Author Archives: Margie McCandless

American Made Matters Day

Did you know that November 19 is American Made Matters Day? Of course you didn’t, until now!  To be fair, it has only been around since 2013, and the celebration is pretty low key – no parades or fireworks – just a request to buy American made. The organization behind it, American Made Matters, was founded appropriately on July 4, 2009 with a mission to educate consumers on the importance of buying “Made in the USA” products. Sponsors include American made retailers, patriotic organizations, and local businesses who understand that American made matters, not just on November 19, but every day.

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Demographics Now Database Review

What is in your neighborhood and why do you need to know? Location, location, location! Nothing could be more important for a new business; it could mean the difference between failure and success. That is why a thorough targeted demographic scan is such an important tool. DemographicsNow, a library database, takes the pain out of compiling this information, providing highly detailed data about any geographic area in the United States, from the entire country, to a state, county, metro area, school district, zip code, right down to your own neighborhood. Continue reading

National Frankenstein Day – Remembering Mary Shelley

What do you know about Mary Shelley? Mention Frankenstein to just about anyone and a nearly universal image of Dr. Frankenstein’s creation springs to mind, but mention Mary Shelley and what likely springs to mind is, well, Frankenstein. So associated is she with her masterpiece that people don’t realize that she wrote five other novels, several travelogues, as well as a number of articles, essays, and biographies.  Though most were well regarded, none ever gained the popularity and status of her first novel. But anyone who has penned a literary classic, while not yet out of her teens, that has endured for over 200 years, and is considered to  have created the science fiction genre, deserves to be celebrated. That is why August 30, has been set aside as National Frankenstein Day to commemorate Mary Shelley’s birthday and her life. Continue reading

Think Outside the Building: Not Your Typical Libraries

In spite of all the ways that libraries have been reinventing themselves over the past few years, when most people hear the word library they picture a building full of books.  But this does not work for everyone, as many people around the world cannot get to a traditional library.  Here are some of the non-traditional ways libraries come to them. Continue reading

National Soup Month – Think Outside the Can

What better month than January to celebrate National Soup Month! With much of the country experiencing a deep freeze, a steaming bowl of soup is the natural antidote. Soup is probably as old as cooking itself, warming and nourishing our ancestors for thousands of years, no matter what part of the world they are from.  It is the universal comfort food and every mother’s answer to making a sick child feel better. What makes soup so appealing? Possibly it is just the sheer variety, simplicity, and accessibility of it, a humble food that does not intimidate anyone but rises to every occasion. Continue reading

Mango Languages Database

It may have been a long time since those high school language classes that you were required to take. You might not have even seen the value in learning a foreign language at the time, but the world is shrinking as people from many nations interact on social networks, on the college campus, through travel, in the business world, or just in everyday life. If you regret not taking it more seriously, have forgotten more than you remember, or the options were limited to just a few choices, you have a second chance to learn nearly any language you can think of, and probably a few you did not know existed. Continue reading

Read It and Eat! National Cookbook Month

Who needs cookbooks when you have Pinterest, AllRecipes, food blogs and numerous other online recipe sites?  It’s true – it has never been easier to instantly get your hands on myriad versions of any dish you can imagine, complete with photos and step by step instructions, not to mention reviews, ratings, and suggestions from readers, but there is just something so satisfying and much more permanent about the look and feel of a real cookbook.  October is National Cookbook Month and a perfect time to celebrate the wide variety of mouthwatering cookbooks available today.

A cookbook, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is technically a “book containing recipes and other information about the preparation and cooking of food.” This clinical definition doesn’t begin to describe most cookbooks on the market or in kitchens today. Though cookbooks have been around for hundreds of years, at least as far back as the 3rd century BC, they have come a long way, even since the early days of modern all-purpose cookbooks like Betty Crocker, Good Housekeeping, and Joy of Cooking, venerable old standbys though they are.  Now you can find shelf after shelf (or page after page if you are shopping online) of richly illustrated cookbooks devoted to every kind of food and cuisine, opening your eyes and mouth to new cultures and traditions.  Other cookbooks cater to every type of cooking, cook, food, or diet imaginable. Some are devoted to cooks in a hurry, including eattweet: a twitter cookbook, a collection of 140 character recipes, or how about this 1989 cookbook, Manifold Destiny,  recipes you can cook on your car engine as you travel – now that’s a timesaver!  There are even cookbooks for pets; what cat wouldn’t love a helping of mackerel asparagus mousse from the Kitty-Cat Cookbook? If you are into heavy metal, you really can’t pass up Mosh Potatoes, a cookbook featuring “recipes, anecdotes, and mayhem from the heavyweights of heavy metal.”

The list of specialized cookbooks goes on and on, but one category close to all book lovers’ hearts is the literary cookbook. If you have a favorite book, there is a good chance there is a cookbook based on it, from children’s books to classics to pop culture and best sellers.  Amazon lists hundreds of such books, but here is a small sampling:

Whatever your food preference, there is sure to be a cookbook devoted to it. For even more examples of unusual cookbooks, as well as a brief history of cookbooks, check out the links below, then celebrate this month by pulling out a favorite cookbook or treat yourself to a new one.  Bon Appetit!


10 of the best new cookbooks of 2017

12 Cookbooks Every Book Lover Needs

Cookbook History

Eating your words: the joy of literary cookbooks

Literary Cookbooks

The Most Exciting New Cookbooks for Fall 2017

Heard it through the (Library) Grapevine

BlogWhile deciding on a topic for the annual Library Professional Growth Day, I needed some inspiration, so I decided to read a few library blogs, listen to some library podcasts, and just generally poke around in some library related websites. I found more than I bargained for!  It turns out there are many great library websites out there connecting librarians, passing information along, and generally getting the word out – in other words a virtual library grapevine. I had found my topic!

Of the many sites I came across, I concentrated on those with applications to the academic library from a variety of perspectives, hoping to find something for everyone.  I eventually settled on these seven grapes on the grapevine:

Annoyed Librarian. This anonymous columnist for the online edition of Library Journal is not annoyed with co-workers or patrons, but rather with the many controversies, big and small, affecting the library world. Readers submit library news articles of a controversial nature to her which she then discusses, usually challenging the popular view. No one knows who she is, and some are offended by what they see as insults in her blogs, but no one can deny that she has an opinion about everything and doesn’t hesitate to express it. She is entertaining while being annoyed and brings newsworthy library topics to the attention of readers who otherwise might not know about them.

Mr. Library Dude aka Joe Hardenbrook is a reference librarian in Wisconsin. He is a prolific blogger, posting under 17 categories who got his moniker when a student who had forgotten his name, tried to get his attention by calling out, ”Hey, Mr. Library Dude.” It is obvious he loves all aspects of his job and the broader library world, but high on his list of current interests are social media, 3D printing, user experience, and space assessment. Don’t miss his popular Lego Librarian blogs, where he features a whole library world he has built out of Legos!

Awful Library Books. This site has some fun with a serious purpose – weeding and collection development. Its creators, public librarians in Michigan, remind us in the most visual way that “hoarding is not collection development” and sometimes you just have to let go!  Librarians eagerly submit books from their own library’s weeding pile, of which there seems to be an endless supply, demonstrating why we weed. Many books are just hilariously out of date, while others are of dubious value at any time. The commentary and images will make you laugh, but beyond the awful books that are featured is sound advice about the importance of weeding. These two experts also share slides from their many presentations here.

Disruptive Librarian Jester and Library Technology Launchpad are two sites that focus on technology issues and trends in the library.  The Jester, whose tagline is “We’re Disrupted. We’re Librarians. And We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore” is all about change, the small ones and the more radical, disruptive ones. “The Launchpad offers “library technology for every librarian” including blog posts and podcasts.

Library History Buff Blog features blogs about libraries from times gone by that preserve our library heritage by providing glimpses into the past. Posts are richly illustrated with historical photos and library memorabilia, giving it the feel of a library archive.  Whether it be a collection of old library cards, bookplates, stamps, postcards, or conference programs or tales of long ago library services and events    you are sure to find many items of interest here.

In the Library with a Lead Pipe is heavier reading for the serious librarian!  Though it started as an award winning peer reviewed blog in 2008, it transformed itself into an officially recognized online peer reviewed open access journal in 2012.  The impetus behind this is a team of librarians of all types from around the world. Some articles have been published as open access elsewhere but they also take original submissions.  These will be reviewed by a panel before being accepted for publication. They publish one to two articles a month representing all kinds of libraries and topics.

I will revisit the grapevine often and surely find a topic there for next year’s Professional Growth Day!

A few other grapes on the vine:

Trevor Owens – Archiving                                               Stephen’s Lighthouse – Trends Innovation, Information

David Lee King – Social media, emerging trends       The Travelin’ Librarian – Michael Sauers

Free Range Librarian – K. G. Schneider                        10 Mysterious Libraries Around the World – video