Do diligence is a must: more misused pears

misused pears
misused pears

Mismatched pear of shoes?

When I saw that comment in a forum thread I wondered, “How due you due do diligence?” Someone (or someone’s fingers) was having trouble with homonyms.

I suspect hasty typing accounts for that neglect of due diligence. Many losing battles with homonyms seem to result from using the more common word when the less common is correct.

A Christian devotional advised readers what to do in the throws of temptation. Throe, most often used in the plural, can mean a violent spasm of pain, or as a metaphor, a condition of agonizing effort or struggle. Against temptation, for example.

A newspaper comic strip’s author miswrote a punchline: “It didn’t phase him.” Perhaps a faze he was going through? “Phase” has many different meanings as a noun. As a verb it means to carry out a plan by phases, in the sense of distinct stages of development. “Faze” means to disrupt someone’s composure.

Confession: I almost typed “composer” instead of “composure.” I studied music long before I learned to be a librarian. For me, at least, “composer” is the more common word. My head knows the difference. My fingers? Not so much.

But misused pears are not always the choice of the more common word. Someone on Facebook asked, “Is it me, or does nobody have manors these days?” Actually, given the size of new houses over the last 20 or 30 years, lots of people have a manor, or might as well.

The word usually refers to the residence of a lord who rules a domain. Americans, who have never had a noble class, have little reason to know the word, but it can also mean any landed estate. Anyone who owns more than one landed estate therefore has manors—but not necessarily manners!

Did you know that organically grown foods are the waive of the future? Somehow I don’t think that’s what the writer meant. “Waive” is always a verb, which means either to give up a claim or right voluntarily or not strictly enforce a rule.

If waive is supposed to mean anything as a noun, the sentence would mean that in the future no one will insist on organically grown foods! If something is the wave of the future, on the other hand, it’s a metaphor for an unstoppable action of the ocean.

Sometimes, however, one word in a pair of homonyms is not noticeably more common than the other. A marketing coach wrote, “The perfect anecdote to a willy nilly, ‘I think I’m getting this right’ approach to copywriting is to commit your formula to memory.”

Granted, marketing copy is supposed to tell a story, but not necessarily an anecdote. He meant a remedy for poison or other injurious affect: “antidote.”

Here is some good advice from an environmental standpoint: get out of the habit of reaching for paper towels. As someone wrote, ” Paper towels — use a tea towel, instead. If you worry about your tea towel stains not coming out or an odor lingering on them, simply soak overnight in a white vinegar and water solution, then wash them. The vinegar will illuminate any odor and it’s better to use than bleach.”

I agree that using cloth towels is usually preferable to using paper towels, but I’m not sure why anyone would want to shed light on stains or odors! I would prefer to get rid of them—eliminate them if possible.

And what are we to make of an email that circulated about some cause on Facebook? The subject line was “A Heartbraking Story of Abuse.” The story will make your heart gradually slow down and perhaps come to a complete stop? I chose not to read that one! I don’t much want my heart broken, either, but the headline should have used “heartbreaking.”

I hope I don’t come across as irritated. I don’t want to be like the person who wrote, I don’t have patients for stupid people today. Doctors have patients—whether they have patience or not.

We all have impatience at times. Some of us will plant impatiens in our gardens come spring.

I haven’t seen that pair mixed up yet, probably because I don’t read a lot about gardening, but I won’t be surprised if I do.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by gadl.

Kids & Family at the Library of Congress website

LOC home page screen shot, librarian of congress history
Library of Congress home page

Library of Congress home page

As I have written before, the Library of Congress website contains such a wealth of information that it will take multiple posts even to begin to do it justice.

Even the Kids & Family page is difficult to describe fully. It comprises links to 14 other pages, some intended especially for young readers and others not.

The link to it on the library’s home page does not stand out. It is on the line of links below the 9 thumbnails.

Pages intended for young readers

Library of Congress, America's Library

America’s Library home page

The Young Readers Center is not a web-based collection. It is a room on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building. It is open Monday through Friday except on national holidays.

Among other programs, it offers weekly story time for infants and toddlers. Continue reading

Chicago Public Schools vs school libraries

Elementary school library--quotations about libraries

Elementary school libraryHarold Howe, author of Thinking about Our Kids, has said, “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.”

They must not think much about education in Chicago these days. They have taken school librarians out of the library and assigned them to classroom teaching.

I learned of the problem from a report on National Public Radio. I lived in the Chicago area for more than 20 years, and during the last 15 years or so of that time, I was married to a suburban elementary school teacher. We lived through a strike.

The news hit close to home, but I wouldn’t write about it if it had implications only for Chicago. Similar shenanigans appear all over the country, and not just with schools. Continue reading

Digital divide: broadband, the underserved, and libraries


Digital divide

Education and economic well-being depend more and more on electronic information and communication.

Not everyone in the US has equal access to computers and Internet service.

Not everyone who does can use it through wireless devices (wi-fi).

The difference between the haves and have-nots is known as the digital divide. In partnership with the Federal Government and private foundations, public libraries take a leading role in closing the gap. Continue reading

5 more unusual and unexpected library services

Drones in flight

Drones in flight

All public and academic libraries offer the same basic services. Many offer unexpected services.

In some cases, they are the library’s response to unique local needs. In others, one library has seen how it can address a common need, and other libraries may start something similar.

At least some of today’s more recent basic services started out as one library’s experiment.

I reported on 3 unusual and unexpected library services a while ago. Here are 5 more. Continue reading