The Wonder of Libraries

Reblogged from https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2021/06/19/the-wonder-of-libraries/

“When I got library card, that was when my life began.”
Rita Mae Brown

Do you recall the first time you stepped into a library? I do. I felt like I had entered Nirvana. All those books, and I could borrow them for free! I would pick out a stack of books to take home to the farm, read them and the next time we came to town, return them and bring home another stack.

Donut Dollies, Precursors to Special Services and MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation)

When I first became the Ft Myer Librarian in the mid-1980s, I met many of my predecessors at various Special Library Association meetings in the DC area. They told me about life in the olden days when a library technician in a Special Services uniform would drive a bookmobile out to various Nike missile sites in the DC area. One such employee had begun her life as a Donut Dolly during WWII.

In the wake of the initial Normandy landings on D-Day, a strange vehicle hit the beaches: converted London buses driven by three female volunteers from the Red Cross. Their mission was to bring a taste of home to the soldiers fighting World War II. Their weapon of choice was the doughnut.

While their early food truck might have been a new contraption — 100 GMC trucks dubbed “Clubmobiles” were created for the D-Day invasion — the baked goods they were bringing to Hitler’s Fortress Europe was not. This was their second world war, too.

Click here to read more.

By the time the United States entered the Vietnam War in force, the female volunteers of the Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas were there, too, and their old nickname came with them. GIs in Vietnam also knew them as the “Doughnut Dollies.”

They weren’t limited to clubs, mess halls or hospitals. The Doughnut Dollies of Vietnam could be found on Hueys or alongside tanks headed into the bush. They were also there when some units came back with fewer men than had left.

“VIETNAM Magazine February 2011 – The Donut Dollies Are Here!” by manhhai is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Maddy’s Last Gift to Nan Go-Fund-Me Page

Many of you have become familiar with Midway Maddy through the interviews that I had done with Maddy and Nan over the years. Earlier this month, many of you offered your condolences to Nan when I posted about Maddy’s untimely death. If any of you are interested, her Midway shipmates have started a Go-Fund-Me page to help Nan get a new emotional support animal.

https://gofund.me/8fd45652

Rest in Peace, Midway Maddy

Midway Maddy has been one my favorite and most frequent celebrities to interview. Now Sirius does have a new dog star. With deep sadness, I share my friend, Bonnie’s email about Maddy, who passed away on May 6, 2021.

It is with incredible sadness that I am writing to let you know that our Maddy was killed earlier this morning.  Nancy took Maddy out for her morning walk, and Maddy was attacked by an Alaskan husky.  Nancy was able to get Maddy away from the larger dog, but Maddy died on the way to the hospital.

Maddy has been Nancy’s emotional support animal since 2010 when Nancy’s husband died in a tragic accident.  Recently Maddy has had medical issues, and several weeks ago she had two surgeries.  We all had our fingers crossed, and Maddy came through.  After the surgeries, Maddy and Nancy were livelier and happier than they had been in months because of the success of the medical treatments.

Maddy has accompanied Nancy for five years to the Midway.  Maddy even went through Docent training with Nancy, and she has been adored by many of the staff and volunteers.  Even when Nancy took Maddy out for comfort breaks, guests would come up and ask to take a photograph of Maddy or ask to have their picture taken with Maddy.  This past Wednesday, Nancy and Maddy passed 2,000 volunteer hours, and Nancy and Maddy had their picture taken by the Midway photographers.  It was so precious!  

Maddy and Nancy have been inseparable.  When Nancy  broke her arm last year, Maddy was in the ambulance and in the Emergency Room.  She would have been in the operating room, too, but Nancy sent her home.

As you can imagine, Nancy is having a really tough time.  Tonight, Nancy has two of her relatives staying with her, and several of the library volunteers have also volunteered to be with her.  Please keep our Nancy in your prayers.

Veterans History Project Spotlights Military Mothers with May Panel Discussion

From the Library of Congress:

Mothers have volunteered to serve in the military since the Revolutionary War, where they held traditional roles as nurses, seamstresses or cooks and, since 2015, in designated frontline combat roles. On Thursday, May 6 at 12 p.m. EST, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) invites the public to a virtual panel titled “Motherhood and the Military” through the VHP Facebook page. The panelists and moderator will be available to answer questions and address remarks in the comments section.   

