Librarian's Book Club

Librarian's Book Club

New Book: Our Bodies Our Shelves by Roz Warren

Today, April 16th is National Librarian Day and what better way to celebrate than with the release of her book OUR BODIES,OUR SHELVES: A COLLECTION OF LIBRARY HUMOR (HOPress, 2015). In addition to her library duties at the Bala Cynwyd Library right outside Philadelphia, Roz Warren writes forThe New York Times, The Funny Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Jewish Forward and The Huffington Post. And she‘s been featured on the Today Show. (Twice!) And she frequents publisher Humor Outcasts as well. Our Bodies, Our Shelves is her thirteenth humor book.

Librarians: Sexy and They Know It

Though there is still tension about what the library and librarians of today should be, the connection between librarians and sex is surprisingly persistent.

One of the frustrations of being a librarian is the occupational stereotyping. Librarians tend to be depicted in books and movies as elderly spinsters, rigid and frigid. More recently, in a predictable attempt to subvert convention, the slutty librarian trope has emerged: young, hot-blooded, yet not exempt from the cats-eye glasses.

Library World Records is back online

The website for Library World Records, the Guinness Book of World Records for libraries and books is now back online.

Library World Records is fascinating book first published in 2004 after research work began on the book in 2002. The book was further extensively updated in a second edition in December 2009. Library World Records provides hundreds of intriguing and comprehensive facts about ancient and modern books, manuscripts and libraries around the world.

Librarian's Book Club - The Shallows - Some additional thoughts

Hi readers, Bearkat here, I apologize for the almost two month delay in submitting any thoughts about The Shallows but here are some quotes and points that stood out to me.

111 - Clay Shriky, a digital media scholar at New York University, suggested in a 2008 blog post that we shouldn't waste our time morning the death of deep reading - it was overated all along"

178 - Umberto Eco: our fear of new things replacing old.

181 - Don Tapscott memorization is a "waste of time".

The Shallows -- Chapter 5

In chapter five Carr summarizes the transition and migration of the written word and other communication media from physical to digital. Obviously, printed books, magazines, and newspapers are still being produced and haven't been completely replaced by digital equivalents. However, Carr strongly states that even if old and new techologies exist side by side, ..."the old technologies lose their economic and cultural force..."And then quoting Marshall McLuhan in his seminal work "Understanding Media" "..nor does it leave the old one in peace.

The Shallows -- Chapter 3

In chapter 3 Carr refers to the developmental maturation of the mind and our intellectual transformation and correspondingly, the types of technologies which have evolved. The book and the Internet belong to what is termed "...intellectual technologies. These include all the tools we use to extend or support our mental powers - to find and classify information, to formulate and articulate ideas, to share know-how and knowledge, to take measurements and perform calculations, to expand the capacity of our memory" (44).

The Shallows -- Chapter 2

Continuing our discussion of the book - The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains Carr refers to the advent of the typewriter and how Friedrich Nietzsche and friends noticed “a change in the style of his writing … tighter … there was a new forcefulness to it, too” (18). Carr provides some lengthy discussion about neuroscience, psychology, and concepts of the nature of the brain. The brain is not entirely fixed but not entirely plastic (malleable) either. Our brains have the advantage of adaptability but once connections are made and utilized frequently, as in how multiple areas of the brain are stimulated and utilized during Internet use, it is difficult to revert to previous settings, so to speak. In summary Carr points out that as much as we would like to think otherwise, the brain is not just a monitor of experience but is significantly, perhaps permanently, changed by experience (38). It is probably obvious from the title but Carr seems to be setting the case that changes which occur to the brain may be irreversible and that the Internet active brain may not be able to create or reestablish the previous connections favored for books.

Book discussion: The Shallows - Chapter 1

For background on this discussion see this previous post.

These comments and discussion questions written by LISNEWS member Bearkat.

Chapter 1
Prefacing with the HAL supercomputer “my mind is going” vignette (2001: A Space Odyssey), Carr refers to his mind changing, especially in regards to reading: “my concentration starts to drift after a page or two. I get fidgety, loose the thread, begin looking for something else to do “ (7). Others such as bloggers Scott Karp, Bruce Friedman, and Philp Davis (7-8) also refer to this tendency.

Some questions to help open up discussion:

· Is the lack-of-concentration tendency solely indicative of our connectivity with the Internet and smart phones? How does this relationship compare with other mediums, e.g., magazines, radio, television, etc?

· If you find that you, your friends, or your students experience lack of concentration while reading dense material, how do you/they address it, e.g., filter out background noise, turn the computer or email/messaging off, etc.?

Scott Karp mentions that instead of a reading a book in its entirety, he now prefers to read snippets of text from Blogs, Google Books, etc. and feels that in some ways he is “smarter” – as a hypertext document he is now more aware of connections and relationships (8).

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

LISNEWS member Bearkat contacted me and said that he would be interested in discussing the book "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains"

Both CHOICE and Library Journal Review recommended the book. We will be starting the discussion on the book soon. If you would like to join the discussion here are some ways to obtain the book.

Here is the Worldcat record for the book so you can see what libraries have it.