Why Do Presidents Get Their Own #Libraries? | Atlas Obscura #POTUS #museums

In May, the Obama Foundation announced that Chicago will be the future location of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, which will include a library and museum. The center will become the 14th institution in the National Archives and Records Administration’s presidential library system, which includes centers dedicated to all presidents from Herbert Hoover onwards.

Over the years, millions of public and private dollars and ostensibly, man hours, have been spent curating these institutions. Which begs the question: why?

Franklin D. Roosevelt began this tradition when, in 1939, he decided to hand over his personal and presidential records to the federal government when leaving office. Two years later, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum was built in Hyde Park, New York to house these records. READ MORE: Why Do Presidents Get Their Own Libraries? | Atlas Obscura.

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy Books | io9

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy Books | io9

Russia Bans Cursing in Movies, Books, Music and Media | Mashable

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not f*cking around.

The president signed a new law on Monday that will prohibit cursing in music, books, movies and at entertainment events throughout the country as of July 1. Existing books, CDs and hard copies of movies that contain curse words provide a warning label about the obscene language. Anyone who breaks the law is subject to a fine.

via Russia Bans Cursing in Movies, Books, Music and Media | Mashable

Movie inspired by a painting, ‘Belle’ is a true story | USA Today

Wandering the grand halls of Scone Palace in Scotland you might stumble on a pretty portrait of two beautiful women in 18th-century clothes, seemingly affectionate sisters. Not so unusual — except one of the “sisters” is black.

Who is that, you might well wonder, as did Misan Sagay, then a young British college student of Nigerian descent, long accustomed to being the only black face in most British rooms. She stopped short upon spotting the painting while touring the palace near her university.

“I was stunned. And taken aback,” says Sagay, now in her 40s and a screenwriter (Their Eyes Were Watching God). The castle brochure named only the white woman in the portrait, Lady Elizabeth Murray. When she returned a few years later, Sagay says, there was more information on the label, naming the black woman as Dido, “the housekeeper’s daughter.”

“So the silent black woman had a name,” says Sagay. “But I looked at the portrait and the way they were touching, and thought, ‘I don’t buy this. There is more to this than meets the eye.’ ”

Indeed there was. Sagay dove into drafty palace archives to learn more, and years later the result is Belle, written on spec by Sagay, directed by Amma Asante, a British woman of Ghananian descent, and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw,a British woman of South African descent.

READ MORE: Movie inspired by a painting, ‘Belle’ is a true story | USA Today

Last chapter for many Environment Canada libraries | PostMedia | Canada.com

Full Post

Last chapter for many Environment Canada libraries

Books and reports from a Department of Fisheries library at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Mont Joli, Que., tossed into a dumpster, according to scientists distributing the photo.

Photograph by: HANDOUT , Postmedia News

Environment Canada has a phone number for its library in Calgary. But a meteorologist answers, and he can’t say what’s become of the books.

It’s a similar story in Edmonton and Quebec City where federal libraries, with shelves loaded with reference books and scientific reports on everything from beluga whales to songbirds, now exist only in name.

Environment Canada lists the libraries on its website but the books are long gone.

“It’s been moved to Saskatoon,” said a woman named Susan who picked up at the phone number for the Edmonton library. In Yellowknife an answering machine said the Environment Canada library “is closed.” And the number listed for the federal conservation and environment library in Winnipeg is no longer in service.

Environment Canada, like the department of Fisheries and Oceans, is closing and consolidating its science libraries to the dismay of some observers who worry valuable books and materials are being lost.

“My sense is that the Environment Canada policy has been to essentially hack one arm off to save the other,” said one scientist, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job. He said the big worry is the loss of so-called “grey literature” — material that hasn’t been widely published, with as few as one or two copies in existence — and historical reports on wildlife and the environment that exist nowhere else.

Environment Canada libraries in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Yellowknife have closed and the collections have been shipped to Saskatoon. A skeleton staff of one librarian and a couple of co-op students are said to be dealing with the consolidated collection in Saskatoon, which includes 650 boxes stashed in a “caged” storage areas awaiting sorting and cataloguing.

Several Environment Canada libraries in the East — including the ones in Quebec City and Sackville, N.B., have also been shuttered, others have been downsized, and some cases valuable materials has been tossed, scientists say.

Cuts to the federal science library programs have been underway for years but concern and controversy has grown as the books have been cleared off the shelves, with excess and outdated material landing in dumpsters. Peter Wells, an ocean pollution expert at Dalhousie University in Halifax, describes the closing of the DFO libraries as a “national tragedy.” And recent reports have likened it to burning books.

Barbara Clubb, interim executive director of the Canadian Library Association, said the group’s members are concerned. The reports of loss of access to valuable materials are “very, very worrying,” said Clubb.

