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Library in the News: July 2015 Edition

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The Library’s announcement of Willie Nelson as the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Music dominated the headlines in July, with more than 1,000 news stories running nationally and internationally.

“His voice, seemingly worn by time and burdened by experience even in his earliest recordings, attracted new audiences to country,” reported David Morgan for CBS News. “But Nelson also served as a major innovator – expanding the genre of country itself by exploring the language of blues, jazz, folk, rock and Latin, while also sparking a new sound: ‘outlaw country.”

Blog austin360 called Nelson the “patron saint of Austin” and offered up some interested stats on his career that paved the way for many distinctions, including the Gershwin Prize.

Outlets including Rolling Stone, USA Today, Hollywood Reporter, New York Times, PBS Newshour and the Los Angeles Times, among many others, ran news of Nelson’s recognition.

A regular headline in the news has been the work being done out at the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation. In July, Wired Magazine highlighted the facility’s work in preserving nitrate film, among other things.

“Arriving at the Library through a combination of private donations and official purchases, these nitrate films represent a small fraction of its 1.4 million movie, television, and video recordings,” wrote Bryan Gardiner. “Still, they’re without a doubt some of the oldest and most important.

Speaking of headlines, a story in touted “Never-Before-Seen Pictures and Anecdotes from the Creation of ‘Little Shop of Horrors!'” – and the images were from the Library. The story by Logan Culwell featured a variety of images from the Library’s Howard Ashman Collection. Ashman was the musical’s lyricist, playwright and Broadway director.

According to the Culwell, this story was one of many to come offering “an unprecedented look behind the scenes at landmark musicals through writers’ handwritten drafts and other rarities archived within the Music Division of the Library of Congress.” also highlighted a musical story from the Library’s collections, featuring a Library blog post written about “The Sound of Music.” Through letters in the Oscar Hammerstein collection, the story (and the Library’s blog) reveal the story of Sister Gregory of Rosary College, who was instrumental in helping to create one of the most well-known and well-loved musicals of a generation.

In June, the Library opened a new exhibition on the Bay Psalm Book, which was featured in the July issue of Fine Books & Collections Magazine.

“The first thing visitors behold upon entering the exhibit space is a case containing two copies of the Bay Psalm Book (1640), the first book printed in colonial America, of which only eleven survive,” wrote Rebecca Rego Barry. “On the left sits the Library of Congress copy–worn and incomplete, but in its original binding. It is a remarkable pairing, and any bibliophile might be pleased to make the trip for it alone.”

Continuing to make news were educators participating in its Teaching With Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institutes. Regional outlets from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, California and Washington, among others, announced local teachers who would be attending.

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