Farewell to the bus that no one will miss . . .
I believe that Ms. Johnson getting suspended is completely out of line and unjust. However, I think it’s important for moments like these to be exposed and for us to pay attention and…
A piece of literary history - a first edition of Frankenstein, given by Mary Shelley to Lord Byron.
LaGrange Park Public Library officials are brimming with curiosity over who dropped off a rare book stamped “Secret!” from notorious Nazi Commander Hermann Goring, which is now under study at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The book, “1938-1941: Vier Jahre, Hermann Goring-Werke,” likely was left in the library’s book drop. It easily could have been discarded if not for Ursula Stanek, circulation services director, who grew up in Mannheim, Germany. The book sat on her desk for several weeks in the spring until she noted the inside cover was stamped “Geheim!” meaning “Secret!” with letterhead from Goring, the Nazi state secrete police commander.
Gino Sabattini’s weirdo bookplate
For my own edification, I wanted to see where I would be facing the stiffest competition for jobs, since I am pretty open about relocating. Using data from Wikipedia (populations), ALA (library schools and # of graduates), and ALA Joblist, I put together a spreadsheet to see where library school grads were concentrated and how plentiful job openings were compared to the number of grads.
Since this was for my own edification and was put together in about an hour, let me just say that this is COMPLETELY unscientific and wouldn’t pass muster in a freshman seminar. Still, the results are kind of interesting and I thought I’d share.
A few caveats first. Not all schools reported graduate data to the ALA, for those that didn’t, I took the average of the schools that did report in that region and add the result for each unreported school. The ALA JobList numbers include jobs listed at all levels, not just entry level jobs, and are based on jobs as listed 6/1/12. Obviously there are plenty of jobs not listed on JobList, but I figured it would make a good sample. I’d guess that there are at least twice the number of jobs listed actually open, you may want to adjust the stats as you see fit. My regional divisions are for my own uses and you may not agree with which states are included where. For the record: Northeast: all of New England plus NY, NJ, and PA; Mid-South: DE, MD, DC, VA, NC, WV, TN, KY; Rust Belt: OH, MI, IN, IL, WI; Midwest: MN, IA, MO, OK, KS, NE, SD, ND; Rockies: MT, ID, WY, UT, CO, NV; Pac NW: WA, OR; Deep South: SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, AR, LA; Southwest: AZ, NM.
The ALA seems to put out differing numbers of Accredited Schools, I went with the more conservative numbers I found.
If you have any questions or suggestions about this list, please feel free to send me a message. Again I want to stress that this is a slapdash job that I put together for my own use, please don’t use this as anything other than a thought piece.
Region Population Lib Sch Job Listings 2010 Grads Grad/Jobs Lib grad/Pop
California 37,691,912 2 24 511 21 73,761
Northeast 46,700,443 13 58 1,516 26 30,814
Mid-South 33,365,140 7 39 499 13 66,819
Rust Belt 49,628,522 8 45 1,552 34 31,977
Midwest 9,766,125 5 28 422 15 23,142
Rockies 22,624,324 1 21 55 3 411,351
Pac NW 10,701,897 1 11 77 7 138,986
Deep South 48,846,049 7 30 680 23 71,790
Texas 25,674,681 3 15 326 22 78,757
Southwest 8,564,729 1 7 59 8 145,165
Nationally 293,563,822 48 278 5,697 20 51,527
Sorry the table came out so lousy. I think you get the idea.
So as far as I can tell, the places to be looking for a job are in the Rockies, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and Mid-South. Unfortunately for me, as I’m currently located in New England, the “Rust Belt” and Northeast appear to be the toughest markets. Those schools appear to be producing way too many grads for the amount of demand in those regions. The Rockies, Pac-Northwest and Southwest need some more schools.
Anyhow, I’m not sure if this is useful for anyone but myself, but at least it gives some idea of what we’re all up against.
I’ve been unavoidably delayed in writing part two of my Unbound writeup, it is coming!
Unbound: Speculations on the Future of the Book was held at MIT on Friday, May 4, and could not have been better executed or more interesting. The day started at 10AM with an exhibit of MIT’s special collections and what can I say but that my mind was blown. They had three or four tables stretched out along one wall, and on those tables were some of the most rare and beautiful works of art I have ever seen. Do I start by talking about the hand-illuminated Book of Hours? Or the Eliot Indian Bible? Oh, how about the first edition of Leaves of Grass? Child’s play. How about a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible? Now you’re talking. A first edition of Diderot’s Encyclopedie? More, more! OK, fine, a complete copy of The Nuremberg Chronicle. My year made in the first 15 minutes of the event. We then were led down into the bowels of the MIT Library to see the conservation lab hard at work. The most interesting thing there was to see two copies of the same book, one of which had been washed and conserved, and one which hadn’t. The difference between the two was a powerful statement on why conservation is necessary.
The symposium itself didn’t start for a while, so I went and had lunch nearby, spent some moolah at the MIT Press Bookstore, and checked out some of the exhibits at the interactive showcase. Nick Montfort of MIT showed me his new book which is based on a single line of BASIC code which we ran on his Commodore 64 and made a maze-like pattern on the screen - it’s meant to show the rise of computing creativity - what was once simply a machine invented to, well, compute things, was now being used for purely aesthetic reasons. A whole new culture was being born in those early lines of code. I can’t wait to read the book, it comes out this fall.
Conference organizers Amaranth Borsuk & Gretchen Henderson opened things up by saying how amazed they were at the response to the symposium - there were 250 registrants for an auditorium which held 200. I don’t think everyone showed up and some left early, but the room was close to capacity for most of the presenters.
The first panel consisted of Bonnie Mak of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champlain, James Reid-Cunningham of the Boston Athenaeum, and Wyn Kelly and Mary Fuller of MIT. The panel was entitled “Unbinding the Book.”
Mak spoke about the similarity of today’s talk of a “digital revolution” to the “printing revolution” of the 15th century. Her book on the topic, How the Page Matters, looks fascinating.
Reid-Cunningham spoke about books as works of art and a revival of the craft of bookmaking. “Books,” he said, “should appeal to all of the senses.” But, he says, moving forward, the codex will not dominate cultural discourse, as it once did. However, he says, don’t worry librarians, “even if books as physical objects” were to disappear from prodution completely, libraries would still collect rare books.
Kelly spoke on marginalia, using Herman Melville’s own as an example, and its future in a digital world, and Fuller spoke on uncataloged items in storage and their inaccessability. Although I don’t think it was what she intended, her talk felt like something of an expose of MIT Libraries, when anyone who works in a large library knows that there is usually a backlog of items for cataloging.
During the Q&A following, Richard Minsky, founder of The Center for Book Arts, made a fabulous statement which I can only paraphrase, unfortunately. The information in a book, he said, is not just textual, but is infused with the memories of those who held it and read it before.
Part two of my roundup to come.
“Everyone at the hospital where Jan Marlowe worked as Librarian was seething with excitement about the new consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon. Jan liked him too, but found one of the patients more attractive still - or did she?”
Hospital Librarian by Margaret Malcolm. This is actually a very rare romance book, first published by Mills & Boon in 1960 and then Harlequin in 1961. The painted cover artwork is by Paul Anna Soik - one of the most prolific designers in the early days of Harlequin.