English Language Learners and the Library

Check out this great article put out by the School Library Journal* about resources for English Language Learners in school and public libraries. In as diverse a country as the U.S., libraries must respond to the varied cultural and linguistic backgrounds of their patron bases.

Something I found particularly interesting about this article was how it addressed the complications inherent in the acquisition of items in other languages. For example, the Minneapolis-St.Paul area has the largest Hmong population in the United States – but actually acquiring material in Hmong is complicated by the fact that the Hmong language has only had a written form since the 1950’s. Even though we can be lulled by our “Google it” culture, some things are really tricky, (bordering on almost impossible!) to find. That makes the role of librarians even more important – we love the search!

*Many thanks to Geek the Library for posting wonderful articles on their Facebook page, including this one (:

11 of the Coolest Librarians from Pop Culture!

…”because not every librarian is like the one from your high school.”

Check out this awesome list from Bustle, which includes some of everybody’s favorite librarians.

Mr. Dewey from The Pagemaster? Check.

Barbara Gordon from Batman? Absolutely.

Tammy Swanson from Parks and Recreation? The totally bonkers icing on the cool librarian cake.

Let’s work to fight librarian stereotypes! We’re actually pretty cool, as a rule (:

*Special thanks to Geek the Library’s Facebook page for posting this list.

Helsinki library1

Looking for a Sauna…At the Library?

The city of Helsinki has approved plans to build a library unlike any other. More like a library complex, this 98 million euro building will include a movie theater, restaurant, cafes, workshop and activity spaces, and yes, a sauna! The building will be located in the center of the city, and construction will begin in 2016, with the doors set to open in 2018.

This library project is yet another example of the trend in which modern libraries are becoming community centers, areas in which many services are provided under the umbrella of a library space.

What do you all think? Is this what libraries must do to remain relevant?

Photo courtesy of Good News from Finland.


FREE BOOKS: 100 Legal Sites to Download Literature

Many thanks to the Antiquarian Librarian for posting this wonderful list!

  1. Classic Bookshelf: This site has put classic novels online, from Charles Dickens to Charlotte Bronte.
  2. The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania hosts this book search and database.
  3. Project Gutenberg: This famous site has over 27,000 free books online.
  4. Page by Page Books: Find books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, as well as speeches from George W. Bush on this site.
  5. Classic Book Library: Genres here include historical fiction, history, science fiction, mystery, romance and children’s literature, but they’re all classics.
  6. Classic Reader: Here you can read Shakespeare, young adult fiction and more.
  7. Read Print: From George Orwell to Alexandre Dumas to George Eliot to Charles Darwin, this online library is stocked with the best classics.
  8. Planet eBook: Download free classic literature titles here, from Dostoevsky to D.H. Lawrence to Joseph Conrad.
  9. The Spectator Project: Montclair State University’s project features full-text, online versions of The Spectator and The Tatler.
  10. Bibliomania: This site has more than 2,000 classic texts, plus study guides and reference books.
  11. Online Library of Literature: Find full and unabridged texts of classic literature, including the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain and more.
  12. Bartleby: Bartleby has much more than just the classics, but its collection of anthologies and other important novels made it famous.
  13. Fiction.usFiction.us has a huge selection of novels, including works by Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Flaubert, George Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.
  14. Free Classic Literature: Find British authors like Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, plus other authors like Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and more.


  1. Textbook Revolution: Find biology, business, engineering, mathematics and world history textbooks here.
  2. Wikibooks: From cookbooks to the computing department, find instructional and educational materials here.
  3. KnowThis Free Online Textbooks: Get directed to stats textbooks and more.
  4. Online Medical Textbooks: Find books about plastic surgery, anatomy and more here.
  5. Online Science and Math Textbooks: Access biochemistry, chemistry, aeronautics, medical manuals and other textbooks here.
  6. MIT Open Courseware Supplemental Resources: Find free videos, textbooks and more on the subjects of mechanical engineering, mathematics, chemistry and more.
  7. Flat World Knowledge: This innovative site has created an open college textbooks platform that will launch in January 2009.
  8. Free Business Textbooks: Find free books to go along with accounting, economics and other business classes.
  9. Light and Matter: Here you can access open source physics textbooks.
  10. eMedicine: This project from WebMD is continuously updated and has articles and references on surgery, pediatrics and more.

Math and Science

  1. FullBooks.com: This site has “thousands of full-text free books,” including a large amount of scientific essays and books.
  2. Free online textbooks, lecture notes, tutorials and videos on mathematics: NYU links to several free resources for math students.
  3. Online Mathematics Texts: Here you can find online textbooks likeElementary Linear Algebra and Complex Variables.
  4. Science and Engineering Books for free download: These books range in topics from nanotechnology to compressible flow.
  5. FreeScience.info: Find over 1800 math, engineering and science books here.
  6. Free Tech Books: Computer programmers and computer science enthusiasts can find helpful books here.

Children’s Books

  1. byGosh: Find free illustrated children’s books and stories here.
  2. Munseys: Munseys has nearly 2,000 children’s titles, plus books about religion, biographies and more.
  3. International Children’s Digital Library: Find award-winning books and search by categories like age group, make believe books, true books or picture books.
  4. Lookybook: Access children’s picture books here.

Philosophy and Religion

For books about philosophy and religion, check out these websites.

  1. Bored.comBored.com has music ebooks, cooking ebooks, and over 150 philosophy titles and over 1,000 religion titles.
  2. Ideology.us: Here you’ll find works by Rene Descartes, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, David Hume and others.
  3. Free Books on Yoga, Religion and Philosophy: Recent uploads to this site include Practical Lessons in Yoga and Philosophy of Dreams.
  4. The Sociology of Religion: Read this book by Max Weber, here.
  5. Religion eBooks: Read books about the Bible, Christian books, and more.


  1. ReadBookOnline.net: Here you can read plays by Chekhov, Thomas Hardy, Ben Jonson, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and others.
  2. Plays: Read PygmalionUncle Vanya or The Playboy of the Western World here.
  3. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: MIT has made available all of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and histories.
  4. Plays Online: This site catalogs “all the plays [they] know about that are available in full text versions online for free.”
  5. ProPlay: This site has children’s plays, comedies, dramas and musicals.

Modern Fiction, Fantasy and Romance

  1. Public Bookshelf: Find romance novels, mysteries and more.
  2. The Internet Book Database of Fiction: This forum features fantasy and graphic novels, anime, J.K. Rowling and more.
  3. Free Online Novels: Here you can find Christian novels, fantasy and graphic novels, adventure books, horror books and more.
  4. Foxglove: This British site has free novels, satire and short stories.
  5. Baen Free Library: Find books by Scott Gier, Keith Laumer and others.
  6. The Road to Romance: This website has books by Patricia Cornwell and other romance novelists.
  7. Get Free Ebooks: This site’s largest collection includes fiction books.
  8. John T. Cullen: Read short stories from John T. Cullen here.
  9. SF and Fantasy Books Online: Books here include Arabian Nights,Aesop’s Fables and more.
  10. Free Novels Online and Free Online Cyber-Books: This list contains mostly fantasy books.

Foreign Language

  1. Project Laurens Jz Coster: Find Dutch literature here.
  2. ATHENA Textes Francais: Search by author’s name, French books, or books written by other authors but translated into French.
  3. Liber Liber: Download Italian books here. Browse by author, title, or subject.
  4. Biblioteca romaneasca: Find Romanian books on this site.
  5. Bibliolteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes: Look up authors to find a catalog of their available works on this Spanish site.
  6. KEIMENA: This page is entirely in Greek, but if you’re looking for modern Greek literature, this is the place to access books online.
  7. Proyecto Cervantes: Texas A&M’s Proyecto Cervantes has cataloged Cervantes’ work online.
  8. Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum: Access many Latin texts here.
  9. Project Runeberg: Find Scandinavian literature online here.
  10. Italian Women Writers: This site provides information about Italian women authors and features full-text titles too.
  11. Biblioteca Valenciana: Register to use this database of Catalan and Valencian books.
  12. Ketab Farsi: Access literature and publications in Farsi from this site.
  13. Afghanistan Digital Library: Powered by NYU, the Afghanistan Digital Library has works published between 1870 and 1930.
  14. CELT: CELT stands for “the Corpus of Electronic Texts” features important historical literature and documents.
  15. Projekt Gutenberg-DE: This easy-to-use database of German language texts lets you search by genres and author.

History and Culture

  1. LibriVox: LibriVox has a good selection of historical fiction.
  2. The Perseus Project: Tufts’ Perseus Digital Library features titles from Ancient Rome and Greece, published in English and original languages.
  3. Access Genealogy: Find literature about Native American history, the Scotch-Irish immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, and more.
  4. Free History Books: This collection features U.S. history books, including works by Paul Jennings, Sarah Morgan Dawson, Josiah Quincy and others.
  5. Most Popular History Books: Free titles include Seven Days and Seven Nights by Alexander Szegedy and Autobiography of a Female Slave by Martha G. Browne.

Rare Books

  1. Questia: Questia has 5,000 books available for free, including rare books and classics.

Arts and Entertainment

  1. Books-On-Line: This large collection includes movie scripts, newer works, cookbooks and more.
  2. Chest of Books: This site has a wide range of free books, including gardening and cooking books, home improvement books, craft and hobby books, art books and more.
  3. Free e-Books: Find titles related to beauty and fashion, games, health, drama and more.
  4. 2020ok: Categories here include art, graphic design, performing arts, ethnic and national, careers, business and a lot more.
  5. Free Art Books: Find artist books and art books in PDF format here.
  6. Free Web design booksOnlineComputerBooks.com directs you to free web design books.
  7. Free Music Books: Find sheet music, lyrics and books about music here.
  8. Free Fashion Books: Costume and fashion books are linked to the Google Books page.


  1. MysteryNet: Read free short mystery stories on this site.
  2. TopMystery.com: Read books by Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, GK Chesterton and other mystery writers here.
  3. Mystery Books: Read books by Sue Grafton and others.


  1. The Literature Network: This site features forums, a copy of The King James Bible, and over 3,000 short stories and poems.
  2. Poetry: This list includes “The Raven,” “O Captain! My Captain!” and “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.”
  3. Poem Hunter: Find free poems, lyrics and quotations on this site.
  4. Famous Poetry Online: Read limericks, love poetry, and poems by Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Lord Byron and others.
  5. Google Poetry: Google Books has a large selection of poetry, fromThe Canterbury Tales to Beowulf to Walt Whitman.
  6. QuotesandPoem.com: Read poems by Maya Angelou, William Blake, Sylvia Plath and more.
  7. CompleteClassics.com: Rudyard Kipling, Allen Ginsberg and Alfred Lord Tennyson are all featured here.
  8. PinkPoem.com: On this site, you can download free poetry ebooks.


  1. Banned Books: Here you can follow links of banned books to their full text online.
  2. World eBook Library: This monstrous collection includes classics, encyclopedias, children’s books and a lot more.
  3. DailyLit: DailyLit has everything from Moby Dick to the more recent phenomenon, Skinny Bitch.
  4. A Celebration of Women Writers: The University of Pennsylvania’s page for women writers includes Newbery winners.
  5. Free Online Novels: These novels are fully online and range from romance to religious fiction to historical fiction.
  6. ManyBooks.net: Download mysteries and other books for your iPhone or eBook reader here.
  7. Authorama: Books here are pulled from Google Books and more. You’ll find history books, novels and more.
  8. Prize-winning books online: Use this directory to connect to full-text copies of Newbery winners, Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer winners.

(Original list courtesy of iheartintelligence.com – “FREE BOOKS: 100 legal sites to download literature,” posted by Stan on August 31, 2014)

Before You Could Google It: NYPL Makes Weirdest Patron Questions Public

Readers, who would answer your random questions before the internet age? The answer: librarians. The New York Public Library has begun posting some of its most bizarre patron questions on its Instagram page, and I have to say, they are pretty fantastic. Check out this post on the blog io9 by Lauren Davis, which showcases some particularly good ones.

A personal favorite of mine:

All photos courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Free Wi-Fi! At your local branch of the New York Public Library.

Library wifi image

New York City is working to address the digital divide with a new NYPL initiative that will provide free, portable, wireless Wi-Fi hubs for check-out.

“At every branch you walk into, every computer is being used all the time,” [NYPL President Anthony] Marx said. “As more and more of what the library offers moves online, it became obvious that there was a problem.”

This initiative seeks to reach out to the 2.5 million NYC residents without their own access to the internet, and will focus on patrons in adult-learning and/or ESL programs,  and  patrons without home broadband.

This is an exciting time to see how the digital divide is being addressed by public institutions, businesses and governing bodies!