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Interested in library history? I want to mention two sites that I enjoy very much. I have linked to Judy Aulik’s historical library postcard site before but I want to mention it again. I am a collector of vintage postcards myself, although I collect in different subject areas. Old postcards are an amazing visual record of popular culture, as well as, social and political history. Judy has a particular interest in Carnegie libraries and her collection, from almost every state that was given grant money, is simply wonderful. Although I have lamented in the past that there don’t seem to be many Alabama cards to be found anywhere, she managed to find two Alabama Carnegie Libraries: the Montgomery Public Library and the Decautur Public Library, pictured here (by permission!)

The Decatur Public Library was built in 1905

The Decatur Public Library was built in 1905 (used by permission)

Judy is working on a section of university libraries. I imagine she would be very interested, if any of us could send her a scan of early views of any of our libraries. They must surely exist, even though I have never seen a single one.

 Postcards are one obvious sort of postal memorabilia. But there is quite a bit more to “going postal” and Larry T. Nix is your man, if you are interested. He has a more general library history blog: Library History Buff Blog , so named to differentiate it from his website, Library History Buff . There are many links on the blog (and on the web site) to other library history sites. I must say that the website is worth visiting just for the Tribute to Bookmobiles and Travelling Libraries alone. If you are interested in postal memorabilia, his website is the place to find information and photos of library-related stamps, covers, post cards and much more.

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I was looking at our blog stats today and was amused, though not surprised, to find that my post last February on “Library-themed Wedding Invitations” continues to outpace all other posts in numbers of hits by at least a factor of 2.  I can only suppose that lots of librarians are getting married and looking for ideas! The only post that challenges its status are my two posts about Dewey, the library cat. Well, who didn’t know that there are lots of cat lovers in the world? Of course, Dewey’s “biography” has generated a lot of attention everywhere.

Almost as popular has been my post “Dinosauers with Blogs”. I can’t prove it but, since visitors are finding it by searching on the single word “dinosauers”, I suspect that I have disappointed an awful lot of children trying to do school reports!

We continue to get many hits thanks to a site called alphainventions.com.  All the more reason that I want to solicit input from my fellow Cussers! We can now let the world know what cool things are going on in Alabama libraries.

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Well, OK. That’s a bit hyperbolic. But a piece in the Globe over the weekend, Group Think, got around to noticing a phenomenon I wrote about a while back. Essentially, the ease of doing research online is actually limiting the scope of scholarly research to that which can be found only in the targeted search and it misses older research that may very well be relevant:

This study adds weight to concerns, shared by other Internet analysts, that the rise of online research has costs as well as benefits. Internet search tools are not neutral: they tend to privilege the new and the popular. And for all the frustrations of older research methods, their very inefficiency may have yielded rewards. Leafing through print journals or browsing the stacks can expose researchers to a context that is missing in the highly targeted searches of PubMed or PsychInfo. The old-fashioned style of browsing, some say, can provide academics with more background knowledge, and lead to serendipitous insights when they stumble upon articles or books they weren’t necessarily looking for.  

This article and the Science Magazine article on the subject to which I linked in an earlier post are well-worth reading.

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Our current economic situation is taking its toll on cities and business everywhere. The Philadelphia News reports that the city is closing 11 branch libraries, even though the citizens are protesting the move. One older man interviewed for the story broke down in tears talking about the closure of the library he grew up with (Holmesberg Library).

The Holmesberg Library is one of eleven being closed by the city of Philadelphia

The Holmesberg Library is one of eleven being closed by the city of Philadelphia

There is film of his interview but I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. I fear we will see much more of this in the coming months as cities struggle to cope with economic reality.

A story in the Philadelphia Inquirer is very sympathetic to the protesters and notes that these neighborhood libraries are not just repositories for books but “community hubs” that serve children and the poor. The author reviews the role Andrew Carnegie played in giving Philadelphia 25 libraries and notes that 4 of the original 25 are among those being closed.

Libraries are important. I think we sometimes don’t realize that the community knows how valuable they are. The citizens of Philadelphia certainly know it and are making their views known.

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We’ve Been Discovered!

Shortly after posting the Mr. Bean video, I happened to check the stats for this blog and was dumbfounded to see that Mr. Bean had been “hit” 16 times (we are now up to 24) and from the same referrer– alphainventions.com

What is alphainventions.com?  Well, even its inventor has some trouble describing it.  His site captures blogs as they are updated in real time, giving readers (primarily other bloggers) not only the ability to see the latest post in real time but to click and go to the blog itself. The designer (inventor? Mad genius?) is a 20 something year-old who seems like a nice young man with a fair bit of time on his hands, apparently. In any case, if we are now on display to the world, I suppose I am going to have to watch my grammar and spelling…

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I just discovered that Dewey– no, not Melvil but Dewey Readmore Books (see previous post) is going to have a movie made about him! Variety reports that Meryl Streep will play Vicki Myron, the retired Spencer Library director and author. No word on who will play Dewey.

 

Does this woman look like a librarian?

Does this woman look like a librarian?

I can’t help but be pleased that a movie is going to be made that is all about a library, a cat and a librarian. Forget raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Libraries, cats and librarians are three of my favorite things!

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Thanks to another very interesting library-related blog, Into the Stacks, I have learned of the existence of CLOCKSS. According to its mission statement:

CLOCKSS is a joint venture between the world’s leading scholarly publishers and research libraries whose mission is to build a sustainable, geographically distributed dark archive with which to ensure the long-term survival of Web-based scholarly publications for the benefit of the greater global research community.

When what they call a triggering event occurs, e.g. a journal ceases publication, CLOCKSS makes the content available to everyone for free. You can see an example of this by going to the CLOCKSS website and clicking on Graft, a journal that Sage recently discontinued.

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