Category Archives: Library of Congress

Ask Roger Anything, Solstice Edition

Now that it’s summer (or winter, depending), it is time to Ask Roger Anything. Oh, but wait – I’m distracted by somebody who recently noted that if people from space came to Earth, they might conclude the South Pole is the top of the world and the North Pole is on the bottom; after all there is a large land mass. Or maybe they’d pick some point on the equator or the Tropic of Cancer. Is our sense of top and bottom somewhat arbitrary?

Usually I do this because I’m afraid I’ll run out of things to write about. This is not the case presently; I have three or four blogposts re my trip to North Carolina alone. I am, though, having trouble actually composing them, or even deciding if I should. Answering YOUR questions gives me opportunity to muse on them some more.

Anyway, I already have a question from SB: “So perhaps you’ve already written about this, but I’d be interested to hear how libraries continue to change and evolve with stuff like Twitter and Facebook. Do libraries have their own Facebook badges? Is that – gasp! – allowed?”

Our library has a Facebook page, which is fueled in part from our blog feed. We have a Twitter feed that keeps both our blog and our website fresh. Our Facebook badge is a variation on the SBDC logo.

I’ve seen over 1000 libraries on both Twitter and Facebook, and I’d guesstimate that there are tens of thousands of librarians who are on one or both of the sites; I am on those, LinkedIn and a couple others.

The Library of Congress has over 10,000 followers but is following, last I checked, no one. At least the Library Journal is following a couple hundred while it is followed by over 5,000. I – and apparently others – had contacted the LOC about this, and the folks responded, rather quickly, that were worried that there would be too much noise in the feed. I’m not sure I agree with their thought process.

So, any other questions, folks? Everything is on the table. Let your mind get creative.
ROG

The NAACP and Abraham Lincoln


Today marks the centennial of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The linkage to Lincoln was more than coincidental. Mary White Ovington, one of the founders, wrote in 1914: “In the summer of 1908, the country was shocked by the account of the race riots at Springfield, Illinois. Here, in the home of Abraham Lincoln, a mob containing many of the town’s ‘best citizens,’ raged for two days, killed and wounded scores of Negroes, and drove thousands from the city. Articles on the subject appeared in newspapers and magazines. Among them was one in the Independent of September 3rd, by William English Walling, entitled “Race War in the North.” She and others heard Wailing’s call to address the issue, and it was decided “that a wise, immediate action would be the issuing on Lincoln’s birthday of a call for a national conference on the Negro question.”

I will recommend to you the timeline of the organization’s history. You may also be interested in reading Chairman Julian Bond’s 2008 NAACP Convention speech, where among other things, he castigates virtually every US President of the 20th Century, save for LBJ, on the issue of race. I note this only in the context of those who believe that “freedom” was achieved in 1865 or shortly thereafter.

It feels to me, though, that the group is probably more known these days for its Image Awards (airing again tonight on FOX, feting Muhammad Ali) than for its import in the civil rights movement. The current president lays out the goals for the next century.
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This is also the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Has there been anyone in the last 1900 years written about more often?

So, I was interested to note that the Library of Congress will digitally scan “The Heroic Life of Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator” as the 25,000th book in its “Digitizing American Imprints” program, which scans aging ‘brittle’ books often too fragile to serve to researchers. The program is sponsored by a $2 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Library, which has contracted with the Internet Archive for digitization services, is combining its efforts with other libraries as part of the open content movement. The movement, which includes over 100 libraries, universities and cultural institutions, aims to digitize and make freely available public-domain books in a wide variety of subject areas.

All scanning operations are housed in the Library‚Äôs John Adams Building on Capitol Hill. Internet Archive staff work two shifts each day on 10 “Scribe” scanning stations. The operation can digitize up to 1,000 volumes each week. Shortly after scanning is complete, the books are available online at www.archive.org. Books can be read online or downloaded for more intensive study. The Library of Congress is actively working with the Internet Archive on the development of a full-featured, open-source page turner. A beta version, called the Flip Book, is currently available on the Internet Archive site.
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With Malice Toward None: Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition

ROG