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Library in the News: August Recap Edition

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There were ample headlines about the Library of Congress in August that really gave a flavor of the institution’s collections, people and mission.

Leading the way was a great feature in Delta’s Sky Magazine on the Library’s use of technology to preserve the nation’s past and future.

At a time when so many libraries are suffering, the people who work at massive national libraries remain busier than ever,” said reporter Steve Marsh. “At the important, historically charged U.S. Library of Congress, they’re using advanced technology to solve the cultural mysteries of the past.”

Continuing to make news was the Library’s list of “books that shaped America.”

NPR’s Lynn Neary spoke with Mark Dimunation, chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, about the process of assembling the collection.

More than creating an ultimate, perfect list, the goal was to spark conversations about the significance of literature,” Dimunation said.

He also talked about some of his favorite books on the list, including “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” The Bible and “The Catcher in the Rye.”

In her story for the Tampa Bay Times, reporter Colette Bancroft said, “Influence is a difficult thing to measure, but the list, compiled by ‘curators and experts’ at the Library of Congress and winnowed from a much longer list to create a reasonably sized physical exhibit, certainly consists of books that have made an impact — on our society, on our government, on our daily lives, on our imaginations.”

August seemed to be a big month for highlighting some interesting photo collections from the Library. The Huffington Post looked at a series of portraits showing bulldogs in costume. On its Planet Money Blog, NPR featured images showing how currency was made a century ago.

The Library’s online collection of Civil War portraits includes many unidentified individuals. One of the goals of the collection is to solve those mysteries where possible. The Washington Post ran a story on one such ID – of Confederate soldier Stephen Pollard.

He is a wild-haired young man with an intense look, two pistols in his belt and what looks like a short musket in his hands,” wrote Michael E. Ruane. “His face is familiar and has been reprinted in books and used in a famous documentary about the Civil War.

And it turned out that the identity had been known in Georgia but apparently not far beyond,” he continued.

Also running the story was the New York Daily News, KASU (Arkansas State University radio) and NPR.

With August came the 100th anniversary of when U.S.-made movies earned their own copyright designation. The Library’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation houses the nation’s greatest collection of early film and works to preserve past and present works for future generations.

“Congress carved out a film copyright designation on Aug. 24, 1912, and within weeks, filmmakers were registering their dramas, documentaries and comedies,” wrote Anthony McCartney in his story for the Associated Press, which was also picked up by the Washington Post, Northwester, Yahoo and the New Haven Register among other outlets. “The vaults at the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va., represent decades of work by copyright officials to not only protect the rights of filmmakers but also preserve their movies for future generations.”

And last, but certainly not least, PBS Newshour did a picture slideshow presentation on its website featuring Library presidential campaign materials. Highlighted were political cartoons, sheet music and photographs relating to William Henry Harrison, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge, among others.




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