Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Books & Things’ Category

This week is National Library Week, and librarian-blogger Lori Thornton of Smoky Mountain Family Historian has challenged bloggers to write a tribute this week.  But I can’t decide among my favorites – libraries were always important to me because I love books.  Here are some of my “favorite” libraries, whether legendary, fictional, or very real:

The Library I Wish We Could All See

If there is one library whose mere name fires up one’s imagination, it is The Library of Alexandria, also known as The Great Library.  Founded around 300 BC, supposedly by Demetrius, a student of Aristotle, the library aimed to hold copies of all of the manuscripts in the known world.  It may have come close to that goal since it is reported to have had nearly 750,000 scrolls in its collection.  Their acquisition methods were suspect, but successful.  The great mystery surrounding the Library is that scholars are not sure how or when it was destroyed.  It was most likely a series of fires and plunderings over the years,  including rampages by the likes of Julius Caesar and invading Muslim armies.  Its legacy was not its lost collection, but the very idea of a house of knowledge where anyone can come to learn new things.

The Library with a Collection That Made Me Giddy

I’ve been to many libraries, but the one that was the coolest is the British Library in London.  It wasn’t so much their vast collection, but the works they have on display in their museum.  There I was able to stand in front of many marvelous works including illuminated manuscripts, a Gutenberg Bible, a First Folio, and – my personal favorite – Leonardo da Vinci’s workbook.  Simply amazing!  Visitors to their website can turn some of these famous pages online.

The “First” Libary

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin started the first library in the United States?  Well, he may have, but it depends on who you talk to.  Since I’m from Philadelphia, we say that our own Ben Franklin (after moving here from Boston) began the first public lending library in 1731.  Called The Library Company of Philadelphia, members paid money to belong with the rationale that combined and shared resources could produce a far greater collection than any one man of moderate means.  In a time when few people could afford their own collection of books, Franklin and company came up with a brilliant idea.  Franklin’s library is still in existence today as a research library, and his idea inspired free public libraries all over.

My First Library

When I was a child, my local branch of the system of Philadelphia Free Libraries was hardly older than me.  It was built in 1969 in the up-and-coming Northeast section of the city.  I probably found it a few years later when I began to read at age 5.  This particular branch was small, but it was close to my house.  I haven’t researched this, but it may well be one of the only public buildings in the US that is named after a Roman Catholic saint.  Shortly after opening, the library was named the Katherine Drexel Branch in honor of the famous local heiress (1858-1955).  I mean really local – our neighborhood is ground that once belonged to the Drexel family.   Katherine gave up her life of comfort to found a religious order of sisters that cared primarily for African Americans and Native Americans in the poorest parts of the US.  Mother Katherine was canonized a saint in 2000.  I think she’d be as proud about having a public library named after her as she would be about any other buildings!

The Library That Helped Me Graduate

The Free Library of Philadelphia, to which my first library belonged, is “headquartered” in downtown Philadelphia at 19th and Vine Streets.  Throughout high school and college, if you really needed to do some serious research for term papers, this was the place to go! Outside of Washington, DC, you don’t usually see buildings built quite like this one.  Shouldn’t all libraries be this huge and imposing?  This particular site of the library was built in 1926, but the Free Library of Philadelphia was officially established at other quarters in 1891.

Free Library of Philadelphia

My Favorite Fictional Library

Who wouldn’t want to visit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, an old library of precious but forgotten titles.  Only a select few know about this library and can read these “lost” books.  If you love books, you’ll want to read The Shadow of the Wind, a 2001 novel by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

The One, The Only…The Genealogical Library

There may be many genealogical libraries, but The One that has an impact on every genealogist is the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I’ve never been there in person, but without their holdings and the ability to borrow the films at local family history centers, my genealogical research would have never taken off.  Thank you!

If you like books, chances are you’ve been to a few libraries in your lifetime as well.  Which libraries are your favorites?  Be sure to go hug a librarian this week for National Library Week!

Read Full Post »

This isn’t quite genealogy-related, but I love books so it’s fun anyway.  I’ve been tagged by The Virtual Dime Museum for a book meme.  Here are my answers…

What issues/topic interests you most–non-fiction, i.e,cooking, knitting, stitching, there are infinite topics that has nothing to do with novels?

The non-fiction topics that interest me the most and find their way to my bookshelves the most often are religion, history, and travel.  If a book contains all three of those topics rolled into one, it’s a must for me!  I also read a bit on health topics (alternative medicine), classic film, genealogy, and writing.

Would you like to review books concerning those?

I don’t actively seek out “book review” jobs, but I wouldn’t mind it, especially if I really enjoyed the book.  I like to talk about books I loved.  Reviews are a bit harder when you didn’t enjoy the book – unless you really hated it, then those are easy!

Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for what ever you choose.

As someone who writes for fun and for money, I can tell you that it’s infinitely more fun to be paid for what you write.  A book review is actually harder than one would think, and since a lot of thought would have to go into it, I’d rather be paid.

Would you recommend those to your friends and how?

I do recommend books to my friends all the time, either in conversation or in email.  Most say, “Who has time to read?”  I actually wanted to begin a third blog that would deal mostly with books I’ve read and the topics they cover.  As I was reading about 2-5 books a month for a while, this seemed like it would be easy to do.  But, this blog has taken up a bit too much time – I’ve found I haven’t been reading as much, so starting another blog just doesn’t make sense right now.

If you have already done something like this, link it to your post.

I haven’t.

Now I’m supposed to “tag” ten other bloggers.  Lidian, just how many bloggers do you think I know? ;-)  I think all of my blogging friends have already been tagged, so let’s just read all of their responses!

Read Full Post »

Well, the news is finally public! Halvor Moorshead is starting a brand new genealogy magazine in addition to Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy. The new magazine is entitled Discovering Family History and will hit the newsstands in April. But, you can view a free “preview” at the website and download a 56-page preview issue in PDF format. I have an article in the first issue (which is also in the free download) on genealogical societies. Although this new magazine is aimed at beginners, as most genealogists eventually discover – we’re always learning new things. Check out the preview issue and see if you’ll want to add another subscription to your mailbox.

Read Full Post »

Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi, has put out a blogging challenge this week to write a poem. Terry has taken challenges to a new level with this one! So, I’ve done my “homework” as Thomas calls it, and gave a meager attempt. But first, a confession…

I admit that I’m an English major with two degrees in “English”. I admit that I’m a writer, and I’ve even been paid on occasion to write. I admit that I’m a voracious reader because I love words (though both my writing and reading have taken a hit since starting this blog). I admit that I stole my blog’s name from the World’s Greatest Poet. But, Terry, here’s my ultimate confession: “I AIN’T NO POET!” So, please ignore that I have degrees and get paid to write sometimes, because no one will pay for this one!

My ancestors came from lands far away
Once in the US, they decided to stay
Leaving no trace of their origins, to my dismay
Now I’m trudging through history
Because their lives were a mystery
And genea-blogging now takes up my whole day!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 119 other followers