Friday, March 30, 2012

The Beautiful Craft of Bookmaking

The other day, I saw a wonderful documentary titled Books: The Last Chapter? With a nostalgic gaze, it eyes the fate of the traditional book in an age when the e-book is gaining prominence.

Alan Yentob, seated in the cafe of McNally Jackson Books in SoHo, NY, during the filming of
his BBC One documentary Books: The Last Chapter?
image credit: bbc

Watching the documentary, I was reminded of what a beautiful craft bookmaking is. The great care that is taken in making a book from start to finish is mind-blowing. With the increasing ubiquity of the e-book, I sincerely hope that bookmaking doesn't become a lost art. You can see this amazing, meticulous process in the following video, "Birth of a Book." It was shot, directed, and edited by Glen Milner.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

OWS Library Confiscated Yet Again by NYPD

Anyone who's walked through Union Square lately has seen the OWS set-up at the south end of the park.

Occupy Wall Street sets up in New York City's Union Square, March 2012.
image source: adam ebihara photography

Although not nearly as big (or as structured) as last year's encampment at Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street's presence in Union Square is still noticeable. It has definitely got the attention of law enforcement. Last week, the local authorities moved in to confiscate the latest reincarnation of OWS's library. Jason Boog covered the police action for GalleyCat (see below).

GalleyCat * March 22, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Library Confiscated in Union Square

By Jason Boog

Earlier this week, the Occupy Wall Street librarians posted a picture of the newly rebuilt Occupy Wall Street Library in New York City's Union Square Park. By the end of the day, police had cleared out most of the library - leaving behind the books in the picture (embedded above).

Below, we've created a chronological collection of tweets from the activists showing what happened to the library. The librarians tweeted a new chant today: "People got sold out, books got thrown out!"

Storified by
8 days ago · 1024 views
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Occupy Wall Street Library in Union Square

Last night the Occupy Wall Street Library was rebuilt in Union Square, but it was soon cleared away by police officers.
Once again the #NYPD has destroyed The People's Library. Here is what is left from last night #UnionSq

  1. Got to #UnionSq to find one of our @OWSLibrary peeps arrested & the books, bins & supplies we brought yesterday taken by the #NYPD

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Christopher Walken Reads 'Where the Wild Things Are'

Christopher Walken has made a career out of playing characters creepy enough to make your skin crawl. So his isn't exactly the first name that comes to mind when envisioning a narrator of a children's book.

Christopher Walken

Yet here he is (or someone that sounds a lot like him), reading Where the Wild Things Are, the classic 1963 children's book written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Since Where the Wild Things Are is mostly comprised of illustrations, Walken does take some humorous(ly disturbing) liberties in interpreting the perennially popular book. Enjoy his unique telling in the video below.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Reading List for Fans of 'Mad Men'

I'm a huge fan of Mad Men, the flawlessly produced television series following the intricate lives of Madison Avenue advertising executives and their families in the 1960s. The show is returning for its fifth season this Sunday, March 25, on cable channel AMC.

Don Draper (as portrayed by Jon Hamm) pores over The Chrysanthemum
and the Sword in episode 5 of Season 4 of Mad Men.
image source: via amc

Along with complex characters, well-written dialogue, and impeccable fashions and set design, Mad Men features a lot of books. The show's characters are often reading books (Exodus, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, The Best of Everything), recommending books (Atlas Shrugged, Lady Chatterley's Lover), or writing books (Sterling's Gold).

The New York Public Library's Billy Parrott has meticulously put together a list of all the books that were prominently featured in the past four seasons of Mad Men. Titled "The Mad Men Reading List," it's a must-read for fans of the series, especially fans who are book lovers like myself. You can see the list HERE.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

20 Ways Pinterest Can Be Useful for Libraries

Every time you turn around, a new social media site catches on like wildfire, seemingly overnight. It can be a challenge to keep up. But libraries, as providers of information to the public, must keep up. Now, in addition to having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and, increasingly, Tumblr, more public libraries are becoming active on Pinterest.

