Category Archives: Readings

Reading Roundup

Another installment of articles, books, etc., that have caught my attention.

God’s Librarians: The Vatican Library enters the twenty-first century” by Daniel Mendelsohn (New Yorker, Jan. 3, 2011) explores the renovations and history of the “Vat.”

The Flip Side: The secrets of conserving the wood behind an early masterpiece” by Peter Schjeldahl (New Yorker, Nov. 29, 2010) investigates the Ghent Altarpiece and it “six centuries of tumultuous history.” Both of the New Yorker articles are only readable online in their entirety if you have a subscription. I’m sure your local library subscribes.

The ALA Presidential Task Force on Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs) will be presenting its final report to ALA Council on Monday, January 10, during ALA Council II, which meets from 10:00am-11:30am

The Visual Miscellaneum by David McCandless explores better ways to represent complicated statistics and information. What could you do with your yearly ARL stats following this model? think of the possibilities.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton. My favorite modern philosopher tackles the issue of working for a living. From his own description on Amazon:

“The strangest thing about the world of work is the widespread expectation that our work should make us happy. For thousands of years, work was viewed as something to be done with as rapidly as possible and escaped in the imagination through alcohol or religion. Aristotle was the first of many philosophers to state that no one could be both free and obliged to earn a living.” -Alain de Botton

If you haven’t read any of de Botton’s work I will recommend two others: The Consolations of Philosophy and Status Anxiety. Both offer thought provoking philosophical romps that are surprisingly readable and actually useful for navigating our modern society.

And finally, because it is the new year and I’ll be the first to support your resolutions to eat better, and the first to offer you something to kill off that resolution if you need an excuse, I give you Southern Pies by Nancie McDermott. This follows her popular Southern Cakes, which in my opinion should also be on your shelf.

Happy New Year to all and to all good reading!


What Month Is It?

In October we gather ourselves together to celebrate all that is good and important, like the North Carolina State Fair and All Hallows Eve. But did you know that among other celebrations October is:

American Archives Month
National Medical Librarians Month
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
National Graphic Novel Writing Month
National Arts and Humanities Month
National Book Month
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Dental Hygiene Month
National Fire Safety Month

What are you celebrating this month?

Image from the Duke University History of Medicine Collection exhibits website.

Reading Roundup

I’m starting a recurring blog post called “Reading Roundup” to share some reading that you may find interesting. These links will be at least tangentially related to books, preservation, conservation and libraries. Here is the first installment. Enjoy!

The Devil’s Tale “Celebrates Banned Book Week.” Share your banned book story with them.

The Chronicle of Higher Education asks whether digitized books “feel like a library” in “Digitizing The Personal Library.”

Also in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “What Are Books Good For” questions when books became the enemy.

In The Library With A Lead Pipe (one of my favorite library blogs) ponders how to collect meaningful data about our instruction efforts in their post “Articulating Value in Special Collections.”

Parks Library Preservation at Iowa State has a nicely written ode to Carolyn Harris and Paul Banks, leaders in our field. Read “Thank you Paul and Carolyn, et al,” Then tell your favorite teacher or mentor how much they mean to you.

And finally over on Work of the Hand , our former staff member and student, Henry Hebert, is blogging about what he is learning in the book binding program at the North Bennett Street School this semester.

Image from Duke University Libraries Ad Access, click on image for details.