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From the New York Times (scroll about halfway down to Found in the Margins):
In the last few months, foundations have given out hundreds of thousands of dollars to support research on the scribbles in the margins of old books.
Johns Hopkins University, Princeton and University College London have received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to partner on a database, “The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe.” It will focus on 16th-century marginalia from the writers Gabriel Harvey, Isaac Casaubon and John Dee. Earle Havens, a library curator and professor at Johns Hopkins, said in an interview that the three “could not open a book without a pen in their hand.”
“The Archaeology of Reading” will result in searchable transcriptions of the annotators’ outrage, gossip, cross-references to other books and uncensored colloquial reactions. Harvey’s annotations are particularly revealing; he longed, futilely, to overcome his humble origins as a rope maker’s son and become a prominent legal figure.
Lisa Jardine, a professor at University College London, said that in Harvey’s marginalia, “You watch him move up the social ladder, but then he can’t straddle the final hurdles.”
Volumes marked up with handwriting used to be described as “dirty books” among dealers, she added. But in the modern age of words mostly appearing online, marginal notes can actually increase value. “Now they’re gold dust,” she said.
From the Rockford Register Star: Quite a generous donation has been made to the Rockford IL Public Library, a large downtown performance space, the Sullivan Center, and the majority of library board members voted to accept the gift.
The mission statements of the Sullivan Center and Rockford Public Library may not mirror one another, but the core values are so close that the Library Board voted 5-2 Monday to take over operations of the downtown theater.
“Their mission statement is written in such a way that I think it’s very similar: promoting performance arts and education,” Trustee Dan Ross said. Marjorie Veitch and Bradley Long voted against the library’s latest acquisition.
The agreement to accept the theater as a gift from the building’s owner, Richard Nordlof, also means accepting Nordlof’s stipulations that the theater not be sold or converted into other uses, such as office space.
The agreement perhaps ends months of debate about whether the board is needlessly venturing into operations beyond its expertise.
“This is not a stretch in what libraries do,” board President Paul Logli said before the vote, and the library has a chance to lead the way in a downtown arts resurgence.
The website for Library World Records, the Guinness Book of World Records for libraries and books is now back online.
Library World Records is fascinating book first published in 2004 after research work began on the book in 2002. The book was further extensively updated in a second edition in December 2009. Library World Records provides hundreds of intriguing and comprehensive facts about ancient and modern books, manuscripts and libraries around the world.
A much bigger brand new 3rd edition of the book is being researched at the moment and further details of this brand new edition will be revealed on this website around winter 2012.
An interesting article reporting on a recent session at the meeting of the American Association of University Presses (AAUP), relating a discussion about patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) and its impact on library collection development.
"Libraries...are beginning to flip the process of collection-building on its head by striking deals that let their patrons’ reading habits determine which works they purchase."
The public libraries in Singapore (under the National Library board) are holding a "Fill our Shelves, Suggest a Book!" contest from now until 1 July 2012.
They appear to be using the crowdsourcing platform Uservoice.com that allows users to sign-in and vote and comments on submissions by others.
As I write this I estimate there are about 1400 submissions (70 pages of submissions, 20 entries per page), of course quite a few are duplicates or suggestion for books the library already owns (e.g Hunger Games Series). The top recommended title right now is "The Dragon Book of Verse" and has over 50 votes.
Prizes will be give for Top 3 Recommenders (most number of suggestions submitted online) and Most popular title in each category (suggested title with most number of votes)
Via Mediabistro's GalleyCat:
The private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners has acquired Media Source, Inc. (MSI), the company that owns School Library Journal, Library Journal, Junior Library Guild and The Horn Book.
RLJ founder Robert L. Johnson had this comment in the release: “We believe MSI is a very important company in terms of its contributions to improving library systems and public school systems … We are pleased to own a company that is a trusted resource for librarians and school systems across the country and look forward to expanding in metropolitan markets domestically and internationally.”
Carla Tracy, director of the Thomas Tredway Library at Augustana College in Illinois writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Shortly after I began my career as a librarian, the Web made its appearance to the general public. Even with the broad scope afforded me through my educational background, I didn't believe the Web would amount to much. I could not imagine that this unimpressive resource would shake the very concept of the library as it had been known for hundreds of years.
The shaking hasn't stopped yet. College librarians are faced with the challenge of expanding digital media and study space while reducing print media. That reduction includes withdrawing books from the shelves, which, in effect, means selling, recycling, giving away, storing off-site (for those who can afford it), discarding, or shredding texts. Suddenly college librarians, among the world's greatest lovers of books, are viewed in certain corners as book destroyers.
If a library is a growing organism, then I've felt the growing pains keenly on our campus these last few months. In leading our library staff through an effort to remove certain books used only once in the past 25 years, if at all, I stand at the head of a series of events that inadvertently sent part of a reprint collection, written in classical Chinese, to the recycling center.
More from Chronicle.com.
From Yorkshire, the UK: COUNCIL bosses have cut the amount they spend on buying books and stock for North Yorkshire’s libraries by £300,000.
The reduction in funding for new titles, DVDs, newspapers and website subscriptions comes as North Yorkshire County Council looks for ways to cut its budget and involve communities in running the services without making sweeping closures.
The authority’s executive will decide next week whether to implement fresh proposals which would mean libraries in “key centres”, such as Selby, Malton and Norton, Pickering and Sherburn-in-Elmet staying open, but with fewer staff and reduced opening times.
Services in smaller towns, including Easingwold, Helmsley and Tadcaster, would be supported by the council but part-run by volunteers.
...Cornell University Library recently released a statement saying that they will no longer do business with publishers who refuse to let the library disclose the price they pay for what they get from those publishers: “It has become apparent to the library community that the anticompetitive conduct engaged in by some publishing firms is in part a result of the inclusion of nondisclosure agreements in contracts.
Full blog at Closedstacks.com
The Library Copyright Alliance today released “The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Costco v. Omega on Libraries.” Prepared by Jonathan Band, the concise, informative paper examines the much-discussed Costco v. Omega non-decision, which left in place a controversial 9th Circuit ruling that could have significant consequences for library lending practices.