Monday, May 28, 2012

One Book Said to the Other...

Fla. Woman May Be World's Only Carillon Librarian

Earlier this semester, I had come to the point in library school where I was nearing completion of the core courses and had to choose a specific area of study. After much thought and discussion, I decided to focus on special librarianship. With a special libraries degree, I figure I could work in the library division of any business or institution, no matter how big or small, famous or obscure, corporate or quirky. Despite savoring the notion that I could be any kind of librarian with this degree, I never knew that carillon librarian was even an option.

Joy Banks, a carillon librarian, stands amid artifacts at the Bok Tower gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. (Photo Credit: George Aycrigg/
Joy Banks, of Lakeland, Florida, may be the world's only carillon librarian. Her job involves chronicling and cataloging the largest known collection of carillon music, which is housed in the Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Florida. (For those who don't know - and to be honest, I had to look it up - a carillon is an instrument, typically housed in the bell tower of a church or other municipal building, which consists of at least twenty-three cast-bronze, cup-shaped bells that are played by striking a keyboard, according to Wikipedia.) It all sounds quite grand, and I can't imagine what it's like to be in charge of such a singular collection.

So how did she find out about the job? "I saw the listing online," she told "And when I read the qualifications, I knew I could do it. It called for someone with cataloging experience, foreign language - mine is French, and music." Since starting this unique library position in November 2010, Banks has "experienced a lot of surprises. I've come across original manuscripts and a mechanical player system and dozens and dozens of parchment reels. I am still trying to find out the history of it."

To find out more about what the job of a carillon librarian is like, check out this LINK.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

OWS Sues Over Destruction of People's Library

When the New York Police Department swooped into Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011, they destroyed a great deal of property that had been carefully collected and assembled by Occupy Wall Street. Among this property was the People's Library, set up at the northeastern corner of the park and consisting of thousands of donated titles. Many of these titles were rendered completely useless due to the rough handling of the NYPD during the early-morning raid.

Books from the People's Library were destroyed during the NYPD's raid of Zuccotti Park last fall. (Photo credit:

Now, in addition to encouraging the building of digital People's Libraries and setting up on a smaller scale in Union Square Park, organizers of the OWS library are suing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others over the destruction of their property last fall. According to a Village Voice article, which I've reblogged below, OWS is seeking $47,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000 in punitive damages. More than 2,000 books were confiscated and subsequently lost or damaged, and six library computers, a wireless Internet device, and shelving attached to the library were also destroyed. Norman Siegel, the attorney representing OWS, said, "Anyone in the Bloomberg administration, including the mayor, who thought they could get away with this, well, it's six months later and we're now in Federal Court."

Village Voice * May 24, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Sues Bloomberg and New York City Over Library Destruction

Six months after the New York Police Department launched a secretive dead-of-night military-style operation to evict Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, conducting mass arrests and destroying thousands of dollars worth of property, Mayor Bloomberg, Police Chief Ray Kelly, and others are being sued in federal court.
In a complaint filed today in US District Court, Occupy Wall Street is suing for compensatory and punitive damages and seeking a declaration that the city and its agents violated the constitutional rights of the movement's members.

The lawsuit is specifically pegged to the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street People's Library, at the time a collection of some 5,500 donated volumes that had served as a powerful symbol of the movement's commitment to critical inquiry and self-sufficiency.

On November 15, the night of the raid, about 3,600 of those volumes were on site at Zuccotti Park. Around 1 a.m. that night, the NYPD swarmed the park, surrounding it and announcing that everyone had to leave and take any property with them. Librarians attempted to move the collection, but after removing their first load were barred reentry into the park. 45 minutes later, police and sanitation crews began throwing property still in the park -- including library books -- in trash-compactor trucks. The majority of the library was completely destroyed.
Eventually, librarians were able to recover 1,003 volumes from the city's storage facility. But more than 200 of those were so damaged -- smashed, accordioned, soaked and moldy, smeared with food and waste -- that they were effectively destroyed.
Also wrecked were six library computers, a wireless internet device, and shelving attached to the library. All told, $47,000 worth of property was destroyed.
The sacking of the library has become a rallying point for Occupy Wall Street, which sees the destruction as a metaphor for what they see as the city's efforts to stifle the exchange of critical ideas that took place in the occupied park.
Occupiers and their lawyers also recognize the public-relations opportunity presented by the city's wanton destruction of books. Attorney Norman Siegel invoked Nazi Germany and the Florida Koran-burning, concluding "The bottom line is: You don't nuke books."
The lawsuit asks for $47,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages. But in recognition that sanitation employees, who the city doesn't indemnify against punitive damages, might get stuck with the bill, Occupy Wall Street took the unusual step of limiting its request for punitive damages to $1,000.
Also significant is the insight into the planning process behind the November 15 raid that the case may produce. If it goes forward, the discovery process is likely to illuminate aspects of the city's decision-making process that have so far remained opaque.
The main point, said Siegel, is to get some acknowledgment that the raid was unconstitutional, violating protesters' First-Amendment rights to freedom of speech, their Fourth-Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, and their Fourteenth-Amendment rights of due process.
"Anyone in the Bloomberg administration, including the mayor, who thought they could get away with this, well, it's six months later and we're now in Federal Court," Siegel said.
Siegel noted that other cities that ultimately evicted Occupy encampments went to court first before moving in with police. In New York, there was no pre-hearing before the surprise night-raid.
City lawyers initially tried to amicably resolve the issue, Siegel said, but that after conferring with the administration they told the plaintiffs there could be no settlement.
"My sense was the Bloomberg administration was not prepared to say it did anything wrong," Siegel said. "Look, if we can amicably resolve this without going to court, great. But we want a declaration for historical purposes, that the government can't do what it did on November 15 and get away with it."
One of the Occupy Wall Street librarians, Frances Mercanti-Anthony, echoed the sentiment: "Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD and the City of New York think they can shut down this conversation, and they can't," she said. "We're just going to keep coming."
Here's the complaint filed today:

Friday, May 25, 2012

James Earl Jones Reads Poe's Poem 'The Raven'

Does listening to revered actors of the stage and screen read from classic works ever get old?

