Archive for archives

the world wide weird of the New York Public Library

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , on July 23, 2018 by phanteana

the New York Public Library is a cultural institution to both residents and visitors of the city (and not just because it was featured in the opening scene of Ghostbusters). it houses more than 53 million items, which are spread out over 92 locations throughout its 5 major boroughs. among its collection include several items of literary paraphernalia that can best be described as “non-traditional”…you know, things like Walt Whitman’s hair or the lucky foot of Charles Dickens’ departed cat Bob (even back then, cats ruled the world…or just their owners).

if you happen to find yourself in the Big Apple, take a tour of NYPL’s Berg Library where you can see these and other weird objects on display (and maybe even a few ghosts).





i heard it through the grave-vine

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on June 3, 2018 by phanteana

libraries & cemeteries have a lot in common: both hold significant historical records (the former in print/electronic form and the latter in markers/stones) and they provide a quiet environment for reflection and study. now imagine these two places were combined into one. that’s what happened when New York’s iconic Greenwood Cemetery collaborated with the remains (womp womp) of the Brooklyn-based Morbid Anatomy Museum for a unique pop-up experience: a library inside a cemetery where patrons can read all about the dearly departed. the museum opened in 2014, and catered to family-friendly crowds & more mature audiences with its eccentric series of lectures (ranging from Taxidermy 101 to a visual presentation on 80’s Goth), exhibits, and activities. but despite its appeal, insufficient funding and the high cost of property space (it is New York, after all) caused it to fold last year. but thanks to the staff at Greenwood, the Morbid Anatomy library has been resurrected to the delight of locals and tourists alike…and just like libraries, Greenwood is very vast so be sure not to accidentally get locked in after hours (not to worry, the groundskeepers have been known to rescue stranded visitors in case they get stuck inside post-sundown).

happy Electronic Records Day! (or, “must have missed that email”)

Posted in Library Science stuff, Techie Stuff with tags , , , on October 11, 2017 by phanteana

protecting your library, Medieval-style

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , on November 11, 2016 by phanteana

librarians and archivists go through great lengths to ensure the assets of their organization are protected from damage and theft, not to mention returned on time. they carefully explain the rules of borrowing materials to patrons and internal employees, allowing them to understand that these records are for a specific purpose only. pretty simple, right? well, if you lived during Medieval Times, there were far worse reprimands than forking over late fees. if you stole or defaced a book, you could be hit with a demon sword, excommunicated from the church, or even killed. ouch! those Medieval scribes spent years creating books and manuscripts and took their craft very seriously, so keep that in mind next time you visit the library and that copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child catches your eye.


Image result for book curse

a Denver house that inspired a ghostly film

Posted in Film with tags , , , , on October 19, 2016 by phanteana

renting a home or apartment is serious business. a lot goes into the rental process: what neighborhood to live in, how far the commute to work is, what the nightlife is like, safety, budget, etc. but there’s one thing that’s often not taken into account when searching for a place to live: if the previous “residents” have vacated the premises entirely…

such is the case of Russell Hunter (1929-1996), who relocated from New York to Denver in the 1960’s. Hunter, a former employee of CBS, settled in the city’s Cheesman Park neighborhood. despite it’s natural beauty nestled in an urban landscape, the area has a rather spooky history. Mr. Hunter claimed he experienced paranormal activity in the form of loud banging noises early in the morning, faucets that turned themselves on, and – the scariest of all – the spirit of a boy who died a century earlier and had revealed his burial spot, where Hunter unearthed human remains and a baptism medal. a seance also confirmed the boy came from a wealthy family, and was set to inherit a fortune. however, he died before that could happen so his parents went to an orphanage and found a boy who looked just like him in order to claim the money. several years later, the house where the boy’s bones were found was demolished, and replaced with a high-rise building. but the incident stayed with Hunter, and inspired him to write the story for what would become The Changeling, ranked as one of the most beloved and haunting films of the 1980’s. while there are some differences between Russell Hunter’s account and the fictionalized version (for instance, the story is set in Seattle as opposed to Denver), the sentiment remains the same: do some digging (not literally) before you sign a lease.


the real Russell Hunter (right) and his fictionalized self, played by Oscar-winner George C. Scott (left)




library wars

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , on September 19, 2016 by phanteana

rivalries are common among sports teams, political affiliations, and siblings. but among libraries? sure, there are libraries all over the world vying for the attention of their communities. but in ancient times, libraries actually went to war with each other to prove who was the boss of the academic world. these included the famous Library of Alexandria (which is usually introduced to first semester MLIS students at the beginning of their program) and the Library of Pergamum, who were known for battling (albeit, rather viciously) for top library honors in the Hellenistic Era. while things may have gotten messy for these two institutions, one positive note that emerged from all this was that libraries began to receive wider audiences and modern libraries have these opposite sides to thank for the attention.


the Library of Alexandria was the hip place to be back in the day

loving the alien

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2016 by phanteana

Sweden is known for many things: coffee, ABBA, fjords. but UFO’s aren’t commonly associated with this Scandinavian nation, unless you live in or visit the town of Norrköping (pop. 126,000), located less than 2 hours south of Stockholm. it is here that you’ll find The Archives For The Unexplained (aka the UFO Archives), which are housed in storage facilities located in the basements of apartment buildings, whose residents may or may not be aware of what’s underneath them. the library was founded in 1980 by Anders Liljegren and two of his friends when they were in their early 20’s. today, the archive holds about 20,000 items in its unique collection, and Liljegren is its administrative manager who also gives curious parties guided tours of the archive. as of a few years ago, the organization expanded its collection outside of the UFO scope and now accepts materials on topics ranging from the paranormal to unproven mysteries such as the Loch Ness Monster, giving this otherwise quiet city something to talk about. most people outside of Sweden probably aren’t aware of this archive’s existence but thanks to Internet research, hobbyists who are interested in science fiction can dig deeper into learning about this archive, even if they don’t get a chance to visit it in person.