Archives for Books:
February 19th, 2014 Brian Herzog
After shoveling until 11pm last night, today's post was going to be about the relentless tyranny of snow - but happily, here's something more interesting.
Yesterday, BoingBoing pointed to a new comic book called The Transpacific Partnership and "Free Trade," that explains, in understandable comic book fashion, the secretly-being-negotiated-behind-closed-doors Transpacific Partnership trade treaty. If you've been picking up on the snippets of news about the TPP that have been leaked in the past months, you may have a general feeling that the TPP is A Bad Thing. Not unlike the relentless tyranny of snow.
Bad, but how? Well, this comic does an excellent job of explaining - not only why it's bad, but how. And how bad. Here's one example, about Intellectual property:
The 27-page comic is by Michael Goodwin and illustrated by Dan E. Burr, and really is excellent. Even for someone with no economics knowledge, it helps breakdown how international trade works, what "free trade" is and is not, and how the TPP would fit in. It also examines the current political environment in which things like this can exist.
Even if you don't read the whole thing, at least read up to the part where corporations can dictate laws in other countries by suing those governments that have laws the corporations don't like.
Spoiler alert: this already happens under NAFTA. Also under NAFTA, it snows. A lot.
February 15th, 2014 Brian Herzog
I would say right off the bat that this post is NSFW, but it happened to me at work so it must be okay. Just, be warned(ish).
One slow afternoon, after school, a girl who was probably about fourteen came up to the desk and asked for books on learning to draw. Specifically, she said, she wanted to draw people.
No problem - in fact, the 740s are right near the Reference Desk. I walked her over, skimmed the titles, and pulled one down called Step-by-step guide to drawing the figure. Sounds promising, right? The cover shows artistic-looking sketches, no problem there, and just what we're looking for.
No, the problem came when I flipped open the book to see if the inside was what she was looking for. Hover your mouse over the image below to see the first page I flipped to*.
The patron didn't seem phased, but it's not often I show naked pictures to fourteen year old girls. Not just an image, mind you, but an actual photograph of a naked woman. I know this is perfectly normal in the life of a librarian, but, I don't know, it just took me by surprise and felt weird.
But it did turn out to be what she wanted, so the patron took that book and another one we found, and she seemed happy.
*I have two theories on why I was able to flip right to this page:
- Either I have an uncanny ability to find naked women, or (and more likely),
- This is the most popular page in the book and the spine has been broken by previous readers (perhaps fourteen year old boys)
Tags: art, awkward, drawing, figure, human, libraries, Library, naked, people, public, Reference Question, woman
January 25th, 2014 Brian Herzog
Here's something nice about librarians: we know that one of the best ways to self-medicate is with information. One of my co-workers told me this story - it could have happened to anyone, but since she approached it in a librarian way, I figured other people would enjoy it too.
My coworker was talking to her sister recently, who had hurt her arm and was required to sleep with her arm propped up. Which sounds normal enough, but this idea struck terror into the heart of my coworker.
One of her childhood fears, that has stuck with her all her life, is sleeping with her arms propped up. It stemmed from reading a book of Christian stories in her dentist's waiting room - the story was about how Jesus knew you were dead and ready to be taken to Heaven if you were in bed with your arms propped up.
She decided to search to see if she could re-locate whatever story this was - because no one else remembered reading it. She searched for various combinations of keywords (jesus dead holding up hand childrens story), and eventually she found it!
It's called Jesus Understood, and I agree with her that the whole thing comes across now as pretty creepy. I had never heard of this propped hand = Heaven idea, but I can see why the last sentence might stay with a child:
It's a short story (just three pages), so read it and see what you think.
Anyway, I thought this was a very librarian way to face a childhood terror - go back and find the source, and see how it reads as an adult. Hopefully my coworker can now sleep peacefully.
January 9th, 2014 Brian Herzog
I saw this tweet yesterday from @librarythingtim:
I had no idea there are audiobooks on YouTube (and according to Tim's subsequent tweets, I wasn't the only one). Yet sure enough, a simple search for "audiobook" on YouTube is very promising:
However, like many other nice internet resources, I suspect this might be less-than-legal - and disclaimers like this aren't kidding anyone:
Especially with the built-in spam link - that seems to indicate this may not be long for this world.
However, audiobooks on YouTube - who knew? Well, Tim did, and I bet a lot of other people too. And since it's likely these are very transient, I bet the people who know they are there benefit from websites to convert YouTube videos as mp3 files, and keep them forever.
The internet really is the wild west of intellectual property.
December 5th, 2013 Brian Herzog
I'm still getting caught up on things from Thanksgiving, so forgive me if this is old news.
I read on BoingBoing that the Department of Labor is compiling a list of "Books that Shaped Work in America" - there are quite a few titles there already, and they're also accepting submissions.
A bit more:
The idea for this list derived from the Books that Shaped America exhibition sponsored by the Library of Congress in 2012. This exhibition endeavored to spark a national conversation about the impact of books on overall American life and culture. Not surprisingly, many of the books included in the exhibition address issues related to work. But it was the wide range of books with work as a central theme that really served to underscore the significant role published works have played in shaping American workers and workplaces.
Neat. I thought this was a handy readers advisory tool to pass along.
July 24th, 2013 Brian Herzog
My library has partnered with the Chelmsford Open Space Stewards to create a StoryWalk along one of our local trails.
The idea of StoryWalk, which originated with Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT, is to line a trail with pages from a picture book, which kids (and adults) can read while on their walk/hike. The pages are laminated so as to be weather-proof, and attached to wooden stakes driven into the ground along the trail.
It's a very simple project to do, but looks great and is a lot of fun for trail walkers. Library staff prepared all the pages and stakes, and the volunteer Stewards cleared the trail and installed the stakes - here's a slideshow of the installation and trail:
The StoryWalk was put in last weekend, and the "ribbon cutting" ceremony officially announcing the trail is this Saturday. The plan is to swap out a new story each season, and if all goes well hopefully start a monthly rotation.
The first four books were purchased by the Friends of the Library, who also paid for the lamination (all the wood and other materials were donated). For the future, we're hoping to get a local hardware store and office supply store to donate the wood and lamination services, too.
The first story chosen was Sheep Take a Hike, by Nancy Shaw and illustrated by Margot Apple. It's a perfect story for the natural trail selected (Sunny Meadow in South Chelmsford), and subsequent stories will also be seasonal - something in the snow for winter, etc. I like this project a lot because it's one of those great outside-the-library ideas that bring literacy and fun to where our patrons already are. Plus, it's easy!