Get Eclipse Glasses at Your Local Library (Maybe)

eclipse pathMonday, August 21 is Eclipse Day in the United States.  The solar eclipse will cast a shadow from sea to shiny (and along the path, shadowy) sea. Experts have been urging people to not look at the Eclipse without special glasses.  This includes looking at it through your camera, cellphone or any other device that does not have a special filter.

Atlas Obscura just posted a timely article that Eclipse Glasses may be available for free from your public library. “Many of the gratis glasses come from the STAR Library Network (or STAR_Net), a nonprofit that helps hook libraries up with science and technology resources. ”

Update info from Star_Net:

Since it was announced that public libraries were distributing free eclipse glasses, they have been overwhelmed with requests via email, phone and in-person. Most libraries have already given away their allotment of glasses. For those libraries that still have eclipse glasses, please be aware that these are intended for their eclipse programming events ONLY and not for general distribution to the public.

If your local library has run out of glasses, please click here to view a list of reputable vendors that may still be selling them. For kid-friendly ways to view the solar eclipse without the use of eclipse glasses, please visit our STEM Activity Clearinghouse for a variety of indirect viewing activities. 

This link shows all the libraries that the Star Network has sent eclipse glasses too–when it’s working

Library LogoContact or visit your local public library to see if you can get a pair of these glasses.  Hopefully they will so you an safely enjoy whatever portion of the solar eclipse is visible from your neighborhood.

Safe viewing!

Israel National Library Launches Online Database, KTIV

National LIbrary of Israel LogoIt began as an idea of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, to gather Jewish texts scattered in libraries and collections around the world and bring them to the new state as microfilm.  The database is called Ktiv, Hebrew for “written word,”  It contains nearly 4.5 million images from 45,000 manuscripts — slightly more than half of all known volumes. They include prayer books, biblical texts and commentary, philosophy, literature and scientific writings, in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic and more.



Available from the Israel National Library site, KITV is called the International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts.


Reblog of Robert’s Rules of Order Blog Post

Robert's Rules of Order 1876Many of us have attended various virtual meetings.   I’ve been fortunate enough to attend civil meetings where the worst problem was trying to identify the voice of whoever was talking.  I am sharing this Robert’s Rule of Order blog post for those of you who may have to host or attend virtual meetings.   Hope it helps.

Have you ever attended a virtual meeting?  What are the pros and cons?  Join in the conversation and share your thoughts.  For me, the pros are not having to go anywhere, so less expense and hassle.  The cons are having to guess who’s speaking, technical difficulties with phone and/or computer, and difficulties in sharing info. Virtual worlds like Second Life offer a compromise where everyone’s avatar is sitting in the same virtual space.


Book Review: Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library bThomas Jefferson Builds a Libraryy Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by John O’ Brien (Honesdale, PA:  Calkins Creek, Imprint of Highlights, 2015).ISBN: 978-1-59078-932-2

The book is available from Amazon ($13.68),  Barns and Noble ($14.05) or Indibound ($16.95) as of August 2017.

This children’s book is recommended for 8-11 years and grades 3-6.

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library tries to make sense out of the conundrum that is Thomas Jefferson.  The book focuses on Jefferson’s life long love of reading to provide a narrative for what he does at different stages of his life.  The 32 page book covers Jefferson from childhood, where he supposedly had read the forty-six books in his father’s library before started school through his college years at William and Mary, his marriage and family life at Monticello, his call to government service as the author of the Declaration of Independence, and his return to public service, following the death of his wife, as Ambassador to France for five years.

Thomas JeffersonThe book skips over his time as  Washington’s Secretary of State (1790-1793) and resumes the narrative with Jefferson’s election as President of the United States.  During his presidency, “Tom doubled the size of the country and more than tripled the number of books in its library.”

In one of the many side notes, Rosenstock describes how Jefferson would add a T in front of the roman number I, which was the equivalent of a J in Latin.  This habit allowed people to identify books that had been owned by Jefferson.

Although these side notes provide additional information, it does make the book more confusing to read (literally and figuratively) since the smaller font in a light brown is not as easy to follow as the black text of the main narrative.

