book display



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Biblia Sacra Vulgatae Editionis (Holy Bible)
Published in Venice by Apud Nicolaum Pezzana, 1688
Gifted to St. John’s University President Rev. Edward J. Walsh in 1941

Although this book displays various minor evidences of mishandling such as a sloppily patched binding, it has suffered the most significant damage from rodents. Books can be a source of food and nesting material for rodents and insects. Scores of these pages have been chewed by rats, as is referenced in the note by Carlos F. McHale inside the front cover. The gnaw-marks persist throughout this Bible, but are more prominent in the first third of the book. The note reveals that this book was purchased at an auction in Madrid, Spain in the early 20th century. It appears that the Bible was stored by its original owner, a priest, in such a way that exposed the book to undisturbed visits by ravenous rats, who were able to inflict moderate damage. It was happily rescued from complete destruction by the auction buyer, who gifted it to the president of St. John’s University, where it now remains as part of the university’s Special Collections.

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Augustini Beroii Boneniensis…
Published in Lyons by Apud Haeredes Iacobi Iuntae, 1551

Similar signs of pest damage are evident in this Latin book by Augustine, where an insect burrowed into the pages, leaving behind an insect-shaped trace of its path. This sheds light on the true origins of the term “bookworm.”


This year’s Banned Books Week is officially September 21-27, 2014, but we Seattle-ites have been celebrating banned and challenged books all month long. Some of our favorite books happen to be frequently challenged titles (funny how that happens, isn’t it?), and we love a good opportunity to celebrate both freedom of speech and a great story. See below for some of the banned/challenged books we’re sharing in our Children’s Book department as well as the reasons they were banned. (Also check out the American Library Association website for more frequently banned titles by decade.) - And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group. - In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit. - Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey. Reasons: Offensive language, anti-family content, violence, unsuited for age group. - Bone (series) by Jeff Smith. Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence. - Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George. Reasons: unsuited to age group, violence. - The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials trilogy) by Philip Pullman. Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence. - ttyl by Lauren Myracle. Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group. - Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher. Reasons: homosexuality and offensive language. - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.


I asked librarians, booksellers, educators, and anyone else who has seen or built a book display for Pride month to share an image or two with me. The response was unbelievable. From huge, elaborate displays to acknowledgements in smaller, tighter spaces, seeing how people support the LGBTQ YA community leaves me a little brighter, fuller, and more whole. In a world where there is so much darkness and hurt, it’s powerful to see these tiny acts. It might not feel like a book display does a whole lot, but if the response to this newsletter alone is any indication, small display after small display after small display through hundreds and thousands of libraries and bookstores amounts to something much bigger.


Watch the world’s longest domino chain made of books!

The Seattle Public Library launched the 2013 Summer Reading Program by setting a new world record for the longest book domino chain!

The books used to make this domino chain were either donated or are out of date and no longer in the library’s collection. They are now being sold by the Friends of Seattle Public Library to help raise money for library programs and services. 

No books were harmed during the filming of this video.

Cameron Maynard/Courtesy of Rizzoli

Book Report | About Face

From baroque homage to monochrome minimalism, the interior designer Anouska Hempel displays a remarkable ability to change course. 

See more here