Archive for the ‘Staff Blog’ Category

Free Resources for you….

Posted on: April 14th, 2015 by Dan Weiss

Who doesn’t like free? Beyond the walls of the amazing (albeit somewhat small) Fanwood Memorial Library, the web will provide.

Here’s just a tiny taste of what’s out there – how about…

ART  422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art – You could pay $118 on Amazon for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s catalog The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. Or you could pay $0 to download it at MetPublications, the site offering “five decades of Met Museum publications on art history available to read, download, and/or search for free.” If that strikes you as an obvious choice, prepare to spend some serious time browsing MetPublications’ collection of free art books and catalogs.

MUSIC  Every recording that Folklorist Alan Lomax ever collected! He spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world. Now thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. It’s part of what Lomax envisioned for the collection — long before the age of the Internet. He recorded a staggering amount of folk music, working from the 1930s to the ’90s, and traveling from the Deep South to the mountains of West Virginia, all the way to Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. When it came time to bring all of those hours of sound into the digital era, the people in charge of the Lomax archive weren’t quite sure how to tackle the problem, but it’s all there for you now from the folks at

BOOKS   The Literary Classics Online Book Club – it is specially tailored for people who enjoy reading and talking about classic literature. Each year, they select six classic books to read and discuss. Throughout each book’s first month, participants can read the book and we will also post fun and interesting facts about that literary classic on the club’s social-media outlets. The second month we will post discussion questions for participants to read and comment on.

Library Reads can lead you to the top ten books published each month., as recommended by librarians (who better?) across the country.

PHOTOGRAPHS The Library of Congress’s Online Collection of Photographs – Unique in their scope and richness, the picture collections number more than 14 million images. These include photographs, historical prints, posters, cartoons, documentary drawings, fine prints, and architectural and engineering designs. While international in scope, the collections are particularly strong in materials documenting the history of the United States and the lives, interests, and achievements of the American people.

How Do You Like to Read?

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by Dan Weiss

…on your computer, your iPad or Kindle or Nook, your phone, or in a BOOK, on PAPER? e-readers vs. books

Adapting to new technologies can always be challenging – just take a look at this great YouTube video

And while our digital devices have endless uses that we all love, and having multiple titles on one small, easy-to-carry-around device can be great in certain circumstances (vacation, at school, etc.), and there are those that just love their devices for reading, it does seem that reading a book – an actual physical paper book – still resonates most powerfully with many of us.

Indeed, the evidence is in that, surprisingly, even millennials seem to prefer print as their reading medium of choice. As David Ulin, the LA Times Book Critic, notes in his February 24 column, Reading in the Material World, (and referencing Michael Rosenwald’s original article from the Washington Post), “if you’re a digital immigrant as I am, there’s something deeply satisfying about Michael S. Rosenwald’s report in the Washington Post that “millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. The reasons: Stillness, lack of distraction, the ability to concentrate and the understanding that memory relies on, among other things, physical cues.” It’s been proven that comprehension and retention are greatly increased when reading a real book.

Ann Marlowe has some interesting perspective in her January 14, 2014 article for Tablet Magazine-A New Read on Jewish Life, The People of the Book vs. The People of the Kindle: What happens when our libraries are purged from our homes, replacing spines with screens?

atomsbitsI’ve always wondered at what a perfect design the book is as a delivery system. The form supports the function so well, it fits just right in your hand, random access, how you can remember where on the page (left side near the top) that thing you’re looking for is, always available (no batteries), the permanence of it, easy to lend and etc. And how electronic device designers have gone to such great lengths to try and mimic what the book so successfully already has. If you’ve stuck with me this far, here’s one more article that takes an elegant look at the pros and cons of both systems: Books: Bits vs. Atoms and sparked some lively comments as well.

Whatever your personal preference, here at the library we support all kinds of medium and have always made the effort to ‘keep up’ as tastes and possibilities change, 8mm film projectors, microfilm, audio-cassettes, video cassettes, CDs, DVDs, Books-on-tape, Books-on-CD, mp3, Play-aways, computers, tablets and so on, but the physical book is still our meat and potatoes and at the heart of what we do and what we are!

On losing David Carr

Posted on: February 17th, 2015 by Dan Weiss

With the passing of David Carr on February 13, the world has lost one of its great voices.

So much has already been written about him in the past week, but I wanted to note a few interesting things for your consideration.

In his March 9, 2014 Media column for the NY Times, Barely Keeping Up in TVs New Golden Age, he captured my own feelings about the struggle to ‘keep up’, and says this about books (that he’s not necessarily getting to) in this age of info and media overload:
I have a hierarchy: books I’d like to read, books I should read, books I should read by friends of mine and books I should read by friends of mine whom I am likely to bump into.

He recently joined the communications faculty at Boston University and taught an amazing class called “Press Play”. I refer you to the brilliant syllabus to this course, published on the blogging platform Medium. As noted in the February 15 Media column in the Times, David Carr’s Last Word on Journalism, Aimed at Students, the syllabus is, “perhaps David’s most succinct prescription for how to thrive in the digital age. It is also David in his purest form — at once blunt, funny, haughty, humble, demanding, endearing and unique.”

And here are just a couple of other links to remember David Carr.

An obituary from the Huffington Post

David Carr, book critic by Carlos Lozada

Reading David Carr – Colleagues reveling in the work of the beloved NY Times media columnist.