Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Hunt for the Nazi Loot Still Sitting on Library Shelves

Nazi Loot | Stolen books | Holocaust | Jewish libraries

The Nazis left the task of creating inventories for the millions of books they seized to a special task force, members of which are seen here in Estonia.CreditCreditYad Vashem Photo Archives
 
By Milton Esterow
The hunt for the millions of books stolen by the Nazis during World War II has been pursued quietly and diligently for decades, but it has been largely ignored, even as the search for lost art drew headlines. The plundered volumes seldom carried the same glamour as the looted paintings, which were often masterpieces worth millions of dollars.

But recently, with little fanfare, the search for the books has intensified, driven by researchers in America and Europe who have developed a road map of sorts to track the stolen books, many of which are still hiding in plain sight on library shelves throughout Europe.

Their work has been aided by newly opened archives, the internet, and the growing number of European librarians who have made such searches a priority, researchers say.

“People have looked away for so long,” said Anders Rydell, author of “The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance,” “but I don’t think they can anymore.”  Read more...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bibliotherapy: how reading and writing have been healing trauma since World War I

Bibliotherapy | War trauma | World War I | Wounded veterans

15 November 2018

Longshaw Lodge Convalescent Home for Wounded Soldiers, Grindleford, near Sheffield. Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums


Bibliotherapy – the idea that reading can have a beneficial effect on mental health – has undergone a resurgence. There is mounting clinical evidence that reading can, for example, help people overcome loneliness and social exclusion. One scheme in Coventry allows health professionals to prescribe books to their patients from a list drawn up by mental health experts. 

Even as public library services across Britain are cut back, the healing potential of books is increasingly recognised.

The idea of the healing book has a long history. Key concepts were forged in the crucible of World War I, as nurses, doctors and volunteer librarians grappled with treating soldiers’ minds as well as bodies. The word “bibliotherapy” itself was coined in 1914, by American author and minister Samuel McChord Crothers. Helen Mary Gaskell (1853-1940), a pioneer of “literary caregiving”, wrote about the beginnings of her war library in 1918:
Surely many of us lay awake the night after the declaration of War, debating … how best we could help in the coming struggle … Into the mind of the writer came, like a flash, the necessity of providing literature for the sick and wounded.
The well-connected Gaskell took her idea to the medical and governmental authorities, gaining official approval. Lady Battersea, a close friend, offered her a Marble Arch mansion to store donated books, and The Times carried multiple successful public appeals. As Gaskell wrote:
What was our astonishment when not only parcels and boxes, but whole libraries poured in. Day after day vans stood unloading at the door.

Read more...

Remembering the Howard University Librarian Who Decolonized the Way Books Were Catalogued

African-American History | Cataloguing |Racial bias

by Zita Cristina Nunes

American Historical Association's Perspectives on History

Smithsonian.com

November 26, 2018

Dorothy Porter challenged the racial bias in the Dewey Decimal System, putting black scholars alongside white colleagues 
 
 
 
In a 1995 interview with Linton Weeks of the Washington Post, the Howard University librarian, collector and self-described “bibliomaniac” Dorothy Porter reflected on the focus of her 43-year career: “The only rewarding thing for me is to bring to light information that no one knows. What’s the point of rehashing the same old thing?” For Porter, this mission involved not only collecting and preserving a wide range of materials related to the global black experience, but also addressing how these works demanded new and specific qualitative and quantitative approaches in order to collect, assess, and catalog them.

As some librarians today contemplate ways to decolonize libraries—for example, to make them less reflective of Eurocentric ways of organizing knowledge—it is instructive to look to Porter as a progenitor of the movement. Starting with little, she used her tenacious curiosity to build one of the world’s leading repositories for black history and culture: Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. But she also brought critical acumen to bear on the way the center’s materials were cataloged, rejecting commonly taught methods as too reflective of the way whites thought of the world.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/remembering-howard-university-librarian-who-decolonized-way-books-were-catalogued-180970890/#pY8YYwIXYHSpxhcc.99
 
 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

TBLC Talk: Andrew Beman-Cavallaro on Mentoring in Librarianship – March 2015

Mentoring | Librarianship | Professional advice | Career Development

Andrew Beman-Cavallaro, Associate Director of Libraries at Pasco-Hernando State College Spring Hill Campus, talks about Mentoring in Librarianship in this session of TBLC Talks.

Open Invitation: Fall Reception of the New York Library Club, Inc. Thursday, 18th October 2018

Library event  | Networking | Professional Library Organizations

Are you a librarian? Library Student? Writer? Publisher? Looking to network with other like professionals?

The New York Library Club, Inc. invites you to their annual Fall kick-off reception:

John Ashbery: The Construction of Fiction

UPCOMING EVENTS
October 18, 2018, 6PM-8PM

  • Fall Social at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery (144 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10011).
  • We would Love to meet you and hear your thoughts and concerns on Librarianship as a career! Learn about the club including its social events, members, history and its vision.
  • Take advantage of Networking/Mentoring and Leadership Opportunities
  • Explore the details regarding our available yearly Scholarship Award
  • Light refreshments will be served
Please RSVP to membership@nylibraryclub.org with your name and affiliation by October 17th so we can get a list to Security and assure your entry.

Reclaiming Reference at the Library

Reference | Public libraries | Information seeking

For librarians, reference work today is increasingly about community service

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library | Opinion

Louie Chin

Libraries | Society | Public service

This crucial institution is being neglected just when we need it the most.

By Eric Klinenberg
Mr. Klinenberg is a sociologist.
Is the public library obsolete? 

A lot of powerful forces in society seem to think so. In recent years, declines in the circulation of bound books in some parts of the country have led prominent critics to argue that libraries are no longer serving their historical function. Countless elected officials insist that in the 21st century — when so many books are digitized, so much public culture exists online and so often people interact virtually — libraries no longer need the support they once commanded.

Libraries are already starved for resources. In some cities, even affluent ones like Atlanta, entire branches are being shut down. In San Jose, Calif., just down the road from Facebook, Google and Apple, the public library budget is so tight that users with overdue fees above $20 aren’t allowed to borrow books or use computers. 

But the problem that libraries face today isn’t irrelevance. Indeed, in New York and many other cities, library circulation, program attendance and average hours spent visiting are up. The real problem that libraries face is that so many people are using them, and for such a wide variety of purposes, that library systems and their employees are overwhelmed. According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, about half of all Americans ages 16 and over used a public library in the past year, and two-thirds say that closing their local branch would have a “major impact on their community.”

Libraries are being disparaged and neglected at precisely the moment when they are most valued and necessary. Why the disconnect? In part it’s because the founding principle of the public library — that all people deserve free, open access to our shared culture and heritage — is out of sync with the market logic that dominates our world. But it’s also because so few influential people understand the expansive role that libraries play in modern communities. Read more...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Do College Librarians Have Academic Freedom? Amid Push, California’s ‘Will Not Be Silent’

Academic Freedom | Academic Librarians | Higher Education

August 27, 2018 


 Elaine Franco didn’t think the title of her presentation at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting six years ago was all that controversial: "Copy cataloging gets some respect from administrators."

But an administrative colleague of Franco’s at the University of California at Davis raised concerns about the title, an allusion to Rodney Dangerfield’s "I don’t get no respect" catchphrase. When she saw the 2012 slide deck, which Franco had emailed her, she wondered if the title inappropriately implied that copy catalogers had been disrespected by administrators previously, Franco recalled.

The disagreement caught the attention of a union negotiator. And now the episode has helped set off a crusade for academic freedom for employees of the 100-library UC System, amid negotiations to replace a contract that is set to expire at the end of September. Read more...
Courtesy of Holly Craig Wehrle
Librarians from across the U. of California system gathered at UCLA last month during contract talks. Their union is seeking explicit recognition of their academic freedom in a new contract. Administrators disagree.



