Palin’s Guides

And now  for something completely different:

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During this brief Labor Day break, I finished watching the series:  New Europe and Sahara featuring the iconic Monty Python actor - Michael Palin.  I am looking forward to watching his adventures Himalaya and Pole to Pole next.
 
The Pythonesque humor interweaved with a wonderful global perspective and a genuine empathy for the human condition offers an excellent counterbalance to the nationalistic drumbeat provided by mainstream news media coverage.  Palin humanizes the human condition. You feel that you have gotten the know the people he visits. Globe trekking to exotic locations has been curtailed by war, media coverage, and economic instability.  Yet, perhaps now more than ever we need to have a first-hand knowledge of those cultures.  Palin’s treks may represent the perfect virtual cultural bridge.
 
New Europe

New Europe

The New Europe series offers a trek through: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Eastern Germany. 

For many, many Americans the only understanding we have of New Europe is limited to our participation in wars in Bosnia.  The New Europe series provides important cultural insights about how everyday people go about their lives.

Sahara

Sahara Desert

The Sahara series begins and ends in Gibraltar, Spain with the journey taking place in: Morocco, Smara Refugee Camp (Algeria), Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali,  Niger, Algeria, Libya,  Tunisia. 

In the final episode of the Sahara series, Palin visits the site of his crucifixion in the Life of Brian the city of El Haddej in Tunisia.  

 
 
Every public library should offer the Michael Palin series and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
 

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Local History with Beignets: Discovering Vieux Carre/French Quarter

Discovering Vieux Carre/French Quarter

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~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Louisiana Purchase

Louisiana Purchase

The room where the Louisiana Purchase was signed.  How an apartment in 1850 would’ve been furnished.  The magnificence of historic St. Louis Cathedral. Documents written in Spanish, French, and English. How New Orleans celebrated Mardi Gras in yesteryears. These are a few of the things I saw while visiting the museums in the French Quarter.

This was my third ALA Annual and my first time in New Orleans. I stayed at the Holiday Inn-French Quarter on Royal Street so history was on the doorstep.

June 24

Friday was my free day so I spent the day discovering the history of the city.  After going to the convention center to get my badge and tote, I set out for the afternoon in the French Quarter. I had an early lunch at Café Beignet which was a short walk from my hotel.  I enjoyed a croissant sandwich and a side of beignets.  Délicieux! Delicious!  I liked the Café because it was quieter and not as busy.

My first museum stop was the Historic New Orleans Collection complex on Royal Street.  Here I viewed “The Threads of Memory” exhibit–a display of rarely seen documents about the Spanish presence in North America. The collection also included some documents on Louisiana under French control and then American acquisition. Moving on to the next gallery, I was impressed by colonial Spanish religious art in North America.

Cathedral St. Louis

My next stop was at St. Louis Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The church is named for the royal patron saint of France. The Cathedral has a long history and is the oldest continuously used Catholic cathedral in the United States. I was impressed by the magnificent interior.  One of my favorite parts of the building was the ceiling. I spent a few minutes praying and took a few photos. The next day I returned for the 5 pm Mass after a long day at the convention center.  As a souvenir of my attendance, I took the church bulletin on my way out.

After leaving the Cathedral, I went to the Cabildo.  This building had once served as the seat of government during Spanish colonial rule. Later it was home of the Louisiana State Supreme Court before it became a museum in 1911.  Aside from learning a few facts in school, I never knew about the city’s long and rich history. It had changed hands between the French and Spanish before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  On the second floor, I visited the room where the signing took place and the painting of the 1803 ceremony.  I remembered seeing that painting in my American history textbook in grade school.  When I finished visiting all the exhibit rooms, I’d gotten a fascinating tour of New Orleans through time.

Before leaving my hotel earlier, I had made a reservation for a 4 pm walking tour of the French Quarter.  I met my tour guide Mike from Magic Tours in front of K-Joe’s Restaurant. Two others were supposed to come but they didn’t!  We walked through the French Quarter, stopping at various landmarks along the way including Jackson Square, the riverfront, Napoleon House, the Pharmacy Museum, and Madam John’s Legacy.  Mike told me fascinating historical bits and architecture about the city.  I now know why oversized colored water jars were placed in period pharmacy windows. Duelling behind the Cathedral? I’m sure the priests weren’t happy about that!  Since it was a hot day, Mike frequently directed me towards shade.

June 28

I had the morning free before going to the airport and home.  I went to the 1850 House off Jackson Square.  This is one of the buildings built by the Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba in 1850 hence the name. I entered the house through the gift shop on the ground floor and mounted a staircase. The rooms are furnished as they would have been of the time period.  Various families lived there along with their slaves and household staff in the back.  In 1927 it became a state museum.

New Orleans Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras New Orleans

My second and final museum was the Presbytere next to St. Louis Cathedral. Originally the Presbytere housed the Capuchins, a Catholic religious order.  In the 19th century it was used as a courthouse then became a state museum in 1911. Originally I didn’t plan to go.  A reproduction of a 19th century Mardi Gras poster outside did it for me. Once inside, I ran into one of my colleagues as she was coming out from an exhibit on Hurricane Katrina. We went up to the Mardi Gras exhibit on the second floor.  It’s a fun exploration of how this New Orleans tradition evolved over the centuries.  There’s also a room about how Mardi Gras is celebrated by the Cajuns in the nearby Louisiana parishes.

Afterwards we went out to lunch near the Cabildo and then I had to leave for the airport.  Although most of my time was split between the convention center and the French Quarter, I had a great time in New Orleans.

Just as you get a generous serving of food in any restaurant in New Orleans, I could say the same about its local history.  Plus having a few beignets on the side.

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Royal Reprints: Margaret Irwin

Royal Reprints: Margaret Irwin

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert

England 1642.  King Charles I and Parliament clash on the battlefield.  The king’s nephew Prince Rupert of the Rhine, son of his sister Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, arrives to fight in the English royal army.  This is his story in The Stranger Prince by Margaret Irwin.

