Library One-Liners

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Library One-Liners 

Reading Jester

Reading Jester

On Sat, 27 Apr 2013 ~ Sana Moulder in Fayetteville, NC asked Publib:

I’m seeking library patron one-liners for a project. I’d like questions and requests such as:

“I need a photograph of Jesus Christ,” or “I need a DVD of  A Christmas Carol, one with Charles Dickens in it,” or (one of my personal favorites), “I need information on how Muslims celebrate Christmas.”

This is for a Staff Development Day program, and should be of a caliber guaranteed to drive a Zombie Librarian into a homicidal rage. TIA
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And, the Publib chorus responds:

~ I’m looking for all your true books about time-travel~ Can you find instructions for me on how to build a guillotine? (magician).

Fords Theatre - 1865- NARA

Fords Theatre – 1865- NARA

 ~ Patron: I need a video of President Lincoln’s assassination. Me: You mean President Kennedy’s assassination? Patron: No. Lincoln. You know, the Civil
War? My teacher told me I could get extra credit if I could bring in a video showing the actual assassination.

~ I need to check out all your books on biomes so no one else in my class can finish their reports.~ Lynn Schofield-DahlBoulder City Library – NV

~ I’m doing a term paper and need information comparing and contrasting the 3 Stooges with the 4 Evangelists in the Bible. ~ I need direction on how to get to Valhalla, the home of the gods, on a bicycle. ~ Do pimentos grow in olives? ~  What is the average size of a lawn in Beirut?

~ 2 part question -(early 90s): Everyone knows AIDS came from Africa. It was transimitted by animals and carried over to animals in the US. At one point, everyone will die of AIDS except for small, furry animals that look like the Muppets.  How did Jim Henson know to design his Muppets to look like the small furry animals that will survive the AIDS epidemic?~ I saw a documentary on TV about a type of tree frog that is going extinct. This tree frog looks like Kermit the Frog, by Jim Henson. How did Jim Henson know to design Kermit so he would look like this type of tree frog?  Editor’s note: Ms. Piggy conspiracy?

~ I need film of Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address. ~ Becky Tatar - Aurora, IL  

Annunciation - Dirck Bouts

Annunciation – Dirck Bouts

~ I was recently asked for photographs of angels. When I tried to clarify and see if paintings would do the woman got upset, called me stupid and asked for someone else to help her.  :) To my knowledge, she did not get any photographs out of the next librarian either.

~ I once overheard: “Do you have books on booby-traps? I need to catch the damned Mexicans who keep stealing my chickens. I heard those Viet-Gongs were real good at booby-traps.” I laughed too hard to help the poor librarian who was trying to explain that the man was responsible for anyone who was maimed on his property before handing him several references for web sites.~ Terry Ann Lawler - Burton Barr Library – AZ

Bayou Sacra Luisiana - Henry Lewis 1854

Bayou Sacra Luisiana – Henry Lewis 1854

~ Patron asks for an aerial view of local landmark, Nottoway Plantation. Peering quizzically at the GoogleEarth image, she asks, “What’s that brown stuff all along there?”   “That’s the Mississippi River,” I reply.   “Why isn’t it blue?”   “It’s called the Mighty Muddy Mississippi because of all the sediment.”   “Is there any way you can make it blue?”~ Audrey Jo DeVillier - Iberville Parish Library – LA

~ “When was the first recorded use of the word ‘love’ in any language?”~ Ann S. OwensSacramento Public Library – CA

~ Do you have any books on Chanukkah and other foreign Christmas holidays? ~ My son needs a book for school.  The author’s last name is Chaucer–I don’t remember his first name. ~ What was the date that God kicked the bad angels out of Heaven?~ Kevin O’KellySomerville Public Library – MA

~ This one was over the phone: “I have a book about William Shakespeare that I would like to sell. It is very old, it even has photos of him in it!~ Terry DohrnFruitland Park Library – FL

~ I need a photograph, not a painting, of the meteor hitting the earth and killing off the dinosaurs. ~ Not exactly a one-liner but close: I need a picture of a Georgia Cherokee teepee. (Librarian: The Cherokees didn’t live in teepees.) I need a picture of a teepee that Cherokees would have lived in if they did make teepees.   ~ I need information on the war, you know, the one where everyone got killed. ~ Another close one: DO you have anything besides “Learn Spanish in 30 days”? I need to learn it by tomorrow’s test.~ Dusty Snipes GrèsOhoopee Regional Library – GA

