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LC in the News: October 2015 Edition

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In October, the Library of Congress celebrated a major milestone – Chronicling America, a free, online searchable database of historic U.S. newspapers, posted its 10 millionth page. To mark the milestone, the Library published a series of lists on its social media featuring interesting and off-beat content from the online archive. Several outlets picked up the stories or utilized the resource for lists of their own.

The Atlantic called the resource “one of the best time capsules online.”

“The database is a rich resource, but it’s also the best kind of Internet rabbit hole: You go in looking for one thing, and encounter a dozen fascinating oddities along the way,” wrote reporter Adrienne Lafrance.

“It took about eight years for Chronicling America, a database of historically significant American newspapers launched by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, to log its 10 millionth newspaper page—not too long considering it took decades for all that news to happen,” wrote Lily Rothman for Time.  Included in the story were headlines from 10 major moments in American history.

Washington Post reporter Abby Ohlheiser said, “I am very grateful that the Library of Congress’s researchers found this gem of a debate in their archives this week,” following a post on a series of cat-related headlines, including one on a “bitter war being waged over felines.”

The Atlantic’s City Lab came up with its own list on the history of happy hour.

The Los Angeles Times looked at newspapers from California in the digitized collection and highlighted some of the news of bygone days.

“Small moments, those, but such minutiae make up most people’s lives,” wrote reporter Scott Martelle. “And it’s fascinating to trace the arc back decades, distilling context for how we live today.”

The Daily Oklahoman highlighted the contribution of the Oklahoma Historical Society’s contribution of 300,000 historical state newspapers that are part of the collection.

“Chronicling America’s success in bringing historic Oklahoma newspapers to life was a turning point for the Oklahoma Historical Society’s mission to collect, preserve and share the history of the state of Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Historical Society Director of Research Chad Williams.

In other collection news, the Library acquired photographer Robert Dawson’s images of public libraries.

“His extensive visual survey can help us understand the varied and changing roles of public libraries today, in all their different sizes and locations, from storefront rooms to grand civic spaces; from crowded book mobiles to cutting edge designs,” Helena Zinkham, Library of Congress director for collections and services, told Hyperallergic. She added that a “hundred years from now, the survey will still be a valuable mirror. The future viewers will just be looking at the images from their own frame of reference and be able to notice more than we might today, such as which kinds of buildings and services endured; which disappeared; and which were preserved as reminders of another era, of library roots.”

Time also ran a piece and included several images from the collection.

Also in October, David Mao began serving as acting Librarian of Congress. Both American Libraries Magazine and the GW Hatchet (the newspaper of Mao’s alma mater The George Washington University) caught up him to discuss his new role.

“There are lots of opportunities here at the Library of Congress, so interested students should look into what we have available and consider working here because it really is a fabulous institution,” Mao told the GW Hatchet. “If you work hard, stay focused and strive for a particular goal, then you will eventually get there.”

 Also recently appointed, or awarded as it were, was the 2015 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity. Recipients were Jürgen Habermas and Charles Margrave Taylor. The Washington Diplomat covered the ceremony.

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