Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Janet’s Books Are Going Out The Door July 23, 2011

Filed under: Books,Librarians,Libraries — Janet @ 4:15 am

Readers of my blog might remember that once upon a time I had a “book business” which I called Janet’s Books.  Janet’s Books appeared regularly at the Dublin City Book Fair.  Then Janet’s Books relocated to Seattle.  And now in recent months some of the stock has been distributed round to other 2nd hand booksellers in Seattle, either for cash or credit.  Many books still remain – but the Seattle Public Library fund raising sale is coming up again in September and donations are welcome.  So bags of books – the last of my Dublin inventory – are going out the door and handed over gratis to the local library.   I wonder how many we’ll see again when we go to the big library sale in September.  I’ll try hard not to buyback any of my previously owned books. 

I had a nice reminder today of my local library of years ago in Belmont Mass.    One of my high school friends found a picture of that local Benton Branch Library – it was at the corner of my street – the corner of Oakley Road and Old Middlesex Road.  I used to go to that library almost every day.  It was my local “hanging out” spot – and particularly after my mother started working there.  It was a cosy little place.  It used to be the chapel for the Benton family who had a big house and surrounding land.

  Benton Branch Library, Belmont, Massachusetts    (courtesy of the Boston Globe, I think)


June = Geassemannu June 24, 2011

Filed under: Art works,Artists,Librarians,Scandinavia,Seasons — Janet @ 5:43 pm

  Cover for the Sami Spirit Calendar 2011

This calendar celebrates the lives and culture of the Sami people of northern Scandinavia, Finland, and Russia.  The artwork is all copyright Kurt Seaberg. 

The calendar is dedicated to the memory of Rudolph Johnson (1916-2007).  Rudolph was born in Kirkenes Norway of Sami ancestry but lived most of his life in Duluth Minnesota. ( Kirkenes – the final stopping point on the trip north of the Hurtigruten, for those of you who followed the live voyage last week.)  Not only does Kirkenes ring a bell but also the fact that Rudolph Johnson was the library director at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. 

   artwork from The Sami Spirit Calendar, the drawing for June

If you google the words Sami language, you can find out more.


Mayhem at the Library August 30, 2010

Filed under: Librarians,Libraries,Library resources,Move to Seattle — Janet @ 4:44 pm

Mayhem at the library……that’s an exaggeration but it was very busy yesterday (Sunday) at the Seattle Public Library in Ballard, and no doubt elsewhere in Seattle.  Because of budget cuts, the libraries are closing for a week.  This is the second year that this has happened and worse is forecast for 2011.  The major saving is in salaries paid, which really means salaries not paid to the staff.  At least they keep their jobs and have a week off, but I would suspect that the no-pay aspect is not so welcome.  Anyhow, we rushed down to the library yesterday for a last minute return and collection and the library was very busy with other patrons doing likewise.

  Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library

We arrived in Seattle in good order on Saturday evening.  Our trans-Atlantic, trans-continental trip was fine.  A 7 hour flight from Dublin to Chicago, a brief pause to catch our breath and pass through the all-important hurdle of immigration.  We were almost through immigration when a number of other people arrived, Caucasian American with babies who appeared to be African – they took priority so we had to sit for a little while as the man processed their forms. It didn’t take long but we wondered why we were being by-passed when we had arrived first.  I later found out that these people had all come on the same Lufthansa flight from Ethiopia and the babies had been in an orphanage in Awassa in southern part of that country.  Orphans get priority over senior citizens.  We didn’t really mind – we were just puzzled.   There was much happiness as each family received the final stamps on the babies’ documentation. Particularly for the family whose baby had been quite sick on the flight.   We were equally happy when Ian received the final stamp on his passport.  Welcome to America.  This process made me think of other families in the past arriving at Ellis Island in New York after being at sea for many weeks.  What a change.


Online Resource for Materials of Irish Interest November 12, 2009

How rapidly things are changing in the world of libraries.  In 1993/1994 when I did my degree in Library and Information Studies at University College Dublin, the concept of email was just being introduced.  Near the end of the course we were invited to a talk on the soon to be introduced world wide web.  How far we have come since then.  In today’s Irish Times there was an article on the introduction of a new database for research on matters of Irish interest.

Online for references of Irish interest

What a wonderful resource.  According to the article, the Sources Database for Irish Research has records of books and periodicals of Irish interest held in the National Library of Ireland and research centres and universities in the US, Britain, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.


Cats and Libraries Etcetera

Filed under: Cats,Knitting,Librarians — Janet @ 10:24 am


Dewey, a book for cat lovers and librarians


I sold my spinning wheel but no it wasn’t the one shown below.  The one below is a wheel I saw in the Flea Market in Hollis New Hampshire.  I wonder when it was last used.  It looked to me as if it would need a few more bits before it could be made to work again.


miscellaneous Ian 431








The shippers are coming to take away all the boxes that we have packed.  Shown below just a few of the boxes waiting to go.

miscellaneous Ian 218




Included in the boxes are the 300 plus books from my book selling business.  Business is a euphemism for paying for the privilege of sitting at a table every couple of months and trying to sell books.  Sales rarely equal rent for the privilege.  Business will resume in Seattle, possibly in Fremont Market.

Book Fair 2 March 2009






Attention Librarians and Booksellers September 21, 2009

Filed under: Authors,Books,Censorship,Librarians,Parenting — Janet @ 12:43 pm

I subscribe to A Word a Day, a free service which sends me an interesting word each day.  Today’s word is comstockery – a word I had never heard of.  Anu Garg is the Wordsmith and he introduces his word for today by writing that librarians and booksellers are two of his favourite people.  (Well since I am both of those I think I would like to meet the man.)  He goes on to write that he feels it unfortunate that some people feel threatened by certain books and call for them to be banned or destroyed.  He feels that people have a right to be offended by any book, but in that case all they have to do is not buy or borrow it. The problem begins when they try to impose their views on others by trying to ban it.

As an antidote to banning, the last week of September is observed in the US as Banned Books Week.  So this week Anu Garg is going to feature five words relating to censorship and mutilation of books.

Even though people after whom some of these words are coined have long gone, censorship is still alive. But there’s hope. Anu leaves his readers with this thoughtful letter from a librarian to a patron.

From the Wordsmith:




noun: Overzealous censorship of material considered obscene.


After Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. He crusaded against anything he considered immoral. Nothing escaped his wrath — even anatomy textbooks for medical students and the draping of mannequins in public view in shop windows were obscene to him. He lobbied for laws against mailing any material that could be perceived as promoting immorality.
He was appointed postal inspector and he seized books, postcards, and other materials by the boatload. He boasted that he had arrested more than 3,000 people and driven more than 15 to suicide. George Bernard Shaw coined the word comstockery after him when he attacked the American production of Shaw’s play “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”.”


My encounter with censorship – I worked in the library of the American International School in Bangladesh for close to 5 years and eventually reached the position of  head librarian.  One day, a mother of a child in the lower grades, came in to browse and select some books for herself. (We had a rather large adult section to serve the needs of parents and friends, books in English being rather scarce in Bangladesh at that time.)   I knew this parent socially and thought her reasonable enough.  However, she came into the library and upraided me in no uncertain fashion for having a book by Raoul Dahl on our shelves.  I cannot remember which book it was – this was about 25 years ago.  I was puzzled by her outrage but did not feel articulate enough to counter her.  And I decided it was no big deal to just quietly withdraw the book and say no more.  Then I put it back on the shelves when this particular parent had moved on.  It wasn’t as if the book was in great demand anyhow – it probably hadn’t been taken out in years.