I came across The Stranger Prince during a weeding project last year.  Margaret Irwin’s name was familiar–I had read her novels about young Elizabeth I in high school.  This one was new to me.  It was a lengthy read, but I enjoyed it. I didn’t know much about Rupert prior to reading this so this novel introduced me to him.

Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia

Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia

When Irwin’s Elizabeth trilogy was reissued, I was delighted to see it again.  Much has been written about her as Queen of England, but not as much about her formative years. There are predictions for the future in the novels of how people and events will be viewed.  Popular songs of the day are incorporated as part of the story.  If you read an older edition of Elizabeth, Captive Princess, one of the paintings of Elizabeth mentioned in the story may have been included as a plate.

I haven’t read all of Irwin’s historical novels, but I enjoy her writing style. She does a wonderful job bringing the period to life. I was absorbed into Elizabeth and Rupert’s worlds and meeting the people of their day.  Irwin appears to have done her research well for her novels. I was amused with her introduction for The Stranger Prince about compiling a bibliography.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

Margaret Irwin (1889-1969) was a well-known English novelist. I was unable to find much biographical information about her besides a Wikipedia entry.  Irwin had a long writing career–her first novel Still She Wished for Company appeared in 1924.  In the 1930s and ’40s, she wrote several novels on the early Stuarts.  Her trilogy about young Elizabeth I prior to her ascension to the throne was published between 1944-53 and is her best known.  The novels were adapted for the 1953 movie “Young Bess” starring the late Jean Simmons in the title role.  (I came across the original review of the movie)  Irwin’s bibliography also includes short story collections and one non-fiction.

Since Irwin’s trilogy on Elizabeth I has been reissued, I hope her other novels will follow.  Whether you read Margaret Irwin years ago or a new reader, her novels are worthwhile reads.

This is the second installment about my favorite historical novelists. Finale: Eleanor Hibbert, a prolific author who used various pseudonyms over her long career.

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Civil War 150: DC

Civil War 150 : District of Columbia and Freedom Rising

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Fort Sumter

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War–the opening salvo was at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor in the early morning hours on April 12, 1861.

The war not only changed the nation–it also changed Washington, DC as a capitol and hometown.

Last month I read Ernest Furgurson’s Freedom Rising, a nonfiction book about DC during the Civil War years. Since I work in DC, the 150th anniversary seemed like a great time to discover the city at that time.

Furgurson writes a fascinating and informative story of how the Civil War impacted the city and shaped it to what is today. When President-elect Lincoln arrived for his inauguration in February 1861, there wasn’t much about DC to attract people for a visit. As the book progresses through the war years, Furgurson introduces the reader to the people, events, and places in the city as well as what happened officially. 

I enjoyed the descriptions of city life and neighborhoods at the time.  The landmarks mentioned are either still standing today or long gone. I recognized some of the people who came to DC for one reason or another while others I didn’t know. 

By April 1865, DC is no longer the sleepy town it once been. Black and white maps of the city are included. I enjoyed this book and learned more about DC along the way.

Around the city and in Maryland and Virginia, you can find Civil War heritage sites to discover and enjoy.  The Washington Post is featuring a special section online  of the 150th anniversary.

On April 15, Emancipation Day will be observed in the District of Columbia.  This city holiday commemorates the signing of the DC Emancipation Act signed by President Lincoln in 1862,  freeing all slaves in DC. 

This Emancipation was enacted  nine months before the more famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

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World Book Day and Google Book Search

 World Book Day, Copyright, and Google Book Search

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On March 22nd the Southern District Court of New York rejected the Google Books Settlement.  One of the central issues of the Google Books Settlement was the burden on Copyright holders to opt out of having their works digitized by Google.  Instead, the burden is put on Google to obtain rights by having Copyright holders opt in. What does this mean for the extraordinary database Google has constructed of digitized works?  What contents are already available in Google Books?

 On March 16th the World Book Day game was reposted from Facebook to the PubLib Listserve:

  • “It’s that time again – World Book Day. Grab the book closest to you right now. Open to page 56 and choose the 5th sentence. Publish it as your status and write these rules as a comment. Don’t choose – PICK UP the CLOSEST BOOK. Don’t say what the book is about.”

The World Book Day game on Facebook is apparently a derivation of World Book Day as explained here by Judy Turner   :

  • Briefly, the day’s official name is World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days. It is celebrated yearly,except in the UK and the Republic of Ireland where the first Thursday in March was chosen as the date. The commemoration was organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright and was first observed in 1995.

Many PubLib subscribers posted the fifth sentence on the 56th page of the book closest to them on PubLib.    Running the sentences through Google Book Search yielded many of the titles.  Google sells many of these titles through the eBookstore, so it stands to reason that many of the copyright holders would have given permission to digitize.  Do the searches that do not appear represent opting out?  It also stands to reason if the 56th page of a book is available through Google Book search, the rest of the book would also be available.  Does this mechanism of being able to search a book in its entirety still represent fair use?  And, what are the books that were closest to the PubLib readers who participated in the game?

The 56th page fifth sentences follow. The sentences do not necessarily correspond to the 56th page of the edition scanned, but each sentence was available in its entirety:

This is only a test

By similar reasoning, it was held in U.S. v. Jacobsen (1984) that field testing of a white powder uncovered by a private search was no search, as it would only reveal whether the powder was an illegal substance.” ~ Robert Balliot  – Criminal Procedure Constitutional Limitations – Jerold H. Israel and Wayne R. LaFave -2006  – ( Editor: this was not in Google Book Search – is this an example of opting out by Thomson West?)

