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Posts Tagged ‘Library

“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man”*…

 

The Annual Library Budget Survey, a global study that queries 686 senior librarians about their budget spending predictions for the year, was published last week by the Publishers Communication Group (PCG), a consultancy wing of Ingenta, the self-described “largest supplier of technology and related services for the publishing industry.” The survey found uneven growth expectations for libraries worldwide…

Check it out at “How Are Libraries Doing Around the World?

* (Groucho Marx’s buddy) T.S. Eliot

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As we keep our voices down, we might send informative birthday greetings to Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBCS; he was born on this date in 1955.  While working as a Fellow at CERN in 1989, he invented the World Wide Web, developing and demonstrating the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet.  Currently the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the continued development of the Web, he remains a staunch defender of an open Web and the free flow of information.

[On the heels of yesterday’s almanac entry, should “Internet” be capitalized?]

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Written by LW

June 8, 2016 at 1:01 am

“To clarify, ADD data”*…

 

1939 World’s Fair– The World of Tomorrow–  under construction, on the site of a former Queens (New York City) wetland

Who dreams of files? Well, I do, to be honest. And I imagine Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Franz Kafka, and Le Corbusier did, too. It’s not only the files and cabinets themselves that enchant, but their epistemological and political promise; just think of what you can do with all that data! The dream has survived as a collective aspiration for well over a century — since we had standardized cards and papers to file, and cabinets to put them in — and is now expressed in fetishized data visualization and fantasies about “smart cities” and “urban science.” Record-keeping and filing were central to the World of Tomorrow and its urban imaginary, too…

Shannon Mattern on the way in which the 1939 World’s Fair anticipated our current obsession with urban data science and “smart” cities: “Indexing the World of Tomorrow.”

[TotH to Rebecca Onion]

* Edward Tufte

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As we dream of spires, we might spare a thought for Andreas Felix von Oefele; he died on this date in 1780. A historian and author (most notably of the 10 volume work Lebensgeschichten der gelehrtesten Männer Bayerns, “Life stories of the most learned men of Bavaria”), von Oefele was the first “Electoral Councillor, Bibliothecarius and Antiquarius”–  the first head of the Bavarian Court and State Library and Secret Archives.

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Written by LW

February 17, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential”*…

 

In 2014, in a forest at the location above, Scottish artist Katie Paterson launched Future Library

… a public art project that begins with a thousand trees planted in the Norwegian forest of Normarka. After a century of growth, these trees will be cut down, pulped, and turned into a collection of books to be housed at the New Public Deichmanske Library in Oslo, which is scheduled to open in 2019.

During each year of the forest’s growth, one writer will contribute a text to be published in the anthology. The writing will be unseen by the public until the book collection is created in 2114. So far, two prominent writers have announced their involvement: Canadian author Margaret Atwood and British novelist David Mitchell. Both authors have either won or been shortlisted for the Booker Prize on numerous occasions…

Read more at “How to Harvest a Library in Just 100 Years.”

* Winston Churchill

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As we take the very long view, we might send a celebratory sonnet to Francesco Petrarca– Petrarch; he was born on this date in 1304.  Considered by many to have been “the Father of Humanism,” and reputed to have coined the term “Renaissance,” Petrarch was famous for his paeans to his idealized lover “Laura” (modeled, many scholars believe, on the wife of Hugues de Sade, Laura de Noves, whom he met in Avignon in 1327, and who died in 1348).  But Petrarch’s more fundamental and lasting contribution to culture came via Pietro Bembo who created the model for the modern Italian language in the 16th century based largely on the works of Petrarch (and to a lesser degree, those of Dante and Boccaccio).

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Written by LW

July 20, 2015 at 1:01 am

“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life”*…

 

From The Great Train Robbery, 1903

In 1888, Thomas Edison wrote that “I am experimenting upon an instrument which does for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear, which is the recording and reproduction of things in motion.” The system was comprised of the Kinetograph, a motion picture camera, and a Kinetoscope, a motion picture viewer, and was mostly created by Edison’s assistant, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson. (The system was likely inspired by the zoopraxiscope created by photographer—and murderer!—Eadweard Muybridge to show off his motion photographs.) Early films from the Edison Manufacturing Co. showed off “actualities”: celebrities, news, disasters, and expositions. But later, the company switched to creating narrative films more in line with what we watch at the movies today…

These earliest films, often a minute or two in length,  could be purchased for $6.60 (about $169 in today’s currency).  But readers can see a selection of Edison’s early essays, streamed for free, at “10 Early Films Made by Edison’s Movie Company.”

