A Peek Behind the Fences: Inside Alderman Library’s Renovations

Major renovation of the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library will continue throughout 2021 and 2022. Preparation got underway last January, and not long after the coronavirus pandemic closed the Grounds in March, the project began in earnest. The new and old stacks were demolished over the Summer…

📚 📖

The Rare Book School and the Bibliographical Society of UVA will also be on this floor, creating an area that is devoted to the care and preservation of the book.

Read the original article and view all of the progress photos here:

https://news.virginia.edu/content/peek-behind-fences-inside-alderman-librarys-renovations

Finding Halloween in the Archives

The month of October, marked by grey rainy days and bright orange and red foliage certainly has me feeling a bit spooky. While Halloween as we know it is generally a twentieth-century phenomenon, New England has a long history of superstitions and ghost stories. We all know the gothic tales of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Washington Irving but there are some lesser-known American ghost stories hiding in the stacks at the American Antiquarian Society and I made it my personal goal to find them. After browsing the shelves, I found that AAS has a whole collection of material about witchcraft, superstition, and the occult. Here is a glimpse of what I found.

The Haunted Schoolhouse at Newburyport, a pamphlet produced by Loring publishers of Boston in 1873, tells the story of some peculiar happenings at a one room schoolhouse in Newburyport, MA. Students and teachers alike began to notice rapping, strange lights, and bells ringing when no one was around. “At times the whole school-room has been illuminated, while the school has been in session, by a strong, yellow glow, which on dark days has proceeded from the entry and entered through the partition window.”

According to the story, a student and teacher finally meet the ghost responsible, possibly a former student at the school: “The figure was that of a boy of thirteen. The visage was remarkably pale, the eyes were blue, the mouth sad, and the whole effect was that of extreme melancholy. The general picture was that of a child prepared for burial and prepared, moreover, in a poor and makeshift way.”

Were these happenings the handy work of a mischievous young boy? A student was rumored to have taken credit for the hoax some years later but the story leaves the ending to the reader’s imagination so we may never know.

Another good find, Remarkable Apparitions and Ghost Stories or Authentic Histories of Communications (Real or Imaginary) with The Unseen World, a collection of stories compiled by Clarence S. Day in 1848, is not only full of chilling old fashioned ghost stories but also includes some terrifying images. Day introduces the book saying, “If any one doubts that telling ghost-stories is the proper employment for a winter’s night, let him open his window and look out. Can anything be more spectral? There is not a hill or a hollow in sight but has put on a shroud, and stares at him with a still, white face, the phantom of itself. The trees stand like giant skeletons, lifting their bleached arms toward the trooping clouds that hurry across the sky, like witches flocking to their sabbath. What is all that but a ghost-story in dumb-show, told by the earth to the stars?”

The Haunted Schoolhouse at Newburyport, a pamphlet produced by Loring publishers of Boston in 1873, tells the story of some peculiar happenings at a one room schoolhouse in Newburyport, MA. Students and teachers alike began to notice rapping, strange lights, and bells ringing when no one was around. “At times the whole school-room has been illuminated, while the school has been in session, by a strong, yellow glow, which on dark days has proceeded from the entry and entered through the partition window.”

According to the story, a student and teacher finally meet the ghost responsible, possibly a former student at the school: “The figure was that of a boy of thirteen. The visage was remarkably pale, the eyes were blue, the mouth sad, and the whole effect was that of extreme melancholy. The general picture was that of a child prepared for burial and prepared, moreover, in a poor and makeshift way.”

Were these happenings the handy work of a mischievous young boy? A student was rumored to have taken credit for the hoax some years later but the story leaves the ending to the reader’s imagination so we may never know.

Another good find, Remarkable Apparitions and Ghost Stories or Authentic Histories of Communications (Real or Imaginary) with The Unseen World, a collection of stories compiled by Clarence S. Day in 1848, is not only full of chilling old fashioned ghost stories but also includes some terrifying images. Day introduces the book saying, “If any one doubts that telling ghost-stories is the proper employment for a winter’s night, let him open his window and look out. Can anything be more spectral? There is not a hill or a hollow in sight but has put on a shroud, and stares at him with a still, white face, the phantom of itself. The trees stand like giant skeletons, lifting their bleached arms toward the trooping clouds that hurry across the sky, like witches flocking to their sabbath. What is all that but a ghost-story in dumb-show, told by the earth to the stars?”

Original Post: Past is Present – The American Antiquarian Society blog, Oct 2012

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A LIBRARY CAT DURING THE PANDEMIC

Library Cats are still working!

By lsimon on August 24, 2020

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries across the country have closed their doors to the public—but what has that meant for the cats who call America’s libraries home?

Libraries have long been home to feline residents who keep patrons company, promote activities and programs, and assist with pest control. We checked in on four library cats (and their humans) to see how their lifestyles have changed during the pandemic

A grey cat sitting among library bookstacks

Browser from Texas’s White Settlement Public Library may be one of the nation’s most famous library cats. In a viral story from 2016, a city council member tried to oust Browser from his position at the library; after a public outcry, Browser was reinstated for life while his political opponent lost his reelection campaign.

Browser has stuck around the library during the pandemic closure but seems to be missing the crowds.

“He is generally quite independent, but since the closure he always wants to be near people. We can usually find him in the lap of a staff member, or lying helpfully on their keyboard,” library staffer Kathryn King told I Love Libraries. “Now that we are offering curbside service, he posts himself at the window during curbside hours to watch the patrons come and go.”

See more library cat photos and read the full article! Original post here: http://www.ilovelibraries.org/article/what-it’s-be-library-cat-during-pandemic

The Library Was My Refuge

I love my Library! My first Library memory was at Leland R. Weaver Library in South Gate, California. I still remember the smell of the Library (and the books), story time, crafts and movies in the hot Summer. I also remember the card catalogue and the Librarian explaining how to find books using it.

I got my first library card there and I remember signing the back of it like a “big girl” – I don’t recall how old I was but my Mom may remember?

This is the place that my love for books truly bloomed.