“Locally crafted of walnut, mahogany, and sometimes cypress, these knobs are identical to examples made in the eastern United States and continued to appear on both bench-made and factory-made furniture through the nineteenth century.”~ Audrey Jo DeVillier – na

“Paul knew that if he meant to make it in show business he had to go ‘down south’, even though southerners had a reputation for being unfriendly and condescending to northerners such as himself.” ~ Mark P. Hasskarl – Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney – Page 56 – Howard Sounes – 2010 – 634 pages

“Mainly a place for jewelers to pick up stock, ordinary mortals, too, can rummage the sparklers and invest in either loose gems or unique pieces of fine jewelry.”~ Gair Helfrich - na

“”The double hit of having a tendency to form clots combined with an additional element that causes clots can lead to serious problems.” ~ Viccy Kemp – 100 Questions and Answers about Stroke: A Lahey Clinic Guide – Page 56 – Kinan K. Hreib – 2008 – 185 pages

“Like her he scanned the shadows, the deep pits of dark.” ~ Patrice Matujec - na

“And later, after her gentle care, she could see the trusting look in his eyes”. ~ Deb Yoder – A Moment in Time – Judith Gould – 2001 – 323 pages

“What these men had to eat and drink Is what we say and what we think.” ~ Myers, Leigh – Selected poems John Crowe Ransom – 1969 – 159 pages – More editions

“I can do without the snake’s help this time.” ~ Charli Osborne - na

“Like its rival Laphroaig, this [Lagavulin] is a very distinctive malt.” ~ Diane Swint Levin

“Is she awake yet?” ~ Darla Wegener - na

“”We won’t be doing that, Sheriff Barnett.’” ~ Glenda Pate - na

“It’s my mother.” ~ Betsy Cherednik - na

After agreeing to the new, harsher terms, Johnston surrendered his once-great army on April 26, 1865. ~ Melissa Davidson – Insiders’ Guide to Civil War Sites in the Southern States- John McKay – 2005 – 384 pages

When the poet Claude McKay reviewed Shuffle Along for The Liberator magazine, he made a point of praising its all-black production because some black radicals ‘were always hard on Negro comedy…hating to see themselves as a clowning race.’ ~ Kathleen Stipek – Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties- Lucy Moore – 2010 – 352 pages

“Malcolm Usrey called the book ‘a powerful and moving story, made poignant by [O'Dell's] restraint and simplicity, reflecting the stoic, proud, and quiet or passive strength of Bright Morning.’” ~ Donna Olson – Biography Today Author Series: Profiles of People of Interest to … Laurie Lanzen Harris, Cherie D. Abbey – 1996 – 190 pages

The nation’s first nonpartisan African American summit convenes April 21-23. ~ Melodie M. Franklin – The African American almanac L. Mpho Mabunda – 1997 – 1270 page

Glue and clamp together four pieces of 3/4″ x 3-1/4″ x 4-1/4″ stock to form the cab block (B). ~ Michael May - The great all-American wooden toy book Norman Marshall – 1999 – 211 pages

“4 1/2 cups water” ~ Ami Kreider – too many hits - na

“I went to Sedona’, Brenda Answered ~ Carolyn in Glasgow, MT - Fatal Error – Judith A. Jance – 2011 – 368 pages

“It’s true that I may have looked a bit New Agey, but I didn’t really need this.” ~ Margaret M. Neill – One of Our Thursdays Is Missing – Jasper Fforde – 2011 – 384 pages

Beigeschmack m (-[e]/no pl.) slight flavor; smack (of)(a. fig.) ~ Fred Beisser – The Oxford-Duden German dictionary: German-English, English-German – Page 1538  Olaf  Thyen, Michael Clark, Werner Scholze-Stubenrecht – 1999 – 1728 pages

Since then, staff have followed up and worked with them to identify things they will do. ~ Carolyn Rawles-Heiser - na

“”Eileen, achora, I hear someone come tapping.” ~ Cindy Rosser - na

Install A-B-C fire extinguishers in the home and teach family members how to use them. ~ Dianne Harmon – It’s a disaster! … and what are you gonna do about it?: a … – Page 56  Bill Liebsch, Janet Liebsch – 2006 – 268 pages

Finally Ethel walked out on him and went to perform at a Black club called Egg Harbor, then landed at Rafe’s Paradise where the patrons were white. ~ Judy Turner - na

“Dorothy showed him no respect at all.” ~ Erin – Wringer – Jerry Spinelli – 2004 – 227 pages

It was characteristic of not only the Platonic but the Xenophonic Socrates. ~ Bill Manson - na

The very worst poetry of all perished with it creator Paula Nancy millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England in the destruction of the planet Earth. ~ Diane Doty – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Page 58 Douglas Adams – 1997 – 208 pages

Those to whom the power of election is transferred must observe the provisions of law concerning an election and, for the validity of the election, they must observe the conditions attached to the compromise, unless these conditions are contrary to the law. Conditions which are contrary to the law are to be regarded as non-existent. ~ Paula Laurita – The code of canon law: new revised English translation  Catholic Church, Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Canon Law Society of Australia and New  Zealand – 1997 – 508 pages

“The boy wondered and grieved that she could not eat; and when, putting his arms around her neck, he tried to wedge some his cake into her mouth, it seemed to her that the rising in her throat would choke her.” ~ Brad Leifer – Uncle Tom’s cabin, or, Life among the lowly – Harriet Beecher Stowe – 1852

“Then he heard a rustling sound coming from the kitchen.” ~ Meegan Tosh - - na

“The brigand’s sword withdrew to strike, and Friar Lorenzo sank to his knees in submission, clutching the rosary and waiting for the slash that would cut short his prayer.” ~ Heather Murray - Juliet – Page 56 Anne Fortier – 2010 – 464 pages

The Wee Tods cooried in close, their nebs twiggin, their een skinklin like stars. ~ Gail Roberts - na

“The rep was described as what we termed “UK-6 Aristocracy Dapper-12,” which meant that he had a fine pencil mustache and spoke as though he were from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.” ~ Catherine McCullough Les -  One of Our Thursdays Is Missing -  Jasper Fforde – 2011 – 384 pages

“All the same, she saw him go with regret.”  Betty Neels, The Awakened Heart. ! ~ Carrie Braaten (Editor: not in Google Books but  the line partially repeats – A Good Wife – Page 32 Betty Neels – 2009 – 192 pages – Shall I go up?’ Serena gave him a tired ‘Hello.’She was both tired and very worried, her hair hanging down herback … be along presently,’ he told her, ‘ and I’m sure your brothers will see to everything.’ She saw him go with regret. ..) - na.

“The amount of material on reserve for a course should be reasonable in relation to the total amount of reading assigned for the course;” ~ Kim Rutter - The librarian’s copyright companion – Page 56 James S. Heller – 2004 – 257 pages

“She is not for sale,” the father answered. ~ Marla - na

However, Sebastiano gained his greatest fame after moving to Rome in 1511. ~ Jessica Rogoz - The World Book Encyclopedia: Volume 1  World Book, Inc – 2007 – 22 pages

Most teams don’t have such a complete back; they’re more likely to have one of each, so defenses can take their next cues from the formation. ~ Sandra Ferguson - na

“Provides training and educational assistance to build a productive workforce.” ~ James B. Casey - Illinois handbook of government Illinois. Office of Secretary of State – 2001

I will continue to nurse, ride on her ody, and sleep in her nest for more than six years. ~ Judi Bugniazet - na

box of W’s. ~ Jane Carle - na

“There’ll be lots of little things like this, won’t there?” he says, sliding into the right-hand side of the bed. ~ Meredith Crosby – The Poison Tree – Erin Kelly – 2011 – 336 pages

“Eventually runners, if they survive to their eighteenth birthday, can become more of a liability than an asset.” ~ Carol Sheffer – Channel Surfing with God – Page 56 – Gary Fisher – 2009 – 267 pages

La negligencia en la otorgación del permiso de la minera San José, la falta de control respecto a situaciones precedentes y la inexistent supervisión de sus labores, se mantiene como el principal argumento del gobierno del presidente Sebastián Piñera ante los cuestionamientos opositores por el despido de Alejandro Vio, ex director del Sernageomin y responsable administrativo del desastre. ~ Kathi Kemp - Vivos Bajo Tierra/ Alive Underground: La historia verdadera de los …Manuel Pino, Manuel Pino Toro – 2011 – 272 pages

The child needs to get a job as well, which intensifies time pressure when it comes to studying. ~ Robert E. Perone – Ten minute guide – stress management – Page 91 – Jeff Davidson – 2001 – 192 pages

“And now,” said Susan, “what do we do next?” ~ Deborah Shepherd – The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe – Page 55 Clive Staples Lewis, Pauline Baynes – 2000 – 189 pages

All the lanterns were shuttered halfway so that a cool twilight suffused the air, lending an ethereal feel to the event. ~ Laurenne Teachout -Eldest – Page 56 – Christopher Paolini – 2007 – 704 pages

Boothe Homestead Museum gives tours Tuesday through Friday and weekend afternoons. ~ Cheryl Marriage – Off the beaten path: a travel guide to more than 1,000 scenic and … – Page 56 – Reader’s Digest – 2003 – 384 pages

“An evil prophecy is always fulfilled, if you put no time limit upon it; fulfilled quite readily, too, if you are a child counting little misfortunes as disasters.” ~ Ramona Lucius – The searchers – Alan Le May – 1954 – 272 pages

“Barbara came in bearing a tray of cups and saucers and a pot of hot chocolate.” ~ Deborah McLaughlin – American Taliban: A Novel – Page 56 – Pearl Abraham – 2010 – 258 pages

A rubber imitation softball, for instance, at something over 3″ in diameter, has it uses. ~ Judy Anderson – Musical instrument design: practical information for instrument making – Page 56 Bart Hopkin – 1996 – 181 pages

“In my experience there are three reasons why a boy will want to take out a book on poetry: 1. to impress a girl 2.for a class assignment 3.to impress a girl.” ~ Beth Dailey Kenneth – Bruiser – Page 56 Neal Shusterman – 2010 – 336 pages

“Until it receives a determination letter, the organization is required to file income tax returns and pay the applicable tax.” ~ John Richmond - na

“Some people set up routines or choose cues in order to build these moments of mindfulness into their day.” ~ Joanne Cronin - na

“The fall of communism was the result of a much longer process, and the popular protests were just its most visible, but not necessarily most important, component.”  ~ R.  C. Rybnikar  - na

I just need to know that nobody’s reading over my shoulder, about to ask me what I’m writing. ~ Sarah Howison – Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel -  Jacqueline Winspear – 2007 – 336 pages

“I waited for another crack of thunder, thinking one surely had to follow a statement like that.” ~ Liz A. Vagani - na

In the was a brick oven carrying a large pan; beside it stood a rattan basket filled to the brim with pieces of charcoal. ~ sherry hupp - Judge Dee at Work: Eight Chinese Detective Stories – Page 56 – Robert Hans van Gulik – 2007 – 184 pages

“She didn’t know the real Eddie.” ~ Janet - na

What he needed was to dull his senses as much as he could, staying just sober enough not to be completely tongue-tied. ~ Connie Jo Ozinga - na

From the beer bottles strewn about like passed out drunks, and the cheese doodle dust coating his chest and face, it was pretty clear what he’d been up to. ~ David Faulkner – Red-Headed Stepchild – Jaye Wells – 2009 – 342 pages

“Or at least buy you a book on tactics to bolster your metaphors.” ~ Mary Wilkes Towner – - The Orchid Affair – Lauren Willig – 2011 – 405 pages

“An indoor botanical conservatory, two wedding chapels, and the Spa Tower complete the extravagant picture.” ~ Daniela Yew – Fodor’s Las Vegas 2010 – Page 56 -  Fodor’s – 2009 – 392 pages

“Later Longie Zwillman, the so-called ‘Al Capone of New Jersey’ , took Doc’s place.” ~ Michael Gregory – Encyclopedia of world crime: criminal justice, criminology, and …: Volume 1
- Jay Robert Nash – 1990 – 4500 pages

“To be sure, unlike Dana, the movement’s advocates were not attempting to democratize taste.” ~ Malakia Oglesby - na

“Wishing for my leg back.” ~ Susan Riley - na

“At one end of the bar the television set was on, but the sound had been muted.” ~ Celia Bandelier – P is for peril – Sue Grafton – 2001 – 352 pages

“A robot is already a spare part.” ~ Brock Peoples - na

“He furnished himself with shirts and all the other things he could, following the advice the innkeeper had given him; and when this had been accomplished and completed, without Panza taking leave of his children and wife, or Don Quixote of his housekeeper and niece, they rode out of the village one night, and no one saw them, and they traveled so far that by dawn they were certain they would not be found even if anyone came looking for them.” ~ Lisa Guidarini -  The First Part of the Delightful History of the Most Ingenious … -  Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra – 1909

“Other patrons push their chairs back; the front door opens and shuts, then opens but doesn’t shut as Hattie steels herself to explain about radon, and about how the cancer had already spread by the time they found it – to his liver and brain before anyone knew a thing. “ ~ Laura Carroll - World and Town – Page 56 – Gish Jen – 2010 – 386 pages

Badawi scratched his chin thoughtfully. ~ Ann Perrigo - na

“Frey and others such as Versaci are part of a growing number of educators encouraging read3ers to see comics as a legitimate literary form.” ~ Joann D. Verostko - na

“An old and inconvenient term still used to designate a color mixed with black.” ~ Teresa - na

Swaz si des uber Rin mit ir zen Hiunen brahte, daz muose gar zergeben sin. ~ Lucy Roehrig - Deutsche Grammatik: Volume 1; Volume 4 – Gustav Roethe, Edward Schröder – 1989

“We’re authorized by the Department of Extraordinary Affairs to take you into custody for the possible murder of Professor Mason Redfield.” ~ Pat Mathews – Dead Waters- Anton Strout – 2011 – 335 pages

“Aren’t you forgetting something else?” said Katie acidly. “Like, um, the vents?” ~ Terry Ann Lawler - na

“The very nicest.” ~ Cheryl Schubert - na

World Book Day sentence results

Word Map of Results

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Library and Librarian Myths and Legends

Library and Librarian Myths and Legends : the Truth behind the Stacks

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Wisdom

Librarians have often been surrounded by mysteries, myths and legends.  What is the truth about Librarians?  Are they all-knowing godlike beings?  Do books magically appear on shelves?  Is the MLS a real degree?  What about buns?  These gems of corrective, collective wisdom are courtesy of the PubLib Listserve. 

David Faulker in Austin, Texas opened the discussion of De-myth-ifying librarians  with:

Just for fun I’m curious as to what are some of the wildest myths people have about our profession?

The one I hear is that, “it must be nice to work for a library and get to read all the time.”

to which the Publib Chorus responds ~

Well, there is always the one that all men who work in libraries are gay. Also that everyone is a volunteer. ~ Andrew Porteus 

 Everyone there is a librarian It is such a quiet, stress free place to work ~ Meg VanPatten  

  And it’s not just the patrons. I’ve actually had a board member ask me if I was a paid employee or a volunteer. ~ Dorothy Fleishman

“That must be a nice QUIET job.”   ha.  Come visit when we have 60 kids plus their associated older/younger siblings & adults on hand for storytime.  Or when the Chinese Lion Dance team is parading through the stacks celebrating Chinese New Year.  Or when two patrons start arguing about the noise from the headphones of one watching music videos online distracting the other who is trying to complete an online test. Or…  well, you can fill in your own blanks here.  ~ Tina Rawhouser

Most frequent for us, folks believe:

1.  That publishers are required to give books to us – we don’t have to buy them.

2.  That we are REQUIRED to put on the shelf certain books that the “government” tells us to.

3.  That we are REQUIRED to put on the shelf any book anyone wants us to… ~ Dusty Gres

*That we spend all day reading

*That everyone who works at a library is a librarian

*That there’s no reason for us to be at work when the public isn’t there (or to be off-desk for specified shifts) because, without the public, we have “nothing to do” (I’ve even had a library employee question this)

*That libraries are peaceful, calm, quiet places of work suitable to introverts and the socially inept

*That being a librarian isn’t “real” work  ~ Ann Moore

I’ve heard many who don’t frequent libraries say that  libraries are nothing but a den of homeless people who smell bad, talk to themselves & bathe in the library restrooms.  Our little library has none of that; the only ones talking to themselves are the  perhaps staff  – - after all the kids have gone through… ~ Karen Mahnk

Once at a pool party a guy asked me what I did.  I told him that I was a librarian.  He said, “That sounds really boring!”  Turned out he was an accountant, I bit my tongue and said nothing.  Librarianship is many things, but boring it aint! ~ George Hazelton

Does anyone think Laura Bush helped promote the idea that we read on the job? I remember when she said she loved being a librarian because she got to read her way through the gardening section. I cringed at that one. ~ Judy Anderson

“The ALA” controls public libraries ~ Nann Blaine Hilyard

granted, this one was from a 13-ish-year-old, but he was honestly surprised that I have a home, a husband, and a son.  He actually said the words, “…you don’t stay here?” ~ Sarah Morrison

How about the (hopefully small) group of patrons who think the public library provides some sort of dating service with the employees as the dates? ~ Mary Jane Garrett -

How about those folks who want the medical/mental help advice (as if I’m qualified for that) and then start flirting with you? . . . my mum was shocked recently to discover that I help folks with technology questions.  She thought I should hand over questions regarding things such as Microsoft Office, using email, or basic troubleshooting as to why the library computer won’t connect to the internet/print to the IT dept.  All because I’m a librarian and I shouldn’t have to deal with technology.  And then she asked me for help with her Kindle.  ~ Megan Coleman

“What do we libraries or librarians for, isn’t everything available on the internet?” ~ Jane Jorgenson

When my fellow teachers ask how the contract affects me (uh, I have a K-12 teaching cert so the same as you) and were SHOCKED that I had a student teacher. Librarians are TEACHERS not SUPPORT STAFF ~ Steph Sweeney

That reminds me of the only time when our budget did not pass and it was suggested that we staff the reference desk with volunteers because people basically ask the same 3 or 4 questions! ~ Meg VanPatten

That I keep their information in some secret place to share with the government. ~ Terry Ann Lawler

Librarians are pushovers ~ Robert Balliot

. . . you must get so much needlepoint done in between customers at the library ~ Nann Blaine Hilyard  

That all female librarians are some kind of sexual deviants hiding behind the stacks. ~ Melodie Franklin

The other one isn’t actually about librarians, but about libraries.  That’s the one wherein people think the publishers GIVE us all those books.  “You mean, you have to BUY the books?”  Well, yeah, we do; with the fine money that is surely our only source of income (don’t people look at their property tax bills?). ~ Lynne S. Ingersoll

There’s the one that all female librarians are old maids with their hair in a bun and pencils stuck over their ears. The one I like the best is that we, men and women, are all smart and know everything! ~ Anne Felix

Aischylos sans bun

I use this one to my advantage. At least once every day I hear, “but you don’t look like a librarian.” To which I respond, “Oh. That’s because I quit putting my hair up in a bun.” Then I show them my MPB spot and add, “See? I ripped it out by the roots.” ~ Darrell Cook

Upon learning I am a librarian someone once said, “That must be peaceful.” Then I told her about the guy who came into the library following kids around who turned out to have a rap sheet with charges of assault and rape (minors) on it, how some patrons act when they haven’t been taking their meds, and the  patron who yelled at me by telephone for five minutes because she felt two of my co-workers (no, I don’t supervise them)had not given her satisfactory  help. ~ Kevin O’Kelly

Once a candidate for a job told me she wanted to work in a library because it’s an easy job where she could sit down all day. ~ Gair Helfrich

Boy, I sure would like to work in a place that has peace and quiet! ~ Linda Dydo  

“I wish I got paid to read all day.”
 “I wish I got paid to color and cut things out all day.”\ ~ B. Allison Gray
 
“You need a masters degree? Don’t you know alphabetical order?” ~ Diane Doty

Several times I’ve spoken with people who can’t believe that we haven’t read all the books on our shelves. Maybe that’s why they think we’re smart? ~ Tom Cooper

Personnel & Personnel

People don’t understand–including people who are leaders, administrators, executives, whatever, in other vocations–that directors or other administrative folks in libraries deal with the same issues that other leaders, administrators, and executives do: personnel, personnel, and personnel, along with budgets, personnel, boards, personnel, personnel, and, now and then, personnel.  Buildings and grounds.  Contractors.  Also personnel. ~ John Richmond

Directors named Dusty are male. And if a woman answers the phone she is his Secretary as in {snarky tone} “I ASKED to speak specifically to the Director NOT his Secretary…” And if I say, “This is the Director” then the response is, “Oh, well, Debbie…” or, this is the best one, “Oh, really, what’s your REAL name?” ~ Dusty Gres

They also think we keep everything forever! ~ Anne Felix

People always think that library staff get perks like getting to jump to the top of the holds queue or not having to pay overdue fines. I tell them that in terms of using the library, we are just like the patron and we get no special treatment, which always shocks them. They’re also surprised when I point out that, if anything, we have the opposite of perks because our coworkers know what we check out and put on hold and how much we owe, so we have to sacrifice our privacy. ~ Cheryl Hill

Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Surreal Librarian

I’ve had that ‘is that a real’ degree on the subject of the MLS a few times, and never once has a fearless leader of mine allowed me to smile sweetly and say ‘nope, it’s a surreal degree.’ ~ Kathleen Stipek

I am surprised by how many people ask, “How much does it cost to get a library card?” We have a fair number of immigrants in our community, and they are often surprised to learn that public libraries are free. ~ Anne Felix

. . . wasn’t that “a lot of education to sit behind a desk and wait for someone to ask a question?”!!  ~ Penny Neubauer

I overheard a mother walking in front of my desk tell her child “Don’t bother the librarian. She’s busy working. They’re for important questions.” That child will probably never ask the librarians a question, and will probably not use the library as an adult. ~ Angela Morse

. . . people think that a library, any library, will keep forever that very special book or collection of books (or National Geographic Magazines) they are planning to give to the library one day.  That day might be just tomorrow because they’re cleaning out the old family house after the death of a parent, or it might be a plan they’re making for years ahead when they move their stuff to a smaller apartment and get rid of some of their books. ~ Alain

Librarian Legend :

baseball field by Robert Merkel

Coach's box= dugout

I first got Dodger season tickets in 1994.  I got in the habit of bringing cookies to the guys in the bullpen.
The then-bullpen catcher asked me my name, but there was so much noise he couldn’t hear me. 
I whipped out my business card and handed it to him.  He walked over to the other guys, shaking his head, and saying:  “You’ll never guess what she does for a living!” ~Sue Kamm

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Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Elizabeth of York

A young English princess tries on her wedding gown with excitement only for her betrothal to the French Dauphin to be broken shortly afterwards.  So begins the first chapter of The Tudor Rose, a novel about Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII.  I knew who she was but what was she like?  This wonderful novel by the late English novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes provided an answer for me.

Margaret Campbell Barnes (1891-1962) began her career by writing for various leading British literary publications before turning to historical fiction.  Her agents at Curtis Brown Ltd. encourage her to write historical novels.  She wrote ten novels between 1944-62.  In 1944 her son Michael’s death in World War II combat operation devasted her and her husband Peter.  Her love for her son shines in her writing.  (A fuller biography may be found in any of her reissued novels)

I first discovered Margaret Campbell Barnes in high school.  The copy of The Tudor Rose  in my high school library wasn’t very distinctive on the shelf: it was a hardback rebound with the title engraved on the spine.  (I don’t remember if any of Barnes’s novels were there)  I went on to read other historical fiction novels but I didn’t forget this novel. Years would pass before I saw it again…

Tudor Rose

What I enjoy about Barnes’s novels is her writing style and how she brings her subject and the time period to life. As I read, I feel I’m watching what’s happening: the battles, political upheaval, murder, vying for the throne, feasts and royal pageantry, and domestic life. The individual people in her novels, both well-known and lesser known, come alive on the pages.  Because it’s actual history, there are no surprises about the ending. The way Barnes tells the story will have you wanting to know. Barnes follows the historical records about her subjects accurately, and she includes an acknowledgement about her research in her novels.  As an undergrad history major, I appreciate that.

If you enjoyed reading Margaret Campbell Barnes when you were younger, you’ll be delighted her novels have been reissued with beautiful covers after being out of print for many years. I’ve bought four of the reissues including The Tudor Rose. Three of them were new to me so I was in for a treat. (My second favorite is My Lady of Cleves)  Below is a list of Barnes’s reissued novels in chronological order in English history and their original publication dates:

The Passionate Brood (1944)

Within the Hollow Crown (1947)

The Tudor Rose (1953)

Brief Gaudy Hour (1949)

King’s Fool (1959)

My Lady of Cleves (1946)

Mary of Carisbrooke (1956)

This is the first in a three part series about my favorite historical fiction novelists.  Next installment: Margaret Irwin.

 

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Publib Topics – A Graphic Retrospective from January 2011 back to January 2010

Beware Graphic Content Ahead!

These graphic images or word clouds were created using Wordle. They are derived from the subjects and authors in PubLib from January 2010 to January 27 2011.  The size of the graphics is directly related to the number of un-weighted unique occurrences each month of the individual words represented.    Most automated graphic processes that generate these types of word clouds use additional weight for H1 - H6 tags through feeds.  These graphics are not processed with H1 - H6 tags. The titles and authors were copied to Notepad and stripped of all HTML before being run through the Wordle Java platform. The process is case-sensitive so Library is not the same thing as library.
The most prominent word without employing filters would have been PublibPublib and Fwd were deleted from the plaintext files before processing.  In addition, the Wordle program automatically disregards articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.
 
The first graphic represents the most current information for January 2011 and is followed by the normal sequence of January – December 2010.  
2011 appears somewhat ominous! 
January 2011 PubLib

PubLib January 2010

PubLib February 2010

PubLib March 2010

PubLib April 2010

PubLib April 2010

PubLib May 2010

PubLib May 2010

PubLib June 2010

 

PubLib July 2010

 

PubLib August 2010

PubLib September 2010

PubLib October 2010

PubLib November 2010

PubLib December 2010

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Kindles and Android and Nooks (oh my!)

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Update May 19, 2011:   Amazon announced that they are now selling more Kindle books than print books – 5%  more – after dropping the price on the Kindle with advertising to $114.   

Update April 20, 2011:   Amazon announced they will be introducing a Kindle Program for Libraries later this year.     This is significant news for the Library market and quite a game-changer. How will this affect the Overdrive market and the future purchase of hand-held e-book readers by libraries?

According to MediaPost.com  Kindles represent 59% of e-readers shipped.  So, if Overdrive is able to deliver as represented, this would mean 59% more potential e-reader patrons for Libraries that have e-book collections.  Is making the most popular e-reader compatible with 11,000 library collections a positive thing for Libraries?  Is making the devices interactive with the books positive for patrons?  I think it is.
 
It is also potentially *great* for Kindle sales, Kindle book sales, Kindle book authors/publishers (70% royalities in US/UK)  and Overdrive.  The marketplace responded very positively to Amazon’s April 20th news release: http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:AMZN

Since Overdrive, Inc. is not publicly traded, it is hard to tell what immediate impact this has on the value of their company. But, given Amazon’s extraordinary success in customer satisfaction and their huge IT infrastructure, it stands to reason that the partnership would serve to enhance Library customer satisfaction with Overdrive too.

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Scary new road for Librarians

Many of the  Publib and Web4Lib conversations in 2010 centered on the effects of handheld media devices and applications in the world of libraries.  The mainstream use of handheld media and the proliferation of machines that effectively recreate the reading experience of traditional books struck home for many librarians.

The codex certainly has many iterations, but after 500 years it did become standardized.  With the exception of oversized and miniature books, most are close in size and operate essentially the same way. Librarians are comfortable with and comforted by collections of nice squared chunks of paper, cloth and leather neatly arranged on metal and wooden shelves.   We were comfortable with card catalogs and eventually became comfortable with online catalogs.  The online catalogs certainly did not have the same feel, the same look, the same smell as the old catalogs, but eventually they took hold as  standard library features. Yet, unlike most traditional library catalogs, the intellectual authority over catalog software was outsourced to vendors.  Librarians essentially gave up ownership of their catalogs, while providing broader access to more collections for their patrons through shared resources, databases and inter-library loan.

Slowly, a new path of accessibility began to blend in with the online catalogs. Digital books and digital audio became popular. Massive digitization and storage of public domain works projects were undertaken.  Computer memory, speed, and storage increased while size, cost and energy needs decreased.   Smart-phones and wireless networking became common. 3G and 4G networks proliferated. The convergence of networks, digitization, and hardware improvements meant book contents requiring hundreds of metal and wooden shelves are now available on devices weighing under a pound. And, those same devices have access to enormous digitized collections at far greater speed than even the most efficient traditional library services. 

The youthful progression of 18-20 somethings forced  Academic Librarians to become early adopters of hand-held media technology. Academic in-house computing power and talent lent themselves to solving problems of accommodating information delivery in the manner prefered by their gen x and gen y patrons .  Public Librarians trended towards becoming late adopters.  Many had no budget for electronic book collection development.  Others, inhibited by vendor controlled delivery and electronic book access looked for ways around what appeared to be a system without standards.  Some of the better funded public libraries have been able to develop electronic book collections, purchase electronic readers, and effectively respond to the demand by their patrons for this new information medium. 

 

Rise of the Machines

2010 Christmas season sales in the US accompanied a big price break and increase in quality for hand-held electronic book readers.  Nook, from Barnes & Noble, dropped its price to $149 and started offering a color screen.  Kindle  , from Amazon dropped in price to $139 and the Kindle became their top-selling item.  The Sony ebook Reader was more affordable at $129. The marketplace moved from early adopters willing to pay several hundreds of dollars to the mass market with prices under $200 for advanced electronic book readers.  Many librarians saw the trend and adapted to increased demand for e-books by their patrons.   Many other librarians worked on denying the viability of e-books and holding on to the comfortable idea that the codex was simply better.  But with massive profits driving the suppliers, each complaint about the viability of e-books is being addressed with solutions.  And, the suppliers of e-readers attempt to make their devices behave as well or better than the traditional book:

Librarians and readers complained that reading from a computer screen was not as enjoyable as reading a book. Nook now advertises its “just-like-paper screen” and Kindle and Sony employ the same electronic technology from E-Ink .  The electronic paper screens do not have the flicker of CRTs and glare of LCD panels.  They are not back-lit such as LCD / LED screens - so text does not disappear in direct sunlight.  Some reports link use of LCD and LED screens to insomnia , but the same effect is not apparent with the E-Ink electronic paper available from new electronic book readers.

Librarians and readers complained that sharing of downloaded materials was not possible because the license was for one device, one reader Nook and Kindle have begun to address sharing and are now offering options. Market demand and profit will determine future sharing options. With such an insignificant production / advertising / distribution cost compared to traditional books – electronic books potentially have more leeway in terms of maintaining profitability for publishers and authors.

Nook offers social media options and two million titles. Kindle offers text to speech, advanced pdf reader, and Whispersync links your personal library and the progress of your reading with other devices you might own.  Sony offers Readerstore, Googlebooks, and excellent cross-platform compatibility. Each device is moving towards becoming more and more multifunctional.

Librarians complained about the lack of standardization, instructions and cross-platform compatibility. Most of those problems were derived from vendors who had failed to create adequate instructions and quickly address the needs of libraries as fluid and dynamic information marketplaces.  Conversely, with each complaint about electronic book readers, the focus of the manufacturers and suppliers is to improve.  The complaints are heard as an  opportunity to improve and move a step ahead of their competition.  Are libraries competing?

As if Kindle and Nook and Sony did not create a big enough impact, Google’s Android operating system along with Apple’s iPad  / iPhone and PC applications paved the way for multi-use handheld devices.  3G access became widespread and smartphones are able to use Nook,  Sony and Kindle applications to increase personal library access.   Android equipped devices can quickly download a Kindle or Nook application. Every smartphone can now become an electronic book reader and a mobile library.

The electronic book is here and expanding and evolving without librarians a gatekeepers.  However, there is encouraging news from many public libraries showing patron excitement over electronic book collections.  Some are offering to purchase copies for libraries.  Multiple holds for electronic books demonstrate that sharing is still one of the most effective tool of libraries.   But, if libraries are going to rely solely of vendors for delivery,  vendors must improve and address libraries as valued and dynamic information markets. One of the most promising tools available to librarians who wish to take the intellectual leap of not being entirely vendor dependent is Calibre ebook management.    This “free and open source e-book library management application” offers many features of value to librarians and their patrons.

Librarians must address competition in the information market in order to remain viable. With massive budget cuts to all public services looming, the road ahead for libraries is unknown.  However, it looks like the Tin Man will be traveling with us.

Rise of the Machines

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Publib Discussion: Unnecessary censorship or necessary evil?

 What would Mark Twain do?

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Publib contributors weighed in on questions regarding the sanitation of language in a new edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the purpose of classroom instruction. Would Mark Twain approve? Should period works be sanitized for classroom instruction?  The general consensus appears to have been a resounding NO.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

♦  Appalled – Judy Jerome

♦  Awful, just awful. – Sally Tornow

♦  doubt that Mr. Clemens would have approved – Sharon Foster

♦  disgraceful – Mary Soucie

♦  Political correctness run so far amuck that it is changing history and literature – Fred Beisser

♦  outraged – Lisa Guidarini

♦  What good does that do? – Kathi Kemp

♦  outrageous and self-aggrandizing endeavor – Robin Orlandi

♦  bowdlerizing is misguided – should be considered/cataloged as a derivative work – John Beekman

♦  order some new copies of the Twain books with the original language so that we ensure that we have them around as needed in years to come… – Sharon Highler

♦  Hi Tech Bowdlerization, still pathetic. – Jeff Imparato

♦  UNBELIEVABLE – GiGi Bayne

♦  horrendous – Tom Cooper

♦  Is there similar outrage about versions of pop music that have selected words altered? – Brad Thomas

♦  The idea that the “new version” is specifically intended for the educational market i(s) disheartening.  – Paula Laurita

♦  Mr. Twain is no longer around to grant his permission. – Aleta Copeland

♦  If you think this edition is a bad idea, then fight for the original. – Jacob Browne

♦  Twain’s language reflects his times, not ours – Kathleen Stipek

There are certainly many different perspectives on race.  But, there really is only one race. We *all* began in Africa.  Folklore / religion / and ignorance of history create the illusion that we are different other than in extremely superficial characteristics.  Those superficial characteristics are simply tiny changes in the genetic markers that have occurred over many thousands of years.

National Geographic produced an excellent film – The Human Family Tree – that traces us back to scientific Adam and scientific Eve.  Worth collecting for any public or academic library:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/human-family-tree-3706-interactive

The Genographic Project will let you trace your own history, our own history – way, way, way beyond Ancestry.com .

The Elbert County Library in Colorado sponsored a presentation on Genealogy DNA Testing: 

http://denver.yourhub.com/Franktown/Stories/News/General-News/Story%7E921172.aspx  

Think about what a program like that could do for your community.

What would Mark Twain do?

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