Women were 16.5% of all active-duty personnel in 2018 and make up 10% of all military veterans, a percentage that is likely to increase rapidly in the next decade, according to Pentagon data. Women veterans hold many roles, including that of mothers, but their contributions have often gone unrecognized, according to experts.

Ahead of Mother’s Day, the panel will explore the intersection of the role of mothers and their connection to the military through the personal experiences of four women veterans.

“These strong women, just like those who came before them, remind us that while motherhood itself can be a full-time job, some mothers choose to continue serving in the Armed Forces. They juggle the trials of parenting with the responsibility of maintaining operations, coping with deployment and the uncertainty that can come with it all,” said Elizabeth Estabrooks, acting executive director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans, and the panel’s moderator.

The discussion will include special introductions by Senators Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, both of whom are military veterans and mothers and serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, is the first female double amputee to serve in the Senate, while Ernst was the first female combat veteran to serve in that chamber.

“The dual roles of mother and soldier are not uncommon, but too often the story of service, sacrifice and the impact on individual families goes untold,” said Duckworth, who made history in 2018 when she took her newborn baby to a Senate floor vote, just weeks after giving birth.

For her part, Ernst, a former company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, said it wasn’t easy for her to leave her little girl for deployments “halfway across the world.”

“That experience left me with a deep appreciation for the sacrifice our military families make, particularly our moms in uniform,” said Ernst, the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress.

The panel will feature mothers from different military branches who have served our nation through various generations and armed conflicts. They will discuss the trials of parenting and fulfilling operational obligations, coping with the heartache of deployments and separations, and the uncertainty that comes with military service.

Panelists for the program include:

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of United States war veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of military service. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news. Follow VHP on Facebook @vetshistoryproject.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

Volunteers: What We Can Learn from the National Park Service

In honor of National Park Week and National Volunteer Week, I am sharing a piece on volunteers that I wrote a few years ago.

When a VIP agrees to share his talents, skills and interests with the National Park Service, he is paying us one of the highest compliments possible by offering a most valued possession – his time. George B. Hartzog, Jr.
Director, National Park Service, 1964-1972

Volunteers, whether you love them or hate them, are a fact of life for many libraries.  Over the past 35 years I have been a volunteer, worked with volunteers, and been responsible for volunteers.   All three roles offer elements of hope, pain, frustration, and hopefully satisfaction.

As a volunteer, I offer to work for free—hopefully where both the organization and I will benefit from the experience.  It is painful to be turned down by an organization that does not see the benefit of free labor.  That most recently happened to me when I offered to work for a base library in San Diego.  Since most of their volunteer applicants were possibly high school students who needed to do a number of public service hours as part of their graduation requirement, the library may have felt that finding things for volunteers to do was more trouble than it was worth. I felt like telling them I was a retired librarian with over 30 years of experience, had run libraries like this one, and they were short sighted to throw that away.  But nobody asked—at least they were polite when they turned me down.

As the manager of a similar type of base library, I have had mixed feelings about volunteers.  Adults who wanted to work at the circulation desk were a big help.  Teenagers could be very helpful also, if they did not socialize too much with their friends.  Very few people were interested in filing or shelving, which was where we could have really used the help.  I learned that it was useful to already have a list of tasks that needed to be done and then let the volunteer decide if any of them were of interest.  Bulletin boards, preschool story hour arts and crafts, filing, shelving, shelf reading, holiday decorating, checking books in and out, and creating bibliographies were all tasks that could be done if willing hands were available.  I would now add tutoring, computer assistance, and programming ideas to that list.

The National Defense University Library has run a successful volunteer program.  Some of the librarians began their careers there as either an intern or a volunteer.  It lets both sides (volunteer and library staff) check each other out.  Is the person a good match?  Do they like the type of tasks done at NDU?  Are they more interested in public  service, technical service, or special collections? Fortunately NDU is a large enough library to offer people a chance to participate in all three sections.  The library sets up an orientation schedule so that the volunteer has the opportunity to spend time in all of the sections, learn what the sections are responsible for and meet the people who do the job.

