Library in the News: September 2014 Edition

On Sept. 10, the Library opened the exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.” Covering the opening were outlets including the National Newspapers Publishing Association, the Examiner and regional outlets from New York to Alabama.

“A few things set this exhibition apart from the multitude of this year’s commemorations,” wrote Jazelle Hunt for NNPA. “The Library draws from its exclusive archives of the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, James Forman of SNCC, the recently borrowed Rosa Park’ papers, and more.

“But what truly distinguishes the Library of Congress’ exhibition is that it ventures well beyond stock narratives of sit-ins and Freedom Rides.”

“The Library of Congress‘ new exhibit, ‘The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom,’ is an absolute must-see for everyone, black or white, male or female, old or young — especially those too young to have lived through this era,” wrote Marsha Dubrow for the Examiner. “The exhibit vividly illuminates that long struggle, and inspires and lights the long struggle ahead.”

One of the civil rights leaders featured in the exhibition is Rosa Parks. In September, the Library announced that her papers would be housed in the institution for the next 10 years, thanks to a loan from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, with some of the items incorporated into the Library’s exhibition.

USA Today spoke with auctioneer Arlan Ettinger, who helped facilitate the purchase by Buffett of the collection. He said he was gratified that the Library of Congress would be the next stop for Parks’ papers.

“The Buffett Foundation wasn’t acquiring this to put into their vaults, this was an acquisition to do the right thing,” Ettinger said.

Also running stories were ABC, the Associated Press, the Detroit News, the New York Times arts blog and Politico.

Many of the items on display in “The Civil Rights Act of 1964″ exhibition are photographs. They are only a small sampling of the Library’s photographic collections, which cover a wide variety of subjects. Last year, the Library published an e-book featuring some of these. VOA recently talked with the book’s photo editor, Aimee Hess.

“A lot of readers …  have said they had no idea that the Library of Congress had images like this. … We wanted people to realize that we have these in our collection, and that these images are for everybody, they’re for the public,” she said. “The bulk of the book are these unknown photographers, and their photographic contributions are just as important and just as interesting and compelling as these household names, so I think it’s really nice that we’re giving them their due.”

Mark Murrmann of Mother Jones also spent time perusing the Library’s photo collections to highlight several images of interest.

Speaking of taking creative license with the Library’s photo collections, artist Kevin Weir creates ghostly gifs using historical black-and-white photos he finds in the institution’s online archive. According to Colossal, a blog that explores art and visual culture, Weir is “deeply drawn to what he calls ‘unknowable places and persons,’ images with little connection to present day that he can use as blank canvas for his weird ideas.”

On Sept. 25, Poet Laureate Charles Wright kicked off the literary season at the Library by presenting his inaugural lecture. Susan Page of USA Today caught up with him to talk about his new job.

When asked, “Why does poetry matter?” he said, “I know why it matters to me. I can’t speak for anyone else. It changed my life. It gave me some valve for the emotional longings that I had as a young man and helped me bring together various independent thoughts that I had. It was very important to me, and I always had a love of language, which is the first thing you have to have if you want to write poems. You’ve got to love the language. And you’ve got to be good at finding new ways of using it.”

Wright also spoke with the Associated Press: “I’m at a stage in my life and career where I don’t need this, but I’m happy to have it if they want me.”

Library in the News: August 2014 Edition

In August, the Library of Congress was busy with exhibitions and expositions, opening “American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years” on Aug. 14 and hosting the 14th annual National Book Festival on Aug. 30. “At the company’s heart was ballet theater, a physical way of creating a new world onstage,” wrote Sarah Kaufman […]

Library in the News: July 2014 Edition

The Library of Congress had two major announcements in July, featuring well-known public figures, that garnered several headlines. Billy Joel was named the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Stories ran in Rolling Stone, the Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Today Show. Joel was also featured as […]

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 […]

Library in the News: May 2014 Edition

As May came to an end, so did the second and final term of Natasha Trethewey as U.S. Poet Laureate. She gave her final lecture at the Library of Congress on May 14. “At the Library of Congress on Wednesday night, Trethewey began, as she often does, with her personal history and then moved into […]

Stay Up With a Good Book, Too –

The author lineup for the 2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival is growing all the time, building excitement for the free event being held Saturday, August 30 from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Yes, that’s right, a 12-hour day in a new venue, with all the features […]

Library in the News: April 2014 Edition

The Library made several major announcements in April, including new additions to the National Recording Registry. The addition of the 25 new recordings to the National Recording Registry brings the list to a total of 400 sound recordings. Among the new selections were Jeff Buckley’s haunting single “Hallelujah” from his one and only studio album; […]

Adiós, Gabo

One of the most popular features in the Library of Congress Pavilion at the Library’s National Book Festival is a whiteboard on which you can write the name of a book.  Some years we ask for your favorite book.  Some years we ask what book shaped the world.  People stand a few feet back, ponder, […]

Letter to the Editor

(The following is a guest post by Barbara Bair, historian in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.) While life posed many setbacks for Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919), he proved himself a man who met challenges and seized his opportunities. When it came to the Spanish American War in 1898, Roosevelt carefully devised public acclaim as a […]

E.L. Doctorow Awarded American Fiction Prize

E. L. Doctorow, author of such critically acclaimed novels as “Ragtime,” “World’s Fair,” “Billy Bathgate,” “The March” and his current novel, “Andrew’s Brain,” is the second recipient of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. He will receive the award during this year’s National Book Festival, scheduled for Aug. 30 at the Walter E. Washington […]