Library Thing – A – Thon

LibraryThing Logo

Hello, Everyone! We’re breathing new life into our blog after an almost five-year hiatus.

One of the big changes since we last posted is that we’re now using LibraryThing to catalog our collection. Don’t panic, the Borden card catalog isn’t going away!

Have you heard of LibraryThing? It’s a free site (up to a certain level) that allows users to catalog their book collections.

You can view The Institute Library’s online catalog here:  What you’ll see is, as of today, just a small portion of our actual holdings.

When we first started using LibraryThing several years ago, we were only cataloging new acquisitions. In December 2017, however, we started the herculean task of cataloging our entire collection. We’re not sure how many books we have — probably over 30,000 — and this project will let us know exactly what we have.

A handful of volunteers have been working to enter each book into LibraryThing, but we could use your help in giving this project a huge boost.

Would you like to help us? We’d love to have you as an on-going volunteer or you can join us for a special event.

Library Thing - A - Thon at the Institute Library

We’re having a LIBRARY THING – A – THON on Saturday, May 12, 2018, from 10 am – 2 pm.

Help bring our 100+-year-old collection of books into the digital age!

Bring your own laptop and power cord. We’ll begin with a 20-minute tutorial to get everyone started. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided.

If you are not affiliated with Yale, please sign-up sign-up here.

If you are affiliated with Yale, please sign-up here (Yale Day of Service site).

Entering books into LibraryThing is easy and it’s fascinating to get acquainted with a section and discover the gems in our collection. We hope you can join us!


Found Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Tour

Brothers Davy & Peter Rothbart, creators of Found Magazine, visited the Institute on Monday, September 17th as part of the magazine’s 10th Anniversary Tour. It was an awesome evening. My face hurt from laughing so much by the time I went to bed. Davy read about relationship misadventures from his recently published book, My Heart is an Idiot, and Peter sang about his favorite “found” items. (Found Item: “love letters, birthday cards, kids’ homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles — anything that gives a glimpse into someone else’s life. Anything goes.”)

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My favorite moment happened after the event. While we were cleaning up. Davy was commenting on what a great space the library is and then said, “AND I got to meet Jack Hitt! He’s one of my heroes!” This is what the library is about – community engagement and connecting people.

There was some great coverage of the event too – in the New Haven Register and the New York Times

Amateur Hour : HOAX!

Last Tuesday was the library’s second Amateur Hour, which featured media prankster, Alan Abel. While Will helped Abel and Joshua Foer (co-curator of the series) set-up for the event, I was charged with taking tickets. At the height of ticketed patrons checking in, an elderly man dropped a flier next to me, mumbling, “I don’t care about the birds.” I was a bit confused, but went back to collecting tickets and chatting with library members. Shortly before the event began, I had a chance to read the flier:

Bird Watchers are Voyeurs!

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, 48 million people watch birds. A private research group, the Good Conduct Society, has discovered Bird Watchers are more sexually active than others.
The elderly find that Bird Watching is not strenuous. And this erotic experience can be enjoyed privately through binoculars.
‘Most disturbing,’ said the Society’s director Anaida Krok, ‘are the groups of Bird Watchers seeking vicarious sexual gratification in the woods. Shamelessly, they blatantly observe God’s defenseless creatures mating.’

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Abel explained that he and his wife pass out these fliers in Washington, D.C. from time to time. It’s an extension of his social commentary from the 1960s when he started the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals – an organization to clothe animals.

The Archives

Mr. Beecher’s Lecture for the Institute Library newspaper excerpt 1861

“The lecture by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher at Music Hall, last evening, on ‘Two Hundred Years Ago,’ was fully attended, and was listened to with attention, and, with few exceptions, profound respect. A slight attempt early in the evening, on the part of a few boys and half-grown men, to disturb the speaker by groans and hisses, was promptly put down by the hearty applause of the more respectable portion of the audience, who seemed determined to maintain the freedom of speech, and, had they not been dismayed by the very timely request of Mr. Marble, would undoubtedly have expelled the disturbers.  Capt. Hayden was there with nearly his entire command, and succeeded in maintaining comparative quiet outside the hall during the lecture – but when Mr. Beecher came out a portion of the crowd greeted him with groans and as he entered the carriage two or three rotten eggs were hurled at the vehicle, one of which struck against and broke the door-glass.  Compared with the threats which had previously been made against the lecturer, the demonstration by the mob was a decided ‘fizzle.'”

Amateur Hour

Amateur Hour is the Institute Library’s lecture/discussion series that will be monthly starting this autumn.  Curators Jack Hitt & Joshua Foer kicked off the series with a  summer preview on June 13th.

Josh and Jack discussed Jack’s new book, Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character, which chronicles his travels among the garages, dorm rooms, and kitchens of this generation’s self-motivated thinkers, and a peek inside the current doings of the American amateur.

The sold-out event was a HUGE success with many thanks to all involved, especially Jack Hitt & Josh Foer.