25 April 2012

C.S. Lewis on Books and Tea

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
-C.S. Lewis

The Homestretch...

I've nary a surplus of time as I finish up the last few projects of the semester (!), but for fun you might want to go read Bradon Vogt's post, 5 Ways to Grow Your Home Library. Although my love for books is great, I have to admit I always find habitual book buyers slightly curious. Like Brandon, I too, like to write all over my books, but I have never found it hard to modify the way I do this to accommodate library books (bookmarks and a lot of journal annotations). As shopping still ranks among my least favorite activities, I derive a surprisingly low level of pleasure from browsing used books stores and library sales. I guess I would just rather be reading. While I aspire to have a robust home library of my own, I've found the method of suspending book purchases until I have finishing those still unread to be quite satisfying.

22 April 2012

Preservation Week: April 22-28, 2012

It is quite busy as this last semester comes to a close, but this week is also Preservation Week! As I currently work in preservation, and since conservation served as my first window into the world of librarianship, I have a soft spot for preservation in my heart.

Everyone who uses libraries plays a role in the preservation process. Just by keeping food & liquids away from books, refraining from marking in library materials, and carefully handling them, you are helping library items last longer. But when books fall victim to aging, wear and tear, and natural disasters, conservators come to save the day.

In a sense, library preservation owes a great deal to mother nature. The 1966 floor of the Arno river in Florence, Italy was the mother of all modern library disasters. Alli Burness has a great post about the event here:

15 April 2012

Sertillanges on Reading

"I distinguish for kinds of reading. One reads for one's formation and to become somebody; one reads in view of a particular task; one reads to acquire a habit of work and the love of what is good; one reads for relaxation. There is fundamental reading, accidental reading, stimulating or edifying reading, recreative reading."
-A.G. Sertillanges, O.P.

Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence...not the Economy

"God instructs the heart not by means of ideas, but by pains and contradictions."
-Caussade, Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence

 In today's economy, it is difficult to escape the fact that the world is weary for work. Amidst all the struggles and pains of survival, I think it can also be said that the world is weary of work, and all that modern attitudes have attached to it. While this sounds like a mighty counter-intuitive attitude to contemplate in the midst of a job search, I am convinced that it is more important than ever to confront myself about the relationship I have with my work, and I wish others would be more eager to do the same.

12 April 2012

National Library Week!

So the week is almost over...but there is still time to celebrate National Library Week! I suggest going to your local library and checking out a good book, rather than obsessing too much over neo-Enlightenment values.
Library Oath, Bodleian Library, Oxford

For your enjoyment and appreciation of libraries, a potpourri of fun links:

11 April 2012

Thoughts on the Working World, Education, and Librarianship

Once again it is not a completely decent hour for me to be writing. I blame evening classes (thank goodness I only have to endure 2.5 more weeks of these impertinent disruptions in my natural work and rest patterns) and my chronically restless mind. But I digress.

Although I have the good fortune of having some temporary work immediately following graduation, launching my post-student career and nurturing my future professional life have been heavily on my mind.  In light of the continually stagnant economy, the struggles of finding work and the value of education are being heavily discussed today. "Educational Return On Investment" seems to be a popular topic of discussion, flanked by contentious debates about student loan debt and encouraging purely utilitarian attitudes regarding educational choices. LIS degrees (Library and Information Science, for the non-librarian folks) tend to be brutally attacked in these discussions. A recent Forbes article listed an MLS as one of the worst educational investments one could make, mainly based on salary data. Despite the [wildly fallacious] rumors of an aging librarian workforce, librarians are now retiring late, and once they do, they are not being replaced (although this pattern cannot continue forever without the workforce entirely dying out). Many, like these sisters, ponder if a university education is really all it is chalked up to be for the price. In another realm of the debate on educational value is the ever popular undergraduate degree in business, which has come increasingly under attack for its apparent inability to produce professionals that can think critically and creatively. Alternatively, liberal arts degrees are being attacked (as they've been for a while) for their apparent inability to generate earning power and produce graduates who can make themselves truly useful. Bitterness abounds. More on the education debate later.
It isn't easy studying what matters.

10 April 2012

Illuminating the Iliad

Soon I'll be sharing some reflections on the job search in librarianship and professional education, but it is now a busy week of catch-up after Easter. I ran across this today and thought it was worth sharing. The trailer is for a film detailing the digitization of one of the earliest extant manuscripts of Homer's Iliad. I'll have the opportunity to view it in its entirety in a few weeks, and I'm looking forward to it.

More about the project can be found here: http://www.vis.uky.edu/iliad.php

01 April 2012

Holy Week Media Fast

I was hoping to get in another post before this week begins about how the library job search is very good practice for self-abandonment to God's will, but my weekend workload has gotten the best of me again. Rest assured, this topic will persist.

So instead, rest your eyes on this lovely image from the Holy Week Edition of Magnificat magazine:
Jesus Mocked, Philippe de Champaigne
Have a blessed Holy Week!