Monthly Archives: January 2013

Innovative library services “in the wild”

30 January 2013

From Pew Internet, by Kathryn Zickuhr

Our new report takes a close look not only at how Americans are using public libraries, but also what sort of services and programming they think libraries should offer — and what they say they would use in the future…

For this last point, we asked about a range of potential offerings, including online “ask a librarian”-type research service, mobile library apps, library kiosks in the community, and pre-loaded e-readers available for checkout….

…we also wanted to include illustrations of some of these more innovative services, to see what they look like on the ground. To that end, we’ve collected examples of many of the types of services mentioned in the report, as well as some “fun and funky” services that we’ve seen pop up at libraries across the county….

Technology “Petting Zoo”

The Kent Free Library in Ohio “has hosted ‘Technology Petting Zoos’ to give patrons and community members a chance to have hands-on interaction with a variety of tablets and e-readers. In the library’s meeting room, 12 different devices are available to try out with a librarian on hand to explain their features and detail the differences between various devices.”

“Redbox”-style library kiosks and outreach services

“In 2008, the Contra Costa County Library [in California] launched ‘Library-a-Go-Go,’ the first automated book dispensing machines in the country. The machines hold up to 400 books which can be browsed from a touch screen. The book dispensaries at available 24/7 and operate like ATM machines with a swipe of a library card to dispense books. Users can have up to three books checked out at a time and return the books to the Library-a-Go-Go machines.”…

Libraries as incubators and creation spaces

The Library as Incubator Project“highlights the ways that libraries and artists can work together, and works to strengthen these partnerships. At a time in which both libraries and arts organizations are often having to do more with less, it makes sense for these two parts of our culture to support each other….

Musical Instrument Check-Out Program – Lopez Island (Wash.) Library

  • “The Lopez Island Library offers a collection of musical instruments available for patron checkout. All the items come with carrying cases, tuners, and how-to guides, and a practice amplifier for the electric guitar. The items circulate for 28 days, like other library items.”…

LibraryFarm – Northern Onondaga (N.Y.) Public Library

  • “The LibraryFarm is an organic community garden on one-half acre of land owned by Northern Onondaga Public Library in Cicero, NY. Anyone can ‘check out’ a plot for no cost. Its purpose is to teach and learn ‘food literacy,’ as well as to preserve knowledge that our grandparents might have had but that never got passed down, and to provide fresh organic produce for local food pantries.”…

Telescopes – “The Portland Public Library, Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick and Raymond Village Library in Maine offer telescope checkout for patrons. As part of the program, local astronomy clubs, who serve as the caretakers for the telescopes, host sky gazing parties, sidewalk events and other programs at libraries on how to use the telescope and how to look at the night sky.”…


The full article is at Innovative library services “in the wild”

Robert Benchley Short 1928

30 January 2013

Member of the famed Algonquin Round Table, Robert Benchley went from his beginnings at the Harvard Lampoon to writing essays and articles for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, then Broadway then Hollywood where he won an Academy Award for his short How to Sleep.

His first performance on Broadway was in 1922’s No Sirree a production created by members of the Round Table as a lark and was The Treasurer’s Report which he wrote and performed.

You may have heard of his grandson, Peter Benchley, who wrote a book about a shark that was pretty popular for a while.

guest posted by Barbara Morgenroth


Hilary Mantel’s Rules For Writers

30 January 2013

“1. Are you serious about this? Then get an accountant.”

For Americans, read, CPA.

Read the rest at:

Read the rest at Rules for Writers

Hilary Mantel manages to be both highly regarded by her peers and with the bank, her rules might be worth a look.


Hemingway–For Sale, Baby Shoes Never Worn

30 January 2013


Dear Quote Investigator: Most people are familiar with short stories, but there is another class of works that might be called short-short stories. “Flash fiction” and “sudden fiction” are labels that are applied to this style of literature. One of the most famous examples is a tale of only six words in the format of a classified advertisement that according to legend was crafted by Ernest Hemingway as part of a bet:

For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn

The reader must cooperate in the construction of the larger narrative that is obliquely limned by these words implying miscarriage or sudden infant death. There is a popular alternative text based on another item linked with babies:

For Sale, Baby Carriage, Never Used

Did Hemingway write either of these succinct telegraphic tales?

Quote Investigator: Ernest Hemingway died in 1961, and the earliest published evidence known to QI connecting him to this tale appeared in 1991. The author Peter Miller included a version of the anecdote in his book “Get Published! Get Produced!: A Literary Agent’s Tips on How to Sell Your Writing”. Miller stated that he was told the tale by a “well-established newspaper syndicator” circa 1974: 1

Apparently, Ernest Hemingway was lunching at Luchow’s with a number of writers and claimed that he could write a short story that was only six words long. Of course, the other writers balked. Hemingway told each of them to put ten dollars in the middle of the table; if he was wrong, he said, he’d match it. If he was right, he would keep the entire pot. He quickly wrote six words down on a napkin and passed it around; Papa won the bet. The words were “FOR SALE, BABY SHOES, NEVER WORN.” A beginning, a middle and an end!

Read the entire piece to reach the conclusion at Quote Investigator 

Guest posted by Barbara Morgenroth whose favorite restaurant was Luchow’s.  Here is their Christmas tree, so large it went through the skylight.



Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer

30 January 2013
Comments Off on Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer

Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer, but if you must, then write. If all feels hopeless, if that famous ‘inspiration’ will not come, write. If you are a genius, you’ll make your own rules, but if not – and the odds are against it – go to your desk no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper – write.

J. B. Priestly

What I Learned From Having A Literary Agent.

30 January 2013

By Scott D. Southard:

“For five years, my books were represented by a big agency out of New York City. While I don’t want to name any names, I think I can safely say that this agency has a long history and has been associated with such writers as Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, and John Irving. (Yeah, I have two degrees of separation between my books and Scout!) Their clients are a who’s who of writing over the last one hundred years and as a writer and literature buff I could not have been more thrilled.

“Thrilled? No, let me correct that.

“I bragged! I gloated! I patted myself on the back every chance I got! I was big man on literary campus and it was only a matter of time before everyone knew my name. Start preparing the Booker prize trophy now… Wait, do they do a trophy? Or is it a medal? I have no idea (if it’s just a certificate that would be lame).

“There is this wonderful Hollywood dream for artists that when someone of importance finds their work that suddenly everything is going to be streets of gold from then on and all the hard work is over. (Remember “The Standard Rich and Famous” contract in The Muppet Movie?) Well, I fell for that dream hook, line and sinker; and over the five years I was signed with this agency my career was stagnant.”

Read the rest here:  The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard.

Julia Barrett

Sucessful Seduction and the Naked Truth: Rethink Cover Design for a Small, Small World

30 January 2013

by Elle Lothlorien

  • Designing a kick-ass book cover  for the Kindle Store is one of the most valuable marketing and discoverability opportunities your self-published book is likely to have.
  • When designing an e-book cover, you MUST assume that every potential reader will see it first as a thumbnail on Amazon’s suggestive selling ribbon and not as a full-sized graphic.

Attracting readers to your book on the suggestive selling ribbon requires rethinking book cover design completely–so much so that it may even be upsetting, especially for authors who are or were at one time traditionally published. Indeed, hearing that cover features such as title art and the author’s name—features that are often critical for a book on a bookstore shelf—simply aren’t that important on a thumbnail and can be greatly reduced in size in most cases (I’ll discuss the exceptions to that rule in a moment) leads to much rending of garments and tearing of hair.

“What?” people shriek. “You’re saying my title isn’t important? You want me to make my title smaller? But how will anyone be able to read it?”

  • No one can read the book title on a thumbnail image.
  • No one can see the author’s name on a thumbnail image.

Read it all it’s worth it Digital Book World

Guest posted by Barbara Morgenroth

Tour of The Round Table Room at the Algonquin Hotel

29 January 2013

For fans of Dorothy Parker and the rest, if you can’t get there, this is what it looked like then and now.

guest posted by Barbara Morgenroth

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