Thursday, July 21, 2016

Keeping Current on the History of Cultural Institutions

I realized that I follow few blogs and listservs on the history of libraries. Nevertheless, information comes across my e-mail and my desk.

Here are a few blogs I read that had articles about libraries and their history: 

Two Nerdy History Girls - About Gothic library in the 1813
This unusual blog looks at books and clothing. I know, it is a strange combination.
While the National Genealogical Society is featured heavily in my Genealogy & Local History course, the librarians and historians to look at their own collection. This is a cute post the traces the history of different types of library cards found in pockets of library books.

You'll just ooh and ahh over the photos and wonder where all the beautiful libraries have gone. To me, these rooms are the epitome of libraries and cultural institutions, just what I think of when I think library. Today, libraries are more stark, full of glass, metal, and windows with barer walls and lots of tables and chairs. I miss the books.

Cambridge Univ Libraries 600th anniversary
What a magnificent collection.
Obviously, I look at histories and blogs written by libraries, museums, and other types of cultural institutions. I hope you find something interesting on these blogs and websites. I do read books and articles about the topic so I'll add more info as I come across it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Libraries in the News

As I prepare to teach an online seminar on the history of libraries, I am always looking for new articles about the state of libraries today. Forbes Magazine (1 June 2015) just published an interview with Anthony Marx, President and CEO of New York Public Library In the interview, Marx discusses the role of NYPL in New York City, the role of this grand library as the flagship of public research libraries, and how this library, and by extension all other libraries, can make a difference in the lives of community members. Digital projects, access to the internet, reading, reference materials, and local history are just a few of the treasures within libraries. 

What's in your library? How do the resources and programs at the library make your community a better place to live?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Building Libraries

Over the centuries, universities and communities built many libraries that now grace city centers and university quadrangles.

The BBC  just released a series of photographs of Cambridge University Libraries documenting the construction of their 1934 library. Take a look at the amazing photos.

Here's a sneak peak of the images you'll find when you follow the link.

Monday, July 28, 2014

E Readers and Paper Readers

E Readers are now ubiquitous in our book culture. It's difficult to differentiate print from digital from audio, at least for me. Nevertheless, this article asks if reading electronic books changes the way we read. Will e-books shape the future of libraries and librarianship? Will they change the current nature of the book? After reading the article, post your ideas.

Does E-Reading Change the Way You Read? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Views of Librarians in Fiction

Throughout this short semester, you'll have the opportunity to watch some movie clips that feature librarians. How does society see our profession? Why are we seen this way? It's hard to know especially when you are within the profession and not outside it.

Here are some wonderful images of librarians in science fiction, particularly movies, as selected by TOR books

My surprise? Almost every one of the films is represented in the class.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Books in Museums

Most of us are familiar with books composed, written out or typeset, and bound in the West. The codex of folded sheets stitched or glued through the folds that open flat for the reader. 

This moth, the Metropolitan Museum of Art displays and features books from Japan in their collections. These lovely books feature woodcuts and calligraphy on flexible rice paper, stab stitched in traditional Japanese fashion. 

Image the shelves of Japanese libraries holding series of colorful surprises for the reader. 

For the purposes of this course on the history of libraries, what should strike the viewer and reader is the fact that the museum holds books as objects for display. These objects are treated as art objects and are housed separately from the many books in the research libraries of the MMA. 

Books as objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art are perfect examples of the intersection of library and museum. The library catalogs of the MMA include books in all their locations, even in object storage areas. However, access to books treated as objects is more restrictive than those that are found in the vast library collections. 

Does your local museum have a book collection? Are the books treated as objects or reading and research materials? Would you differentiate between the two types of collections? Would you call this a library or museum? The answer depends upon your perspective and the needs of your researchers and curators.

Future of the Bodleian Library

As we explore the history of university libraries, it's important to see how the libraries have evolved over time. The Bodleian Library at Oxford England has designed and built a new library to serve the needs of the digital age. The new building holds the old and the new, provides access to rare materials and electronic resources. 

In this video "Building at 21st Century Bodleian,"  Librarians and curators discuss how the needs of new library users will be met in  this century.