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
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
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:
- A Feast of Fire and Ice, featuring recipes from across the seven kingdoms and The Game of Scones: All Men Must Dine, described as a parody recipe book, serving up laughs as well as Game of Thrones inspired baked treats.
- The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, Of Butterbeers and Treacle Tarts, and Cooking for Muggles are just a few of many cookbooks inspired by Harry Potter, while The Wizards Cookbook: Magical Recipes Inspired by Harry Potter, Merlin, The Wizard of Oz, and More pays homage to wizards of all sorts.
- Tea with Jane Austen and The Jane Austen Cookbook bring you back to the genteel days of 18th century England.
- Roald Dahl’s Completely Revolting Recipes will appeal to young fans of his books. Who could resist a chance to try Stink Bugs Eggs, Wormy Spaghetti, or Mudslinger Burgers, all straight from the pages of his popular books.
- Another cookbook geared to young cooks is Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters. Not only a collection of recipes, it is a beautifully illustrated book where readers can imagine themselves as “co-conspirators, cooks, and tellers of tales themselves.”
- Can’t decide on one book or author? Then Literary Eats is the cookbook for you. It lets you cook up the favorite dishes of 150 American authors, living and dead, from as far back as the 18th century.
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!
While 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:
The weather has been unpredictable all across the country this year, but nothing says Spring like April! Fittingly, April is National Garden Month – a perfect time to get back out to the soil and get things growing again. National Garden Month is a fairly new celebration. It began as a mere week in 1987 after the National Garden Bureau and 23 other national horticultural organizations worked together to designate a week in April as National Garden Week. However, as any gardener will tell you, a week is simply not enough! So in 2003, The National Gardening Association took up the cause to extend that week to last the whole month of April. Each year since, they have sponsored the month, encouraging everyone to get outside and grow something. Continue reading
Who do you think you are? People have always been interested in tracing their roots and building family trees, but with the Internet at our fingertips and the digitalization of so many types of records, this has become more popular and easier to accomplish. Now from the comfort of your own home, you can be an armchair genealogist. Even so, it is a fascinating but complex undertaking, where pieces of the puzzle may stubbornly elude you or take you down the wrong path, or turn up completely unexpected results! Continue reading
Do you use windshield wipers, coffee filters, and square bottomed paper bags? How about a dishwasher, liquid paper, or a circular saw? All of these items were invented by women. Useful though they are, women inventors have improved our lives far beyond these everyday items. February is National Women Inventors Month, and a good time to honor these women and take a look at a few of their inventions. Continue reading
Gingerbread! The very word makes you smile. And who doesn’t love a gingerbread house? Of all the traditions of the season, perhaps none captures the imagination more than this one. Gingerbread houses originated hundreds of years ago in medieval Germany, but gingerbread itself has actually been around for thousands of years. Continue reading
Today, September 8, is International Literacy Day! Since 1965, on this day, schools, communities, and organizations around the world have participated in International Literacy Day activities to promote the importance of education. So it seems fitting that the Library celebrates literacy this month too with the ten year anniversary of BUILD IT, our information literacy tutorial. Continue reading
Finding statistics can be tedious and frustrating, but Statista, a new library database, takes the pain out of it. With 1,000,000 continuously updated statistics from over 600 areas, you are sure to find what you need. Statista draws from all manner of sources, including public, private, and government, and delivers all types of data. Continue reading