Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Procrastination pleasure for the archivally minded library student:

Hundreds of photographs on, a vintage photography blog, depict vanished American scenes. The images are fascinating in their variety, oddness, and often, their beauty. Images on the site are typically from a restricted date range, the 1850s – 1950s. Little details of daily life appear: vanished technologies, WWI-era delivery trucks, 1920s car accidents, eccentrics and their inventions, airplanes and zeppelins, and more.

Shorpy is really about people, not things. Here they are: boy scouts, child laborers, soldiers, government employees, socialites, workers, Civil War soldiers, people at beaches and amusement parks, dancers, country people surviving the Great Depression, ‘artistic’ photos of chorus girls , the rich and the poor. Many images show early 20th century scenes of daily life in large cities such as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City.

The beauty of lies in its variety and the ability to view high-resolution versions of each image by following a link. When the photographs, especially those originating as glass plate negatives, are viewed in high resolution it is easier to see small details such as signs, product labels, graffiti, or artwork in the background or margins of each image provide context and details about the places and people. High resolution detail reveals ads for Nehi soda and 1930scowboy movies.

There are some color images from a variety of sources, including personal collections. Recently, the site has hosted a fascinating LIFE magazine series by legendary photographer Marguerite Bourke-White depicted contrasting scenes of life under segregation in South Carolina circa 1956. Teenagers dance in a ‘juke joint’, and a nuclear family prays around the dinner table in a color-coordinated kitchen.

You can search for images by photographer name. Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Lewis Hine, and Walker Evans are just a few familiar names.

As the site’s slogan declares, there is “always something interesting” for the archivally-minded library student, history fans, or anyone interested in art and design. You’ll find at least one image here to intrigue and distract you from the papers you should be writing.

If you’re fascinated by cultural documents and maintaining their accessibility, please check out the campus activities and field trips offered by the student chapter of the Society of American Archivists at UW, or SAA-UW.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Werewolves or Cannibals?

I love hanging out with middle school kids. Where else could you get involved in a discussion about whether you would rather meet werewolves or cannibals?

There I was, at Whitman Middle School, blithely going about my routine tasks for my DFW: checking books in, checking books out. You know, the sort of things that middle school librarians are expected to do. But then I started to hear raised voices, heated discussion! I walked over to find out what was going on and if intervention would be necessary. As soon as I walked over to the two students whose voices i had heard, they immediately turned on me and demanded to know if I would rather meet a werewolf or a cannibal.

I was taken aback because I had never really considered either option before, regardless of my propensity to read trashy vampire/werewolf novels. What are the pros and cons of both situations? On the one hand, a werewolf could potentially turn me into a werewolf as well. A cannibal would just eat me. I'd be dead. End of story. I'm leaning towards this option, but then it hits me: werewolves aren't real - so I should meet one of them. Good choice? You decide. However, I have to tell you that the two boys said they would want to meet both at the same time and they would just pit the two against each other and run away as quickly as possible.

Ahhh, middle school libraries. Gotta love them!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Affordable, Fun, Thought-Provoking: Underground Railroad Film Series, November 20

Greetings, iSchool folks. Need a break this Thursday evening? On a budget? You may enjoy this film screening on Thursday, November 20.

In my non-iSchool life (yes, I still have one and I know that you do, too) I curate the annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, a program of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Our fall & winter Underground Railroad Film Series is a monthly event featuring cinema and conversation. Everyone is welcome.

We show many international and cross-cultural films. Past UR films have included the Uruguayan literacy/magical realism drama, Adios Momo; How Do I Look, a documentary about the African American and Latino LGBT 'drag ball' culture of Harlem, New York; Black Israel, about African American and African converts to Judaism; and When the Spirits Dance Mambo, a documentary about Santeria/Yoruba religion and Afro-Cuban musical traditions.

Join us on Thursday for two narrative films about African American and Asian American interactions:


(37 mins., special public screening of the director’s cut!)

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Hidmo Eritrean Cuisine, 2000 Jackson Street (Metro bus #14)
Admission: Suggested donation of $5.00
Filmmaker Joe Doughrity will be present for a Q&A session!

Written and directed by Joe Doughrity

Akira’s Hip Hop Shop stars James Kyson Lee (”Heroes”) and Emayatzy Corinealdi (”The Young & the Restless”).

An interracial love story about a Japanese immigrant in love with hip hop who meets a young Black woman with a passion for Asian cuisine and culture.

shown with


Written and directed by Arnold Chun and Alonzo Jones . Co-produced by Yealee Song and Joseph H. Shim.

Set in Los Angeles’ Koreatown circa 1999. It’s the story of Elijah Gooden, a 43-year-old African-American man from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia Tech University and worked in corporate America before moving his family to Los Angeles to start his own business. He and his family experience culture shock and adversity as they struggle to build their livelihood in an area dominated by Asian-American business owners.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Looking for Love in the Stacks

Not only did the Eugene Public Library win "Best Public Space (Indoor or Outdoor)" in the Eugene Weekly's Best Of competition, the library also won "Best Place to Meet Someone You’d Take Home to Mom":

Yes, we’ve heard stories from our library-workin’ friends about certain people who maybe didn’t wait to consummate their meeting until after they’d met the parental units, but hey, those are urban legends, right? No matter who’s grappling where, the gorgeously housed EPL (also the winner in the Best Public Space category) contains more knowledge in book, CD, DVD, video, audio, Braille and other formats — including those human search engines, reference librarians — than anyone could encompass. This means you’ve got plenty of opportunities to meet cute, from winking across the room during toddler story time to banging heads as you go for the microfilm of that 1982 issue of Commonweal to competing for the same episodes of Six Feet Under. And nothing could sound more wholesome to moms and dads than, 'We met at the library.'


The Eugene Pulic Library sounds like the place to be! Providing the community with information, entertainment, and significant others. I'm not sure what kind of "cute" you'll be meeting if you go, but someone check it out and let me know.

This story so inspires me, I'm going to write a limerick. Because nothing screams love like a limerick. Sonnets? Way too long and way too complicated of a rhyme scheme. I prefer limericks to express those hard to describe feelings:

There once was a boy with no date
He went to EPL to meet his fate.
He just wanted a book
Ended up getting a look-
And got stuck with his life mate!