Friday Time Killers

Friday Time Killers

Absense of Sound --a Librarian's Story

From the July/August issue of the Saturday Evening Post a selection fron author N. West Moss's new story collection, focusing on a day in the life of a librarian at the Bryant Park NYPL .

N. West Moss was the winner of the Post’s 2015 Great American Fiction Contest for “Omeer’s Mangoes,” which, with “Absence of Sound,” appears in her first short-story collection, The Subway Stops at Bryant Park (Leapfrog Press, 2017). This story first appeared in Neworld Review. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, McSweeney’s, and Brevity, among others.

The Fascinating History of Card Catalogs

Yes, according to Vox.com the history of card catalogs is weirdly fascinating.

So don't disengage just yet...

The Library of Congress just released a book on the history of the card catalog, and while I can physically feel you clicking away from this article even as I type I recommend that you don't.

The Card Catalog makes a persuasive case that cataloging knowledge is fundamental to the acquisition and spread of knowledge, and that a working library catalog is, in some ways, a basic necessity of civilization. And since cataloging is a calling that attracts neurotic and obsessive personalities, the history of the library catalog charts a weird, twisty path, with a lot of back-tracking followed by enormous leaps forward.

The PEEPles v. O.J. Simpson

Winner of the Peeps Diorama Contest from The Washington City Paper.

For Peeps Lovers

Librarians like Peeps, right? Can someone please explain (in the comments) how this came to be?

Anyway, here's a recipe for culinarily ambitious librarians (and others) who want to make delicious honey saffron-scented HOMEMADE PEEPS!!

From the New York Times Melissa Clarks thoughts about her Peeps project. And here is the recipe should you choose to undertake it.

The Language Wars, Left & Right

from JstorDaily.

In the current political climate, it seems how things are expressed has been pushed to the forefront of the debate. It starts with the strange and rambling idiolect of President Donald Trump—which The Guardian describes as “redundant, formulaic, aggressive, “post-literate”—full of bland contradictions, polarizing generalizations, statements sometimes inconsistent with reality (and some, we assume, are good statements).

Interesting don't you think...

The Title Character Has Disappeared But His Story Lives On

Perhaps you're acquainted with Edinburgh University's Library Cat? Here's the Facebook page where I first met him. Sadly I must report that Library Cat has gone missing this past summer, and has not shown up at the Uni library nor any of his other favorite spots. There appears to be a usurper, the so-called Library Cat 2.0. Here's the story of Library Cat's tenure at the library and his disappearance. He will be missed greatly. But his ghostwriter, PhD student Alex Howard has published his inner thoughts in a wonderful volume, shown here. It's been published in the UK but is available elsewhere via BookDepository.com.

Synchronized Shelving in New Zealand

Keep the Patrons Happy

Some Good Customer service "precepts" by Paula Laurita via Pub-Lib

Okay, my number one rule is no blood in the library. But aside from that I have a few general rules:

2. We don't work at the "no" factory. The first response isn't "we can't do that". Try and find the "yes" if possible without infringing on another patron. Some staff took this at first that we never say no. That's not a blanket yes to more computer time if someone else is waiting. It's not a blanket yes to extending a summer reading book when there is a holds list. But, is there really a reason why someone cannot have a special check-out period for Huck Finn while they are sailing on the Mississippi?

3. Take the money. Cousin Fred checked out a book using Cousin Beatrice's card. Fred racked-up the late fines, but doesn't have Beatrice's card. He wants to pay the fines. Take the money. Give Fred the cash register receipt. Save the account receipt for Beatrice. Don't inconvenience them both.

4. This isn't the cosmetics counter at the local department store. Don't chase people to make the sale. "May I help you find anything?" "No, I'm just browsing." "Okay, if I can help please let me know." Give people privacy and the gift of time to look.

5. No weltschmerz. Well thought out complaints are fine. General whining is not.

A Plagiarism Scandal Is Unfolding In The Crossword World

Hilarious Tweets for Book Nerds

From Buzzfeed Books.

Happy weekend! Anyone doing the #Deweyreadathon tomorrow?

Remember Hydrox?

Is it or isn't it the Public Librarians favorite cookie? Rumor has it that they're coming back. But as you are library folk, rumor doesn't quite cut it.

Post inspired by recent conversation on Publib list Publib Archives.

Please comment yay or nay. Any votes for 'Nilla Wafers?

Information Please Librarian

From The Guardian, a selection of queries addressed to NYPL librarians including "Is this the place where I ask questions I can’t get answers to?" - Phone question, September 13, 1947

The Story of Peeps

Somehow, they seem forever tied in my mind to librarians. Does anyone know how that came about?

Here's their story:

Ninety-two years ago, Sam Born opened a little candy store in Brooklyn selling daily-made confections he boasted were fresh because they were “just born.” In 1953, the Just Born company began producing marshmallow chicks called Peeps, and the sugary, squishy treats now have a huge, devoted following. Here are 11 things we bet you didn’t know about the iconic Easter candy.

Interview With a Jeopardy! Clue Writer

How cool a job is this?

The game show institution that is Jeopardy! has much more going on behind the scenes than it might appear. Every time you look at that board full of categories and clues, a highly coordinated effort has taken place to make sure everything is just right—including dozens of things you probably never even considered. After all, someone has to make sure that “Who is Harriet Tubman?” isn’t the answer to more than one clue a game, or even more than one clue a week. Billy Wisse is the head writer for Jeopardy! He’s been there a while, because, as he says, there isn’t much turnover on the staff at his game show. And once you learn just what his job consists of, it’s not hard to understand why. Working for Jeopardy! sounds like one of the coolest gigs you could ever hope to land. Read on to find out how the clues get written, what kind of things Alex Trebek vetoes, and what the best question is that you will never, ever see on the show.

Story from AV Club. HT @helgagrace.

Not As Cool As *Real* Librarians, But...

Bustle.com references 11 of the coolest pop culture librarians in this piece.

“Richard Tyler, consider this your passport to the wonderful and quite unpredictable world of books.” Have truer words about a library card ever been spoken? The Pagemaster’s librarian Mr. Dewey, whose mystic, alternate form is the Keeper of the Books and Guardian of the Written World, is eccentric to say the least, but he knows just how magical of a place a library can be. Plus, hes nice enough to bend the rules and let you check out as many books as you want… just this once, of course.

Tammy 2, Parks and Recreation

She might be criminally insane, but I’ll be damned if Tammy Swanson, the oversexed Deputy Director of Library Services from Parks and Recreation, isn’t the most hilarious librarian in the history of librarians. A master seductress and queen manipulator, she is certainly the kind of librarian that would liven up your book club.

Library Dweller Punxsutawney Phil Sought in Arrest Warrant by NH Police

Be on the lookout says CNN:
The suspect is furry. Only a couple of feet long. Two big teeth. And, it would seem, he has it in for the people of the American Northeast. He's Punxsutawney Phil, and he's a wanted groundhog, according to police in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

Fed up with the more than 4 feet of snow their region has gotten this winter, police issued a tongue-in-cheek arrest warrant for the notorious whistlepig.

"We have received several complaints from the public that this little varmint is held up in a hole, warm and toasty," the department posted on its Facebook page. "He told several people that Winter would last 6 more weeks, however he failed to disclose that it would consist of mountains of snow!

"If you see him, do not approach him as he is armed and dangerous," the department said. "Call Merrimack Police, we will certainly take him into custody!"

Phil isn't the only groundhog with a record this year. Wisconsin's version of Phil, Jimmy, bit the mayor of Sun Prairie this month, according to CNN affiliate WISC.

Benjamin Franklin, a Sage Man

Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia printing shop made plaster molds from pressed sage leaves to create metal stamps for marking foliage patterns on Colonial currency. The distinctive contours of leaf spines, stems and veins were meant to thwart counterfeiters, and Franklin’s workers managed to keep the casting technique a secret that has puzzled modern scholars, too.

James N. Green, the librarian at the Library Company of Philadelphia (founded by Franklin in 1731), had wondered for the last two decades if any of Franklin’s actual metal leaf-printing blocks for the bills survived. He had concluded that if one of these castings ever did emerge, it would be “a really sensational discovery,” he said in an interview last month. And since that time...

...such a discovery has been made in a vault at the Delaware County Institute of Science in Media, PA.

Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian's Design Museum Reopens

From The New York Times:

On Friday, Dec. 12, 1902, Andrew Carnegie moved into his just-finished home at 91st Street and Fifth Avenue, with his wife, Louise, and his 5-year-old daughter, Margaret, to whom he handed the key. Carnegie lived there until his death in 1919; Louise until hers in 1946. Margaret was married there but moved next door. When she died in 1990, her childhood home had long since become headquarters for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Lovely slideshow on the renovation by Gluckman Mayner Architects which include a new, wide-open gallery space, a cafe and a raft of be-your-own-designer digital enhancements.

Harsh Children's Book Reviews

From Quartz.

"One hundred years before post-millennial parents were deeming Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs inappropriate for young vegans, the children’s librarians of the New York Public Library kept a card catalog of hand-typed kids’ book reviews.

“There’s about a billion card catalogs in the library,” says Lynn Lobash, who oversees reader services at the NYPL. “But these are special in that they were used as a tool for collection development, for the staff to evaluate the children’s collection.”

Fave comment written in 1975 on an index card is "Just what we've been waiting for. A DIRTY TEENAGE NOVEL" about Judy Blume's Forever.

How Much Will Elvis Presley's Library Card Bring This Time?

From the New York Times Arts Beat:

Elvis Presley’s earliest known signature – on a library card he signed as a 13-year-old student in Tupelo, Miss. – is one of the main draws in an auction of Elvis memorabilia to be held at Graceland, the singer’s palatial headquarters, in Memphis on Aug. 14.

In 2012, the card was sold for $7500 – a bargain, you would think .

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