Two Fun Reads (Librarians Only)

Here are two, short and fun, reads that anyone who has made a living as a librarian will enjoy.

  1. Gale, Thomson. Funny You Should Ask: Return of the Grin, Real-Life Questions from the Reference Desk Volume 2. [Farmington Hills, MI] : Thomson Gale, 2006.(WordCat link:
  2. Parsons, Arthur Hudson. A Library Is To Know. Bound to Stay Bound, 1971. (WordCat link:

Patron Saint of Librarians


The head of the patron saint of librarians, Saint Lawrence of Rome 1

Let neither popery nor skepticism restrain you from enjoying a good story. For August 10, the feast day of St. Lawrence of Rome, is a very special day for both librarians and storytellers. Throughout history there have always been sadists to accommodate the willing martyr. The methods have varied from beheading and stoning, to being hanged, drawn and quartered. But, the most interesting has to be roasting. This being the grilling of the victim over an open flame.

In 258 A.D., the Roman Emperor Valerian put Pope Sixtus II and six deacons to death. Leaving Deacon Lawrence the head of the church. Today, Deacon Lawrence is better known as St. Lawrence, the patron saint of librarians. He is one of three patron saints of the library profession—the others being Saint Jerome and Saint Catherine of Alexandria—because of his efforts in preserving the documents of the early church.

After the death of Pope Sixtus II, the prefect of Rome came to Lawrence and demanded he turn over the treasures of the church to him. Lawrence replied come back in three days. When the prefect returned, Lawrence had assembled the poor of Rome and told the prefect, these are “the treasures of the church.”2 For this, Lawrence was to be put to death. A gridiron was made. This was not the football field gridiron, but the cooking kind: a flat framework of mesh bars was assembled and placed over glowing coals. This was done so that he could be slowly burnt.

Stripped and bound to the gridiron, Lawrence was slowly roasted little by little. Now this is the part where St. Lawrence became a patron saint not for what he did in his life, but for how he left it. After having roasted one side for a long time he turned to the cook and said with a cheerful smile, “I am done enough, eat if you will.”3 While he roasted to death, he showed such great courage that he is also the patron saint of cooks and comics.

One other thing, if you ever do go to the Vatican, St. Lawrence’s mummified and slightly crisp head is available for viewing in the archives.

  1. Ambrosini, M. L., & Willis, M. (1996). The Secret Archives of the Vatican. Barnes & Noble, Inc. Retrieved from”
  2. Butler, A. (1894). Lives of the Saints: With Reflections for Every Day in the Year. Benziger Brothers. Retrieved from
  3. Butler, A. (1894). Lives of the Saints: With Reflections for Every Day in the Year. Benziger Brothers. Retrieved from

Sexy Books are Back

Washington Park Plans to Turn Library Into — What Else? — a Strip Joint

By Chad Garrison Mon., Jun. 27 2011 at 2:45 PM
Source: Riverfront Times

'Cause librarians are sexy, dammit!

'Cause librarians are sexy, dammit!

​Washington Park is home to 5,000 people and eight strip clubs. Make that nine if officials in the impoverished metro East St. Louis community pass a plan to turn the town’s former library into a topless bar.

The property in question is owned by Willie “Big Mack” McIntosh, a county board member and husband of a Washington Park trustee. McIntosh’s wife and the majority of the town’s other trustees have approved the plan to convert the building into a strip club. They’re just waiting on Mayor James Jones to sign on.

Why the need for another adult-entertainment business in Washington Park?

Because the strip clubs bring in a lot of dough for the struggling community. This year they’re expected to pay $39,000 in local taxes.

And, to be fair, the building that houses the library was already a strip club once when it was owned by racketeer Thomas Venezia, who lost the building in the mid-1990s after being convicted of running an illegal gambling empire in the Metro East. (See “Win, Lose or Die” for more on that story.)

Besides the library building at 5103 Bunkum Road won’t technically house a new strip club. It will be home to the “Soft Touch” — a Washington Park strip club that burned down in November. Soft Touch was also one of the few, if only, minority-owned adult businesses in the nearly all-black city. That ought to count for something. As village trustee Ferris Williams told the Belleville News-Democrat:

“They were the only black adult entertainment club owners in the village. I felt it was fair for them continue. They contribute a lot to the children in the village. They just donated $500 to Mayor Jones’ memorial celebration of past great leaders in the village a couple of weeks ago. I feel we should be there for those who support Washington Park.”

Here at Daily RFT we’re just hoping that should Mayor Jones approve the strip joint (which he shouldn’t; this deal stinks of cronyism) he requires that it change its name to honor the building’s past life as a home for literature and learning. We’re thinking it should be called the “The Pubic Library” or perhaps the “Hard Catalog.” Just anything but the Soft Touch.

Librarians Work in Libraries

In schools across America we have replaced the library with the Learning Resource(s) Center (LRC).  There are now even Success Centers on college campuses. (Is not that why the library became the LRC?) Success Center and LRC are shiny, bright, action oriented terms, but what do they really get the student, the library, or the school? Hmmm. Lots of questions.

I had been a librarian for a decade and I was pretty sure I knew what the definition of a library was until I came to work in an LRC. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) says a library “is a place set apart to contain books for reading, study, or reference.” Although it has gone through many variations in spelling from librarie, lyberary, liberary, librarye to the modern library, the basic definition has stayed the same.

So what is an LRC? According to the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science, it is “synonymous in the United States with school library.”1 A school library being one that serves the information and curriculum needs of public or private schools. Ok. But, why cannot a library just be a library? The 1972 combined ACRL AECT Guidelines for Two-Year College Learning Resource Programs may be where it all started. (Although, I have come across several different starting dates for the term.) According to Wanda K. Johnston, since this report was published it became unpopular to refer to community college libraries (are you ready) as libraries.2  I work in an “LRC” and I have never had anyone who was lost or looking for the library ask me where the LRC is. Patrons call it the library. The only ones that contort the term library into LRC are library professionals. In the book It’s All About Student Learning the authors say that, “in many colleges learning resource centers are reverting back to using the term libraries, often reflecting that, in the vernacular used by students and faculty, our departments continue to be thought of as libraries.”3

No matter how different the mission and objectives of one library may be from another, all libraries are fundamentally the same. Whether a library’s mission is to support research, instruction, a specialized field, or the needs of the common citizen, at the most basic level the purpose of every library is to fulfill the information needs of its patrons. An overly specialized term like LRC does nothing to help achieve this objective.  I am a librarian and I like to work in a library.




  1. Joan M. Reitz. (n.d.). ODLIS — Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science. ABC-CLIO. Retrieved June 14, 2011, from
  2. Johnston, W. K. (1994). Administering the Community College Learning Resources Program. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International.
  3. McCabe, G. B., & Dowell, D. R. (2006). It’s All About Student Learning: Managing Community and Other College Libraries in the 21st Century. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.

Book Xylophone

O’Reilly Books are more than text.


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Collection Development Policy Example

I am making available a generic version of the collection development policy I wrote for my library. It draws from many sources, and is not 100% unique or original. The deselection part is to be used in conjunction with Crew: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries. See below to download my example policy in Word format.

Example Collection Development Policy

Study Like a Scholar, Scholar

Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library has new spiced old spice.  Check it out.


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Here is the behind the scenes video.


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Source: New Spice