Fool's Cap Map of the World

Fool’s Cap Map of the World

~ We had someone once ask for a photograph of a dragon. Not a picture or drawing or painting but a photograph. ~ I also had a high school student ask for the book Ibid. I asked her where she got the title from and sure enough she showed me a footnote in a book. She would not believe me when I told her it was referring to the previous footnote until I showed her the sample in a Turabian style manual ~ Meg Van Patten - Baldwinsville Public Library – New York

~ This one sticks out: when in academia I got this urgent call: “My son has read every book there is and now he wants to read The Clavicles of Solomon,  We can’t find it anywhere!” I told her that could only help with the Canticles (Song of Solomon)… I know we touch people’s spirits but I hope when still in their bodies ;) ~ Shahin ShoarArlington Public Library Columbus, OH

~ I once had a patron complain because our color copier wouldn’t make color copies of his black and white Resume.  I never did figure out exactly what he was expecting.~ Michael GregoryCampbell County Public Library –  KY

~ My all-time favorite reference question was the Santa Fe kid who wanted to do a report on pirates in New Mexico. ~ Another fine one was the woman looking for a book on how to choose a lottery number.~ Miriam Bobkoff - Peninsula College Library – Port Angeles

Old King Cole

Old King Cole

~ Several years ago, a young man called to find out if the library was a government suppository. ~ And there was a woman calling from Georgia wanting to know if we had any information about an Inglewood business, the Los Angeles Kings. (For the sports-challenged: the Kings are a hockey team, who used to play in the Forum, a sports arena a few blocks from the library. That year [and not last year] they had made it to the Stanley Cup finals. They lost.)~ Sue Kamm - Los Angeles, CA

~ I was once asked for a color photo of Christ.~ Christine Lind Hage - Rochester Hills Public Library

~ Not a question I received, but I remember a story from another librarian who was asked for a map of all the lost gold mines in the Rockies. ~ And the tale of a Black librarian with whom I worked, who was asked for a mailing list of white supremacist organizations. “I gave it to him,” the librarian said, “But ewww.”

Step Right this Way

Step Right this Way

~ And, for real, when I worked at Baraboo, Wisconsin’s circus museum, I was asked whether we might have a photo of George Washington at the very first US circus in 1793.

I gently mentioned that photography was not invented until about the 1840s, and because of that, the requester wouldn’t find any photographs of George at any event, let alone at John Bill Rickett‘s original one in Philadelphia. “Oh. Right.”~ Erin FoleyRio Community Library – Wisconsin

~ The library gods must have heard your plea because today I got a phone call. There’s some context to this but this question was asked: Patron on phoneWhat is Shakespeare? I’ve heard of it but I haven’t seen the movie. If you must know the context he called to ask about an actress and her career and when he found out that she was in Shakespeare he wanted to know what it was. ~ Katilyn Miller -Frederick County Public Libraries

Joachim Patinir - Crossing the River Styx

Joachim Patinir – Crossing the River Styx

My friend was asked to “point out the River Styx on a map”. Seems the person asking wanted to your there.~ Liz McclainGlencoe Public Library

~ We had a patron wanting to know the time. The circ clerk answered his question gesturing to the large, roman-numeraled clock nearby. He replied he couldn’t read it because he didn’t know Romanian.~ Jacque GageJoplin Public Library – Joplin, MO

~ Famous one-liner: “Where are the stacks?”

~ Teresa: Mam, would you like to sign up for our winter reading club for adults, Cabin Fever?
Woman: What do I have to do?
Tersesa: Rate all the books you read.
Woman: But I didn’t like the last one.
Tersesa: That’s okay. You don’t have to like them all.
Woman: I only want to enter the books I liked…

~ Leah: I love my new WiFi detector t-shirt!
Scott @IT: We should give one to the director at North Pocono. Maybe then we can pin down the source of their WiFi problems. “Call us if your shirt goes on or turns off.” Come to think of it…that doesn’t sound good, does it?

~ I called our local printer to get a rough estimate on printing book marks.
Leah: How much would 300 book marks cost to print?
Printer: In color?
Leah: Sure.
Printer: Will they bleed?
Leah (baffled): I HOPE not…. It’s YOUR paper!~ Leah Ducato Rudolph - Abington Community Library

~ Several years ago someone asked me for a picture of a cross-section of a banana showing the seeds. I finally found one, but it wasn’t easy.~ Holly HebertThe Brentwood Library – TN

~ Patron - “I’m looking for information on the Sultana Indians
Me (after a long and fruitless search) - “where did you get this reference?”
Patron - “I dreamed about them.”~ Lisa RichlandFloyd Memorial Library –  NY

Beethoven

Beethoven looking a bit peeved

~ Two favorites from here… The High Rockies of need… (Hierarchies of need) ~ And that song, Furry Lace (Fur Elise)~ Karen E. Probst - Appleton Public Library

~ I’d like a sound recording of real dinosaurs.  ~ If I make recipes from a diabetic cookbook, will it give me diabetes? ~ Susan Hunt - Aboite Branch Library- Fort Wayne, IN

~ I once got asked where our gynecology department was. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud as I explained where our genealogy department is.~ Deborah BryanTopeka and Shawnee County Public Library

~ Not a patron one liner but….I had a staff member ask me one day, Where are the eBooks shelved?

~ Patron: Where can I find the books on um, you know motivation and stuff? Me: (looking on the catalogue), I see there is one here, shall we go over and have a look? Patron: Nah, I can’t be bothered just yet, maybe tomorrow. I swear – true story. ~ Lisa Pritchard - New Zealand

~ At my previous library out west, we once got a call from a patron asking if we had the “Anals of Wyoming” in our periodical collection. ~ Stephen Sarazin – Aston Public Library – PA

Gutenberg Bible - Epistle of St Jerome

Gutenberg Bible – Epistle of St Jerome – Patron Saint of Librarians

~ Henry Huntington, railroad millionaire, established the famous Huntington Library and Art Collection in his estate in San Marino, California. It’s home to many rare books, including a Gutenberg Bible. About 50 miles away is Huntington Beach, California, named for Henry Huntington when he put a rail line through to the town.I used to work at the Huntington Beach Public Library, and for years confused tourists would come to the desk to ask to see our Gutenberg Bible. Best one-liner ever? Look at the computer screen and say, “Sorry, that’s checked out today.” Maybe a little too much background needed for this to be a great one liner, but we loved it.~ Roger Hiles - Library Services Manager Arcadia Public Library – CA

Et tu, Granny?

Et tu, Granny?

~ Just saw a written information request: “About epilepsy or Grandma Ceazer. Just been diagnosed.”~ Anne FelixGrand Prairie, TX

~ I have one from when my son worked at a grocery store. A woman requested “bee honey” so they escorted her to the honey aisle. “But which one is bee honey?” They told her that only bees make honey, and she didn’t believe them. In fact, she thought they were making fun of her. (Which they did, in spades, after she left the store.)~ Cheryl Coovert  – Lexington, KY

Reading Jester

Reading Jester

Clover honey is made by clover.
Wild flower honey is made by wild flowers.
Spelling bees make word honey.
And WHERE do you think quilts come from?~ Chris Rippel - Central Kansas Library System –  Kansas

Editor’s note: Everyone on Publib knows that the best Quilts come from BiblioQuilters such as Nann Blaine Hilyard and Sana Moulder.

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Awesome Somerville Public Library

Harvard Library and the Somerville Public Library:

Innovation and Collaboration

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Best of Publib received the following press release from the Somerville Public Library in Somerville, Massachusetts:

Matt Phillips and Annie Cain

Matt Phillips and Annie Cain – Creators of the Awesome Box

The Somerville Public Library, in a partnership with the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, launched the “Awesome Box” project at all three SPL branches in early February. This endeavor will allow patrons to give fellow users suggestions on what book/CD/DVD they found to be “awesome.”

“Somerville is the first public library to get on board with the ‘Awesome Box’ project,” says Maria Carpenter, Somerville’s library director. “We are always looking for dynamic, innovative and creative approaches to library service, and this was certainly one of those.”

Awesome Box

Awesome Box

Here’s how it will work: When a patron particularly enjoys an item, he or she will return the book into the “Awesome Box,” which will be clearly labeled with appropriate signage. Then, a library staff member will scan the book twice – once, checking the book in as usual, then another time to list that item on the “awesome” page, which can be found here: http://somerville.awesomebox.io/.

