Annual Friends of the Rare Book Room Lecture: Writing the Body

Annual Friends of the Rare Book Room Lecture: Writing the Body

Date: April 23, 2014

Time: 5:30 PM Lecture at 6:00p.m.; light refreshments at 5:30 p.m.

Special reception and exhibit for current Friends of the Rare Book Room immediately following the lecture.

Speakers: Bill Hayes

Location: The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029

As the New York Times has noted, “Bill Hayes has an unusual set of skills: part science writer, part memoirist, part culture explainer.” The author of three works of narrative nonfiction as well as numerous essays for the Times and other publications, he has gone to unusual lengths in pursuit of his subjects. Hayes spent a year studying anatomy alongside medical students for his acclaimed book The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy and he is now at work on a history of exercise, titled Sweat, for which he is delving into the life of 16th-century physician and early exercise advocate Girolamo Mercuriale. For the 2014 Friends of the Library lecture, Hayes will retrace his steps in researching his books and discuss the varying approaches he has taken in writing about the human body.

About the Speakers

The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction 2013-14, Bill Hayes is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of three books: Sleep Demons: An Insomniac’s Memoir; Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood; and The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy. He is currently at work on two new books, both to be published by Bloomsbury USA/UK: Sweat: A History of Exercise, and Insomniac City, a collection of his essays about New York. Together with the Guggenheim, he was recently awarded a grant from the Leon Levy Foundation. Hayes has served as a guest lecturer at Stanford, NYU, UCSF, and at the Bay Area History of Medicine Club, and has taught writing workshops at UCSF Medical School and The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. He lives in New York City.

Registration Information

Cost: Free, but advanced registration is required

via Annual Friends of the Rare Book Room Lecture: Writing the Body.

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Bookstores in Seattle Soar, and Embrace an Old Nemesis: –

Bookstores in Seattle Soar, and Embrace an Old Nemesis:


Abbie Barronian, left, and Ellie Graves browsed at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. The store last year turned its first substantial profit in nearly 20 years. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

SEATTLE — A love of books and bookstores runs deep in the sinews of this city, where gray skies and drizzle can drive a person to drink, or read, or both. A long-running annual survey ranks Seattle the country’s second-most literate big city, behind Washington, D.C., as measured by things like the number of bookstores, library resources, newspaper circulation and education. Inc. also calls Seattle home. And in recent years, as many small independent bookstores here and around the nation struggled or closed their doors, owners often placed blame for their plight on the giant online retailer’s success in delivering best sellers at discount prices, e-readers and other commodities of the digital marketplace.

“They seem to be after everyone and everything,” one Seattle-area bookstore owner, Roger Page, fulminated on his store’s blog last year. He added, “I believe there is a real chance that they will ruin the publishing world.” Read more…


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LPC Evaluating Rizzoli Interior | Save Rizzoli




As recently reported, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is now considering an 11th hour appeal to landmark Rizzoli Bookstore’s historic interior. Although the LPC had previously evaluated the exterior of the building, their evaluation report did not examine the interior.  Yet, in the wake of enormous public outrage over the building’s proposed demolition and a recent press conference where Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and leading preservationists called for reforming the Commission, the LPC has finally decided the interior warrants review.

When news broke in January that Vornado and LeFrak planned to demolish the three historic former Piano Row buildings on 57th Street, preservationists scrambled to mount a campaign to save them. Previously, Community Board 5 had voted unanimously in 2007 that these buildings should be landmarked, and City Council Member Daniel Garodnick had requested the Landmarks Preservation Commission designate the building a historic landmark. While the majority of preservation efforts have thus far focused on designating the exquisite facades of 29, 31, 33 W 57th Street, the very fine interior of 31 W 57th Street deserves special consideration.

To date, the petition to landmark the Rizzoli building has received over 16,000 signatures. The petition’s official objective seeks to “designate 31 West 57th Street as an individual and interior landmark.” As of 2014, over 31,000 buildings have been landmarked in New York City. However, landmark designation for interiors is rare. Since the Landmarks Law was signed in 1965, there have only been 115 interior landmark designations. Read more…


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Daily What?! The NYPL Has George Washington’s 1757 Recipe for Beer | Untapped Cities

We just came across this find at the New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. It’s George Washington’s “Recipe for Small Beer” from his 1757 notebook. Read more…


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Harvard discovers three of its library books are bound in human flesh | Roadtrippers

Harvard discovers three of its library books are bound in human flesh

There’s something undeniably creepy about big, expansive libraries. The hushed whispers, the almost artificial quiet, and the smell of dusty tomes combine to create a surreal experience. But when it comes to creepy libraries, Harvard University might take the cake… you see, three of its books are bound in human skin.

A few years ago, three separate books were discovered in Harvard University’s library that had particularly strange-looking leather covers. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that the smooth binding was actually human flesh… in one case, skin harvested from a man who was flayed alive. Yep, definitely the creepiest library ever. Read more…

Received 4th April 2014:

You recently shared a story on Harvard Library owning volumes allegedly bound in sheepskin. We would like to provide some followup info for you to share with your readers. New testing by an expert at Harvard has shown that a book widely reported to be bound in human skin is in fact bound in sheepskin. If you’d like to follow up on the original post, please see info on the testing at the Harvard Law Library’s blog here:
Thank you,

Kate Kondayen

Communications Officer

The Harvard Library

T: 617-496-1519

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New Top 10 Reasons Why Libraries are still Important – Stephen’s Lighthouse New

Top 10 Reasons Why Libraries are still Important?

