Saturday, April 28, 2012


Happy Caturday! I saw this video on Letters to a Young Librarian this week, and knew it had to be my Caturday video.

Make sure you watch until the end--the stills during the credits are kind of the best part.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Theologian Thursday: Saint Basil the Great (330-379)

 (image found here)
If you subscribe to Greek Orthodox hagiography, Basil comes from a family full of saints. Can you imagine? His brothers Gregory of Nyssa (whom we'll talk about next week) and Peter, sisters Macrina and Theosebius, mother Emily and grandmother Macrina were all saints. The Roman Catholic Church also includes his father, Basil, among the saints.

He became the bishop at Caesarea, and used his position, along with his relationships with Gregory of Nazianzus and Athanasius, to fight the heresies of Arianism and modalism. These early discussions about the Trinity are so interesting because they wrestle with all these ridiculously fine points of theology. Basically, Basil & Co. wanted the Holy Spirit to be considered homoousios (ὁμοούσιος--same essence) with the Father and Son, however, faithful to the Greek tradition, he was wary of considering the Son homoousious with the Father, even though the Nicene Creed and the Western church had established this as orthodox. But obviously (because of his disdain for Arianism) he wanted to uphold the divinity of Christ. Crazy fine points!

I feel like in this time period of debate and compromise, no one really got everything they wanted, and I think this can speak to the church today--despite conflicting beliefs, there really is room at the table for everyone.

What you should read:
(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)
Gender Equality:
Coming from such a holy family, Basil had a lot of respect for his grandmother, his mother, and his sisters. They all had significant influence on his spiritual development and his life in general.
Environmental Sensibility:
It's probably safe to say that Basil falls in line with the other Church Fathers here. It wasn't a high priority at the time, but surely, if questioned, he would support a positive environmental ethic.
Heretical Tendencies:
Though he (and the other Cappadocians, for that matter) were influenced by the work of Origen, they were staunchly orthodox.
General Badassery: 
Honestly, Basil doesn't seem too crazy. I think anyone who was part of these crazy theological debates in the fourth century had to be pretty intense, but I haven't read any stories of Basil being especially badass.

And a quote. This one is longer than the ones I usually share, but I think it's important, and very convicting!
“The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Do You Want to be a Librarian?

A librarian friend posted this video on her Facebook this week, and it is awesome. It was shot in 1947, and besides a couple points of blatant sexism is still a pretty good representation of the heart of librarianship. Love!

My favorite part is the guy at 3:09 who's like "I don't know the author or the title, but it's a blue book," and the librarian says, "I think we can help you," instead of punching him in the face, which is what I would have done. OK, not really. But geez. Actually, that's something I've brought up in my metadata class--that the physical description, while not super helpful for organizing, is more important for recall than you might imagine. I've seen more than enough people asking for a certain color book or book with certain cover art to know that sometimes that's really all a person knows, so we should be able to work with that to help them out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Emily Dickinson

I can't believe it's already the last week of April. This month has just flown by! So this is my last National Poetry Month post, and I couldn't well forget Emily Dickinson (actually, I feel like there are a lot of poets I wish I could spotlight... one month of poetry just isn't enough!). She's one of my favorites, I think mostly for how prolific she is--it seems like there's always a poem of hers I haven't yet read.

Here's one of my favorites--in fact, I'm scheming a tattoo inspired by this poem... but that's a post for another time!

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;       
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;       
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

I hope you've enjoyed these weekly poems as much as I have, and I encourage you to make poetry a part of your everyday life--even after National Poetry Month is over!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Happy Caturday! Better late than never, right? Haha! I'm blogging from my phone, so I can't embed the video. But I can link you to it! You guys. It's a cute kitten doing tricks. I'm in love. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Theologian Thursday: Gregory of Nazianzus (c.329-c.390)

For the next few weeks, Theologian Thursday is going to highlight the Cappadocian Fathers (and sister Macrina)--perhaps the most important Greek influence in church history. I'm pretty excited about it, because I love rediscovering pre-schism Christian thought--eastern ideas that were lost and have been lacking in the western church. It really helps develop a fuller, more rounded theology.

(image from here)

Gregory of Nazianzus was an acetic monk at heart, but after traveling and studying extensively spent a good deal of his life in the priesthood and public ministry--mostly due to the prodding of his father and his friend Basil the Great. He became the bishop of Constantinople, the goal of this position being to rid the church of Arian and Apollinarian heresies.

His life work was upholding Nicene orthodoxy, as well as developing an orthodox theology of the Trinity and a fleshed-out pneumatology. Gregory is usually credited with the formation of the idea of "procession" of the Holy Spirit--that it proceeds from both the Father and the Son, and yet, since Father and Son are one, that which proceeds from them is also one with them (I know, crazy stuff, right?). I'll probably discuss more about his trinitarian thought and the "social" trinity in later Cappadocian posts--it was kind of a team effort.

