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Books and Libraries

October 25, 2013

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has gone well and you are looking forward to a lovely weekend. With the weather turning chilly, it seems the perfect time to turn our talk to books to end this week. Because really, what is much better than curling up with a good book, a blanket and a cup of tea/hot chocolate/coffee/your favorite drink when it is chilly outside? Autumn is a fabulous time for this lovely pleasure and so let’s talk books and libraries, or rather let’s read about them.

If you haven’t yet read Neil Gaiman’s talk on libraries and reading and daydreaming yet, you really should. Also, if you haven’t heard of it, you really need to update your channels for libraryland news. It’s no secret I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work and his speaking. I spent hours waiting to have him sign my books when he was in San Francisco promoting The Ocean at the End of the Lane (absolutely fantastic, by the way). I eagerly try to lend out my copies of his short stories and poems to friends that haven’t yet read his work and am always excited to see when he has a new blog post up.

One of the things, apart from his writing, that I most admire about Neil Gaiman is his vocal support for libraries and reading books. (Not surprising I know, but true). This latest talk is absolutely wonderful and I love thinking about books as being sharks, perfectly adapted so why bother evolving? (Especially makes me happy as I’m working with a biology course this quarter and they’re learning about natural selection pressures at the moment.) I think his talk is an eloquent argument for the value of physical libraries and physical books in a time when so many have been swept away by the “shiny” of technology and promise of everything being better online. But I think, when the digital bits settle down, we see again and again the ability of physical books to transport us and allow us space away from the multitasking atmosphere of being online to a place of reflection and wonder.

I love using technology as much as the next person and fully embrace its use in libraries, archives, and the classroom, but in ways that make sense and not as a panacea for all. I think Neil Gaiman reminds us of why humans and paper and daydreaming are as important as knowing the latest technology. Books give us the room to dream and imagine, which we can translate into new and creative tools and technologies. So nice to read about the love of books from one of our current rock star authors.

In other non-library news, I’m looking forward to trying this lovely recipe from Joy the Baker now that we have a waffle iron at home: mashed potato cheddar and chive waffles. Sounds absolutely perfect for the crisp fall weather we are getting.

Finally, if you are like me and are concerned with privacy or teach about privacy and using technology, you’ll probably appreciate this comic from xkcd. I can’t wait to use it with my students during the next quarter:

Privacy Opinions by xkcd

Privacy Opinions by xkcd

Have a fantastic weekend full of good reads, good eats, and good fun. I’ll be back next week with more. Allons-y!

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