The government defends the closures saying they are part of an effort to modernize its science libraries.

Environment Canada’s media office said in a statement Thursday that the department is closing and consolidating 12 libraries and reading rooms as part of a “modernization initiative” and “digitization plan.”

And Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans insisted this week that the closing of DFO libraries will save taxpayers’ money and not impact access.

“It is absolutely false to insinuate that any books were burnt,” Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said in a statement this week.

Seven DFO libraries across Canada, including two that have been amassing books and technical reports on the aquatic realm for more than a century, are being consolidated at two primary locations in Sidney, B.C., and Dartmouth, N.S.

Shea said duplicate materials were offered to other libraries. “They were also offered to the DFO staff on site at the library, then offered to the general public, and finally were recycled in a ‘green’ fashion if there were no takers,” the statement said.

Shea also said “the decision to consolidate our network of libraries was based on value for taxpayers.”

“An average of only five to 12 people who work outside of DFO visit our 11 libraries each year,” she said. “It is not fair to taxpayers to make them pay for libraries that so few people actually use.”

Science historian Jennifer Hubbard at Ryerson University in Toronto said Shea’s argument is misleading because people cannot “just waltz” into federal research libraries. Hubbard, who has worked extensively with the DFO collection, said a security pass is needed to visit the consolidated DFO library in Nova Scotia.

She also said it made “no economic sense” to close the brand new climate-controlled DFO library at the St. Andrews Biological Station in New Brunswick built by the Harper government at a cost of several million federal tax dollars.

Environment Canada media officer Danny Kingsberry said in the statement much work remains to be done as the department consolidates material from five staffed libraries, seven unstaffed reading rooms and material from retiring scientists who “leave their books, journals behind.”

“There are approximately 650 boxes of print material in a storage cage at the National Hydrology Research Centre in Saskatoon, where the Saskatoon library is located,” Kingsberry said.

“The bulk of it is transferred material from consolidated EC libraries and EC Programs that has not yet been reviewed by local library staff,” he said. “This material will be sorted and either added to the collection or not, based on the relevance of each item.”

Both DFO and Environment Canada have online library catalogues and will arrange interlibrary loans, but many federal librarian jobs have been eliminated with the libraries. Kingsberry said the plan is to digitize “rare, historical and ‘one-off’ ” holdings but it is not clear how long that costly job will take.

“What is the plan for digitization and how much is being done,” said Clubb, at the library association. The association is also looking for information on the government plan for ensuring “information professionals” are available to help people find and access material. “You can not get everything you need on Google, by any means,” said Clubb.

Hubbard agrees.

Claims by DFO that “all material has been scanned and made available online is simply untrue,” said Hubbard. She said she has been having trouble locating historic reports about East Coast marine science that were on the selves of DFO libraries that closed.

Hubbard and other researchers say historical data and reports are increasingly valuable given the change underway in the world’s ecosystems.

“DFO is dumping documents, including grey literature that exists in limited quantities, just at a point when fisheries biologists around the world have been turning to historical studies, data, and graphical information to reconstruct the effects of fishing and fisheries policies, and to document environmental change,” said Hubbard.

“The Department of the Environment’s scientists would similarly need to have access to older data and documents for doing historical time series to investigate environmental change in terms of populations, climate, etc, or even — ironically — potentially to critique some of the current scientific narratives of which the Conservative government is suspicious,” she said.

Environment Canada’s collections include reference materials like the 16-volume Handbook of the Birds of the World, historic photographs of glaciers in the Rockies and reports produced by federal scientists over the decades, some found nowhere else.

Insiders at Environment Canada say a lot of material was discarded as a result of the closures of the regional libraries and renovation and downsizing at the department’s reference library in Gatineau, Que. They said the loss includes dozens of boxes full of historical environmental reports and studies from around the world that had been translated for use by Canadians.

“They were immaculate translations,” said one scientist. While the original reports may still exist in foreign libraries, the translations are lost. “If you knew about the obscure Russian papers from the 1930s, the librarian could probably bring it in for you, but you’d have to read Russian.”



Nelson Mandela dies at 95: Five touchstone film moments about his life | EW.com

Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday at the age of 95. Imprisoned from 1962 to 1990, the former South African president (1994-1999) fought to abolish apartheid and worked to end poverty. Known as “The Father of a Nation” the celebrated leader was the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner and received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other honors.

It’s no surprise that his inspirational story has made its way to the big screen. In addition to the current film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is in theaters now, the South African leader has been the subject of several feature films and documentaries in recent years. Check out five iconic portrayals of Mandela in pop culture.

Read: Nelson Mandela dies at 95: Five touchstone film moments about his life | PopWatch | EW.com.

Readworthy: Amazon Drones News

FAA Reminds Us: The U.S. Has Approved One Commercial Drone Operator, And It’s Not Amazon | FastCompany
The federal aviation administration says it will establish drone regulations and standards in the coming years.

Amazon ‘drones’ stir up privacy concerns among lawmakers | CNET
Sen. Edward Markey says the Federal Aviation Administration needs to adopt privacy regulations before allowing services like Amazon Prime Air, which will use drones to deliver packages, to get off the ground.

Amazon drones: Bold experiment or shrewd publicity stunt? | CNET
Amazon faces a ton of hurdles when it comes to deploying delivery drones, but the idea isn’t as farfetched as it first might sound.

Amazon Prime Air drones revealed on 60 Minutes, aim to deliver in half an hour (video) | Engadget
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took to 60 Minutes to reveal the company’s latest delivery method: drones. In what is likely a cunning reminder of the e-tailer’s upcoming Cyber Monday sales, these bots will apparently be capable of delivering packages up to five pounds (86 percent of orders are apparently less than that), with the aim of getting them to your house in under half an hour. The system is called Prime Air and the octo-copter drones, which wait, ready to deliver, at the end of conveyor belts, have a range of 10 miles. As Amazon puts it, “Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance the technology and wait for the necessary FAA rulesand regulations” and Bezos himself added in the TV segment that it won’t be before 2015 at the very earliest. While it sounds like they”ll take their time to get here (if they ever do), we’ve at least got a video of the drones in action — it’s right after the break.

American Library Association Defends Banned Mexican American Studies Courses | Mashable

Librarians do not approve of Arizona’s battle against Mexican American Studies.

A group of 10 educational organizations, including the American Library Association, filed an amicus brief Monday in support of the lawsuit against Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal for quashing a controversial Mexican American Studies curriculum in Tucson. Some 48 teachers from across the country filed a second amicus brief defending the banned courses.

The educators argue that in passing legislation aimed at shutting down a progressive Mexican American Studies program, Arizona Republicans were guided by political goals rather than pedagogical ones.

Read: American Library Association Defends Banned Mexican American Studies Courses | Mashable.

Alabama Legislator Bill Holtzclaw Calls On Schools To Ban Toni Morrison Book | Huffington Post

An Alabama legislator who does not support efforts to repeal the sweeping U.S. education initiative known as the Common Core Standards says he believes the reading list issued in conjunction with the standards needs to be revised.

State Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) told Alabama Media Group this week that he believes The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, should be banned from high school libraries, despite the fact that this book is on the Common Core Standard’s recommended reading list for 11th-graders. 

See the full story: Alabama Legislator Bill Holtzclaw Calls On Schools To Ban Toni Morrison Book | Huffington Post.

Recent Internet Censorship Stories You May Have Missed

Copyright Takedowns on Twitter Are Up 76 Percent | Gizmodo
Twitter just released its latest transparency report detailing government requests for information requests, content removal requests and copyright takedowns. Not just one or two but all three categories are up in the first half of this year.

The UK wants to filter porn. Here’s how it might hurt the Internet. | Washington Post
Prime Minister David Cameron announced a plan to filter online pornography by default for households in the United Kingdom, saying the initiative is about protecting children and “their innocence.”

U.K. to compel customers to opt-in for internet porn | CBC
British internet providers will begin blocking access to online pornography unless customers specifically opt-in to surf sexually explicit material.

Tim Berners-Lee warns against governments controlling the Web | CNET
“When you make something universal…it can be used for good things or nasty things…we just have to make sure it’s not undercut by any large companies or governments trying to use it and get total control.”

What Internet Freedom Means to Me (and You) | Information Space
For the fourth of July, I thought it would be fitting (and fun) to get people’s ideas on Internet freedom.

Internet porn ‘opt in’ is censorship, say Canadians | Your Community | CBC
All internet pornography should be preemptively blocked in Canada, says Conservative MP Joy Smith of Winnipeg, which would force those who want to access adult content to “opt in” with their internet service provider….Many of those within our comments and on social media say that making citizens opt in to access adult content through their ISP would be a form of censorship.

A Map of the Countries That Censor the Internet | Gizmodo
The classification of censorship depends on political censorship like human rights and government opposition, social censorship, conflict/security censorship and various Internet tool censorship.

The Most Convoluted DMCA Takedown Request of All Time | Gizmodo
Anti-Gay group Straight Pride UK is abusing the DMCA takedown process to censor work by a journalist. No surprise there—the DMCA is twisted for all kinds of dumb purposes. The inexplicable part? The hate group filed a takedown on… its own press release. How dare you say that we said the words that we wrote in a press release.