Earth Day at the library

The Greensboro Public Library’s Kathleen Clay Edwards branch held an Earth Day exhibit on Saturday afternoon, April 5 to coincide with the Guilford County School’s spring break. Earth Day is officially April 22, but there’s no reason to limit Earth Day observances to that date. From the start, Earth Day was intended in part as an educational occasion. In 1970, the focus was on teach-ins on college and university campuses.  The library’s celebration seemed aimed mostly at children, although the various exhibits had plenty of useful content for adults as well. I suppose public libraries all over the country observe … Continue reading

Something old and something new in a recent research project

I concede: Real research can be done using only web sources. Just not much. Since this month is Earth Month, I want to look back at the first Earth Day in 1970 for one of my other blogs. Can I find enough information on the web to write something about it? Sure. And I’d produce a post every bit as disappointing as an online article I wrote about last fall, which appears to have started out as an undergraduate honors paper. So I had to use some very old research methods. Along the way, I found a new piece of … Continue reading

Bare with me: more misused pears

misused pears

I was on live chat with a technician, and at one point he had to look something up. So he typed, “Bare with me.” Well! I’m pretty selective when it comes to either making that invitation or accepting it. Besides, it’s much more fun when we’re in the same room. Here’s another instance where a pear (oops, pair) of homonyms tripped someone up. He chose the wrong word. He meant, “Bear with me.” Bear as a verb has numerous meanings. Among others, it means to tolerate or endure. In this case, “put up with my absence for a while.” Bear … Continue reading

3 unusual and unexpected library services

Los Angeles Public Library

We all know that libraries are more than books, more even than their collections. We expect public libraries to have children’s departments. We expect academic libraries to have reserves. We expect any library to have meeting space, programs, and Internet access, among other ways of serving their communities. Serving their communities. Since every community is different, and since every library staff comprises different mixes of talents, it should be no surprise when some libraries offer unusual services, services you won’t find at many other libraries.

EPA.gov: government websites you should know about

EPA seal

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a political agency, and so I suspect you probably approve or disapprove of its policies depending on what you think of whatever administration happens to be in power. But regardless of your politics, its website contains a great deal of useful, practical, and non-controversial information.

Meet the library staff, answer a question

Librarian

As much as I would love to post here every week, it hasn’t been possible. I have managed only once so far this month. Today’s post is scheduled for Christmas Day, which means you’re probably reading it later. You are used to going to librarians to ask questions. This time, the librarian (that’s me) has a question for you. It’s at the bottom of the page. Here’s a compilation of earlier posts about librarians and library staff, only one of which has anything to do with Christmas at all. If you’re really looking for fresh, Christmas-related content, be sure to … Continue reading

John F. Kennedy Library & Museum

JFK_library at dusk

As part of the 50th anniversary remembrance of the assassination of President Kennedy, it seems good to pay particular attention to the JFK Library. Like all modern presidential libraries, it was constructed with private funds and then maintained and operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. Franklin D. Roosevelt established the first one. The Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 encouraged subsequent Presidents to do the same, even though at the time the President’s papers were still considered private property. And so on September 20, 1961, less than a year into his administration, Kennedy began consultation with the Archivist of … Continue reading

Borrowing from a digital library

North Carolina Digital Library

I have written numerous posts about the general concept that libraries are about more than books. That doesn’t change the fact that libraries are still very much about books. It’s just that nowadays, an increasing number of titles are available as ebooks. Or quite often, only as ebooks. Libraries lend ebooks. And audiobooks, for that matter.

Bad news from a good undergraduate paper

Research using a laptop

Ever since I came across an online article claiming Benjamin Franklin as America’s first environmentalist, I have been looking for information that I can use in one of my other blogs. I just took notes on another online article called “What Would Ben Franklin Do? Influences of America’s First Environmentalist “ by Lauren Siminauer and noticed that at the time of publication she was “finishing her bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology at the University of Virginia. I have written quite a lot about research, sources, and using the library for writing term papers. Since Simenauer has essentially gotten one … Continue reading

The card catalog: birth and death of a technology

Card catalog

If you’re older than about 40, chances are that you grew up using the card catalog to find library materials and had some trouble getting used to the new computer catalogs. If you’re younger than about 30, chances are you never used one, and perhaps have never even seen one. And yet the concept of the card catalog is still with us. Just for fun I looked up “online card catalog” on Google.  The search found more than 72 million results. I see that on average Google still gets 90 searches a month on that term. There is no such … Continue reading