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DCPL Sees Spike In Library Card Applications Amid Free ShopHouse Promo

“If politics is the great divider, then free food is the great uniter—and it is getting a whole bunch of people back to their public libraries.D.C. librarians reported a steady uptick in customers requesting new or replacement library cards yesterday in order to take advantage of a promotion from ShopHouse: anyone who flashed a library card yesterday was entitled to a free bowl of their choosing. Lines (and some shortages) were reported at many of the region’s eight locations of the Chipotle of Southeast Asian food as the day wore on” (via (DCist)

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New York Public Library Digitizes 137 Years of New York City Directories

“New York Public Library is digitizing its collection of New York City Directories, 1786 through 1922/3, serving them free through the NYPL Digital Collections portal. The first batch—1849/50 through 1923—have already been scanned, and the 1786–1848/9 directories are right now being scanned. The whole collection will be going online over the coming months. Staff at NYPL are currently teaching computers to read the wobbly typeset, to interpret the strange abbreviations, and the occasionally slightly less than geometric layout of the directories to make the old print text machine readable. The goal is to make the directories text searchable in powerful new ways, in order to build datasets that will inform research in New York City history, genealogy, and beyond. More technical posts on this work will follow.”(via The New York Public Library)

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Images of Every Public Library Branch in New York City

“Elizabeth Felicella’s photographs of New York’s public libraries are empty of people, but full of traces of them. She captures ghosts of letters and fingerprints on chalkboards, and doodles at the base of pencil sharpeners. Paper-wrapped book spines wait for patrons to collect them. There are folded newspapers, squiggles of electronics cords, and chairs pushed back from desks.Felicella, an architectural photographer, spent five years documenting all of New York’s 210 public library branches. The images are now collected in an exhibition, “Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City’s Branch Libraries,” on view at the Center for Architecture.” (via CityLab)

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NYC launches archaeological repository and digital archive

“Nearly 1 million antiquities including ceramics, a bayonet, perfume and medicine bottles — even a 200-year-old douche device — have been unearthed at construction sites in New York City, artifacts that help shed light on local history and the people who once lived there.Excavated from 31 sites across the city’s five boroughs, the objects — frequently in fragments — had been stored for decades at 14 locations across the city — until now. On Wednesday, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission unveiled a climate-controlled repository where all the specimens are housed under one roof. It also launched an online database of the archaeological finds that have been cataloged and photographed in partnership with the Museum of the City of New York.” (via Associated Press)

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Dems push to unblock LGBT material at schools, libraries

“Several House Democrats have put forward legislation that would ban schools and libraries from banning Internet access to LGBT material, which is sometimes blocked by filters aimed at keeping out obscene content. The Don’t Block LGBTQ Act, from Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., is meant to ensure that young LGBT people are able to access material that might help them. We have seen how filters can block students and adults from useful resources, Honda told the Bay Area Reporter. Whether a gay man is learning how to come out or a transgender woman is finding trans-specific health care, the publicly funded Internet access should remain open to everyone in the LGBTQ community. Under current law, public schools and libraries that receive Internet subsidies are required to block out obscene material. But Honda’s office said too often, schools and libraries end up blocking useful LGBT resources that are not sexually explicit in any way.” (via Washington Examiner)

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