The National Park Service treats its volunteer very well.  They call them VIPs—Volunteers in Parks.  NPS also offers the George and Helen Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.  Awards are given in multiple categories:  Individual Volunteer Award, Youth Volunteer Award, Enduring Service Award, Youth Volunteer Group Award, Volunteer Group Award, and Park Volunteer Award.   I am fortunate to volunteer at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, CA which has just won the 2013 Park Volunteer Award.

Under the direction of  Volunteer Coordinator, Ranger Tavio del Rio, Cabrillo has doubled its number of volunteers in the past 3 years.  Tavio has revitalized the program and has ensured that the volunteers are full-fledged members of the Cabrillo team.   Since becoming a VIP at Cabrillo in January 2014, I have seen what Tavio and the other rangers have accomplished.  They have ideas that other institutions might emulate.

  1.  Have a volunteer orientation—annually or as needed.  Let the volunteers know what opportunities are available to them.  Give them a tour.  Let them hear from both other volunteers and paid staff.
  2. Talk to the volunteers both privately and in small groups.  Get to know what the volunteer wants and where they might best contribute to the whole operation.  Let the prospective volunteers learn from each other too. Have a list of prospective opportunities online that they can peruse and see the requirements and expected commitment level.
  3. Let them know what the expectations are and what type of training they can expect to receive.   Reading books, taking online courses, shadowing, touring the facility, meeting the staff and other volunteers, reading the informational signs are all ways to involve volunteers.
  4. Treat the volunteers like full- fledged members of the team.  Do not treat them like second class citizens because they are not paid staff.  Introduce them to their teammates—they should not have to take the initiative to meet everyone.
  5. Provide volunteer recognitions at other times besides April is Volunteer month.  Invite them to participate in staff events and meetings, as appropriate.  Cabrillo does this formally and informally throughout the year.  Last May we had a cookout prepared by the rangers at Spanish Landing where one of Cabrillo’s outreach partners, the San Diego Maritime Museum, is building a replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s flagship San Salvador.  In addition to an excellent meal, we got to tour the ship.
  6. Have meetings and communications venues that are for the volunteers.  Tavio sends out emails that inform us of  new volunteer opportunities, what is going on in the Park, upcoming National Park jobs, available trainings, etc.  We also have a blog, a webpage, e-binders filled with useful information about the Park, its history and geography, native Americans, the flora and fauna and other useful information a volunteer might be asked.
  7. Have an online system where volunteers can track their hours, sign up for future volunteer shifts in areas of interest, learn about other opportunities of interest and special projects. It also allows us to record mileage which can be useful for income tax purposes. We use the aptly named Volgistics.
  8. If the volunteer pool is large enough, have a volunteer council.  Provide opportunities for volunteer leadership roles—volunteers are more than free grunt labor.
  9. Provide ongoing training.  It can be volunteer oriented training or participation in agency training.  Volunteers are part of the team too—see point 4.
  10. Be creative on how to use volunteers.  Invite their participation in how they might assist in improving the organization or identifying possible avenues of participation.

Deae Matris Questions–Interview with Teagan

 Since Teagan has indicated that the Sisterhood shares and spreads information, they may be an early form of librarians. In honor of National Library Week and the next Journey, I wanted to interview Teagan about her Deae Matres.

By Journey 3, we have met 4 Deae Matres:  Boabhan, Mercedes, Zasha, and Tahira.  Will we meet other Deae Matres as the Journeys continue?

Absolutely, yes.  While the Society of Deae Matres in Emlyn’s day doesn’t hold a candle to the size and power the organization once had, it is still a large and impressive group – particularly to Emlyn’s inexperienced way of thinking.  We’ll learn more of their present and past.

Boabhan and Zasha seem to have their own swordsmen.  Do Mercedes and Tahira have similar associates?

When I first started reading high fantasy, one thing that intrigued me was how the authors left certain details of relationships to the reader’s imagination.  Zasha and Tajín have a backstory, and romance is hinted at, but not confirmed.  Boabhan and Hallgeir have a completely different backstory.  Bits of both stories are revealed later when they impact the plot.

