Archive for the ‘flash mob’ Category

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Flash-mob Cataloging Party: UIllinois prof’s folktale collection

Once upon a time, this hearty group of library students from the University of Illinois (my alma mater) came together to finish up flash-mob cataloging the folktales collection of storytelling professor Dan Keding. They had started in the spring by cataloging 600 books, which was less than half the collection.

The final count was 1,413 books, which you can see in Dan’s LibraryThing catalog here. Dan is also a LibraryThing author, with several folktale books of his own.

In addition to cataloging the collection, the mobbers added Mylar covers to the dust jackets. The books in the collection are available to students taking the storytelling course. See more photos of the flash mob here.

While getting my library science degree I took this class, and used books like these for finding stories to perform, as well as information about the history of various stories and storytelling. I’m happy students will have an even larger collection – as it turns out, finding stories you want to tell isn’t as easy as you’d think.

Dan’s guitar case now boasts a LibraryThing sticker. LibraryThing now boasts a new member with a large folktale collection. Students can now see the collection online. We all lived happily ever after.

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging, folktales, Illinois, storytelling

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Flash-mob in Kansas City, MO

The Crossroads Infoshop (a Radical Library and Zine Distro) in Kansas City, MO is hosting a flash-mob to get their library cataloged. They’re a community-run radical information center that runs on donations and volunteer support.

They have a small collection (the guess is 500-800 books) that they’d like to get onto their LibraryThing account: crossroadsinfoshop.

The flash-mob cataloging party is Friday, July 10th from 5pm-10pm. They’re supplying free food and drink for all volunteers!

The Crossroads Infoshop is located at 3109 Troost Ave in Kansas City, MO (Google maps). If you have any questions—or to RSVP—please feel free to contact them directly at or through their LibraryThing profile, crossroadsinfoshop.

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Flash-mob catalog party in Omaha

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts has planned a flash-mob cataloging party in Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday, June 24th, between 9:30am and 5pm. They have a 600 volume library to catalog and can use all the help they can get. They recommend arriving between 9:30-10am, but come whenever for however long you can!

Volunteers will be honored with a complimentary Bemis Center membership and some delicious snacks. Contact BemisCenter or email ( if you’re able to attend. Directions here on their website.

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Flash-mob in South Carolina

This Saturday, May 30th, the Clemson Montessori School in Clemson, SC will host a flash-mob to catalog their library.

It will start at 9am and go until it ends (probably not later than 3pm). Arrive anytime before lunch and stay an hour or all day! The school will provide morning snacks, coffee, etc. and lunch for helpers.

204 Pendleton Road. Clemson, SC 29631 (just off of US 76).

The catalogers will be behind the white fence in the building nearest the soccer field.

There are lots of books to catalog and the library building has wireless internet so bring your laptops and join us. (We should also have limited access to a couple of desktop computers).

Please let Tricia know if you plan to come (or need more info) via a comment on her profile (hailelib or cmslib29631) or email at

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Reoccuring flash mob in Chicago – April 26 and May 3

The flash mob at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago went well last Sunday, with volunteers braving dismal Spring weather to battle the uncatalogued books.

The battle rages on, though. Despite 3,151 books cataloged, this library has MORE TO DO. As Sarah says, “kinda takes the flash out of it, but oh well.” Nobody expects the flash mob to come back – this is brilliant. Those books won’t know what hit them.

Also, this is a unique chance for all y’all who said “Oh, that sounds like fun, too bad I’m busy that day” to get in a few hours of altruistic cataloging.

So, for the next two Sundays (April 26th and May 3rd), there will be more mob-cataloging. The battle starts at 11 a.m. so bring your CueCat, and best snapping fingers. You can see the Puerto Rican Cultural Center catalog here.

I hear tell they had coffee and locally made Puerto Rican pastries last week, which are both delicious and culturally appropriate!

The PRCC is located at 2700 W Haddon in the Paseo Boricua neighborhood. Feel free to just show up on the day, or send a message ahead of time to let us know you’re coming so we’ll know how many to expect! Sarah Jackman ( is the contact person for this flash-mob. Feel free to call her at (608) 330-0865 or send her an email.

Labels: Chicago, flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Flash news: flash-mob cataloging in Chicago this weekend!

Completely ganked from the Talk thread:

This Sunday, April 19, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago will host a flash-mob to catalog the 1-2,000 books left in their library! The flash-mob will start at 11 am and go until 3 – or until the books are cataloged, whichever happens first.

Puerto Rican Cultural Center Website

The PRCC is located at 2700 W Haddon in the Paseo Boricua neighborhood. Take the Division exit off 90/94, go about 2 miles West on Division, then turn left on Washtenaw. The PRCC is on the NW corner of Haddon and Washtenaw. There’s plenty of free street parking.

Feel free to just show up on the day, or send a message ahead of time to let us know you’re coming so we’ll know how many to expect! Sarah Jackman ( is the contact person for this flash-mob. Feel free to call her at (608) 330-0865 or send her an email.

We hope lots of Chicago-area LibraryThingers will come out to help – can’t wait to see you all there!

Labels: cataloging, Chicago, cultural library, flash mob, flash-mob cataloging, Illinois

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Flash-Mob Cataloging: NCSU took on the Joel Lane House Museum

Another library cataloged in a day, thanks to the Metadata & Cataloging Department at North Carolina State University Libraries. They descended upon the Joel Lane Museum House in Raleigh, NC (museum website, LibraryThing Local page) as their community service outing, to catalog the museum’s collection (here). Not only is the museum the oldest dwelling in Raleigh, but it’s also full of rare books and historical documents. The collection also has works on museum maintenance, gardening, antiques, colonial-period America, the history of North Carolina and Raleigh, and a book entitled “Southern Honor: ethics and behavior in the old South” – which was thusly tagged ‘dueling‘.

