TILT #42 Doesn’t anyone want to know how to actually find things?

where #GIFYourFlirtingStyle is taking off your glasses

News here is that I’ve been asked to teach a Community Engagement class at the University of Hawai’i LIS Program, a class tailor-made for me. I’m trying to get over my grading issues (it feels arbitrary and judgmental!) and rise to the occasion. I’ve asked if I can go visit and got a definite maybe.

Hawai’i is small enough that there is one state library system. I like their branding.

The history of public libraries in Hawai’i is interesting and oddly tied up with Andrew Carnegie. The library he (eventually) paid to build there in 1909 was his first American library outside the continental US.

Like many rural areas (including the Mexican border 100 years ago), Hawaii had traveling libraries — boxes of books that got mailed from one library to another. Here’s a form they used to send these around the islands.

Also suggest reading this report by a California librarian which describes the plantation system in Hawai’i as well as her attempts to supplement the traveling libraries with some “community services”. Written in 1921, it’s both an admirable attempt to encourage literacy, yet also a reflection of the racism of the time when the Hawai’ian children were given books a few grade levels beneath them because they had “trouble with English” (as opposed to giving them books in their native languages). Also the “Dear Sir” thing? Please.

It’s a pretty early “Hey, libraries aren’t just about books!” piece of writing.

Speaking of, you may have seen that I put a little free pile of books outside of my house last week which I made out of an old medicine cabinet.

I started with a crabbier message than I finished with.

I continue to enjoy my re-reading of the academic article Little Free Libraries® — Interrogating the impact of the branded book exchange.

Here is a library-positive free coloring page — you can print, use, and share it. Thank you Mandie Muehlhausen!

I noticed when I search my past newsletters on Medium.com, my results aren’t what I would expect. I determined, after contacting their support team, that Medium’s search function only searches titles, subtitles, tags, authors and publication title. Support pages don’t mention this; they don’t even tell you how their search works. TinyLetter offers full keyword searching, though it’s still poorly documented.

Doesn’t anyone actually want to know how to find things?

A few other good reads and resources.

Enjoy this Roz Chast-designed National Book Festival Poster which answers the question: “How do these events feel from the book’s perspective?”

Today in Librarian Tabs is written irregularly by Jessamyn West who also maintains librarian.net. It’s also available in your inbox via TinyLetter. Thanks for reading.



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Jessamyn West

Jessamyn West


Rural tech geek. Librarian resistance member. Collector of mosses. Enjoyer of postcards. ✉️ box 345 05060 ✉️ jessamyn.com & librarian.net