I published a previous post about the "Free for All: Inside the Public Library film project which will feature public libraries across America today and provide historical background about the public library movement in the United States. The project is now at a critical filming stage and a fundraising effort has been launched to pay for this phase. They have more information and a nice video about the project on their home page. It also includes information about donating to the project which I highly endorse.
The Link+ central catalog went down this morning and unfortunately all Link+ transactions made on Sept 15th between 11:00 PM PST through approximately 8:00 AM Sept 16 were lost. Sadly there is no way of retrieving these lost transactions. If possible, we ask that kindly resubmit your requests. We do apologize for any inconvenience this service interruption might have caused you.
I asked the student assistants in the Reference and Research Services Department of Gleeson Library what they read this past summer, and got some very thoughtful book reviews to share with ya’ll! Enjoy the first installment here.
The Goldfinch, reviewed by Kelsey Weise
I read some great books over the summer, and even over the past couple years, but none of them hold a candle to the masterpiece that is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. With her descriptive and absorbing writing, Tartt tells the fascinating story of Theodore Decker through his first-person narration, from his pre-teenage years up through adulthood. While the writing and plot itself are both fantastic, my favorite part of this Dickensian novel is how Tartt portrays the characters. No character, no matter how seemingly insignificant or unlikable, is unsympathetic; each one is so thoroughly developed that they could just as easily be people you have known personally for your entire life. At the same time, the plot is riveting enough that Tartt’s careful attention to imagery and detail don’t ever get boring or dry. Overall, this emotional, dark, and often even philosophical novel truly does have something in it for everyone. The Goldfinch is both the kind of novel you stay up all night (maybe even two) reading, and the kind that will be eventually taught in schools for its modest brilliance.
All Quiet on the Western Front, reviewed by Andrew Gonzales
Over this summer I read many books, from Cormack McCarthy’s The Road to Marx’s Communist Manifesto, but by far one of the most stimulating books was All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Now, I have a specific spot for generally dark and/or war novels, maybe it’s because my English teacher in high school had me read the genre all the time, maybe cause I like the harshness of a cynical reality rather than rosy endings. Either way, I had heard of this book being a strong retelling of World War One from the perspective of a front line soldier. I was not disappointed in this regard.
All Quiet on the Western Front tells a rapturous tale from almost the beginning of the book. First allowing for sufficient character rapport, the book then delves into the harsh realities of the World’s first modern war, a war which tore asunder the optimism surrounding modernism/progress of the last half century as all that progress was co-opted to make better killing machines. The book is told from the point of view of a German solider, which is a nice in contrast to the Ally-centric view in which we Americans tend to see WWI and WWII. But besides some names and jokes, this could be the story of any young boy on the front. It beautifully exhibits the stresses of war on the soldier’s mind, as well as how war alone came to define the legacy of these soldiers, these young men whose lives are now lost. I highly recommend it to anyone and will read it again sometime soon.
When Andrew Carnegie gave a grant of $26,000 to Guthrie, Oklahoma on October 17, 1901 for a public library building it was the capital of the Oklahoma Territory. The library building was completed in 1902 and in 1906 it served as the backdrop for the inauguration of Frank Frantz, Oklahoma's last territorial governor. That event is depicted on the postcard above. Guthrie lost out to Oklahoma City as the permanent State Capital. The Carnegie building ceased to house the public library in 1972 when a new public library building was completed. According to the website of the Oklahoma Territorial Museum, the Carnegie building barely escaped destruction due to the generosity of a benefactor who also donated a museum building to the City. The very elaborate building which was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1971 is now part of the museum complex. Information about Oklahoma's other Carnegie libraries can be found HERE.