To one-up previous LibraryThing Flash Mobs, this particular mob also scanned some covers! As this escalates, what do you think will mobbers be doing – reading every book as they go?

Read more about the day’s adventures from the libloggerazzi:
Circ and Serve
Shovers and Makers
USF Library

While none of the LibraryThing staff were in attendance, we did send a care package of cuecats and teeshirts. There are some New England flash-mobs in the works, which we will personally help rock.

If you’re interested in forming a flash mob for a library near you, check out Tim’s blog post, the How To Flash-Mob with LibraryThing wiki and the Flash Mob Cataloging Talk group.

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging, NC, NCSU, party

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Flash-Mob Cataloging

I’ve just created a group dedicated to Flash-Mob Cataloging. Flash-Mob Cataloging is when a horde of LibraryThing members descend on some small library with laptops and CueCat barcode scanners, catalog their books in LibraryThing, eat some pizza, talk some talk and leave them with a gleaming new LibraryThing catalog.

Why do it? There are many small libraries that use LibraryThing as their online catalog–museums, organizations, churches, schools, synagogues, temples, even some embassies! It’s an easy cheap solution to library automation. (More on organizational LibraryThing accounts here.) And having a flash-mob do the cataloging makes it easy and fun to do the data entry! Emphasis on the fun, trust me.

We’ve done two so far (Rhode Island Audubon Society and St. John’s Church in Beverly MA), to great success. Both were in New England because, well, that’s where the most LibraryThing employees are located. But the concept isn’t limited by location! Anyone can organize one–hence, the new Flash-Mob Cataloging group. So come join us and plan your own flash-mob event. We’ll help you get organized, blog it for you so you can get the word out, and we’ll even send you some CueCats, tshirts, and laptop stickers to give away.

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Flash-mob cataloging: We did it!

We did it! Eighteen flash-mob catalogers descended upon the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and left having cataloged a wonderful 2,500-book library (available here).

I’ve posted my photos here. (UPDATE: link is here.) Jeremy has a nice blog post and some photos. Brian, the “Swiss Army Librarian,” posted his photos here.

For me the highlights were:

  • The diversity of people—LibraryThing nuts, local librarians, Audubon people.
  • The Audubon people were grateful, if a little stunned. Katya, who drove five hours to get there, floored them.
  • The Audubon library had its own bespoke classification system–I’m trying to get hold of it. They translated it to tags, which rebellious LibraryThingers added to as necessary (ie., no moths, pshaw!)
  • The couple—librarian, programmer—who competed to do the most books. The programmer won. How did he do it? “I pretended I was killing orcs.” With reference to multi-volume sets (echoing Gimli) “It only counts as one!”
  • It was great showing one retired librarian to cataloging books on LibraryThing and have him say “That’s it?”
  • The books were different. Our last flash-mob cataloging effort was for an Episcopal church, which had a lot of overlap with my library and interests. The Audubon Society shared only two of those books, and only one with me (The Diversity of Life). My dad’s (partial) library overlapped a lot more.
  • What do we make of the Personality of insects? Carl Sandburg also had a copy. But LCSH does not allow “Personality” to be so subdivided. Species-ists!
  • Most Legacy Libraries share no books. Darwin and Hemingway do, of course. And Walker Percy who has, I think, the best library of the Legacy Libraries, excepting maybe Jefferson.
  • As Jeremy points out in the notes, Audubon shares with Ian Flemming James Bond’s Birds of the West Indies. (Yes, that’s where he got the name.)
  • Again, Katya did all the “hard” cataloging, including two not in WorldCat.
  • Books with rulers. News to me.
  • Taxidermy animals. My son, Liam, should have been there.
  • Mike and I fixed bugs in real time–and pushing collections (again) by mistake. (We pushed a major speed-up for the Audubon library alone; I’ll be looking at extending it to all members.)

Next time we do this, we need to plan for a group-wide dinner/drinks afterward. With no group event, Mike, Jeremy, Katya and I headed to Cafe of India in Harvard Square for dinner, and a brief prowl of Harvard Book Store. Mike and I learned a lot, as usual. If librarianship were to be extinguished from the earth, I bet Jeremy and Katya could bring it back–with all the rigor it ever had (although it would be friendlier to tags).

Thanks to everyone who participated. You gave a day’s worth of your time, with only a CueCat and a t-shirt in return–and the knowledge that naturalists throughout Rhode Island will be able to search the Audubon library from home, something many public libraries in New England still don’t allow!

What’s next? With a church and an Audubon society under our belt, I want to do something different, like a historical society.* Katya and Jeremy both had good ideas there–something in Maine perhaps? Stay tuned!

Labels: Audubon Society, flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Flash-Mob Cataloging Party: Rhode Island Audubon Society

It’s time for another cataloging flash-mob*! This time we’re heading to the Audubon Society of Rhode Island to add their small lending collection to LibraryThing.

LibraryThing members can help catalog around 2,000 items at the beautiful Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, where I’m told we can take a nice walk for a break if the weather cooperates.

Need a little motivation? Read about our previous flash mob cataloging party in November here.
* The LibraryThing wiki page for the event.
* The day: Saturday, February 21st.
* The time: TBD, probably 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m., but come whenever you’re able.
* The place: Rhode Island Audubon Society Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI (Google map)
* Lunch will be provided by the Audubon Society

RSVP to sonya (at)

*What’s a flash mob?

Labels: Audubon Society, cataloging, flash mob, party, Rhode Island, RI