You can call me a library rat anytime

I hadn’t heard the expression “library rat” since my undergraduate university days until I stumbled across this new mural by the Spanish street artist known as Xav. The work, which was commissioned by the Barcelona-based Contorno Urbano Foundation, celebrates those of us who happily hang-out in libraries. Part of the mural art project 12 + 1, the work is located in the town of L’Hospitalet de Llobreqat just outside of Barcelona.

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Long Walk To A Dark Place

A big h/t to Cameron Booth for the link to this marvelous Middle Earth “transit” map. Commissioned by Empire magazine,the brilliant map which plots the journeys of the key characters through the Peter Jackson film adaptations of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, was created by British illustrator Christian Tate.


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The Art of Shinkansen

Who doesn’t love an anime inspired gif ? The Central Japan Railway (JR Central) has commissioned a series of fifteen fun gifs by Japanese and international artists and animators to celebrate the world famous bullet train. The Art of Shinkansen project illustrates many features of the iconic train and aims to make Japanese rail travel more accessible for foreign visitors to Japan. You can see all of the gifs in the series right here.


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How the dead communicate with us

Last year, British cartoonist, artist, and children’s book writer Chris Riddell published this wonderful series of sketches that illustrate comments by the great Neil Gaiman on a variety of book related topics.

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The Dutch Are Religious About Libraries

A few years ago, a disused 15th century church in Zwolle, Netherlands was transformed into a modern library. Now,  a 19th century church in ‘s- Hertogenbosch  has been turned into a stunning 21st century combined library/museum/community center. What a great idea—we’ve got hundreds of churches that would serve the community better as libraries.

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Bowie : Station to Station

This week, New York City transit riders have been lining up to purchase special edition David Bowie MetroCards. The city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has teamed up with Spotify to offer five different options each celebrating the late artist’s varied personas. The limited edition of 250,000 MetroCards is only available at vending machines in Manhattan subway stations.

The project is also accompanied by an art show of Bowie-inspired fan art and a Bowie subway map that covers city locations important to the musician’s time in New York.

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Tales of Good and Evil

I have long been aware that Edward Gorey designed and illustrated his own books, but I was surprised to discover that he worked as a book designer for Doubleday Publishing throughout the 1950s. While employed by Doubleday, Gorey created more than fifty original book covers for the publisher’s paperback imprints. The master of sinister whimsy left his mark on each of the editions below:

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Difficult Times

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Back to Back

The antiquarian book above is actually two volumes in one. This rare style of binding is usually referred to as dos-a-dos, from the French “back to back”. As the term suggests, these books share the same back cover. Books bound in this style were briefly popular in Europe during the 17th century, but were not common by the late 18th century.

This volume is bound in leather, with gold-tooled patterns, and gauffered decorative effects achieved by placing a heated tool on the page fore-edges.

Just don’t confuse it with do-si-do; that’s for square dancing.

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Freedom to Read

During National Library Week, the American Library Association released its annual Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books . American libraries continue to face challenges—including the potential for censorship—to a variety of books, programs and periodicals. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 354 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2017. Some individual challenges resulted in requests to restrict or remove multiple titles or collections. It’s estimated that 82%-97% of challenges remain unreported. In 2017, 416 books were targeted–direct attacks on the fundamental freedom to read. The most frequently challenged titles last year were:

  1. Thirteen Reasons Whyby Jay Asher
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indianby Sherman Alexie
  3. Dramaby Raina Telgemeier
  4. The Kite Runnerby Khaled Hosseini
  5. Georgeby Alex Gino
  6. Sex Is a Funny Wordby Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
  7. To Kill a Mockingbirdby Harper Lee
  8. The Hate U Giveby Angie Thomas
  9. And Tango Makes Threeby Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole
  10. I Am Jazzby Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
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