Reblog–11 Things I will Never, Ever Admit to a Librarian

Your librarian knows things that she will never share.  Some things she can figure out by what you check out– like who may be pregnant or starting menopause.  Who is planning a wedding or having company?  Who may be thinking about a vacation.  Other things she does not know, like who used a used condom as a bookmark.  (Yes, this disgusting thing has happened.)

Here is a reblog of what one mother will not tell her librarian.  What happens in the Children’s section  or to books from that section, remains a big secret.


North Korean Serial Collection

From the Library of Congress News:

Library of Congress Offers Unprecedented Access to North Korean Serial Collection

North Korean map 

Home to one of the most prominent North Korean collections in the Western Hemisphere, the Asian Division at the Library of Congress has rolled out the North Korean Serials Database, an online indexing tool that offers researchers enhanced access to periodicals and articles published as far back as the 1940s.

The database contains 34,000 indexed records for articles in 18 journals from North Korea that are now searchable to the public online at, for the first time.

The database covers publications from as early as 1948, the year North Korea was established, up to the present day. It provides an in-depth and authoritative guide on what resources are available on-site at the Library of Congress.

In the past, there were no indexing resources at the article level for North Korean serials anywhere in the world. Without specific bibliographic information on hand, researchers would have to browse numerous titles and issues in order to find specific articles they are looking for.

“Noticeable in the collection are serials published from the 1940s to the 1960s. Many of these titles are no longer available in other institutions, libraries or even North Korea, which makes this collection extremely rare and significant,” said Sonya Lee, reference specialist of the Korean collection at the Library of Congress.

“As the study of North Korea is gaining more popularity among scholars and graduate students, the unique and abundant resources at the Library of Congress will play a significant role in supporting scholarship in this field.”

North Korean statues

Access to the indexes of these historical and cultural materials offers insight into the policy, economic, political, social, historic, military, legal, financial and governmental issues that affect contemporary foreign policy and strategies related to North Korea.

The materials from the Cold-War era can also provide a historical context to contemporary North Korean studies.

Researchers can search everything in the database or limit their query to article titles, subject, article keywords, publication date or publisher. Users can also browse the indexes by author (11,078 names in Korean and Romanized Korean form) and subject (135 subjects). Selected articles can be accessed on-site at the Library.  

The serials and articles in this database only represent a small percentage of the items from North Korea that the Library of Congress holds, estimated at more than 10,000 items and 278 serial titles. Due to its size and rarity, the collection opens up the possibility to pursue the study of North Korea in unusual depth.

The Library started to collect Korean materials in the 1950s during the Korean War. Today, the Library has over 303,000 volumes of monographs and some 7,600 periodical titles in the Korean Collection. The current serial titles cover major magazines, government reports and academic journals from both North and South Korea. The collection is now one of the most comprehensive collections outside of East Asia.

North Korean and U.S. flags

The Asian Division, founded in 1928, currently has custody of more than 4 million items in over 100 different Asian languages found in seven collections: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Tibetan. The Asian Reading Room, located in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, room 150, is the public gateway to access the Asian collections.

Jeffersn Building Main Reading Room

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; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at

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Roll Your Own

roll your ownAre you upset/stymied/disgruntled because your job does not offer you the leadership opportunities you seek?  Have training opportunities gone to others that you think do not deserve them as much as you do?  What can you do about it?

If your job does not offer you these type of advancement opportunities, you may have to create your own.  Roll you own-self-create a tailor-made opportunity   You need to invest in yourself.  Even, if you think you don’t have the time, money, opportunity.. you do have you and it is the only you that you are going to have.


Many jobs require experience in public speaking and writing.  Have you volunteered to speak at a convention, neighborhood event, local religious or fraternal opportunity, professional association?  Have you written an op-ed piece to the local newspaper, professional association journal, school or neighborhood newsletter?  What are you interested in?  Most interests have an associated organization.  Many of these organizations are non-profit and are looking for volunteers do write, publicize, speak, do good deeds, or fund raise.

Do you need more training?  Community college, on-the-job training, mentoring, volunteering, free community or library training colleges, workshops,  and maybe free training available where you work are all opportunities to gain new skills.

Have you ever been leader?   Jobs are not the only places where leadership opportunities abound.  Scouts,  citizens’ groups, fraternal and religious organizations, professional associations, and other volunteer organizations all have leadership opportunities from the committee to the local/state/national levels.

helping hand

Analyze your industry and particular worksite–is it what you know or who you know?  Do advancements go to outsiders or is the company more likely to hire from within?  Figure out what you need to do to advance where you are at or somewhere else.

If someone tells that you can or that you can’t–you can prove them right.

Genrefication–How Do You Label Things?

fiction genresI was familiar with the term Gentrification, the process of renovating or improving a house, district, or person so that it (they) adhere to middle class values.  Genrefication was new to me.  I first learned about in an ALA Connect blog post.

The term genrefication made its way into Urban Dictionary in 2008 and is defined as “the process or idea of classifying music, film, literature, or other such mediums into specific genres or categories.”

