Masks of shame were used as a punishment device in Europe during the middle ages until the 18th century. Typically, they were made of metal and were created in various designs with the purpose of humiliating the offender.
Keep Libraries Weird - Hand carved double block print to wood by Drew Meger in Salem, MA.
I’m giving a talk in the fall to a bunch of librarians where I am going to plead with them to keep their libraries weird. I’ve noticed a trend of late where the strange fringe books are being weeded but not replaced. I get it - if you think you can get 10x the circulation from a seventh copy of a James Patterson book than a single copy of a UFO or cryptid book then it’s hard not to go with still yet more Alex Cross. The effect of this is a homogenization of libraries - we already see this as librarians chase best practices and slowly convert libraries to a more retail feeling environment. Fringe stuff, weird stuff is nowhere near as popular as mainstream materials by definition and we do have to make every budget dollar count. Still, shouldn’t libraries seek to inspire wonder? A few curated weird books is all I ask. Maybe focus on local legends, hauntings, UFO sightings, or whatever floats your boat. Keep your library unique to your community. Keep it weird!
If you have any stories about the weird and inspiring things you’ve discovered in a library, please share them!