Ten ways to use Pinterest in your library

Ellyssa Kroski, at iLibrarian, posted ten good ideas for using Pinterest in your library.

  • Create recommended book boards.
  • Highlight library staff.
  • Spread the word about author talks.
  • Create patron-contributed boards.
  • Have a Pinterest board contest.
  • Showcase educational videos and podcasts.
  • Create an e-books board.
  • Give patrons a library tour.
  • Market upcoming events.
  • Highlight a special collection of exhibit.

You can see details and examples on iLibrarian at Five Ways to Use Pinterest in Your Library and Five More Ways to Use Pinterest in Your Library.

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A Very Small Farm

Book cover: A Very Small Farm

A Very Small Farm, by William Paul Winchester.

This book won the 1996 Oklahoma Book Award for Non-Fiction. The award’s website describes it thus: “In these pages, Winchester shares his meditations about the life of the small farmer-a life richly experienced. His philosophy, like his lifestyle, is simple and yet profound.”

When William Paul Winchester was a young man, he bought twenty acres of Oklahoma farmland and began living the self-sufficient life. In this well-written book, he talks about the house he built, the bee hives, the chickens, the crops, the hen house, the cows, the orchard, the small woods he planted… He also provides enough information about what farm life involves that the reader feels more informed, without overwhelming with too much detail. (The only exception to this is the chapter of journal entries that include a little too much weather data.) The last two chapters, about harvesting wheat and amaranth and preserving food, include several recipes that sound awfully good.

I really enjoyed reading A Very Small Farm. I’ve stuck so many bookmarks in this little book, I might have to buy my own copy before I return it to the library.


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Reading list: Marketing

This month’s reading list is from Terry O’Reilly, an award-winning Canadian advertiser whose Age of Persuasion show ran on CBC Radio from 2008 to 2011. The episodes, about the influence of marketing on most aspects of everyday life, are available on iTunes as a podcast. The show’s CBC website has supporting images and video for each episode.

In January, Terry O’Reilly started a new series, Under the Influence, about how advertising is changing. It’s also available as a podcast. As with Age of Persuasion, there is also a very informative blog.

The Age of Persuasion‘s website has a 15-book reading list of “some of Terry’s favourite marketing-related books.”

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Logo: Wordreference.comWordReference.com is my favorite online translation site. It has multilingual dictionaries to/from English and Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic.

It has very active discussion forums for vocabulary, translation, and grammar for the languages listed above plus Catalan, Latin, Dutch, Hebrew, Greek, Hungarian, Finnish, Tagalog, and more. In addition, there is a forum for just English, for those who are learning the language; another for Spanish/French; another for French/Italian; and another for specialized Spanish vocabulary.

Another great feature of WebReference.com are the search results. They could include — sometimes from multiple sources — the translation for the singular word, the word as part of a compound term, the conjugated verb as part of an expression, thesaurus links, and, best of all, direct links to discussion items that have the word in the subject. These usually include questions and answers about words used in expressions or idiomatically.

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#libcodeyear; a.k.a. Code Year

Logo: Code AcademyHello, world.

This one sort of sneaked past me. By the time I knew about it, I already had too much planned to start in January, so I’m putting it off, maybe till March or April.

It’s something called Code Year, part of Code Academy. In Code Year, you learn to program with weekly e-mailed lessons, starting with Javascript. The best part: it’s free.

As of this writing, their website boasts that “385,390 people are learning to code this year.” A lot of those people are librarians. You can follow some of them on Twitter (#codeyear and #libcodeyear). For those in ALA, there’s also a LITA / ALCTS Library Code Year Interest Group.

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Y de repente un angel

Book cover: Y de repente un angelY de repente un ángel, by Jaime Bayly.

These are two stories, intertwined. One is about the protagonist, a young writer who keeps a messy house in Lima, Peru; the other, about the old cleaning woman he hires to keep his house in a state acceptable to his girlfriend.

Mercedes, the cleaning woman, is matter of fact about her past. When she was ten years old, her mother sold her to a military officer to work as household help because she couldn’t afford to feed all her children. When Julián, the writer, finds out about this, he decides to find Mercedes’ mother. At the same time, Julián comes to terms with his relationship with his own parents.

This is a story about relations, between parents and children, between social and economic classes, between the past and the present. It’s also both funny and tragic.

This is my first Jaime Bayly book and I wasn’t sure what to expect. From the reviews of his other books, I was expecting it to be one of those difficult “literary” books that I find hard to read in Spanish. The Premio Planeta Finalist banner on the cover only added to that impression. Instead, it turned out to be very accessible. Bayly’s excellent ear for dialogue helps get the reader right into the story.


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Librarian joke

Reposted from gin85 at Tumblr:

Sherlock Holmes is called in to investigate a murder. After examining the scene, Holmes announces that the killer was a librarian.

“How can you tell?” asks Dr Watson.

“Elementary my dear Watson. First, the murderer not only alphabetized the victim’s books, but shelved them by genre. There is the fact that the murder itself was clearly inspired by a rare Victor Hugo novel recently acquired by the branch library down the street.

“However, the real give away is that, after the victim was killed, the murderer dragged his body over to the toilet and wrote on the body, ‘Can you find the bathroom now?! Can you find the bathroom now?!’”

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Testament of Youth

Book cover: Testament of YouthTestament of Youth, by Vera Brittain.

Subtitle: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900-1925.

In 1914, Vera Brittain was twenty years old and had finally persuaded her old-fashioned father to let her attend Oxford. Edward, her beloved younger brother, was starting at Oxford at the same time, along with his friends, Victor, Geoffrey, and Roland (the love of her life). Then the Great War started and the four young men joined up. A year later, Vera left Oxford and became a war nurse in London, Malta, and the French Western Front.

Brittain was a prolific diarist and all five were great letter writers. In this autobiography of her life till 1925, Vera Brittain quotes often from those letters and diaries in describing what they all went through in the next four years. She examines the death of a generation and of their dreams just as they were set to start their lives.

Don’t be put off by the thickness of this book. It’s worth the time. The author starts out by describing life in the provincial middle class in the pre-war years, when young women had to be chaperoned and whose highest expectation was to find a good husband. Then she moves on to the war as seen through her brother’s and her brother’s friends’ letters and her experiences as a nurse in the city and, later, near the front. One by one, the young men die. Page by page, she immerses you, unnoticed, deeper into their stories. At one point, I realized I had been crying for two pages.

After the war, Brittain’s life was without direction. She returned to Oxford and struggled to start her writing career. In the final section of the book, she writes about society’s changing attitudes towards war veterans and how her experiences led her to become a pacifist. I didn’t find Part III, after the war, to be as interesting as the first two parts. I sort of wish I had stopped at the end of the war. Since this book was written in 1933, I expect that, in this case, it makes a difference that I’m not part of the pre-WWII audience she was writing for.

Highly recommended.


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Podcasts: NPR Most E-Mailed Stories

Podcast: NPR Most E-Mailed Stories.

This is a daily compilation of the six most e-mailed stories from NPR programs. They tend to be mostly from Morning Edition and All Things Considered, with a sprinkling of pieces from other NPR shows.

Joshua Daniel Franklin runs an unofficial blog that lists and links directly to each day’s individual stories. The blog archives go back to August 2005.

NPR also keeps a Most Popular page, a current list of the most commented, most recommended, and most viewed NPR stories.

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Preview of new weather.gov website

The National Weather Service has released a preview of its redesign of weather.gov. The press release has pictures of the national front page, a “service point” forecast page (in this case, Chicago’s), and the mobile version.

preview of weather.gov

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