Banned Book Week

First Post – Start a Conversation

I’m happy (and relieved) to introduce you our new website! After many, many hours of hard work and toil, we are up and running. The new platform is really just the beginning however, as we here at the ComLib move into creating content in addition to our traditional role of curating it. This is already taking several forms, including Scott’s Radio Hour on KDPI FM (89.3 FM in Ketchum, streaming live), and will take many more in the coming weeks and months.

The first is the the blogs our departments are now posting and keeping. Cathy Butterfield and her Library Denizen’s Blog has been our guiding light in this arena for years now. We’ve done this in so many other ways inside the building during the 5.5 years I’ve been here. Beyond this, we have begun to live stream our Lecture Room Series. Lectures will be available online live and for replay; in case you weren’t one of the lucky ones here for Anthony Doerr’s wonderful lecture last week, here it is, in its entirety:

Keep an eye on this web space too for podcasts starting in August. The first will be the radio show, but I’m super stoked to begin recording Tech Talks (working title) with our own star instructor, Paul Zimmerman. We come to tech from very different angles, and always have something to talk about when it comes to new developments and how best to utilize tech in your day-to-day. -Aaron


Hyperobjects May Be Nearer Than They Appear

Dick Fassino, an excellent and perceptive patron of the Community Library, offered this interesting commentary on a recent addition to our stacks, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World by Timothy Morton. The review is cautionary and thoughtful, and an interesting counterpoint to the publisher’s description.

“Not often I get flummoxed by a book, but this one “did me in”! Timothy Morton’s “Hyperobjects: philosophy and ecology after the end of the world”. Even my three years in a Benedictine Monastery did not equip me to handle this.

If that is what the end of the world is going to be like, I shall concentrate even more on living every second to the hilt!

Recommend you sample it – worth just seeing what it is. Here is just one paragraph as an example – p22:

“Humans have entered an age of hypocrisy, weakness, and lameness, terms that have a specific valence and definition that I elucidate in part 2. The overall aesthetic “feel” of the time of hyperobjects is a sense of asymmetry between the infinite poser of cognition and the infinite being of things. There occurs a crazy arms race between what we know and what is, in which the technology of what we know is turned against itself. The arms race sets new parameters for aesthetic experience and action, which I take in the widest possible sense to mean the ways in which relations between beings play out. Very significant consequences for art emerge, and the book ends by outlining some of them. “

It gets even better. Perhaps you know someone who cannot sleep – perhaps this would help!
Would be interested to know why this one got picked for the Library.”

In all transparency, I picked the book on the strength of an indie review and the publisher’s description–it still sounds fascinating, but I have not yet read it. Also, I like to sneak some modern philosophy books into the stacks every few months when no one is looking. It adds fiber. When I communicated this to our guest reviewer, he responded, just as thoughtfully:

hyper objects“I felt the same way just by looking at the cover and reviews. The reality upon reading it (or trying to), was a bit different. Will be interesting to see if other readers find it very interesting. Keep up the great work. This one definitely “stretched my mind” in some ways it hadn’t done before. Perhaps I’ll try it in the future and see if it grows on me!”

If you are interested in reading further observations about Hyperobjects, the LA Times put forth a review that was almost as flummoxy. Or take the measure of your philosophical fiber and check out the book @The Community Library.

What are you waiting for?


First, let me introduce myself. My name is Laura Primrose and I am the new Circulation Supervisor here at the Community Library. I joined the library in early July, and I’m so excited to be on the Library team! Having the opportunity to live and work in such a beautiful area is a dream come true. We often used to camp at Alturas Lake during summer vacations. Many wonderful memories have been created there for me and my family.

So, what does a Circulation Supervisor do exactly? Boss people around, look down over my glasses with a disapproving look, always speak in a hushed voice? Nope!

My purpose everyday is to help people achieve their life’s goals. Do you want to learn French and then “laissez les bon temps rouler?” How about learning to play the guitar? We have several available for check out! Research for that round-the-world vacation? Need to restore that ‘72 muscle car(finally)?

The Community Library has the resources, tools and energetic staff to help you achieve your goals. We have access to relevant, credible and authoritative information to help you navigate your journey.

Did I mention our FREE databases! Your library card doesn’t just allow you free access to books, CD’s and DVD’s, you also have access to our many free databases, even from home.

  • Need to study for that test at 2 am while in your PJ’s? Use our Learning Express database.
  • Want to know the latest information on cholesterol drugs? Look it up on our Consumer Health database.
  • Will fracking put too much fizz in your water? Look up both sides of this hot topic in our EBSCO’s MasterFile Premiedatabase of magazines, journals, and academic periodicals.

As you can surmise, I’m passionate about libraries and how they can change lives. Please stop by and let our friendly staff show you all of the amazing, eclectic, even hair-brained, some may say, materials available for FREE at The Community Library.

So, what are you waiting for?

Lives Change @ Your Library

Welcome Home, Bowe

Welcome Home, Bowe

May 31st, 2014

The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell–a guest book review by Richard Fassino

Thank you very much to one of our most widely read and erudite patrons, Richard Fassino, for this timely review of a newly released book on our shelves, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch by Lewis Darnell.  The Denizens blog at The Community Library welcomes a wide range of contributions from our patrons, board and staff that relate to our multifarious library collections.

the knowledge

With all the stories around about the destruction of the world as we know it – pick your poison – atomic war, terrorism, virulent flu gone wild, climate change cooking us, God’s revenge, etc, etc, etc – what happens after that? What happens if some of our human race survives? Are the folks with the guns and tons of food stored in their cellars going to rule? Will they wander around as in Cormac McCarthy’s book – The Road?  Really, what happens then?

Lewis Dartnell has taken a shot at it in his new book – The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch. This goes way beyond the basic survival books that have become popular over the last few Xmases. When the electricity goes off, when the food stores are depleted – how might the survivors be able to make it? Our human brains, our accumulated knowledge, our documented technological advances – how can we identify what will be useful? How can we preserve that knowledge in a way to retrieve it so it can be used in that kind of future?

It is an amazing book in many ways – one of the best ways is that it gives the reader a look into the basics of life – much of which is so far removed from our daily, technologically advanced life that we don’t even know about many of those basics anymore. The food part is great – perhaps there are some good, old-fashioned farmers that still know about some of those basics, but I’ll bet even some of them will get a few surprises.

It reads easily. It’s informative.
Try it.


notes from the internet

Other related reads at The Community Library on post-apocalyptic scenarios: Wayne Gladstone’s fiction satire Notes from the Internet Apocalypse the FoxFire series on folklore, country living and survival, and The Complete Survival Manual by Michael S. Sweeney.

An open question: What books would you squirrel away against technofailure? What would you keep around to read and consult by candlelight if an EMP hit and the power grid and internet went down?

Why Gove Shouldn’t Kill the Mockingbird

This excellent article comes from the Interesting Literature blog. I felt it was well worth boosting the signal.

This Week — Poetry, The Idaho Public TV Premiere of The Address, Online Safety and the Guitar Circle, all @The Community Library

Poetry of Witness cover art

Tonight, Tuesday April 16th, Idaho poet Jeanne Rodgers will help us celebrate National Poetry Month with readings from her work, including the recently released book Through the Cattails. A search for poetry in our catalog turns up over a thousand hits, including audio CDs, DVDs and poetry for kids! Whatever your poetic tastes, from Auden to Rumi or Robert Service to Ogden Nash, there is a poem, haiku, verse, epic or sonnet in the Library for you.

Making of the Gettysburg Address cover art

Later Tuesday night, in the comfort of your own home, consider the Ken Burns movie The Address, which will premiere on Idaho Public Television at 9:00 pm Mountain time. The film follows a group of classmates from the Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont, as they are challenged to memorize and recite the Gettysburg Address. Are you interested in participating in the Address project? Email us if you would like assistance recording your own personal video! Just email our new events programmer Scott Burton at with “Address” in the subject header.

Looking for more information on the crafting of the Gettysburg Address and it’s lasting influence? Check out our history collection at the Library, including the West Point Atlas of the Civil War in our oversized bookshelves, numerous personal papers and memoirs from Lincoln, Lee, Sherman, Stonewall Jackson and many others from both sides of the conflict. Just ask a librarian!

ONLINE SAFETY! That is the theme of Paul Zimmerman’s tech class this coming Wednesday night, 6:00 pm. Paul will address the implications of the recently revealed Heartbleed bug, and what you can do to make your passwords and online activities safer.

On Thursday, the Guitar Circle meets again! We will start just a little bit earlier–the door to the Lecture Room will open by 5:30 pm to set up, tune up, and share music. The meeting is open to all, learners as well as experienced players. Past meetings have featured violin, harp and box percussion. Listeners can drop in as well.

Share in the making of living poetry, oration and music @Your Community Library, where library cards are free!

Weeding the Stacks

book cover for the Singular Mark Twain

One of the most (intellectually) difficult jobs for many collection development, acquisitions and circulation librarians can be culling books from the shelves. Many books need to be weeded, some because they are unloved and no one checks them out anymore, and some ahead of their time because of damage, obsolescence, or outright dirt poor information. Fiction writers lie for a living, and do it with style and panache (they get a bye on fibbing, the Mark Twain Free Pass.) Some nonfiction writers prevaricate as well. Some quite gleefully. When detected, those books are far easier to boot off of the catalog and out the door (or in library parlance, “deaccess.”)

Fiction is relatively straightforward to deaccess–check the circulation, and if the book has gone unloved and unchecked out for a few years, pull it and make room for a newer, shinier, and presumably more lovable tome. Some classics get a pass (Mark Twain is possibly slightly overrepresented in the collection, but hey, Mark Twain.) Regional authors get a little extra attention. Still, taking out some books can be a hard call. Librarian favorites can mysteriously find new life and more prominent locations (when will they reprint that Edward Abbey classic? Has it become too subversive for modern publication? Better keep it…) Weeding is as much an arcane art as book ordering.

book cover for Trust and Honesty

Right this very minute, I am scanning some nonfiction candidates for deaccession from our society and law section (Dewey 346-347.) Some books are fairly easy culls, such as O.J., The Last Word, c1997–regional author, but last century subject, and no recent circs. But what about Trust and Honesty: America’s Business Culture at a Crossroad/ Tamar Frankel–isn’t the subject more relevant than ever? Or perhaps the scholarly approach is too dense for a general collection. And what about Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History–c2001, and still being argued. Moreover, Library Journal still recommends the book for public libraries ten years after publication. Then there’s How to be Rich, by J. Paul Getty, published by Playboy Press in the sixties, a first edition. It’s a fascinating book. Not my normal fare, but now that I’ve paged through it, I might read it to study the snapshot of the time and mindset. Serendipity in the stacks works like that.

On to the next book. The Constitution of the United States, Its Sources, and Its Applications by Thomas James Norton, c1940. “…this explanation of the Constitution has been prepared under the conviction that the American never has had within reach the means of acquiring that knowledge which, as a citizen, he should first of all possess.” The quote is from the preface, written just after the 19th Amendment passed allowing women the right to vote. Inclusive language was still a work in progress, and one of our more deeply passionate readers has underlined a key phrase or two (thankfully only in pencil) but the bones of the history in the book are good.

What would you do? Keep or cull?