Academic Libraries

Books aren't dead at university libraries

Books aren't dead at university libraries
To understand why so much money is being poured into the modern university library (the U.'s library costs more than $18 million a year to run), you have to expand your concept of a library beyond print.

This isn't to say the modern university library doesn't have books. They do. But the way students use a library goes beyond books to include e-books, research databases, classes, studying and socializing.

Death by Irony: How Librarians Killed the Academic Library

Death by Irony: How Librarians Killed the Academic Library

The academic library has died. Despite early diagnosis, audacious denial in the face of its increasingly severe symptoms led to its deterioration and demise. The academic library died alone, largely neglected and forgotten by a world that once revered it as the heart of the university. On its deathbed, it could be heard mumbling curses against Google and something about a bygone library guru named Ranganathan.

Law Librarian at Several Ivies, Morris L. Cohen Dies

From the New York Times: Morris L. Cohen, a book lover who shunned the practice of law because it was too contentious and became one of the nation’s most influential legal librarians, bringing both the Harvard and Yale law libraries into the digital age, died Dec. 18 at his home in New Haven. He was 83.

Morris L. Cohen, at the University of Pennsylvania's law library in 1971, went on to be law library director at Harvard and Yale. The cause was leukemia, his wife, Gloria, said.

Mr. Cohen had worked at his Uncle Max’s law firm and on his own in Brooklyn in the 1950s before deciding that enough was enough. “He wasn’t cut out for practicing law,” Mrs. Cohen said. “He was not confrontational.”

Instead, he would become director of the law libraries at four universities: the former University of Buffalo, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Yale. He brought to those positions a fascination with legal history — as evidenced in the six-volume Bibliography of Early American Law (1998), which he researched and compiled for 35 years — and with modernizing law libraries. He also brought that fascination to his classes in legal research.

An Alaskan Collection Now Without a Home

Streaming radio from Public Radio in Sitka, Alaska:

In the three years since Sheldon Jackson College, founded originally as a Tribal College has closed, there’s been much attention directed on the efforts of the trustees to settle the school’s debts while leaving something behind for some future institution. That legacy will not include a library. Earlier this year SJ’s trustees announced that a transaction was underway to sell the Stratton Library to the state for just over $2-million. The building will join the Sheldon Jackson Museum next door and become part of the state museum system. But only the building is going to the state. The future of the collections inside is a longer story.

Local librarians have been working hard to redistribute the most valuable items in the Stratton collection. Earlier this month (December 2010) the public had the unusual opportunity to buy books right off the shelf.

“I don’t want to disrespect the collection, because it’s a phenomenal collection. But it’s a collection without a home.”

Research intelligence - Rip it up and start again

Research intelligence - Rip it up and start again
He said the current system of communicating the results of scientific research via journal articles is a 17th-century solution to a 17th-century problem. "Printing was adopted because researchers got tired of sending letters to each other," he told Times Higher Education.

"Publishing was essentially letter aggregation. When there became too many letters, peer review was introduced. You can argue that the biggest innovation since then has been the removal of 'Dear Sir' from the beginning of articles."

OU students throw huge party in the school's library, until the police show up

OU students throw huge party in the school's library, until the police show up

NORMAN - Students at the University of Oklahoma may not be studiously tending to their finals this week.

Police were called to a large student party inside the Bizzell library on the OU campus in Norman late Wednesday night.

Someone at the party sent 2NEWS cell phone video of the rave. The video showed thousands of students partying throughout the library.

Nothing at the library?

I currently work at a small liberal arts college in the Midwestern USA where librarians are "embedded" in introductory courses and oversee the information literacy curriculum. Last week one of my colleagues informed me about a response from one of her students that I just have to pass along. The student's comment was that she couldn't find anything at the library about the Industrial Revolution , her other topic was .... wait for it .... Martin Luther and the Reformation. As Joe Friday is often quoted as uttering "Just the facts, ma'am"....

Catalog keyword search hits

  • Industrial Revolution = 142
  • "Martin Luther" = 204
  • "Martin Luther" AND Reformation = 21

Ok, I know that out-of-the-box library catalogs aren't as "innovative", user friendly (or forgiving) as Amazon, Google, and the like, but the difference between what the student claimed and what the "facts" illustrate is too wide a chasm to cross.

Comments like this make me think that we should have a library lock-in, perhaps overnight, and not let the student out until they find something. Heck, it might even become a succesful reality show. It wouldn't be as goofy as Silent Library but it might still be a goodie. Afterall, there could be worse fates.

Harvard: Oops, We Peed On Our Own Books

Contrary to yesterday's story, it has been discovered that the damaged LGBT Books in Lamont Were Not a Result of Hate Crime, Dean Says
Upon an investigation by HUPD, it was revealed Monday morning that "our own library personnel" had accidentally spilled a bottle, containing what was reported to be urine, that had been found on the shelf, according to Hammonds. Harvard College Library plans to replace all 36 damaged books as soon as possible, she added.
Thanks LSW!

LGBT Books Vandalized With Urine in Harvard Library

The Harvard Crimson reports on a possible hate crime at Lamont Library.

The library staff members found an empty bottle next to the vandalized books that may have contained the urine, according to Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth S. Brainard. The staff initially responded to the incident as a health hazard, quickly removing the bottle and relocating the damaged books to the Collections Conservation Lab on Level D of Widener Library.

Brainard said that the library staff assessed the value of the vandalized books before reporting the incident, accounting for the space of two weeks between the incident and the  report to HUPD. The books—which Brainard estimated to be worth a few thousand dollars—will be discarded due to the severity of the damage.

Details on the Harvard U. Police Blotter.

"I Am Not a Witch" & Other Goodies from Yale Librarian Fred Shapiro's Top Ten Quotes of 2010

New Haven, CT (AP) Christine O'Donnell's TV ad declaration "I'm not a witch" during her U.S. Senate campaign topped this year's best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.

O'Donnell's quote is cited by Fred Shapiro, associate librarian at Yale Law School, who released his fifth annual list of the most notable quotations of the year. In the ad, O'Donnell was responding to reports of her revelations that she had dabbled in witchcraft years ago.

"It was such a remarkable unconventional quote to be a part of the political discourse," Shapiro said.

The quote by O'Donnell, a tea party favorite running in Delaware, tied for first place with "I'd like my life back," the lament made in May by BP's CEO Tony Hayward after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

"People resented the fact that he was wanting to get back to his yacht races and other aspects of his normal life when those little problems were dwarfed by the magnitude of what people on the Gulf Coast were dealing with," Shapiro said.

Shapiro noted that the top quotes stemmed from two of the biggest news stories of the year, the oil spill and the emergence of the tea party.

The original Yale Book of Quotations was published in 2006. Since then, Shapiro has released an annual list of the top 10 quotes. He said they will be incorporated into the next edition of the book.

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