Flexible Flyer Sleds: From New Jersey

If you are a child of a certain age and live where you have access to snow, you  are probably familiar with a Flexible Flyer sled.  Probably the most famous Flexible Flyer was Rosebud, the mysterious sled in Citizen Kane.  Flexible Flyers also accompanied Richard Byrd on his 1928 expedition to the South Pole.

flexible flyer ad

Long before sleds were round, made of plastic and became a symbol of public disregard for private property in the mountains of Southern California last winter, sleds were made of wood and had two runners.

Atlas Obscura has written an interesting article on the Flexible Flyer Museum in Mooresetown, NJ.  flexible flyer--sam leeds inventorThe sled was invented in 1889 by Samuel Leeds Allen (right), a local farm and garden equipment manufacturer. Although Leeds was better known for his potato diggers and grass edgers, his desire to keep his factory workers employed during the winter gave him the idea to manufacture a winter product

His sled was flexible and steerable.

The museum is part of the Moorestown Library.



Mappy Chistmas and a Herry New Year?

new york public libraryAt the New York Public Library’s Map Division, they have several Christmas related map-related “cartifacts”–ephemera imbued with the essence of maps.  Many of the cartifacts are duplicates.  Some of them are lame and some of them off reflect cultural issues of their time.


“Visually the cards fall into a few broad categories, such as Santa plotting his route or santa and his sleighpictorial maps of fantastical festive places. (Greetings from Toddysboro, Wreathsville, and Giftport.) “A whole lot of them are boring,” Cordes says, including bland facsimiles or generic, ’70s-era examples featuring kids hamming it up next to maps. But some cards depict motifs that are reflections of their time. One from the ’60s shows Santa jetting off to deliver presents on a rocket, a nod to an age captivated by Sputnik, the Moon landing, and the space race. Another batch, spanning the late ’60s through the ’80s, testifies to swelling interest in globalization. In these, wreaths encircle globes, greetings come in multiple languages, and a genial handshake bridges continents.”

Twelve Days of Christmas–Library Style

Twelve Day of Christmas–Library Style

santa and his sleigh

girl with headcold

On the  First Day of Christmas, my patrons gave to me

A head cold for the holidays

On the Second  Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Two  overdues

On the Third Day of Christmas my Patrons gave to me

Three hold requests

On the Fourth Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Four jammed printersjammed printers

On the Fifth Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Five I-L-Ls

Banned Book Week BookcartOn the Sixth Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Six books for shelving

On the Seventh Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Seven seniors napping


On the Eighth Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Eight tots with tantrums

Whining Child


On the Ninth Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Nine teens a-texting

On the Tenth Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Ten requests for tax help

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

‘Leven latch key children

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my patrons gave to me

Twelve reasons why we’re open

Library open bookLibrary Logolibrarycardcat


Coming to Ft. Belvoir: The Army Museum

National Museum of the ArmyThe National Museum  of the United States Army is being built on Ft. Belvoir, south of Washington, DC in Fairfax County.  From the website:

The National Museum of the United States Army will serve as the capstone of the Army Museum Enterprise and provide the only comprehensive portrayal of Army history and traditions.  The National Army Museum will celebrate the selfless service and sacrifice of over 30 million men and women who have worn the Army uniform since 1775.  The Museum will be a technological marvel incorporating the latest advances in museum exhibits while providing advanced educational opportunities that will capture the attention of visitors old and young.  As the Army’s national landmark, the Museum will honor United States Soldiers – past, present, and future – and provide an interactive educational experience explaining the Army’s role in creating and defending our nation, as well as the Army’s social initiatives and contributions for more than 240 years.

The National Army Museum will be located on over 80 acres at Fort Belvoir, VA, less than 30 minutes south of our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.  The main building will be approximately 186,000 square feet and display selections from over 15,000 pieces from the Army Art Collection and 30,000 artifacts, documents, and images.  The vast majority of these rare and priceless artifacts have never been seen by the American people. Projected opening is sometime in 2019.

Hitlet Painting 1911The Army Art Collection has also been housed at Ft. Belvoir. “The Army’s conservation warehouse includes works by Norman Rockwell, ordinary soldiers, enemy combatants, and even Adolf Hitler’s watercolors. The collection program began during World War I when the Army dispatched eight “combat artists” to roam the battlefield and record firsthand the experience of    the average soldier.”                                                                                          Hitler’s watercolor, 1911

The 2014 movie, Monuments Men, traced some of the soldiers in World War II that were given “the task of finding and saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before Nazis destroy or steal them, during World War II.”  Saved paintings include the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper.

There have been Armed Forces combat artists since World War I, including Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.


Combat Art Overthere (Vietnam) by Stephen H. Randall




Sleeping with the Books

The homeless have been a public library fixture for several decades.  When I was an intern at San Diego Public Library in the 1970s, we had the polite fiction that as long as a person fell asleep with an open book in from of him or her, they were allowed to sleep as long as the library was open.  Any of our patrons might doze off while reading a less than stimulating book.

In academic libraries, college students are notorious for falling asleep after or while pulling all-nighters during exam week.  I have even known academic library staff to fall asleep in the library because it was easier than finding their way home.

Gladstone portrait.jpgSo imagine a library in Wales, where the public has been welcome to sleep with books since 1906. Four time British Prime Minister, William  Gladstone wanted his  personal collection of 32,000 volumes to remain in Wales after his death.  With the aid of his daughter and his valet, he relocated 20,000 books to their current location and shelved them in a catalog system that he created.  The library is open to the public.

Gladstone's library.jpg

Guests can stay in the reading rooms until 10 pm.  They may then take almost any book, many with Gladstone’s notes and annotations, to one of the 26 private sleeping rooms.

book and bed japanIn an unrelated note, there is a B&B (book and bed) hostel in Tokyo where people can sleep in beds located within the bookshelves. “The flagship location, Ikebukuro in Tokyo, has a whopping 3,200 books on its shelves and space for up to 5,000. (Sort of reminds us of this tiny British town that has more books than people.) The other three locations in Tokyo and Kyoto have wide collections too, with at least 1,500 volumes to choose from. Most of the books are in English or are guidebooks about Japan, but some of the titles are in Japanese, too. No matter what your tastes, you’re sure to “have a book day,” as Book and Bed Tokyo says.”

Goodreads reading challenge

It may be too late for 2017, but 2018 is only about 5 weeks away. Time to decide how many books you can reasonably read next year. Will you read what you like or strive to up the level of what you read?

Hans De Keulenaer

Screenshot 2017-11-25 at 07.50.49

Through the goodreads reading challenge, you can commit to reading a number of books within a year. The web app then supports you by tracking your progress on your reading journey for that year.

View original post 417 more words

Unusual Library Terms

Library logo with open bookFrom ALA Direct:

A short list of delightful library terms

Jer Thorp writes: “Two weeks ago I asked Twitter if anyone had favorite obscure or delightful library or archival words. Here are some of the best replies. Wimmelbilderbuch: A kind of large-format picture book, characterized by full-spread drawings depicting scenes richly detailed with numerous humans, animals, and objects. Xylotheque: A wood library—a special form of herbarium that consists of a collection of authenticated wood specimens. Frisket-bite: A missing part of printed matter, caused by the frisket moving, stretching, or otherwise intervening between inked type and the paper.”…

tete-beche bookTête-bêche: From philately, meaning printed upside down or sideways relative to another.




Grimoire: A textbook of magic.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Veteran’s Day–Laying a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Sentinel’s Creed

My dedication to this sacred duty
is total and whole-hearted.
In the responsibility bestowed on me
never will I falter.
And with dignity and perseverance
my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise
and the discomfort of the elements,
I will walk my tour in humble reverence
to the best of my ability.
It is he who commands the respect I protect,
his bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day,
alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
this soldier will in honored glory rest
under my eternal vigilance.
Simon 1971


Veteran’s Day was originally Armistice Day, signalling the end of World War I–the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  The British call it Remembrance Day, and mark it with a two minute silence at 11am to remember people who have died in the war.  The French celebrate it as Armistice Day.

“Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.”  –from the History.com

wreathlaying Arlington Cemeterypresident commemorates veterans day

One of the traditional American ceremonies (besides Veteran’s Day parades) is for a high-ranking U.S. official (often the President of the United States) to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery.

From the Arlington Cemetery website, “The gift of flowers at a memorial site is a ritual that occurs around the world, understood in every culture. The floral tributes at funerals bespeak both the beauty and the brevity of life and evoke memories of other days. These type of memorials are made each day at Arlington National Cemetery, at the dozens of funeral services occurring there and in solitary communion with a departed loved one. ”

“The most solemn of these occur on state occasions where the president or his designee lays a wreath to mark the national observance of Memorial Day, Veterans Day or some other special occasion. As a general rule, these take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, attended by ceremonial units from the uniformed services. ”

The Tomb is guarded by soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), headquartered at Ft Myer.  The guards are all volunteer.  The requirements are rigorous; the standards exacting.


guard at the tomb of the unknownsThe Tomb Guard

Serving at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Tomb) was a defining period in the lives of Tomb Guards. Although Tomb Guards come from every state in the United States of America (U.S.) and every walk of life, they are forever bonded through their shared experience of service at the Tomb. A strong bond was formed through an extremely demanding and humbling experience.

Tomb Guards are handpicked and rigorously trained. The duty at the Tomb is not for everyone, with the majority of soldiers who begin Tomb Guard training failing. Tomb Guards describe their service as a privilege and an honor, and are undeniably proud of their service. They are part of an unbroken chain of soldiers dating back to 1926. The ideals of the Tomb became the Guidepost for their lives, as well as a motivating factor and measuring stick for future endeavors.

The Sentinel’s Creed is the Tomb Guard standard. The 99 words of the creed capture the true meaning of their duty. You will often hear the words “Line-6” proudly uttered by Tomb Guards as they converse with each other or with their chain of command.

Veteran's Day--graveyard old guard

In 2004, I was fortunate enough to be one of four librarians from the Military Libraries Division of the Special Libraries Association to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in December.  We had to request permission almost a year in advance.  We were lucky enough to be given a time and a date.  The Sergeant of the Guard worked with us to make sure we did this with the appropriate dignity and ceremony.  Per custom, we provided the wreath and the people to carry the wreath down the steps to the tomb. (The group carrying the wreath is limited to a maximum of four people.)


Library Collections–Right and (alt-Right)

“Those who cannnot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

In the same way that Columbine had become a shorthand for mass school related slayings, Charlottesville has become a shorthand for white supremacy clashes.  “We don’t want another Charlottesville” has become a catchphrase from the local governments when the various white supremacists announce a meeting in their town.

The University of Virginia Special Collections has been collecting stories, ephemera (including left over tiki torches  from the torchlit parade on the UVA Grounds that took place on the evening of Friday, August 11), protest posters, pictures, videos, etc since that weekend in August.  In an effort to capture both sides of the protest and the events, they seek examples from anyone willing to share them.  It will be added to their Unite the Right Rally Archive.


This Saturday, the UVA librarians will have a collection point downtown at the Central Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.  They are seeking stories on “Why did you go?”  Why did you stay away?”.   “It’s really important that we share and preserve the perspectives of everyone that was there that day. We want to know did you go downtown? We want to know did you stay home? Why did you do that? What we’re really trying to do is preserve the stories from the community,” said UVA Library Director Of Preservation Services Kara McClurken.”


I’m not sure if this is a coincidence, but it is also the same weekend as the Virginia Film Festival so there should be more people than normal downtown.


When the Tables are Turned and a Library Asks the Public for Information Help

National_Library_of_Ireland_2011.JPGThe National Library of Ireland has a photographic collection of about 5.2 million photographs. They needed help in identifying some of the photos from the 1800s onward.  By joining Flickr Commons in 2011 and becoming part of a photo-sharing community, about 34,000 photo-detectives have provided information about some of the previously unidentified photos.  By identifying the places and people, they have been able to put things into a larger context. For example, a photograph of a group of children from the 1970s, not only identified the names of the children, but it also identified the building as the former home of Irish author, Sean O’Casey.  “Corbet found that the building had once been the home of Irish writer and playwright Sean O’Casey, renowned for his realistic portraits of life in Dublin’s slums during the country’s civil war and the 1916 revolution against British rule. The area now hosts a community center in his name.”

“The NLI has turned the results of the project into an exhibition, Photo Detectives, at the National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar, Dublin, which runs through September 2018.”