Weekend Reads: 10/23/2020

Can you vote early? If the answer is yes and you haven’t yet – what are you waiting for? Biden/Harris need your vote.

I’m going to be honest – there are a lot of depressing articles in this week’s post. If only only read one – honestly, you need to read most of these, but if you only have time for a few, please read the first Wired article and the subsequent Time one about herd immunity. There are just a lot of good ones this week and you’d benefit from reading most, if not all, of the ones.

But not everything is doom and gloom (or so we hope). There are three good articles to remind you that the world is not always a terrible place. In addition, I’d like to recommend a couple of book series.

The first is a fantasy series called The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club by Theodora Goss. This series follows the adventures (no, really) of Mary Jekyll and all of the “monsters” that she befriends. If you have any interested in gothic horror (though it is not actual horror, per se), slight romance, and wonderful strong female characters – consider this series! I listened to the audiobooks (read by the always wonderful Kate Reading) but imagine that the print (or eBook) version is equally as enjoyable to consume. The first book is The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daugther.

My second recommendation would be Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious series. This is a young adult murder mystery series about Stevie Bell and her friends as she tries to navigate the world of a private boarding school, including the murder that has define the school for years and the hard life of a teenager. You’re in luck, because all three books in this series have finally been published you won’t need to wait long to read what happens in the next book. The first book is Truly Devious.

Now, onto your links.

It’s Time to Talk About Covid-19 and Surfaces Again (Wired – $$)

In the early days, we furiously scrubbed, afraid we could get sick from the virus lingering on objects and surfaces. What do we know now?

The White House Wants to Achieve Herd Immunity by Letting the Virus Rip. That Is Dangerous and Inhumane (Time)

For a start, no pandemic has ever been controlled by deliberately letting the infection spread unchecked in the hope that people become immune. We must do all we can to protect people from COVID-19, not let them get infected, to buy scientists time to develop vaccines and therapeutics to end the outbreak and alleviate suffering.

America’s Last Line of Defense for a Safe Vaccine (Scientific American)

The independent advisers to the CDC and FDA will not bend to politics

Why New Zealand rejected populist ideas other nations have embraced (Guardian)

Labour’s historic win delivered Ardern a second term while voters punished politicians who embraced populism

The Preexisting Conditions of the Coronavirus Pandemic (Wired – $$)

An enormous new data set peers into the health of the world’s population before 2020—and how the coronavirus turned that into a global disaster.

Undisclosed: Most Homebuyers And Renters Aren’t Warned About Flood Or Wildfire Risk (NPR)

None of the landlords, real estate agents, sellers, appraisers, bankers or home inspectors the families interacted with explained the risk of flooding or wildfires, because no one had to do so. Only about half of the states require that information about flood risk be disclosed to homebuyers, and just one state requires that such information be given to tenants. Only two Western states require disclosure of wildfire risk.

Songwriters Sometimes Wait Years After A Song Is Released To Get Paid Anything. These Women Want To Change That. (Buzzfeed)

“I’ve been in sessions starving, praying that they ask me if I’m hungry, hoping that the studio has snacks.”

A Reset for Library E-books (Publisher’s Weekly)

In the wake of the pandemic, can publishers and libraries finally hash out their differences?


Prickly business: the hedgehog highway that knits a village together (Guardian)

With their miniature ramps, stairs and holes cut into fences and stone walls, the gardens of Kirtlington in Oxfordshire are a haven for wildlife

Step Inside The Museum of Obsolete Library Science (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

There’s a popular misconception that librarians as a profession are conservative. Not politically conservative, but literally conservative—wanting to keep old stuff. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth—we are often on the cutting edge of using new technologies, and always looking for the most efficient, up-to-date way to help our patrons.

When a Town Council and a Sci-fi Museum Went to War Over a Dalek (Atlas Obscura)

Thanks to support from the community and the world, the Doctor Who villain is rising again

And now, your moment of calm.

Fall colors (c) K2sleddogs

Weekend Reads 10/02/2020

Wow. It’s been a week, hasn’t it? Here are some articles to read – if you can tear yourself away from social media for a few minutes. If the news ever takes a break.

It Took COVID Closures to Reveal Just How Much Libraries Do Beyond Lending Books (Observer)

This behind the scenes diligence meant that during the pandemic, libraries were able to prove themselves to be more resilient, future-proof and adaptable than many of us may have realized. In fact, the coronavirus crisis has enabled many libraries to truly prove their worth.

Look Toward a New Era (NY Times – $$)

With a shift to online resources well underway, “the most trusted civic institutions” are in a good position to deal with the changing future.

Hero Rat Wins A Top Animal Award For Sniffing Out Land Mines (NPR)

For the first time, one of Britain’s highest animal honors has been awarded to a rat. The animal has detected dozens of land mines in Cambodia and is believed to have saved lives.

Attack of the Superhackers (narratively)

A group of ex-soldiers cracks safes, picks locks and steals data — all in the name of corporate security.

Millennials Are Trying To Shake The Stigma Of Moving Back In With Their Parents (Buzzfeed)

Millennials are moving back in with their parents in numbers not seen since the Great Depression. Here’s what it’s like for some of them.

A School Ran a Simulation of the Pandemic—Before the Pandemic (Wired – $$)

A Florida middle school has staged mock outbreaks for years to teach science and civics. Last December’s lesson was an uncanny harbinger of Covid-19.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Cemetery in the cold October rain | Park Cemetery, Marquette, Michigan.
(c) yooperann

The Wednesday Four

Hey, it’s been 27 Weeks, over half a year and … it feels like it’s been twice that long. Week 27 was out of control. I told a few people that it used to be thing a day, but now it feels like 500. A few minutes later I joked about remembering what it was like when there was only one thing a week that was destroying our democracy. My, how things have changed and not for the better.

