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Book Cart Drill Teams Battle for Supremacy

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The secret lives of librarians took center stage at the American Library Association's annual conference earlier this month. There was dancing, there were costumes, there was music, and, of course, there were book carts. They practice their routines in hallways and parking lots, ready to compete in the 5th annual Library Book Cart Drill Team Championship, sponsored by library supply company DEMCO.

"I thought, my God, what have we done here," said DEMCO's John Ison of the first competition. Teams bring acrobatic splits, book cart headlights, and dry ice effects to the floor in the quest to win first place and the coveted gold book cart trophy that comes with it. "It changes the whole image of librarians," added Ison.

What started out as a creative demonstration has since turned into an all out competition judged on technical ability and artistic impression, with bonus points for unique costumes, dance moves, and other innovations.

After the second place Des Plaines Public Library Cart Wheels team performed to a medley of songs from Grease, Ison remarked, "There was a move towards the beginning--a sort of thrust--worth several points." And with each thrust, the competition also brings team members closer together, building camaraderie. (The winning team had to juggle practices with members from three different library branches.)

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After an especially competitive year that almost ended in a tie, the judges awarded the Oak Park Library Warrior Librarians first prize for their viking-inspired performance, complete with sword play, horned helmets, and war cries.

During the competition, one of the moderators joked to any library school students in the audience, "It's really not too late to change your major." Judging by the applause from the overflowing crowd, if anything, this competition will likely boost library school enrollments, and reduce shushing.

Here are the videos of the top three teams:

First Place: The Oak Park Public Library Warrior Librarians (IL)

Second Place: Cart Wheels, Des Plaines Public Library (IL)

Third Place: Steel City Kings, University of Pittsburgh

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25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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