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U. of C. sees tough competition from New York for Obama library

“The official heading up the University of Chicago bid to host the Barack Obama presidential library said Wednesday that the biggest threat to bringing the facility to Chicago’s South Side comes from New York. While there is serious competition from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Hawaii, Susan Sher, senior adviser to university President Robert Zimmer, said she considers the U. of C.’s strongest competitor to be Columbia University, which is seeking to build the library on its Manhattanville campus in New York City’s West Harlem community.” (via Chicago Tribune)

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Friends of the Parks against using park land for Obama library

“The Friends of the Parks, champions of preserving Chicago’s open lands, wants the Obama Presidential Library and Museum in Chicago – but is  against the University of Chicago proposals, to be submitted on Thursday, to locate it on park lands. “We do not believe the parks are the University of Chicago’s to offer up to the library,” Friends president Cassandra Francis told me on Tuesday. “There needs to be a lot more discussion, given the controversial issue of building in a park,” Francis said.” (via Sun Times)

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A whole latte library: $48 million next-generation facility set to open at UTC

“Students lined up early Friday morning to get into the new library at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. To get into its Starbucks, that is. During the planning stages for the $48 million building, students clamored to have the Seattle-based chain open a coffeehouse on campus.” (via Times Free Press)

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Queens Library boss faces possible dismissal

“Queens Library Director Thomas Galante could be fired next week, following a review by the library’s new trustees into his wild spending of tax-payer money on lavish meals, expensive concert tickets, and high-priced furniture. Records obtained by the Daily News show Galante spent more than $40,000 on food, alcohol and entertainment at restaurants across the country; casinos; bowling alleys; billiard halls, and liquor stores during 2013 — all of it charged to his library corporate credit card.” (via NY Daily News)

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Rethinking the library proves a divisive topic at many liberal arts institutions

“Several library directors at liberal arts institutions have lost their jobs as they clash with faculty and administrators over how much — and how fast — the academic library should change. None of the dismissals, resignations or retirements are identical. Some have resulted from arguments over funding; others from debates about decision-making processes or ongoing personal strife. One common trend, however, is that several of the library directors who have left their jobs in recent years have done so after long-term disputes with other groups on campus about how the academic library should change to better serve students and faculty.” (via insidehighered)

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Ferguson book gifts grow; library donations over $350,000

“Donations to Ferguson Municipal Public Library now top $350,000, and gifts of books will keep the library cataloger busy for some time, library director Scott Bonner says. “We will have to do some weeding” of the current collection, Bonner said, referring to at least four drives to send books to the independent Ferguson library. Donations of money and new books have poured in since Nov. 24, when St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCullough announced the grand jury’s decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.” (via Stltoday.com)

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The Fascinating Treasures Locked Away at California’s Best Science Museum

“Native San Franciscans largely appreciate the California Academy of Sciences as somewhere you can go on Thursday nights and get drunk among circling sharks and taxidermic lions and even an albino alligator named Claude, who may or may not be French. But behind the scenes of this premier scientific institution, which combines an aquarium, a planetarium, and giant bubble with a rainforest inside, are marvels few people beyond scientists see: 46 million creatures, all preserved and squirreled away (sorry about that) in row after row of cabinets, 56,000 square feet in all. From tiny beetles to hulking dino bones, it’s an indispensable catalog of nature’s awesome biodiversity.” (via WIRED)

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Crowdsourcing old journals

“From the time he was 10 a century and a half ago, William Brewster searched the woods and fields of New England for birds, eventually becoming a noted ornithologist and spending half his life curating the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology’s bird collection. In addition to his passion for fieldwork, Brewster was a diligent note-taker. When he died in 1919, he left behind a collection of 40,000 birds, nests, and eggs, but also thousands of pages of diaries and journals that provide valuable insights on both the birdlife of his era and, through his writing on other subjects, the times themselves. At least, they would if people could read them.” (via Harvard Gazette)

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Syrian Jewish bibles could spark ownership dispute

“Two decades after Israeli spies helped Syrian Jews whisk ancient Hebrew bibles from Damascus to Jerusalem, Israel’s national library asked an Israeli court on Monday to grant it custodianship over the manuscripts — a move that could spark an ownership battle over some of the Syrian Jewish community’s most important treasures. Known as the Crowns of Damascus, the nine leather-bound parchment books — some featuring microscopic calligraphy and gold-leaf illumination — were written mostly in Spain and Italy between 700 and 1,000 years ago. For hundreds of years, they were guarded inside synagogues in the Syrian capital, presented only on special occasions.” (via AP)

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Around half of Wikipedia’s medical editors are experts

“Wikipedia is known to be a go-to place for healthcare information for both professionals and the lay public. The first question everyone asks is: but how reliable is it? In a new study, just published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, we took a different approach. We wanted to know more about the people behind the medical pages on Wikipedia, what background do they come from, whether they have specific interests in health and what drives them to contribute to Wikipedia. Because getting health-related content on Wikipedia right is about more than getting the facts correct. It’s about how the information is presented, how topics are covered and what perspectives taken. You can read the paper here: http://www.jmir.org/2014/12/e260” (via Wikimedia blog)

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