Volunteer Editors (and Worse)

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:32 am
[syndicated profile] pindraig_feed

Posted by Pindraig

Who are these people who take to library books with pen or pencil, correcting, underlining, or crossing out perceived errors?

What is the point?  Do they think that they are the only reader whose eyes and mind will detect the mistake?  Really!  Anyone who chooses to read the book they have seen the need to correct will either consciously notice the mistake, or auto-correct it as their eyes race across the paragraphs.  What monstrous ego compels an otherwise well mannered library patron to so needlessly deface a book? 

What if the "error" is not a mistake, but a deliberate choice of word by the author that was intended to convey some special meaning in a poetic way?  What if it is poetry, and has confounded the literal minded volunteer editor.  What would such an editor have done with the works of Shakespeare?  Would any copy of the works of Lewis Carroll remained unmarked by such enthusiasts?

As library staff and patrons know, these pen wielding pedants make more murk than clarity.  They should annotate and sign for every correction, on a flyleaf or insert, so the rest of us can gloat if their correction turns out be incorrect. They should allow for the likelyhood that other readers who pick up this book after their pen has made its mark will share (or even surpass) the volunteer editor's facility with words, and refrain from such petty, pedantic scratchings.

Sure, if it is an "early reader" that is meant to teach a small child the correct spelling, use, and meaning of words, by all means show the book to the librarian at the circulation desk when returning it.  Perhaps you can write a letter to the publisher or author setting out the mistake, but for those books aimed at literate, experienced readers, please stay your hand and set down your pen.  If knowing the "error" is there is keeping you awake at night, please show it (un-annotated) to the librarian.

But as annoying as the volunteer editor can be to librarians and patrons, there is someone who will be consigned to a deeper circle of library hell, and that is the self appointed censor.

When all the books on a sensitive topic suddenly vanish, are defaced, or are found kicked under the bottom shelf, the librarian knows someone's cherished beliefs or opinions have been wounded.  The librarians care, they really do, and it is possible that the books in question may offend the librarians, too - but modern public libraries commit to free and open circulation of books and information, and to not censoring publicly available information - despite the fact that more than a few of the books that are officially catalogued as non fiction really deserve to be put on the paperback fiction shelves, with a "Fantasy" genre sticker on the spine.

To those few who feel they have the right to censor our public libraries collection, please have a polite chat with the librarian - there is a policy they must follow to determine if the book should in fact be on the shelf.  If the policy does not give you the result you seek, please take it up with the author and publisher - perhaps a word from you could set the author on the right path after all.  Just don't take it out on your public library.

Public libraries are, after all, one of the pillars of a free and democratic society - if you doubt that, then ask the librarian to direct you to the shelves containing books on politics, society, and history. 

Spend a few weeks or months reading deeply on the subject and you will soon find out what sort of society results when the censors move in and the books are destroyed or burned.

[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by David Mikkelson

An image of Donald Trump not placing his hand over his heart during the playing of the U.S. national anthem doesn't reflect reality.
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by David Mikkelson

U.S. health authorities have issued a travel warning for Mexico after several people were sickened by methamphetamine-laced bottles of 7-Up soda sold in Mexicali.
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by Associated Press

The NFL and its players' union angrily denounced President Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem and that fans consider walking out in protest "when somebody disrespects our flag."

Out For the Weekend

Sep. 23rd, 2017 03:54 pm

Getting garden-ready for a hot summer

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:17 pm
[syndicated profile] gardendrum_feed

Posted by Kate Wall

Getting garden-ready for a hot summer

It is early September as I write – spring! Today was over 30ºC, as were quite a few of our supposedly winter days. What can we expect for the coming summer? Right now I am getting gardens ready for a potentially VERY hot time ahead. Continue reading

New Books and ARCs, 9/22/17

Sep. 22nd, 2017 06:52 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Just in time for the weekend, a new batch of books and ARCs at the Scalzi Compound for you to peruse. Which would you want to give a place in your own “to be read” stack? Tell us in the comments.

Were UFOs Spotted Over Oklahoma City?

Sep. 22nd, 2017 06:52 pm
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by Dan Evon

Despite claims made in a viral video, purported unidentified flying objects are actually identifiable as United States Navy paratroopers over Salt Lake City, Utah.
[syndicated profile] designsponge_feed

Posted by Grace Bonney

My mind can hardly wrap itself around the catastrophic photos coming out of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominica and all of the islands affected by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Seeing families searching for loved ones in Mexico City after the earthquake and watching as our friends at The Sato Project (where our dogs Hope and Winky were rescued) desperately try to support those at their home base in Yabucoa, PR has been heartbreaking, to say the very least. So as we head into the weekend, the only thing on my mind is: how can we help? Rather than our typical wrap-up and links out to other sites this week, this post is dedicated to ways you can support those trying to rebuild, from Houston to Mexico City to the Caribbean.

If you know of any other organizations doing great work, please feel free to share them below. We will continue to look for ways to help and give back individually and as a company here at Design*Sponge, so stay tuned for more updates as electricity and connections resume in these areas and direct calls for support start to be shared. Our hearts are with everyone affected by these horrifying natural disasters.

*Artwork above by Grace D. Chin, author of last week’s essay about Artists and Social/Political Responsibility


The Caribbean 


  • Houston is struggling to rebuild and there are many organizations still in need of funds, supplies and basic personal goods. Here are a few lists to get started.
  • This piece at The Atlantic and this piece at PBS address how undocumented immigrants are struggling to rebuild without the access and support others have. Catholic Charities is doing a lot of great work to support this community in Houston.

Egg Balancing on the Equinox

Sep. 22nd, 2017 04:07 pm
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by David Mikkelson

It is not true that a special property of the equinox allows eggs (or brooms) to be balanced on their ends that day.


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September 2017


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