Reblog: Alexandria Public Library 1939 Sit-in

National Library Week 2020Alexandria Library wins American Library Association’s
2020 ‘Excellence in Library Programming’ Award

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Alexandria Library has been named the 2020 winner of the ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award for its program “We Are the Alexandria Library Sit-In.”

The award, supported by ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund, recognizes a library that demonstrates excellence by providing programs that have community impact and respond to community needs.

“We Are the Alexandria Library Sit-In” was a year-long celebration of the 80th anniversary of a historic protest at the library.  This 1939 protest of the city’s whites-only public library was one of the first sit-ins of its kind in the nation.

Library Executive Director, Rose T. Dawson, states “It is very important for the community in Alexandria to recognize the history of its Library system. During this yearlong celebration, the Library’s goal was to highlight the 1939 Sit-In that was led by Samuel W. Tucker and the five brave men that sparked major change in our community. If it wasn’t for the actions of these men, Sgt. Wilson, and others like them, the Library would not be the welcoming place that it is today – for people of all colors – and for that, I am very grateful.”

In the 1930’s, like most libraries in the Jim Crow South, African Americans were not allowed library access. In 1939, after an ongoing effort to convince officials to establish equal access to community resources, 26-year-old resident and attorney Samuel W. Tucker organized five other African American residents to participate in a sit-in protest.  On August 21, 1939, William “Buddy” Evans, Morris Murray, Edward Gaddis, Clarence Strange, and Otto Tucker each asked to register for a library card. After being turned down, each sat silently at a different table and began to read a library book. Police officers arrested the group and charged them with disorderly conduct.

The program series, “We are the Alexandria Library Sit-in,” involved family members of protest descendants in the planning for this anniversary event.  Library staff engaged the community through a variety of programs, including school visits, a yearlong film festival, anniversary week events, posters, commemorative library cards, pins and postcards. The events, which also involved Alexandria city leadership, drew standing room only crowds and truly served as a model for programming for other libraries across the nation.

More information about the ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award, including how to submit a nomination, is available on the ALA website (

10 Tips for Reading Picture Books with Children through a Race-Conscious Lens – from embracerace

How do you discuss the current racial tensions with small children? Children aren’t born knowing these things They often to no notice differences unless they are pointed out. For 10 helpful tips check this out.

Platform Number 4

~by Megan Dowd Lambert

“How can caregivers and educators best guide children to and through picture books with positive racial representations? How can we also support kids in resisting or reading against racist content? These tips draw on the Whole Book Approach (WBA, which I created in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art) and other resources to highlight how picture books can provoke meaningful, transformative conversations between children and adults that embrace race.”

Great ideas and additional links here! I hope you find something helpful or ideas to pass on to others.     Take care!   Becky

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Largest Book in the World

This is a reblog from Anika Perry’s Writing Blog entitled Not One to Read in Bed

Weighing 1,420 kilos (3,130 lb) and measuring a ginormous 4.18 m x 3.77 m (13.71 x 12.36 ft) this colossus book needs six people and special machine to open the pages.

Not surprisingly, the book gained the Guinness World Record at the time for being the largest book in the world.

In its 364 pages, the book explores the flora, fauna, caves and architecture of Szinpetri in northern Hungary.

I guess it does not come in paperback….

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt. 16, Librarians as Contact Tracers

NBC’s  Today had a feature on using Librarians as Contact Tracers on Thursday, May 21.

The Guardian ran a story on May 1. “Despite its techie reputation, San Francisco has so far eschewed smartphone tracking and contact tracing apps in favor of old-fashioned phone calls.”

MarketWatch ran a story on librarians as contact tracers on May 8. San Francisco Librarians were among the city employees reassigned after the mayor declared a state of emergency.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by NPR, which included responses from 41 states and Washington, D.C., found that about 7,602 people in total were currently working as contact tracers, with an expected surge to about 36,587 — figures that Frieden called “a start.”

According to NBC Bayarea, “San Francisco partnered with UCSF to train librarians, assessors and attorneys to work as contact tracers. UCSF is now rolling out the program statewide in a partnership with California’s public health department to train 20,000 contact tracers by July. Gov. Gavin Newsom has pinpointed contact tracing, along with large-scale testing, as keys to reopening California’s economy. ”

In Wyoming, Wyoming Public Media recommends three levels of contact tracers.

  1. Trained Lay People
  2. Epidemiologists
  3. Health Care Professionals

Within the contact tracing workforce, the organization distinguishes between “case investigators, who interview people diagnosed with COVID-19 and then figure out how many people they might have come in contact with while contagious, and contact tracers, who notify and follow up with these contacts.” For the latter, Plescia suggests university students or school teachers, especially over the summer. Librarians could also be good candidates.

Niche Libraries

This link is courtesy of JeanMarie of JeanMarie Writes.

Persian Manuscript
Excerpt from classical Persian poetry. The Rare Persian-Language Manuscript Collection includes beloved poems of the Persian poets Saadi Shirazi, Hafez and Jami, along with works of the poet Nizami Ganjavi.

Did you know that there are libraries for:

  • sourdough starters
  • centuries of Persian manuscripts
  • Samandal, ” a comic collective that publishes an eclectic zine in various shapes and sizes, and has incubated a new movement of young Lebanese artists and graphic talent”

To read about these and four other odd or different libraries, click here.

National Archives at the Movies

The Motion Picture Preservation Lab at the National Archives performs conservation and preservation work on motion picture records. Among the millions of feet of film handled by staff each year, they’ve identified some of their favorites for your viewing pleasure!

Get your popcorn and join us for a variety of historic films from the Motion Picture branch of the National Archives.

Click here   See such classics as  Duck and Cover (Cold War anyone?), Zip Code with the Singing Six  (Haven’t we had zip codes forever?), and Smokey Bear (not bad for a 70 something bruin.).

Citizen Archivists

Citizen Archivists
Whew! You’ve been working hard. We’ve had an unprecedented number of Citizen Archivists who have been tagging, transcribing and commenting on records in the National Archives Catalog. In the past 8 weeks  1,975 Citizen Archivists have contributed:
260,967 tags
111,015 pages of transcriptions

Reblog: Within the Sounds of Silence….

What is silence?  Is it the absence of sound?

I love libraries–particularly if I’m the only one in there.  Of course without patrons, there would be no need for a library.  What do libraries sound like when no one there?  Do you hear the whispers of Shhhhhh blowing softly past your ear?

The New York Public Library is currently closed.  It is still full of ambient sounds.  Click here to read about a recording of New York Sounds that are helping people get through the Coronavirus lockdown.  And listen to the quiet library

Live in the Time of Coronavirus, Pt 13: Reblog: Letters from the Spanish Flu Pandemic

At the end of World War, the world was struck with the Spanish Flu Pandemic.  Troop movement at the end of the war hastened the spread of the flu, which was often followed by pneumonia.  How was life  different one hundred years ago and how is it the same?

UCLA Biomedical Library picture

Read this interview with a special collection librarian from UCLA to find out how little difference a century makes between pandemics.



Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt 12, How Will You Document Your Experiences?

Many of us are still living the experience,  (I don’t want to categorize it as a dream or a nightmare.)  How will you recall what you actually did or tell stories to your children or grandchildren?

One way I am documenting the experience is through this series of blog posts.  I also participate in at least one virus-related Facebook group.

Are you saving pictures of your various attempts at finding or using a mask?  Have you discovered that wearing a mask can cause your glasses to fog?  Have you found your best mask hairstyle?

I caFirst covid maksn’t sew. My first homemade mask using the Surgeon General’s simple video was not a success.  This picture shows why it never made it out of the house.

After checking almost every shop in the area including hardware, drugstores, and grocery stores, we finally ended up buying first paper and then cloth masks from Amazon.  The cloth masks fit a bit loosely until they were washed and put in the dryer.  Then the two-sided mask shrank about 20%.

Two sided masks

The North Carolina Museum of History collects and preserves artifacts relating to the history and heritage of North Carolina. We know that future visitors will want to learn about the many ways this life-altering, worldwide coronavirus outbreak affected North Carolinians. They are calling it the Great Pause.

Is your state or local library collecting such information? I live near Charlottesville, VA and the James Madison Regional Library collected artifacts and memories of that weekend in August when the Alt Right came to town. I have not yet heard if they will do the same for the pandemic.  It offered a virtual class in memoir writing during the Time of the Corona Virus at the Northside Branch.

Memoir Workshop: Life in the Time of COVID-19 Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 6:30 – 8pm

All of our lives are made up of stories. During this time of extreme disorientation due to coronavirus, memoir is the perfect thing to be writing right now. In this workshop, led by published writer and educator Linda Kobert, new or experienced writers will sort through personal experiences to find the thread of one of these stories and start to represent the significant events and characters through words on the page. Class includes writing exercises and discussions. Please be prepared to write with writing materials or a laptop. Having a photograph that evokes a meaningful experience may be helpful to have at hand.

Have you experienced the great TP shortage of 2020?  Or the impending meat and chicken shortage?  How about the changes to your local grocery stores and grab and go meals if you do not want to cook?  How shaggy has your hair gotten and do your roots need a touch-up?

Coronavirus grab and go Greenberry's coffeeKroegers Where to stand markerstoilet paper at Wegman's

If you are doing a lot of Zoom, you can take pictures during the session. NY Public Library is offering some Library themed backgrounds, if you do not want you room to be displayed on the video.

May Dates to Celebrate

bona deaMay (in Latin, Maius) was named for the Greek Goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May. Conversely, the Roman poet Ovid provides a second etymology, in which he says that the month of May is named for the maiores, Latin for “elders,” and that the following month (June) is named for the iuniores, or “young people” (Fasti VI.88).

