Nov 072011

Quick post and pictures today. We started the day with a wonderful tour the the Bodleian Library given to us by Clive Hurst (Head of Rare Books). It is a remarkable place in so many ways. Many thanks to Clive for the tour and Richard for arranging it. It was one of the highpoints of the trip. Captions below try to hit the highlights…

We puttered about downtown Oxford a bit (presents for boys and girls) and had a lovely pub lunch. Best of all, I checked in at the White Horse to see about he wild game pie. I was told that they had been successful in the morning hunt and that while the pie would not be on the menu again until tomorrow, the first batch would be out of the ovens at 8pm and the chef had agreed to let me have a serving if I came in at 8:15. We have reserved the “special table” and I, for one, am quite excited.

Apr 172011

As I am accustomed to doing, I must apologize for the delay in posting the fair wrap-up. The ‘why’ of it should be clear as I flesh out the how and when of it all. Sunday at the Park Ave. Armory was great fun. Unlike many fairs, where Sunday drags on with few humans and little energy, this past one was active and interesting all day. I did manage to have a bit of time to actually get around to some (but not all) of the booths I had been intending to visit all weekend…but I also was surprisingly busy. Our first NYC “big show” was three years ago at what I think is universally considered the worst year for the fair in recent memory–we were pleased to make it through that show in the black. I am pleased to say that our Sunday sales pretty much equally our first first year total. It really was, on all fronts, a great fair. I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make it possible, especially Sandy Smith and his team and Susan Benne, et al.

The ‘shadow show’ was proved itself a great trip. I have to admit that between the broken toe and inability to speak I was not hugely excited to make the trek over. Suz and Brian proved convincing, however, and I am extremely pleased I gave in. Above and beyond another room full of interest books, some of my favorite humans were in attendance. I was able to catch up with old friends like The Dennae (First Folio) were there (barely, as they just managed to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in their home), as was Melissa Sanders, Kent, and Katie (Ken Sanders Rare Books), and Roland and Tina (Panoply Books). Perhaps best of all was finally seeking Molly Sacamano (late of Royal Books) who not too long ago returned to her roots in the West and opened her own shop, Iron Wheel Books. She came with a wonderful stock of fine press and artists’ books…several of which I left with (and all of which I sold pretty much immediately…clearly I should have bought more).

Packing up was as wretched as always. We used our usual method of slow plodding to great effect. By the time we were done, most everyone else had left, there was not line to get in and it was as painless as possible. We made it down to my sister’s in NJ with time for tea and a bit of relaxing..much needed as I was far from done on this trip.

Now any rational human would take a day or two following the intense chaos that is the NY ABAA fair and relax a bit…ship sold items, write thank you notes, etc. I, in a fit of brilliance, scheduled additional meetings “down that way”. Thus I woke at 5:30am in NJ, shifted the load a bit in the van, and hit the road for a day trip to Washington, DC to deliver some books to the LC (happily still functioning after a bit of a ‘shutdown scare’) and to deliver an archive to Georgetown Special Collections in hopes that they couldn’t resist its riches. While 10 or so hours of driving were rather painful (physically and emotionally), visiting humans I like a great deal was good fun and the archive did not come home with me (thus making my wife extremely pleased).

Having returned to NJ rather late, I still managed to hit the road reasonably early Tuesday morning to begin our journey home…but not before one more stop. Marvin Taylor (another of my most favorite Special Collections Librarians) had been overseas during the book fair and I had some trinkets that I thought might make him happy…and he was kind enough to set aside a bit of time (no small matter as he had just returned from 10 days away). Suzanne and I had a good meeting with Marvin and Charlotte at NYU’s Fales Library and managed to leave with less than we arrived with…though the meter violation was a bummer.

We arrived home late Tuesday and I have pretty much spent the rest of the time sleeping, unpacking, and shipping books. Around the corner we have the Boston Book and Paper Expo (a MARIAB event) on May 7th. This should be plenty to keep me busy…especially with that interesting egg-laying-bunny holiday in between…but no. I had two or three people talk with me about the Paris book fair while in NYC, that I should attend and meet some particular people, etc…and I have some books to pick up in Paris that will be easier to travel with than to ship…so I’ve booked an impromptu trip to Paris to attend the International Antiquarian Book Fair at the Grand Palais. I might have to do a photographic “compare and contrast” of the Salon du Livre Ancien de Paris and the Boston Book and Paper Expo. We shall see. All I know is that I am inexplicably busy…and not complaining one bit.


Sep 222010

There have been several rather great library/librarian-centered music videos of late. I dug about and found that there were more than I thought…of a wide variety of goodness <g>. I’ve attached a sampling below. By all means, post links to others you know of in comments. Enjoy

Personally, my favorite is the brilliant Librarians Do Gaga;

The success of the above apparently led to the use of ‘Gaga’ in the title of the following…nice choreography and a library setting, but no Gaga:

Another favorite is this BRILLIANT anti-Patriot Act doo-wop song:

Another recent and very funny one was done by students at the Univ. of Alberta (just need to ignore the text on the screen…they promise to be better next time):

These days, many librarians are singing the blues…some better than others:

And others just like to rap about their love to the Dewey Decimal System:

While others rap about library life generally (perhaps not quite as well…)

And the folk scene is alive and well, too:

Some are just…er…beyond words:

Not a librarian….but a tribute song to them. Nice:

Sep 092010

On my way back from the Baltimore book fair, I stopped in to see one of my more favorite humans, gregarious misanthrope Marvin Taylor. Marvin is the Director of Special Collections at the Fales Library at NYU. While Fales has tremendous holdings in many areas, Marvin’s interests in breaking new ground is likely to make Fales in the epicenter of more than one collecting focus…plus he (and Charlotte) are just too much fun to hang out with. His focus on building out Fales’ Gastro collection has been in the press recently and has grown radically as a result. More interesting (at least to me) is his focus on the Downtown Collection and related areas-like the new Riot Grrl Collection. A few images from my quick trip through the stacks are below. Enjoy.

Jun 242010

Quick summary for today as it was very long and I am a very tired bibliophile. The site of the conference shifted this morning. I managed to attend at both the Chemical Heritage Foundation and at the American Philosophical Society to maximize my cool building exposure. The sessions were interesting and lively (though I think I wish I’d attended the Digital Tools session…oh well).

A bookish friend stopped by around lunch to catch up and we went to visit a much more bookish friend at his home. Though we could not spend long, it was a treat to meet his wife and an exceptional treat to spend even a few minutes among his spectacular collection. I took many pictures for a mutual friend who very much wanted to be able to attend but was unable. Also interesting was that it was just barely beginning to sprinkle when we exited the cab…we entered the lobby, signed in, and headed up to the 15th floor…by the time we were there the skies had opened and there were sheets of rain falling and tremendous rain. It was amazing.

The final Plenary Session of the day was *outstanding*. It was held in the rather wonderful Union League of Philadelphia. Michael Edson of the Smithsonian did a very interesting (and funny) bit on what the Smithsonian is rolling out. He was wise to go first as he was followed by William Noel, of the Walters Art Museum. He spoke on the extraordinarily cool tech, time, and effort that has gone into “bringing forth” a “lost” Archimedes book. Explore here, expect to loose a *lot* of time…absolutely amazing.

Finally, we headed out to a small gathering of the afflicted. It was great fun in a lovely apartment…a great combination of good food, good drink, and outstanding company. We escaped early…around 9pm. Just before we left, Mark Dimunation asked if I wanted to pick him up at 6am or so and head over to John’s Roast Pork to start the day with a cheesesteak. I think I will….

May 292010

Sarah Wachter and the students and faculty from the University of Washington’s Information School for Catalog (Ca-ca-ca-catalog, ca-ca-catalog. (Don’t forget the databases)). It is absolutely brilliant. I think RBMS should bring them in to perform live (or at least have it played) in Philly.


Ms. Wachter wrote the lyrics (and directed, etc.) and kindly posted the lyrics that I quote below:

You got a question that is causing you some pain
Typin’ keywords into the search engine again.
Look your naïve searching just ain’t gonna get it done
Cause when it comes to search if it’s not tough it isn’t fun (fun)

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh
I’ll blow your mind, show you how to find.
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh
I’ll blow your mind, show you how to find.

Can use my
Can use my
Yeah you can use my catalog
(Don’t forget the databases)
Can use my
Can use my
Yeah you can use my catalog
(Don’t forget the databases)

Ca-ca-ca-catalog ca-ca-catalog
(Mum mum mum mah)
Ca-ca-ca-catalog ca-ca-catalog
(Mum mum mum mah)

This keyword search it gives you way too many hits
Boolean limits pare things down to just what fits
Use the thesaurus to find subject terms that work
Then in just one minute you’ll be through like Captain Kirk (Kirk)


We love the Big 6, baby!

Step one define your problem
Pick your sources.
Then go huntin’. We’re not puntin’
On the research. We’re engaging and extracting somethin’
Then you can put it back together
Tell your friends about your awesomeness
It’s synthesis synthesis
Evaluate cause we’re into this.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this project. It is wonderful and you deserve all the praise I am confident will be heaped upon you.

Mar 102010

I’ve just spent two great days hanging out with Mark Dimunation of the Library of Congress eating great food and talking about books and history and fun things. I’ll post a bit more on this when the dust settles. Suffice it to say that it was great fun.

I learned what I think is an interesting thing: Rare books at the LC is the *only* collection at the LC that is not the “biggest in the world”. It is, apparently, fourth…behind the Vatican Library, the British Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale. [N.B. There is also The Bodleian and the unknown quantity that is the Russian Library…]

Mar 102010

Online exhibit at a Maine library explores the sensational death of a Maine “mill girl” Mary Bean in 1850. Great background on the case along with some nice plugs for Elizabeth De Wolfe’s relatively recent book on the case (she is the spouse of 1/2 of the great Maine antiquarian dealers, De Wolfe & Wood).

There is also a very nice plug for the exceptional Maine Memory Network and a link to MMN‘s material on the death of Mary Bean. A great read.

Mar 012010

Mark Dimunation in PortlandThe Baxter Society is very pleased to announce that Mark Dimunation will be speaking at our March 10th meeting. Mark is Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. His talk is titled: Good, Bad, and Indifferent, Old, New, and Worthless: Thomas Jefferson and the Mind of the Eighteenth Century Collector.

The Baxter Society is Maine’s only bibliophilic group, open to all those with an interest, passion, and/or love of books.

On a personal note (and as Program Chair for The Baxter), I can not tell you how excited I am that Mark agreed to come speak. I want to thank the many restaurants in town for their efforts in drawing Mark to town (and the NYC Times, too). With luck, we’ll do some damage at eateries about town.
While I’m blathering about such things, I should also mention that in April, Bill and Vicky Stewart of Vamp & Tramp will be speaking and in May, Tom Horrocks of Harvard’s Houghton Library will wrap out the year.
Finally, a teaser for next fall: while at the LA ABAA book fair, Michael Suarez, the newly appointed Director of Rare Book School, agreed to speak at a fall date to be determined.
I am, needless to say, going to retire from the Program Committee…I am not certain I can really improve on my recent run…