Archive for June, 2011

first USF garden work party of the summer

June 29th, 2011
yer invited!

please join us for the first USF garden work party of the summer. no gardening experience necessary. all ages welcome.

where: USF garden, turk & tamalpais (directly west of parking lot)
when: sunday, july 3, 11 am - 4 pm
what: garden work party! solar oven demos! free food! fun people!

please bring a dish to share. all volunteers are encouraged to bring home fresh garden goodies, including veggies, herbs, and fruit.

see you there.

(garden sketch by lizzie roeble; flyer design by brittany rowles)

First War Library Bulletin

June 29th, 2011

When the War Service Committee of the American Library Association mailed out Vol. 1, No. 1 of the War Library Bulletin in August, 1917, plans for ALA's Library War Service in World War I were well underway.  A major announcement in the bulletin was ALA's intent to erect library buildings in 32 cantonments and National Guard training camps.  The buildings designed by New York architect Edward L. Tilton were to be 40 x 120 feet in size, one story high, and have the ability to house eight to ten thousand books.  They also were designed to provide living quarters for the staff.  The first War Library Bulletin was full of information targeted at libraries and their staffs about what they could do to assist in ALA's war effort. It included information on fundraising as well as a "Volunteer Responsibility Pledge".  A librarian could volunteer for a wide range of activities all the way from collecting books to actually staffing a camp library.  Men only were asked "Could you give personal service in a Camp Library for traveling expenses only?". It was stated that War Department rules prohibited women in camp libraries. Female librarians were later able to work in hospital libraries sponsored by ALA. One of the members of the War Service Committee was Matthew S. Dudgeon, Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Dudgeon later took a leave from the Commission to administer the camp library program. June 18 was the 140th anniversary of his birth. I just added this issue of the War Library Bulletin to my collection of ALA Library War Service ephemera. I previously wrote about another issue of the War Library Bulletin.  More posts related to ALA's Library War Service can be found HERE. Postcards showing some of ALA's camp libraries can be found HERE.

Indianapolis Public Library History

June 22nd, 2011

I'm a big fan of books that tell the story of a single library. I just obtained one of the best I've ever seen. It is Stacks: A History of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library by S. L. Berry with Mary Ellen Gadski (Indianapolis-Marion County Library Foundation, 2011).  A blurb on the cover states: "The Library has always been more than a source of information: it has been a center of community life. Stacks tells the story of the IMCPL's evolution, placing it in a national context and emphasizing its role in the educational and cultural life of Indianapolis". Berry and Gadski were commissioned by the IMCPL Foundation to write the book, and they have done a great job. As a former public library director, I liked the descriptions of the challenges faced by each of the directors of the library and how they responded to them. Noteworthy was the chapter titled "The McFadden Years, 1944-1956" which described how Marian McFadden dealt with the McCarthy era.  In addition to the quality writing I was highly impressed with the design of the book which according to a press release for the book was done by Jim and Jon Sholly.  The book includes numerous visual images. As a collector of librariana, I especially liked the images of bookplates on the front and end pages of the book. A neat idea was an illustration of a book pocket for the library with a date due slip that just happened to include significant dates in the history of the library. A double page montage in the book includes a number of examples of postcards showing two of the former central libraries. Shown above are postcards from my collection featuring the two buildings. The first building was completed in 1893 and the second in 1917. The book is available for $25 from the IMCPL Foundation. Strangely, the library's website includes little information about the history of the library or even about this great book.   

USF Book Club: The Lonely Polygamist

June 17th, 2011


On July 20, 2011 the USF Book Club will meet to discuss The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. Gleeson’s copy is checked out right now, but we’ve got it loaded on our iPads and our Kindle. There’s always Link+ or SF Public until our copy comes in!

Come meet us in the seminar room, #209, of Gleeson Library from 12-1 pm. Bring your lunch and bring your friends! We don’t require you to have read the book to join the discussion. All members of the USF Community are welcome and no rsvp is necessary.

A family drama with stinging turns of dark comedy, the latest from Udall (The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint) is a superb performance and as comic as it is sublimely catastrophic. Golden Richards is a polygamist Mormon with four wives, 28 children, a struggling construction business, and a few secrets. He tells his wives that the brothel he’s building in Nevada is actually a senior center, and, more importantly, keeps hidden his burning infatuation with a woman he sees near the job site. Golden, perpetually on edge, has become increasingly isolated from his massive family-given the size of his brood, his solitude is heartbreaking-since the death of one of his children. Meanwhile, his newest and youngest wife, Trish, is wondering if there is more to life than the polygamist lifestyle, and one of his sons, Rusty, after getting the shaft on his birthday, hatches a revenge plot that will have dire consequences. With their world falling apart, will the family find a way to stay together? Udall’s polished storytelling and sterling cast of perfectly realized and flawed characters make this a serious contender for Great American Novel status. –Publisher’s Weekly


George Washington’s Library

June 14th, 2011

On a recent trip to the Washington, D.C. area I took a tour of George Washington's home Mount Vernon. On the way out of the main house I was able to view the room where Washington kept his personal library of around 900 books (see postcard above). The books that are currently in the room were not owned by Washington. After his death his collection was passed on to relatives and eventually widely dispersed. A collection of 359 volumes was sold to London bookseller Henry Stevens in 1848. All but five of the Stevens purchase were passed on to the Boston Athenaeum where they remain. The story of Washington's library and its final disposition is contained in the book The Library at Mount Vernon by Frances Laverne Carroll and Mary Meacham (Beta Phi Mu, 1977). Up until 1978 the archives and papers of a president were considered to be the personal property of the president. As a result they were often dispersed and not maintained as a single collection as they are in today's presidential libraries administered by the National Archives. Fortunately many of the early collections of American presidents have been acquired by the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress owns the most comprehensive collection of  George Washington's papersA major new library is under construction at Mount Vernon which is intended to serve as "the international headquarters for knowledge about America’s most famous founding father".