Category Archives: Libraries

First Librarian of Congress Takes Office

Today in 1802, John J. Beckley became the first Librarian of the U.S. Congress. Beckley is also considered the first political campaign manager in the U.S. The Library of Congress was established less than two years earlier by an act of Congress. In 1996, … Continue reading

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Creating the Public Image of Computers: IBM’s SSEC

Today in 1948, IBM’s Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC) was announced and demonstrated to the public.“The most important aspect of the SSEC,” according to Brian Randell in the Origins of Digital Computers, “was that it could perform arithmetic on, and … Continue reading

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Libraries without Books?

The just-released Pew Internet national survey on Library Services in the Digital Age found that people have different views about whether libraries should move some printed books and stacks out of public locations to free up space for tech centers, … Continue reading

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Teaching with the Library of Congress

    Source: Best Colleges Online

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Earliest Intact European Book Now Digitized

The British Library has announced that it has successfully acquired the St Cuthbert Gospel, a miraculously well-preserved 7th century manuscript that is the oldest European book to survive fully intact and therefore one of the world’s most important books.  The £9 … Continue reading

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Libraries: Chicken Soup for the Soul

Rameses II, who ascended the throne in 1300 B.C.E., assembled a library that contained official documents, literature, historical treatises, and works of moral philosophy and proverbial wisdom, science, and medicine. Rameses’ library bears the inscription “the dispensary of the soul” … Continue reading

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Daniel Bell in 1980 on the “End of the Alexandrian Library”

“Clearly, if the explosion in information continues, it cannot be handled by present means. If by 1985 the volume of information is four (low estimate) or seven times (high estimate) that of 1970, then some other way must be found … Continue reading

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Librarians Against the Machine

“They can’t build a machine to do our job; there are too many cross-references in this place”—The head librarian (Katharine Hepburn) to her anxious colleagues in the research department when a “methods engineer” (Spencer Tracy) is hired to “improve workman-hour … Continue reading

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Carnegie Free Libraries: Building a Very Solid Temple of Fame

LIBRARY: From Fr. libre, meaning free, and proper name ANDY.  Something free from Andy Carnegie–Gideon Wurdz, The Foolish Dictionary, 1904.

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First Tax-Supported Public Library

Today in 1833, the Peterborough Town Library in New Hampshire was established by the Peterborough Town Meeting. It was the first public library in the world supported by taxation. In 1849, New Hampshire was the first state to pass a law … Continue reading

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