Tag Archives: books

A Penny for Your Books

“Ever since a university gave me a literature degree certifying that I have read Chaucer in the original Middle English, my taste in books has reverted to very specific, lowbrow stuff. I like murder mysteries, heist books and spy books, preferably from the 1950s through the 1980s. These titles can be hard to find; many of them are out of print, unavailable on Kindle, and their presence in the New York Public Library is hit or miss. But in recent years, my bookshelves have swelled. Old John le Carré and Donald E. Westlake and Lawrence Block titles are easier than ever to find online, along with pretty much every other book published in the last century. They’re all on Amazon, priced incredibly low, and sold by third-party booksellers nobody has ever heard of.” (via NYT)

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“A playful picture book about a little girl named Heather and her two happy mommies was a cultural and legal flashpoint 25 years ago, angering conservatives over the morality of same-sex parenting and landing libraries at the center of community battles over placement in the children’s stacks. Today, Heather – of “Heather Has Two Mommies” – has a lot more company in books for young kids about different kinds of families, but hers was out of print and seemed visually dated. That’s why creator Leslea Newman decided on a new version, updating the look of her watershed story with fresh illustrations from a new artist and tweaking the text to streamline.” (via The Associated Press)

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Baltimore’s iconic Enoch Pratt Library is getting a 100 million dollar makeover, but where are all of the books going?

“In the great wainscotted conference room on the second floor of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Dr. Carla Hayden, the library’s longtime director, apologizes for her casual dress, declines to be photographed, and launches into a history of her library, which became something of a national icon. The building was completed in 1933 and was designed to look like a department store. This was an innovation on the previous “temple of learning” theme that featured big, sweeping stairways. The Pratt library, by contrast, was all on one level, making it accessible to everyone, and featured wide aisles, broad, open areas, and display windows very much like those found on Howard Street’s best stores.” (via citypaper.com)

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What Book Should You Read Next? Putting Librarians And Algorithms To The Test

“When I received the Brooklyn Public Library’s recent email newsletter promoting a new service called BookMatch, I was both delighted and dismayed. On the one hand, it was a great idea. All I had to do was fill out a short web form letting the librarians know a bit about what I wanted to read and what I liked to read, and one promised to write back with five personalized recommendations tailored to my interests and tastes. On the other, the fact I was so delighted was exactly what was dismaying.” (via Co.Exist | ideas + impact)

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Reanimation Library Breathes New Life Into Old Books

“There exists a book, published in 1955, called A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates, which is exactly what it sounds like. Aside from the front matter — copyright materials, the publisher’s name — it contains nothing but lines of numbers, arranged into columns. Its creator, the RAND corporation, explains the text’s initial function: physicists, cryptographers and the like often need to use random strings of numbers for “experimental probability procedures.” But now, with the existence of online password generators and sites such as random.org, the thought of any scientist manually copying text from a physical book into an equation is laughable. Thus, the text has been deemed obsolete. For that reason, Andrew Beccone, creator of the Reanimation Library, had to have it. (via Huffington Post)

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Libraries may digitize books without permission, EU top court rules

“European libraries may digitize books and make them available at electronic reading points without first gaining consent of the copyright holder, the highest European Union court ruled Thursday. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in a case in which the Technical University of Darmstadt digitized a book published by German publishing house Eugen Ulmer in order to make it available at its electronic reading posts, but refused to license the publisher’s electronic textbooks.” (via PCWorld)

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Paul Otlet, Google, Wikipedia, and cataloging the world

“As soon as humanity began its quest for knowledge, people have also attempted to organize that knowledge. From the invention of writing to the abacus, from medieval manuscripts to modern paperbacks, from microfiche to the Internet, our attempt to understand the world — and catalog it in an orderly fashion with dictionaries, encyclopedias, libraries, and databases — has evolved with new technologies. One man on the quest for order was innovator, idealist, and scientist Paul Otlet, who is the subject of the new book Cataloging the World. We spoke to author Alex Wright about his research process, Paul Otlet’s foresight into the future of global information networks, and Otlet’s place in the history of science and technology.” (via OUPblog)

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Caveat Lecter

“Good news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy, bibliomaniacs and cannibals alike: tests have revealed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame (FC8.H8177.879dc) is without a doubt bound in human skin. Harvard conservators and scientists tested the binding using several different methods. According to Senior Rare Book Conservator Alan Puglia, they are 99% confident that the binding is of human origin. Microscopic samples were taken from various locations on the binding, and were analyzed by peptide mass fingerprinting, which identifies proteins to create a “peptide mass fingerprint” (PMF) allowing analysts to identify the source.” (via Houghton Library Blog)

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Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Marks 10 Year Anniversary

“During the past 10 years, more than 1.5 million books have made their way into the hands of children through the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. If the amount of books supplied were stacked on top of each other they would equal the height of 20 CN Towers, or laid end-to-end, they would span the length of PEI. The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation will mark its 10th anniversary by announcing the 20 new recipients of the 2014 Indigo Love of Reading Literacy Fund grant. The Foundation will once again donate $1.5 million to 20 high-needs elementary schools in an effort to bolster literacy and transform school libraries across the country. To date the Foundation has committed more than $17 million to 1,600 elementary schools in Canada through its Literacy Fund grant and community Adopt a School program. The Foundation continues to ensure that all children have equal access to books and encourages a lifelong love of reading.” (via CNW)

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Books-A-Million Is Helping Give Away Half A Million Free Books

“On April 23, 2014, 25,000 volunteers from Kodiak to Key West will give away half a million free books in more than 6,000 towns and cities across America. World Book Night U.S. (WBN) is an ambitious campaign to give thousands of free, specially-printed paperbacks to light or non-readers. Volunteer book lovers from 258 Books-A-Million stores across the country will help promote reading by venturing out into their communities and giving away free copies of a book they love, often to those without means or access to a printed book. With the organizational support of Books-A-Million, along with other community partners and libraries, volunteers will be sharing books with non-readers in locations such as hospitals, mass transit, nursing homes, food pantries, underfunded schools and more.” (via WSJ.com)

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