Book Art: Malena Valcarcel

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a post on Book Art (almost exactly a year, oh my!), but I realized that although I have admired the gorgeous creations of this artist for some time, I somehow failed to do a post about them.

Malena Valcarcel is a book artist from Spain, and has a wonderful shop on Etsy. For the exceptional quality of work, her items are very reasonably priced. She even makes jewelry! Click on the pictures to go to the items on Malena’s website.

This is one of my favorites:
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And look at this one. Amazing!
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Malena’s work is incredible and ships anywhere in the world. I hope you have enjoyed looking at these treasures, and I also hope you head over to Etsy and treat yourself to some bookish art! 😉

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Girl Power!

Lately there have been some very exciting news articles about young girls effecting positive change in the lives of their communities, and abroad.

#1000blackgirlbooks reached international news with the inspiring story of a young girl from New Jersey who started a movement to gather books that weren’t just about ‘white boys and their dogs.’ She wanted to collect 1,000 books and surpassed her goal with the help of many generous donors:
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*image retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/09/marley-dias-1000-black-girl-books-hits-target-with-outpouring-of-donations

Also in February, we learned of two teens in India who saved their district library from decay. They formed a girl-power coalition, and approached the district’s administration about not only saving it, but giving it a facelift. Read more about it from the Times of India’s article, “Girl power puts district library in revamp mode.”

Recently, more good news from India reached us about a girl who sets up a small library at her home every day after school so the children nearby can access books they would not otherwise have access to. Read more on this amazing story here.
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*image retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/andreborges/a-9-year-old-girl-is-running-a-library-for-underprivileged-c#.djvQNkz3w

What amazing, fearless, inspirational stories!

I heart Little Free Libraries

Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? I’ve never seen one in real life, but I love the concept of them!

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Photo retrieved from http://www.shareable.net /blog/ever-wondered-how-little-free-libraries-change-neighborhoods

In December 2014, the Globe and Mail published an article about them entitled, When your neighbor’s yard is a library. The article paints an appealing picture of neighbors getting to know each other and swapping books they never guessed would appear in these impromptu libraries.

If you don’t have one near you, and you’d like to put one up, there is a fantastic website called LittleFreeLibrary.org that has absolutely everything you need to start your own. You can learn about the movement’s history, you can buy supplies and/or accessories to make your own Little Free Library, you can register it, you can also buy The Little Free Library Book – a volume I would like to add to my own collection. There are marketing materials to help spread awareness of your new Little Free Library, and many more useful resources. This website is a great resource to anyone who wants to start one or who just wants to find out more about them.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not), not everyone in the world loves Little Free Libraries. Last February, The Atlantic published, The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit and I think you can guess what that article is about (sad face). NOW Toronto also released an article in August 2015 about the under belly of Little Free Libraries – that people were putting garbagey books in them just so they didn’t have to throw the books away: Little Free Libraries have sprouted across Toronto, but yield few treasures.

Little Free Libraries are, in my opinion, a wonderful idea and I would definitely put one out if I could. But what do you think? Do you like the idea, or do you think they should require a permit and are just a way for people to throw out books they don’t like with a clear conscience?

Print is Putting Up a Good Fight

Even though I have a degree in library science and am well-versed in the changes that libraries are experiencing as they transition more and more of their resources from print to digital, in my heart of hearts, I remain devoted to print.

So with my bias strongly in tact, I wanted to find some sources that back me up; some stats that show I’m not alone.

  1. Released on February 27, 2015 by Huffingtonpost.comSorry eBooks. These 9 Studies Show Why Print Is Better. Wonderful title aside, this article has interesting points relating to emotional connection, the belief that all good info is NOT online, and more.
  2. On March 26, 2015, digitalbookworld.com released New Survey Finds Millennial Readers Clinging to PrintSome interesting book stats on the 18 – 34 age bracket.
  3. Comics Should Be Good blog, hosted on comicbookresources.com, released She Has No Head! – Print vs. Digital on April 20, 2015. The author flat-out states that she prefers print (kudos to you, my friend!), and there are some interesting comments and feedback that present arguments both for and against comics in digital format.
  4. From npr.org on May 28, 2015 comes Technology of Books Has Changed, But Bookstores are Hanging In There. The article is a heart-warming exploration of an independent bookstore in Washington, D.C., Capitol Hill Books. A few words from a customer and other professionals add to the print versus digital books debate.

At the end of 2014 and into the beginning of 2015, there was much talk of the resurgence of print, and speculation about eBook sales slowing. Now that we are well into 2015, I am interested to see what end-of-year stats for this year will show!

The Most Beautiful Libraries

There are always new posts and articles popping up about beautiful or interesting libraries and I thought I would combine a few, so you can get your fill of architecture and books without having to navigate to another page or site. And what better way to begin the weekend?

The 25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the World by Emily Temple for Flavorwire.com on January 1, 2013.
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18 Libraries Every Book Lover Should Visit In Their Lifetime by Asta Thrastardottir for Business Insider on January 1, 2015.
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The Most Spectacular Libraries in the World by The Telegraph at telegraph.co.uk
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*image retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10382588/The-most-spectacular-libraries-in-the-world.html?frame=2705761&amgpage=1. Photo by Will Pryce

For those of us who never tire of looking at these divine meldings of gorgeous spaces with their inspiring contents, perhaps you would be interested in a book of lovliness that you can hold in your hands and proudly display on your coffee table? If you are, The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World with text by Jacques Bosser and stunning photographs by Guillaume De Laubier is just the thing.
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Happy dreaming!

Say it with Infographics!

I just paid a visit to piktochart.com and created my first published Infographic. This tool is amazingly easy to use and I think every librarian should know how to create an Infographic. Visuals are everything these days, so if you want to convey a message to patrons, say it with graphics!

Here’s what I just made. It isn’t spectacular, but it’s not bad for a first attempt:
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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.

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

Tragedy for Books Around the World

The Independent reports on a devastating fire in Moscow at the INION (Academic Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences). The fire is contained, but caused severe damage to the building housing the 14.2-million volume collection.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 1.49.17 PM                                                                                   *image retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/huge-library-containing-historic-texts-and-14-million-books-goes-up-in-flames-moscow-10015455.html

Fire also destroyed books in Mosul. Books from the city’s Central Library have been carted away in trucks to a fiery death; and a University of Mosul library book bonfire at the hands of the Islamic State does not bode well for recorded history in Iraq these days. Ctvnews.ca reports.