Reference Blog Entries

Shhh! It's Melvil Dewey's Birthday!

Megan's picture

Ink portrait of Melvil DeweyMelvil Dewey, perhaps the most famous librarian to ever live, is notorious for his Dewey Decimal Classification system, his unusual dedication to spelling reform, and for inspiring some of the worst rap music the world has ever heard. Were he still alive, Dewey would be 164 years old today.

Irrepressible Reformer, a biography on Dewey, describes his fastidious nature, especially concerning noise:

He had rubber tips placed on chairs and tables, rubber wheels on book trucks, and issued slippers for all pages. All new readers were handed cards requesting them to step lightly across the room and not talk away from the loan desk, even in low tones. They were told not to use tobacco, wear hats, put their feet on chairs or tables, or litter the premises.”

Not even our Reference Department is so extreme about silence (although I wouldn’t say no to some library-issued slippers). I would love to know what Dewey would have made of cell phones.

If you want to learn more about Dewey feel free to ask a librarian, or check out Gale Biography in Context. This is also a great time to find out what on earth the Dewey Decimal System is for. This knowledge will change your life - or at least the way you use the library.

The Best Free Language Learning App

Megan's picture

"Happy Holidays" written in three languages, with three mangoes in winter gearThere are lots of free apps for language learning, but the Mango Languages app, available for free through the UAPL, is the only one that offers a true variety of languages, with choices like Urdu, Hungarian, ASL, and Cherokee. Mango has over 70 languages to choose from, far more than any other similar app - and it doesn’t just quiz you on vocabulary. Learn the basic conversational skills you’ll need for travel, as well as some more advanced topics. Mango also includes several fun lessons on cultural vocabulary in a particular country - learn what you need to enjoy Oktoberfest in Germany, sample wine and cheese in France, and celebrate a soccer win in Spain.

To use the Mango App, you just need to set up a free Mango account through the library, which can easily be done from any computer. Head over to Mango Languages via our databases page (if you’re at home, log in with your card number and PIN), and then click on “create one” to create your account. Once you’ve created your account, simply download the app (iOS | Android), and log in.