However, to your question, in this world, sisters of the Society may or may not have a swordsman who travels with them.  In the backstory of the Deae Matres, such arrangements were structured into their organization, but not any more.  In Zasha’s day, those arrangements might come about for any number of reasons.  In any era, many Deae Matres sisters travel independently.  That is true of Mercedes and Tahira, at least in the timeframe of this story.

The Deae Matres seem to live a very extended lifespan.  Is that accurate?  I do not think they are immortal, but if they are

The sisters of the Society vary in age, but no, they have a normal human lifespan.  You may be thinking of hints I’ve made about Boabhan.  The Woman in Green is unlike the other sisters – but that has nothing to do with her being Deae Matres.

How do girls/women become Deae Matris?

There would have been a process in ages past.  In Zasha’s day, if enough of the sisters agree that a woman is versatile and knowledgeable enough the Society will approach her.  I didn’t “get into the weeds” with that for this story.  Maybe for a future series… (winks)

Zasha, for instance, seems to have a small crush on Taigin.  Do any of the Deae Matres marry their swordsmen or would that be a reason to have to leave the Society of Deae Matres?

See the question 2 for the answer.

Was Haldis, the Watcher, ever a Deae Matres?

Ah… Haldis is intriguing – mysterious in part because she is so damaged.  More about her will be revealed as the Journeys continue.

Was/is Queen Ailbine a Deae Matres?

In fleshing out the history of Emlyn’s world, I mention several past rulers.  That history comes into play in some details of the story.  Various ghosts from the past interact with Emlyn.  Queen Ailbine is one of these.  Since Emlyn has difficulty knowing whether she’s talking to a ghost or a living person, Emlyn has learned to pay attention to details of their clothing and manner before she starts talking out loud to what turns out to be a ghost.  Spirits from the past sometimes show up to make sure Emlyn is aware of something important, as Queen Ailbine did.  Getting the message from a queen, made her pay more attention to it than she would have if one of the serving maids had pointed out what was happening.  At other times, the ghosts simply come to her because she can see them.

Do the Deae Matres have a central authority figure or is it  more rule by the more senior and/or dynamic members?

A question I’ve learned to ask myself when writing is “Does it advance the plot?”  The structure of the Society does not impact the plot, so I don’t dig too far into the politics this world.  As with most groups, the older, senior members tend to hold more authority than the newer ones.

Journey 3, the Fever Field

Kindle: elinks.me/B08XTNZ9M8 

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08XXY3JXF

Kobo:  Dead of Winter: Journey 3, the Fever Field eBook by Teagan Riordain Geneviene – 1230004609599 | Rakuten Kobo United States

Journey 2, Penllyn

Kindle:  relinks.me/B08VMNSF97

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08VLMR2KD

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dead-of-winter-journey-2-penllyn

Journey 1, Forlorn Peak

Kindle:  relinks.me/B08RBBVRGX

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08R7RH4F5

Kobo:  Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak eBook by Teagan Geneviene – 1230004446033 | Rakuten Kobo United States

Reblog of Hours in a Library by Derrick J. Night.

Derrick had me with the primary picture of three volumes called Hours in a Library.

During the night I began to realise that, although ‘Monkey’ by Wu Ch’eng En was snuggled up in the novels section of the library, there was no Gibbon among the shelves that I thought had been accurately filled yesterday. That meant that there had to be another History container somewhere among the 24 left to empty. This morning’s search demonstrated no such luck.

There were two.

To read more click here.

Taking Books to the People, Pt 15: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

A childhood without books — that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.” Astrid Lindgren

From the Imagination Library webpage:

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.

After launching in 1995, the program grew quickly. First books were only distributed to children living in Sevier County, Tennessee where Dolly grew up. It became such a success that in 2000 a national replication effort was underway. By 2003, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library had mailed one million books. It would prove to be the first of many millions of books sent to children around the world.

Dolly’s home state of Tennessee pledged to pursue statewide coverage in 2004 and global expansion was on the horizon. After the United States, the program launched in Canada in 2006 followed by the United Kingdom in 2007, Australia in 2013 and the Republic of Ireland in 2019.