James Earl Jones (photo:

First, we had Christopher Walken reading Where the Wild Things Are, the beloved children's book by Maurice Sendak (RIP). Now we have James Earl Jones reading "The Raven." In his unmistakably deep and distinguished-sounding voice, the award-winning Jones reads the haunting narrative poem by Edgar Allan Poe. You can listen in the YouTube video below.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

E-Books Catch On in a Big Way in the UK

E-book consumption has increased threefold since February 2011 among adults in the United Kingdom, according to the results of a study released this month by Bowker® Market Research’s Understanding the Digital Consumer project. The greatest growth in e-book buying has been among UK adults age 45 to 54, reported Bowker.

A London commuter reads an e-book on a Kindle while at the Old Street Tube station.

"Those under the age of 35 remain slightly more likely to have purchased an e-book, but the growth in e-book consumption is being driven by older readers," according to the Bowker study. In addition, it was revealed that women purchase more e-books than men, and they download more free titles. The results of the study were culled from online surveys that involved 3,000 British adults between the ages of 16 and 84. 

Other interesting tidbits from the Bowker study are that 31 percent of British adults said they are likely to buy an e-book in the next six months and that the e-reader of choice is the Kindle; 40 percent of adults who read e-books use this device.

Photo credit: Annie Mole/Flickr

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

3 Gloria Steinem Classics Are Now E-Books

Just the other day, I was flipping through my original 1983 edition of Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, which I got for $1 at a small bookstore. There was no way that I could pass up buying the iconic feminist activist's best-selling book for a song.

Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions is one of three classic works by Steinem that have just been released in electronic form. The other two are Revolution from Within (first published in 1992) and Moving Beyond Words (1994). Last week, all three were made available as e-books by digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media. In a statement released by Open Road, Steinem said, "E-books may be to this millennium" what German printer and publisher Johannes Gutenberg was to the last. For fans of Gloria Steinem who also own e-readers: Rejoice!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blog Offers Inside Tips on Getting a Library Job

Want to work in a library? Maybe you're fresh out of library school and looking for a job. Or you are an unemployed librarian who is on a job hunt. Either way, it's worth checking out Hiring Librarians, a blog dedicated to getting inside the minds of those who hire for libraries.

Hiring managers, members of hiring committees, and library directors spill the beans on this blog about what makes you an attractive candidate (or not) for a library job - from your cover letter and resume to how you conduct yourself during the interview. By publishing a plethora of inside tips on getting that seemingly elusive library job, the Hiring Librarians blog takes a bit of the mystery (and, hopefully, some of the frustration) out of the job hunt. 


Thursday, May 10, 2012

10 Music Videos Set in Libraries or Bookstores

Darkly humorous and artfully filmed, the video for Haunted Love's "Librarian" is just one of many music videos that have a library or a bookstore as a setting.

Pop culture website Flavorwire has gathered a select number of these videos for its article "10 Music Videos Set in Libraries and Bookstores." You can check it out HERE.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pagan Library Opens in Nation's Capital

When I worked part-time at my college's library, I sometimes shared a shift with another student worker who identified as Wiccan. She would enter the library wearing black lace from head to toe, and often she would carry a book on witchcraft. I don't know if that book was easy to come by, but for people in the Washington, DC, area, finding such books got a lot easier with the opening of one of the first pagan libraries in the United States.

                                                                                                   Photo: The Wild Hunt
Open Hearth Foundation Library, a newly opened pagan library in DC.

The Open Hearth Foundation Library officially opened last month at 1502 Massachusetts Avenue in Southeast Washington, DC. Its opening "is the culmination of over 10 years of fundraising, collecting & organizing books and safely storing them until a space could be found to house it all," according to an April 16, 2012, article on The library's collection consists of more than 3,000 titles, 250 tarot decks, and 40 different periodical and newsletter series - all pertaining to pagan issues. Members can check out books for 28-day periods, but tarot decks and periodicals remain in-house. If you want to browse the library's catalog, you can at this link.

With a librarian on staff to assist with research, the Open Hearth Foundation Library is open every Sunday, from 1 to 5 PM.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

'Visual Library' of What NYers Read While Underground

The Underground New York Public Library is a self-described "visual library" that vividly captures New Yorkers reading (and what they are reading) as they ride the city subway. 

Photo: New York Underground Library

There is much that I love about this site. First, it's great to see so many people absorbed in books. Second, that a diverse range of book lovers is featured is incredibly refreshing. And no matter what they're reading, they're presented in a nonjudgemental way. And lastly, links to the books they were reading are given below each photo. So if you're curious about a title, you can easily look it up (and perhaps add it to your "To Read" list). Underground New York Public Library is a "visual library" that is sure to get repeat visits from book lovers and lovers of New York City alike.