Patrons can then visit the page and see what others have found notably enlightening, mind-blowing or helpful recently. There is also a “most awesome” section, which shows the items that were most thought to be awesome. Users can also search for items that are listed as awesome. When patrons click on the media’s icon, it takes them to the item’s listing on the Minuteman Library Network catalog, so that they can read more about the item and its availability or place it on hold.

For more information about this project, call Maria Carpenter at 617.623.5000 or email her at  mcarpenter@somervillema.gov.

Awesome Somerville

Awesome Somerville

Somerville’s commitment to innovation and collaboration can be emulated by any other public library.  The Harvard Innovation Lab provides excellent documentation along with step-by-step instruction.   The Awesome Box project is just one direction they are exploring.

The great thing about this sort of project is that it capitalizes on patron momentum.  Whenever a patron returns a book or media, they either put it in the regular book drop or express their approval by putting it in the Awesome Box. Either way, the same energy is expended with an added value to the library as a book or media review.

There is an added value to the patron with their likes and preferences registered and noted. There is also an added value to all of the other patrons who might not otherwise know what gems the library contains. The only extra step is checking it in – scanning a second time  to register in the Awesome database.

Awesome Box - a simple, elegant idea.

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Favorite Books of 2012

Favorite Books for 2012 – Library Inspired Selections

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On November 15, 2012 David Faulkner david.faulkner@austintexas.gov via listserv.oclc.org announced on Publib :

What is the best book you read this year? The book could have been published any year as what matters is that you read it in 2012.

Let me know either through Publib or via my email david.faulkner@austintexas.gov and I’ll compile the results and make them available early in the new year – you are free to nominate as many books as you want..

All genres and forms of books are open so nominate your favorite:

  • graphic novel
  • children’s book
  • romance novel
  • audiobook, etc.

This will be the 10th year I’ve compiled this list so if you’d like to see previous lists you can find them all on Best of Publib ~

David
Austin (TX) Public Library

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Publib Favorite Books 2011

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By David Faulkner -

As a member of PubLib, an electronic discussion list for public libraries, I asked fellow members to name the book they most enjoyed reading that year. Here is the list for 2011 :

 

Title Author Votes
22 Britannia Road Hodgkinson, Amanda 1
Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination Ackroyd, Peter 1
Alchemist, The Coelho, Paulo 1
All Clear Willis, Connie 1
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel Yaccarino, Dan 1
American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot Ferguson, Craig 1
Angel Town Saintcrow, Lilith 1
Art of Fielding, The Harbach, Chad 1
Art of Racing in the Rain, The Stein, Garth 2
Ashes Bick, Ilsa J. 1
Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, The Benjamin, Melanie 1
Barbarian Nurseries, The Tobar, Hector 1
Becoming Marie-Antoinette Grey, Juliet 1
Before I Go To Sleep Watson, S. J. 1
Black Lamb & Grey Falcon West, Rebecca 1
Blackout Willis, Connie 1
Book of Days (Book 5 of the JP Kinkaid Chronicles) Grabien, Deborah 1
Bossypants Fey, Tina 2
Boy in the Suitcase, The Kaaberbol, Lene and Agnete Friis 1
Buddha in the Attic, The Otsuka, Julie 1
Clara and Mr. Tiffany Vreeland, Susan 1
Commencement Sullivan, J. Courtney 1
Dark Tower, The series King, Stephen 1
Detective Kubu Mystery series Stanley, Michael 1
Devotion of Suspect X, The Higashino, Keigo 1
Discovery of Witches, A Harkness, Deborah 2
Distant Hours, The Morton, Kate 1
Elizabeth I George, Margaret 1
Elizabeth I trilogy Irwin, Margaret 1
Everybody Sees the Ants King, A.S. 1
Fabulous New Orleans Saxon, Lyle 1
Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury, Ray 1
Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship Ryan, Tom 1
Forgotten Garden, The Morton, Kate 1
Girl Who Fell From the Sky, The Durrow, Heidi W 1
Graveyard Book, The Gaiman, Neil 1
Her Fearful Symmetry Niffenegger, Audrey 1
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer McBride, Lish 1
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization Woods, Jr., Thomas E. 1
Hunger Games, The Collins, Suzanne 1
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto Pollan, Michael 1
Information, The: A History, a Theory, a Flood Gleick, James 1
Island, The Hilderbrand, Elin 1
Joy for Beginners Bauermeister, Erica 1
Just Kids Smith, Patti 1
King’s Daughter, The Dickason, Christie 1
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 Winchester, Simon 1
Language of Flowers, The Diffenbaugh, Vanessa 1
Left Neglected Genova, Lisa 1
Leftovers, The Perrotta, Tom 1
Makers Doctorow, Cory 1
Middlemarch Eliot, George 1
Miss Silver Mystery series Wentworth, Patricia 1
Monster Calls, A Ness, Patrick 1
Night Circus, The Morgenstern, Erin 4
Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, The Tea, Michelle 1
Pirate King: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Russell and Holmes, Book 11) King, Laurie R. 1
Please Look After Mom Shin, Kyung-Sook 1
Ready Player One Cline, Ernest 2
Reamde Stephenson, Neal 1
Redwall Jacques, Brian 1
Reveille in Washington: 1860-1865 Leech, Margaret 1
Richard the Lionheart Gillingham, John 1
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend Orlean, Susan 1
Rules of Civility Towles, Amor 1
Secret Kept, A Rosnay, Tatiana de 1
Song of Ice and Fire, A series Martin, George R.R. 1
Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, The Bailey, Elisabeth Tova 1
Steve Jobs Isaacson, Walter 1
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Hardy, Thomas 1
Tigerlily’s Orchids Rendell, Ruth 1
Unfamiliar Fishes Vowell, Sarah 1
Untold Story Ali, Monica 1
Weird Sisters, The Brown, Eleanor 1
What is Left the Daughter Norman, Howard 1
When She Woke Jordan, Hillary 1
Zero Day Baldacci, David 1
Zero History Gibson, William 1

