Friday, March 5th, 2021

Welcome Lucy!

Our LibraryThing team just keeps growing! We are excited to welcome Lucy (LT member knerd.knitter, Litsy member KnerdKnitter) to the team as our newest developer.

Lucy will be working primarily on the LibraryThing.com side of things. Her background is as a Java programmer, so she’s going to start off by getting to know our systems and brushing up on her PHP.

A LibraryThing member since 2007, Lucy saw the job posting first on LibraryThing itself and then at code4lib. In other words, when we asked our members to help us find our next great employee, she found herself! That means, she gets the $1,000 book bounty. Lucy plans to split the funds between bookstores in Omaha, Nebraska where she lives with with her husband, Casey; her daughter, Sara; and her two senior cats, Kupo and Lilith.

Say “hello” to Lucy on her LT Profile or the Welcome Lucy Talk topic.

About Lucy

Lucy has two bachelor’s degrees: English from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion and Computer Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has worked in libraries and loves shelving and cataloging so much she has cataloged her own personal library on LibraryThing using the Dewey Decimal system. Prior to working for LibraryThing, she worked as a software developer for 8 years.

She enjoys reading; knitting; playing board games, card games, and video games with her husband; The Simpsons; and semicolons.

Favorite authors: Sandra Boynton, Stephen King, Wally Lamb, J. Robert Lennon, Lionel Shriver, and Mo Willems

LT member: knerd.knitter
Litsy member: KnerdKnitter

Labels: employees

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

National Grammar Day Interview with Martha Brockenbrough

author photo of martha brockenbrough

Martha Brockenbrough (Photo by Emerald England)

March 4th is National Grammar Day. Established by author Martha Brockenbrough, the day was designated as a holiday in 2008. To celebrate, Meg sat down (virtually) with Brockenbrough to talk about grammar in our world today.

Let’s start with the basics: how do you define grammar and why do you think it’s important?

Oh, this could be a very long answer. Let me start with something fun: grammar and grimoire share an ancestor. A grimoire is a magician’s manual for invoking demons and you could say that grammar can often be the same. What they have in common is magic. There is the good magic that helps us say what we mean to say and understand what is meant by the author. And then there is the bad magic that uses grammar to exclude, humiliate, and subjugate. Grammar is understanding how our language works, how it has evolved, and what can be accomplished by respecting conventions and what can be accomplished by breaking them. The more we know, the more powerfully and humanely we can practice this wonderful art.

You established National Grammar Day in 2008 with the goal of making grammar fun and lively for your students. How has grammar, or the study of grammar, changed in the last thirteen years?

I’m no longer teaching high school students, although I have one at home. I think for some, the study of grammar has changed in some of the good ways that society has changed. We are better now at recognizing white supremacy and the marginalization of certain forms of English. Language has always been a political weapon. English follows a lot of Latin “rules” for this exact reason. Latin was viewed as a superior language, and we were clawing our way upward in modeling certain English rules—e.g. “don’t split infinitives”—on Latin, where an infinitive is a single word and can’t be split.

cover of unpresidented

In America, we just got rid of a president who was incredibly sloppy with language. When his subordinates tweeted under his name, they even copied his irregular spelling and capitalization. I’m being judgmental here. I called him sloppy. But as the parent of a child with dyslexia, I recognize that he might also have this very common learning disability. So my judgment might be unfair even as he played the role of a populist, and part of that role is rejecting the appearance of being conventionally educated. This was, I suppose, his evil genius. He could be born with a golden spoon in his mouth and convince people without his privilege that he understood them.

Part of arming ourselves against future demagogues is, I think, in not using education and knowledge as a cudgel to beat anyone down, but rather, to insist that it is both a gift and a birthright for everyone. I believe in building windows and doors, not walls. If it were easy, we would have done this long ago. And maybe I wouldn’t be so judgmental about the disgraced, twice-impeached, former president’s language. But I do think that’s what we might all work toward.

A lot of our members are at home helping their kids or grandkids with school because of the pandemic. What do you hope adults will convey to young people about grammar?

The best way to learn how language works is to read a lot. When you read, you encounter a much wider vocabulary than you do when conversing, watching TV, or listening to the radio. You also internalize patterns of language that have met a certain threshold of excellence. Everyone ought to read like crazy, and most libraries are still making this possible.

Meanwhile, I think we might do less conveying and more listening. I’m always learning new things about the evolving language from my kids. It was news to me that terminal punctuation on texts conveyed anger to them. To me, it meant I was being careful and consistent. All sorts of new vocabulary comes from young people, and it doesn’t hurt us to learn it and understand it. I do confess to taking delight in using things incorrectly, just to rile my kids a bit. But now it’s a running gag. They stan it. Or something like that.

I still do convey certain things to my daughters, who are now 17 and 20. The language we use in public—on social media and in school—is a lot like the clothes we wear. There are expectations and conventions. There are also power dynamics. A person who is hiring people for a job has power over the applicants, and that’s why we scrutinize our resumes and dress strategically for interviews. That’s a different situation from hanging out with friends (wearing masks, staying six feet apart). Navigating the world is easier when you understand conventions, dynamics, and codes, some of which probably ought to dismantled, but that can be hard to do from the outside.

In addition to being a grammar champion, you write fiction and narrative nonfiction. How does your understanding of grammar impact your creative writing?

I’m reading a most wonderful book right now: A Swim in the Pond in the Rain by George Saunders, which is a close examination of Russian short stories and how he teaches them. Here we are, reading translations of work, and translating them again through the eyes of Saunders, who is a white man of a certain age with certain experiences. Look at what language can do. Look at what stories can do. They can cross continents. They can travel through time. They can be funneled through the filter of another language twice—and still mean something to the reader. I’m paraphrasing, but one thing Saunders says is that he tries to write sentences that make the reader want to read the next one.

That is a very specific vision of how stories work. If you’ve ever studied storytelling, you no doubt know there are graphs that show us how stories work. That there are “beats.” Narrative structures. Big-picture things that suggest that the shape of the story is more important than its cellular structure.

What Saunders is talking about, I think, is partly the power of grammar. When you encounter a sentence that is right for the story—the right words in the right order with the right rhythm for the emotional moment—you want to know what happens next. This is a way of tying the big picture elements to the very smallest, the way our bodies emerge from our unique double helixes of DNA.

All of which is to say that when I am telling a story, I make the best use I can of every tool possible. Grammar—conventional, unconventional, character-specific—is vital.

Tell us about your home library.

I love books. I have many. Too many. It is badly organized, though it wasn’t always that way. It makes it hard to find specific things but easy to be surprised by treasure. It is a mix of books for young readers and books for grownups, mostly fiction for the former and nonfiction for the latter. On the project list this year are more built-in bookshelves, and we just secured some reclaimed fir for the purpose. I’m giddy with excitement.

 

cover of unpresidented

Tell us what you’re reading right now.

I just finished David Sedaris’s essay collection, The Best of Me. I’ve been reading him my entire adult life. I’ve seen him live. I’ve read some of these essays before, and this collection felt a bit like a reckoning about family, what is funny, and what fractures us. I am reading A Question of Freedom by Reginald Dwayne Betts, which is his memoir about coming of age in prison. And then there’s the Saunders book. I don’t generally read so many books by men, but sometimes it happens. I just finished the page proofs of my next novel, Into the Bloodred Woods, which is based on the idea that everything you’ve ever read in fairytales is a lie.

 

About Martha Brockenbrough:

Martha Brockenbrough is the author of two books for adults and numerous books for young readers, including YA fiction and nonfiction, picture books, and a forthcoming chapter book series. Her next book, Into the Bloodred Woods, will be released by Scholastic in November. Visit her website to learn more about her and her books.

Labels: author interview, authors, holiday

Monday, March 1st, 2021

March Early Reviewers Batch is Up

Win free books from the March 2021 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 74 books this month, and a grand total of 2,220 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, March 29th at 6PM Eastern.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, Germany, and many more! Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

The Parliament House Press Candlewick Press Walker Books US
Akashic Books Revell TouchPoint Press
Small Beer Press World Weaver Press ThunderStone Books
Black Rose Writing BookWhisperer Literary Wanderlust LLC
Farzana Doctor University of Chicago Press BOA Editions, Ltd.
Wise Media Group Crystal Peake Publisher wayzgoose press
Plough Publishing House Scribe Publishing Company Red Adept Publishing
ClydeBank Media Greystone Books Scribe Publications
Ballantine Books BookViewCafe Poolbeg Press
BHC Press Alaska Northwest Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Monday, February 1st, 2021

February Early Reviewers Batch is Up

Win free books from the February 2021 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 57 books this month, and a grand total of 1,819 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, February 22nd at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, Germany, and many more! Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Nandra Publishing, LLC The Parliament House Press Candlewick Press
Walker Books US Black Rose Writing BLF Press
Revell Plough Publishing House ClydeBank Media
Akashic Books TouchPoint Press World Weaver Press
TouchPoint Faith Flyaway Books Greenleaf Book Group
BookWhisperer Consortium Book Sales and Distribution Unsolicited Press
Small Beer Press William Morrow Ooligan Press
CarTech Books Ballantine Books Poolbeg Press
BookViewCafe Red Adept Publishing Tiny Fox Press
Bellevue Literary Press BHC Press

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

TinyCat’s January Library of the Month: Tito Peter’s Free Public Library

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

We’re kicking the new year off with a feel-good story about a retired law librarian who’s been spending his days establishing a free library for a local community in the Philippines. He recently completed the library and Librarian Peter Mazzei was kind enough to answer my questions this month! Read on:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Tito Peter’s Free Public Library is a small, charitable library and education center located in Tambo, Batangas, Philippines. It has been a dream of mine for many years to build a library in my wife’s barangay (village) where books and educational resources are scarce. The mission and purpose of the library is to promote literacy, provide free educational resources (books, computer access, paper, school supplies, etc.) for students of all ages, and encourage reading, writing and education.

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

As books and computer access to educational and research resources are relatively expensive and scarce, the library provides these resources in a safe, quiet environment that is conducive to learning, thinking and discovering. The barangay does not have a library of its own, so our library sort of acts as an ad hoc public or community library. In the near future, post COVID, I plan on having special activities such as poetry writing, science experiments, identifying plants, rocks and minerals, star-gazing, fun with mathematics, reading groups, and classical music appreciation.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Children’s books of all kinds, especially picture books with those wonderful illustrations. The kids are enthralled with interactive books like pop-up books, lift-the-flap books and other books with movable parts.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The librarian’s perennial paradox: Not enough space, yet always looking for more books to add to the collection.

What is your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

I have many favorite things about TinyCat, too numerous to mention here. Suffice it to say that it is a first-rate online cataloging/circulation system for small libraries. I think it is the best out there.

For circulation statistics, you currently have data for “Records, Checked out, On hold, Overdue, and Patrons”. Can you add “Total Checked Out” which would be the total number of books checked out since the inception of the library using TinyCat. It would be even better if you can also give the option to break down the total number of books checked out by month or year. That would really help the librarian quickly visualize how the library collection as a whole is being circulated.

Great idea! We do give you the option to generate your own checkout reports and/or export your lending Transactions, but adding a quick reference to total checkouts might be nice.


Want to learn more about Tito Peter’s Free Public Library? Check out their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Monday, January 4th, 2021

January Early Reviewers batch is up!

Win free books from the January 2021 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 63 books this month, and a grand total of 2,227 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, January 25th at 6PM Eastern.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, Germany, and more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

William Morrow University of North Georgia Press The Parliament House Press
Heritage Books Candlewick Press Black Rose Writing
Prufrock Press Revell Science, Naturally!
BookViewCafe Three Rooms Press Red Adept Publishing
Zimbell House Publishing City Owl Press Bellevue Literary Press
BHC Press Ooligan Press Poolbeg Press
Rootstock Publishing

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Top 5 Books of 2020

Top52020fin

Every year we make a list of the top five books read by LibraryThing staff, and we’re not going to let 2020 stop that tradition. You can see past years’ lists here. And you can talk about your reading year on Talk.

What were your top five for this year? We want to know, so we started a list that all of LibraryThing can add to. Note: This is about what you read in 2020, not just books published in 2020.

Abby

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. I found this historical fantasy, steampunk London book just completely captivating. It’s a delicate magical mystery, and its sequel The Lost Future of Pepperharrow is just as good.

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey. I loved this the way I love a Sarah Waters novel. Gothic and tense and SO tightly written, it unfolded so precisely and beautifully. Perfection.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This book has heart. It is charming and delightful and queer and kind and I want to clutch it to my chest and keep it safe forever.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Magic secret societies at Yale. Need I say more?

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue. A quiet and evocative book set in Dublin in 1918, in a hospital maternity ward, in the middle of the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Meg

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. Funny and provocative, this tightly-plotted novel had me laughing, crying, and cringing. The story begins with twenty-something Black woman Emira being falsely accused of kidnapping the white girl she babysits. Reid uses this set up to tackle questions of race, gender, age, and class. I found myself constantly entertained while also doing some tough self-reflection.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King. It was not that long ago that I was living in Boston writing stories that I worried would never be published. Which is to say, I related very much to King’s latest novel. I actually saw myself so deeply in this book that I wondered if anyone else in the world would like it. People did. In retrospect, there are a lot of differences between my experiences and Casey’s: I never waitressed or went on a writing retreat or dated a much older man. I think it’s a testament to King’s ability to write so specifically about this character and her world that it becomes universal.

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier. The protagonist of Frazier’s debut novel is eighteen and pregnant. She works as a pizza delivery girl and at night, while her boyfriend is sleeping, she sneaks out to her dead father’s shed and drinks can after can of beer. She is lost and the only thing that seems to feel real to her in Jenny Hauser, an older woman who orders pizza with pickles. The two become friends, of sorts. Our heroine fixates on Jenny in a way that can be hard to read, but feels very true. This is a bold book that surprised me at every turn.

The Book on Pie by Erin Jeanne McDowell. I won this book from a local independent bookstore right before Thanksgiving. I am normally the pie-baker in the family, and I was feeling sad about not being able to share pies with my parents. A recipe for hand pies solved that problem deliciously. I had less success with my attempt to make the Apple Butterscotch pie: my butterscotch pudding never set. But, I took the whole thing, crust and all, dumped it into the ice cream maker and made apple pie ice cream. I think McDowell would approve.

Quintessence by Jess Redman. Perhaps my favorite trope is a group of unlikely kids coming together to save the world. In this middle grade novel, four mismatched kids must help to return a fallen star to the sky. There’s a mix of magic and science, and a blurring of the line between the two, which is something that I also love very much. What really makes this novel stand out, though, is the way Redman addresses the main character’s anxiety. Alma has panic attacks, but the book isn’t about that. With anxiety on the rise in children, this book offers a nice reminder that all kids can have adventures and save the world.

Tim

Annus horribilis! It started in New Zealand, which was lovely, but by March we were fleeing back to the US on the last Hawaian Airlines flight, leaving the only country that would truly defeat the virus. In truth, I could barely concentrate on reading for months. Eventually reading came back, with a special focus on lighter fare, and home schooling and enjoying time with my 14 year-old son, Liam.

Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution by Richard Beeman. Although I studied American History in college, I had never done a deep dive on the Constitution. Beeman provides a detailed narrative reconstruction of the (somewhat vexed) primary sources, with some valuable content and analysis. To understand the Constitution and its origins well is, of course, a corrective to much contemporary political discussion and—shall we say—treasonous shenanigans?

Facebook: The Inside Story by Stephen Levy. This is a comprehensive, well-sourced and engrossing narrative of Facebook’s improbable rise. Unlike Brad Stone, whose The Upstarts, on Uber and Airbnb, utterly missed what was toxic and broken in Uber, Levy sees clearly how Facebook’s culture and reckless early decisions created the dangerous mess it eventually became.

Honorable mention goes to two other company bios I read this year. In the Plex, Levy’s portrait of Google, was great, but didn’t quite match up to Facebook. The topic is interesting, but he does not seem to have enjoyed the same access to top Google people as he had to Facebook people. And Google is simply less of a trainwreck. Lastly, I enjoyed We Are the Nerds by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, about the history of Reddit. As LibraryThing began on the edge of some of the circles involved in that story, it had an element of reminiscence for me.

Red Shirts by John Scalzi. My 14 year-old son and I enjoy listening to science fiction together, but have struggled to find the right books. We ended Dune about a third of the way in when my son proclaimed that it had no funny parts at all. (Honestly, he’s right; Dune takes itself way too seriously.) After Red Shirts we listened to Agent to the Stars, Scalzi’s other humorous book.

Red Shirts takes place in a Star Trek-like universe, where some of the minor characters are beginning to suspect something is wrong with reality. Agent to the Stars imagines that aliens initiate first contact with a Hollywood agent. These books aren’t great literature, but they are fun!

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. I’d read it when young, but on a re-read—holy smokes this is a great book! Douglass is an absolute master of his craft and aims. My son and I were fairly floored by it. If you haven’t read it, you simply have to.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. H. P. Lovecraft was, of course, a racist, and racism is shot throughout his work, but it wasn’t immediately obvious to me that a Lovecraftian exploration of American racism would work. It largely does. I resisted putting it on my 2020 list, but however jagged the story can be, it “stuck”; my mind keeps returning to certain scenes months after I finished the novel. I have not seen the HBO miniseries, but I hear it’s good.

Kate

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. Being emotionally devastated by beautifully written stories is one of my favorite things. I’m still thinking about the characters and their lives and this perfect book.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo What Abby said.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia. 2020 was the year of a global pandemic, yes, but also the year of Kate Racculia for some reason. I know so many folks who read and loved this book and rightly so! It is so stinkin’ good! The highest praise I can give this book is that it’s evocative of The Westing Game, but more modern, more fun, and with more heart.

The Searcher by Tana French. Is it even a best books of the year list if I’m not talking about Tana French? My father-in-law and I share an appreciation for French’s books and after reading this one we both had the same reaction/synopsis: there were no major plot points that made any sort of impression, but we loved reading it. The Searcher is said to be French’s take on a western, which is not a genre I particularly like (save True Grit. True Grit is a masterpiece.), but this book proves that I will read and enjoy literally anything that Tana French offers me.

Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia. This one was a departure for me as I tend to avoid anything remotely scary, but I’m glad I made an exception. Reader, I wasn’t scared! It was heavily gothic and atmospheric and creepy, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

ChrisC

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Blockchain : the next everything by Stephen P. Williams

21 lessons for the 21st century by Yuval Harari

Yesterday’s son by A. C. Crispin

The rational optimist by Matt Ridley

Kristi

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman. Braverman’s coming-of-age memoir is as raw, wild, and visceral as the Arctic. Great read.

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West. A collection of essays that hits on the big issues in America today. A witty, intelligent, cathartic read. (And yes, yes we are coming.)

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. If you’re looking for a fun, adventurous mystery, and you can overlook a few plot/character holes, this is it. It was a welcomed escape read.

Perfume by Patrick Süskind. Chilling.

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson. A nod to my children’s-only genre from last year’s picks, this was one of my favorite bedtime reads with my now 20-month old son Finn. Each animal in the story was given their own voice, of course (in the spirit of Redwall). Looking forward to collecting the series!

Honorable Mention: A Promised Land by Barack Obama. I can’t vouch for the whole book just yet (and I’m “reading” the audiobook narrated by Obama), but it’s been a delightful listen so far. Best described as a nostalgic breath of fresh air.

That’s it!

Come record your own Top Five of 2020 on Lists and Talk.

Labels: top five

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

TinyCat’s December Library of the Month: The Anomaly Archives Library

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

December’s Library of the Month is a fascinating organization focusing on the most curious phenomena this world has to offer: congratulations to The Anomaly Archives Library! The Founder of the Anomaly Archives, SMiles Lewis, was kind enough to take my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Our legal name is the Scientific Anomaly Institute, but we generally refer to our organization as the Anomaly Archives and that’s how we promote ourselves. I founded the organization with the State of Texas in 2003 and we became an established nonprofit in 2006.

Our raison d’etre is the, “Preservation and dissemination of scientific research into anomalous phenomena; Research and analysis of accumulated collections; Education of the public regarding scientific investigations into these phenomena.” Put another way the purposes of the organization are:

  • Managing and developing an archive and library for documents and literature with regards to a multi-disciplinary approach to anomalous phenomena
  • Supporting, promoting and pursuing research to obtain increased knowledge about anomalous phenomena
  • Pursuing and stimulating a critical, scientific discussion of anomalous phenomena, and providing a forum for information, support, and sharing among researchers
  • Functioning as the archives and library for like-minded organizations, and other groups in the community that have similar interests.

Some of the types of subject matter our special collections cover include: UFOs and Ufology, Consciousness (“What is it?”, meditation, dreams, lucid dreaming, and more), Parapsychology (ESP, PSI, Remote Viewing, etc.) and the Paranormal (Ghosts, Hauntings, etc.), Fortean (after Charles Fort: chronicler of the unexplained) Phenomena, Cryptozoology (Bigfoot and undiscovered hominids, lake monsters, sea serpents, and other undiscovered/out of place or sightings of presumed extinct animals), ParaPolitical Science (after Professor Peter Dale Scott’s, Mae Brussell’s and John Judge’s approach to “ParaPolitics” aka Conspiracy Theory), Human Potential, Jungian Theory, Frontier Physics and much more!

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

Far too often, the personal libraries and research materials of researchers—including correspondence among researchers and witnesses—of these mysterious phenomena end up lost or thrown into landfills by family who don’t recognize the importance of such legacy materials. Or such collections end up being sold online via eBay or passed along to other researchers who may not share the material with others nor properly protect and preserve the materials. That’s where we, and the small network of similar anomalous archives (see our “Other Archives” online directory), come in.

We are constantly looking for such abandoned or forgotten collections while also actively working with still living researchers to help make sure their legacy, in the form of the materials making up their personal collections and life’s work, is preserved for future generations. We serve as a research resource for other investigators looking into the many and various anomalous subjects covered by the collections within our archives. We also host regular public events featuring researchers and experiencers of these strange phenomena. Our current Streamathon event series is our most ambitious such event to date!

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

There is so much, it’s very hard to identify specific items but…our oldest materials include historical texts from the 1600s that are part of our biggest donated collection: that of rare book collector and seller Bob Girard. Robert Charles Girard was the entrepreneur behind North America’s largest reseller of UFO related books, called ARCTURUS BOOKS INC. He published a long-running CataZine in which he’d write reviews of everything he sold. Bob has been called the “Proust of the UFO phenomenon” (John Chambers, Paranormal journalist, 2004).

Bob Girard’s collection has books on everything from Alchemy and Atlantis to all aspects of the Unexplained but also contains some of the most rare early Flying Saucer-era UFO books. We also have a nearly complete collection of his CataZine.

Other gems of our collection include an amazing collection of 1990s alternative media zine scene publications as well as rare audio and video recordings, materials from a local Past-life Regression Hypnotherapy clinician, the unpublished manuscript, daily diary, personal letters and more of a local Alien Abductee and Trance Medium who was featured in a 1990s anthology of similar cases, and much more!

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Funding and staffing: we’ve grown considerably over the past 3 years, acquiring more collections and getting more volunteers active in our ongoing activities. However, we still have no paid staff and this severely limits the amount of hours we are open to the public. Then with the current COVID situation, we’ve had to completely shut down and this has been the single greatest threat to our ongoing existence.

What is your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

My favorite thing about TinyCat is its ease of use and inexpensiveness. I have many ideas I’d love to see implemented but mainly I’d like to see a desktop cataloging extension that synced with the online version in ways that allowed easier updating of both a local catalog and the online catalog.


Want to learn more about The Anomaly Archives? Follow them on social media (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), visit their website at https://www.anomalyarchives.org/, and check out their TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

Welcome Meg!

We’re thrilled to welcome Meg (LT member megbmore, Litsy member megbmore) to the team, as our new Project Specialist for LibraryThing.com.

Meg will be running the official social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, writing State of the Thing, and eventually taking over the Early Reviewers program. If it involves writing, she will probably have a hand in it. One of her first projects will be launching a new group for requesting and giving book recommendations. Stay tuned for more details.

Meg learned about the Project Specialist position through State of the Thing, so she gets to keep the $1000 reward. She plans to spend part of it on Jólabókaflóð. In the Icelandic Christmas Book Flood tradition, books are given on Christmas Eve and people spend the evening at home reading. Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate the holiday in 2020, especially on a cold winter night in Maine.

Say “hello” on her LT profile or on the “Welcome Meg” Talk topic.

About Meg

Meg grew up in New Hampshire. She left the small town for the big city to attend Columbia University where she received her B.A. in English and Comparative Literature. After a short stint in the Peace Corps and dabbling in television production, she found her calling in libraries. She received her MLS from Simmons and worked in several K–12 libraries in Maine and Massachusetts. She later returned to Simmons to pursue her doctorate in library science with a focus on diversity in young adult collections. At the same time, she began writing and publishing books for children and young adults. Meg is one of our LibraryThing Authors and an alum of the Early Reviewers program. Visit her website or LibraryThing author page to learn more about her work.

Meg lives in southern Maine with her husband, two children, two cats, and a very, very old leopard gecko. She and her family keep bees somewhat successfully and enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, swimming, and skiing. They also enjoy their weekly family movie nights and are always looking for recommendations.

Some favorite authors: Shirley Jackson, Kate Racculia, Rebecca Stead, and Mary Roach.

Recent reads that she can’t stop thinking about: Writers & Lovers by Lily King, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia.

LT member megbmore
Litsy member megbmore

Labels: employees

Monday, December 7th, 2020

December Early Reviewers batch is up!

Win free books from the December 2020 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 55 books this month, and a grand total of 1,973 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, December 28th at 6PM Eastern.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, Germany, and more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Unsolicited Press Arrowsmith Press
Revell Black Rose Writing Prufrock Press
TouchPoint Press BLF Press The Wild Rose Press
Rootstock Publishing NewCon Press Red Adept Publishing
Ooligan Press University of North Georgia Press Bellevue Literary Press
BHC Press ClydeBank Media Chipper Press
Zimbell House Publishing The Parliament House Press BookViewCafe
Open Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER