LC in the News: June 2014 Edition

The Library of Congress welcomed Charles Wright as the institution’s 20th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2014-2015. Several major news outlets ran stories.

“Our next poet laureate may end up speaking on behalf of the more private duties of the poet — contemplation, wisdom, searching — rather than public ones,” said reporter Craig Morgan Teicher for NPR. “While he might not be planning to pound the national pavement during his laureate year, Wright has plenty to tell us if he lets his poems do the talking.”

“Mr. Wright, who along with his wife, Holly, a photographer, spends part of every summer at a remote cabin in northwest Montana without a telephone, said he would devote some time over the next few months to pondering his new public role,” wrote the New York Times’ Jennifer Schuessler.

Washington Post reporter Ron Charles spoke with Librarian of Congress James H. Billington on his selecting Wright as Poet Laureate. “As I was reading through the finalists, I always kept returning to this man who wrote so beautifully and movingly about important things without self-importance but with extraordinary skill and beauty.”

In other literary news, the Library also announced in June that approximately 1,000 pages of love letters between 29th U.S. President Warren G. Harding and his mistress, Carrie Fulton Phillips, will be opened July 29 with an event July 22.

Running stories were Politico and USA Today.

Continuing the make headlines are the Library’s audio-visual initiatives and preservation efforts.

The institution recently acquired a video archive of thousands of hours of interviews—The HistoryMakers—that captures African-American life, history and culture as well as the struggles and achievements of the black experience.

“Julieanna Richardson, the founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers, said the Library of Congress was the ideal home for the project,” wrote Tanzina Vega of the New York Times. “‘The slaves will now be joined with their progeny,”’ Ms. Richardson added, in reference to the library’s slave narratives archives, which include more than 2,300 first-person accounts that the Works Progress Administration collected in the 1930s.”

CBS Evening and Morning News also ran a story.

The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Preservation makes regular appearances in the news. CNN reported on its efforts to convert historical analog sound recordings and moving images into digital format in order to preserve them for the future.

“It’s an exhaustive job. Between 1.5 million film, television and video items, and another 3.5 million sound recordings, the 114 staff members here have their work cut out for them” wrote John Bena for CNN. “Collecting and cataloging over 120 years of recorded American history may seem to be a daunting task. But the preservation of these deteriorating items is currently one of the most pressing missions for the library.”

Speaking of early recordings, Boise Weekly reported on the Library’s efforts to make those available online. “The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has been ahead of the curve on this trend, placing many of its vast resources on the web, including a gorgeous collection of early video recordings, many of which are well over a century old.” The story included several video clips, including a Sioux Indian dance and Annie Oakley shooting targets.

And, thanks to IRENE, a digital-imaging device, the Library has made strides in preserving sound as well. The Atlantic delved into how the device works and the various  mediums the Library has been able to preserve.

See It Now: Our Fourth President

On June 28, 1836, President James Madison passed away at age 85 – the last of the nation’s Founding Fathers. His public service had a symmetry to it. He had served in several positions, each for eight years: first as a member of Congress, followed by the same span as Secretary of State, then finally […]

Let’s Get Pinning!

Today the Library of Congress launched its own Pinterest account, continuing efforts to make educational, historical and cultural resources available to web users across many platforms. With Pinterest, the Library can share visual content with a wide audience, allowing them to also curate their own collections featuring the same content by creating and managing “boards” […]

InRetrospect: May 2014 Blogging Edition

Inside Adams: Science, Technology and Business Oh, Oology! Caliology and oology are the study of bird nests and eggs, respectively. In the Muse: Performing Arts Blog Best Buddies, or Just Goethe Friends? Tchaikovsky and Brahms share a birthday, among other things. In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress I Could Not Accept Your Challenge to […]

Library Launches Portal For Civil Rights History Project

(The following is a story written by my colleague, Mark Hartsell, editor of The Gazette, the Library of Congress staff newsletter.) Simeon Wright still recalls the terror of the night they came and took his cousin away. “I woke up and saw these two white men standing at the foot of my bed,” Wright said. […]

Library Welcomes New Blog, NLS Music Notes

The Library adds another blog into its blogosphere today. Welcome NLS Music Notes. The blog is designed to share information about the services of the Music Section of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and its special format music collection: in braille, large print and audio. The blog will highlight the […]

Inquiring Minds: Commemorating the Federal Writers’ Project

David A. Taylor is the author of “Soul of a People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America” and writer and co-producer of the Smithsonian documentary, “Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story.” On Thursday, he joins others at the Library for an event marking the 75th anniversary of “These Are Our Lives,” a collection […]

Go See “Now See Hear!” Now

Today the Library adds another entry in its growing family of blogs. “Now See Hear!” gives our specialists in the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center a place to showcase some of the amazing treasures of our national audiovisual heritage. This is a place where Fugazi, Louis Armstrong, Jack Benny, Carole King, Buck Owens, […]

National Recording Registry: Open to Your Nominations

(The following is a guest post by Steve Leggett, program coordinator for the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.) In the weeks since announcing the annual 25 additions to the National Recording Registry the Library has been asked a few questions about rap and hip-hop and its representation on the list. These […]