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Favorite Reads of 2011

Favorite Reads of 2011

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From Best of Publib Editor: David Faulkner –  David.Faulkner@austintexas.gov

http://lists.webjunction.org/wjlists/publib/2011-December/143183.html

Bibliothek

Have you read something this year you loved? Want to tell the world about it? Here’s your chance. Let Publib know what you loved reading this year and I’ll compile the results and post them to The Best of PubLib site (bestofpublib.wordpress.com) in early January.

Nominate as many books (fiction or nonfiction), graphic novels, audiobooks, etc. as you’d like as long as you read/listened to the item in 2011 (the publication date is not important). I’ll start with my favorite this year, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.

Previous Editions:

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Amazon in competition with libraries?

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Is Amazon in competition with Libraries or are Libraries in competition with Amazon?

In the Publib post Amazon in competition with libraries?Randall Yelverton of the Washington District Library directed our attention to this Publishers Weekly blog story:

    Funding remains steady in many systems for now, but we will be, and should already be, fighting against perceived irrelevance that will increase as digital subscription services allow people to curate massive personal media and information collections with great ease.
Library Books

Library Books

Book stores, large or small, aren’t analogous to libraries because you pay for every single purchase from a store. Subscription services are far more similar to a library because for a fee, just as you pay taxes to support the library, you can quickly access a media library, and there’s likely not waiting for the must-have title.

To which the Publib chorus responded ~

  • That said, pay-fer services, like that described here or Netflix or even big book stores, are no threat to libraries. They certainly haven’t caused reduced funding for libraries. ~ DARRELL COOK – Richardson (TX) Public Library
  • Publishers are going to be pushing back hard on this. Customers may find that their selection from the Amazon lending library will be pretty meager. Still, we shouldn’t be complacent. : http://www.pcworld.com/article/239859/amazon_kindle_ebook_lending_program_what_it_needs_to_succeed.html  ~ Sharon Foster
  • The fact remains that libraries must evolve. We must change the perception that, once people can easily check out books, audio books, and find information quickly and easily using their smart devices, that libraries will no longer be needed. What will or what are libraries morphing into? What will be our new/revised role in community when it is no longer “reading advisor”? How will City Councils and State Legislatures begin to view us as “essential” and not as a place to begin cutbacks? ~ Beth Carlberg -Lubbock Public Libraries
  • This very topic was the subject of the Infopeople webinar, “Libraries in a Post-Print World,” held yesterday, September 13.   I recognized several PubLibbers’ names among the attendees.  The webinar archive is here:   http://infopeople.org/training/libraries-post-print-world  ~ Nann Hilyard the library in Zion, Illinois

Amazon is a singular corporate entity. Libraries are at best an aggregate of like-minded interests loosely, yet passionately bound together by a system of professional ethics.  Like politics, all Libraries are local.  So, can we really say that Amazon is competing with any individual Library or are Libraries collectively poised to compete with Amazon?

The month of September 2011 marked some major changes in Amazon:

  • On September 21st –  Amazon Kindle kicked into Overdrive – making Kindle Books available at over 11,000 local libraries.
  • On September 26th – Amazon announced its digital licensing agreement with Twentieth Century Fox.
  • On September 28th – Amazon announced the availability of four new Kindle models including:
    • a pocket sized $79 version
    • a Kindle Touch version for $99
    • a Kindle Touch 3G for $149
    • and Kindle Fire for $199 that will play Video, MP3 and offer books

The financial markets responded well to these announcements:  http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:AMZN#

Each of these announced changes impact the aggregate of Libraries and individual libraries. 

- Amazon Kindle kicked into Overdrive – increases demand for Kindle titles and pressure on collection development budgets: 
  • I know that it takes a bit for new programs to work the glitches out but we have some pretty avid readers who have been waiting and watching for the Kindle app to appear.  I want to make sure I can help them when they appear on our doorstep. ~ Jan Cole – Duncan Public Library
  • Would anyone be willing to share the percentage of your annual materials budget that you allocate for e-books, or just the amount you budget for
    e-books? What is your population? – Diane Greenwald -Warwick Public Library (Ocean State Libraries)
His and Her Kindles

His and Her Kindles

As a proud owner of His and Her Kindles, I reviewed the Ocean State Libraries
 consortium offerings for Kindle.  The number of titles currently available for the 600,000+ card holders is: 4,046.  There is essentially no depth to the collection at this time nor any real value in searching it.  In contrast – using the no-contract free 3G access built into the Kindles, I can browse and sample over 1 million titles.

- The deal with Twentieth Century Fox means additional video titles are now available for Amazon to stream to all sorts of device – providing an on-demand library of over 100,000 titles. 

How many libraries can say they are able to provide the equivalent access?

-The new price point for Kindles – as low as $79 dollars with WiFi or $149 with free 3G means many, many more people will be able to afford Kindles. 

Amazon Prime is $79 a year. So, for a total investment of about $150, you have WiFi, and thousand of books and videos available – represent a big price drop from just a few months ago. And, the new Kindle Fire may potentially become the dominant streaming media device.

Publib contributors are not without ethical concerns over these changes  -

  • … that kind of seamless integration across your Amazon account has interesting (i.e. potentially alarming) implications about just how much Amazon is keeping track of its customers’ relationships with their public libraries. I’m not sure what I think about that yet. Does anyone have a read
    on that yet? ~ Will Porter – Dennis Memorial Library
  • … but I did note yesterday that your library books are listed in your Kindle account information, just like books you purchase, and can be sent to any device you own from there. Several of our patrons have already commented on the service on our FB page – one or two even praised how easy it is, so that’s a nice change… ;) ~ Robin Hastings – Missouri River Regional Library
  • So they’re definitely paying attention to what patrons are checking out and using that information for marketing. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they shared that information with others. Part of me wants to make a big point of letting patrons know that their Kindle checkouts aren’t anonymous, but I don’t really know that patrons care about that as much as I do. I know that while my librarian self finds it worrying my patron/customer self just doesn’t care.   ~ Andrew Fuerste-Henry Dubuque, IA

 But is Amazon competing with Libraries or are Libraries competing with Amazon?

 
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Royal Reprints: Eleanor Hibbert

Royal Reprints: Eleanor Hibbert

 
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Philippa Carr. Victoria Holt.  Jean Plaidy.  Whatever novel you read with any of these names, they are the pseudonyms for the late British novelist Eleanor Hibbert.

Eleanor Hibbert (1906-93) was born in Kensington, outside of London.  She began her writing career by writing short stories for popular publications.  The literary editor at the “Daily Mail” suggested Hibbert to try writing romance instead of serious fiction.  Her first novel Daughter of Anna was published in 1941 and was a success.  Other novels followed with variations of her maiden name. As Hibbert’s writing career progressed, her three famous pseudonyms emerged: Jean Plaidy in 1945, Victoria Holt in 1960, and Philippa Carr in 1972. She also wrote three children’s novels and three history books. There are a few other lesser known pseudonyms as well. Writing occupied much of Hibbert’s time; she didn’t employ a secretary for answering fan mail.  She did take 2-3 month long cruises which provided inspiration for settings in her Victoria Holt novels. When Hibbert died in 1993, she had published over 200 novels.  For a full biography, here’s a reproduced 1993 article about her on this fan website.  Additionally, this fan website is a lovely one to visit.

Sir Thomas More

The first Jean Plaidy title I read was Meg Roper which is the story of St. Thomas More’s daughter. I came across the novel while browsing the fiction section in my high school library.  I knew a little bit about St. Thomas More but not about his family.  The novel gave me an introduction to his favorite daughter and the rest of the More family.  (Note: this novel is one of three books Hibbert wrote for young readers)

I rediscovered Jean Plaidy at the local independent bookstore in town where I attended college.  I never thought I’d see her novels in print and was thrilled to see a few of them on the shelf.  My first purchase was In the Shadow of the Crown, a fictionalized memoir of Mary I, first Queen Regnant of England.  Thus I began my own collection of Jean Plaidy’s reissued novels.

What I enjoy about Hibbert’s Jean Plaidy pseudonym is the beautiful and simple writing style and historical accuracy. From what I’ve seen of her reissued novels, the story may be a personal memoir or in the third person. Some of the novels have a brief historical introduction or an afterward, others don’t. I learn a lot from reading her novels along with the romance and drama. Unfortunately Hibbert’s writing quality declined towards the end of her writing career. Nevertheless I’ve enjoyed reading every novel.

Marie Antoinette

As for Victoria Holt, the only title I’ve read is The Queen’s Confession, a fictionalized personal memoir of Marie-Antoinette.  It’s a well-written story of the French Queen. The majority of Victoria Holt novels are original works however Hibbert wrote a few historical fiction novels with this pseudonym.  Four of her novels have been reissued so far.

I haven’t read anything under the Philippa Carr pseudonym.  Hibbert wrote about a fictional English family through the centuries with this name.  No reissues available so far.

I haven’t seen any new forthcoming Jean Plaidy reissues from the publisher this year.  Here’s a list of titles currently available.  I’ve listed them in historical chronology.  A few categories I made up for simplicity. Please note some titles have changed.  

To see Victoria Holt reissues, they follow immediately after the Jean Plaidy titles with their original publication dates.

Tudor Family and Court

To Hold the Crown (formerly titled Uneasy Lies the Head)

The Thistle and the Rose

Mary, Queen of France

Murder Most Royal

For a Queen’s Love (formerly titled The Spanish Bridegroom)

A Favorite of the Queen (formerly titled Gay Lord Robert)

Henry VIII

Henry VIII - The Ladies' Man

Henry VIII’s Wives

Katherine of Aragon (omnibus edition)

The Lady in the Tower

The Rose without a Thorn

The Sixth Wife

Mary, Queen of Scots

Royal Road to Fotheringhay

The Captive Queen of Scots

 Stuarts

The Murder in the Tower

The Loves of Charles II (omnibus edition)

The Three Crowns

Royal Sisters (formerly titled The Haunted Sisters)

Courting Her Highness (formerly titled The Queen’s Favorites)

Queens of England

The Courts of Love

The Queen’s Secret

The Reluctant Queen

In the Shadow of the Crown

Queen of this Realm

Loyal in Love (formerly titled Myself, My Enemy)

The Merry Monarch’s Wife (formerly titled The Pleasures of Love)

The Queen’s Devotion (formerly titled William’s Wife)

Victoria Victorious

Lucrezia Borgia

Madonna of the Seven Hills

Light on Lucrezia

*Also available in one volume as The Borgias

Victoria Holt

Mistress of Mellyn (1960)

Bride of Pendorric (1963)

On the Night of the Seventh Moon (1972)

Lord of the Far Island (1975)

This concludes a three part installment on my favorite historical novelists. I hope you enjoyed reading and perhaps rediscovered a few old favorites.

 
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