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


Attractive Reading and Library Tidbits

   July 10th, 2013 Brian Herzog

Just a couple of unrelated interestingnesses this morning.

The first is a neat image my friend Chris forwarded me from something called Facebook:

Reading a book from the inside

I don't know anything about this image, other than I like it. And it would be a good image for a caption contest.

Secondly, last week on BoingBoing Cory highlighted some Dewey Decimal System jewelry, made from old catalog cards:

Dewey jewelry

There's lots of it available on Etsy. I think it'd be fun to match the Dewey subject to the function of the piece - like, a ring magnifying 395.22.

Yay for creative people.



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Check Out Our Library Card Table

   July 25th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Tommy's Library Card TableEarlier this summer, my coworker Tommy got the idea for a library art project: mail a letter to 200+ libraries across the country, asking them to send him one of their library cards.

He enclosed a return envelope, and most of them responded! For the next few weeks, Tommy's envelopes, with new library cards enclosed, poured into the library from all over the country. It was fun to see the variety and creativity of library cards.

Tommy's project was dependent on how many library cards he received. In the end, the number he got fit more or less perfectly on one of the coffee tables in the library, so he got permission to arrange them on a table and cover them with a protective epoxy. It looks great in the library, and the plan is to leave it in the library permanently. Tom also put up a sign on the table explaining what he did - the table is very eye-catching, and has already proved popular with staff and patrons.

Here's the top of the table - click to see a bigger image:

Library Card Table top

Nice work Tom - and thanks to all the library who participated.



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Book-Related Diversions and Professional Development

   July 18th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Here is an assortment of things people have sent me recently, or just random items from the internet (so I can clear out my "to blog" folder):



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Graffiti: Art, Vandalism or Information?

   July 16th, 2009 Brian Herzog

graffiti removalThe recent article about graffiti at the University of Chicago Library has finally given me a chance to clear out links in my "to blog" folder.

So, graffiti - when does it cross the line? Graffiti commonly seen in academic libraries can be ugly, but it can also be part of the culture and community of the campus. It's a way for students to communicate with their peers - even those that come years later. That's unique, and interesting.

In the public library world, I more often see graffiti (a.k.a. "annotations") in books. On first blush, it's annoying, but is it really that bad? And in fact, is it a good thing?

These things are not too distant from Web 2.0 tools allowing comments and reviews, really. Same rules apply: leave your opinion for others, don't be offensive, can be removed at any time, etc. The marginalia of life can add a great deal of value to life (just ask a genealogist).

It might not all qualify as "art," and any open forum will attract spam, but that doesn't mean graffiti doesn't offer some unexpected value - it can bring a smile, answer a question, provide experience-based assistance, or just make a connection with an unknown predecessor.

I know this is a never-ending debate, so in the meantime, here are some graffiti- and anti-graffiti-related links I've been collecting:

Graffiti

Laser Graffiti

Combating Graffiti

Spam ("Inbox Graffiti")

via LISNews



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Found in Jail Libraries

   November 6th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Portrait drawingThis is interesting: a flickr set of photographs of drawings and writings found in books in jails in Wisconsin.

I've never found such artwork in my library's books, but I have been keeping all the scraps of paper and other miscellaneous debris I find around the library. I've wanted to display them all somehow, because they are interesting, but I just haven't figured out how to do it. A flickr set might be the best way - look for that in an upcoming (but not immediate future) post.

This was found via BoingBoing.

altered books, art, artwork, book, books, flickr, graffiti, jail, jails, libraries, library, prison, prisons, vandalism



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Altered Books Art on Display

   August 2nd, 2007 Brian Herzog

Altered BooksFor those in the Portland, ME area, here's an art display worth checking out:

Aaron T Stephan/The Problem with Ladders
July 25th through September 8, 2007
Artist Reception, Friday, August 3, 5-8 PM
Whitney Art Works
492 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101

Usually, altered book art involves somehow changing the appearance of individual books. In this show, the artist used books to build things - most impressively, a huge structure. The photographs are the gallery's website are pretty impressive.

Thanks for passing this along, Kristin.

altered book, altered book art, altered books, art, book, book art, books, used books, what to do with used books



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