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Fascinating piece in the New Yorker about an ancient Chinese library in Dunhuang, unearthed about one hundred years ago, and where scholars are now in the process of digitizing thousand year old Chinese manuscripts.
A portion of the article equating print with prayer...
"The paper items preserved in the Library also shed light on the origins of another information technology: print. The Diamond Sutra, one of the most famous documents recovered from Dunhuang, was commissioned in 868 A.D., “for free distribution,” by a man named Wang Jie, who wanted to commemorate his parents. In the well-known sermon that it contains, the Buddha declares that the merit accrued from reading and reciting the sutra was worth more than a galaxy filled with jewels. In other words, reproducing scriptures, whether orally or on paper, was good for karma. Printing began as a form of prayer, the equivalent of turning a prayer wheel or slipping a note into the Western Wall in Jerusalem, but on an industrial scale."
One doesn't usually see library related stories at Comic Book Resources, but here you go:
The Northlake Public Library in suburban Chicago unveiled its Hulk statue earlier this month to a crowd of more than 300. Trustee Tom Mukite, who joined the board specifically to spearhead the statue campaign, called the event the “largest turnout at the library ever.”
The Franklin Park Herald-Journal also covered the story,
"The lobby filled with local residents such as Amanda Efta, who carried her nephew Aiden Kolanizios. A library trustee offered green cupcakes to visitors.
“This is the biggest crowd the library’s seen in a while,” Northlake Mayor Jeff Sherwin said.
As the sheet was removed from the statue, people applauded, cameras clicked and little kids gazed up or rubbed the big toe — about the size of a grapefruit."
From Rocket News a report of a furry assistant librarian manning (or should we say...catting?) the circ desk in Novorossiysk Russia.
Kuzya showed up at the library’s door one day and impressed staff with his uncanny ability to look cute and fluffy. After arching his back and running his face along people’s legs he was able to procure food and (secretly) a warm place to spend cold winter days.
Unfortunately, Kuzya lacked the proper documents to be kept in a public space such as a library, so the staff, seeing the cat’s potential, worked to acquire it. Kuzya would need a cat passport, which apparently does exist. To get it he had an ID chip embedded along with a rabies vaccination.
With the paperwork in order, Kuzya could now openly roam the aisles of the library. Under his new title of “pet” he worked hard licking himself, looking cute, and taking naps so much that the library saw a significant increase in patronage. It turned out that people would come for the cat but stay for the book lending service.
Due to his success, the library promoted Kuzya from “pet” to “assistant librarian”.
Small blurb at Wired.com about bedbugs and libraries.
Visiting Libraries and Other Smart Things Bedbugs Do
Dateline Tripoli, Libya -- The Libyan government has signed contracts to equip and furnish 94 pubic libraries and cultural centers in 22 Libyan cities and villages.
The Minister of Culture Mr. Hbib al-Amin told reporters on Saturday that he signed implementation orders with a number of Libyan companies these centers and libraries to be finished this year.
The cost of these projects is 6.6 million Libyan dinar and come as part of this year cultural projects.
The items will be included in the contracts are office furniture, computers, printers, photocopiers, internet service, air conditioners and stationery.
For those wanting to know more about the country, here's the Library of Congress site (albeit dated pre-Gaddafi's death).
Little known to tourists, the American Library in Paris has existed since books were first sent to WW1 doughboys. Here the LA Times gives us perspective on both the history of the library and its current operations. Here's the library's website.
Like every library in the world, it is challenged by changing reading habits. “I’ve understood all along — every library understands this — that if all you’re doing is warehousing books and being a lending library, you’re going to die,” director Charles Trueheart, a former foreign correspondent from the Washington Post says. “You’ve got to offer people all kinds of other stuff, now that they may be going for books in another way. ... And our programming is not just authors, but it’s art appreciation, music, fashion, education, politics, current events.”
The library also contracts with U.S. universities to provide services to American exchange students and compiles study material for French students seeking accreditation as English teachers. Indeed, for all its appeal to Americans in Paris, the library has plenty of French members and supporters.
“There are a lot of French people who are very serious about keeping up their English, and they come to events in English at the library,” says author Diane Johnson, who has lived off and on in Paris for decades and chairs the library’s Writers Council, composed of such colleagues as Julian Barnes and Adam Gopnik.
NPR piece discussing some of the changes and strategies being implemented in libraries.