  

Thursday, August 16, 2018

How an Artist Is Rebuilding a Baghdad Library Destroyed During the Iraq War

Iraq | Foreign libraries | Gulf War |Libraries

“168:01,” an installation now on view at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, encourages visitors to donate books to the University of Baghdad 

 

smithsonian.com
Aly Manji
n 2003, at the start of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, looters set fire to the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad. The college’s vast collection of 70,000 books was destroyed, and 15 years later, students still have few titles at their disposal. So, as Hadani Ditmars reports for the Art Newspaper, an installation
 
168:01,” as the project by Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal is titled, is a stark white display featuring bookshelves filled with 1,000 blank books. Visitors are encouraged to replenish the volumes with titles from an Amazon wish list compiled by the college’s students and faculty; donations can be made by sending the books on the wish list to the museum, or by gifting funds to the project through Bilal’s website.

In exchange for their donations, visitors are able to take home one of the exhibition’s white volumes that represent a rich cultural heritage stripped bare by years of conflict. In turn, the colorful books they contributed to the project will ultimately be sent to the College of Fine Arts.

“I wanted a simple visual representation of what’s been lost,” Bilal told Murray Whyte of the Toronto Star last month. “But what’s important is that, over time, this place comes back to life.” Read more...

Monday, July 23, 2018

Twitter rips awful Forbes take about replacing libraries with Amazon

Amazon | Bookstores Public Libraries

Libraries are amazing and bad takes in Forbes are not.

UPDATE: July 23, 2018, 1:48 p.m. EDT As of Monday afternoon, it appears as if the story has been pulled from Forbes without a note or any other reason. The story has also been removed from Mourdoukoutas' author page. I've reached out to Forbes for details but, for now, you can read a cached version of the story here and an updated version that was briefly on the site is here (via Wonkette).

There are bad takes, and then there's the take by Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas (who also serves as Chair of the Department of Economics at Long Island University) that local libraries should be replaced by Amazon book stores.

Among the reasons Mourdoukoutas offers are: libraries don't have as many public events as they used to because of school auditoriums; people go to places like Starbucks to hang out and work and read now instead of their library; and because technology makes physical books obsolete. Read more...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

How to Stream Thousands of Free Movies Using Your Library Card | NY Times

Movies | Library Card | Free Streaming

Aug. 24, 2017UPDATED Aug. 31, 2017

From top: “The Great Beauty,” “I Am Not Your Negro” and “Tower.”Janus Films; Magnolia Pictures; Kino Lorber

Watching is The New York Times’s film and TV streaming recommendation website and newsletter. Sign up for the latter here.

Stream thousands of movies, including hundreds of Criterion Collection titles, for free? And all you need is a library card? Surely, it can’t be this simple, right?

It is. More than 200 public library systems in the United States have teamed up with the streaming platform Kanopy to bring some 30,000 movies to library cardholders, free of charge. Kanopy’s emphasis is on documentaries and international films, all of which can be streamed on your computer, through a Roku box or on iOS and Android phone apps.

Be careful not to plan a mega binge-watch just yet, though. Each library imposes its own limit to the number of free movies a single cardholder can watch each month, from three to 20 titles per card, a spokeswoman for Kanopy said. Once they’ve registered their library cards with Kanopy, viewers can keep track of how many movies they have left in the upper right-hand corner of the onscreen interface. The limit for New York Public Library cardholders is 10 free movies a month, while Brooklyn Public Library allows six. Outside of New York, the Los Angeles Public Library, for example, has a 10 movie limit. Read more...

A Library Card Will Get You Into the Guggenheim (and 32 Other Places) | NY Times

Museums | Library card | Access | Culture

A performance of Shaun Leonardo’s “Primitive Games” at the Guggenheim, one of 33 New York City cultural institutions that will participate in the Culture Pass program.CreditVincent Tullo for The New York Times

By Andrew R. Chow | July 16, 2018

Do you have a New York City library card? If so, you can now go to the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim and 31 other prominent New York cultural institutions for free.