The cartoon drawings add a whimsical nature to the book and resemble the type of block print illustrations from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The book does a good job of showing that Jefferson was not only a voracious reader, he was also a man of letters (writing at least 19,000 letters during his life time and two books:  Notes on the State of Virginia and Manual of Parliamentary Practice.)

Jefferson's Monticello

In an Author’s note at the end of the book, Rosenstock does an admirable job of mentioning that Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence (All men are created equal), was also  a slaveholder.  He inherited about twenty slaves from his father and between purchase and inheritance from his wife’s family, owned several hundred over the course of his life time.  The labor of those slaves,  provided “the time and the money to pursue his scientific interests, his book collecting, and his political career.” Since this is a children’s book, no mention is made of Sally Hemings.

Jefferson Building at the LIbrary of Congress

Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress

When the British ransacked Washington, DC in 1814, they burned many public buildings including the Library of Congress.  Thomas Jefferson gave his 6,500 book library to replace the 3,000 books burned by the British.  The book implies that Jefferson donated those books, rather than sell them  He used the money from the sale to pay off some debts.

Overall, the author does a good job of writing a children’s book about one of America’s founding fathers.  Using his life long love of reading as a metaphor, Rosenstock is able to weave many of the facets of Jefferson’s public and private life into her story.  The book does include acknowledgements and a select bibliography.

Library of Congress: Library Launches Free WWI Webinar Series.

Library of CongressLibrary of Congress: Library Launches Free WWI Webinar Series. “The Library of Congress is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into The Great War with a new free, online webinar series highlighting some of the Library’s most remarkable World War I resources, including documents, photographs, maps, and personal stories collected through the Veterans History Project.”

How Diligent Librarians Nabbed a Book Thief

Muhlenberg CollegeUnlike the girl in The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak, James Richard Shinn’s thefts were premeditated.  He compiled a list of rare books he wanted and then traveled to various special libraries to acquire them.  Two diligent librarians at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA finally caught him because they remembered his face.  Read more about this crime in Atlas Obscura’s July 20 post by Susan Falicani, entitled “The Rare-Book Thief Who Looted College Libraries in the 80s.”

Do you have a stolen library property story?  Join in the conversation and share how you explain to people that taking books from a library is still stealing–when you check them out you are legally borrowing them. When I was at the Ft Story Library years ago, I spoke to a soldier extensively about the records in our collection.  He was getting out of the Army and wanted to hear the records before he left.  Despite my telling him that these records were extensively checked out by his fellow soldiers, he felt his need was more important.  When he left the Army, he took several country-western albums with him.  Sometimes you just have that feeling when talking to a customer….


Comic-Con and the Library

San Diego Public Library LogoMost libraries think they are cutting edge if they have comics or graphic novels in the library.  They may even have a reading group dedicated to these art forms. A few may even have a group that creates comics.  San Diego, home of the iconic Comic-Con, takes its one further.  “For the 2nd year, Comic-Con International and San Diego Public Library have teamed up for the Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians.”

The conference was held last week as part of thesan diego comic con logo annual Comic-Con festivities. Pre conference events on July 18 included a mixed gender Quidditch demonstration, a panel on the business of comics, the science of comics and entertainment, and the comic book spectrum about careers in the comic industry.  Unlike  Comic Con itself, the 5 day conference was free.  The library even gave away 2017 Comic-Con themed library cards.

San Deigo Public LIbrary ImageThe  Schedule included:

Wednesday, July 19
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Wednesday, July 19
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Friday, July 21
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday, July 22
10:00 am – 6:00 pm


Sunday, July 23
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
When I lived in  San Diego, I didn’t know about this.  I may have to try to attend next year.
What is the most unusual library conference that you ever attended?  Join in the conversation and share your opinion on comics in libraries.

Library Wines

wine bottles and boxesAccording to Dr. Vinny (short for Dr. Vinifera),

The term “library wine” refers to a wine that is being kept or cellared away, or is part of a collection—basically, anything you’re not drinking at the moment. Sometimes wineries will sell an older vintage of their wine that they’ve kept cellared for a while, calling it a library wine. The term doesn’t refer to a specific age, but it does suggest a wine that has been or should be cellared before drinking. How long depends on the wine and on the person drinking it. There isn’t really a standard.

