Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Several Stories of Note from American Libraries Direct

Catching up on several issues of American Libraries Direct - here are a number of stories that might interest members of MAM:

Weird and wonderful animals of the bestiary
Sarah J. Biggs writes: “Those of you who follow our blog regularly will surely have noticed our deep and abiding love for medieval animals and bestiaries; in the past we’ve done posts about dogs, cats, elephants, hedgehogs, beavers, owls, and more. But today we thought we would have a look at a few of the more fantastic creatures that are featured in medieval bestiaries: the amphisbaena, the manticore, the bonnacon, the leucrota, and the basilisk (above).”...
British Library: Medieval Manuscripts Blog, June 17

Yale’s Beinecke Library to close for renovations
Following commencement ceremonies in May 2015, Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library will close its iconic building for 16 months to undergo a major renovation that will replace its climate-control systems and double its classroom space. The 50-year-old library building will reopen in September 2016, poised for another 50 years as a world-class center of scholarship and learning....
Yale News, June 17

Giant medieval manuscripts
Jenny Weston writes: “While most medieval manuscripts are of a size that could be easily picked up and carried, there are some books that are so large and so heavy that it would take two (or more) people to move them. Among these are volumes known as ‘Giant Bibles.’ One particularly famous large-format Bible is an early 13th-century pandect known as the Codex Gigas (right), which measures a whopping 890 x 490 mm and weighs more than 165 pounds.”...
Medieval Fragments, Aug. 1

Deadline extended for First Folio traveling exhibition
The application deadline for “Shakespeare and His First Folio,” a traveling exhibition offered by ALA in collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library and Cincinnati Museum Center, has been extended to October 24. The exhibition—part of the international events planned in observance of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death—will bring the 1623 original edition of the playwright’s first published collection to 53 sites in 2016....
Public Programs Office, Aug. 18

Copernicus book rediscovered in Weimar
In 2004, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, Germany, housed one of the most important collections of books and manuscripts in the country, including De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, Libri VI (1543), a work by famed Renaissance astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus. In that year, the library was severely damaged in the fire. Now, 10 years later, the Copernicus book has been found among the many damaged works still waiting to be restored....
Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 15

The secret libraries of London
Kevin Lo writes: “Libraries are often public spaces with a rather private focus, each visitor engrossed in quiet contemplation or simply curled up with a good book. However, the beauty of London is found in its nooks and crannies, so let’s take a look at eight libraries that are tucked a little further off the beaten track, such as the St. Bride Library, which specializes in printing and graphic arts.”...
Atlas Obscura, Aug. 18

Medieval lapidaries
Julie Somers writes: “The medieval lapidary is essentially a book about stones, both precious and semiprecious gems and minerals, as well as mythical stones that may never have existed. Closely linked to the bestiary, which has been discussed in previous blog posts, the medieval lapidary tradition can be traced back to antiquity with the text on Natural History by Roman historian Pliny the Elder (ca. 23–79 CE).”...
Medieval Fragments, Aug. 16, 2013; Jan. 21, Aug. 15

Strange medieval books
Erik Kwakkel writes: “While printed books were shaped generically and according to the printer’s perception of what the market preferred, the medieval scribe designed a book according to the explicit instructions of its user. That’s why we come across some very strange medieval books. Scribes, especially those who were paid for their work, would accommodate any quirky wish. Here is a selection of five striking manuscripts that are literally outstanding as they are shaped unlike the bulk of surviving medieval manuscripts.”...
medievalbooks, Aug. 29

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