These institutions, which also include the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and MoMA PS1, have partnered with the New York City libraries to launch Culture Pass, an initiative designed to encourage underserved communities to take advantage of the city’s cultural bounty. Library cardholders of the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Library will be able to reserve passes to these venues for free, albeit once a year.


“Some people are intimidated by museums,” Linda Johnson, president of the Brooklyn Public Library, said in a phone interview. “They shouldn’t be shut out of all the wonderful cultural offerings that are available to New York City dwellers.” Read more...


Teaching with Primary Sources: How can we do research with political cartoons? | Brooklyn Public Library

Politics | Cartoons | Information literacy | Research Skills

by Jen Hoyer | Jun 20, 2018 
 
 
 Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. Using primary sources in the classroom shows us that we can access history through many different formats as long as we are grounded in historical thinking. 

The Brooklyn Connections team loves engaging with teachers for regular Professional Learning events, and our recent workshop at Plymouth Church gave us an opportunity to learn about the role that this institution played in Abolition and Civil War-era Brooklyn. While exploring the Brooklyn Collection for primary sources that we could share, we were excited to find political cartoons about our subject. We wanted to share some of our ideas on how students can learn to work with political cartoons. We think that using political cartoons in the classroom is an engaging and exciting starting point that shifts away from textbooks and classroom lectures while still scaffolding the same historical information. Read more...

Visiting an Experimental, Do-It-Yourself Library in Brooklyn

Books | Libraries | Innovation | Organization of Knowledge



Only 1% of children's books have BAME main characters – UK study| the Guardian

Diversity | Race issues  | Picture books | UK | Children & teenagers

Research finds that of 9,115 titles published last year, only 4% featured BAME characters
‘Stark and shocking findings’ … a student browses in her school library. Photograph: Christopher Thomond 


Only 1% of British children’s books feature a main character who is black or minority ethnic, a investigation into representations of people of colour has found, with the director calling the findings “stark and shocking”.

In a research project that is the first of its kind, and funded by Arts Council England, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) asked UK publishers to submit books featuring BAME characters in 2017. Of the 9,115 children’s books published last year, researchers found that only 391 – 4% - featured BAME characters. Just 1% had a BAME main character, and a quarter of the books submitted only featured diversity in their background casts.

This compares to the 32.1% of schoolchildren of minority ethnic origins in England identified by the Department of Education last year.

“It is a stark and shocking figure when you see it in print,” said Farrah Serroukh, who directed the project for the CLPE and presented it to publishers on Monday. Read more...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Link copied… Tech Stop Facebook From Using Your Private Info: A Beginner’s Guide |WSJ

Privacy | Facebook | Social Media

ILLUSTRATION: Dan PAGE



Mom always said to share, but Facebook has us thinking twice. Here, how to regain command of your digital privacy from social media sites to dangers lurking in your own smartphone

SOCIAL MEDIA was supposed to be a fun, lively place to connect with high-school flings, share photos, brag humbly and get in occasional spats over “Star Wars” sequels. But recent revelations about the ways political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica trawled through Facebook FB -0.04% data have made people realize they’ve shared much more than just cat memes online.

A recent HarrisX poll found that 46% of Americans surveyed don’t believe Facebook protects their personal information, often more than twice that of rivals Twitter , Google, LinkedIn and Snapchat—another 25% were “uncertain.” While most people favor stricter regulations than ever around data privacy, years of studies by groups like the Pew Research Center have found that users are specifically concerned about who had access to the online information they share.

“It’s not so much the old definition of privacy—‘I want the right to be left alone,’” said Lee Rainie, director of internet and tech research at Pew, who sums up the new goal as “I want to control the world’s understanding of who I am.”

A HarrisX poll found that 46% of Americans surveyed don’t believe Facebook protects their personal information.Read more...