The Future of Libraries and Reading in the Digital Age @ NYPL, 4/29

April 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

in conversation with Paul Holdengräber


Friday, April 29th at 7:00 p.m.
Celeste Bartos Forum, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

$25 General Admission
$15 FRIENDS, Seniors & Students with valid ID

Paul LeClerc, a scholar of the French Enlightenment, will be retiring in June 2011 from his position as president of the New York Public Library, where he has served admirably since 1993. To mark this occasion, Paul LeClerc is joined by Bruno Racine, president of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, for a wide-ranging conversation about the future of libraries in the digital age moderated by Paul Holdengräber.

This event is co-sponsored by the Maison Française of Columbia University.

PAUL LECLERC earned his Ph.D. in French literature with distinction at Columbia University. He taught at Union College from 1966 through 1979, joined CUNY as University Dean for Academic Affairs, and later became Provost and VP for Academic Affairs of Baruch College. In 1988, Dr. LeClerc was appointed President of Hunter College. He has presided over the New York Public Library since 1993.

BRUNO RACINE is president of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Hisprevious positions include cabinet appointments in the French Ministry  of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister’s office, Director of the French Academy in Rome, and President of the Centre Georges-Pompidou.

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER is Director of LIVE from the NYPL.


“Staging Archives” @ NYU, April 22

April 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

See the website for the NYU Workshop in Archival Practice for more info.

High/Low Deep/Shallow :: A Pair of Library Exhibitions

April 11th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

High / Low
Opening Recetion: Saturday, April 9th. 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Presented by Eyelevel BQE Gallery (map)
April 9th Through May 7th, 2011

The beautiful thing about knowledge and books is that there is no one library. Even all of the world, collectively at any one moment is only part of the library. This exhibition, instead of trying to possess all knowledge, asks how to contain/present/expand/hold/share knowledge. Reading and writing are not necessarily separate activities and so HIGH/LOW suggests that using/storing/designing/collecting are not necessarily separate, either.

High / Low showcases projects that tackle ideas around the physical structure of libraries, exploring ways to display, store and archive books. During the course of the exhibition visitors are encouraged to contribute with donating materials for this library, and to use the books that are being displayed. Once the exhibition ends, these will form part of the library at The Gowanus Studio Space.

Participating designers and artists:


Deep / Shallow
Friday, April 29th. 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Presented by The Gowanus Studio Space (map)
April 29th through May 29th, 2011

Reference material is as often heavily researched as it is happened upon. Artists in Deep / Shallow respond to GSS library references that have been used as visual resources for other artists. The appropriation of these resources forces a continuity (which normally occurs organically and over time) across disciplines, content and processes.

To see materials donated visit:

Participating artists and designers:

The Library rethinks library organization by shifting from static, object-oriented models to a dynamic, process-based approach: not to categorize and associate with objective properties of publications, but to map their (inter)connections by focusing on the ways in which they have influenced artists.  The Library compiles these materials to gradually, organically construct a web of ever-growing references and to map a shared artistic history.

The Library shares both its physical location and overarching objectives with The Gowanus Studio Space. The Brooklyn-based studio provides support and a shared workspace for artists and designers working in a variety of disciplines and mediums, with the goal of fostering creative collaboration.

For more information visit

The Municipal Archive: Just Another Administrative Service?

April 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Wendy Scheir, Director of the Kellen Archives, shared this announcement from a local archivists’ listserv:

An Invitation from Council Member Gale Brewer
A hearing in the City Council Governmental Operations  Committee regarding the proposed merger of the NYC Department of Records  & Information Services (DORIS) with the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, 2011, at 1pm, at 250 Broadway, 14 Floor, NY NY.

“City Hall is considering a substantial change in the administrative structure of the New York City Department of Records and Information  Services (DORIS), the department that runs the NYC Municipal Archives  and Library. The proposal will merge DORIS into the Department of  Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), a much larger and less specialized agency. The proposal must be brought before the City Council and approved by its members before it can be enacted. Eileen Flannelly,  the Commissioner of DORIS, at a hearing on March 15, described the proposed merger at a public meeting near City Hall. The Muni Archives and Library are the keepers of our city’s official history. They have birth and death records, mayoral papers, photographs of every building in the five boroughs, and old WNYC-TV film footage, to mention just a miniscule fraction of their holdings. They are the repositories of irreplaceable historical information and treasures that must not be  neglected or mistreated, so it is important that this proposal be well  considered. It must be discussed in public with input and feedback from  all of us concerned about the city’s past.”

Directions to the hearing location can be found on the New York City Council website here.

