Tag: Libraries

Begone, Harmful Language!


Having cataloged and re-cataloged their stashes ten times over, and apparently lacking anything better to do, America’s archivists and librarians have found a new shiny bauble to be distracted by: combing through the accumulated detritus under their care in search of “offensive” or “harmful” language. The old card catalog in aisle 32B uses the term “colored person” rather than “person of color”? Say it isn’t so! Colonel Ellsworth Pratt of the 14th Battalion said something unkind about women in a letter to Lieutenant Roger Drake of the 15th Infantry Regiment? Oh, the horror! We must warn the poor dears! Amid the general wokification of 2020 and 2021, archives across the land quietly updated their websites with groveling “statements” apologizing for the sexism, racism, ableism, colonialism, trans erasure, xenophobia, queerphobia, fatphobia, islamophobia, arachnophobia, and sesquipedalophobia of their collections. “We must do better!” shriek the hostage statements in unison. It seems there isn’t an institution that hasn’t jumped on this bandwagon. Not even good-old Hoover:

Our collections deal in subjects that encompass a broad range of human experiences, including tyranny, genocide, displacement, and political conflict. To engage with our materials is to acknowledge that one may encounter content that reflects racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of hatred and discrimination. In keeping with our mission, we believe that only through the retention and study of historical sources can the world hope to learn from its past mistakes and promote peace.

When Did Librarians Get Woke?


Local Librarian // Image credit shutterstock.com

What image comes to mind when you think of or hear the word librarian? For me that image is of a conservative person (and truth be told always a woman). By conservative, I refer not to politics or ideology (I imagine librarians have always come in a variety of ideological flavors) but instead of one with a conservative sensibility or temperament which includes a certain respect for tradition and decorum. And, that makes sense (at least to me) for those who are charged with preserving and providing access to a significant portion of our cultural heritage. In recent years, however, that image is fading fast for me.

Renovating the Library


Where does this book go? This is a problem that rears its head a few times every year. It’s always an issue in January, but also in September, and usually in May … or even June. Heck, we have a book problem most months. A friend ours once called us “homeschool preppers.” It’s true. When the grid collapses and the power goes out, and everyone is wondering about edible foliage and water purification, come on over — I’ve got a book on that.

My passion for buying books began in September 1995, the month The Lost World by Michael Crichton was released. Until that day, the only book I owned was an unopened Bible. The books I read in high school were from the library and rarely worth the time to read, much less buy. I’m looking at you, Steinbeck.

But I remember walking past a Waldenbooks in the Santa Monica Mall and seeing a display for the literary sequel to the dinosaur blockbuster. I loved the movie of Jurassic Park, and I figured it would be a while before the new book was adapted for the screen, and people always say the book is better than the movie so I plopped down the $22 — sticker shock for a nineteen-year-old — and began my library.

Summer Reading: What’s In Your Tote?


I just finished reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I picked it up for 50 cents this past spring at our local library sale. The movie, touted a “chick flick,” is no comparison to this fascinating book.

Frances Mayes is an extraordinary writer because she writes what she thinks and sees – no filters. You can see, taste, and smell the Italian countryside, and many times cringe, with what it’s like to rescue a 300-year-old piece of abandoned foreign history, and rescue a life. Her love of cooking and great recipes make you want to run to the nearest farmer’s market for fresh peaches, crisp fragrant herbs like basil scattered across mozzarella and drizzled with oil from just pressed olives, and roasted hazelnuts.

While she reveals parts of herself throughout, it’s not until toward the end that her Southern roots start oozing from her pores, setting you up for her openness of growing up in the South, called Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir. Just browsing the pages, it appears a brutally honest, funny and soul-searing experience, next on my reading list.

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There’s been more talk lately on Ricochet about books. There’s the Book Monger, Peter Robinson asking advice on what to read, Dave Carter’s story about creating his man cave, finally getting his favorite books out of storage, while Willow Spring shared the story of a dear brother’s recent passing, who was a bookbinder! Why are […]

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Do We Believe in Libraries?


Atlanta_Public_LibraryJust something I’ve been turning over in my head for a while. Not something I’m considering from a political angle as any change would be almost impossible politically.

On the pro side: It’s true that libraries act as subsidies, but they do so in the most benign way possible. The only people who can take advantage of the subsidized education merit it by their hard work. Furthermore, they’re the best possible people to subsidize since they’re the most likely to make good use of the resources provided. And when we get someone like that, it pays off big. And in the end, libraries aren’t all that expensive.

On the con side: How expensive are books, actually? I mean you can get all kinds of stuff cheap at a second hand store, and the poor in America can afford iPhones. The kind of kid who’s going to spend enough time in a library to be useful will get his hands on the books and succeed anyway. Saying that libraries aren’t all that expensive doesn’t help any, because most things on the book “aren’t all that expensive” when you compare them with the rest of the government’s budget. Besides, those places are hotbeds of government workers, or hadn’t you noticed?

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Are you a modeler, programmer, or photographer near New York City? I don’t know enough about this project or its managers to recommend it. But let’s just say this is a darn cool idea.  Project OpenHattan is an initiative with a specific goal to create an accurate and complete virtual Manhattan. [….] We want to recreate every building, street, sidewalk and park as an exact top-quality textured 3D model. All of it made specifically to be used […]

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