TED Talk: Gerard Ryle and the Panama Papers

Oh, my poor neglected little blog…I’ve missed sharing things here.  I don’t know about you, but this year has been a crazy one for me.  After finishing up my MLIS I could barely stand to look at the computer for months, and I’m finally starting to feel almost normal again. Now I’m just looking for libraryland jobs and enjoying post-grad life.

I heard this great TED Talk on my commute to work this morning by Gerard Ryle on “How the Panama Papers journalists broke the biggest leak in history.”  A great insight into a collaboration between journalists around the world to ensure access to information.


The transcript can be found here.

The Panama Papers database can be accessed here.

Sonoma County Wine Library

It has been quite a long time since I posted anything, but I have a very good excuse (I think).  I finished my MLIS!  It’s hard to believe that I finally finished my three years and a few months journey through grad school.  It was an exhausting fall and holiday season and I needed some time away from the computer to recuperate and relax!

One thing I did to celebrate was to go wine tasting for the day with the bf.  Coincidentally, BayNet was hosting a tour of the Sonoma County Wine Library that same day.  Even luckier for me, the bf was into supporting my nerdiness and happily went on the tour with me.

The tour was back in October, so forgive the lateness of this post.  Like I said, I’ve been avoiding the computer for a couple of months.  Anyway, it was a good turnout and the Wine Librarian (how do I get that title?!?), Jon Haupt, pulled out some fun items to share with the group.

The library is located inside the Healdsburg branch of the Sonoma County Library system.


They have about 6,000 items in the collection, including 1,000 rare books, ephemera, periodicals, and wine-related clippings.  Topics include agriculture, cooking, viticulture, food, cheese, beer and liquor, regions, the wine business, and winemaking.


They use the Koha catalog system for their OPAC.  The collection is cataloged using the Dewey Decimal System.


The periodicals area, with approximately 60 different magazine subscriptions



The oldest book in the collection, published 1518 (but much older than that), the Libri de re rustica by Marcus Porcius Cato.  (See the digitized version at the Internet Archive!)


This was a beautiful and enormous book from 1900 containing illustrations of French grapes.  (I didn’t catch the name of it, sorry, so please let me know if you know the title.)


This is a fun pop up book – Hugh Johnson’s Pop Up Wine BookPublished in 1989.


Another rare book was one published in Spain in 1584 the Libro de agricultura: que tracta de la labranca y crianca, y de muchas otras particularidades y prouechos del campo, by Gabriel Alonso de Herrera.  The book is on winemaking, which he said they might have used for reference in the California missions.  See the digitized version at the Internet Archive.)


This is the rare books and clippings area.


More rare books


Subject files.  The clippings are in a database, but new items are not currently being added to the existing database.

Like many other special libraries, the Wine Library did not have a collection development policy when the librarian began, and they are out of space for the physical collection. He has not had time to do any deaccessioning. The library also does not have a strategic plan, although he would like to create one.

I thought these were fun..

And then there is the ephemera!  I totally want this game.



And a scrapbook on the region


An interesting special collection at the library is of wine labels.


Some of the food and cooking titles


Finally, I passed by the famous seed library inside the main Healdsburg branch


It is a great special library and I’m so glad I had the chance to see it.  It’s open to the public, and I recommend you visit if you can!

Sutro Library tour

A little while back, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Sutro Library in San Francisco.  This is one of my most favoritest libraries evah, so I jumped at the chance to get a behind the scenes look.  The library is part of the California State Library system and has one of the largest genealogy collections west of Salt Lake City, which is how I discovered it.  However, it wasn’t until more recently that I learned of all the amazing other things hidden away in their collection.  I thought they had a lot of goodies in the stacks, but there were even more in the archives.

sutro library sign

I began visiting the library somewhere around 10 years ago to try to find the birth family of my grandfather, who gave him up for adoption with no info other than his parents’ names.  Lo and behold, I broke the “brick wall” of this part of the family tree in a dark room of the library filled with microfilm machines and drawers full of census records.  Ever since then, I’ve loved this place.  Their resources are amazing.  I’ve even found my mother in a Honolulu telephone book.

sutro library books

The library moved in 2012 to a new space on the San Francisco State University campus.  Since that was the year I also began the MLIS program, I never had the chance to visit.  I was happy to discover it was worth the wait.  The space is of course much larger, but also brighter (no windows in the last place that I can remember) and felt more welcoming.

sutro library study area

The Sutro Library collections come from Adolph Sutro, a former San Francisco mayor and apparently an extremely avid book collector who had the largest private library in the world at the time.  Sutro felt that San Francisco was still pretty wild, as it wasn’t too long after the Gold Rush, and wanted to make the city more modern and cultured.  His philosophy was to buy in bulk, even purchasing books that had been thrown in the trash.  One such example is the library’s Mexicana collection, where Sutro bought the inventory of the largest book store in Mexico City, the Libreria Abadiano, yielding several thousand items pre-1900 and much more.

sutro library stacks

Unfortunately, Sutro died (1898) before the library he envisioned was built and the books were stored in two different locations.  Even more unfortunately, the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed an astounding two-thirds of the books, yet 70,000 managed to survive.  Sutro didn’t keep an inventory (!) so the library is not sure what did not survive the quake, but they do have some receipts and other things to help piece together the original collection.

sutro library surname catalog

The real excitement began when we went into the closed stacks, and a conference room where the librarian had already brought out special items for the tour.

sutro stacks

sutro stacks

I learned that these enormous books are called elephant folios

elephant folios

Bound issues of The Star

the star london

A mysterious miniature cuneiform tablet that they don’t know how got into the collection

cuneiform tablet

Tlatelolco library, part of the Mexicana collection, from 1500s to 1700s

mexicana collection

A Shakespeare first folio from 1623, one of only 233 in the world (all of the books from here down were already opened, so I couldn’t get any pics of the covers.)

shakespeare first folio

A first edition of the King James Bible, 1611

king james bible

“King Charles I, his speech made upon the scaffold”, 1649.  This is the speech made before his execution.

king charles I speech

This book from 1470 is the first printed book of music.  I didn’t catch the name of it while I was there, but after exploring the library’s catalog, I believe this is the Constitutis, cuattentione dicende by Johannes Gerson.

first printed music book

A Japanese print

japanese print

An illuminated book

illuminated book

The library is cataloged with both Library of Congress (LC) and Dewey Decimal, and they are slowly converting everything to LC.

Some of the other resources available are:

  • A surname catalog (a bunch of people on the tour started checking to see if their surnames were in it!)
  • A locality catalog
  • 10,000 British pamphlets
  • American pamphlets from the 1500s-1800s
  • Works Progress Administration records
  • Sutro Baths posters
  • About 50 incunabula (pre-1500)
  • 4,000 family histories
  • Daughters of the American Revolution publications
  • Italian manuscripts from the 15th to 17th centuries

The library is open Monday through Friday from 10 to 5.   The library also offers email and online reference support.  The staff has always been very helpful and friendly when I’ve asked questions.

Literary map of the British Isles [infographic]

Happy Friday! I have been a busy bee working on my e-portfolio and wrapping up my MLIS.  Graduation is {hopefully} in sight!  I decided to put my e-port on a website, so I was forced to think of a name for it.  I’m not great at naming things, but I managed to come up with one that wasn’t already taken, and now changed this blog name to match.  So, welcome to Crafter Librarian!

For your Friday enjoyment, here’s a literary map of the British Isles, via BuzzFeed.


Currently reading: The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro (another advanced reading copy from the ALA conference)

Holyoke Public Library Then and Now

Sorry so quiet lately, but I think I have major senioritis and have been trying to spend as much time offline as possible.  But, I have a bunch of new vintage library postcards to share, starting with Holyoke, MA!

Holyoke is one of the larger cities in western Massachusetts, located on the Connecticut River near Springfield, with about 40,000 residents.  It was the first planned industrialized city in the country and was once a huge paper manufacturer.

The Holyoke Public Library was founded in 1870 by the Holyoke Library Corporation as a private organization, at a time when the population was only 10,000 people.  After receiving a donation and 1200 books, it opened in an old schoolroom, with Sarah Ely serving as its first librarian.  As a private library, it charged $1 a year to check out books until 1886.  In 1876, it moved to a room in City Hall.  It was moved to its current location in 1902 in what was a 25,000 square foot building on Maple Street and is one of the few neoclassical style buildings in the city.  In 1912, a natural history museum opened in the library and stayed until the 1950s.  From the 1940s to 1950s, the system opened three branch libraries, but they appear to have closed.

The library then, circa early 1900s


And now, in 2013 after a renovation

-168353566b005efe -ee6e1851b2ae0af4

The library underwent a huge renovation in 2013, which added a teen room, computer lab and classroom, study rooms, a community room, and reading areas.  The remodel also added an additional 15,000 square feet to the building, and moved its entrance to what was originally the back.  What do you think about the new addition?  The design couldn’t be more different.

The library has 11 librarians and library assistants, and a History Room archivist, among other staff.  The History Room has information on Holyoke and genealogy resources.  It also offers digital collections.  The library has free streaming movies and music and career resources for patrons. And it has the common children’s, teen, adult, and reference services, online catalog, and events. The only thing that really struck me about the website is the very first thing on the home page is a large message asking for donations with a PayPal button.  I’m all about supporting libraries, but it seems like the services should be listed first and asking for donations toward the end.

When I wrap up classes in December, I think I’ll contact the History Room to see if they can help research a few Irish ancestors who lived in Holyoke back in the mid 1850s.  What a wonderful resource!


Holyoke, Mass Holyoke Public Library page

Holyoke Public Library official site

City of Holyoke History

Library grand re-opening article

2013 Images

ARCs from ALA

Last week I attended and survived my first ALA (American Library Association) conference, which conveniently took place in San Francisco.  While I’m still digesting what I saw and did and learned, it was a pretty awesome experience.

But seriously, let’s talk about all of the free swag first.  You guys, you would not believe the giveaways.  I had no idea it would be like that.  I had been warned to not go too crazy in the exhibit hall, but I was expecting free pens and highlighters.  I was so, so wrong.  We’re talking massive amounts of free books wrong.  Major publishers like HarperCollins had giant booths, with stacks and stacks of advance reading copies (ARCs) to give away.  The smaller presses also had some giveaways, but of course not at the same level.


It was madness.  Luckily, there was also a post office in the exhibit hall.  After one hour, I had already filled up two tote bags and had to mail a box home!  And I just shipped a small box.  There were other people shipping multiple extra large boxes of books.


I got nearly 60 books, and believe it or not, I was being judicious in what I picked up.  I didn’t want to take something just because it was free it if it wasn’t going to be something I’d want to read.  I did take the opportunity to pick up books in different genres than I’d ordinarily read, though, like “cozy” mysteries.

Here’s the list of what I picked up:

Young Adult
1.    The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Mical Ostow and David Ostow
2.    If You’re Lucky by Yvonne Prinz
3.    The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary
4.    The Marvels by Brian Selznick
5.    How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin
6.    Curiosity House: the Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and H. C. Chester
7.    The Girl at the Center of the World by Austin Aslan
8.    Damage Done by Amanda Panitch
9.    It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt
10.    The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong
11.    Daughters unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
12.    Dead Investigation by Charlie Price
13.    Soundless by Richelle Mead
14.    Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
15.    The Forgetting by Nicole Maggi
16.    Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
17.    Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
18.    Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong
19.    The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
20.    The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon
21.    Unwind by Neal Shusterman
22.    UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
23.    UnSouled by Neal Shusterman
24.    These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

1.    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
2.    Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade
3.    The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
4.    The Survivor by Vince Flynn
5.    The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack
6.    The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine
7.    The Winter Girl by Matt Marinovich
8.    Made to Kill by Adam Christopher
9.    Darkness the Color of Snow by Thomas Cobb
10.    The Paris Key by Julie Blackwell
11.    Checked Out by Elaine Viets
12.    Ripped from the Pages by Kate Carlisle
13.    Past Crimes: a Van Shaw novel by Glen Erik Hamilton
14.    Flame Out by M.P. Cooley
15.    The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey
16.    A Poet of the Invisible World by Michael Golding
17.    The Keeper by David Baldacci
18.    The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
19.    The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro
20.    A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders
21.    Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell
22.    The Silent Boy by Andrew Taylor
23.    The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon
24.    Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
25.    Spellcasting in Silk by Juliet Blackwell
26.    Dark Chocolate Demise by Jenn McKinlay
27.    Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
28.    Mrs. Jeffries and the One Who Got Away by Emily Brightwell

1.    The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller
2.    Henry Clay by Giles Unges
3.    Last Stand at Khe Sanh – Gregg Jones
4.    Somewhere There is a Sun – Michael Greenbaum
5.    Goldy’s Kitchen – Diane Mott Davidson

I definitely got my registration fee and other expenses back in free books. I’m very excited about books from Kelley Armstrong (I got to “meet” her), Richelle Mead, Celeste Ng, Brian Selznick, and B.A. Shapiro, but they all sound good and I’ll be working my way through them over the next several months.  I’ll share which ones I love! Other giveaways were lip balm, a little seed bomb from Oakland Public Library, lots of buttons, and a print of San Francisco from the Library of Congress.