What you should read:
(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)
Gender Equality:
Gregory is another of the super-early Church Fathers, so it's hardly fair to rate him here. But since he was one of the Cappadocian Fathers, I imagine he did get some influence from Macrina (about whom I'll post later), so surely he had a little respect for the ideas of women.
Environmental Sensibility:
I think Gregory was much more concerned with spiritual issues than those regarding creation. However, one could interpret his belief about Christ's assuming humanity for the purpose of its redemption to be assuming creation as a whole.
Heretical Tendencies:
Super orthodox. He lived and breathed the Nicene Creed. And while the western church may have shelved his ideas, I think it's definitely safe to say he's nowhere near heresy.
General Badassery: 
Gregory was pretty tame. He spoke harshly against Arians, but that's to be expected from such an orthodox bishop. I'm more convinced of his character by the fact that, though he wasn't really interested in being a high-profile church leader, and would rather live the monastic life, he basically did as he was told by those around him. He's also the least-well-known of the Cappadocians. Pretty vanilla, I'd say. But of course that doesn't make his work any less important!

And lastly, a quote:
"That which was not assumed is not redeemed; but that which is united to God is saved."

Cool Card Catalog

This is too cool--had to share it.

Plus, a confession: I've never actually used a card catalog! I don't think I even really know how. I think I'm just young enough that computers were the norm in libraries, even the public library I went to as a child.

Does your library have a card catalog? Or is it simply a fond memory/legend?

P.S. Theologian Thursday should be forthcoming...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Metadata Matters!

Baseball team, Eymard Seminary, Suffern, N.Y. (LOC)

This is a picture of the Eymard Seminary baseball team from Suffern, New York, taken sometime between 1890 and 1910. Eymard scored a run in the 12th inning to win the game.

The only reason I know this stuff (except the winning run part; that's obvious) about a photo taken over 100 years ago is metadata.

It drives me crazy when I'm at thrift stores, and I find a basket of awesome old photos but there is nothing written on the back. No names, no dates, no information about what the photo is of. I mean, part of it's fun, because you can make up your own stories about the people in the photos (what, you don't do that?), but it's mostly frustrating.

The metadata class I'm taking right now is revealing to me the importance of accurate labeling. Not only for the purpose of recall and ease of use, but for posterity. It's especially important in today's digital age, where we have photo file names like DSC012894. So not descriptive! So not helpful for finding that photo or explaining to our great-great-grandchildren what it's a photo of. I don't want to be cursed by future generations for failing to properly label and tag my files!

Another MLIS candidate in my program has a great post on her blog about personal digital preservation, including labeling your files with appropriate metadata. Check it out! It's definitely inspired me to do some work on my own files.

All this talk about metadata also makes me think about how I tag my blog posts, and how I search for things online. I'd like to just snap my fingers (I can't not link to this. I tried, and I can't.) and have everything in the whole world labeled nicely. I guess that can't happen. But I can do my part!

How do you feel about metadata? (Easily the nerdiest question ever blogged.) Do you care about labels and tags?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tie Your Heart to Mine, Love

I love reading poetry in other languages. Or rather, I guess I should say I love reading poetry in Spanish, since that's the only other language I can read. I think there's something magical in the fact that beauty, love, sadness, death, are all universal, and that the same feelings can be evoked even in translation. I love that every translation is a little different, and yet it can be the same poem.

Anyway, here's a poem by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, in Spanish and English. I think it's lovely.

De noche, amada, amarra tu corazón al mío
De noche, amada, amarra tu corazón al mío
y que ellos en el sueño derroten las tinieblas
como un doble tambor combatiendo en el bosque
contra el espeso muro de las hojas mojadas.

Nocturna travesía, brasa negra del sueño
interceptando el hilo de las uvas terrestres
con la puntualidad de un tren descabellado
que sombra y piedras frías sin cesar arrastrara.

Por eso, amor, amárrame el movimiento puro,
a la tenacidad que en tu pecho golpea
con las alas de un cisne sumergido,

para que a las preguntas estrelladas del cielo
responda nuestro sueño con una sola llave,
con una sola puerta cerrada por la sombra.


Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness
like twin drums beating in the forest
against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream
that cuts the thread of earthly orbs
with the punctuality of a headlong train
that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,
to the grip on life that beats in your breast,
with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply
to the sky's questioning stars
with one key, one door closed to shadow.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Happy Caturday! In honor of National Library Week, this Caturday's video is about Dewey, the library cat! I've tried to convince my library's director to let us get a library cat, but so far have been unsuccessful.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Theologian Thursday -- St. Jerome (c.340-420)

Since it's National Library Week, I figure it's only fitting that this week's Thursday theologian be St. Jerome--the patron saint of libraries and librarians!

Photo from Wikipedia

Jerome (aka Eusebius Hieronymus) is best known for his translation of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek to Latin, which eventually became the Vulgate, used by the Catholic Church in the west for centuries following. The all-Latin biblical text is generally considered as important as the Septuagint (the Koine Greek translation of the Old Testament). He also translated a number of apocryphal texts, including Tobit and Judith from Aramaic. Most of this was done of his own accord--he was commissioned by Pope Damascus I to revise the older Latin texts, but eventually took it upon himself to conduct a thorough re-do.

He was born into an affluent family, which was able to provide him with the highest-quality education of the day, and he excelled especially in languages. He learned Hebrew from a converted Jew, and shocked many with his translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew rather than the Septuagint. In addition to strict translation, he penned prologues to many of the books, and recorded commentaries on books as he completed them.

Jerome traveled widely, and spent time at various monasteries observing ascetic practices. He spent time in the "wilderness," during which, legend says, he removed a thorn from the paw of a lion, which became his pet (this is why, in art, he is often portrayed with a lion). But apparently this legend was actually co-opted from that of a lesser-known saint, Gerasimus.

(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)
Gender Equality:
I haven't read much regarding Jerome's personal feelings about gender equality, but I do know that he worked closely with a woman named Paula, ministering in Cyprus. Together they founded a monastery, a school, and a hospice.

Environmental Sensibility:
I don't think I can even make a judgement in this area, because I could find so little (like, nothing) regarding Jerome's stance on the environment. I'll go ahead and make a totally uneducated guess that because of his time in the wilderness, he had some appreciation for God's creation. How's that sound? If you have any input, please let me know.
Heretical Tendencies:
His translation of the Scriptures was/is the baseline for scriptural orthodoxy, though not everyone in his time agreed (some were weirded out by the Hebrew, and others resented him for "revising" the old Latin). Additionally, his polemic theological writings didn't always win him friends, and his translations of Origen's works (definitely heretical) were suspect.
General Badassery:
Dude was smart. Super educated, knew a million languages. I took three semesters of Greek, and I know how intense translating can be. It would take me like five lifetimes to translate the whole Bible. For real. And I would have given him five stars, but that lion story wasn't actually him.

And, finally, a quote:
Be ever engaged, so that whenever the devil calls he may find you occupied."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In the Library

In this post, National Library Week meets National Poetry Month. And I die and go to heaven.

Here's a poem.

THOUGHTS IN A LIBRARY. by Anne Lynch Botts

Speak low -- tread softly through these halls;
Here genius lives enshrined, --
Here reign, in silent majesty,
The monarchs of the mind.

A mighty spirit-host they come,
From every age and clime;
Above the buried wrecks of years,
They breast the tide of Time.

And in their presence-chamber here,
They hold their regal state,
And round them throng a noble train,
The gifted and the great.

Oh, child of Earth! when round thy path
The storms of life arise,
And when thy brothers pass thee by,
With stern, unloving eyes, --

Here shall the Poets chant for thee
Their sweetest, loftiest lays;
And Prophets wait to guide thy steps
In wisdom's pleasant ways.

Come, with these God-anointed kings,
Be thou companion here;
And in thy mighty realm of mind,
Thou shalt go forth a peer!

Monday, April 9, 2012

I love my library!

I love my library. It's a fact. And I am not ashamed.

I started working here my freshman year of college, worked through two summers, and was lucky enough to get hired after graduation in December 2010, so I've been here basically every day of the past 4 years. And I still love it.

So to kick off National Library Week, here are a few reasons I love my library:
  • 40-year-old green carpet
  • Inter-library loan
  • The best student employees ever
  • Co-workers who enable my love of donuts
  • Parties. All the time.
  • Helpful librarians
  • My ocean view
  • Books! (Obvs.)

Do you have a library (academic, public, or otherwise) that you frequent? What do you love about it? I'd love you to share!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Theology Thursday... Kind of.

No theologian this week... But since it's Maundy Thursday, I encourage you to check out this blog post about foot washing as sacrament by a Quaker. It's a really good read.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, I'm going to post a poem every Tuesday.
If you'd like to join up and do the same on your blog or Twitter, please do! Leave a link in the comments!

I'm going to start with my very favorite poem in the world. It's perfect for this time of year. It fills me with thankfulness and joy and springtime.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I totally failed and didn't post a Caturday video for you over the weekend.

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Maybe this will help: A couple photos of Ebenezer lounging around on the couch.

And one of him smoking a pipe: