Library in the News: November 2016 Edition

Smokey Robinson made headlines as the Library celebrated his work and career during the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song celebration concert.

“Amid multiple standing ovations from an audience filled with political dignitaries at DAR Constitution Hall, the Motown star reflected on his humble Detroit roots as he accepted the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” wrote Brian McCollum for the Detroit Free Press.

Robinson had previously spoken with McCollum about the honor on the eve of the concert.

“If I’m being even mentioned in the same breath with the Gershwins — whose music is everlasting — then that’s a crowning achievement for me as a songwriter. I want to be Beethoven, man. I want to be Bach, Chopin,” he said. “Five hundred years from now, they’ll still be playing Smokey Robinson music: If possible, that’s what I want to be. So this is the first step.”

“Robinson’s songs — whether written for himself and the Miracles or other Motown artists — have soundtracked so many lives because of their emotional universality. They transcend time, space, performer and genre, and the event was programmed to illustrate that fact,” said Chris Kelly for The Washington Post.

In a special video presentation, the Post featured fans reminiscing on their favorite Smokey Robinson songs and how his music affected their lives.

“The audience sang and clapped along to “My Girl,” the night’s show closer, as a testament to Robinson’s enduring compositions,” reported Joshua Barajas for PBS NewsHour.

Other stories ran on CBS, WTOP, Billboard and Broadway World, among others.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden continued to make headlines in November.

“At different times in the library’s history, the people who have served as Librarian of Congress—scholars, librarians, lawyers—have each brought different skills,” she says. “As a librarian, I might have experiences to bring as the library faces a new part of its history, and a lot of that has to do with technology and accessibility,” Hayden told Greg Landgraf of American Libraries Magazine.

Hayden also spoke with Rebecca Sutton of NEA Arts Magazine. “I’m just discovering the depth of the collection. I think the arts community would be very pleased by the treasures here. I’m looking at photography books now: One’s a book on lighthouses; there are others on canals, dance, furniture, documentary. It’s like being in a treasure chest,” Hayden said. “It’s a beautiful place, but it has beautiful things too. Not just beautiful, but things that make you think.”

Eric Weibel, kid reporter for Scholastic, sat down with Hayden to talk about the Library and her thoughts on children’s literature and literacy.

The Librarian also spoke with Maryland Public Television. You can see the interview beginning at the 16:16 mark.

The Library’s Veterans History Project also received media coverage in November.

Michael Ruane of The Washington Post wrote a story about the project’s online presentation, “The Art of War.”

“The collection highlights the art of servicemen and women whose only canvas was the paper they might have in their pockets,” he wrote. “It captures the mundane and dreary aspects of war, as well as the dignity of its participants, and the drama of its battles.”

Several regional outlets shared stories of collecting efforts, including New Hampshire Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune, The Sentinel Record and Tucson News Now.

Pic of the Week: A&E Makes Donation to VHP

Staff from A&E Networks’ HISTORY stopped by the Library this week to donate interviews from some of our nation’s oldest World War II veterans — specifically those who witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the eve of the attack’s anniversary, these stories offer meaningful testimony to the American entry into World War II. These 25 […]

New Online: Presidents, Teachers & More Website Updates

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.)  Presidential Collections With the next presidential inauguration quickly approaching, we’ve updated a popular presentation from our old American Memory site on U.S. presidential inaugurations: “I Do Solemnly Swear…” A Resource Guide highlights items from the Library’s collections such as […]

Ladies Behind the Lens

(The following is an article, written by Brett Carnell and Helena Zinkham of the Prints and Photographs Division, for the November/December 2016 Library of Congress Magazine.) “If one is the possessor of health and strength, a good news instinct … a fair photographic outfit, and the ability to hustle, which is the most necessary qualification, […]

World War I: “Trench Blues” — An African American Song of the War

(The following is a guest post written by Stephanie Hall of the American Folklife Center.) In 1934, folklorist John Lomax and his 19-year-old son Alan went to southern Louisiana to collect folksongs and music in many styles from several ethnic groups in English and French. Among the songs in the resulting collection is “Trench Blues,” a […]

The Power of Photography

(The following is a feature story from the November/December 2016 Library of Congress Magazine, LCM, that was written by Helena Zinkham, director of the Library’s Collections and Services Directorate and chief of the Prints and Photographs Division. You can read the issue in its entirety here.)  What do Marilyn Monroe, Civil War soldiers and the Wright Brothers […]

Pic of the Week: Smokey Robinson

The two-day celebration of Smokey Robinson’s 50-year career—and his selection as the 2016 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song—began in the nation’s capital with a touching trip down the keyboard of George Gershwin’s piano and ended with a rollicking concert of his greatest hits. During his visit, Robinson sat down […]

What Time Is It?

With the recent “fall back” of daylight saving time, we had to reset our clocks and maybe our brains to get used to the change. And, if you’re someone that conducts business in different time zones, that adjustment can take additional getting used to. I know I always have trouble remembering how far ahead or behind […]

Gwen Ifill, a History-Tracker and a HistoryMaker

Those who appreciate high-quality broadcast news were saddened today to learn of the passing of longtime PBS NewsHour co-host and Washington Week moderator Gwen Ifill. The former New York Times, Washington Post and NBC News political, congressional and White House reporter, 61, had been under treatment for cancer. She and her NewsHour co-host Judy Woodruff […]

Writing the Great Novel

November is National Novel Writing Month. Perhaps you’ve heard of, or even signed up for, the NaNoWriMo movement. Encouraging individuals to write and complete a 50,000-word novel from November 1-30, the nonprofit movement provides support, inspiration and community for budding writers to pick up that pen or open that laptop. To date, more than 9 […]