The Evolution of Libraries

Many people think libraries are on the way out; that books are becoming a thing of the past. Libraries, however, are changing. They are no longer lending only reading materials. They lend tools. They lend musical instruments. They lend records and kitchen wares. Don’t believe it? Check out the proof in these articles:

Tool Libraries Up and Coming!

Musical Instrument Lending Library

Library Builds Kitchen Collection

Toronto Public Library’s Vinyl Collection

And for those libraries that still lend books, click here for some very unusual libraries!

Books about Bookstores!

As a bibliophile, I enjoy reading books where a bookstore features prominently in the story. I love bookstores; I dream of spending my days in one. So when I find a book with characters whose lives are intimately connected with a bookstore, naturally I enjoy reading it a little more than the others.

Here is a short list of some books that might appeal to those other bibliophiles out there, and I do apologize for some repeats from my earlier posts.

1. The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (1919)
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By now in the public domain and available through Print On Demand, this book is absolutely delightful. It features an atmospheric bookstore with a lovably eccentric owner; suspense and intrigue with just a touch of terrorism; romance, and a great many books.

2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (2012)
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This novel was immediately absorbing, and I enjoyed every page of it. The protagonist ends up working in a very unusual bookstore quite by chance, and it ends up changing his life. Plus, we get an interesting glimpse into the world of Google. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, but the journey to get there was wonderfully imaginative.

3. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (2014)
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Published just last year, and having received many commendations, you’ve no doubt at least heard of this book, if not already read it yourself. It is indeed heart-warming, touching, poignant, as well as funny, uplifting and an endearing tale of love and new life. And of course, it’s set around (and in) a bookstore!

4. Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries by Mark Leslie (2014)
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If you are at all intrigued by the supernatural, and also love books, then THIS is a book you will enjoy. And who knows, your local bookstore may be in it! Full of eye-witness account of real hauntings in Canada, the United States and abroad, it is an interesting, educational and spooky read.

The Cat Who . . . warms your heart

Has anyone out there read The Cat Who . . . series by Lilian Jackson Braun? I have to admit that these books are my guilty pleasure. They first came to my attention in 2010, although the first one was written in 1966. And that is partly why I was drawn to them – they are glimpses into the past. The series’ main character, Qwilleran, is a newspaper man in the first few books, and I loved reading about the typewriters and pencils that filled the room where the journalists churned out all their stories. Such a place is so far removed from the computers and digital layouts of today, that that alone is interesting enough to keep me reading. But then came the cats, hence the guilty pleasure. Qwilleran ends up adopting two cats, one each in the first two books of the series. And that first cat has a sixth sense… Or does he?
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There is a gap of 18 years between the third book (1968) and the fourth (1986), and from then on they came out very regularly until 2007. Reading through the developments of electronic library catalogues and cell phones, cats who help solve murder mysteries, and a little town “400 miles north of everywhere,” is what makes these books such a joy to read. They warm the heart and they don’t require too much from the reader. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a quirky read, or who needs something to calm the soul and bring a smile.
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Budget woes and Pervy Patrons

Today’s post focuses on those hallowed institutions we learn to love at a very early age: Libraries.

An article released yesterday by the New Glasgow News is distressing for people who know that library budgets are already tight. Libraries wary of tax proposal on books is scary enough,but the opening line of the article is enough to bring a tear to the eye. “[I]f the Liberal government goes ahead with its plan to put the provincial portion of the HST on printed books, it would end up costing the library an additional $10,000 a year.” Click here for the full story. 
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Every so often, you hear of unsavoury behaviour happening in public libraries and it seems impossible until the evidence proves  that people can be weird, incomprehensible creatures. There was the Case of the Mystery Urinator in Leaminton, Ontario in December 2012, and right now, there is more head-shaking behavior coming from Windsor, Ontario. CBC.ca reports, in Live sex shows streamed from Windsor libraries.
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*Fontainebleau branch of Windsor Public Library. Image retrieved from http://www.windsorpubliclibrary.com/?page_id=1392