Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fun Facts

This blog post is going to be an assortment of fun facts about libraries, books, and reading. I hope you learn something new from it!

  1. There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the United States. 
  2. There are libraries around the world where you can check-out humans as a living book and listen to their stories. There are 150 such libraries around the world
  3. The Guinness Book of World Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries
  4.  Haskell Free Library is built on the US/Canadian border. Exiting the library through the opposite entrance requires one to report to the country’s customs thereafter. 
  5. A 124,500 square foot abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas, has been turned into the largest single-floor public library in the United States.
  6. The Oakland Library in California maintains a “tool lending library” of 3500 tools to lend out to the community.
  7. When asked what book he’d like to have with him on a desert island, G. K. Chesterton replied, ‘Thomas’s Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.’
  8. Author James Frazer had to move out of his room at Great Court, London because the floor was threatening to give way under the weight of his books.
  9. The Japanese word ‘tsundoku’ means ‘buying a load of books and then not getting round to reading them’.
  10. Bibliosmia‘ is the enjoyment of the smell of old books.


Gifts for the Book Lover in Your Life

We all know at least one. Someone who is so obsessed with books it's not even funny anymore. What gift do you get for them? The following list will provide some options.


For the people who want to know exactly where they left off.

Personal Library Kit

For the ones who always wanted to be a librarian.

Literary Scarf

To keep you warm and provide some reading material.


To keep your drink warm and warn off others.


To set the above mug down on.


For those who want to smell like old books.


For those who want their whole house to smell like books.

Gift Card

And if worse comes to worse, just grab them one of these.

Tattoos Inspired by Books

Tattoos: visible proof of our love for a specific person or thing. So how would a book lover choose to show their devotion to the written word? The sky is the limit, there are a multitude of tattoos that one could get, though they usually fall under one of several headings. 

Book Quotes
Quotes taken directly from the pages and transferred to skin

Book Illustrations
Illustrations from the books themselves

Book Images
Tattoos of books and reading in general

Any combination of the above

How about it? Did any of these images inspire you? Let me know.

Banned Books

Books are usually challenged or banned to protect children from ideas and information that are deemed too difficult for them to deal with. In theory this seems reasonable, but in reality it restricts access of the materials to all which is a bad thing. Only parents or guardians should have the right to restrict what their own children can read. Over the years many books have been banned for a variety of reasons. Here is just a sampling:

Book: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Reason: Too depressing.

Book: Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh
Reason: Teaches children to lie, spy, talk back, and curse.

Book: Harry Potter books, by J. K. Rowling
Reason: They promote witchcraft, set bad examples, and are too dark.

Book: A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
Reason: A suggestive illustration that might encourage kids to break dishes so they won't have to dry them.

Reading Pet Peeves

We all have them, those little tics that set us off no matter how small or trivial it seems to other people. In this blog I'll talk about my top three pet peeves as relates to reading and books.

1) Dog Eared Books

This always drives me crazy. I know a lot of people do it to save their page, but I can't stand it. Whenever I come across a page that has been dog eared I compulsively have to flatten it out. If you want to mark your page get a bookmark, they make a variety of them. You can even use a scrap of paper if necessary.

2) The Book Borrower that Never Returns the Book

The key word is borrow. I'm letting you borrow my book, I'm not giving it to you. You can't keep it forever. I'm one of those people who will read books over and over, so eventually I will want to read my book again which is hard to do when I don't have it. If you like the book so much, buy your own copy.

3) The Over-The-Shoulder Reader

I don't like people leaning over my shoulder for any reason. There is such a thing as personal space and if I can feel your breath on the back of my neck, you are in my personal space. It's uncomfortable having someone leaning over your shoulder reading what you're reading. Reading isn't a group activity, if that's what your looking for go join a sports team.

Unique Libraries, International Edition

To continue from where my last blog left off, I decided to do an international edition of unique and interesting libraries. The first one is:

Trinity College Library - Dublin, Ireland

This library was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. It's Long Room contains over 200,000 of the library's oldest books as well as busts of famous writers and one of the oldest harps in Ireland. The Trinity College Library is also home to The Book of Kells.

Bishan Public Library - Bishan, Singapore

The Bishan Public Library covers 4,000 square meters and was designed to look like a tree house. The pods on one side building protrude out of the wall and are supposed to resemble books on a bookshelf. The pods are actually private reading spaces.

Alexandria Library - Alexandria, Egypt

The library was opened in 2002 after 10 years of planning and construction. It was built with the original Royal Library of Alexandria, built over 2,300 years ago, in mind. Aside from the libraries, there are four museums also housed in the building.

Jose Vasconcelos Library - Mexico City, Mexico

The library is glass and concrete, designed by Alberto Kalach. The design makes it appear that the book shelves are hanging in midair while in the center of the library is a giant whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling.

Unique Libraries

This blog is going to be dedicated to libraries around the country that are unique and interesting in one way or another. First up is:

The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress was founded in 1800 and is the largest library in the world. It contains more than 160 millions items housed on 838 miles of bookshelves! Each day the library gets 15,000 items and 12,000 items are added to the collections daily. 

New York Public Library

The actual name of the library is the Stephen A. Schwarzman Library, but that's too much of a mouthful. The New York Public Library has been used in several movies such as Spider-Man. The two stone lions at the entrance are called Patience and Fortitude and to add more space, the library was extended under Bryant Park.

Salt Lake City Main Branch

The library was designed by Moshe Safdie, an internationally-acclaimed architect and opened in 2003. The library holds more than 500,000 items, shops, reading galleries, and a 300-seat auditorium. The library also has a roof-top garden.

Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library

This library is located on the campus of Vassar College. The library is a enormous Gothic structure houses over 1,000,000 books and a massive microfilm collection. The library is best known for it's stained glass window which shows the first woman to earn a doctorate in Europe, Elena Cornaro Piscopia.