Some libraries are now genrefying their collections.  Usually this is for fiction books:  mysteries, romances, science fiction, maybe westerns.  Children’s books have long been separated from adult books.  Teen or YA is also a common designation.

Some of the Marine Corp Libraries are doing this, rather than using one of the standard classification systems like Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal, they are using a bookstore type classification.

One of the problems I have with bookstore classification is that it is not intuitive (at least to me).  Where do I find retirement books?  Are books on the Celts in religion, history of the country, or a travel book?  I have to ask a helpful (if I can find one) shop attendant.  In a library, I can at least look it up in the online catalog.  However, wild flowers are not in the same classification number as cultivated flowers–so even the classification systems can be arbitrary.

book store

I had always ‘assumed’ that when an author such as Danielle Steel moves from a genre best selling list to a fiction best selling list, the author has improved his/her position, potential readers, and money making ability.

Are labels the same as stereotypes in this PC society?

Great American Read

Great American Read.pngPBS will run an eight-part series on The Great American Read “that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey). It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.”

If you want to know which titles make up America’s 100 best-loved novels, click here

Take the quiz to see how many of those titles, you have read.

The Great American Read begins on May 22.  Check your local PBS station for times and when it may be repeated.






Girdle Books

No, not that type of girdle—the ones you wore to hold you in before there was control top panty hose.  These girdles were originally a belt or chord worn around the waist.  Girdle books were the medieval equivalent of paperback books.  They were light weight books that were attached by a piece of leather to the girdle .

Girdle books had to be small, and they had to be light. From the bottom edges of their bindings extended an length of leather, usually gathered into a knot at the end. This extension of the cover could be used to carry the book like a purse or could be tucked into a girdle or belt. To read, the owner wouldn’t even have to detach the book; when taken up, the book would be oriented correctly, just as if it had been pulled from a shelf.

The type of girdle book carried depended upon the need of the reader–lawbooks for a traveling judge, or prayer books for a nun or monk.  They were in vogue from the 14th through the 17th centuries.

Medieval Girdle Book by Margaret

The Girdle Book by Margit J. Smith is a fascinating look at the 25 girdle books known to be in existence today.

  • New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2017.
  • 7.375 x 10.5 inches
  • hardcover, dust jacket
  • 384 pages
  • ISBN: 1584563680
  • ISBN: 9781584563686

Price: $95.00

Yesterday was Independent Bookstore Day

Indie book store 2018.jpgDid you visit you Indie Book Store?  What is your favorite?  What features do you like in an Indie Book Store?

Are you familiar with the concept of the Last Three Feet?  This quote is from the URL listed below.

IBD is also a celebration of the “last three feet,” a phrase I learned a long time ago–when I was still a bookseller, as it happens–from a business consultant. He was describing that critical moment in time when a product finally crosses the unfathomable gap, especially in retail, between the industry that created it and an individual consumer.

If that sounds a little cold, the last three feet for book people is a much more cordial distance, bridged when an indie bookseller reaches out to offer a book to a reader. It’s an almost ceremonial moment and remains blessedly “unplugged,” defying algorithms, especially when the title in question falls under the category of “You’ve got to read this!”

over the moon bookstore and gallerySince I have lived in several places, I have many Indie Book Store favorites.  College book stores are generic favorites of mind.  I also like(d) the now closed Yellow Brick Road Bookstore (a children’s book store in  San Diego), Warwick’s Bookstore in La Jolla, Over the Moon Bookstore in Crozet (near Charlottesville), New Dominion Book Store in  Charlottesville,  Powell Bookstore in Portland, OR, and Kramerbooks and Afterwards Cafe in Washington, DC.

What attributes do you like in a bookstore?  Knowledgeable staff, lots of titles to chose from, staff picks, book clubs, author signings, comfortable places to sit, bookstore cat or dog, coffee shop in the store or nearby, good prices?

warwick bookstore



Lemony Snicket Prize Awarded to Brave Librarians

SnicketPrize220Have you ever heard of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians?  Libraries have traditionally been lauded as safe spots in cities undergoing riots, unrest, and civil disobediance.  The Ferguson Municipal Public Library was just such a place after an unarmed teenager was shot by police in 2014 and the officer who shot him was found not guilty.  Now this prize has been awarded to two librarians who saved students during mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012  (Yvonne Cech) and Marjorie Stoneman High School in (Diana Heneski)  2018.

From the guidelines for the Lemony Snicket Prize for Nobel Librarians:

 About the The Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity It is of the opinion of Lemony Snicket, author, reader, and alleged malcontent, that librarians have suffered enough. Therefore he is establishing an annual prize honoring a librarian who has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact. The prize will be a generous amount of cash from Mr. Snicket’s disreputable gains, along with an odd, symbolic object from his private stash, and a certificate, which may or may not be suitable for framing. It is Mr. Snicket’s hope, and the ALA’s, that the Snicket Prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them. 
Daniel Handler is the author of the Lemony Snicket books.
Lemony Snicket Books