books · libraries

What Happens When a Library Stops Charging Late Fees?

Sometimes library fines can add up. A man returned a book that was overdue by 41 years and had a fine of $299.30. A 47 year overdue book had a fine of $345.14. And other books have been so overdue that libraries give up altogether on collecting fees. (US President George Washington, for example, borrowed The… Continue reading What Happens When a Library Stops Charging Late Fees?

books · libraries

The Library at the End of the World

People like to prepare for end of the world, and sometimes they use libraries to do it. There is, of course, the Survivor Library, a digital collection of over 7,000 freely available PDFs intended to help humanity rebuild after a cataclysm. It contains information about “[h]ow to make water safe to drink. How to build… Continue reading The Library at the End of the World

books

How Many Books Will You Read in a Lifetime?

We readers like to imagine that we’ll always have time for a book. We’ll get to finish all the great ones. The classics. The new releases. The fantasy series that stretches on for book after book. The standalone memoir that somehow reflects our own lives. But of course we won’t read all of the books… Continue reading How Many Books Will You Read in a Lifetime?

books

Hallucinations and Psychology: What Happens When You Read?

I’ve talked a bit about the health benefits of writing, but what does reading do to the human body? Luckily the fine folks at the University of Virginia Library have put together an infographic on just that topic. During the first stages of reading, the tactile senses are engaged, and people enjoy things like that book smell.… Continue reading Hallucinations and Psychology: What Happens When You Read?

books

A New Species: Harry Potter and the Crab King

No, the title of this post doesn’t refer to a piece of Harry Potter fan fiction about the dangers of overfishing. Instead it references the naming of a newly identified species of crab, Harryplax severus. Harryplax severus is the wondrous, pale creature pictured above. He and his brethren come from the mud at the edges of… Continue reading A New Species: Harry Potter and the Crab King

writing

Get Healthier with This Simple Trick: Write

If magazines are anything to judge by, modern society is obsessed with health. We try yoga, marathons, spinach smoothies, and protein powders all in an attempt to become healthier people. But sometimes less physical activities also improve human health. One of those activities is writing. Researcher James W. Pennebaker explains that when writing, people “experience improved… Continue reading Get Healthier with This Simple Trick: Write

writing

Tsundoku: The Art of Not Reading

There is a word for not reading. Or rather, there is a term for collecting books and never opening their covers. That word is tsundoku. The Japanese word tsundoku stands for a state in which many readers find themselves. The term is actually a combination of several words. Alone, doku means “to read”, tsunde represents… Continue reading Tsundoku: The Art of Not Reading

books

Photographs of Starting a New Page

Reading should belong to everyone, but often we only think of how books relate to ourselves. Steve McCurry is working to bridge that gap and show how much reading can connect disparate people. McCurry, one of the leaders in modern photography, has published a series of images called “On Reading”. He compiled the series from his… Continue reading Photographs of Starting a New Page

books · libraries

The Giving Season: Gifts of Literacy and Local Libraries

We are entering into the season when many people start thinking about the ways that they can give back to their local communities. Some of these gifts, however, end up being much larger than others. Earlier this year the Waukegan Public Library, located just north of Chicago, received a $100,000 gift from a local woman named… Continue reading The Giving Season: Gifts of Literacy and Local Libraries