"Literary Map of SF," from the San Francisco Public Library's Pinterest board.

Launched in 2010, but really becoming popular within the past year, Pinterest is a social photo-sharing website where you can "pin" a visually striking image onto a themed "board" for others to see. The San Francisco Public Library pinned the above image, "Literary Map of SF," on its San Francisco Likes board in Pinterest. Other libraries are getting in on the act, but many still aren't on Pinterest. Maybe they're unsure of how it can be useful for libraries. Well, there at least 20 ways that libraries can use Pinterest right now. See the article below to find out. * March 13, 2012

29 Ways Libraries Are Using Pinterest Right Now

The following is a cross-post from our content partners over at Be sure to check out their blog for other similarly engaging and useful tips on integrating technology into education.

Pinterest is taking the social media world by storm, and it isn’t just popular with individual users. Businesses, nonprofits, and even libraries are sharing ideas and information through the site as well, connecting with people from around the country and around the globe.

Whether you’re a librarian, student, teacher, or just an avowed bibliophile, Pinterest offers another great way to keep up with creative and cutting-edge ways libraries are engaging with their communities. Read on to learn about some of the many ways libraries are helping spread the word about the resources and services they offer, using this innovative new social media forum.

  1. Pinning book covers. Many librarians are capitalizing on the visual power of Pinterest to show off book covers, especially those from new books, special collections, and kid-friendly material. It can be a great way to attract readers to books they might not have otherwise checked out.
  2. Showcasing historic archives. Libraries often have much more than books in their archives. Take the San Francisco Public Library, for instance. They’re using Pinterest to show off amazing historic images of the city, from photos of old library branches to some unbelievable WWII images of the bay.
  3. Creating reading lists. Pinterest makes it simple to create visually appealing reading lists for just about every topic under the sun. Some common lists include books made into movies, librarian recommendations, and kid-friendly fare.
  4. Sharing new acquisitions. Want to keep patrons in the loop about the library’s latest books and media? Pinterest is turning out to be a great way to do that, and many libraries are logging on and sharing their latest and greatest. Fullerton Public Library is one such library getting on the Pinterest bandwagon, and they have boards for new acquisitions in fiction, non-fiction, young adult, children’s, and downloadable media.
  5. Promoting library activities. If you’d like to stay up-to-date about what your local library is doing, consider looking them up on Pinterest. Many libraries are showcasing fliers about their events right on the image-centric site, showcasing everything from lectures, to job help, to author visits.
  6. Research. While much of what is passed around on Pinterest is fun, crafty stuff, some librarians and academics are seeing potential in the site for much more serious applications. Check out this webcast from the Association of College & Research Libraries to learn how libraries can use Pinterest as a valuable research tool, especially when it comes to tracking archival content like images and documents.
  7. Showcasing learning-related infographics. These days, there’s an infographic for just about everything out there, including reading, books, and libraries. Some libraries, like the Pinal County Library, are collecting infographics they think might be of interest to patrons in one easily accessible board.
  8. Encouraging kids and teens to read. Librarian Dawn Krause uses her Pinterest account for a wide range of purposes, but an especially cool one is collecting crafts, books, and materials that appeal to teens. She’s got loads of resources on young adult favorites like The Hunger Games, a practice other libraries looking to boost teen readership could emulate.
  9. Collecting ideas for library displays. Libraries can be magical places for young kids, especially when librarians get creative in designing reading areas, bulletin boards, and other fun places in the library. Pinterest is full of amazing ideas that can inspire any library to go above and beyond.
  10. Getting inspired for library programs. Looking to bring new programs into your library? Librarians and patrons alike can find hundreds of amazing craft and project ideas that can be built into ongoing library programs. Take children’s librarian Anne Clark, for example. She pinned dozens of ideas for fun sewing projects kids can do, flannel book and board ideas, and even storytelling props.
  11. Collecting learning materials for parents. Many parents want to help get their kids into reading but just don’t know where to look for the right materials to do so. Some librarians are helping them out by collecting printables that are fun for kids (and encourage learning) onto a publicly accessible board.
  12. Highlighting library staff members. Library staff members often don’t get the credit they deserve for the hours of dedication they put in to helping patrons. Pinterest is helping some libraries change that. Some are using the site to capture images and short bios of their employees, so the community can get to know the librarians and what makes them tick.
  13. Offering up access to digital collections. With e-books rapidly edging in on traditional books in terms of popularity, many libraries are beefing up their digital collections. Some are sharing links to new material through Pinterest and others are showcasing the wealth of free, open content available on the web through sites like Project Gutenberg and The Open Library.
  14. Running reading programs. Pinterest can be a great place for librarians to find inspiration for summer reading programs and for parents and kids to keep up with the latest reads, fun integrated projects, and much more. Many are already sharing ideas for this year’s summer reading programs, perfect for parents who want to plan ahead and librarians who are looking for creative ways to keep things fresh.
  15. Showing off things in the local community. Libraries aren’t just promoting their own programs and services through Pinterest. Many, like the Sacramento Public Library, are also highlighting local businesses, restaurants, tourist attractions, and events.
  16. Showing pictures of the library. If your library is super cool, why not show it off? That’s just what some libraries are doing, especially after undergoing a big renovation project. One such library is Escondito Library, who showcases photos of their great murals, DVD sections, meeting rooms, children’s department, and more.
  17. Sharing craft projects. Pinterest is a crafter’s paradise, and with so much to choose from, many librarians are collecting great craft ideas for the library, themselves, and to inspire patrons. It’s a great way to inspire creativity and might even get the crafts and sewing section some heavy traffic.
  18. Helping patrons start book clubs. Book clubs are a great way to not only read more but to also get a chance to discuss a book more in-depth. Some libraries, like Fullerton Public Library, are supplying links to book clubs kits (hosted on GoodReads) that provide all the essentials for understanding and analyzing some of the most popular reads of the past few years.
  19. Building a community of libraries online. Libraries aren’t just connecting with patrons, they’re also using Pinterest to connect to other libraries. Follow this link to see how one librarian is keeping track of all the libraries that are using Pinterest, showcasing some of their most unique and exciting ideas.
  20. Creating collaborative boards with patrons. Pinterest provides a way for libraries to interact with those in the community, sometimes in very fun and creative ways. Take the St. Johns County Public Library System. They created a public board called “reading pets” and asked patrons to submit pictures of their pets “reading” their favorite books.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Espresso Machine Brews Books on the Spot

Not too long ago, the book company I work for bought an Espresso machine. No...not the fancy coffee-making apparatus, but an Espresso Book Machine (EBM). Marveling at its size, I was reminded a bit of the old-school photocopiers. But this expansive mass of mechanical marvel prints books on the demand.

An Espresso Book Machine on display at the London Book Fair, 2009.
image source:

This month, the Brooklyn Public Library ordered its own Espresso Book Machine. Printing and binding an entire book in less than five minutes, the machine allows library patrons to hold in their hands obscure titles that they wouldn't otherwise be able to get. It also makes self-publishing possible for those who drop by to use it. "People are doing quite a lot of self-publishing," said Linda Johnson, president of the Brooklyn Public Library, in an interview with 1010WINS. "Because Brooklyn does have a lot of writers, it wouldn't surprise me if that was one of the biggest uses." The Espresso Book Machine is accessible in the Grand Lobby of BPL's Central Library, at 10 Grand Army Plaza.

To read more about the Brooklyn Public Library getting an Espresso Book Machine, check out this CBS New York article.

Clever Video Celebrates Book Love and Nerd-Girldom

"B*tches in Bookshops" is a book-lovers' parody of a Jay Z and Kanye West rap hit. Uploaded on YouTube a few days ago on March 19, 2012, the clever video has already got over 150,000 hits.

From "B*tches in Bookshops"

Directed, written, and produced by Annabelle Quezada, and featuring Quezada and La Shea Delaney, the video celebrates book love and nerd-girldom in a way that's hip, smart, and funny. Watch it below.

