Cut Up Your Collection

If you’re anything like me, you have piles of books everywhere waiting to be read, in the process of being read and library books that looked interesting– but I logically know I’ll never have time to digest all the things I want to read.

In this way, I’ve always been interested in the insight that could be gained from peeking at another person’s book piles.  In the same vein, what would people think of me?  Much like my musical tastes, there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it.  Or is there?

Nina Katchadourian has thought through this very issue and created an art project to accompany these curiosities. The specific project that I have linked to cuts up William S. Burroughs’ book collection at his Kansas home.  If you look at some of these photographs, there is definitely something to be said of the types of books Burroughs liked to read.  From my estimation, his reading tastes are a little odd, off-the-wall and representative of the sub-culture of drugs just like his own writing.

Perhaps, I was drawn to this particular collection because I am currently re-reading Naked Lunch. The first time I read it, I think I was far too young to understand it. At the age of 14, it seemed like a jumbled-up mess of darkness and grotesque descriptions of disease.  Now, at the age of 27, I understand that it is about the disgusting ways in which addiction can change your life–any addiction–violence, vapid consumerism or self-loathing. I see the inspiration even in just the titles of Nina’s cut-up project. Now, I’m interested in reading these titles for myself to see what Burroughs saw.

I thought I would take a few snapshots of the Jacksonville Public Library’s collection.  We serve everyone and therefore, we try to collect books from as many different genres and tastes as we can.  For this reason, I don’t necessarily think that these snaps will provide as much of a clue into the entirety of our collection as one’s own personal collection.  However, I did try to pick titles that I found interesting or that played well together.  Feel free to tell me what you think or post some pictures of your own!

Cut up Project

Cut up Project 2

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Book Review: “Miles, the Autobiography”

I just finished “Miles, the Autobiography” and I have to say I loved it. Miles Davis is a figure not unlike those in the media today. His book is full of judgments and outright dismissals of other artists. If you can get past the general ‘meanness’ of the biography, I think that fans of Miles Davis will enjoy his take on the world.

Additionally, his feelings on other musicians have also been recorded during a series of blindfold tests that forced Davis to figure out who was playing and then remark on what he had heard. In one particular test, he said of Eric Dolphy’s “Miss Ann” that “nobody else could sound that bad!”

If you’re interested in Miles Davis or any other famous figure, let a librarian know.  We have a rather expansive biography section full of information about your faves!

8-Hour Emily Dickinson Marathon Reading

I’ve always had a thing for poetry and I’ve always loved Emily Dickinson from the moment I read her work in high school (or maybe junior high–I don’t remember). I would consider myself an amateur Dickinson scholar; amateur is the key word here. So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw that the Library of Congress’ Poetry and Literature Center, along with the Folger Library, recently did a free marathon reading of her work. The entire thing is around 8 hours long!  While I realize that is a long time to spend listening to Emily Dickinson poetry, it is in celebration of her 184th birthday. In fact, 8 hours was only enough time to get through about a third of her work.

Poet, Eleanor Heginbotham starts out the recording with Dickinson’s letter to her editor, abolitionist Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Emily says:  “Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive?”  Well, hats off to Emily!  Her verse is alive and well and I couldn’t be more thankful.

In case anyone actually ends up listening to this, here is a link to part 2.

And, of course, we have all of Dickinson’s work at your library if you want to brush up!

A Bunch of Thoughts

Again, I know it’s been a minute since anything has been posted to the library blog.  Four of your librarians recently returned from ALA.  For those who are confused by random acronyms, that stands for the American Library Association.  Among many other things, the ALA has an annual conference that is huuuge.  Think around 13,000 (if not more) librarians storming McCormick Place in Chicago ready to learn something new, network with other librarians, and take a look at some new products. Since each of us does something a little bit different at the library, we all attended different sessions and probably had varying experiences.  Since I can only speak for myself, that’s what I’ll do. It was my first time going and I was amazed and quite overwhelmed at first.  To give you an idea of how I felt, here is a floor plan. I eventually got my bearings and had a wonderful time and I think everyone else here did as well.

Anyway, I just wanted to explain why there have been no blog posts this week (so far).

When I came back on Monday, the library was insanely busy (which is awesome).  Every summer, we have reading programs for adults and kids so this contributes to a lot of the traffic. By the way, you can still sign up for the adult Summer Reading Program or come to any of the events that are going on for kids!  However, this year has objectively seen more patrons and check-outs than ever before.

I know this to be true because we were almost completely out of date-due cards.  What is a date-due card, you ask?  Well, we used to stamp the date that your items were due on these cards and that’s how you would know when to return your items.  At this point, they’re a bit antiquated, but we still use them to secure our collection. The fact that they were almost gone means that more items are being checked out than any other time in our recent past. They are a non-consumable supply, so when we have to re-order them, it means we’re doing good things. I absolutely love working for this library and our community and I hope that we continue to be surprised by how many books are getting taken out. Also, let it be known that we are always looking for ways to make your library experience even better–if you ever have any suggestions (or compliments), let us know.  You can send us a Facebook message, contact us through our website or stop in!