* Federico Fellini

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As search for the concession stand, we might recall that it was on this date in 1732 that Louis Timothee (sometimes rendered “Lewis Timothy”) became the first salaried librarian in the American Colonies. A printer and protégé of Benjamin Franklin’s, Timothee served as the part-time librarian for the Library Company of Philadelphia, one of Franklin’s first philanthropic projects, from its founding on July 1, 1731.  As the project took hold, Timothee’s position was elevated to a full-time, paid position.

The Library Company of Phildelphia

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Written by LW

November 14, 2014 at 1:01 am

“What is more important in a library than anything else – than everything else – is the fact that it exists”*…

 

Library built by ex-slaves, Allensworth, Calif.

Since 1994, photographer Robert Dawson has photographed hundreds of the over 17,000 public libraries in this country.

A public library can mean different things to different people. For me, the library offers our best example of the public commons. For many, the library upholds the 19th-century belief that the future of democracy is contingent upon an educated citizenry. For others, the library simply means free access to the Internet, or a warm place to take shelter, a chance for an education, or the endless possibilities that jump to life in your imagination the moment you open the cover of a book.

The first Carnegie library: the Braddock Carnegie Library, Braddock, Penn. “The once glorious but now faded interior included a gym, a theater, and a swimming pool, as well as book collections and reading rooms.”

See more at American Library, and peruse Dawson’s The Public Library: A Photographic Essay.

* Archibald MacLeish

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As we check it out, we might recall that it was on this date in 1895 that the two then-largest libraries in New York City, the Astor and Lenox libraries, agreed to combine with the Tilden Trust (a bequest left by a former Governor to fund a public library) to form a new entity that would be known as The New York Public Library. Sixteen year later– on this date in 1911– President William Howard Taft presided over the dedication of the Library’s new home, the beaux-arts masterpiece on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street– at the time the largest marble structure ever erected in the U.S.  Originally the Library’s only location, it became the “main branch” as a bequest from Andrew Carnegie funded a system of branch locations across the city built out over the next few decades.

The Library building, near completion. (Note that the signature lion statues have not yet been placed at the steps.)

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Written by LW

May 23, 2014 at 1:01 am

“Your library is your paradise”*…

 

From the classical…

Originally opened in 1602, the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library certainly isn’t short on history. And after four centuries’ worth of expansions, the principal library and its satellite buildings now hold some 11 million printed items. One of those buildings, the Radcliffe Camera, is a neoclassical circular structure designed by James Gibbs in 1749 that has become an icon of Oxford’s campus.

… to the modern…

When it opened in 2004, the Seattle Public Library’s Central Library changed everything. The 21st-century library shouldn’t only celebrate the book, argued Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas of OMA, but “redefine [it] as an information store where all potent forms of media, new and old, are presented equally and legibly.” That thinking led to a reshuffling of the library’s functional components, generating a striking 363,000-square-foot structure with a glassy faceted shell.

Architectural Digest‘s “The Most Spectacular Libraries Around the World.”

* Desiderius Erasmus

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As we hold it down, we might recall that today is the first day of National Library Week!

 

Written by LW

April 13, 2014 at 1:01 am

Check it out…

 

Public libraries are repositories of books, of course; and of late, a source of e-book, CD, and DVD loans.  But lest we think that that our options are limited to intellectual property, we can also take out fishing poles, puppets, state park passes, even seeds for our gardens…   Check out a representative list of items on offer at “Weird Public Library Stuff.”

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As we renew our cards, we might spare a thought for Francis Lieber.  A  jurist, gymnast and political philosopher, he edited an Encyclopaedia Americana and authored the “Lieber Code” during the American Civil War (AKA the Code for the Government of Armies in the Field (1863), which laid the foundation for conventions governing the conduct of troops during wartime).

Lieber, who believed that training the body was as important as training the mind, fell in with Charles Follen, who opened the first gymnasium in the U.S. in 1826.  Then, on this date the following year, Leiber followed suit, opening the first public pool and swimming school in the U.S.  It was such a phenomenon that then President John Quincy Adams visited and took a dip.

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