“Most of people predict that the digital age will wipe public bookshelves clean and permanently end the centuries-old era of libraries. Despite their perceived obsolescence in the digital age both libraries and librarians are irreplaceable for many reasons. Well! Some of the reasons are listed below:

1. Not Everything is Available on the Internet

Amazing amount of useful information on the web has engendered the false assumption that everything can be found online. But it’s simply not true.

2. Digital Libraries are not the Internet

Online library collections are different and typically include materials that have been published via rigorous editorial processes and are riddled with quantitative analysis instead of opinion. Types of materials include books, documents, newspapers, journals, magazines and reports which are digitized then stored and indexed through a limited-access database. Read more…


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How Public Libraries Are Solving America’s Reading Problem


We have a reading problem in the United States.  It’s not that people aren’t reading: in fact the Pew Research Center reports that 76% of adults have read a book in the past year.  Even kids are reading – and some studies suggest that millennials are more likely to read literature than previous generations.  The problem is choice.  Readers are drowning in books.

Too Many Books, Not Enough Time

11,022 books were published in 1950.  That number may sound quaint today, but it’s still a large number.  Read one book a week for sixty years, and you’ll still leave two-thirds of those titles untouched.  Consider then, the jaw-dropping 978,701 titles Bowker told me were published or self-published in 2012.   There’s some double counting in that number (print and eBook copies of the same title have separate ISBNs) but it is terrifying, nonetheless.

The influence of bookstores has changed appreciably since Borders bankruptcy: just 20% of frequent readers say they found their last book from a bookstore in 2012, down dramatically from 32% in 2010 according to Peter Hildick-Smith at the Codex Group. (Contrary to popular belief, bookstores are not disappearing en masse.  Publisher’s Weekly reports 12,703 bookstores in 2013 versus census data counting 12,751 bookstores and news dealers in 2002. )

Online retailers like Amazon have not filled this gap.  Just 7% of readers found their last book at an online retailer: a number that has barely budged in the last three years.

Meanwhile, At The Library

Libraries managed tightening budgets successfully through the last decade. Americans made 5.3 visits per person to public libraries in 2010 according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  This continued a ten-year trend that saw library visits increase by over twenty percent.  Libraries also lent 2.46 billion materials in the same year: more than 8 lends for every American.  Finally, libraries increased in relevance as centers for book discovery.  Last year, 2.9% of frequent readers said they’d discovered their last book at a library, a big jump from 1.8% in 2010 (data also from the Codex Group).

Read more…

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Vatican library plans to digitise 82,000 of its most valuable manuscripts – Telegraph

A 1,600-year-old manuscript featuring the poems of Virgil is among the collection being digitised by the Vatican Apostolic Library with the help of a Japanese IT firm

An illustration of the Dante’s Divina Commedia realized by artist Sandro Botticelli in the XV century recently digitalised Photo: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana/Reuters

A rare Roman manuscript featuring the poems of Virgil dating back to 400AD is among thousands of historic items the Vatican’s library plans to publish online.

Vatican Apostolic Library, founded in 1451 and considered one of the world’s most important research libraries, is hoping in the next four years to archive its entire collection of 82,000 manuscripts, comprising more than 41 million pages.

The €8 million (£7 million) project will mean that the Roman Catholic Church’s most precious documents will be available to the public for the first time.

A woman works with a scanner in the Vatican Library (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)

 Read more….

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ALA Leadership Institute Participants Continue to Benefit | American Libraries Magazine

Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2014 – 12:40

Last August, 40 librarians gathered at the Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca, Illinois, to participate in the first ALA Leadership Institute. Facilitated by ALA past-president Maureen Sullivan and Association of College and Research Llibraries content strategist Kathryn Deiss, the group learned about models of leadership and group dynamics, and shared ideas and research. They covered such essential issues as leading in turbulent times, interpersonal competence, power and influence, the art of convening groups, and creating a culture of inclusion, innovation, and transformation.

“It was a think tank of 40 professional librarians who were as passionate as I am about their careers, clientele and purpose…an empowering learning experience that left me committed to applying what I learned,” Rayburne “Ray” J. Turner, assistant branch manager/reference services manager at Otranto Road Regional Branch-Charleston County Public Library in North Charleston, South Carolina told ALA. “The Institute helped me to identify my personal strengths and allowed me to examine my areas of needed growth as a leader, while also allowing me to help the other 39 individual do the same in a collective body through examination of theories, methodologies and individual case studies.”


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Americans Still Love Their Libraries

Children use computers at a library in Washington, D.C. David Kidd/Governing

More than two-thirds of Americans like their public libraries and use them often, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. The Pew analysis suggests that new forms of information technology are enhancing people’s experience of libraries, rather than substituting for them. Even among Americans who don’t use libraries, many maintain positive views of them anyway.

“We’ve touched the vast percentage of our communities and have drawn strong support,” said Jamie LaRue, former director of the Douglas County library system in Colorado and a proponent of having libraries publish e-books. LaRue said he hoped the Pew report would signal to government officials across the country that libraries continue to play a critical role at certain stages in people’s lives. For instance, more than half of library users say libraries are important for helping them find and apply for jobs. Read more…

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