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A Library of Good Ideas

“In 2010, the administrators of the Deschutes Public Library system, in the beautiful high desert region of central Oregon, had a great idea. As part of their extensive research about their patrons’ library use and needs, they would also film some Q & As with community residents about the library. For Todd Dunkelberg, the director of the six-branch Deschutes (sounds like de-shoots) libraries, the results were a wake-up call about the library’s visibility and familiarity. “People felt guilty about not knowing about their library,” he told me.” (via The Atlantic)

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Israel-British project makes Hebrew texts available online

“One of the oldest surviving Hebrew manuscripts, a bible dating back more than 1,000 years, will soon be available online in a joint project with The British Library in London, the National Library of Israel said Monday. Aviad Stollman, the library’s chief of collections, said the Gaster Bible would go online as part of a project to digitize all of the 3,200 rare Hebrew manuscripts at The British Library. The National Library of Israel has partnered with the British Library in London to digitize its entire Hebrew manuscript collection, considered one of the largest and most significant in the world.” (via AP)

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Librarian reinvents herself with a dash of new tech, a flash of Harry Potter

“Lisa Waite Bunker, a social media librarian for Pima County Public Library, owes much of her tech-savvy to a bit of magic. In fact, you might even call Harry Potter her teacher. Bunker, a devoted fan of the fantasy book series, had a growing interest in hand coding and graphic design when she discovered the online community of Potter fans. In a “fandom” with a heavy teen presence, Bunker, now 55, watched “younger people online who were making it up as they went along,” she says. “They would do anything that would delight the fandom. They were willing to experiment, and it taught me to be somewhat fearless with trying new technologies.” (Via Tuscon.com)

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Accelerated pace of Kansas City Public Library’s book-culling process upsets volunteers

“Sylvia Stucky, a longtime member of Friends of the Kansas City Public Library, stood in the lobby of the Central Library downtown one day last week and opened her shoulder bag. “I just saved these from the dumpster this morning,” she said of 10 hardcover books on baseball that included biographies of Dizzy Dean and Joe DiMaggio. She soon would be downstairs standing near three massive boxes, measuring 4 feet high and across, filled with hundreds of other volumes bound for recycling. “They’re going to the chipper whether we want them to or not,” Stucky said of a situation she considers tragic.” (via Kansas City Star)

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Mission impossible: German libraries try to return Nazi-looted books

A well-known secret is kept in a book-filled room at the Hamburg University Library. The publications which fill the shelves don’t necessary have a common theme, and only few of the students who visit it know that they are surrounded by evidence of a shameful past: All of the books stored in that room are looted property, taken from Jews by the Nazi authorities.” (via i24)

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Law Librarians May Have Killed World’s Biggest Copyright Troll

“We here at Above the Law appreciate law librarians. Staci attended the AALL’s recent conference and it was the law librarian community that kickstarted the Twitter phenomenon #lawlibpickuplines. But for all their invaluable support, it’s rare that law librarians get to play the hero in a litigation. If anyone out there harbored lingering doubts over the importance of a top-notch law librarian, know that the most abusive copyright troll on the planet may have just gone down due to the diligent work of a law librarian. Not bad for a day’s work.” (via Above The Law)

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Amazon about to score $30M gig to sell e-books to N.Y.C. school kids

“The Department of Education is about to approve a $30 million contract with Amazon to create an e-book marketplace for New York City’s 1,800 public schools. The Amazon deal will be one of the D.O.E.’s most expensive contracts and one of the city’s few significant deals with a leading technology company. The contract will also create the department’s first unified e-book marketplace. Schools chancellor Carmen Fariña has said she wants to boost the department’s technology credentials.” (Via Biz Journals)

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New Email Archive Tool to Sift Literary Legacies

“The leather-bound diaries of a 19th-century high-school principal in southwestern India are helping change how archivists around the world handle email. As authors’ archives encompass fewer handwritten drafts and more digital documents, email remains a particularly sticky problem. That’s where the diaries, kept for 50 years by Sudheendra Hangal’s great-grandfather-in-law, come in. In 2004, when Mr. Hangal was working as an engineer for Sun Microsystems in India, he came across the journals in a trunk in his in-laws’ house in Dharwad, about 300 miles from Bangalore. He discovered that his wife’s ancestor was something of the Samuel Pepys of Southern Asia, documenting the momentous and the mundane from 1880, when he was 30 years old, until his death a half-century later. On the lined pages of the diaries, he recorded births and deaths, daily household life and the price of vegetables.” (via WSJ)

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Researchers lament Arizona genealogy library’s sudden downsizing, relocation

“Researchers see history disappearing before their eyes, as the state’s genealogical library is being packed up and only partially relocated to a new building. News of the pending Friday closure of the genealogy library inside the state Capitol has fueled a wave of complaints and concerns from researchers who fear they will have less to work with as they trace family history. On Monday, a small portion of the 20,000-item collection will open to the public at the Genealogy Center at the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building, located a few blocks southwest of the Capitol.” (via Arizona Republic)

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Berkeley: Whistle-blower rally calls for library policy changes

“Retired librarians and some three dozen allies blew the whistle Tuesday — literally — at a noontime rally on library policies. Calling for whistle-blower protection for staff, retired librarian Pat Mullan, a whistle around her neck, told the crowd outside the Central Library that the system’s staff members face “threats of retaliation for speaking up in meetings.” Mullan was referring to librarians who have publicly opposed the reorganized process for selecting and deselecting library materials. “Thousands and thousands of books have been tossed without the librarians’ input,” Mullan charged, punctuating her message with whistle blasts. (via San Jose News)

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