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

Children’s Illustrators Auction

   October 29th, 2015 Brian Herzog

Dream Big autographed print by Peter H. ReynoldsI was at the New England Library Association's annual conference earlier this week, where I learned from a colleague something amazing her library is doing.

The Bacon Free Library in Natick, MA, is having a Children's Illustrators Auction as a library fundraiser, and it runs from November 1st - 15th.

She said they have 80+ illustrators contributing over 100 prints or original artwork, which is phenomenal. Plus,

In addition, we have a children’s picture book signed by Former President Jimmy Carter and we will have a picture book personalized and signed by Former First Lady Laura Bush (did you know they both wrote picture books with their respective children?). AND we’ll have two limited edition signed poems from literacy superstar Jane Yolen!

The auction is online, with software was written by someone on their staff. They also have an online preview, as well as a reception on the first day of the auction to view the work and meet some of the illustrators.

This sounds like a huge event to manage, but one that is probably a lot of fun for both staff and patrons - and hopefully also for the generous donors.

If you're interested, check it out at http://auction.baconfreelibrary.org. Good luck, Bacon Free Library!

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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:


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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