The links!

Resist. Tax Day March 2017. Detroit, MI.

Resist. Tax Day March 2017. Detroit, MI. (c) Kathy Drasky

The Wednesday Four

Here is Week 23. What I did this week was attend the March for Science in downtown Detroit with some friends. It was good, there were some decent speakers and we walked down Woodward. You can see some of the photos I took over on my Instagram.

As for the links? Everything old is new again as in I’m digging in the bottom of my pile of articles to read and have pulled four. Please enjoy them!

  • Fewer Americans Are Visiting Local Libraries—and Technology Isn’t to Blame
    Only one trend is closely associated with their use. (The Atlantic) Note: The reason may not surprise you!
  • A Lost Scottish Island, George Orwell, and the Future of Maps A 141 square-mile island vanished from Google Maps, and the company has yet to restore it. What do glitches mean for little-known places? (The Atlantic | CityLab) Note: If you look on google maps, Jura is back, but this article is still fun and interesting.
  • Taxonomy: The spy who loved frogs To track the fate of threatened species, a young scientist must follow the jungle path of a herpetologist who led a secret double life. (Nature) Note: I recommend listening to the podcast (about 13 minutes) as well as reading the article. Also, I have mixed feelings about specimen collection and those feelings were not changed by this article.
  • How Andrew Carnegie Turned His Fortune Into A Library Legacy (NPR) Note: Two library articles in one post! You’d think I was still a librarian.

Howell Carnegie District Library

Howell Carnegie District Library in Howell, MI. Photo (c) Paul Cooper

A few years ago a (now former) coworker and I went to Howell to hear an author speak and we walked to this library, although it was closed and we couldn’t go inside. Maybe next time.

The Wednesday Four (12/14/16)

Though I am no longer a librarian in my work life, I will always have a soft spot for libraries (and I visit all the time to chat with my old coworkers as well as to check out books). And in the spirit of librarianship, there are two articles one (the Time article) is an old article, but the second (EFF) is recent and reflects certain changing aspects of our society.

  • How Black Lives Matter Went Global: Activists for black, brown, and Indigenous rights around the world have adopted the Black Lives Matter slogan alongside homegrown movements against racism and police brutality. (BuzzFeed)

Blowing snow on the river

Blowing snow on the river (02/14/2-15) © ellenm1

The Wednesday Four (11/30/16)

A mixed bag today, just in time for that awkward few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy the links.

  • The Rise of Pirate Libraries: Shadowy digital libraries want to hold all the world’s knowledge and give it away for free. (Atlas Obscura)

 

 

does this make me a bad person or a good librarian?

While on lunch break at work (in our muggy and hot library, damn you, a/c), I was checking greader and discovered that Adam Yauch (of the Beastie Boys) had died. My first thought was about how shitty it is to die of cancer and how young he was (47). But my second thought, and the reason behind this post, was something along the lines of ‘oh, man, I get to do a display!’ Which makes me feel kind of gross, in a way, but it’s something I do often (displays when famous or relatively famous people die). For example, in the past month I did displays for Mike Wallace and Dick Clark.

What I can’t decide is if this is a kind of morbid thing to do (and if so, I’m totally blaming my undergrad Religious Studies professor who had a morbid sense of humor and taught our class about the end of the world — seriously) or if I just love putting up displays. I know what you’re thinking and I know this whole debate is ridiculous. But I have to confess to being a tiny bit excited when someone famous dies — because I can do a display. It’s not like I want them to die — but I sort of take advantage of it — though granted I’m doing it to get people to check out books/music/movies/etc.

And that brings me to the topic of displays. I don’t have any pictures handy, but usually my displays consist of a plastic stand with a flyer (8.5×11) that I made (usually color, but not always) and, in the case of a person’s death, biographical information from Biography In Context (which one of my libraries* subscribes to) as well as any obituary information I can print off the internet (usually from the New York Times and the Guardian). Alongside the papers and sign, there are books and media (in the case of Adam Yauch, our collection of Beastie Boy** cds is included, as well as a book on the Beastie Boys). For both Dick Clark and Mike Wallace, it was just books, biographical information and obits.

One of the reasons I love doing this is because I really love doing displays. I know a lot of people don’t understand what’s so great about them, but there’s something weirdly pleasing about researching a topic or a person and gathering a bunch of info. Maybe, at heart, I’m more of a research librarian, but working in a public library sometimes lets me do a little of both. Displays are satisfying to create, to see and curate. But what makes them even better is when the books get checked out (our Titanic display, complete with a poster of Leo & Kate and free gold 3D glasses (courtesy of the studio re-releasing of the film) was a huge hit). Of course, it’s even better when a staff member or a patron tells me how much they like my displays.

I guess what I’ve come to realize, while writing this entry (and thanks to an email from a good friend/librarian) is that it’s probably pretty normal and thoughtful. It’s less morbid than celebratory and in the end, isn’t that what this displays are about? And, hey, if it gets people to check shit out from the library, then that’s all the better.

As an aside, my other displays this month (so far!) are for the Kentucky Derby/Horse racing and National Bike Month. See what I mean? I’ll look for any reason to make a display. The more, the better and it seems to be a hit, too.

*I plan to refer to them as library #1 and library #2. Library #1 is located in an urbanish downtown location, along a bus route and within walking distance for many patrons. Library #2 is more rural, though in the same county, and almost all patrons drive to the library. #1 is much more liberal than #2 — but both libraries (as libraries are wont to do) have their own share of drama.

**I was really happy to see that library #1 had four Beastie Boys cds.