Class Struggle

This hasn’t happened in my library yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did….

by flickr user .michael.newman.


Open Library

One of the many free eBooks available from OpenLibrary.org

I recently joined the 21st century and bought myself a Barnes & Noble Nook. Over the past few years, my opinions on e-Readers went from distrust (a threat to libraries!) to distaste (for the DRM) to curiosity and then, finally, I realized one could be useful. I refused to buy a Kindle due to the proprietary software and the fact that I wanted to use library eBooks.

However, Overdrive can be picky and difficult to use. With that, I was exceptionally pleased to see the Internet Archive’s recent announcement of an extensive free e-book collection at Open Library. From the announcement:

Continue Reading »

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back to blogging after the long hiatus. I took a break after school, and had a tough time launching back into regular posting.

Riots not Diets, from flickr user gaelx

Anyways! One of the most exciting reasons I haven’t been posting is that I have been reading all about Fat Studies. My good friend and coworker Kate and I will be presenting on information bias inherent in academia surrounding fatness, and especially focusing on the impact in cataloging. It’s also been really interesting looking at the links between disability studies, queer studies, and fat studies.

Currently, academia and society both medicalize fatness, turning it into a disease (which it’s not, for many reasons). One of the many problems with this is that talking about the sociological or anthropological aspects of Fat Studies becomes almost taboo in conventional academia, and body positive books end up being cataloged under “Obesity,” clearly labeling all fat people diseased. We’ll also be looking at very “unacademic” sources of information like zines and blogs, and talking about how perfectly valid information can be gleaned from them.

There’s so much to this that hasn’t been explored yet. If you’re interested in reading up on Fat Studies, Kate has a great list of resources on her blog.

Kate and I will be presenting at the Sarah Lawrence College Women’s History Month conference (March 4th and 5th, 2011) which will be all about body politics. Check it out!


Book waiting to be discarded

While most people hate to think that libraries throw away books, with the limited shelf space that libraries have, weeding and discarding books are an unavoidable task. Recycling and donating are great, but what if your library has limited funds and you can’t get to a drop-off point?

We were looking into Books Through Bars, which donates certain books to prison libraries, but between their restrictions and the fact that we’d have to bring all the books ourselves to Brooklyn, this wasn’t feasible.

Now we’re checking out Better World Books, a for-profit organization that pays for all shipping costs, and has a good history of both recycling and donating books to a series of non-profits. As a student, I bought very high quality discarded library copies from Better World Books at reasonable prices. The student sustainability committee here has teamed up with BWB for the end of the semester, providing book drop-off boxes for students who don’t want to lug their books home.

While I have my qualms about teaming up with a for-profit organization, it might be nice to get some money back for the books we can’t keep. At the same time, many of our books are in too poor a condition to be donated to BWB. So what else is there? I wish I could go to Radical Reference’s event on Discards and┬áDe-accession on Monday, but I’m busy.

I’ve been to two Library events this weekend, one radically different from the other. The first was the Westchester Library Association (WLA) conference in Tarrytown, and the second was the LACUNY event on Critical Pedagogy and Library Instruction at Brooklyn College.

Continue Reading »

MoCCA Fest

This weekend I’ll be headed to MoCCA Fest (the convention of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art). I’m super excited, since I’ve been starting to build a graphic novel collection in my library, and I love comic books, and I’ve never been to something like this!

It’s fairly inexpensive ($15/weekend, $10/day), so if you are in the NY area, you should stop by and get to see some really cool stuff.

MoCCA Festival

Saturday & Sunday April 10 & 11, 2010
69th Regiment Armory
68 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY

For the past few months, the reference staff and I have been mulling over a conundrum – how to advertise our collection. One of our biggest complaints is that we “don’t buy new books,” which is certainly not true, which means that we are not adequately informing students about these wonderful new books we buy for them.

Someday I would like to have a “Recent Acquisitions” shelf in the library, but until that day (which could be months from now), it is my goal to find a way to let people know about these great new books. We have a bulletin board with book covers for mostly new fiction, but this doesn’t seem to be enough.

Another┬ápossibility is using our Library News blog to promote our collections, with a kind of “Staff highlights” or “New Books We’re Excited About” post. Yet we get far more books than we could enter in blog posts, and the blog brings its own questions (do we divide the posts by subject? how detailed do we get?).