Ps. Kudos to Quezada & Co. for spotlighting Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books and Spoonbill and Sugartown Booksellers, two lesser-known but still excellent indie bookstores in New York.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Five Laws of Library Science

Among the first things I learned at library school were Ranganathan's Five Laws of Library Science. These laws are the philosophical basis for what modern-day librarianship should be about: the library user.

Ranganathan and his Five Laws of Library Science.
image source:

In 1931, Indian librarian and mathematician R.S. Ranganathan proposed his Five Laws of Library Science, which are: 1) Books are for use; 2) Every reader for his [or her] book; 3) Every book its reader; 4) Save the time of the reader; and 5) The library is a growing organism. All five laws point toward making the library an accessible and up-to-date resource for people of all ages and backgrounds to visit and enjoy.

A little girl gets lost in a book during an afternoon at her local public library.
image source:

As I make my way through library school, I find that the heart of Ranganathan's user-centric philosophy is ever present in readings, lessons, and lectures. And its ubiquity makes perfect sense. After all, if we as future librarians aren't going to make helping the patron our top priority, then why even bother stepping behind the desk at the library? The library user is No. 1! * Last Updated March 19, 2012

Five Laws of Library Science

The five laws of library science is a theory proposed by S.R. Ranganathan in 1931, detailing the principles of operating a library system. Many librarians worldwide accept them as the foundations of their philosophy.

These laws are:

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every reader his [or her] book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. The library is a growing organism.

First law: Books are for use.

The first law constitutes the basis for the library services. Ranganathan observed that books were often chained to prevent their removal and that the emphasis was on storage and preservation rather than use. He did not reject the notion that preservation and storage were important, but he asserted that the purpose of such activities was to promote the use of them. Without the use of materials, there is little value in the item. By emphasizing use, Ranganathan refocused the attention of the field to access-related issues, such as the library's location, loan policies, hours and days of operation, as well as such mundanities as library furniture and the quality of staffing.

Second Law: Every reader his [or her] book.

This law suggests that every member of the community should be able to obtain materials needed. Ranganathan felt that all individuals from all social environments were entitled to library service, and that the basis of library use was education, to which all were entitled. These entitlements were not without some important obligations for both libraries/librarians and library patrons. Librarians should have excellent first-hand knowledge of the people to be served. Collections should meet the special interests of the community, and libraries should promote and advertise their services extensively to attract a wide range of users.

Third Law: Every book its reader.

This principle is closely related to the second law but it focuses on the item itself, suggesting that each item in a library has an individual or individuals who would find that item useful. Ranganathan argued that the library could devise many methods to ensure that each item finds it appropriate reader. One method involved the basic rules for access to the collection, most notably the need for open shelving.

Fourth Law: Save the time of the reader.

This law is a recognition that part of the excellence of library service is its ability to meet the needs of the library user efficiently. To this end, Ranganathan recommended the use of appropriate business methods to improve library management. He observed that centralizing the library collection in one location provided distinct advantages. He also noted that excellent staff would not only include those who possess strong reference skills, but also strong technical skills in cataloging, cross-referencing, ordering, accessioning, and the circulation of materials.

Fifth Law: The library is a growing organism.

This law focused more on the need for internal change than on changes in the environment itself. He argued that library organizations must accommodate growth in staff, the physical collection, and patron use. This involved allowing for growth in the physical building, reading areas, shelving, and in space for the catalog.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Styling Between the Stacks: Librarian Wardrobe

Librarians aren't exactly known for being fashion forward people. Cardigans, eyeglasses, and sensible shoes are commonly perceived as integral parts of their daily wardrobe. So it's refreshing to come across a Tumblr spotlighting librarians who are styling between the stacks.

Cynthia Mari Orozco, librarian-in-residence at Loyola Marymount University.
image from

Librarian Wardrobe is a Tumblr that showcases the sharp fashion sense of librarians from across the country and around the world. Looking at photo after photo, it becomes evident that the desk set indeed dresses with finesse. Although some are happily attired in the classic cardigan-and-eyeglasses combo, others have added a clever twist to this traditional librarian attire. Many have completely shattered the stereotype altogether, in their velvet Dr. Martens boots, leopard-print pants, tattoo sleeves, and much more. These librarians are truly a smart set!

The Hidden Disadvantages of E-Book 'Ownership'

In almost every class I've had, there's been ample talk among my fellow library school students about e-books vs. traditional books. At some point during the discussion, someone will say, "It's so much easier when I travel. I don't have to carry a bag full of books anymore - I just carry my e-reader." Then someone else will say, "I just can't ever see owning an e-reader. I love the smell of books. I love turning pages." And the discussion will go on.

image source:

Personally, I don't have an e-reader. Even though more and more friends and family members are buying Nooks and Kindles, I've chosen not to - not necessarily because I have anything against e-readers. I've just never been much of an electronics person. Also, I'm happy with my traditional books. But I can understand the appeal of e-books (especially on moving day!), so I don't knock loved ones who love their e-readers. It seems like there is plenty to love about them. There seems to be a lot not to love about them, too - at least according to a recent Consumerist article, which you can read below. * March 6, 2012

Here Are a Few Important Things E-Book Sellers Aren't Bragging About


By Mary Beth Quirk

Glancing at your bulging bookshelf and then over at your slim reader might make you wonder if paper books will someday go the way of the dinosaur in favor of e-books. For a few reasons at least, hang on to those paper copies, as there are still some drawbacks to reading electronic fare.

SmartMoney goes through 10 things e-book sellers won't tell you, presenting a case for those who still like physical copies of their literature.

There's no such thing as "one-reader-fits all": Switching from one brand of e-reader to another isn't going to be easy, at least when it comes to bringing along all the books you've already purchased. Publishers say they aren't really your books, you've only bought access to them. And if you could just copy a book from one device to another, what's to keep someone from handing out "free" books to all of their friends? Better to just pick one brand and stick with it.

Sales are fleeting: E-books can be repriced easier than regular books, since there aren't any concerns like physical inventory and there's only one point-of-sale system to deal with. That means a sale can happen in the flash of an eye and then be gone again before you know it. Definitely not the same as browsing the dollar bin and scoring a copy of Pride and Prejudice.

E-books are getting more expensive: Competing with physical books used to keep prices down on e-books, but these days, many are selling for only a few bucks less than their paper counterparts. The six biggest publishers have been engaged in "agency pricing," and are under investigation for that practice. which lets them set the price of any book.

Borrowing from the library ain't easy: Think you can just borrow books from your library via an e-reader app? It's not that great — bestsellers are rarely available and the selection doesn't encompass that many books. Only about two-thirds of public libraries even offer e-book borrowing, and a small percentage of their catalogs are available, at that. This is partly due to publishers not allowing their e-books to be lent out at all or attempting to restrict the number of times a library can lend out a particular book before repurchasing rights to it.

For more things e-book publishers aren't telling you, check out SmartMoney.

10 Things E-Books Won't Tell You [SmartMoney]

Friday, March 9, 2012

So This Is the Stair...of Books

I love public art. And I love books. So, of course, I love this!

image from

A Captivating Look at Librarians in Cinema

In my Intro to Library Studies class, the professor announced that he would show us just a few clips from The Hollywood Librarian. The documentary, which explores the depiction of librarians in the movies, was so engrossing that we ended up watching nearly the whole thing.

image from

Released by the Media Education Foundation in 2007, The Hollywood Librarian presents nearly two hours' worth of entertaining excerpts from movies like The Music Man, Cleopatra, and Party Girl, along with interviews with real-life librarians. The interviews, which are often humorous and sometimes deeply moving, reveal the great dedication of today's librarians in serving the public amid severe budget cuts and government censorship. Although it drags a bit during the last forty minutes or so, The Hollywood Librarian is hugely inspiring to me as someone who has heeded the call of librarianship.

Here's the trailer for The Hollywood Librarian: