30 January 2009

Time Out, TONY

Aren't we lucky! This week, Time Out New York's oh-so-easy to digest Sex & Dating column features everyone's favorite fetish, the (female) librarian. I have nothing bad to say about the "field guide" bit and heaven knows Maria Falgoust and Sarah Murphy of The Desk Set are my personal patron saints, but what is this high neckline and glasses on chains nonsense? For The Desk Set's response to the article click your way over here and be sure to answer the all-important question, "Where DO librarians hang out?"

The Desk Set is on a veritable media blitzkrieg: in addition to the TONY mention, Hex Education Journal interviewed Maria and Sarah about why they became librarians and the genesis of the aforementioned organization.

29 January 2009

Since I've Been Gone: Kindle 2 and BPL Branches Renewed

Amazon has planned a mysterious press conference at the Morgan Library for February 9. Engadget, the NY Times' Bits Blog, and others have put two and two together: the new Kindle shall be revealed! Bits speculates that, along with a host of physical design changes, Kindle 2 will follow Sony Reader 700's lead and incorporate the new Broadsheet microchip from Epson with the now ubiquitous E-Ink.

[One of the "leaked" next-gen Kindle photos on Boy Genius Report.]

Also in the news, Mayor Bloomberg referred to the reconstruction of Brooklyn Public Library's Kensington branch while outlining his job creation plan. It looks like this sustainable design project, in the works since 2001, may actually get underway this June. Renderings and details are available at the City's Department of Design and Construction site.

Finally, BPL will re-open the doors of a fresh, shiny, elevatored(!) Kings Highway Library sometime this summer.

24 January 2009

Portable NYPL

Everyone's going mobile! OCLC announced their new WorldCat Mobile service a few days ago and now the techno-wizards at New York Public Library have followed suit. NYPL Mobile is a bare-bones version of the NYPL website that currently includes library hours and maps, exhibition information, and catalog and NYPL site searches. They were able to offer advanced searching of CATNYP (research collections), but not of LEO (circulating collections) or of their Digital Gallery. I don't have an iPhone or any other fancy-schmantzy portable electronic device on which to test the new service, but am very impressed by NYPL Labs' claim that they produced this application in their spare time.

23 January 2009

On Exhibit: Edward FitzGerald & the Rubaiyat

Through March 13, the Grolier Club's second floor gallery space is showcasing Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883) & the Rubaiyat (1859): A Double Anniversary from the collection of Nicholas B. Scheetz.

20 January 2009

"On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp"

Today marked the beginning of a new era, an age in which we will set aside childish things and extend our hands in peace and ... start the spring term. Yes, for many colleges and universities in the city, Inauguration Day was also the first day of the new semester, our quiet libraries filling once again with the Sturm und Drang of scholarly pursuit. Ah, academia!

At the New School, Fogelman Social Sciences and Humanities Library reopened in its new space in Arnhold Hall. You may recall that last month's student occupation of the New School's Graduate Faculty building was partially motivated by a lack of study space. In my post of Dec. 20, I questioned whether Fogelman's temporary home would adequately fulfill students' needs. Well, New School students, librarians, (un)wary interlopers, what's your impression?

Inaugural Bliss

19 January 2009

Midwinter Madness: Field Trips, Week of Jan. 19, 2009

Like many of you, I'm heading to Denver later this week for ALA's Midwinter Meeting. There the forecast calls for daily highs in the mid-40s. That's near balmy! If you're stuck in plain ole New York City, keep yourself warm with these Bibliography Week activities:
Also on the docket this week, the first Urban Librarians Unite meeting/happy hour/social bonanza of the year. Join this all-inclusive group on Tuesday evening at The Creek in enchanting LIC. And finally, Radical Reference hosts a Friday night salon discussion on OCLC's new Policy for the Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records.

14 January 2009

Artists in the Library: Design by the Book

In the third installment of Design by the Book (a co-production of NYPL and Design*Sponge), the five featured New York artists present their works-in-progress. (Click here for the previous two episodes.) The final video will debut live at the Design by the Book party. Where do I RSVP?

Mid-Manhattan Library Granted Stay of Execution

Surprise, surprise: real estate development is dead. NYPL can't unload Mid-Manhattan on favorable terms, so the library will remain open for business for the foreseeable future. Library Journal has the scoop.

13 January 2009

New York Libraries Get Landmark Status

Two New York Public Library branches in Harlem were designated landmarks by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission earlier today. Completed in 1915, the George Bruce Branch at 518 West 125th Street was designed by Carrère & Hastings in Georgian Revival-style. Just down the road, the second beknighted library is the 125th Street Branch, an Italianate building designed by McKim, Mead & White and constructed thanks to Andrew Carnegie's renowned largesse. Sixteen other NYPL locations are on the LPC's no-touch list.

12 January 2009

All about the Book: Field Trips, Week of Jan. 12, 2009

With the holidays in our rearview, library-related events are back in force. Some highlights:
  • Jan. 15: Center for Book Arts hosts a free opening reception for its three winter exhibitions: Artists Books as (Sub)Culture; Jacqueline Rush Lee: INTROspective; and Zahra Partovi A Poet Speaks.
  • Jan. 16: Nylink presents a moderated discussion of OCLC's recent policy changes. You know, that brouhaha about who can use Worldcat records. No? Better brush up: the policy itself; code4lib's bibliography wiki of commentaries on the subject.
  • Jan. 16-17: Bibliography week kicks off a little early this year with Books at the 25th Street Armory, the antiquarian book fair featuring rare, collectable and first edition books, autographs, ephemera and rare paper.

11 January 2009

NYPL Stacks Closure Follow-up

The NY Times reports that the Humanities & Social Sciences Library's central stacks area, closed since December 20th due to possible lead contamination, will reopen sometime this week.

08 January 2009

Porcine Ponderings

And now, a little whimsy: a recent post from the NY Times Paper Cuts blog muses on the use of bacon as a bookmark. I once knew someone who found a tiny bag of cocaine in a book. (No, really.) What odd things have you found lurking between the covers?

07 January 2009

Gotham's Legacy Donated to U. Penn Libraries

As reported by Library Journal, the collection of the dearly departed Gotham Book Mart has been donated to the University of Pennsylvania's Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Bought at auction for $400,000, the collection's true value was likely several million dollars. And although the donation was made anonymously, the NY Times implies that Leonard Lauder, cosmetics heir and Penn grad, is the unnamed benefactor. Penn plans to digitize a portion of the collection, which includes "many first editions, books from small presses, experimental literary magazines, outsider literature published by Black Sparrow Press, poetry published by St. Mark's Church, books from the personal libraries of Truman Capote and Anais Nin, proofs, advance copies, pamphlets, photographs, posters, reference works and catalogs, broadsides, prints, postcards, and items signed by Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Robinson Jeffers, Woody Allen, Wallace Stevens, and John Updike."

04 January 2009

NYPL Gets the Lead Out

There's still no access to books in the Humanities & Social Sciences Library's central stack area, where 65% of the General Research Material resides. The stacks were closed on December 20th "due to testing for possible presence of a lead paint hazard". Er, I know NYPL employs high school-aged pages, but who's been chowing down on paint flakes? (I kid; lead poisoning is a serious concern.) Can we assume this is somehow related to the upcoming HSSL renovation during which the stacks will be transformed into a "multi-leveled, light-filled new library"?

Here's how to play it safe when removing lead paint:

Sunday Sighs: BPL Saving 800K Through Shutdowns

Effective today, all Brooklyn Public Library locations will cease providing service on Sundays. The shuttered branches include Borough Park, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, and Midwood, as well as the Central Library. Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind argued that these closures are particularly onerous for the borough's Orthodox Jewish community.

02 January 2009

Migratory Video

Happy New Year! All's quiet in the library around the holidays, so Shelved @ NYC has been on something of a hiatus. In the interregnum, here's an interesting/sad bit of news about one of the city's best commercial collections:

Kim's Mediapolis (Broadway and 113th) closed in September after an intolerable rent increase by its landlord, Columbia University. Subsequently, Youngman Kim donated his 30,000+ DVD and video rentals to Columbia University Libraries' Butler Media Collection. Now comes word that Mondo Kim's (St. Marks Place) rental collection is headed to a not-so-local non-library, the town of Salemi, Sicily, where all 55,000 films will be screened at the "Neverending Festival". Vanishing New York has some nice coverage of their impending cross-Atlantic journey. The remaining, non-rental portion of Mondo Kim's is moving to a new location on 1st Avenue. Kim's Video on Avenue A closed in 2004 and the Christopher Street store is no longer owned by Mr. Kim.