Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Library”

Retirement Checklist: FOL

“Not on my immediate checklist.” This was the answer I gave when people started the conversation with “Are you going to travel?” when they learned I was retiring.

Photo by Leah Kelley on

Nope. I’m a homebody to the point where I wonder if I need to seek counseling. I spent most of my working adult life away from home why would I want to leave it?

The top checklist item, besides sleeping in, was joining the Friends of the Library. I’m a frequent flyer as it is, visiting the library 2-3 times a week. I have shelved books, pulled holds, hosted story hour, and I have served on the library board. I was ready to wear an apron and sort books.

I don’t think I could have gotten away with not becoming a Friend of the Library. The president is a former school librarian and she said she was waiting for me to retire. There is nothing like being wanted. Especially being wanted by a group that adores books.

I paid my lifetime membership and arrived the last Tuesday of the month as instructed. Note: the privilege of paying to volunteer has a sense of irony to it).

No instructions except to unload books from their boxes and setting them on the designated genre shelves. Later they would get shelved in the rolling bookcases for the monthly book sale.

How can I possibly describe the elation of sifting through hundreds of donated books? The next best happy would be volunteering at Willy Wonka’s seconds sale.

Photo by Blue Bird on

Before I could finish my question of “What if we can’t resist —“ “Just bring them back when you’re done.”

I have become a triple bag lady at our monthly sortees. One bag for my English teacher friends who keep a classroom library for their students. Another bag for the Christian school where I once worked as their librarian (the book budget is never big enough). The last bag is for moi. My “to read” bookshelf is ever growing. To be without a book is almost as despairing as a being bereft of chocolate.

After sorting is the board meeting; all members are welcome but it’s mainly the board members who stay. I stayed because that’s where decisions are made. I was voted in as a Member At Large. I think that means I get to vote and might be called in to buy cookies when needed.

I have an apron now. I am official.

People who know me aren’t surprised I am a Friend of the Library. They think it’s because I love the library so much. It’s true, I do. But, here’s s secret—I joined up because of all the free books I have access to. Umm, all the free books that my membership fee is allowing me to have. There is that irony again.

Photo by Rick Han on



Gotta HaveBooks! (Photo credit: henry…)


Book Boosters. That’s my term for those of us that love books, love reading, love to promote reading and books.  Reading–rhymes with breathing.  Can’t go through life without either.  Actually, make that a day.  Something as wonderful as reading books tends to get knocked about: Bookworm, Get Outside, You’re Reading Another Book. You know the gamut.

Apparently we bibliophiles (very different from being a bibliomaniac) are profiled as being loners, hoarders, idolizers of authors, browsers–I shall not continue. An article in the Huffington Post entitled “These Stereotypes About Book Lovers Are Absolutely True, and That’s a Good Thing” lists 31 stereotypes. I’ve pulled the Top Ten I’ll admit to:

1. I never leave home without a book (I count the one I got going on my iPhone)

2. I don’t loan out books for fear of having them returned in a shabby condition (do not dog ear, please oh please)

3. I give books as presents (even if they would rather have a Red Robin gift card).

4. I would actually collect author trading cards (I’ll trade you my Vonnegut for your Whitman).

Various trading cards

Author trading cards available? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Yes, I do read about how famous authors became so well-loved because I do believe myself to be a page away from writing the Great American Novel (okay, I’ll amend that to Novel)

6. Bad movie adaptations can crease my day (perhaps not my whole summer, just a couple of weeks worth)

7. Finding a typo is irritating (though I live in a glass house, I’m afraid)

8. Yes, I do have strong, unwavering opinions about e-books (never mind what I said in #1)

9. Being located near a library is more important than other aspects of moving (Libraries rate over Starbucks proximity)

10. Audio books are marvelous road trip companions (Will it bother you if I plug in my book?)

Then in a December 2013 post, BookRiot blogger Dr.B  busted a move and dispelled some very important points: not caring about dog earing books *gasp* or cracking spines *be still my heart*; rarely giving books as gifts *but, but, they would like this one–I’m sure they would*; not caring about bad adaptations *oh, to have such strength*; typos? no big deal *again, to have such a cavalier attitude*.

Jester reading a book

Just another fool reading a book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What leanings do you have towards your profiling? Are you the Huffington style of traditional or more of the forgiving Dr. B?

Has Dewey Metis Match?

SLJ1210w FT Dewey Are Dewey’s Days Numbered?: Libraries Nationwide Are Ditching the Old Classification System

image credit: School Library Journal

Recently I received a shock: the Dewey Decimal system might be at death’s door.  Yes, sit down.  I can see the news has hit you just as hard.  My first thought is, “What’s next? Abandoning order in the grocery store? Arranging by content or by color?” Metis is menacing the time-honored and respected DDC system. Then I thought I should be more  opened-minded. Maybe there is a sound reason why Dewey might possibly be ringing the death knell chimes.

After reading the SLJ on-line article my open-mindedness gave way to absolute rejection of the new kid on the block: Metis. The Dewey Decimal Classification system was thoughtfully developed to create order out of chaos.  Before Dewey came along, libraries would willy-nilly shelve their books.  Some methods included alphabetizing, shelf placement, and random subject designation. Then along came Mel.

Melvil Dewey, the designer of DDC, was an amazing guy.  I could write an entire blog post about him, and if you are interested in finding out more about you should link over to this article  to become enlightened to how dedicated he was to libraries.  He even risked his life saving books from a library that was on fire.  That’s my kind of Book Booster.

The SLJ article focused on a real-life library that has changed over to what they call Metis, who was the Greek goddess Athena’s mama. Metis supposedly reigned in the clever department, and the Metis system relies on clever deductive association when searching for a book. The librarians in the Metis library believe the system is much better for kids since it encourages them to associate ideas into reality.  For instance, Johnny the second grader, comes bouncing in and says, “I want to read a mystery story because Dad and I watch Sherlock Holmes and I want to be a detective, too.”  Betsy, our intrepid librarian points to the shiny sign that says, “Scary, ” and says, “That’s where you’ll find it, sweetie.”  Yup, mysteries are scary because they are associated with the unknown, and the unknown is associated with being nervous, and nervous is associated with frightened, and frightened makes leads to thinking of ghosts which are as you know, scary.  This If You Give a Mouse a Cookie logic is not working for me.  A mystery to me is how anyone could think this Metis system is going to fly.  Dewey’s been doing fine all these years.  Why the sudden backlash against shelve and order?

If you aren’t familiar with Dewey, here is a crash course.  It’s divided up into categories and those categories can have subcategories.  It’s quite neat and tidy.  Take a look:


000 General Works (Miscellaneous)

100 Philosophy

200 Religion

300 Social Sciences

400 Languages

500 Pure Sciences

600 Technology (Practical Arts) including medicine, engineering, business accounting, agriculture, salesmanship, etc.

700 Fine Arts (including architecture, painting, photography, music, amusements, etc.)

800 Literature

900 History, Geography, Biography

What is there not to like about this system?  One reason, declares the article, for the reconsideration is because kids don’t even learn their decimals until fourth grade.  Umm, excuse me.  Dewey’s decimals are filing markers and not mathematical.  This associative logic and deductive reasoning could explain why Metis is so appealing to these particular librarians. And what will these students do when they go to their public library and it’s still the DDC?

I’m thinking as I read the article, “One giant leap backward for mankind.” Dewey put order into the system.  Order is a good thing.  Metis is kind of subjective touchy feely nonsense organization that could create unilateral universal chaos.  One person’s science could be another person’s science fiction.

Now, I ask you, are we dumbing down our society even more by taking away Dewey’s decimals and putting up shiny poster board subject signage?  If you want to read up on Dewey, you can find him in the 921 section of your friendly neighborhood library–any library that speaks Dewey.  Or you could get Metisphysical and look for the sign that spouts “People Who Once Were Alive And Are Now Dead.”


English: From left to right: R. R. Bowker, Mrs...

English: From left to right: R. R. Bowker, Mrs. Dewey and Melvil Dewey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you hugged a librarian lately?

Well, National Library Week is about done

To end it out, let’s have some fun.

Click on the link for a Famous First Lines quiz.

Have no worries–Book Boosters are a literary whiz.

Famous First Lines

(Rats, I missed three)

Drop a line why you love your library…

Happy Pages,


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