CLOSE
Original image
ThinkStock

At the Libraries: Is the "Labrary" the Future?

Original image
ThinkStock

Each month, Miss Kathleen provides links to a variety of stories about libraries, authors, and books. If there’s something noteworthy going on in your local library, leave us a comment!

Libraries! Chugging along for another year (at least), as they enter 2013 trying to replace bookstores. Is it possible? I use the library, of course, but do you?

*

Or maybe Harvard's "Labrary" is the future of libraries? Oh, that word sounds terrible out loud!

*

If one of your New Year's resolutions was to donate money to worthy charities, I've got a good one for you: Talking Book, an audio computer used for oral education for rural villagers. Fascinating and helpful, a great combo!

*

I know gift-giving season is over, but if there's a librarian in your life (ahem), save this handy guide to Things Librarians Fancy for all-occasion gift giving. You really can't go wrong with these items!

*

Here's something I can't believe I didn't know—William Faulkner wrote a children's book! Definitely sounds ... dark.

*

The James Baldwin is my favorite, but all of these pictures of famous authors partying are pretty great. And of course, good old Papa is well represented:

*

We've all done it—come on now, 'fess up: Which books did you bail on this past year? I will admit to bailing on Wolf Hall (again!). Third time might be the charm with that one. 

*

Librarians, can you drink your way to better librarianship? It kind of is, and kind of isn't, what it sounds like. 

*

If you think you might be a hipster, and you are wondering what book to read next, well, this flow chart is for you! 

*

Okay, that is more of a joke, I mean, obviously you've read Infinite Jest. But this website is for real, and can actually help you find a great book to read next!

*

Find out the best use of blue legos, and other wonderful winners in quirky categories at this great round up of the year in children's literature (which is the most fun, as we all know).

*

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year! As always, let me know the latest and greatest in library news via email or in the comments. I hope you have a great month, and I will see you in February!

Original image
Kyle Ely
arrow
school
Dedicated Middle School Teacher Transforms His Classroom Into Hogwarts
Original image
Kyle Ely

It would be hard to dread back-to-school season with Kyle Ely as your teacher. As ABC News reports, the instructor brought a piece of Hogwarts to Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon by plastering his classroom with Harry Potter-themed decor.

The journey into the school's makeshift wizarding world started at his door, which was decorated with red brick wall paper and a "Platform 9 3/4" sign above the entrance. Inside, students found a convincing Hogwarts classroom complete with floating candles, a sorting hat, owl statues, and house crests. He even managed to recreate the starry night sky effect of the school’s Great Hall by covering the ceiling with black garbage bags and splattering them with white paint.

The whole project cost the teacher around $300 to $400 and took him 70 hours to build. As a long-time Harry Potter fan, he said that being able to share his love of the book series with his students made it all pay off it. He wrote in a Facebook post, "Seeing their faces light up made all the time and effort put into this totally worth it."

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Though wildly creative, the Hogwarts-themed classroom at Evergreen Middle School isn't the first of its kind. Back in 2015, a middle school teacher in Oklahoma City outfitted her classroom with a potions station and a stuffed version of Fluffy to make the new school year a little more magical. Here are some more unique classroom themes teachers have used to transport their kids without leaving school.

[h/t ABC News]

Images courtesy of Kyle Ely.

Original image
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
arrow
literature
How the Rise of Paperback Books Turned To Kill a Mockingbird Into a Literary Classic
Original image
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

If you went to middle or high school in the U.S. in the last few decades, chances are you’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's now-classic novel (which was adapted into a now-classic film) about racial injustice in the South. Even if you grew up far-removed from Jim Crow laws, you probably still understand its significance; in 2006, British librarians voted it the one book every adult should read before they die. And yet the novel, while considered an instant success, wasn’t always destined for its immense fame, as we learned from the Vox video series Overrated. In fact, its status in the American literary canon has a lot to do with the format in which it was printed.

To Kill a Mockingbird came out in paperback at a time when literary houses were just starting to invest in the format. After its publication in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was reviewed favorably in The New York Times, but it wasn’t the bestselling novel that year. It was the evolution of paperbacks that helped put it into more hands.

Prior to the 1960s, paperbacks were often kind of trashy, and when literary novels were published in the format, they still featured what Vox calls “sexy covers,” like a softcover edition of The Great Gatsby that featured a shirtless Jay Gatsby on the cover. According to a 1961 article in The New York Times, back in the 1950s, paperbacks were described as “a showcase for the ‘three S’s—sex, sadism, and the smoking gun.’” But then, paperbacks came to schools.

The mass-market paperback for To Kill a Mockingbird came out in 1962. It was cheap, but had stellar credentials, which appealed to teachers. It was a popular, well-reviewed book that earned Lee the Pulitzer Prize. Suddenly, it was in virtually every school and, even half a century later, it still is.

Learn the whole story in the video below from Vox.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios