I didn’t grow up with the Berenstain Bears—having been born just a little too early—but I more than made up for that omission in my adult years thanks to an opportunity to spend time with Jan Berenstain, author and illustrator for the hundreds of Bears books. Over their long and productive careers, Jan and her late husband, Stan, had saved a collection of almost every drawing they ever made, every story they ever wrote, and every Berenstain Bears product ever […]
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Are We There Yet?
I’ve spent a lot of time in the car this summer. And for much of that time, my six-year-old son has been my constant companion. When I was a kid, getting ready to travel involved books, crayons, paper, and a snack in a Ziploc bag. Today, we travel with a mobile electronics store. By the end of a trip, the backseat is littered with my iPod and headphones, a mobile video player with an assortment of SpongeBob and Scooby Doo […]
Softball Summers and Left Field Lessons
I spent a large portion of my youth playing outside. Whether it was hide-and-seek in the neighborhood, running through the sprinkler in the backyard, or riding my bicycle around town, I enjoyed just about any activity that involved being outdoors. So it should come as no surprise that I liked playing softball too.
However, softball differed from my usual activities because it required participating in an actual organization and becoming part of an official team. I started playing youth softball in […]
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The signs are everywhere: YARD SALE, GARAGE SALE, ESTATE SALE, MOVING SALE. Like the sirens of Greek mythology, their sweet song proves irresistible. My sister and I spend many a weekend chasing down sales—a favorite leisure activity. I don’t consider myself a collector but a treasure hunter caught by the whimsical item that seizes my attention, making an almost instantaneous connection for reasons both known and unknown. I enjoy the hunt and am equally pleased to find something for my […]
Kids and Cooking: Playing with Fire
Recently, my six-year-old son has taken an interest in learning to cook. For years, he played happily with his toy kitchen, concocting elaborate and dire sounding dishes (broccoli and pineapple soup, anyone?). Now he wants to cook like Daddy. Perched on his stool next to my chopping block, he’s been learning how to use a chef’s knife safely—fingertips curled under, thumb tucked behind the fingers. Watching the little guy carefully chopping potatoes and carrots makes me inordinately proud, and makes […]
A Librarian’s Top 5 Video Game Strategy Guides
In 2010, The Strong received a sizable and generous donation from Prima Games, one of the leading strategy guide publishers in the electronic games industry. The gift consisted of more than a thousand strategy guides for both PC and console video games from 1990 to 2009. Following an eight-month cataloging project, all 1,264 game guides can now be found in the Brian Sutton-Smith Library & Archives of Play’s online catalog.
Having immersed myself in Prima’s strategy guides for the better part […]
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Fore-Edge Paintings: Hidden Treasures
How many times have you been told that “you can’t judge a book by its cover”? As a librarian, I fully endorse this sentiment. I would, however, like to create a related maxim: you can’t judge a closed book by its fore-edge. What’s a fore-edge, you ask? In book-speak, that’s the name for the edge opposite the spine. Hidden beneath the gilt or marbled covering on some books’ fore-edges, you just may discover a most exquisite watercolor.
The years between 1785 […]
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Time travel doesn’t require a magic potion or a Back to the Future DeLorean. Sometimes all it takes is a familiar scent, sound, or taste. For me, it might be smelling popcorn, hearing a favorite Christmas carol, or seeing the cover of a once beloved but forgotten book that sends me back in time. I had a vivid time travel reaction recently when the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at the Strong acquired an extensive collection of Golden […]