Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Pinterest – a community pinboard for inspiration

Posted: 01/11/2012 by judgeduke1912 in Thoughts

Everyone once in awhile, I’ll run across a website that makes me feel like I don’t know what’s happening on the Internet anymore.

For the past few weeks, that website for me has been, an online pinboard where you can keep track of the ideas you love and share them with others.

This place is cool. Like, really cool. I’m inspired by so much cool stuff that I’m on cool overload and I’m going through a cooldown (like a meltdown, but  for cool people).

I think I’ll make one of the dinner recipes and post an update about it. Has anyone here successfully made a Pinterest project?




How old will you be in 10 years? Mid to late 20s? Early 30s? What will you be doing in the world and, more importantly, what kind of world do you think it will be? What kind of world do you want it to be?

Our counterparts up at the New York Public Library decided that they wanted to know what kind of questions young adults have about the future, and then locked them inside the library all night until they answered those questions.

The result was a feat of collaboration that is both enticing and downright weird. It’s as important as it is pretentious – at the vanguard of both leadership and nerdiness.

On May 20, 2011, 500 teens and young adults flooded into the doors of the iconic New York Public Library to play a game called Find the Future, which you can now play online. The concept began with the identification of 100 objects (also called artifacts) that represent profound change in human culture. Participants searched through the library until they discovered each object, and then the real truth was revealed.

Each object came with its own story.

Each story carried within it a piece of wisdom, a stir of emotion, a question of humanity.

Each question of humanity invited participants to search within themselves for the answer.

More to the point, each of those objects served as inspiration for a new idea for a book – a book which was written and bound that very night. (It would be really great to read through the book, but I’m not sure how to get access to it without planning a road trip to Manhattan.)

For an insider’s viewpoint, give a read to Brian Fiore-Silfvast’s post where he describes what it was like to explore the library in the dead of night. You can also watch the video put together by the NYPL staff for an overview of the event.

I have such a love-hate reaction to this game.

I really love that the library is getting involved in its community and facilitating a way for people to come together and share ideas. I hate that this is such a foreign concept that they had to make it into a game for it to work. I love that the library is sharing its passion for learning from the past as we move into the future. I hate that it looks like no one used library resources to do any research (notice all the smart phones and laptops?). I love that this happened, but I hate that nothing seems to have come from it.

Was the library the best place for this to happen? Could it just as easily taken place in a museum? What did anyone learn from this experience? How will it benefit those who weren’t there?

Perhaps I should lock myself in a library overnight until I answer these questions for myself. 🙂

Using GIMP to create library posters

Posted: 12/19/2011 by judgeduke1912 in Books, Thoughts

Ever wonder how Calvert Library creates its unique flyers and posters? The answer is GIMP, the free Photoshop analogue, plus some good ol’ librarian creativity.

Today I thought we could look under the hood and find out how we transform photographs into something really eye-catching.

First, we need a concept. We have events going on all the time, so it’s not hard to find inspiration. For today, I needed to create a poster for our upcoming book sale. Since the Library could really use the extra money this year, I really want our poster to stand out.

So, not this:

Instead, I thought I’d try something different. Something with some kick. I need to find a girl. But not just any girl…

This girl:

I searched Flickr and used the advanced search feature to filter the search for only Creative Commons works that allow commercial use and modification. (Calvert Library isn’t really a commercial enterprise, but I don’t like to take liberties with other people’s work).

Next, I needed her to be at a book sale. This book sale:

 It’s not our book sale, but it looks like it could be. Next I removed the backgrounds of both images using the paths tool in GIMP and layered them one on top of the other:

Next, a little threshold action to make a nice black and white image:

Note : these are still 2 layers, the girl and the books

Looks great, but now what? Well, the girl should stand out a little from the books, so let’s add in some color with the gradient tool to the background layer:


I like the way the books look here, and notice how I added a copy of the book she’s holding to that same layer? Ahh, those tricky clever librarians. 🙂

Now let’s jazz her up with her own color gradient:

Nice! Looks like we might be done with the graphics. Let’s go ahead and put it in our poster.

And there you have it – a brand new poster to entice everyone to come to our next book sale. It’s a fundraiser for Calvert Library, so we hope to see you there!

Until next time!

Amazing Book Art

Posted: 12/09/2011 by judgeduke1912 in Books, Events, Thoughts

We’re always looking at three things here in the library : (1) new events to bring teens together to do fun things, (2) new ways to look at our book collection, and (3) new “Hey Girl” photos of Ryan Gosling loving the library.

And guess what? We just found something that actually combines 2 out of 3 of these magical ideas. No, it’s not Ryan Gosling roaming the stacks telling us what books to order, silly. Stop judging my dreams.

So what is it? It’s book “upcycling”! Like it or not, the library runs out of space and needs to either sell ($2 for hardbacks) or straight up recycle (nicer than saying “throw away”) quite a few books throughout the year. Perhaps we can have a night where everyone would grab one our our books fated for book heaven and transform it into something amazing.

Do you think the public would be receptive to this idea, or would there be outrage that the library would allow this to happen to its own books? What do you think?

In case you’re interested, here are some books we could use as inspiration (to read, not to turn into a fancy mobile). I wonder why our library doesn’t carry these books. Hmmm…

The Repurposed Library
by Lisa Occhipinti

Playing with Books
by Jason Thompson

New Planet, New Ideas

Posted: 12/07/2011 by judgeduke1912 in Books, Thoughts

A few days ago, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-22b, a potentially habitable planet or, to Star Trek nerds, a Class M planet.

The planet has a lot of similar qualities to Earth : It’s temperature is about 72F, it’s about 2 and a half times the size of Earth, and it takes 290 days to orbit its sun, which is very similar to us.

So here’s the ultimate question : if humans travel to Kepler-22b one day, what should we take with us? What books would best portray human history in all its glory (and sometimes misery)? And if you were on that trip, what books would you take just for yourself?

The planet is 600 light years away, so we have some time to think about it. 🙂

As for me, I’d take The Idiot’s Guide to Making Alien Friends and Colonizing Planets.