December 10th marks the birthday of Melvil Dewey, best known for the organizational system named after him. Dewey was also a founder of the American Library Association.
Librarian confession time: I am less familiar with Dewey than with Library of Congress. I cut my teeth in academic and museum libraries, and they all use LoC, not Dewey. I know most librarian have Dewey committed to memory, they know their 500s from their 900s whereas I… have not a clue what those are. And that’s ok! You don’t have to have Dewey committed to memory to appreciate the impact he and his system have had.
There’s plenty of material out on the internet and in library publication around the history and development of the DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification). I’m not wading into philosophies on this one– its a living classification system, and one I don’t use every day. What I will note is that this system predates LoC by several decades, and it was a step forward from fixed locations for books based on accession date. That way lies biology next to Dickens next to Freud next to an Encyclopedia. Easy to find when things were added, less easy to research, oh, any given thing. If you’ve walked into a library– pretty much any library– you have benefited from relative location, whether the spine labels are DDC or LoC.
For the record, I did go find the table of Dewey numbers, and I’ll share it in case you need it (though any public library I’ve been in tends to have signage that says what the numbers mean, bless the librarian who came up with that.)
000 – Computer science, information & general works
100 – Philosophy and psychology
200 – Religion
300 – Social sciences
400 – Language
500 – Pure Science
600 – Technology
700 – Arts & recreation
800 – Literature
900 – History & geography
Finally, a bit of fun: Geek and Sundry has a list of Bookish games! The first one sounds amazing
Happy Sherlock Holmes day! Did you know there was a Sherlock Holmes day? Apparently, those this is somewhat disputed, December 1 is considered the publication date for A Study in Scarlet, which is the first published Sherlock Holmes mystery (and one of the handful that I’ve read). I find Holmes fascinating– the mysteries are intriguing, and you don’t feel like you’ve solved them within the first few pages, which is nice.
Holmes also has remarkable staying power: 32 different actors have portrayed him in English film alone, and there are TV adaptations as well as radio. Basil Rathbone is quintessential for some, but others who have worn the deerstalker include: Peter Cushing, Roger Moore, Christopher Plummer, John Barrymore (yes, those Barrymores), Christopher Lee (yes, that Christopher Lee), George C Scott, John Cleese (yes, of Monty Python), Michael Caine, and Orson Wells. Currently, you have Benedict Cumberbatch in England, Jonny Lee Miller in America, and Will Ferrel has a movie coming out next year. That’s a heck of a list. Its also a heck of a time frame: adaptations of Homles stretch from stage plays in 1899 to a movie that hasn’t been released yet and TV shows still in production. There’s something about the character. What intrigues me is that, as I was typing that list, I couldn’t spot a single miscasting. It makes sense for all of those men to have played that character– since the Cleese role was in a parody, and that makes a certain sense too. How do you create a character that can be played by so many different actors, with different styles?
We have a small collection of Holmes at the library– look in the Newman Room in the PR section and you will spot the Conan Doyle. The stories are also, for the most part, in the public domain so you can find digital copies through Project Gutenberg and DPLA, as well as radio plays on Spotify. I’ve listened to those before– the quality is good, and they feature Basil Rathbone in the Holmes role.
Thursday was Hobbit Day, for those who are fans of Tolkien. This year, it struck me as somehow fitting that Hobbit Day falls on the last day of summer– the final hurrah before the world slowly spins down into winter hibernation. A fine day for a party, but usually cool enough to allow a feast fit for a hobbit’s appetite.
I mean, it should be. It was gray and rainy most of the week, though not cool– tropical storms will do that to a person. Fortunately it cleared up and was bright and warm for the Tea and Shoot today. In the meantime, we have finally started to process our acquisitions! I believe we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 cataloged so far, with many more to go, but its a start. Its nice to see those books lined up with spine labels and shiny new bar codes, with shiny new MARC records in the catalog to go with them.
I’ll leave you with a fun Tolkien fact for the day: last Friday was the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Silmarillion. I wish I could find it, but I remember reading somewhere that it represented one of the top ranking pre-orders the industry had seen at the time. Certainly it sold over a million copies that year. We have one:
A Happy 4th of July to you all! I hope you have a day to sit back and relax. Me personally, I’m planning to watch baseball later today with hot dogs for dinner (a grand American tradition to be sure).
If you have a few minutes to spare, you can certainly review the resources from last year. This year I thought it would be fun to see what I could find specific to New Hampshire and the Revolutionary War.
Can you believe not a SINGLE battle occurred in New Hampshire? Seriously, none. There was a patented Paul Revere Midnight Ride to Portsmouth, NH to warm them about a plan to attack the Fort of William and Mary (now Fort Constitution, in the midst of a lovely park in Portsmouth that you can visit), and two of the warships captained by John Paul Jones were built in Portsmouth as well. Beyond that? The militia fought at several battles including Bunker Hill, and there’s General John Stark of course.
Beyond that my favorite little anecdote is one that I learned of because a brewery named themselves after the man who started the riot. No, really. And the beer’s pretty good too. It seems to be a New Hampshire thing. It’s called the Pine Tree Riot, and you can read a bit about it here. (If you follow the College, I’m sure you saw the students who went around NH and toured 30 breweries in 30 days. They started at the one I mentioned, Able Ebenezer.)
Not summer camp (or summer program, if you’re coming to the College), but Camp NaNo! I’m ready to go– new laptop, got my writing program, got a vague idea. For those unfamiliar, Camp NaNo is an extension of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which you commit to writing a 50,000 word novel. It can be done (I’ve managed it only twice, granted, but twice! Its not nothing!).
For anyone who’s thought about doing NaNoWriMo in November, think of camp as a good introduction. NaNoWriMo has some fairly strict rules– you’re can write any type of fiction, but you’re writing a novel when all’s said and done and up until the last few years it had to be a completely new work. They now allow you to work on a previous project, but only new words count toward the goal. Camp, on the other hand, can be used for any type of writing or even revising. You set your word goal, but you have a bit of flexibility there.
It’s fun, and you get email reminders as well as pep talks, plus you know you’re not the only crazy out there trying to do this. They also run word sprints on Twitter, and you can engage with your fellow campers on social media. If you’ve been trying to make yourself write, why not give it a shot? Camp starts July 1. Happy writing!
I know summer reading is seen as something of a threat to students yearning for a summer’s respite. Personally, I adore reading in the summer (though I also love reading in the spring, fall, and winter, so I think its a year round affliction more than seasonal.) Our local public library does a summer reading program– one for kids, one for teens, and even one for adults! I do love a good reading challenge.
What is everyone planning to read this summer? My ‘to be read’ list is long, and probably always will be, but I have a few things that look to be good reading in the short term. I’m currently reading Whose Body, the first Lord Peter Whimsy mystery by Dorothy Sayers. I’m enjoying it so far, though I’m coming off a binge through Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher mysteries (at least the ones the public library had), and those move a touch quicker.
Beyond that? I’ve had Kristen Lavensdatter staring at me since the spring and I think I’m finally ready to read. I also have Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem waiting. In the lighter, quicker reads department I have books a plenty: Nina George’s The Little French Bistro, Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of AJ Fickery, Annie Burrows and Marie Schaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and Jennifer Ryan’s The Chilbury’s Ladies Choir. I also have a slew of books on housekeeping, homemaking, and hygge that I’m reading on the side.
What do you have lined up for the summer? Are you participating in summer reading program or going it alone?
Today marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. To my disappointment, I was obviously not at Battle Abbey to see the reenactment, nor was I in Bayeux looking at the Tapestry. The internet, however, is a magical thing and it can bring a little Hastings into your evening.
Here are some things to know before exploring the links below:
- The Battle: The Battle of Hastings is considered the decisive victory that allowed William I (also known as the Conqueror, the Norman, the Duke of Normandy, and the Bastard) to claim the throne of England.
- The Opponent: William’s opponent in the battle was Harold Godwinson. Harold was the Earl of Wessex before ascending the throne. He is the last Anglo Saxon King, and had a short reign. He was crowned in January 1066 and lost that crown in October of the same year
- The Predecessor: Prior to Harold and William, the throne belonged to St Edward the Confessor– his feast day was yesterday, October 13th. Harold may be the last Anglo Saxon King of England, but Edward is best remembered and considered a successful, strong, energetic king.
- The Family: Harold’s sister was married to Edward the Confessor. William was a first cousin once removed of Edward’s. So we’re dealing with claims that have to be enforced at the end of a sword, basically.
- The Tapestry: Almost everyone has seen the Bayeux Tapestry, or at least part of it. They may not know it, however. Ever laugh at one of those medieval memes? Yeah, those are figures from the Bayeux Tapestry. I’ll leave most of the explanations to the link below but suffice to say, you should care about the Bayeux Tapestry even if you aren’t into needlework.
Links for your edification
- The Bayeux Museum— Located in Bayeux, France the Museum is the home of the Bayeux Tapestry and they have a nice online exhibit regarding the Tapestry, its importance as a historical document, and the history of the piece.
- Bayeux Tapestry at the Reading Museum— a digital version of the Tapestry, based on a Victorian Reproduction, the Tapestry is available by section. Wikipedia has a single continuous image of the tapestry.
- Battle Abbey— Run by English Heritage, the site of the Battle of Hastings has information for you to peruse.
Finally for those perusing the collection, you’ll want to head to the stacks. The first two rows hold general history and early English history.