He also explains the purposes of library wines. “There are a lot of uses for library winesLinden cellar tasting. I know some winemakers who regularly go back and taste their older wines to see how they’re aging or to get a sense of how a vineyard is developing. I’ve seen older vintages poured at winemaker dinners and charity events—many people rarely try aged wines, so it can be a real treat (or a real eye-opener). I’ve seen plenty of wineries offer up older vintages or even verticals of their wines in charity auctions. And occasionally a winery might make an older vintage available for sale to its customers.”

—Dr. Vinny

Jim Law in the cellarIf the vines, the winemaker, the winery, and the terroir remain the same, weather may be the deciding factor about why one vintage is different than another.  I love hearing Jim Law,  at Linden Vineyards, describe how the weather–temperature, humidity, precipitation –can greatly affect the same wine from one year to the next.  Of course, the wine maker may also do some tweaking (to blend or not blend, to age in oak, stainless still, a concrete egg, when to bottle, etc) but still not interfere with the inherent nature of the grapes.

“Valance’s anecdote exemplified the storytelling that a library—a winery’s collection of older vintages—brings to branding. But a library provides more than marketing mystique”  This quote comes from Betsy Andrews article exploring how a collection of library wines helps a winery establish a legacy in SevenFifty Daily.

wine--monk sneaking a drinkHave you ever tried a library wine?  Join in the conversation and share your vertical wine experience.  Where you at a winery or a charity event?  What differences could you note between the different years that you tried?  What is the oldest and/or most expensive wine you have ever tried?  Was it worth the price?



Presidential Libraries

The National Archives administers the Presidential Libraries and Museums.  When  Franklin Delano Roosevelt donated his personal and Presidential papers to the federal government in 1939, it formally began the Presidential Library system.  Roosevelt also donated part of his estate at Hyde Park to house the papers.

President Truman also left his papers and Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act in 1955.  The Act established “a system of privately erected and federally maintained libraries. The Act encouraged other Presidents to donate their historical materials to the government and ensured the preservation of Presidential papers and their availability to the American people.  Under this and subsequent acts, Harry_S._Truman_more libraries have been established. In each case, funds from private and nonfederal public sources provided the funds to build the library. Once completed, the private organization turned over the libraries to the National Archives and Records Administration to operate and maintain.”

Before Roosevelt, beginning with President Washington, “Presidents or their heirs often dispersed Presidential papers at the end of the administration. Though many pre-Hoover collections now reside in the Library of Congress, others are split among other libraries, historical societies, and private collections. Sadly, many materials have been lost or deliberately destroyed.”

The fourteen Presidential Libraries to date have both a physical and an online presence.


Many earlier Presidents have also had Presidential Libraries established overWashington's Library the years.  George Washington wrote “I have nGeorge Washingtonot houses to build, except one, which I must erect for the accommodation and security of my military, civil and private papers, which are voluminous and may be interesting.”  Although he never got such a house built, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington opened on a 15-acre parcel across the street from Mount Vernon’s main entrance  in 2013 and receives no federal funds.

Thomas Jefferson has a similar library maintained by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.  The Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies Thomas Jeffersonwas founded in 1994 “to foster Thomas Jefferson scholarship and disseminate findings through research and education.  The Research Center   Th ICJS include the 15,500 square foot Jefferson Library.  Online resources include the Jefferson Encyclopedia. and the Jefferson Quotes database.

Have you ever been to a Presidential Library?  Join in the conversation and share which one is your favorite.  Which state has the most Presidential Libraries?

Taking Books to the People, Part 6: Book Smugglers

East Prussia and LIthuania.jpegAtlas Obscura on July 21, shared the fascinating story of 19th Century Lithuanian book smugglers.  Tsarist Russia tried to stamp out the native Lithuanian language and religion, hoping to force the Lithuanians to become loyal to the Russian cause.  With a  huge population difference, a military revolt was not a good proposition.  Instead, Lithuanians printed Lithuanian books in East Prussia and smuggled them back to Lithuania. Called the knygnešiai, the smugglers faced imprisonment, exile to Siberia and possibly death if caught.

How far would you be willing to go to be able to read what you wanted, in the language of your choice?  Join in the conversation and share you opinion on your right to read.