Welcoming the Fellows, Part 1: Caitlin Rathe

Caitlin sizes up the scene

When Caitlin Rathe, a student at University of California Santa Barbara, jetted into chilly Baltimore from the sunny Left Coast last February, she wasn’t entirely sure she was going to find what she was searching for. Rathe is a doctoral student in history, who has been focused on the story of welfare and how it changed in the United States during the late 20th century. She narrowed her focus on 1970s and 1980s-era food assistance in order to make the topic more manageable. Conversely, that’s when things got tricky.


New Materials at Langsdale

Did you know that Langsdale Library offers a list of all of our newest materials? We do! Each month we'll post an update letting you know about a few select titles, but there are far too many to mention here so be sure to check out our comprehensive online list. There is an RSS feed to the list, so you can subscribe and be updated when new materials get listed each month.

New Materials at Langsdale:

Through tracing paper's evolution, Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology's influence, affirming that paper is here to stay.

"In this definitive biography Adam Sisman reveals the man behind the bestselling persona. In John le Carré, Sisman shines a spotlight on David Cornwell, an expert at hiding in plain sight. Of course, the pseudonym John le Carré has helped to keep the public at a distance. Sisman probes Cornwell's unusual upbringing, abandoned by his mother at the age of only five and raised by his con man father (when not in prison), and explores his background in British intelligence, as well as his struggle to become a writer, and his personal life. Sisman has benefited from unfettered access to le Carré's private archive, talked to the most important people in his life, and interviewed the man himself at length"

Revealing the workings and dangers of freight shipping, the author sails from Rotterdam to Suez to Singapore to present an eye-opening glimpse into an overlooked world filled with suspect practices, dubious operators, and pirates.
The world around us is saturated with numbers. They are a fundamental pillar of our modern society, and accepted and used with hardly a second thought. But how did this state of affairs come to be? In this book, Leo Corry tells the story behind the idea of number from the early days of the Pythagoreans, up until the turn of the twentieth century. He presents an overview of how numbers were handled and conceived in classical Greek mathematics, in the mathematics of Islam, in European mathematics of the middle ages and the Renaissance, during the scientific revolution, all the way through to the early 20th century and the inauguration of the modern idea of numbers.

These are just a few of the many new books, movies, and games at your Langsdale Library. To see the complete listing of new materials check out our list right here! If you want to receive updates when new materials get listed each month, you can subscribe to the list through the RSS feed.


Pause in Remembrance of our Nation's Heroes

Photo courtesy of Jared Campbell Photography
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As we get ready to celebrate Memorial Day with a long weekend let us take a moment to reflect on why we have this extra day off. It is easy enough to confuse Memorial Day with other holidays, and even easier to be foggy on what it is all about or even how it started. In my youth I thought Memorial Day was a day to remember everyone who had died, in war or otherwise, although I am positive that my dad told me the facts. He was a war veteran after all. But, once you get older and realize that somehow what you remember as a child isn’t exactly what the truth really is, you feel embarrassed. So some time ago I decided to research it myself and here is a little of what I found out.

Memorial Day started out as Declaration Day just three years after the Civil War ended. It was a day set aside in order to decorate, with flowers, the graves of those who had died during the war. The first large observance was held in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery. Over the years various other cities across the nation, both in the North and South, have held their own ceremonies and observances, several claiming to be the first. Some Southern states even held their own Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April. Finally, in 1966 Congress declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day.

The expansion to include those who have died in all American wars did not happen until after World War I. And, it wasn’t until 1971 that Congress made Memorial Day a National Holiday putting it on the last Monday in May. The latest law passed by Congress regarding Memorial Day was the “National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579 in December 2000. This law was designed to encourage us, the people of the United States of America, to take a moment to remember those that died for our country and our freedom.

So, this Memorial Day, wherever you are and whatever you are doing…. At 3:00 pm local time….


But most of all…

those who fought for everything that we hold dear and seem much too often to take for granted....




Because you know they would want us to be happy and proud of what they worked so hard for us to have.


Summer Loving! Have a blast!

Dr. Strangelove, or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the bombLove in the time of choleraLove actuallyLove medicine

It's summer time!  Summer courses started today and it's the first day in ages with clear sunny skies! Take this opportunity to relax and have a blast over the Memorial Day weekend by falling in love with one of Langsdale's many books and movies about love.

Note: Availability of Grease not guaranteed despite the obvious reference in this post.


Langsdale Library’s Summer Hours

Tuesday, May 24 -- Monday, August 8:
Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 1 – 5 p.m.
Sunday: CLOSED

Saturday – Monday, May 28 – 30: CLOSED (Memorial Day holiday)

Saturday – Monday, July 2 - 4: CLOSED (July 4th holiday)


Peace and Quiet and... Punk Rock?

(Image copied from Flier from the first DC Punk Archive Library Basement Show at MLK Jr. Memorial Library October 2, 2014.)

You don’t usually think of loud music and spiked mohawks when you go to your local library, but hiding in the basement of D.C. public library you’ll find just that. The library started a punk archive in 2014, collecting everything from fliers to videos in effort to preserve the music history of the nation’s capital. Some of their flier collection is digitized and available online.  They even host free shows in the library’s basement.

Libraries may seem like an unlikely culprit for preserving an underground music scene, but, hey, as Matt Connelly says in his Washington Monthly article, “the library is far and away the most punk-rock branch of local government.”  We may not class as ‘hardcore,’ but we support our local communities and meticulously hoard resources for use by future generations, so maybe we’re more comparable to punk rock’s silent, scheming little sister.

Can’t make it to D.C.? Check out these books available in Langsdale’s collection: