The University Library of Gent is one of the largest Flemish Heritage Libraries which is housed in an important architectonic monument: the Boekentoren (Book Tower). During the following years the tower will be renovated. In march started the first phase: under the courtyard a 12 meter deep stockroom for the heritage collection is built.

You can follow the news about the restoration on Facebook and enjoy the sometimes spectacular pictures of this restoration. On the website of the Boekentoren you can find background information about the building and its restoration.

Source: http://www.vlaamse-erfgoedbibliotheek.be/nieuws/2012/06/2441-boekentoren-bouwblog-restauratie-boekentoren-facebook

Old Maps Online is an easy to use new website for historical maps in libraries worldwide. Users can access digitalised maps online via a geographical search interface. You can filter on place-name, by clicking on a location or by limiting the time period. For the moment, Old Maps Online contains parts of map collections from, among others, the British Library, the New York Public Library and the National Library of Scotland. The project is now looking for institutions with a digitalised map collection of their own, who would like to participate in the endeavour.

Source: http://www.vlaamse-erfgoedbibliotheek.be/nieuws/2012/07/2484-old-maps-online-ontsluit-oude-kaarten-geografisch-tijdslijn

In 2006 – in the context of the plan for digitizing the heritage of the federal scientific institutions – the Royal Library of Belgium received the instruction to digitize a representative selection 19th and 20th century Belgian newspapers (cost price: 4,5 million euro).

No less than 3.2 million pages from 70 Belgian newspapers from the years 1831-1950 are, starting from now,  digitally available.

The benefits of digitizing newspapers are on one hand preservation: newspapers are published on very vulnerable paper. Once digitized there is no more need to manipulate the newspapers that much. On the other hand it becomes much easier to search in the newspapers, thanks to the OCR-technology (‘optical character recognition’).

The newspapers were chosen for their creation date, language, place of publication, ideological and philosophical orientation. 3.2 million pages seems to be a lot, but it is only 5% of the total number of newspapers of the Royal Library. Because of copyright, you only can consult the newspapers in a  special room in the Library.

Source: http://www.faronet.be/nieuws/koninklijke-bibliotheek-stelt-meer-dan-32-miljoen-gedigitaliseerde-krantenpagina%E2%80%99s-online-bes

Source photo: http://www.brusselsmuseums.be/nl/musea/11-koninklijke-bibliotheek-van-belgië

Until September 9th 2012 the beautiful Nottebohmzaal of the Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience in Antwerp hosts the ‘L.I.R.E.’ art project (Library of Indwelled Regions and Environments). With this installation artists Lore Rabaut and Frank Depoorter create pure, white spaces, which can be colored by the spectator itself. Books play a central role in the exhibition. Additionally, the placing of nine separate installations in the historical Nottebohmzaal gives rise to an interesting area of tension.

Source: Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience (only Dutch)

The KU Leuven is looking for a Library Director to succeed the present Chief Librarian, Professor M. W. Collier, who retires in the summer of 2012. The KU Leuven Library is a large and complex organisation including campus libraries, faculty libraries, electronic library services, archives and art collections. The job of Library Director provides the challenge of combining the management of important traditional and heritage collections with an ultra modern approach to e-resources and digitalisation of library materials. The Library’s IT division LIBIS provides a wide range of services to a network of institutions throughout Belgium and beyond. KU Leuven has also a network of University Colleges offering academic and professional programmes. The libraries of these Colleges form part of the wider network of the University Library. Moreover, the Library participates in a range of Flemish, Belgian and international co-operative activities.

 More information can be found here.

The Vrije Universiteit shall be radically reformed.  The management wants to merge several faculties and enter into an intensive collaboration with the University of Amsterdam.  The University Library (UB) is to be joined together with the IT-department (UC-IT).  400 employees shall loose their jobs due to these cutbacks. 

Many of the staff disagree with the plans.  They fear an excavation of the academic standard of the organization. Anonymous employees have written as such in a pressing letter (Dutch) to the universitypaper ‘Ad Valvas’.  The employees consider the managers at the VU too powerful and speak of ‘colonization by the management culture’. 

Apart from that, Richard Oerlemans, director of UC-IT, is keen on the idea of a fusion between his department and the UB.  He states (Dutch) in Ad Valvas that a new organization will mean an improvement in supporting the education.  Because of the increase of digitalization of the library, a merge with the IT-services of the university becomes a logical next step. 

Source (Dutch): Informatieprofessional

Source Image: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Before the digital era filing cards were used to meticulously describe the library’s books. Nowadays these filing card catalogues remind us of the past. More information about the old card catalogue of the Central Library can be found here.

The card catalogue of the Sterling Memorial Library of Yale University is used for a remarkable art project.


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