Here are Obama’s favorite books. Let’s over-analyze them.

President Obama spoke to students at Washington library on Thursday about his favorite books growing up.

(He also said when he was 12, he wanted to be either an architect, basketball player or lawyer. Architect? Really!?)

His list was pretty tame. No “Communist Manifesto” or even “Animal Farm” (sorry, people who don’t think Obama’s frequent jokes about being a socialist aren’t actually jokes). But as a politician, how much can we read into Obama’s picks?

Here are the books he mentioned:

Dr. Seuss

Obama said he’s still a “big Dr. Seuss fan.” That’s actually a pretty progressive choice, since Seuss was a known leftist and subtly inserted political issues like the environment and race into his books. Obama is clearly making a subtle base play here.


Museum Dance Off 2 Schedule update, plus a short love letter to you, (yes, you), Baltimore, and libraries.

Here’s an update on the schedule for Museum Dance Off 2! We’re cooking with gas now. THUNDERDOME will happen on Friday! 

Round 2, Day 3-  Monday, May 4th 

Hamilton Cultural Association vs Molly Brown House Museum

Round 2, Day 4 - Tuesday May 5th 

National Atomic Testing Museum vs Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Round 3, Day 1- Wednesday, May 6th 

Fine Arts Zanabazar vs Orilia Museum

Round 3, Day 2 - Thursday, May 7th 

Winner of Round 2, Day 3 vs Winner ofRound 2, Day 4

THUNDERDOME! - Friday, May 8th

Winner of Round 3, Day 1 vs Winner of Round 3, Day 2 


Optional Reading: A personal aside from me. 

I want to thank all the museums, readers and voters who are participating in Museum Dance Off 2. I live in the Baltimore area and I’ve been doing a whole lot of ugly-crying recently as I watch myriad sad things happen in our community, and then happy-crying when I see my friends and neighbors rally together to help repair it. And repeat. 

In between, I have you happy lot dancing around, teaming up to vote for your fellow countrymen (I see your collusion, Canada), throwing dance-off parties, creating thank you messages for your supporters, even sending each other flowers. The last week, when I got overwhelmed and felt helpless, I watched your dance-off videos to cheer myself up. You’re just all really good people and I like you bunches.

Everyone has thoughts and opinions on what’s happening in Baltimore, and I don’t want to debate them here. Better minds than mine are writing about what’s happening here. The only thing I’m going to say is this: A receipt for a complete series box set of The Wire on Blu-Ray does not double as a PhD in Baltimore Civic History. I see a lot of people trying to typecast the city and the citizens through the lenses of pop culture and media hyperbole, but there’s backstory and cultural fabric that the rest of the country/world doesn’t see. 

Is Baltimore perfect? No, but we are made of amazing people. Branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore have been staying open for the community, and they sheltered people who needed refuge when the street was on fire.

When the schools closed, the libraries were openA fire started outside one of their branches when police launched a tear gas canister onto a trash-pile. They still opened. The Orioles wouldn’t let fans into Camden Yards to watch the game, but everyone was welcomed at the library. There was a BearCat - **A BEARCAT, YOU GUYS **- parked out front, but the library still opened. 

If you’re enjoying Museum Dance Off, consider making a donation - even just a dollar or two- to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. If that’s not in the budget, or you’re outside the US and the mechanics don’t work, no worries. Support comes in all forms. The staff at Pratt have and will continue to create safe space for the community. They not only provided refuge from the violence and confusion on the streets, they actively foster opportunities for public education, civil conversation and healing. Baltimore needs those things.

Click here to donate, in any amount. 

Or send them a tweet or a Facebook message to show your support. 

If you’re wondering why I’m writing a museum-themed blog and not asking you to donate to a Baltimore Museum, well, I’m not telling you NOT to do that - I’m just very fond of Pratt and impressed with their commitment to the community, in our current difficult times and every other day. Alternatively, there are a number of Baltimore groups who are working to heal, empower, and make stronger the community. Of course, you could always throw that support towards your local community library or museum. 

More than anything, I just wanted to say that you guys are an amazing bunch of people and I’m glad to be a part of our silly community. You brighten my day and lighten up my heart. Thanks for that, and I mean it. 


On Wolf Hall, the heads are starting to roll. Today we feature a book by last episode’s casualty, Thomas Moore.  It has the charming title, A dyaloge, wheryn be treatyd dyuers maters, as of the veneracyon & worshyp of ymagys & relyques, prayng to sayntis, & goynge on pylgrymage : wyth many other thyngys touchyng the pestylent secte of Luther & Tyndale. Our copy was printed in 1530, at the time when More was Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII, and five years before he fell out of favor. There is lively marginalia in three different hands. One reader apparently took issue with More’s views.

More, Thomas, Saint, 1478-1535. A dyaloge, wheryn be treatyd dyuers maters, as of the veneracyon & worshyp of ymagys & relyques, prayng to sayntis, & goynge on pylgrymage : wyth many other thyngys touchyng the pestylent secte of Luther & Tyndale, by the tone bygone in Saxony, & by the tother laboryd to be brought in to England / Newly ouersene by the sayd syr Thomas More. [London] : [W. Rastell], 1530/ [colophon 1531]. Rare Vault BX1780 .M6 1531

- Julie Christenson

Your weekly #dadagram is Die Wahrheit uber Anna Blume (The Truth About Anna Blume). This was the first book ever written about the Hanover Dadaist Kurt Schwitters. Anna Blume is the chief character in many of Schwitter’s poems and stories. [xPT2638 W894A6635 1920] #uiowa #specialcollections #libraries #dada #dadaatiowa #annablume #kurtschwitters #20thcentury

Gainesville toddler reads 1,000 books before age of 2

GAINESVILLE, GA. — Clementine Connolly spends most of her days reading. At the breakfast table, she reaches for her book much like an adult would reach for the morning newspaper. At night before going to sleep, she curls up in bed with another book. Yet, she’s not even 2 years old.

“I love books!” the 22-month-old toddler exclaimed.

Her mother confirmed that statement, explaining she reads the book as Clementine listens or Clementine identifies the words she knows.

“Books are her favorite toy,” Tabetha Connolly said.

Clementine, who turns 2 in June, is the first child to finish the Georgia Public Library System’s “1,000 Books B4 Kindergarten” program, which launched statewide Jan. 5. She is also one of the youngest participants.


Library Gothic
  • “Do you have that book?” a patron asks. You reply, “I’m sorry, could you be more specific?” “The book,” is the only answer you get. This happens with three more patrons today. “I’m sorry,” you say to them all, “I don’t know what book you’re talking about.” The book. The book. The Book. Should you know The Book? Should you have The Book?
  • An elderly couple comes in every morning for the newspaper. Nobody remembers a time that they didn’t. They have always been elderly. There’s a faint foul smell in the library when they’re in.
  • There is a branch on the system map that you’ve never heard anyone talk about. You’ve never seen books with their branch sticker come in and you’ve never sent books to them. You asked a co-worker about it once, but they just smiled and asked how much shelf reading you got done that day. You tried to find it once, but kept finding yourself in the same grocery store parking lot over and over.
  • You weed for hours. There are no fewer books on the shelves. You weed for days. There is still no room for the new books that have come in. You weed for months. You feel like you’ve withdrawn a lot of these books already. You know you threw this stained, tattered, moldy copy of Bleak House in recycling a while ago. You weed for years. You weed forever.
  • (You never weed books on witchcraft. In fact, you put ten brand new ones on the shelf yesterday. They have already disappeared.)
  • One day the elderly couple doesn’t come in. The library has a much fouler smell that usual during the time they’re regularly in.
  • You go through a box of donations and at the very bottom you find a copy of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. You loved that book as a child, and it looks like the same edition. You open it to check the publishing date and there is your name and childhood phone number written in purple crayola marker in your 8-year-old self’s handwriting. You did not grow up around here. Your family is not close.
  • You go through a box of donations and at the very bottom you find a book with a photo used as a bookmark. You take it out to let the patron know they left it in there next time they come in. The photo is of a child at the beach and you would swear that it was a picture of you, but you have no memory of that swimsuit and no memory of that beach. The patron does not return.
  • You go through a box of donations and at the very bottom you find a book written in a language you can’t identify. You pass it around to your coworkers, and none of them know either. You upload a picture of the cover to reverse google image search and there are no matches. You open the book to double check for copyright information and you don’t know how you missed it until now but there is your your name and childhood phone number written in purple crayola marker in your 8-year-old self’s handwriting.
  • “Do you have that book?” a patron asks. You reply, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what book you’re talking about,” even though this time you get the nagging feeling that you do.
Size, Shirt

A man came up to the information desk.

Man: “I have a strange question maybe. I have a job interview tomorrow and I want to dress right for it. Do you have any idea how I can figure out my dress shirt size?”

Co-worker [without missing a beat]: “I’ll be right back!”

She returned with a measuring tape and confidently measured the man’s neck and arms. We all stared on in amazement.

Co-worker: “I used to work in a clothing shop.”

Man: “I’m glad I asked!”

[p.s. He came in a week later to report that he’d gotten the job!]