“Fermat’s Library is a platform for illuminating academic papers. Just as Pierre de Fermat scribbled his famous last theorem in the margins, professional scientists, academics and citizen scientists can annotate equations, figures and ideas and also write in the margins. Every week we send you a new paper annotated by the community.”
Here are a few of their papers:
The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge
Abraham Flexner – 14 comments
Ethereum: A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform
Vitalik Buterin – 14 comments
Proof Without Words: Pythagorean Runs
Michael Boardman – 6 comments
Eliminating the Penny from the U.S. coinage system: An economic analysis
“A couple of times each month, lunchtime crowds at the Pop-Up Urban Park in downtown Wichita can get their food-truck cuisine with a side of literature.
The Wichita Public Library, as part of a new outreach effort, occasionally sends “Pop-Up Librarians” to the park at 121 E. Douglas to give away books and tell urban professionals about all the resources the library offers.
“It’s about surprising people with what a library is,” said Stephanie Huff, spokeswoman for the Wichita library.
“We give away books for free on a regular basis with loaning. So this is a little different, but it’s in that same vein of just celebrating the joy of reading for fun and pleasure.”
At least twice a month during the summer – the next event is Tuesday from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. – a staff member from the library’s Central branch packs a few dozen books into a vintage trunk and hauls them the block and a half to the Pop-Up Urban Park.
The books, which have been donated to the Friends of the Wichita Public Library, are free for the taking. And you don’t even have to return them.
Visitors are encouraged to take selfies with the librarian or their chosen book and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #PopUpLibrarian.”
You do not have to work for long in a library before you find some unusual items in your return box, or in the books themselves. Look through some of the materials identified in this article and laugh, or cringe, in our shared experiences!
“As a librarian I usually agree that most things do go better with a book, especially meals, baths, and country picnics. Apparently many people agree—and they take it quite a bit further than I ever would! Here are some things that have been found in library books (not necessarily by me or my colleagues). Let’s break it down by categories:
Apparently valuables also make great bookmarks. We’re talking crisp $100 bills, credit cards, lottery tickets, Broadway show tickets, and even live paychecks (not a receipt of direct deposit). These are the habits of people who are good at saving money (Hint: They probably don’t leave their paychecks in library books).
Books seem to make great keepsakes for products of nature. Librarians have opened returned books to find pressed flowers, four-leaf clovers, dandelions gone to seed, and whole marijuana leaves. (No one got arrested, that we know of.)
What you do in your private reading time sometimes ends up in public. Imagine picking up a returned book and having one of these fall out: tampons (thankfully unused), unrolled condoms (ditto), a home pregnancy test (positive!), and a glass vial labeled “smallpox sample.”
Sharp objects and books should probably not go together, and yet librarians have found scissors, knives, a cheese slicer, and even a small hatchet.
Eating and reading are a natural combo, which is why snacks are a popular bookmark. We’re talking Cheetos (mostly crumbled), a pickle slice, a Pop-Tart, a Kraft Single (still wrapped), and even whole strips of bacon (both cooked and raw). If you’re going to read and munch, try these healthy snacks.”
I always love to hear about library programs of all sorts! We can all strive to have a mix of programs that might reach out to different members of our communities – or maybe give them a few new ideas to consider. (Being in the information business, that is pretty much Job One for us!)
Gigi Monroe read children’s classics to more than 100 adults, teenagers and children June 14 at the Douglas Public Library in Juneau.
Monroe, covered in ruffles, rhinestones and glitter, is the creation of James Hoagland, a professional wig designer and producer of Juneau Pride’s sold out drag revue, Glitz. Hoagland said the experience provides youth with a real life example of self-expression, so they may feel freer to express themselves.
We are all clear that libraries are awesome places, and the people who work there or who use them must also be awesome people. (The logic is pretty faultless there!)
So it may not be a surprise to learn that there are all sorts of library songs! And, in true library fashion, the New York Public Library has graciously collected them for us: (Read their entire page to get more info and a bunch of photos!)
Formed in Brisbane, Australia in 1977, The Go-Betweens featured the twin talents of singer-songwriters Robert Forster and Grant McLennan. The group released 9 albums between 1981 and 2005. The Forster penned hymn to a librarian named Karen was the b-side to the group’s first single 1978’s Lee Remick. This song is the only one I know that praises a librarian’s readers advisory skills. Forster sings:
A lot of songs that mention libraries seem to be about things happening in the library that are not strictly study related. I couldn’t find a single song about, say, bibliographic instruction or collection development. But that’s OK. In their song “Young Adult Friction,” New York City indie-poppers The Pains of Being Pure at Heart sing about an activity taking place in the library that should not be taking place in a library. Sex and libraries in songs is a common theme. Characters are either hanging around the library before going somewhere to do their courting, or are hoping for a date (or more!) from the sexy librarian. The lyrics to “Young Adult Friction” refer to “stacks” and “microfiche,” and there is a pun on Young Adult Fiction, so bonus points to The POBPAH. Knowledge of library terms also suggests that this group might have spent some time in the reading room.
Enough with all this bookish indiepop. It’s time for some bookish rap, albeit pretend rap. As I write this I am working from the reference desk, so can’t listen to this tune in order to discern it’s musical qualities, but I heartily endorse the sentiment in this sample of the lyrics.
The silence is golden
To books I am beholden
I know I’m bad,
‘Cuz of the knowledge that I’m holdin’!
And I give you one warnin’
There will be no repeats:
Get out of my face
While I’m readin’ my Keats.
I ‘d not heard of MC Poindexter and the Study Crew, so I did some searching online. It would appear that this song appears in the 1990s science fiction show Sliders, in an episode called Eggheads (Season 1, Episode 7). MC Poindexter is actually actor Mark Poyser. Fittingly enough, the episode in question is available to borrow on DVD from The New York Public Library. So you can see and hear for yourself!
Taken from their 1999 Japan only album The Misadventures of Saint Etienne (could I be more obscure?) by the English dance pop group of the same name, Lost in the Library is an instrumental song. So I cannot be sure whether it is about losing oneself in a world of knowledge, of books, prints and photographs, archive folders, and microfiche, or a song about struggling to find the geography section. Or perhaps it’s about a quiet existential crisis in the reading room? Whatever, it’s a plangent, acoustic piece whose mood is most relaxing. Quiet calming. Like the library.
Esoteric musical choices are a necessity in this post as I’m steering clear of library clichés, as mentioned, so I have to take what I can find. It appears that most of the songs in this selction are by acts you probably haven’t heard of. Some are new to me too. Oh well. We’re here to experience new things. Comet Gain, a British indie band founded in 1992, recorded this song for their 2011 LP “Howl Of The Lonely Crowd.” I love the idea of a psychedelic library, where everyone is ecstatically happy, high on the new things they discover. I’m not sure that’s what this song is about , but that’s not my problem. The song says “Music will save you again and again.” Which is a good thing. Where can you find music? In the library. So logically the library can save you again and again. And it does. If you think about it.
All life happens in the library. Green Day is not a band I am very familiar with despite their being much the most well-known act in this post. This song seems rather jolly. I say seems… the protagonist, too shy to talk to the girl he has a crush on, sees her leave the library with her boyfriend. But he’s not bitter. He hopes maybe they’ll meet again someday. Maybe that’ll be in the library? He’s already in the right place to kill time. This song is from the group’s 1990 release 39/Smooth. You can read about, and listen to Green Day using materials held by The New York Public Library.
Spent a week in a dusty library
Waiting for some words to jump at me
I was sure Scots twee legends Belle and Sebastian would have written a song about libraries and librarians, but it seems I may have been wrong. Perhaps a keener fan will know? Fellow countryfolk popsters Camera Obscura do, and seem to have had more luck with love in the library than Green Day, as described in the song French Navy, taken from their 2009 LP My Maudlin Career. Sitting in the library. Looking for some inspiration. Suddenly! Love happens! We can’t guarantee love will happen in your library, but if you don’t go looking for it, you never know what you might find. More microfiche? Not sure how much work these love-struck folk are getting done, but hey, what better place to meet people?
I read your manifestos and your strange religious tracts.
You took me to your library and kissed me in the stacks.
Hmm. Perhaps I am being unrealistic expecting to find lots of songs about collection development, the Dewey Decimal System, and Library of Congress subject terms? Yes. I am. Whether the narrator in this song was taken to a public library I’m not sure. I hope so. This is another sweet song that involves a library. That people are going to libraries is what matters. Use it or lose it people! This is one of The Magnetic Fields more electronic sounding songs.
Library bar-code, PE label
Student must carry this card at all times,
And present upon demand for identification
This card are not while currently [enrolled pony]
You may be liable for any unauthorized use of this card prior to notifying the used card office
In writing, of possible unauthorized use due to loss or theft
I agree to comply with all library regulations
And to assume responsibility for all use made of this card
I’d heard of this song from my bandmate, the drumming librarian whose name is Lisa. This is the first time I’ve actually heard this tune. I was thrown because I thought Velocity Girl, out of Washington, D.C. (1989-1996) had a female singer. Which they did usually, one Sarah Shannon. But this is a chap. I clearly need to listen to more Velocity Girl. The recording is a sort of shoegazey meets Pavement affair. Like most shoegaze music, it’s quite hard to make out what the words are from the muffled singing, but…
I’d like to tell you something
But I have to think of something first
I want to visit you at work
It is all quiet
It is so quiet at work
These are the best lines in the song, and the most pertinent to libraries. Our hero needs some inspiration to help him think of something to tell the librarian. How about an icebreaker first? He could borrow from Robert Forster. “What do you have by Hemmingway? Can you recommend a book by Genet? Brecht? Chandler? James Joyce?” I’m sure Lisa, like Karen, will make the right choice. “