Alexis M Waide

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Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Edible Book Festival – it’s coming!

Join Pitt SCALA as we celebrate the Edible Book Festival this Sunday, April 1, from 10 am – noon.  We’ll be at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh LYNCS location in the Pittsburgh Public Market.  Come and celebrate “the ingestion of culture and a way to concretely share a book; it is also a deeper reflexion on our attachment to food and our cultural differences” (Books2eat).

There will be clever creations on display, made by graduate students in the Library and Information Science program at the University of Pittsburgh and the Food Studies program at Chatham University!  Vote on your favorites by donating money (in any amount – big or small!) to Book ‘Em, a local non-profit that sends reading materials to prisoners in Pennsylvania and across the country.

When you vote, you’ll get a raffle ticket that gives you a chance to win a prize basket filled with great items from vendors in the Market.  The creation that earns the most money for Book ‘Em will also receive a prize basket and the raffle and prize ceremony will happen at noon.  And, if you get hungry looking at all the creations, there all the great vendors in the Market to visit.  Oh, we’ll also have free cookies to munch on.

This Sunday from 10 am – noon – Edible Book Festival!  (View the awesome poster: EdibleBooksposter.)

Another library hero…

Benny Franks (aka Benjamin Franklin)!  Besides the usual stuff he’s known for – inventing things like lightning rods and bifocals, starting the first fire department in Philadelphia, pretending to be some guy named Richard, politicking, working on (and signing) the Declaration of Independence – he was the first Public Printer for the colonies and began the first public, albeit subscription, library.  How cool is that?

I took this in Philadelphia when I was there last week for the PLA (Public Library Association) Conference.  I’ll write more about it sometime soon!

Edible Book Festival!

I’m getting really excited for the SCALA – Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh partnership for our celebration of the International Edible Book Festival!  It will be a celebration of food and books at CLP LYNCS in the Pittsburgh Public Market.  I’m on the planning committee and we came up with some great ideas for a raffle and prizes for the raffle and the best “creation.”  Here’s the awesome poster we came up with to advertise: EdibleBooksposter

Addendum on JCD

I also love John Cotton Dana’s 12 Rules of Reading:

1. Read

2. Read.

3. Read some more.

4. Read anything.

5. Read about everything.

6.Read enjoyable things.

7. Read things you yourself enjoy.

8. Read, and talk about it.

9. Read very carefully, some things.

10. Read on the run, most things.

11. Don’t think about reading, but

12. Just read.

(via Stephen’s Lighthouse)

John Cotton Dana, library hero

If you had asked me a year ago what I thought I’d be doing in library school, I’m not sure what I would have said.  I’m not even sure what I would have answered six months ago, right at the beginning of my program.

The answer may have had something to do with learning collection development, vague ideas about information theory, or learning how to design websites or databases (though I’m sure I couldn’t have clarified what kind of tools I’d be using to do those things).  I certainly wouldn’t have answered that I’d be writing XML, getting knee-deep in Dublin Core metadata creation, or reading scholarly articles on data management for fun.

I don’t think I would’ve answered that I’d have library heroes or role models, even though there were librarians I knew of already – Nancy Pearl is one that springs to mind – and admired.  I mean, Nancy Pearl has her own reader’s advisory books!  She does spots for NPR!  She has her own action figure!

Thanks to my marketing class this term, I’ve found a new library role model.  He’s not quite as glamorous as Nancy – no action figure – but in his own quietly awesome late-Victorian way, he espoused some pretty modern ideas and in my opinion, was largely responsible for shaping libraries into what they are today.  John Cotton Dana pioneered open stacks, allowing patrons to browse freely and select books at whim, instead of having to run every request by a librarian.  As director of the Denver Public Library, he created the first children’s room and while working at Newark Public Library, he created a foreign language collection to reach out to the community’s large immigrant population.

It was John Cotton Dana’s belief in library as community center, available for the use of all, that I find really inspiring.  This was a time when libraries were still largely subscriber-driven; therefore only a portion of a community was really using it and only to access books.  There were no specialized services, no reaching out to specific populations that could benefit from collections aimed at them (such as children or immigrants).  But JCD believed that libraries should be for everyone, regardless of class, education or age, truly free and truly open to all, something that is still true.  And libraries should continue to look to his ideals to remind themselves what the work of the library is, at its basic level.  Yes, things are changing, and quickly.  But libraries are still the same at heart.

I love this statement from JCD:

“Many still do not see how unique a thing a public library is.  It is the most democratic, universal institution ever devised.  It is by all, for all, to be used as each and every one may choose.  It draws no lines of politics, wealth, birth, or education.  All can learn here, without rules or teachers, save as they make their own rules and choose their own teachers.  A collection of good books, and people to use them — what a university is this!”

(From a publication on the Newark Public Library: “A John Cotton Dana Library”)

How democratic!  How inspiring!  Of course, you can replace “collection of good books” with so many other things appropriate to our modern libraries: “a collection of books, ebooks, array of classes, awesome community events, storytime, career development services, author series, e-readers available to check out, tax assistance, etc.”  But on the whole, the message is quite timeless and I think JCD would be amazed and proud of what public libraries are doing today.

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