Archives' Stacks by Anne G on Flickr:

April 11: Producing History Mini-Conference

April 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

April 7: Photography and the Excavation of Encounter

April 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The New York University Department of Anthropology
invites you to
The 13th Annual Annette Weiner Lecture


Senior Research Fellow, University of the Arts London


Marks of Being: Photographs and the Excavation of Encounter
A Case Study from the Pacific


6PM, Thursday, April 7th
Hemmerdinger Hall (1st floor)
Silver Center, 100 Washington Square East
(Enter on 32 Waverly Place)
New York University




Seating is limited. Please RSVP to: ANTHROPOLOGY@NYU.EDU


Media Histories: Epistemology, Materiality, Temporality @ Columbia Univ., March 25-26

March 7th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m totally going to this!

Conference Website

Columbia University—IKKM Weimar—Princeton University

How can we write the history of media technologies and highlight their impact on aesthetics and knowledge without relapsing into deterministic or apocalyptic modes of thinking? And how can we write the histories of media without privileging cultural semantics over the technical materialities of media? What constitutes the materiality of a medium: its technological apparatus, the epistemic conditions of its gradual emergence and evolution, or its appropriation and use in various cultural practices? How do disciplinary epistemologies shape or impede our understanding of media? To what extent do media write and conceive of their own history and evolution?

In the last two decades the history and materiality of media have become central analytic issues within the humanities and social sciences. The inextricable link between the study of media and the means and methods of writing history calls for revising the conflicting priorities of various fields that range from the philosophy of history to the history of technology. This conference aims at examining and juxtaposing the competing paradigms that delineate the field of media history. The rise of media archaeology in Germany has spawned a distinctive tradition, whose influence is only beginning to be felt in North America. But in this tradition, the study of media histories was originally pursued not for its own sake but to reconceptualize the histories of literature, science, and aesthetics through an analysis of their dependence on media. In the same period in the U.S., early cinema emerged as a new paradigm in film studies; art historians began to conceptualize material transformations of sensory perception, and historians of science set out to highlight the material agency of technologies. Disciplines as diverse as architecture, anthropology and literary studies, have also begun to stretch our conceptions of the discursive and technical origins of media technologies.

The international symposium will bring together scholars from both sides of the Atlantic and fromthese various disciplines to assess the differences and commonalities that constitute the historical study of media. Taking place from March 24 to March 26, 2011 on the campus of Columbia University, the conference is organized by the Columbia University Seminar on the Theory and History of Media (Andriopoulos, Larkin), the International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy Weimar (IKKM Weimar; Engell, Siegert), the Program in Media and Modernity and the Aesthetics and Media Track of the German Department at Princeton University (Levin, Wegmann), and the Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University (Martin). The conference will be opened with a keynote lecture by Jonathan Crary and feature an evening lecture by Joseph Vogl. Four panels will juxtapose and contrast different approaches to an overlapping set of materials and questions.

NSSR Memory Conference, March 24-26

March 7th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

March 24-26, 2011

The Fourth Annual Interdisciplinary Memory Conference
The New School for Social Research, New York City

There are lots of archive-related panels! See in particular:

Friday 2:00-3:45pm: Digital Memory—Room 510, 66 West 12th Street

●      Al-Andalus and how it lives on online
Omar Al-Ghazzi (Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania)

●      Crowdsourcing Memory: Archives 2.0 and Historical Presence
David Kim (Information Studies, UCLA)

●      Virtual feelings of kinship: Challenging the legitimacy of remembering in post-dictatorial Argentina
Cecilia Sosa (Drama Department, Queen Mary, University of London)

●      Memory in the Age of Digital Technology
Diana Taylor (Performance Studies, New York University)

Moderator: Karen Strassler (Anthropology, Queens College, CUNY)

“To the Source” Symposium @ Rutgers, March 31

March 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

To the Source Symposium

THURSDAY, March 31, 2011 | 11:00 AM–6:30 PM
School of Communication and Information (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)

This one-day symposium will explore the theory and practice generated around the concept of SOURCE. Across a series of events, we will reflect on practices of collecting, politics and publics of the archive, critical thought initiated from and disciplinary discourses framing the primary source, as well as the materiality and form of the source, be it letter, daguerreotype or digital object. This discussion aims to transcend boundaries – by bringing together academics and practitioners from a wide range of institutions of the cultural record. We want to attract an audience from equally varied backgrounds. The symposium also aptly marks the ten-year anniversary of Rutgers University, School of Communication and Information’s student organization known as SOURCE (Student Organization for Unique and Rare Collections Everywhere), which we will celebrate with a reception at the end of the day.

11:00 AM-12:00 PM | School of Communication and Information (Room 323)
“What’s in a Photograph?”: A Brief Introduction to Photo Identification and Preservation
A Workshop with KEVIN SCHLOTTMANN (Center for Jewish History)
Moderator: Jill Baron (Rutgers University)
Due to space limitation, this event is by registration only – RSVP
1:00 PM-3:00 PM | Alexander Library (4th floor lecture hall)
Material Inscriptions, Collections, and Their Publics
  • JARED ASH (Newark Public Library)
“Text, schmext!”: Collecting Books as Objects of Art and Design
  • KARLA NIELSEN (University of Illinois)
Reading Erasure in the Archive: The Making of Medieval Spanish Literature
  • LAURA E. HELTON (New York University)
On the Politics of Collecting: Archival Publics and African American Documentary Practice, 1920-1960
  • IULIAN VAMANU (Rutgers University)
North American Indigenous Curators’ Discourses of Aboriginality and Material Practices of Curation: A Case Study of the “Song for the Horse Nation” exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian (NYC)
  • Moderator: Marija Dalbello (Rutgers University)

3:15 PM-4:45 PM | Alexander Library (4th floor lecture hall)
From Fever to Folder: Applying Critical Theory and Activism in the Archives

  • JENNA FREEDMAN (Barnard College)
  • LAURA HELTON (New York University)
  • JONATHAN LILL (Museum of Modern Art)
  • MARK MATIENZO (Yale University Library)
  • Moderator and respondent: Rachel Miller (Center for Jewish History)
5:00 PM-6:30 PM | Alexander Library (4th floor lecture hall)
Rutgers Seminar in the History of the Book Keynote
SONIA CANCIAN (Université de Montréal /Concordia University)
The Poetics and Politics in the Intimate Worlds of Immigrant and Homeland Epistolarity
The lecture is free and open to the public. 

6:30 PM-9:00 PM | School of Communication and Information (2nd floor Student Lounge)
Reception “SOURCE at 10” & “To the SOURCE on the Field” (Panel)


  • JOHN BEEKMAN (Jersey City Free Public Library)
  • CYNTHIA HARRIS (Jersey City Free Public Library)
  • MATTHEW LYONS (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)
  • J. FERNANDO PEÑA (Grolier Club)
  • LAURA POLL (Monmouth County Historical Society)
  • Moderators: Carolyn Dorsey (Rutgers University) and Ana Ramirez Luhrs (Lafayette College)

“SOURCE at 10” and “To the SOURCE on the Field” is by registration only – RSVP Carolyn Dorsey / Ana Ramirez Luhrs

Beyond Books conference in Boston, April 6-7

March 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Our own Alex K. will be attending this fantastic conference in Boston in early April, and she thought some of you might be interested, too. Graduate student fellowships are available until March 15!

*     *     *     *     *

The capability of newspapers to provide community information is declining. At the same time, informal sources of local information are rapidly increasing.

Libraries and legacy media have always shared a common purpose — helping us acquire the information we need to be engaged, informed (and entertained) citizens. They used different tools — newspapers, broadcast stations and books. Now the tools are converging — web search, data taxonomies, database creation and analysis, social networks — as librarians and journalists together foster civic literacy and engagement.

Librarians want to expand public access to accurate information, including trustworthy local news. So do journalists. How do we expand libraries as community information centers beyond books — perhaps even beyond their four walls — facilitating and engaging with journalists? What can libraries and journalists do — together — to foster improved access to community information?

Thus, as the tools and mission converge, it’s time to ask: “What’s possible at the intersection of libraries and journalism that serves the information needs of communities and democracy?”

On Wednesday and Thursday, April 6 and 7, 2011, Journalism That Matters,  (the American Library Association,) the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, the Media Giraffe Project at UMass Amherst the New England News Forum and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute invite you to join in a work session for civic information transparency that builds from and beyond books.

Via a pre-event social network, an evening agenda-setting dialogue, a day of roundtable planning and closing action commitments, we’ll discover what’s possible at the intersection of public spaces, open documents, citizen reporting and journalistic purpose.  Among the questions we may ask:

  • What might libraries do to facilitate community social news networks?
  • Must free speech be absolute within a taxpayer-supported institution?
  • How do we define the boundaries between engagement and partisanship?
  • Are libraries poised to become public-access media centers as cable fades?
  • Should a library operate a news collective, non-profit or citizen-journalism service?
  • How can libraries help preserve a free digital information commons?