Celebrate National Library Week, 4-10 April

From the American Library Association:

The theme for National Library Week (April 4-10, 2021), “Welcome to Your Library,” promotes the idea that libraries extend far beyond the four walls of a building – and that everyone is welcome to use their services. During the pandemic libraries have been going above and beyond to adapt to our changing world by expanding their resources and continuing to meet the needs of their users. Whether people visit in person or virtually, libraries offer opportunities for everyone to explore new worlds and become their best selves through access to technology, multimedia content, and educational programs.

Almost every day this week celebrates some aspect of libraries and the people who work in them.

What is your favorite thing to do in a library? Has your library reopened? Have you used your library during the Pandemic?

Participate in Little Free Library Week, 3-7 May

This is from an email I got from ALA.

The Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) is partnering with Little Free Library to offer the first Little Free Library Week to be held May 3-7 via social media! 

 Send in a photo of your Little Free Library along with a little bit of info so we can feature it that week. Here’s the form: tinyurl.com/y45yfb8o

The deadline to submit photos is April 23.

During Little Free Library Week you’ll have a chance to win a Little Free Library kit or a book bundle.

Follow Little Free Library Week on:

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/abosoutreach

Twitter:

twitter.com/ABOS_Outreach


Instagram:

 www.instagram.com/abos.outreach

Read Across America Day–Celebrating Dr . Seuss’s Birthday

Dr. Seuss is one of the best known children’s authors. His Cat in the Hat series introduced children to a number of interesting characters including the Cat himself, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and the fish plus the two human children, Sally and her brother Conrad. It took him over a year to write Cat in the Hat—and it only uses 236 different words!

In recent years, the Cat in the Hat series has been pulled from many school libraries because of its perceived racism.

The Cat in the Hat, perhaps Seuss’ most famous character, is based on minstrel stereotypes. “The Cat’s physical appearance, including the Cat’s oversized top hat, floppy bow tie, white gloves, and frequently open mouth, mirrors actual blackface performers; as does the role he plays as ‘entertainer’ to the white family—in whose house he doesn’t belong,” says Ishizuka.

During World War II, he was a political cartoonist. “1941-1943, he was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM (1940-1948), and for that journal he drew over 400 editorial cartoon.”

His friend bet that he couldn’t write a book with just 50 different words, and so, Green Eggs and Ham was born.

Keepers of the Flame: A Love Letter to Libraries

Libraries have been one of the loves of my life for years. I was fortunate to be a military librarian for over 30 years and I still volunteer as a librarian for the USS Midway (CV-41) Research Library. I thought that I’d celebrate military libraries with a re-posting of this library tribute from the U.S Naval Academy website. https://www.usna.com/tributes-and-stories-1963#Legacy

I learned about this website from a recent Scuttlebutt Vol 6, issue 3, 11 February 2021, edited by Carl Snow, put out bi-weekly for the library volunteers and other interested members of the USS Midway.

The real Keepers of the Flame are libraries. There are two categories of libraries worthy of your consideration:  genealogy libraries and military/naval history libraries. What to send to each? That is certainly up to you, but I suggest you contact them first to see if they would welcome your treasures, your documents, your artifacts. Our Naval Academy Nimitz Library is one of the best, and Dr.Jennifer Bryan maintains its Special Collections and Archives. Here is the web site entry about such donations from another major military library, the Navy Department Library (under the Naval History and Heritage Command) at the Washington Navy Yard: 

The Navy Library is open to the public and provides resources vital to the writing and publishing of naval history, as well as information relating to the needs of today’s Navy. The library catalog is online, and the library posts numerous publications, documents and subject presentations on the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Website. The library’s collection continues to expand thanks to the installation of compact mobile shelving and materials acquired from Navy offices, private individuals, and organizations such as the Naval Historical Foundation. Significant holdings have been obtained from disestablished libraries (including Naval Air Systems and the Navy Judge Advocate General), as well as from libraries whose collections have been downsized (such as the State Department). Over 13% of the book titles in the library are unique in the international OCLC (Worldcat) database.

