Do librarians read all day? Should we?
Librarians and library staff have been fighting the incorrect stereotype (among many others) that their jobs consist of reading all day long. And while I still have programs to plan, books to weed, research questions to respond to, and other things to worry about, I wonder if maybe, just maybe, we took a little time […]
What’s your favorite library memory?
In honor of National Library Week, I’d like to know your favorite library memories or experiences, distant or recent. And if you don’t have any, why not? See my libraries tag for more goodness.
Refer Madness: A String of Beeps
Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy questions I encounter at the library reference desk. I was on the phone with a patron when I heard it: that incessant beep the copier makes when something goes wrong. Once I finished with the patron on the phone, I went over to see what was the matter. This time it was […]
A skeptic’s “Glance at the Public Libraries” of 1928, from H.L. Mencken’s American Mercury
Watch out, world: we’ve got ourselves a 90-year-old hot take! In the June 1928 issue of The American Mercury, a periodical edited by the famous journalist H.L. Mencken, there’s an article by Fletcher Pratt called “A Glance At The Public Libraries”. I stumbled upon the issue while processing material at the Frances Willard House Museum. […]
Refer Madness: The Worst Thing
Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy questions I encounter at the library reference desk. Some days on the desk are rough. Challenging patrons, technical difficulties, a case of the Mondays—whatever the issues are, like sneezes and football sacks they often come in bunches to create a day that’s better forgotten. This was not one of those days. First, there […]
Films Galore and other groovy ’70s library brochures
Digging around my library’s local history collection, I found a stack of trifold brochures promoting the services of the old North Suburban Library System (now RAILS) my library is part of. I’m guessing they’re from the 1970s since NSLS started in the late ’60s. Look at all these groovy logos and colors: And then there’s the […]
Refer Madness: A Patron Mount Rushmore
Originally published at Booklist In the office one day, my colleagues got to discussing who our library’s Mount Rushmore of patrons would be. Not necessarily the nicest ones but the ones who have become iconic among staff largely because of the mystery that surrounds them. I thought of a few candidates right away. The man […]
Libraries = Internet IRL but better
American Libraries magazine’s “Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet” is some grade-A, top choice librarian bait. Excerpts: Libraries are safer spaces. The internet brings people together, often in enjoyable and productive ways, such as over shared interests (pop culture blogs, fanfic sites) or common challenges (online support groups). But cyberbullying and trolling can leave people reluctant to engage with […]
A Hopey Changey Library
Somehow I missed this story on how the forthcoming Obama Center (above) will be challenging the “scam” of presidential libraries. The author, who wrote a book on the topic, lays out how: The National Archives and Records Administration—which operates presidential library-museums for every president from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush—won’t be operating either for […]
Want to Read (∞): on becoming a good reader
I’ve officially become a Reader. Reading books is built into my life, to the point where if I haven’t read anything for a while (a while being a few days) I feel anxious. It didn’t used to be this way. Regularly reading for fun outside of schoolwork wasn’t a concept I grokked until the end […]