or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk



Archives for Books:


How to Frighten Young Books

   December 13th, 2011 Brian Herzog

This comic made me laugh:

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic

Thanks Chris.



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“Awful Library Books” Author on Weeding

   December 6th, 2011 Brian Herzog

Weeding List at the Manchester (NH) LibraryRuth from Artifact Collectors emailed me a link to her interview with the author of Awful Library Books, Holly Hibner.

The interview is about the weeding process, the weeded books and what happens to them after they have been weeded. If you like it, please feel free to share it with your readers!

I did like it, so here you go. Most librarians will know the details, but I always like hearing ideas for what to do with weeded books - and of course, the books that show up on Awful Library Books are always entertaining.



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Repairing Books with The Book Doctor

   December 1st, 2011 Brian Herzog

My coworker Sharon sent me this video just before Thanksgiving, and I thought it was pretty neat - Simon Demosthene at Harvard's Gutman Library talks about repairing books:

I'm not sure if this has made the rounds yet or not, so I apologize if it's old news. I tried to check that with the Is It Old?, which said it was still okay to share, so here you go. Incidentally, I learned of Is It Old? via Lifehacker's recent single-purpose website roundup (I like single-serving websites).



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Caption This Photo

   November 22nd, 2011 Brian Herzog

My cousin Karin forwarded me an email of the photo below, with the subject, "Now out in Paperback!!!"

Now out in paperback image

I have no idea what it actually is, but I thought it was a funny picture - except, the message's subject didn't have quite the jokey punch it could have. So of course, I tried to think up funny captions for it. The only one I came up with that I liked was, "Wikipedia: now out in paperback."

Does anyone else have better captions for this photo? I'm going to be away for week for Thanksgiving, so in the meantime, if you have a caption idea, please leave it in the comments below. Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving (Americans; everyone else, Happy End of November).



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Flying Corgi Media Presents Back-to-Back Books

   November 15th, 2011 Brian Herzog

Flying Corgi MediaI thought this was neat: a member of our Friends group, along with some colleagues, just started a new publishing company in town.

The name is Flying Corgi Media, and they're focusing on something I'd never heard of: Back-to-Back Books. The idea is that they publish books in pairs, based on the same settings and characters, but written for different ages. Here's how they explain it:

Our first set of Back-to-Back Books, Thérèse’s Adventure and La Comtesse by Charlotte Rolfe! Back-to-Back Book packages provide our readers with pairs of books: one for children ages 9 – 14, the other for adults ages 15 and up. Kids and adults can share characters, settings, storylines and adventures from their books. Thérèse’s Adventure (kids) and La Comtesse (adults), are two exciting novels set in post-Revolutionary France. Get ready for adventure, mystery, and romance!

I thought this was neat - it allows people of different ages to share the same characters and ideas, but also as the younger kids get older, they can easily build on what they already are familiar with. Also, being historical fiction means there's other opportunities for expanding and learning. I haven't talked to our Childrens Librarian yet to see what we're going to do with them, but it almost seems as if they would need to circulate together.

For more information, check out their FAQ, a recent article in the Chelmsford Independent, and of course Flying Corgi Media can be contacted directly. They also have plans for videos and other interactive elements, so I'm looking forward to see where they can take this concept.



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Reference Question of the Week – 11/6/11

   November 12th, 2011 Brian Herzog

Show Me! A Picture Book of Sex for Children and Parents - Photography and Captions by Will McBride - Explanatory Text by Dr. Helga Fleischhauer-HardtThis was a bit bizarre. Three or four weeks ago, a woman came to the reference desk holding her Blackberry. English was not her first language, so there was a bit of a language barrier, but on her Blackberry was a photo of a book titled Show Me!

I didn't recognize it, but from what I could piece together of her story, she had found this book in the home of friends of hers. She felt it contained child pornography, and wanted to know if the book was illegal. She said she noticed it while they were all sitting around talking, but as soon as her friend went into another room, she rushed over, snapped a covert photo, and then ran out of the house and came straight to the library. She wanted to know if the library had a copy and if it was legal to check it out.

I tried to explain that "legal" and "illegal" usually doesn't actually come into play - but if it would with anything, it would be child pornography. However, her photo of the book wasn't clear enough to read the author's name, and a search on Amazon for Show Me produced a lot of results, with none matching the cover (although there were a few that were slightly uncomfortable to skim through in this context).

After a few pages of results, I think she understood that there were a lot of books with "Show Me" in the title. I told her if she could get the author's name from the book the next time she goes to her friend's house, then we'd have a better chance of finding the book.

As she walked away, I actually thought, "well, that was weird, and I will never see her again."

So I was surprised when the woman returned this week. She walked up to me as if no time at all had passed, and just said,

The author is Mac Bride.

I don't have the greatest memory for faces, but for some reason immediately knew who she was and what she was talking about. I searched for "show me mac bride," which lead to a Wikipedia article on the book Show Me!, by Will McBride (the Mac Bride/McBride mistake was me not getting over the language barrier right away).

According to the article, this book does have a history of being challenged in court, but the outcome was not definite. Distribution of the book was stopped to avoid potential legal challenges, and some libraries withdrew it from their collection, but the Supreme Court case cited seemed to only allow the government to ban the sale of the book (not owning it or loaning it, although I am no legal scholar).

We do not own a copy of this book, but I did find a copy at the Boston Public Library (through the state-wide Virtual Catalog), and told her we could request it if she wanted. She asked again if it was legal to take that book out of the library, and I said that yes, it was. Someone could challenge the library making it available, but that it didn't seem illegal to have it.

With that, she said thanks, that's all she wanted to know, and left.



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