Materials that enhance the Archives’ collections and support the research of U.S. Navy personnel, historians, scholars, and other researchers are greatly appreciated. Please email archives@navy.mil if you have material you are interested in donating. Do not send unsolicited material. 

What type of items are of interest? The question is, what items do you have? Email the library to see if they would welcome your items into their collection, which includes:

From the front page of the Scuttlebutt Vol 6, issue 3, 11 February 2021

Some of your items almost certainly relate to family history. Genealogy libraries are well known to researchers, perhaps not so much to the general public.  For example, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) is considered one of the ten destination libraries for genealogy, as is the Birmingham [Alabama] Public Library and the Detroit Public Library – do a search for top genealogy libraries. Vertical files can hold collections that are not bound– and LAPL even has its own bindery. If you were to send them loose pages of your unpublished biography, they will bind it and enter it into their collection–and WorldCat. Check with your local library and talk to the Genealogy Librarian, let them know what you have. They are so much more interested in your holdings than your kids!

When Will the Looney Tunes Stop?

In the real Looney Tunes, Porky Pig has a signature line, ‘Ththththat’s all, folks.”

Mitch McConnell:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday blasted Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s embrace of “loony lies and conspiracy theories” as a “cancer for the Republican Party.”

Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality,” McConnell said in a statement first shared with The Hill. “

I was living near Washington, DC when the plane hit the Pentagon. I saw the huge gash in the side of the Pentagon where the plane hit. At the National Defense University Library, we shared space with the Pentagon Librarians who were temporarily re-assigned there because the Pentagon Library was closed (almost forever) when the nose of the plane affected the rear wall of the library and the resulting moisture created such toxic mold that hundreds of books were damaged and the library was a toxic waste site until it could be cleaned.

One of my best friends was responsible for saving many of the books in the library because she thought to call the experts in book preservation before it was too late. Did you know that freezing the books can halt the build up of mold?

Another friend fractured her foot and had 2nd degree burns on her head and hands escaping from the Pentagon after the plane struck. Several of her friends died from burns or smoke inhalation after the plane struck.

I think most of these conspiracy theories are bunk, but this one I have seen the aftermath for myself.

Do the conspiracy theorists, seemingly smug in their cocoon of superiority, realize that they are defaming or lying about real people who have sustained real injuries?

National Seed Swap Day-Last Saturday in January

Today is National Seed Swap Day.

National Seed Swap Day on the last Saturday in January serves as a reminder to gardeners that spring is on its way. It is also an ideal time for gardeners to gather and swap seeds in preparation for starting seeds indoors.

The first annual Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchange was held in Washington, DC, on January 26, 2006. Kathy Jentz, the editor/publisher of the magazine had the last Saturday of January named an official holiday and National Seed Swap Day was born. After that event’s success, seed swaps in other cities across the nation have joined in celebrating the day each year on (or around) the last Saturday in January.

Seed Libraries are often good places to swap seeds.

A seed library is a place where community members can get seeds for free or for a nominal fee and is run for the public benefit. Many seed libraries are open in public libraries and community centers. For some communities, getting folks to garden and grow some of their own food is the focus. For other communities, seed libraries may be created as an important step to develop a network of seed savers, to create locally adapted varieties, to respond proactively to climate change or loss of gene integrity due to GMOs  or to preserve genetic diversity. Seed saving is something humans have done for over 10,000 years. Rejoin the ritual and start to save seed and share the abundance in your community.

Seed Libraries is a network of seed lending libraries. Seed libraries can vary from community to community, but the basic idea is that seeds are made available to the community for free or at a low cost. Some of the intentions of seed libraries are:

  • increase access to locally grown food
  • social justice
  • local resilience
  • food security
  • seed sovereignty
  • promote seed saving
  • community building
  • preserve and increase genetic diversity
  • pro-active response to peak oil and climate change
  • desire to strengthen genetically honest seed

Live in the Time of Coronavirus, Pt 20: Little Free Art Gallery.

During the pandemic Little Free Library concept has expanded to include Little Free Pantries and now Little Free Art Galleries.

Stacy Milrany probably runs the only art gallery in the country where visitors are encouraged to walk away with the art.

