Monday, June 7th, 2021

June 2021 Batch of Early Reviewers is Live!

Win free books from the June 2021 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 114 books this month, and a grand total of 3508 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, June 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 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!

Candlewick Press Akashic Books TouchPoint Press
Rootstock Publishing Black Rose Writing West Margin Press
Five Rivers Publishing Top Five Books Flyaway Books
Henry Holt and Company BookWhisperer Three Rooms Press
New Century William Morrow City Owl Press
Walker Books US Red Adept Publishing CarTech Books
Science, Naturally! Alcove Press Poolbeg Press
Bellevue Literary Press NewCon Press Tiny Fox Press
Anaphora Literary Press Ooligan Press Frayed Edge Press
First Steps Publishing BHC Press Vibrant Publishers
Vibrant Publishers Heritage Books Hawkwood Books
Jolly Fish Press Revell BooxAi
Sandra Jonas Publishing

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Friday, May 28th, 2021

TinyCat’s May Library of the Month: the Gal’s Guide Library

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

Our May Library of the Month goes to the first independent women’s history lending library in the U.S., the Gal’s Guide Library based out of Noblesville, Indiana! It was a joy to have Founder and Executive Director Leah Leach answer my questions this month:

Who are you, what is your mission—your “raison d’être”, and what’s something interesting about how you support your community?

We are the Gal’s Guide Library, and our mission is to provide an independent women’s history library to preserve, collect, share, and champion women’s achievements and lessons learned. We are also the first lending library in the United States dedicated to women’s history where you can browse the stacks and check out a book.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Some of the favorite items in our collection are the out-of-print books that are nearly lost to history, Conchita’s Cintrón’s Memoirs of a Bullfighter, Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ autobiography This Life I’ve Led, and The Memoirs of Alice Guy Blaché (which invented the film Be Natural narrated by Jodie Foster). These three books really inspired us to create a library.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Image clockwise from bottom left: Founder/Executive Director Leah Leach, the reading area of the library, shelves, more shelves, and a member’s card to the library.

The challenge in our library experience has been surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. We opened our doors to the public 11 days before the lockdown. We needed to pivot from a lending library to online content. It was a struggle but we found a way to thrive.

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

I don’t know if it’s silly or not but I love the animated cover display on the catalog homepage.

Not silly at all, I love the colorful eye candy on the TinyCat homepages as well!


Want to learn more about the Gal’s Guide Library? Follow them on social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube), visit their website here, and 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, May 17th, 2021

Welcome Abigail!

We’re very pleased to welcome Abigail (LibraryThing AbigailAdams26, Litsy AbigailAdams26) to the team, as our new Project Specialist for LibraryThing.com.

Abigail is taking over from Meg, and will be writing State of the Thing, running the official social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, coordinating the Early Reviewers program, and helping to answer member queries. If it’s writing or editing-related, she will be involved.

Her arrival leaves us with an abundance of Abigails, as she joins LibraryThing’s very first employee, Abby Blachly. We shall henceforth always call Abby “Abby” and Abigail “Abigail”!

Say hello on her LibraryThing profile or on the Welcome Abigail Talk topic.

About Abigail
Abigail was born in Cleveland, but grew up in New York, just north of the city. She received a B.A. in Classics from Oberlin College, and a MPhil in Children’s Literature from Trinity College Dublin. She has worked in the book business since the age of sixteen, when she got her first job at a local Waldenbooks, and has since worked at six other bookstores, in four cities on two continents. At her most recent bookstore, she had the pleasure of meeting some of her favorite children’s book creators.

Abigail currently lives in central New Jersey, with her mother and four somnolent cats answering (sometimes) to Chloe, Emmie, Orion, and Tigger. She has a passion for history (ancient and modern), languages, world music, and children’s literature, and is currently engaged in a project to visit all of her new home state’s Revolutionary War sites.

Favorite Authors: L.M. Montgomery, Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Georgette Heyer

LibraryThing Member: AbigailAdams26
Litsy Member: AbigailAdams26

Labels: employees

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

May 2021 Batch of Early Reviewers is Live!

Win free books from the May 2021 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 94 books this month, and a grand total of 2811 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, May 31st 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!

Candlewick Press Akashic Books Kaylie Jones Books
University of Chicago Press TouchPoint Press Black Rose Writing
Revell Flux Rootstock Publishing
Charlesbridge Arrowsmith Press Henry Holt and Company
City Owl Press Flyaway Books West Margin Press
Transformation Media Books Mirror World Publishing Hawkwood Books
Iron Bridge Publishing Heritage Books Frayed Edge Press
Scribner Books Meerkat Press Wise Media Group
CarTech Books Prufrock Press Ooligan Press
Poolbeg Press Vibrant Publishers Highlander Press
BHC Press Bellevue Literary Press BookViewCafe
Red Adept Publishing Nysa Media BookWhisperer

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Monday, April 26th, 2021

TinyCat’s April Library of the Month: The Pioneers Association of South Australia

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

Each year Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, a division of the American Library Association, celebrates Preservation Week to highlight the importance of preservation. Many TinyCat libraries have preservation within their mission including TinyCat’s Library of the Month for April. The Pioneers Association of South Australia manages a historical library centered around the pioneers of South Australia. Two of the library’s volunteers Alison and Julie were kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

Founded in 1935, the Pioneers Association of South Australia is a volunteer-run members organisation committed to perpetuating the memory of the pioneer settlers of South Australia and promoting their unique history.

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

The library of Pioneers SA has a collection of approximately 1500 items including books, electronic media, pamphlets, journals, posters, and history folders. The focus is on the pioneering years: the people who settled, the ships on which they arrived, and the early colonial settlements. Through the research of members, databases and history folders are being created, collating information about the passengers on the immigrant ships and the stories of these pioneers. We also aim to preserve records, portraits, relics, and historical materials associated with pioneer settlement.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

The shipping and family history folders are unique to the Association. There are also a number of old, out-of-print books that provide fascinating reading of early days in South Australia.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As a fully volunteer organisation it’s always a challenge to find the time to keep up with technological changes and work involved in maintaining the collection and assisting people with their family history inquiries.

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

TinyCat is easy to use for both library administration by volunteers and searching the catalogue by the public. It is very affordable and the online access to LibraryThing and TinyCat is also beneficial for all.


Want to learn more about the Pioneers Association of South Australia? Visit their website here and 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, April 5th, 2021

April EarlyReviewers Batch Is Live

Win free books from the April 2021 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 109 books this month, and a grand total of 3,307 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, April 26th 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, 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 Greenleaf Book Group
TouchPoint Press University of Chicago Press BOA Editions, Ltd.
wayzgoose press Scribe Publishing Company Revell
BookWhisperer City Owl Press Science, Naturally!
Black Rose Writing Imbrifex Books Consortium Book Sales and Distribution
Prufrock Press Henry Holt and Company Westminster John Knox Press
West Margin Press Red Adept Publishing Odyssey Books
Ooligan Press NewCon Press The Ardent Writer Press
Suspense Publishing Bellevue Literary Press Poolbeg Press
Smoking Pen Press Vibrant Publishers Jolly Fish Press
Flux BookViewCafe Wise Media Group
Crooked Lane Books Meerkat Press Rootstock Publishing
Frayed Edge Press BHC Press Icon Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Monday, April 5th, 2021

TinyCat’s Fifth Birthday Celebration

April 5th marks five years since TinyCat’s official release, and the years have flown by for all of us at LibraryThing! The idea behind TinyCat was simple: we wanted to create an easy-to-use and affordable Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) for “tiny” libraries, those with under 20,000 titles. LibraryThing’s founder, Tim Spalding, did most of the coding while living in Kaş, Turkey, with developers Mike Topper and Chris Catalfo pitching in. Once the code was set, Chris Holland gave it the look you know and love today.

Once TinyCat went live, one of the first libraries to jump on board was Folio Seattle, a nonprofit member-supported library and cultural center in Seattle, Washington. Since then, libraries as diverse as the Library of Congress Young Readers Center, America’s Test Kitchen, and the Office of American Spaces, have joined us. We’ve helped thousands of educational, community, and religious libraries worldwide get their catalogs online with an easy management system.

So what’s next for TinyCat?

Our biggest goal for improving the TinyCat experience this year is finishing our major site redesign for the cataloging side of the system, LibraryThing, a project known more familiarly as “LT2″. With LT2, you’ll be able to manage your catalog in a mobile-friendly and more accessible way. It will also make future updates easier for us, meaning even more improvements over time. You can join our ongoing discussions and explore our latest releases by browsing our New Features Group on LT.

Birthday Giveaway and Store Sale!

To celebrate our fifth birthday, we’re giving away five gorgeous TinyCat totes (in blue or red) to TinyCat subscribers during the month of April.

Here’s how to qualify:

  • Have a current TinyCat subscription.
  • Share your TinyCat library in a Tweet anytime through the end of April.
  • Make sure to tag us @TinyCat_lib and add the #tinycatlibraries hashtag to your post.
  • The giveaway ends on April 30, so be sure to get your Tweet out before then.
  • We’ll call out five random tote winners from our @TinyCat_lib account throughout the next month. If we don’t call you out for the first (or second, or third, etc.) tote, you can share your library again to re-enter!

We’re also running a sale on all of our CueCat scanners and barcode labels in the LibraryThing Store for the month of April, so be sure to stock up: https://www.librarything.com/more/store.

Join our celebratory thread in the TinyCat Group for some happy birthday wishes! And thank you all for another great year.

Labels: birthday, sale, TinyCat

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

TinyCat’s March Library of the Month: The Carrie Smiley Fortune Research Library

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

TinyCat’s latest Library of the Month is one that offers its visitors a rich assortment of historical collections, housed on the second floor of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center in Red Bank, New Jersey. The Carrie Smiley Fortune Research Library, whose namesake was a founding member of the National Urban League, is managed by Researcher/Archivist/Librarian Lynn Humphrey, who was kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

The Carrie Smiley Fortune Research Library is a small but powerful library, whose goal is to educate the public about the impact of T. Thomas Fortune and others like him who led the way for civil rights and social justice.

Located upstairs at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, we are one of only two New Jersey national historic landmarks dedicated to an African American. In the library we offer reading and reference materials to our patrons, with resources focusing on the unsung heroes of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the beginnings of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and African Genealogy. We also host cultural events, book clubs, and exhibits on a regular basis.

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

The T. Thomas Fortune Foundation practices outreach through education, exhibits, webinars, and public programming which is the basis of our mission.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My favorites would have to include The Private Collection of T. Thomas Fortune which contains works such as Charles Chesnutt’s The Colonel’s Dream and works by Kelly Miller, First Edition books donated to us such as Richard Wright’s Native Son, and our collection of Arena Magazines (not yet cataloged).

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As a small library it’s always a challenge reaching the public and making our presence known.


Want to learn more about the Carrie Smiley Fortune Research Library? Follow them on Facebook and 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

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