Tag Archives: Laura

Breathing, Smiling, Walking, Talking Books.

Last week, I was forwarded this article about a library in London where patrons can borrow people for one-half hour chats.  Borrow people, you say?  Yes, borrow people.  Several Londoners volunteered to participate in Living Library program where, as a patron, you can “check out your prejudice.” 

The idea is beautifully simple:  volunteers are cataloged as “books” and tagged with various stereotypical descriptions related to that volunteer’s identity.  Patrons ask a librarian to borrow one of the “books” and then the patron and “book” have a 30-minute conversation with the goals of breaking down barriers and of increasing tolerance.  When the thirty minutes are up, the patron returns the “book” to the librarian.

After I read the article, I just couldn’t stop thinking about this concept and wondering, could we have a program like this here at Main?  I invite you to comment here and let us know what your thoughts are.  If we had a program like this, what living book might you volunteer to be?  What living book would you want to check out?

In the meantime, check out one of our non-breathing books.  We have many autobiographies and memoirs on our shelves.  Read about someone who is Black, White and Jewish or read about the experience of a Person with a Transgender Spouse.  Perhaps you have questions for a Christian Voter or an African-American Single Mom.  Or maybe you just feel like “hassling” a Celebrity.

Comments and thoughts?



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Pedestrian Crossing.

Kicks, running shoes, foot huggers, tennies, palaminos, chucks, wheels, trainers, sneaks.  Whatever you want to call them, I just got a brand new pair!  The spring in your step that a fresh pair of shoes provides is certainly one of life’s simple pleasures.  

With my new sneakers and the warm weather (if it ever gets/stays here), I’ll be trekking our Pittsburgh neighborhoods and parks.  This town is a great city for walking.  Bridges and stairs and hills, oh my!  Venture out for some great little walks, but do make sure to wear proper footwear.  Whether you are walking for two, a walking man, or another kind of walker, traipsing about the city in an upright fashion can be most fulfilling and rejuvenating.

Don’t feel like taking the Shoe Leather Express?  Saunter over to your reading chair and put on some non-fiction vicarious miles with Helga Estby or 45 other folks who hoof it.  March over to your couch and brush up on the history of walking or ponder why you even stood up in the first place.  Wander with a little one through the most beautiful toddler book ever, I Went Walking.

 Open the front door or open a book, either way a journey is awaiting you.


*Thanks to the Eleventh Stack team, especially Bonnie, for all of the sneaker nicknames.

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Be Well.

If the Log Lady in a Sick Room isn’t quite enough self-medication for you when you’re feeling a little sicko, we have shelves and shelves of materials that will help you to help yourself get well.   Health and wellness books and magazines await the pro-active library patron patient including everyone from germ freaks to sacred women to official patients.

When you don’t have the safety net of health insurance, receiving care can become less complicated when you empower yourself with resources to take care of yourself and your familyBe well with this collection of resources for uninsured and under-insured Pittsburghers.  Ask a nurse or conduct at-home tests.  Try out some cures that the existential “they” would rather you not know.

Most importantly, learn how to prevent becoming sick.  The First Floor is hosting an Alternative Healing Series beginning March 26th, with presentations by healers and preventative therapists of acupuncture, massage, energy, and therapeutic yoga.   Please join us for these free presentations and check out some of these wonderfully caring books and resources that are available to you.

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from boxing to gardening: career transitions.

When speaking of his particular vocation, Muhammad Ali said, “It’s just a job.  Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand.  I beat people up.”  You might not float like a butterfly and sting like a bee during your work day, but whatever your job is, you have one and I have one.  And, it’s just a job.  However, since most of us have to be somewhere for eight hours a day, we all do the best we can to make the most of it until we come to the end of our workday. 

Maybe you absolutely love your job!  But maybe there is room for improvement.  Perhaps a little less complaining would make your time at the office more enjoyable or perhaps laying a little more blame instead?  A lot of us have experienced the cubicle, the least hospitable environment on Earth, but we have many books to feng shui your workspace and to awaken your day to increase your job satisfaction.Take comfort in knowing that there are those with worse jobs than yours.  And that there are always other jobs in the sea.  Take advantage of the 48 hours of your weekend to find the work you love and then get out of your funk.  Learn to get along with not-so-easy-to-get-along-with-coworkers or implement a rather provocative workplace rule.  Visit the Job Career Education Center upstairs on the 3rd floor where the career-savvy staff can find materials that will help you determine your next occupation-centric steps.  All of these resources will help you to love, change, laugh at, and slow down your daily grind.

With spring on the way, another idea is offered by Orson Scott Card who says, “Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden.”  It certainly isn’t necessary to quit your job to dig in the dirt, but why not take a day off and grab some seeds and a shovel?



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