May is Asian American Heritage Month.

Screenshot_2019-04-22 Asian Pacific American Heritage MonthMay is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

May is also National Military Appreciation Month.

Military Appreciation MonthNational Military Appreciation Month (NMAM) is celebrated every May and is a declaration that encourages U.S. citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity. NMAM honors the current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom. The month of May is characterized by six national observances which highlight the contributions of those who have served.

The Observances are
  1. Loyalty Day on 1 May
  2. Public Service Recognition Week – 3-9 May
  3. Victory in Europe or VE Day-8 May
  4. Military Spouse Appreciation Day -8 May
  5. Armed Forces Day-16 May
  6. Memorial Day-25 May

Armed Forces Shields

Choose Privacy WeekChoose Privacy Week–1-7 May

Kicking off the first week of May, Choose Privacy Week encourages those who use library resources to improve their privacy practices.

Libraries are a major resource for many in the digital age, and due to the growing risks of identity and information theft, libraries need to take steps to improve technologies to protect their users. Choose Privacy Week provides many resources and programs addressing the current issues libraries are facing.

Mother Goose Day is May 1

mother gooseNational Mother Goose Day on May 1st each year honors Mother Goose and the imaginary author of a collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes we loved as children.  Mother Goose is often illustrated as an elderly countrywoman in a tall hat and shawl, but she is also sometimes depicted as a goose wearing a bonnet.

What is your favorite Mother Goose rhyme?

National Pet Week is 3-9 May.

National Pet Week is sponsored by the Auxiliary to the AVMA to foster responsible pet ownership, recognize the human-animal bond, and increase public awareness of veterinary medicine.


One of the more useful by-products of the Coronavirus is that many shelters have been emptied because a lot of people have signed up to foster animals while they are staying at home.

4 May is Star Wars Day--May the 4th be with you.

Memorial Day is May 25.

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday, commemorating those who have died in military service to their country. It is observed annually on the last Monday of May.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day – an occasion to decorate the graves of the war dead – and was created in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

Observances are held at military graveyards, cemeteries and memorials, and military themed parades are held across the country. The holiday is also associated with the Indianapolis 500 car race which is held on the Sunday preceding Memorial Day.

Memorial Day, and the long weekend that it creates, is generally seen to mark the beginning of the summer season (while Labor Day marks the end).

RPs or Religious Program Specialists are also Library Technicians aboard Ship

Their duties are varied and include:

  • Religious Program Rating Badgesupporting chaplains of all faiths and religious activities of the command,
  • maintaining records, ecclesiastical documents and references of various faith groups,
  • maintaining liaison with religious and community agencies,
  • assisting in preparation of devotional and religious educational materials, and audio-visual displays,
  • determining, developing, managing and maintaining the administrative and logistical support requirements of religious programs and facilities aboard ships, shore stations, hospitals, Marine Corps units and other sea service commands

In addition they also provide physical security for chaplains during field exercises and in combat environments since chaplains are not allowed to carry weapons.

They also operate and maintain libraries aboard ships and isolated duty stations.

RPs must have a favorable interview by chaplain/RP screening committee. High school diploma graduate or equivalent with successful completion of 10th grade. Repeat military offenders and personnel convicted by military or civilian authorities of any criminal offense reflecting unfavorably upon their character or integrity are ineligible for the RP rating. Moral turpitude offense(s) are disqualifying. Ministers, Priests, or Rabbis are not eligible for this rating.

Duties for an RP

State of America’s Libraries

America's Libraries 2020Once a year, during National Library Week, the American Library Association issues a report on the State of America’s Libraries.

It outlines

 statistics and issues affecting all types of libraries during the previous calendar year. Although the report focuses on 2019, libraries are shown to be on the frontlines addressing societal and community challenges — a role they are certainly playing during the COVID-19 pandemic today. Many libraries serve as first responders who take on roles outside of traditional library service that support patrons’ needs and community development. Functioning at various times as career counselors, social workers, teachers and technology instructors, library staff give special care to adopt programs and services that support the most vulnerable and curious.

National Bookmobile Day–April 22,

national book mobile dayNational Bookmobile Day celebrates our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated library professionals who provide this valuable and essential service to their communities every day. Each year, it is celebrated on the Wednesday of National Library Week. In 2020, National Bookmobile Day will be Wednesday, April 22. Materials will be available in late 2019 to begin promoting 2020 National Bookmobile Day.

Thanks to JeanMarie at, we can look at several old time bookmobiles.

Bookmobile -old school

Reblog: What are the Books that New Yorkers are Reading During Quarantine.

Some titles like Michele Obama’s Becoming remain at the topic of the list.  Others like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone may be a surprise.  To read the article click here.

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

2. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

3. The Dutch House: A Novel by Ann Patchett

4. Deacon King Kong: A Novel by James McBride

5. The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

6. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

7. Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney

8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K.  Rowling

9. The Water Dancer: A Novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates

10. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood