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March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, 1815–1852
née Augusta Ada Byron.
Mathematician, mother, friend of Dickens, Ada envisaged both computer programming and artificial intelligence.

Ada Lovelace image at Wikimedia Commons
We have a good biography, 510.92 The bride of science : romance, reason, and Byron's daughter, written by Benjamin Woolley who was assisted by descendents of most of the main characters in Ada's story.

Add to your "to read" list: Charles Dickens in Cyberspace: The Afterlife of the Nineteenth Century in Postmodern Culture. We don't have it now, but have a copy on order.

Here are some web sites appropriate for the day:
Lovelace— the Origin (the comic). *****
BrainPOP video.
BBC radio program (or programme) 45 min.

Note 1: Ada was the inspiration for the character Thomasina in Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia (1993).

Note 2: Ada Lovelace Day exists to celebrate women in technology. Do you know the stories of Grace Hopper, Joyce Reynolds, Mary Lou Jepson, Betty Holberton, Amy Pearl and the many other brilliant women who invented much of modern computing? Today a number of web sites will honor them. (example)

Note 3: Ada also lost a lot of money on horse races (in a syndicate with Florence Nightingale's father), had to cope with difficult clothes, and was the mother of Lady Anne Blunt, a 19th century adventurer who wrote Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates and A Pilgrimage to Nejd.

A Cristóbal Vila video that Ada, the mathematician, would have loved.

(public domain picture of Ada from Wikimedia Commons)

Posted by library at 06:59 AM

March 20, 2010

Book World Reviews

Two library staff members, Karen MacPherson and Dave Burbank, have articles in the March 21 Washington Post Book World, which is a special issue devoted to children's books.

" The best books for kids about mythology, dinosaurs, animals, space and vehicles"
"Graphic Novels for Beginning Readers"

In our own books blog we have a list of suggested titles they recommend.

Posted by library at 12:04 PM

March 04, 2010


Today is National Grammar (not Grammer) Day. The magic Dewey number for English usage is a straightforward 428.2

The subject tracings, on the other hand, are confusing. They include
English language --Usage.
English language --Errors in usage.
English language --Syntax.
English language --Grammar.
English language --Style.
English language --Punctuation.
Any given book may have only one or two of these tracings.

This is a case where browsing the stacks may work better than trying a subject search. This is a fairly small library so just walk over to 428.2 and take a look. (Try 420 or plain 428 for some of our older titles).

What do we have?

  • Two by June Casagrande: Grammar snobs are great big meanies : a guide to language for fun and spite and Mortal syntax : 101 language choices that will get you clobbered by the grammar snobs-even if you're right.
  • Several charming books by William Safire, including In love with Norma Loquendi.
  • The best seller Eats, shoots & leaves : the zero tolerance approach to punctuation by Lynne Truss.
  • Torn wings and faux pas : a flashbook of style, a beastly guide through the writer's labyrinth by Karen Elizabeth Gordon.
  • and many more.
Note: Why aren't the words in the book titles capitalized? Because these were snipped directly from our catalog. In library catalogs only initial words and proper nouns are capitalized within book titles.

Here is a list of common usage errors. Find your favorites.

Posted by library at 04:23 PM