Brother, can you spare a digm?

Spelling is hard

Spelling is hardOh come on. You know what a digm is. You probably have at least one in your pocket. It’s worth ten cents. It’s time for a paradime shift!

Here are some sentences full of rhyming words that decided to trade endings. How quickly can you read them?

  • Did Herman really bict his neighbor’s ear? A jury mite indight him.
  • She was aglough that her boe had lots of deau, but full of wow when she saw he was sough shalloe. Continue reading

Libraries: a shelter in a storm?

storm damage
storm damage

Ruined building, Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013

With the recent observance of the anniversary of a devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, I wondered if libraries provide storm shelters. I found both less and more than I expected.

My local newspaper had a story not long ago that the central library in Winston-Salem had a fallout shelter, one of four dozen downtown. Nobody thinks much about fallout shelters any more, but in the 1960s they seemed an important part of public safety.

Public libraries have always been community centers. They have always used their buildings in many ways that have no connection to the most obvious kinds of library services. Of course the library had a fallout shelter. Many others probably did, too. Continue reading

War and a library: The Library of Congress burns

Capitol burned in war of 1812
Capitol burned in war of 1812

US Capitol after the burning

Two hundred years ago, the War of 1812 entered its final stages. This now obscure war turned out to have a decisive influence on the development of the Library of Congress.

The upstart United States of America had declared war on the most powerful nation in the world at the time. Its victories were few, but it captured present day Toronto (then called York) in April 1813. American troops burned the Government House and Parliament Buildings.

The British retaliated the following year. They invaded Washington in August 1814 with the intent of burning it. The British had a easier time in Washington than the Americans had had in York. The city was neither fortified nor defended. Continue reading

Library of Congress: government websites you should know

LOC Jefferson Building, end of term web archive
Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building

Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building

It’s not like you can go into the Library of Congress and check out books. It’s not an ordinary library.

But it’s as much your library as your public library. Unofficially, the Library of Congress is the national library of the United States.

You can, if you want, get a reader registration card and use the reading rooms. None of the collection can leave the buildings, of which there are now three. Most people never go to the Library of Congress, or if they do, it’s as a tourist.

On the other hand, it offers so many services online that I’ll have to write multiple posts. Continue reading

Earth Day at the library

Greensboro Public Library Kathleen Clay Edwards branch Earth Day

Greensboro Public Library Kathleen Clay Edwards branch Earth DayThe 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 Earth Day in various ways.

The Kathleen Clay Edwards branch is probably the only branch library in the country with an “environmental resources librarian.” Continue reading