Articles

by Anna Fisher-Pinkert, courtesy of The Harvard GazetteIt’s hard to imagine even the most jaded student entering the Houghton Library (MA) without a sense of awe. Within these walls, you can read a letter signed personally by Vladimir Lenin, unfold a book of spells from Indonesia, and marvel at Emily Dickinson’s writing desk and chair.As Houghton celebrates its 75th anniversary, scholars take a look back at how some of the library’s rare holdings have inspired their research. READ MORE
Laurie Doan once said that her goal as a teen librarian was “not to build the greatest generation but to build what might need to be the most resilient generation.”Her work at the Tredyffrin Public Library Strafford, Pennsylvania shows that she is well underway to achieving her goal.  Nora Margolis, her nominator for a 2017 I Love My Librarian Award, said Doan’s contibutions have not only been positive, but also transformative.“As one teen Claire put it, ‘Laurie helps each kid discover his or her passion. Then, she does everything she can to help us develop those passions.”  Margolis experienced this firsthand, watching Doan work with her 16-year-old son Matt, who needed to raise $1,000 Eagle Scout landscaping project at the Valley Forge Freedoms Foundation.Matt asked Doan if he could DJ a dance party for 100 children. Doan responded by helping him turn the library into a dance hall. She then went above and beyond, helping Matt run additional events for other local charities.Margolis said, “The skills and confidence that Matt developed from these events and the supervision that Laurie gave him are largely responsible for his continued love for quality music programming that has continued to this day, where he is now deputy executive director of UC Berkeley’s Dance Marathon that has raised over 50K for pediatric aids and the booking coordinator of UC Berkeley’s concerts programming board that entertains over 26,000 undergrads.” READ MORE
First: What is a Meme?The term “meme” rose to prominence in the 1990s, accompanying the rise of the internet and personal computer. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “meme” is a noun that means an idea, behavior, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. It can also mean an amusing or interesting item such as a captioned picture or video that is spread widely on the internet. “Memes are often harmless images with funny text over it,” says to Michael Levenson, a Boston Globe reporter.Richard Dawkins, a British scientist, first used the term “meme” in 1976 book The Selfish Gene to mean “a unit of cultural transmission”. When he created the word, he sought a monosyllable that sounded a bit like “gene”. “Mim” was a root meaning mime or mimic, and “-eme” a distinctive unit of language or structure. READ MORE
"Thanks to the internet, we no longer need libraries or librarians.” You most likely hear some variation on that theme pretty regularly.Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here are 10 reasons why libraries are still better than the internet. READ MORE
Some people may say Dewey the Bearded Dragon has a face only a mother could love.But in Lead Hill (AR) it’s a face the entire school district loves.  “He’s the face of the library. He’s our mascot,” said Dewey’s owner, Amy Curtis, who is the Library Media Specialist for the Lead Hill School District.Since last summer he’s actually been more than just the mascot.In July, Dewey was certified as an emotional behavioral therapy animal after Curtis realized he had a certain calming effect on students, especially those who struggled with attention, anxiety and stress-related issues.“We started realizing kids who had a very difficult time paying attention in class or were struggling emotionally for various reasons, or were stressed, that once they sat with Dewey they would calm very quickly,” said Curtis. “He helps them relax. That’s when we got the idea of going ahead and registering him for emotional support and behavior therapy.” READ MORE
Annie Cipolla’s journey had, in her words, a bad beginning.In a TEDx talk, she recalled how her parents escaped the Communist revolution in China and came to the United States with everything they could carry in two suitcases.“They didn’t speak English. We were impoverished and we ended up living on the lower East Side (of Manhattan in New York),” said Cipolla, senior librarian at the John C. Fremont Library Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library system and one of 10 winners of the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award. “Our home was a rat-and cockroach-infested apartment, and I was surrounded by squalor.”School, she said, wasn’t much better. “I had a kindergarten teacher who used to lock me up in the closet because I didn’t speak English. And I didn’t want to end up locked in the closet forever, so I knew I had to change my life. I realized that education would be my ticket to the life that I wanted.”A full scholarship to a prep school in midtown Manhattan exposed her to a dazzling world full of culture and beauty.Perhaps these experiences made her the kind of librarian she is today, trying to level the playing field for her patrons in the Los Angeles Public Library system and providing opportunities for all to grow. READ MORE
by Katy Moeller, courtesy of Idaho StatesmanThe exclamation point on the Boise Public Library sign jumps out at you.It’s energetic!It’s exuberant!It’s enigmatic!It’s now a city icon but when it was first unveiled in 1995, Dave Bieter was not a fan.“I thought, ‘What self-respecting library needs punctuation? … If you’re a great library, you don’t need punctuation,” Bieter told a crowd gathered recently for the monthly storytelling spectacular “Story Story Night.” The theme for the night was “!” — and the library sign was the inspiration for a whole season of punctuation-themed shows, said Story Story artistic director/host Jodi Eichelberger.Bieter was elected mayor in 2003 — and the library sign was on his agenda.“I thought, ‘I’m going to go after that exclamation point, and I’m going to get rid of that sucker,’ ” he recalled. “I learned in about an hour and a half of being the mayor that the exclamation point is beloved in the city of Boise.” READ MORE
The category: Beloved TV Programs.The answer: Roughly 150 librarians have competed on this game show since 2005.And the correct question: What is Jeopardy!?“We use a lot of librarians on the show,” says longtime Jeopardy! staffer Maggie Speak. “One of the coolest things about being a librarian, from what we hear from our contestants, is that on any given day they’re facing a whole new set of questions or problems, and that keeps them very sharp. Plus, for our show, personality is a big factor. Trust me, we’ve seen some librarians—they’re a lot of fun.”Here, 11 librarians who have appeared on Jeopardy! share their stories of applying for and competing in one of the nation’s most popular game shows, which first aired in its current form in 1984. READ MORE
by Kelly Rocheleau, courtesy of The CitizenWhile other students in Auburn Junior High School (NY) have been bound to their desks Tuesday afternoons this school year, Kristi Newton's health class has been doing yoga.On one of those days earlier this month, Newton, a health teacher, and media specialist Marcella Didio led the class at the school's library. Some students giggled as they tried various poses while following along with their instructor. Some children had more success than others; a few would wobble when doing moves requiring balance with one foot, forcing them to readjust.Some students looked to those next to them, and sometimes laughed as they saw each other try the poses. Poses the class did ranged from students leaning forward with their heads down while perched on one leg to getting on their hands and knees, raising one leg and then stretching their opposite arm out to grab that leg READ MORE
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ home in Cross Creek, Florida was designated a Literary Landmark on August 8th, 1996 by the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society and the Florida Center for the Book during a celebration of Rawlings’ 100th birthday.Cross Creek was the beloved home of Rawlings from 1928 to 1953 and a source of inspiration for her most timeless works including Cross Creek and The Yearling. The virgin Florida territory and near isolation of the Cross Creek farm became the colorful and memorable backdrop for The Yearling, the story of a backwoods Florida boy and his pet deer. READ MORE

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