Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Somehow Reading Related"

I have always been drawn to silk-screened posters from the first half of the 20th century. They're simple & bold, and often were the origins of catchy phrases that have become part of our cultural vocabulary ("Uncle Sam Wants YOU!"). Last month, the release of the Red Tails feature film and discovering this great 1943 poster

inspired a Black History Month display of library books on African Americans in the military. The poster is now on my office door - the airman is terribly dashing, isn't he?

I've been doing some research on copyright and Fair Use this week, and it's worth noting that a wonderful thing about government published materials is that they are immediately and always in the public domain. After all, we the taxpayers are the publishers. Cool, huh?

There's been a WWII "School Garden Army" poster at the circulation desk, but just been swapped out for this WPA poster (definitely "reading related").

It turns out there are more WPA-created literacy posters at the Library of Congress' American Memory website. Display inspiration for the coming months!

On my iPad for March reading are several free ebooks -- I'm halfway through the first Tom Swift novel (from Project Gutenberg; it's Tom Swift and His Motorcycle, or, Fun and Adventures on the Road -- did you know that the Taser stun gun name is an acronym of "Thomas A. Swift's electric rifle?") and Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. (on the Kindle Reader app, from Also from Project Gutenberg and on my iPad are Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio (the original), Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. I'm thinking hard about the ebook situation for Paideia, and definitely taking a fresh look at the "vintage" reading available in the public domain. Stay tuned for more on that topic soon.

What's on your "always meant to read" list for March?

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