State of America’s Libraries

Libraries of all types are doing well in this review by American Libraries Association.

Public, Academic, and School Libraries are all highlighted in this edition. Issues and Trends include intellectual freedom, youth and teen services, library programs, and sustainability.

Library challenges are no longer limited to just books (67%).  Other challenges include databases, magazines, games, and films (18%), programs (7%), displays (4%) and other (4%).   Challenges can rise for a number of reasons:  sexually explicit, religious point of view, profanity, violence, un-American,  propaganda, etc. ( I can remember years ago when a military officer came in and offered to set up a library advisory selection committee because he thought we should not be offering Mad Magazine to the young soldiers on base.)

From the ALA Fact Sheet: There are an estimated 119,487 libraries of all kinds in the United States today.



Happy 60th Birthday, National Library Week

happy-birthday-20384852National Library Week was first celebrated March 16-22, 1958.  To read more about the history of National Library Week, click here. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Libraries Lead.”

Library LogoPublic Libraries have been called the People’s University since Alvin Johnson made the argument in 1938.  Today polls still show support for public libraries.   “A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from fall 2016 finds that 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months. That compares with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 36% of those in the Silent Generation. (It is worth noting that the question wording specifically focused on use of public libraries, not on-campus academic libraries.)”

Although books of all kinds (print, audio, online) are still important, libraries are shifting away from places where you come to check items out.  Libraries are also places to meet, to attend programs from preschool story hour to senior zumba, to learn how to make things on a 3-D printer, to have access to services from mental health  to veteran’s outreach to tax assistance.

Do you use your public library?  Why or why not?  If you do use your public library, what do you use it for?  Join in the conversation and share why you like/don’t like your public library.



Who Has Owned My Book?

books-oldProvenance refers to the study of the ownership of individual copies of books. It is usually extended to include study of the circumstances in which individual copies of books have changed ownership, and of evidence left in books that shows how readers interacted with them.


book theiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak, is holocaust novel for young adults that traces how a young German girl acquires her random selection of books, beginning with her first book theft before she learns to read.  It’s a narrative that flows throughout the story.

In 2016, three University of Virginia Librarians gave a talk at the ALA Conference to describe their “Book Traces Project

alderman libaryThe university has a long-standing tradition of emphasizing book history and bibliography and, because many of their books were originally donated by distinguished faculty and notable families in the Charlottesville area, many of them have potentially valuable modifications by their former owners—marginalia, inserts, inscriptions, annotations, and even doodles that can have evidential value for humanities scholars.

For example, a copy of Selections from the Prose Writings of Matthew Arnold (1897) that once belonged to former University of Virginia President Edwin Alderman (who lived from 1861­ to 1931 and is the library’s namesake) contains many annotations that “offer a striking window into Alderman’s mind,” Ruotolo said…”


From the Atlas Obscura article,As long as there have been books, their owners have been finding ways to leave marks on them. In a personal collection, these notes might evoke a particular memory: the college semester dedicated to finally reading James Joyce’s Ulysses or the name of the boy who gave the book as a gift. But for librarians and curators, those assertions of owners’ identities—provenance marks, they’re called—are clues to a book’s history.

If you collect, old or rare books, a book with a provenance may prove to be more valuable than a similar book without a documented history.  Was the book owned by someone famous, like a president?  Did it survive a horrendous circumstance like a POW camp or a natural disaster? Is it signed by the author or a previous owner? Does it have a book plate, autograph, or even doodles?

Book Scented Candles

Wren Library CambridgePeople have used books as accent pieces or decorations for centuries.  People being interviewed used to pose in front of  book case long before the ubiquitous blue curtain with several strategically placed logos–whether for a photograph or a television/movie/video camera.

Places as diverse as an officer’s club or a hotel lobby often have books displayed to provide a sense of intellectual activity or to make the place seem more homey.


Now they can go one step further.  Since the sense of smell is supposed to be the most primitive sense, why just look at old books when you can smell old books?  It should come as no surprise that you can buy old book scented candles on Amazon.  Frostberd (the company even sounds literary in a Tolkien kind of way) offers  scents that include both books (like the Shire from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and places (like Old Books or Reading at the Cafe).

literary candles

To find out more click here for the Atlas Obscura article

A quick review of the Amazon site reveals other purveyors of old book scented candles.

  • Luminous Candles, a soy based candles with titled collections including The Library, Antique Books, Outlander, Middle Earth, and Austen
  • Dio Candles, Hogwarts book-sized collection with candles for all four houses.
  • Paddywax Library Collection with a Tolstoy scented candle
  • Village Candle Leather bound scented candle

What would be your favorite scented candle?


Read an E-Book Week

Ebook readers evolutionMarch 4-10 is 9th annual Read an E-Book Week.  (Thanks to Audrey Driscoll of Audrey Driscoll’s blog.)  This is a a good week to get free or discounted e-books from several sources, whether you are a Kindle, Nook, or some other platform e-book reader.

According to the Read an E-Book Week on Facebook. “Encourage ebook readers to patronize your favorite authors, and tell others about all the great things about ebooks! Rita Toews is the creator of Read an E-Book Week; Steven Lyle Jordan is a supporter and contributor to REBW.”

Smashword is one of several sites offering free or discounted e-books this week.  A Google search of Read an E-book week reveals that many authors are running promotions on their sites in honor of the week.

BookBub is another good place to get free/discounted prices on e-books.  (These discounts are more than just Read an E-book Week.  You get a daily email with dozens of titles based upon a profile you fill out when you join.)

FreeBooksy offers free Kindle Books.

The Balance shows how to get free Nook books.

Happy  e-Reading.

Read Across America–Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

March 2 is Read Across America Day.  It is also (not coincidentally), Dr. Seuss’s Birthday.

Dr Seuss birthdayFrom the NEA website:  In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA’s Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students’ reading.
Have you ever tried your hand at writing a  Dr. Seuss style story?
All the ‘Hoos in Hooville attend UVA
But the Whos from Whoville had something to say.
“Who is the real Who”” they did cry and fuss
“Should it be You or Should it be Us?”
Your hoo is a Wahoo- a fish who can drink
Twice it’s own weight without having to think
While we are created by Dr. Theodore Seuss
A very smart man, in touch with his Muse.
The ‘Hoos responded with true Wahoo zeal
Jefferson’s our founder and his words are real.
He wrote the Declaration of Independence.
Not fictional characters of dubious residence.
Our foes are quite legion like our rival at Tech
You just have the Grinch, though he put you through heck
We each have our issues and this is quite true
But you also have Horton, who once heard a Who.
Each group had its huddle, the crisis to solve
The wisest expounded with learned resolve.
Who is the Hoo?  Is it you?  Is it me?
They finally decided to just Disagree.
What are you doing to celebrate Read Across America Day?
1)  Read to a child, whether it’s your own or a neighbor’s.
2) Support your local literacy program.
3) See if you library has a story hour and if they need any help.
4) Donate a new or gently used children’s book to a book sale, a fund drive, or a charity of your choice.
5)  Give an appropriately aged book for birthdays, Christmas and other gift giving occasions. Time has a list of the 100 Best Children’s Book.
Amazon, your child’s teacher, or a librarian can also offer several suggestions
For more information about Dr. Seuss, click here.

President’s Day and the Miller Center

Seal of the President of the United StatesPresident’s Day is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February.  It was originally recognized in 1885 to celebrate George Washington’s Birthday on February 22.  In 1971 it was switched to the 3rd Monday as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.  Now it viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. Presidents–past and present.


Miller Center front

The Miller Center “is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges.”

President’s Day is a good time to explore the Miller Center’s online presidential resources.  There are sub-tabs for U.S. Presidents, Presidential Speeches, Presidential Oral Histories (so far Jimmy Carter through George W. Bush, with a special feature on Edward Kennedy), Secret White House Tapes (Roosevelt through Nixon),  Educational Resources including primary sources and things applicable from elementary school through college, and The First Year (that period of time between the  Inauguration and the first State of the Union Address).

The section on the U.S. Presidents includes all 45 presidents from George Washington through Donald Trump.  There is a fast facts section, a series of essays about the life (public and private) of the president, major issues of his presidency and impact and legacy (for past presidents.).  It also includes term(s) of office dates on the summary of presidents page and life span (on the each president’s homepage).

The Miller Center features many president-related publications.

Trump's First YearTrump’s First Year (Miller Center Studies on the Presidency) by Michael Nelson.




Crucible President's First YearCrucible:  The President’s First Year (Miller Center Studies on the Presidency) by Michael Nelson.




safeguarding democracy.jpgSafeguarding Democratic Capitalism:  U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015 by Melvyn P. Leffler





Q:  Why are there only 44 statues of the presidents?

A:  Although there have been 45 presidents, Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms so he was both the 22nd and 24th president of the United States.

Scripps Library is attached to the Miller Center.  MIller Center Scripps Library front

MIller Center Faulkner House Marker.JPGThe Miller Center is part of the old Faulkner House. “Faulkner House, also known as Seymour, Montesano, Garallen, and Old Ivy Inn, is a historic home located near Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia. It was built in 1855-1856, and enlarged and remodeled in 1907 in the Colonial Revival style under the direction of architect Waddy B. Wood. The original section is the central two-story, brick structure topped by a hipped roof. In 1907, the house was enlarged with the addition of recessed, two-story, single-pile side wings and monumental front portico. Toward the end of the American Civil War, the house served as temporary headquarters of Union General Thomas Devin and was the home of Senator Thomas S. Martin from 1906 to 1919.[3]”



Midway Maddy: Library Mascot

This an interview with Midway Maddy.  Maddy is the emotional support animal of Nan, one of the USS Midway (CV-41) Carrier Museum Library volunteers.  Since Maddy came aboard, about two years ago, she has become a beloved mascot and international photo star.

Although this is probably a picture of Maddy at home, this is how she spends most of her time on the Midway, waiting patiently for Nan to do whatever she needs to do, unless she is on a comfort or adoration break (read more to find out what that means.)

Midway Maddie looking pretty darned cute.jpg

How did you become a comfort animal? 

Nan—Maddy was trained when I adopted her, so how she became an emotional support animal I don’t know.  This is why I say she is truly a gift from God.  She taught me that she was trained during the first few weeks we were together.  Her calm demeanor (even at only 1-1/2 years old) and desire to help were evident immediately.  She is comfortable wherever we go, restaurants, planes, cars, boats, she is quiet, lays down and totally “minds her manners.”  In movie theaters, she sleeps through the movie, whether it it a movie about WWII or Jurassic Park and dinosaurs—nothing phases her!

In addition to being trained and well behaved, the biggest part of being an excellent emotional support animal is due to the dog’s own desire to provide comfort and reduce anxiety.  That is something that cannot be trained.  One time that stands out vividly in my mind is when I was struck by a severe anxiety attack while we were out.  It came out of nowhere with no warning.  All I could think was I had to get home.  Looking back, I know it wasn’t the wisest decision to drive, but I felt I had no choice.  Fortunately we were only about 2-1/2 miles from home.  Without a word from me, on our drive home, Maddy continuously pawed at my shoulder and kissed my face, keeping me aware and focused.  She was the reason we safely made our way home.  I find it amazing that a lot of the time I realize an anxiety attack is coming on because of her.  She comes to me, nudges me with her paw, starts licking my leg, anything to get my attention and have me interact with her so she can start helping.  She is truly an amazing and loving friend.

maddy at christmas.jpg

What breed of dog are you?

       Maddy—I’m a Havanese/Poodle mix.  Both breeds have hair, as humans do, not fur.  This is especially good for my Mom’s allergies.

        Nan—Havanese were bred from Bichon Friese and came from the Canary Islands to Havana, Cuba.  They were companion animals for the rich.  The only way you would get a Havanese was to have it given as a gift from the people who owned and bred them.  They almost became extinct due to the people fleeing from Castro/Cuba in the 60s and having to leave their dogs behind.  A couple in the United States started with 3 Havanese (2 from Cuba and 1 from Europe) and started the breed over in the 1970s.  I had Maddy’s DNA tested because I wanted to know exactly what breed she was.

How long have you been with Nan?

Maddy--I’ve been helping my Mom for over 7 years.

How long have you been coming to the Midway?

         Maddy –I started coming to the Midway not long after Mom started volunteering.

  Nan—Volunteering on the Midway was my first big step in the world after suffering with PTSD.  Fortunately, Bonnie and Joan were very open to the idea of my bringing Maddy to the library.  It was so important to have her with me, especially with such an important step.  She settled into the library right away, and has made so many special friendships with other volunteers on the ship.  In fact, some of the volunteers feel that their day is not complete if they haven’t had a Midway Maddy kiss on the nose!

What is your role on the Midway?

  Maddy—I normally sit or nap on my bed or blanket while Mom is working.  My job in life is to be next to my Mom at all times and make sure she is doing well.  Sometimes when Mom is working in the main part of the library and guests arrive to look up a friend or relative in the Cruise Books, I will greet them (which always makes them feel special), let them pet me and go back to my bed.  Pretty much everybody thinks I’m cute!

What does Nan do while you are aboard?

  Maddy—She types a lot working on deck logs.  When she was working on the inventory last month in Bay 2 of the library, I wasn’t happy.  I don’t like Bay 2, because there is someone there that I don’t know.  I had to watch Mom from the doorway to make sure she was okay.

What has been your favorite part of being Midway Maddy?

Maddy—Being there with my Mom.  Secondly, I like when we go out for my comfort breaks.  Bonnie calls them my adoration breaks—because everybody loves on me as we’re leaving and returning to the library.  I have my special people at the Information Booth, on the Employee brow, Safety people that walk around the ship, employees that give out the audio tours, Fantail Cafe and the Safety people that check bags.  I’ve had my picture taken by our visitors many times, including ones from China, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and I don’t know how many different states.  It’s a pretty good gig!

Nan—Maddy knows she’s a favorite on board and you can tell she’s always happy to be on the Midway.  On Monday and Wednesday, before I get ready, I’ll ask her if she wants to go to work—she jumps up and and down a few times and then gives me a kiss on the nose, which is her emphatic yes!

How do you handle the pressure of being everybody’s favorite mascot?

Maddy—I don’t think I have a lot of pressure.  I just try to be myself and let everyone knows who visits with me that I’m there to brighten their day too.  There are a lot of people who need my attention, but I have a very big heart.

Nan—Maddy truly enjoys interacting with everyone and is always happy to have her head scratched and share a kiss.

Do you have plans for a social media presence?

Maddy—I never gave it any thought, I’m just a simple girl.  I’ve always felt that if you stop by and talk to me and pet me, I’m happy to give you a kiss or nuzzle in return.

Nan—Maddy would be a natural, but other than sharing her on the Midway, I hadn’t ever thought about sharing her on line.

Why don’t you like being called Sea Dog?

  Maddy—You have seen me right?  I always wear bows in my hair, normally pink or burgundy, and I just don’t see where a “sea dog” would do such a thing.  Now, first mate, that’s more my style.

Nan and Maddy normally work on Mondays with Don, Joan, and Bonnie. This picture shows that they all safely came in through the fog on New Year’s Day 2018 to make sure the library and Midway Book Store were open for the Midway’s guests.


Although not mentioned in this interview, both Nan and Maddy completed the Midway Docent Course.  It required coming aboard for 6 Saturdays in a row, for 7 hours, studying a large notebook, taking weekly quizzes, and touring the entire Midway from stem to stern, below decks, and all the way up to the Bridge.

Additional note from Maddy

Maddy–it was fun going to class and I especially loved the attention from one of the instructors, Hope. I’m having mom attach a picture from one time when we were listening to a lecture.

               Maddy and Nan during  Docent class              Maddy and Nan during Docent Class

Maddy and Nan getting thier Docent Graduation Certificates from CEO Mac MacLaughlinMaddy and Nan getting their Docent Graduation Certificates from Midway CEO Mac McLaughlin

For more information about the USS Midway Library click here