People N Patrons

Reading One Book Changed His Whole Life

And now he owns one of the few bookstores, independent or otherwise, in an inner-city Philadelphia neighborhood.

Hakim Hopkins, who grew up in West Philadelphia and Atlantic City, was 15 and in juvenile detention when his mother gave him a copy of Native Son. "That book just took me out," Hopkins, 37, remembers. "I didn't know that a book could be that good. I became a book lover, and a thinker." Today, Hopkins runs the Black & Nobel bookstore at Broad and Erie that in the year since it expanded to that spot has become a neighborhood hub. Hopkins says that although business is drying up for other independent bookstores, Black & Nobel's mix of services is adding to its bustle.

Story at Philly.com.

A Retired Teacher Shares Her Life-Long Love of Libraries

From Public Broadcasting wbfo, Mildred Blaisdell remembers spending afternoons in the late 50's and 60's at the B.F. Jones Memorial Library, particularly in the summertime.

There wasn't much air conditioning in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania in the late 50's and early 60's. But the library was a haven of coolness on hot, humid afternoons.

The B.F. Jones Memorial Library was a classy robber baron equivalent of "My parents went to the beach and all I got was this tee shirt." While my grandfathers were working in the Jones and Laughlin Steel MIll for low wages, the Jones and the Laughlins built lovely granite public libraries for the use of the families of their underpaid workers. The library was the most beautiful edifice in town.

Library fan nears 25,000th book

An avid reader in south west Scotland is on the brink of borrowing her 25,000th book from her local libraries.

Louise Brown, 91, from Stranraer, took her first book on loan from Castle Douglas library in 1946.

Library staff gets the strangest calls

In small libraries, there's no reference librarian. All staff members answer the phone and respond to the questions, many simple requests such as directions, times of local activities, phone numbers, genealogical information.

Evadna Bartlett collected some of the others.

"Do you know the phone number for the post office? I don't think it's in the phone book."

Morning at the Ref Desk

Does this sound familiar?

Librarian: Good morning. Reference. How may I help you?
Caller: Hi. Is this Reference?

Librarian: Yes, sir. You have reached the Reference Desk. How may I help you?
Caller: Gee, I hope you can help me.

Librarian: I will certainly try. Tell me what you are looking for.

Caller: Well, I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but my wife told me to call.
Librarian: Great! What did your wife want?

Caller: She said you’d know what that new book is by that lady mystery writer. You know, the one everybody is reading.

Librarian: Oh, that one. Good. Ah. Would you have any idea the name of the author?

Caller: No. Oh, wait a minute, wait a minute. The lady’s name is…oh, I can’t read her writing. It’s impossible. Um…My wife said the cover of the book is a really neat picture.

More (and who knows, maybe the title of the book?) from Daily News Transcript (Norwood MA).

Road Rage At The Elementary School

EVERETT WA — An Everett man is accused of berating fifth-graders on safety patrol and using his vehicle to knock down an (unnamed) elementary school librarian during a dispute over what entrance he was supposed to use when dropping off his child at school.

Prosecutors on Monday charged Trevor Wipf, 33, with second-degree attempted assault, a felony. He is accused of intentionally driving his sport utility vehicle into the librarian at Jefferson Elementary School during this past school year.

Wipf told police he didn’t hit the librarian. He said the librarian slipped when he tried to kick Wipf’s vehicle, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Janice Albert wrote.

No Spitting @ Your Library

The unfortunate incident reported by Leigh Reporter (Southern Lancashire UK).

Privacy: A Bigger Challenge Than Ever

Even for a place where personal information is under siege, the case of Brandy Combs is unusual.

University of Florida police allege Combs stole a university librarian’s personal information to fraudulently obtain more than $31,000 in student loans and took a student’s information to get a false student identification. He was arrested on May 20 on charges of fraud and passing false checks.

While the details of the case were unusual, having a breach of private information at UF was not. The university experienced more than 130 confirmed privacy breaches in 2008, compromising the information of about 358,000 individuals, according to the UF Privacy Office.

UF officials said they’re taking steps to improve security as new regulations increase reporting requirements and fines for breaches. But they say the nature of a university means keeping large amounts of information that is sought by hackers and others.

“Every university, because it’s a university, is a prime target,” said Chuck Frazier, UF’s interim chief information officer. “You can be attacked from anyplace and every place.” The Gainesville Sun.

Michael Jackson, the Bookworm

From the LA Times: Owners of Los Angeles area bookstores (some no longer in business) recall encountering the late pop star perusing their shelves.

A few years ago, Doug Dutton, proprietor of the former Dutton's Books in Brentwood, was at a dinner with people from Book Soup, Skylight and other area bookstores. "Someone mentioned that Michael Jackson had been in their store," Dutton said by phone Thursday, "And everybody said he'd shopped in their store too."

"I've always wondered if there was a library in Neverland," Doug Dutton mused. Indeed there was -- Bob Sanger, Jackson's lawyer, told LA Weekly that Jackson's collection totaled 10,000 books.

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