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

Found Bookmarks

   June 19th, 2008 Brian Herzog

found.jpgThis is worth repeating: Kate over on Adventures in Library Land highlighted an AbeBooks article that listed a few examples of things that were found in used books:

  • Forty $1,000 bills
  • Piece of bacon
  • Credit cards
  • Valuable baseball cards
  • A diamond ring

I'm sure most libraries have a collection of odd things, too - just this week I found a Pokémon card (in a book about dealing with bullying). I tend to use receipts myself, or whatever random scrap of paper is handy at the time. Perhaps there should be a Where's George?-like program for bookmarks, too.

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If You Love Something…

   November 1st, 2007 Brian Herzog

BookCrossing.com logo...read it and release it.

So, I've finally gotten around to registering and releasing some books through BookCrossing.com.

With all of my traveling lately, the books I've released (just four) have all been at airports. Which is fine, because that's four more books added to the collection of the Airport Public Library.

So far, I like this. It feels so odd to intentionally leave a book somewhere, but it's for a good cause. It can be fun, too - like letterboxing and geocaching, the goal is to make the drop without letting anyone see you. At least, that's what's going through my head.

Anyway, if you have extra books, give it a try.

Incidentally, I did not buy the starter pack (why buy when you can do it yourself?). Instead, I printed out their label template [62kb, pdf] (for inside the cover) and also created another template [5kb, pdf] for the outside of the book cover. And instead of printing these on sticky labels, I just attached them with packing tape. Works just fine, and cost nothing.

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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.

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More Things To Do With Used Books

   June 26th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Image of Book TitlesThis is quite a popular topic. I have about four previous posts on what to do with used books, but I keep finding more resources and ideas that fit under this topic - plus, this time, an NYT article. Here's the latest:

  • Something Productive
    Our Friends group recently started using Hands Across the Water as a place to donate books that they don't keep for their book sale. Their website describes them as "a non-profit organization that delivers an effective solution
    to two problems:

    • the domestic problem of excess books going into landfills and the global problem of not enough books in needy areas
    • we collect books that are no longer wanted and send them to schools and libraries which desperately need them"
  • Something Artistic
    More along the lines of using books in a creative/artistic way, another LISNews post pointed to an artist who arranges books she finds so that the spine titles read as a sentence (see image above). I'd never be able to find anything on the shelf this way, but it'd still be fun.
  • Something General
    A recent post on LISNews highlighted an article (or here) in the New York Times, which "discusses ways of easing the process of giving away books. Columnist Alina Tugend spoke to her local librarian in Larchmont, NY about their donations and discusses a few other options and strategies to minimize the pain."

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Another Outlet for Used Books

   May 18th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Better World Books logoPicked up again from the Maine Libraries Listserv, here's another resource for an option with what to do with used books.

A website called Better world Books (http://www.betterworldbooks.com) recycles used, unwanted, weeded and discarded books. They pay for shipping, and either recycle donations or use them to raise money for both libraries and non-profit literacy initiatives in the U.S. and other countries.

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Used Books into Altered Books

   April 24th, 2007 Brian Herzog

We've already looked at what people can do with old or unused books, both for fun and profit.

But for those of you who aren't interested in furniture or fundraising, then the art of Altered Books might be appealing (what are altered books?).

image of an altered 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' bookIt is sometimes gut-wrenching to see books mutilated like this, but it can still be fascinating. The photo featured here is one of my favorite books, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I like the way the story is depicted, and the creativity and craft is amazing, but it does make me sad that this is one less copy of the story that can be read.

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