Gabriel García Márquez dies at 87

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” – Gabriel García Márquez

Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera


Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez

Nobel Laureate and brilliant author Gabriel García Márquez died yesterday. The Colombian-born writer was a master of magical realism, a genre in which the impossible and the realistic are intertwined. About this writing style, he wrote, “I say extraordinary things in an ordinary tone. It’s possible to get away with ANYTHING as long as you make it believable.” His books were translated into dozens of languages and were developed into dozens of television and movie adaptations.

Gabo, as he was affectionately nicknamed, changed my world several times. I remember quite clearly sitting in the shade in Houston, Texas, in June 1997, reading “Love in the Time of Cholera.” I was so engrossed, I didn’t mind the sweltering humidity. There are very few books that stay with you in this way, such that you remember the thread of your life that they accompanied as you read them. His books were that for me.

Read more here.

To find Marquez’s books in the Lynn Library, click here.

Veterans Day Salute to WWII pilots

This photo of my father's plane is in the Smithsonian.

This photo of my father’s plane is in the Smithsonian.

I am proud to say that during World War II my Dad was a B-26 pilot who flew 64 missions over Europe, including D-Day. Before he died, Dad wrote his memoirs of experiences which he gave to his friends and family. Stories like Dad’s are important as we have fewer and fewer WWII veterans left. The Lynn Library has several e-books memoirs of that vanishing breed, the World War II pilot:

Does Using the Library Lead to Better Grades?

There is a strong possibility that using the library leads to better grades.  A recent study of “33,074 undergraduate students across eight U.K. universities…. Successfully demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between library resource use [of print and electronic materials as well as studying in the library building] and level of degree result; however, any conclusions drawn are not indicators that library usage and student attainment have a causal relationship”1.  In other words, they couldn’t say that using the library causes you to have better grades, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

But, let us consult another “expert” on the subject.  The “New Spice Guy” recently visited the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.  Watch the video below to see how library use improved his grades.

1Stone, Graham, and Bryony Ramsden. “Library Impact Data Project: Llooking for the Link between Library Usage and Student Attainment.” College and Research Libraries (2013). Web. 6 Nov. 2013.

Author Neil Gaiman advocates for libraries

If there’s anyone who knows how to create beautiful visions through art and the written word, it’s Neil Gaiman. Author of books like Coraline, American Gods, Anansi Boys, and the Graveyard Book, Gaiman has won numerous awards, including the HugoNebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. Neil Gaiman

In a speech to London’s Reading Agency on October 13, Gaiman gave a rousing lecture on the significance of libraries, which made this passionate reader well up, both with pride for what libraries accomplish, and indignance at those who would threaten libraries’ survival. He writes:

I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally.

He touches on the correlations between an illiterate society and criminality. He touches on how reading inspires innovation, imagination, fantasy, and empathy. And most importantly to me, he poses libraries as the gateway to literacy and innovation, by their very nature of being the gateway to information. He conveys a fascinating statistic:

According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003.

And he notes, correctly, that libraries offer perhaps the only level playing field that offer a way to navigate through all that information.

We are not here to be storehouses of information. We are here to help users navigate the vast and exponentially growing world of information, so that they can become better citizens of the world.

Who could argue with that? Unfortunately, many do.

  • See this story about the – so far, sadly, successful – attack on libraries in Kentucky;
  • or this story about the ongoing threat – fortunately averted for now – to de-fund Miami-Dade public libraries;
  • or this story about ongoing, devastating cuts to school libraries;
  • or this all-too-common blog post about “the end of libraries” which shows a clear and vast misunderstanding of libraries in general, and, as another blogger remarks, expresses the shortsighted view that “if they do not use something, it has no value for anyone.”

I believe libraries are essential, but we have a real perception problem. We need to find ways to convince – that is, prove with data – that we are valuable and then find ways to shout that from the rooftops. Do you agree, and if so, do you have any ideas?