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Germany returns books worth 2.5 million euros stolen from Italian libraries

“German authorities on Friday returned 500 historical books including original works by Renaissance scientists Galileo Galilei and Nicolaus Copernicus, stolen from Italian libraries three years ago, to Naples prosecutors. Most of the books, worth around 2.5 million euros, were stolen from the Girolamini library in Naples, according to Italian prosecutors. German authorities seized them in a Munich auction house at the Italians’ request.” (via Reuters)

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Princeton University is bequeathed $300 million rare book library, largest donation in school’s history

“A Princeton University alum has bequeathed to the school his collection of 2,500 rare books worth an estimated worth of $300 million – the largest single donation in the school’s history, officials said. William H. Scheide, a 1936 graduate, died in November. He was 100 years old. The Scheide Library, housed in the university’s Firestone Library and available to students since 1959, contains the 1455 Gutenberg Bible, the original printing of the Declaration of Independence, Shakespeare’s first, second, third and fourth folios and an 1856 autographed speech by Abraham Lincoln, among others, according to a university release.” (via NJ.com)

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UT’s New Library Director Wants to Make Information More Free

“With more than 10 million books and other holdings, the UT-Austin library system is one of the largest in the country. A mind-boggling 2.5 million people use UT Libraries each year—and that’s a number Lorraine Haricombe would like to see get even bigger. Haricombe, who grew up in South Africa, began her term as vice provost and director of libraries on Feb. 1. She joins UT from the University of Kansas, where she led the creation of the first faculty-led open access policy at a public university in the U.S.” (via The Alcalde)

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ProQuest Transforms Research with Digitization of Rare, Historical Works from Bibliothèque nationale de France

“Researchers can now explore early European history and culture as it happened with ProQuest’s release of the first 2 million pages in its massive digitization project with Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris. When complete, the project will give researchers cover to cover access to more than 28,000 rare European books printed from 1400 to 1700 – 10 million pages – in crisp, fully searchable images. Approximately 5,800 titles are now available in Collections 4 and 6 of ProQuest’s Early European Books, enabling researchers around the world to benefit from the Library’s centuries of acquisition, curation and preservation.” (via ProQuest)

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Coming soon for U.S. and Canadian libraries: Disney streaming video!

“We are excited to announce an agreement with The Walt Disney Studios to offer more than 100 streaming video titles to public library partners in the U.S. and Canada. This licensing agreement strengthens a robust catalog of thousands of streaming video titles available through OverDrive, and reinforces the value of a single central platform for eBooks, audiobooks and streaming video.” (via OverDrive Blogs)

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Chicago Park District approves land transfer for U. of C. Obama library bid

“The Chicago Parks District board voted Wednesday to transfer roughly 20 acres of parkland to the city if the University of Chicago is chosen to host the Barack Obama Presidential Library, a move the library’s foundation said “improves Chicago’s bids” for the facility. The vote was part of a meeting at the Jesse White Community Center on the Near North Side that represented the third faceoff between preservationists who oppose the plan to transfer at least 20 acres of public land to the city and community residents who support it as a means of economic development.” (via Chicago Tribune)

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An easier way to share knowledge through learning patterns

“The Wikimedia movement is increasingly using learning patterns to share what we learn when working on a Wikimedia program (such as an edit-a-thon) or what we learn on an organizational level. These simple documents, that describe solutions to a problem, have become harder to find, as the collection of learning patterns has grown in the past year. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Learning and Evaluation team recently made its Learning Pattern Library easier to navigate. This special library is a shared resource for Wikimedia program leaders and organizations across the world, created to help them find learning patterns that are relevant to them.” (via Wikimedia blog)

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GERMANY RETURNS HISTORIC BOOKS STOLEN FROM ITALIAN LIBRARIES

“German prosecutors say they will return to Italy more than 500 historic books, including original editions of works by Galileo Galilei and Nicolas Copernicus, that were seized in Munich after being stolen from Italian libraries. Munich prosecutors said Wednesday that the books, dating largely from the 16th and 17th centuries and estimated to be worth at least 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million), will be handed over to Italian judicial authorities on Friday.” (via The Associated Press)

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CSU to turn 23 campus libraries into one giant, cloud-based network

“It was her first major paper as a college student, so Carla Castro visited the John M. Pfau Library at Cal State San Bernardino to conduct research, but the business management major ran into a problem. Castro said she couldn’t find the right research material to help her write the paper for her English class. She got by with the guidance of her professor, but Castro said in some cases, hunting at the local library, trying to find peers from whom she can borrow materials, or else waiting for the campus to track down the study items she needs can take a couple of weeks.” (via Daily News)

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A Glimpse Inside the Hidden Vault Where Harvard Keeps Millions of Books

“Harvard’s flagship library, Widener, is an imposing granite cube built quite literally as shrine to the book. A central alcove cuts through the stacks to show off a prized relic: an original Gutenberg bible. But this is not the heart of Harvard’s libraries. No, that would be its cold storage site, an anonymous concrete building few students or even faculty know about. The Harvard Depository, some 30 miles from the Cambridge campus, better resembles an Amazon warehouse than a library. The 200,000 square foot facility houses the vast majority of Harvard Library’s collection—some 9 million books, films, LPs, magnetic tapes, and pamphlets sorted not by the Dewey decimal system but by size. (via Gizmodo)

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