And as far as she knows, her Little Free Art Gallery in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood is likely the only museum where all of the works will fit neatly in a pocket.

Click here to read more.

Library of Congress Offers 23 Digitized Early Presidential Collections

From an LC email:

Library of Congress Completes Digitzation of 23 Early Presidential Collections

Completion of Project Includes Latest Digitization of Papers of Presidents Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge

Only goes up through Calvin Coolidge in the third row.

The Library of Congress has completed a more than two decade-long initiative to digitize the papers of nearly two dozen early presidents. The Library holds the papers of 23 presidents from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge, all of which have been digitized and are now available online.

The Library plans to highlight each presidential collection on social media in the weeks leading up to the next presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021.

“Arguably, no other body of material in the Manuscript Division is of greater significance for the study of American history than the presidential collections,” said Janice E. Ruth, chief of the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress. “They cover the entire sweep of American history from the nation’s founding through the first decade after World War I, including periods of prosperity and depression, war and peace, unity of purpose and political and civil strife.”

The 23 presidential collections in the Library’s holdings, acquired through donation or purchase, are of such significant value that Congress enacted a law in 1957 directing the Library to arrange, index and microfilm the papers, an enormous job that concluded in 1976. With the dawn of the digital age, the collections of presidential papers were among the first manuscripts proposed for digitization. The conclusion of this effort marks the addition of more than 3.3 million images to the Library’s online archives.

“The writings and records of America’s presidents are an invaluable source of information on world events, and many of these collections are the primary sources for books and films that teach us about our nation’s history,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We are proud to make these presidential papers available free of charge to even more researchers, students and curious visitors online.”

The collections include some of the nation’s most treasured documents, including George Washington’s commission as commander in chief of the American army and his first inaugural address; Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence; and Abraham Lincoln’s first and second inaugural addresses, along with many others.

The digitized presidential collections offer a robust set of primary resources and easy access for researchers, educators and students studying America’s early presidents.

For presidents who followed Coolidge, the National Archives and Records Administration administers the system of presidential libraries that house and manage the presidential records from President Herbert Hoover onward. The Library does not hold the original papers of all 29 presidents before Hoover, however. The papers of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, for example, are housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

With the digitization of papers from Presidents Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Grover Cleveland and Coolidge, the Library’s complete set of presidential collections is now available online for the first time.

Newly Digitized Collections

Papers of President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901)

The Harrison collection includes 69,600 items (178,479 images), with the bulk of the collection dating from 1853 to 1901. The collection contains correspondence, speeches, articles, notebooks in shorthand, legal papers, financial records, scrapbooks, memorials, printed matter, memorabilia, and other papers, covering every aspect of Harrison’s life and career.

Papers of President William Howard Taft (1857-1930)

The Taft collection includes approximately 676,000 documents (785,977 images), with the bulk of the material dating from 1880 to 1930. These papers constitute the largest collection of original Taft documents in the world and the largest among the Library’s presidential papers. The collection contains family papers, personal and official correspondence, presidential and judicial files, speeches and addresses, legal files and notebooks, business and estate papers, engagement calendars, guest lists, scrapbooks, clippings, printed matter, memorabilia and photographs.

Papers of President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908)

The Cleveland collection includes 108,200 items (192,602 images), with the bulk of the material dating from 1885 to 1908. The collection contains correspondence, diaries, messages to Congress, speeches, writings, printed materials and other papers relating chiefly to Cleveland’s presidencies and presidential campaigns.

Papers of President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

The Coolidge collection includes 179,000 documents (218,513 images), constituting the largest collection of original Coolidge documents in the world. The collection contains incoming correspondence with attachments, notes, carbon copies of outgoing letters from Coolidge or one of his secretaries, telegraph messages, appointment books and names and addresses of White House guests.

Full Set of Presidential Collections

The Library of Congress holds the following collections of presidential papers and has made each available online.

The digitization of these collections reflect advancement toward a goal in the Library’s user-centered strategic plan to expand access, making unique collections available when, where and how users need them. Learn more about the Library’s five-year plan at loc.gov/strategic-plan/.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.