Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians sponsored by my bulk
mail provider,


#298, March 2, 2007

SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week

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My resume
Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops. To see outlines for previous presentations I've done, click on Handouts

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My Writings
A bibliography of my published articles and columns, with links to those available online.

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Order My Books

The Thriving Library: Successful Strategies for Challenging Times; Net Effects: How Librarians Can Manage the Unintended Consequences of the Internet, and The Quintessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint.

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine

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E-Mail Subscription?

For a combined subscription to Neat New Stuff and ExLibris, please click HERE, complete the form, and click on "subscribe." To unsubscribe, or change addresses for an existing subscription, please send me an e-mail headed either "change subscription" or "unsubscribe."

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. Corollary: Who Cares?
  3. The answer depends on the question
  4. Research is a multi-stage process
  5. Ask a Librarian
  6. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence
  7. Information can be true and still wrong
  8. Pay attention to the jokes

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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint
  14. Rory Litwin
  15. John Guscott
  16. Brian Smith
  17. Darlene Fichter
  18. Brenda Bailey-Hainer
  19. Walt Crawford
  20. Molly Williams
  21. Genie Tyburski
  22. Patrice McDermott
  23. Carrie Bickner
  24. Karen G. Schneider
  25. Roddy MacLeod, Part I
  26. Roddy MacLeod, Part II
  27. John Hubbard
  28. Micki McIntyre
  29. Péter Jacsó
  30. the "It's All Good" bloggers
  31. the "It's All Good" bloggers, part 2

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Cool Quotes

The collected quotes from all previous issues are at

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When and How To Search the Net

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 750 and 1000 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Write me at: marylaine at

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related.

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How To Find Out of Print Books
Suggested strategies, resources, and finding tools.

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Best Information on the Net
bestinfo/default.htmThe directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
an occasional column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

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Book Proposal

Land of Why Not: an Appreciation of America. Proposal for an anthology of some of my best writing. An outline and sample columns are available here.

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My personal page

NOTE: I am in the process of moving from Iowa to North Carolina. ExLibris is on hiatus while I'm packing and moving.


Karen Christersen and David Levinson, eds. Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love. Berkshire Publishing Group, 2007. 0-9770159-2-0. $49.95. Reviewed by Marylaine Block

The topic of this book is obviously dear to me, since I've devoted the past 18 months to writing a book about what much-loved public libraries are doing right (The Thriving Library: Successful Strategies for Challenging Times, <>, to be published March 23 by Information Today). But though this gorgeous volume depicts some of the same libraries I wrote about, it does not compete with my book but complements it. The Thriving Library explains what my chosen libraries are doing; this book showcases their beauty.

Editors Karen Christensen and David Levinson wanted to feature libraries "that as a group display the full range of the diversity, potential, style, history, and contributions of libraries in the United States and Canada," "libraries that have successfully undergone change."

Reasoning that "the best people to select the libraries were people who, like us, love libraries," they solicited nominations from library users and supporters through their website, library lists and publications, and an exhibit at ALA. Nominators were asked to submit an essay describing the library's "unique and significant features," along with photos.

From over 300 entries, some of them jam-packed with newspaper articles, citizen testimonials, and photos, the editors and their advisory board winnowed the list to these 80 libraries (I suspect with considerable impassioned argument in that process). The end product, which displays the libraries geographically, in zip code order, gives each library a two-page spread of photos and text, briefly describing its history, unique circumstances, and current services.

This is a coffee table book, filled with pictures of public libraries, old and new, big and small, in a wide variety of architectural styles. There are libraries that look like churches, courthouses, storefronts, Victorian mansions, bank buildings, brick boxes, spaceports, and elegant glass and concrete fantasies.

In their light-filled interiors, you may view stained glass art and windows, cats in hats, a vintage model train, fireplaces, fanciful murals, gigantic wooden beams, historic documents, bas reliefs, soaring atria, colorful children's areas, handmade quilts, and an Italian Renaissance-style brass and oak stair railing. In the library landscaping, you may view a Japanese Haiku garden, ornamental fountains, whimsical sculptures, adjoining city parks and plazas, and a sculpted Mark Twain, sitting in a garden beside a pile of books.

There are, of course, plenty of books and computers and study tables and comfortable seating on view here as well. And people - the library users whose comfort and delight is what these libraries are all about.

Scattered throughout the book are eloquent testimonials to libraries, quotes you'll want to make use of, from Bill Gates, Toni Morrison, Elie Wiesel, Walt Disney, Kurt Vonnegut, and many more luminaries.

You don't even have to love libraries to enjoy this book; anyone who admires architecture and good design will find much to admire here. Which means the book is also an outstanding way to give non-users reason to thinkt they might have been missing out on something wonderful.

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Book lovers will understand me, and they will know too that part of the pleasure of a library lies in its very existence

Jan Morris. Quoted in Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love.

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You are welcome to copy and forward any of my own articles (but not those by my guest writers) for noncommercial purposes as long as you credit ExLibris and cite the permanent URL for the article. Please do NOT copy and post my articles to your own web sites, however. Instead, please copy a brief excerpt and link to the URL for the remainder of the article.

Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2007.

[Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.]