seem to be any progressive’s cotton candy and rainbow vision. To accommodate the neighborhood’s growing and largely immigrant population, the library would expand to nearly twice its current size as part of a project orchestrated by a nonprofit developer, the Fifth Avenue Committee, which would put 49 units of housing on top.” (via NYT)

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Testing the Seattle Public Library’s new Wi-Fi hotspot: It’s worth the wait

“In late May, the Seattle Public Library announced a program to lend Wi-Fi hotspots to library card holders, free of charge, thanks to funding from Google. Within the first day, 175 people had placed a hold on the 126 devices in open circulation, including me. Now, nearly 1,300 people are waiting for a device, and another 200 units are being added to circulation due to an additional $80,000 grant from Google. My turn to check out the hotspot came a few weeks ago, and it was worth the wait.” (via Geekwire)

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Audit Details $310,000 in Prohibited Expenses by Queens Library’s Leaders

“In a sweeping critique of past spending and accounting practices at the Queens Library, a city audit released on Wednesday detailed more than $310,000 in prohibited expenses by the former president of the system, Thomas W. Galante, and by other executives. More than $100,000 of these expenses, officials contended, could amount to fraud and embezzlement. Among the abuses, library executives used library funds to pay for “extravagant meals,” alcohol, tickets to a Maroon 5 rock concert, admission to Disneyland, airline upgrades, Apple TVs, a smoking balcony off the president’s office and smokeless ashtrays — all while maintaining that the library system was running a deficit, said Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, whose office conducted the audit and a related inquiry into possible misconduct.” (Via NYT)

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