A Look At The Library of Congress Card Catalog: Critical Linking, February 5, 2017

This Critical Linking is sponsored by Caraval by Stephanie Garber.


In the ’80s the LC removed the wooden card cabinets from their spot of honor in the Reading Room and brought in personal computers. The catalog was first brought onto the World Wide Web in 1993. The webpage wasn’t as sexy as the old card system, but it was far more accessible to the American public. Today it is queried millions of times per day. Bizarre side note: The online catalog website actually had operating hours when it was first launched and “closed” at 5 p.m. Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Margot Williams warned her readers in 1994 “don’t try this [accessing the website] at midnight.”

Library history is my favorite kind of history.

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Nearly 6 out of 10 young people ages 6-17 say they read for fun, according to a new study from Scholastic and YouGov, a percentage that has dipped slightly since a 2010 report.

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said they either loved reading for fun or “liked it a lot.” In 2010, 60 percent gave similar responses. The 12-14 age group had the biggest drop, from 61 percent to 50 percent, while ages 15-17 improved from 50 to 54 percent.

The kids are still all right. I wouldn’t be surprised if that “drop” in the 12-14 age group is simply because of shifting priorities as middle schoolers transition into being high schoolers . . . and maybe not recognizing what exactly “reading for fun” means (i.e., magazines, online stuff).

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Look, local libraries are the shit. Where else can you find a million puzzles, books, games, arts and crafts and comfy reading nooks FOR FREE? Our library offers scheduled story times, holiday activities, drop in arts and crafts, and more. Seriously, the place is always bumpin’.

This is just a damn fun love letter to libraries.

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What do we need now? Books. Books that instill empathy. Books that show readers how to deal with the inevitable chaos and evil and injustice swirling around us (especially in times like these). Books that portray fierce, intelligent, courageous, perseverant characters — especially girls! — readers can look up to, see themselves in, and from whom they can gain important skills about how to be a strong adult in the world. Luckily, the young-adult category is full of such books. Here are some of my favorites, from classics to nonfiction to poetry to novels.

This list is so wonderfully random.

 

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