Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Remembering Erna Fergusson

July 30, 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Erna Fergusson. ABC Library remembers Fergusson as an ally, a pioneer, and a patron in the best sense of the word. The cultural and intellectual growth of Albuquerque’s citizens mattered to Fergusson as much as the growth of its streets and subdivisions. Her staunch support of Albuquerque’s libraries ensured that as the city grew, its libraries did, too.

Erna (Ernestine Mary) Fergusson was born in 1888. Her grandfather, Franz Huning, was one of three key players who brought the railroad to Albuquerque. Her mother, Clara Huning Fergusson, was active in civic affairs, and her father, Harvey B. Fergusson, served from 1912 to 1915 as congressman for the newly-admitted state of New Mexico.

Among her varied careers, Fergusson taught, worked for the Red Cross home service, reported for the Albuquerque Herald newspaper, ran Koshare Tour Services, and wrote several books. Her occupations always served her principal preoccupations -- her passion for the unique beauties of New Mexico, and her faith in “New Mexico’s extraordinary opportunity to make of its diverse heritages a richly patterned and truly democratic community.”  (New Mexico: a Pageant of Three Peoples, p.264.)  

When it came to Albuquerque’s public libraries, Fergusson was both historian and advocate. She remembered the library ball, an early fundraising effort by the Ladies’ Library Association. She was an adolescent witness to the battle over moving the library from the Commercial Club to the Raynolds building in 1901, and she was instrumental in the campaign to build a new library (now Special Collections)  in 1925.

Of the rebuilding of Albuquerque’ first public library she recalled the argument that persuaded Clyde Tingley that the fire-damaged Raynolds building should be demolished and a new library built on the same site:

“The chairman of the City Commission at the time was a very picturesque gentleman who had no books and naturally saw no point to anyone else having them. But he was a builder – he liked building – that interested him, and he said to me one time, ‘You know, I seen all that stone in that old Raynolds Building and I just thought wouldn’t that make a good fire station.’ So he put it to the City Commission that way, and the City Commission agreed that a new Fire House would be fine, and you couldn’t get any better stone than tearing down that old library. Then there was going to be a pile of bricks which they might as well use to build a new library.”  (“Libraries in the Southwest: Their Growth – Strengths – Needs.” UCLA Library Occasional Papers. Number 3. 1955.)

Fergusson led the call to rebuild the library in the Pueblo Revival style: “It will be as good an advertisement for the town as the Alvarado and Franciscan [hotels] have proven to be in the past.” (New Mexico State Tribune, June 19, 1924). Albuquerque was fortunate that she and her supporters prevailed – the Alvarado and the Franciscan are long gone, but the library is still in business.

Erna Fergusson understood that it took persistence and hard work to build a library – not so much to build the edifice, but to solve the “terrific problem: how to make people realize that money invested in books … is a good investment in the town.” (“Libraries in the Southwest: Their Growth – Strengths – Needs.” UCLA Library Occasional Papers. Number 3. 1955.) For forty years, she lent her support as the Albuquerque Public Library on Edith and Central grew into a library system with six locations and bookmobile service to the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County.

The Friends for the Public Library, the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation, and the Library Advisory Board continue Fergusson’s efforts to address the “terrific problem”.  Albuquerque dedicated its seventh library to her memory when it opened Erna Fergusson Library on April 3rd, 1966. The library named in Fergusson’s honor remains one of ABC Library’s busiest, liveliest branches – and that may be the best tribute we can offer her.

Dedication Card for Erna Fergusson Library
For a more complete account of Fergusson’s life, check out Robert Gish’s Beautiful Swift Fox.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Maps & Charts

It is not down in any map; true places never are. 
~Herman Melville, Moby Dick
To put a city in a book, to put the world on one sheet of paper -- maps are the most condensed humanized spaces of all...They make the landscape fit indoors, make us masters of sights we can't see and spaces we can't cover. ~Robert Harbison, Eccentric Spaces

Maps! We look at a globe or world map and take the borders and dimensions for granted, when in reality the dimensions are not always accurate and every border has a history. In this digital age, when we are more likely to do a search for an address on Mapquest or use an app on our phone to find our location, occasions to read an actual map are becoming scarcer.  But map-reading, like letter-writing, is a skill we would be loath to see die out completely. Here are some books about maps and infographics to whet your appetite for geography. and perhaps improve your cartographic skills.

Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography by Ken Jennings

Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking by Jill K. Berry

On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks by Simon Garfield

Phantom Islands of the Atlantic: The Legends of Seven Lands That Never Were by Donald S. Johnson

Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities by Frank Jacobs

In the Memory of the Map: A Cartographic Memoir by Christopher Norment  [eBook]

Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture by Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel

The Infographic History of the World by Valentina D'Efilippo and James Ball


Map Reading Basics

Bad at Reading Maps? Maybe Your Brain Just Needs Better Maps

The Peters Projection World Map

Daily Infographic

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hemingway & Gellhorn

In honor of Ernest Hemingway's 115th birthday (July 21st), the beginning of the Spanish Civil War (July 17, 1936 - Hemingway and his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, were both journalists in Spain during the war) and the 2012 movie Hemingway & Gellhorn (now available in the library catalog), we offer you this list of titles that we hope will pique your interest.

Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War by Amanda Vaill

The Breaking Point: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and the Murder of José Robles by Stephen Koch

Hemingway: The 1930s by Michael Reynolds

The Selected Letters of Martha Gellhorn edited by Caroline Moorehead

Related Items

Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon by Gijs van Hensbergen

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Children of War, Children of Peace: Photographs by Robert Capa

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two-Wheeled Travel

This summer, NPR is approaching travel in a different way:

Who needs destinations? This summer, we're focusing on the journey. All these books — some old, some new — will transport you: by train, plane, car, bike, boat, foot, city transit, horse, balloon, rocket ship, time machine, and even the odd giant peach. Bon voyage! (Taxes and fees not included).*

We have taken the liberty of compiling some of their recommended two-wheeled titles for you here, along with a few of our own - as a nod to the ongoing Tour de France - but check the links below for more!


The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey by Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance by David V. Herlihy

Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne

Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride by Peter Zheutlin

French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France by Tim Moore [eAudiobook]

Life is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America by Bruce Weber

The Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda's Cycling Team by Tim Lewis

Archangel: Fiction by Andrea Barrett

It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels by Robert Penn

Svetat e golyam i spasenie debne otvsyakade = The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner [DVD]  


The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes

Wheels of Change : How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy

Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History by Sue Stauffacher 


Book Your Trip: Tales of Two-Wheeled Travel - A Literary List to Cycle Through*

Vroom, Vroom, Hmmmm: Motorcycles at Literary Metaphor

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On the Big Screen

With the amount of young adult books that are being made into movies recently (Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and If I Stay are the top movies based on young adult books that come to mind), I've started thinking about which young adult books I'd love to see on the big screen. It wasn't easy to narrow down my choices, but I came up with a list of ten books I'd love to see as movies.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Splintered by A.G. Howard
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

These books have just the right amount of drama and romance to make them perfect for the big screen. What books would you love to see as movies? Are there any upcoming movies based on young adult books that you're excited about?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gastronomic Delights: Food Histories in Fact & Fiction

Eating and reading just go hand in hand. We use the same words, to have a voracious appetite for food or for books.
~ Dinah Fried

Why do we eat what we eat?  Why have regional specialities evolved? How do we decide what tastes good to us?  Here are a few books that trace the history of food, in different locales in the United States and in literature.

San Francisco: A Food Biography by Erica J. Peters [eBook]
San Francisco is a relatively young city with a well-deserved reputation as a food destination, situated near lush farmland and a busy port. San Francisco's famous restaurant scene has been the subject of books but the full complexity of the city's culinary history is revealed here for the first time. This food biography presents the story of how food traveled from farms to markets, from markets to kitchens, and from kitchens to tables, focusing on how people experienced the bounty of the City by the Bay. 

New Orleans: A Food Biography by Elizabeth M. Williams [eBook]
Beignets, Po’ Boys, gumbo, jambalaya, Antoine’s. New Orleans’ celebrated status derives in large measure from its incredibly rich food culture, based mainly on Creole and Cajun traditions. At last, this world-class destination has its own food biography. Elizabeth M. Williams, a New Orleans native and founder of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum there, takes readers through the history of the city, showing how the natural environment and people have shaped the cooking we all love. The narrative starts with the indigenous population, resources and environment, then reveals the contributions of the immigrant populations, major industries, marketing networks, and retail and major food industries and finally discusses famous restaurants and signature dishes. This must-have book will inform and delight food aficionados and fans of the Big Easy itself. 

Covers a wide range of topics, such as ethnic food, regional foods, food advertising, the development of baby food, vegetarianism, special holiday food traditions, popular brands, microbreweries, the wine industry, snack food, fast food, and the Slow Food movement.
~from the back cover

Breakfast: A History by Heather Arndt Anderson
From corn flakes to pancakes, Breakfast: A History explores this "most important meal of the day" as a social and gastronomic phenomenon. It explains how and why the meal emerged, what is eaten commonly in this meal across the globe, why certain foods are considered indispensable, and how it has been depicted in art and media. Heather Arndt Anderson's detail-rich, culturally revealing, and entertaining narrative thoroughly satisfies. 

No recipes, but an assortment of photographic interpretations of culinary moments from contemporary and classic literature. Fried pairs each place setting with the text from that book that inspired its creation. She includes food facts and anecdotes about the authors, their work, and their culinary predilections. 

*all book descriptions are taken from the library catalog, unless otherwise noted 


"Why Fire Makes Us Human" [Smithsonian]

"What It Takes To Cook Some of Literature's Most Famous Meals" [Smithsonian]

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Get Caught Listening: Best Audiobooks You Might Have Missed

June was Audiobook Month! But we think audiobooks should be celebrated all summer long - we're nominating summer as "The Season of Audiobooks", due to the amount of customers looking for audiobooks for their vacation car trips.  We even know a customer who listens to audiobooks while gardening, and some like to listen while working on crafts and projects.

In case you were looking for some audiobooks, we've compiled a list of recommended titles from a variety of websites for your listening pleasure!

All audiobooks listed are books on CD, unless otherwise noted.


And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter [Playaway - a dedicated media audio player]

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny

Midnight at Marble Arch by Anne Perry

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple [eAudiobook]

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson  [eAudiobook]

Norwood by Charles Portis  [eAudiobook]


The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown

My Beloved World: A Memoir by Sonia Sotomayor [eAudiobook]

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot By the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, with Christina Lamb

Frozen In Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff [eAudiobook]


Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen [Playaway]

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle [eAudiobook]

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


"Dive Into a Summer Read" [Tullahoma News]

"Hooked on Audiobooks" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Baseball and Fitness Staff Picks

We are deep in the heart of baseball season!  Have you been to see the Albuquerque Isotopes yet this year? We have a few baseball reads recommended by library staff to share with you:

The Closer: My Story by Mariano Rivera

If you are not a baseball fan but are looking to read more about physical fitness, here are some other titles selected by staff that you might enjoy:

Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika by B.K.S. Iyengar

Friday, July 11, 2014

Startling Discoveries at Special Collections

The cool thing about working at ABC Library’s Special Collections is making new discoveries every week. The humbling thing about working at Special Collections is learning how much more there is to learn! Every day, Special Collections grapples with the fact that living in a city isn’t the same as knowing its history.

Here are a few of our startling discoveries, some culled from our speaker series, some from helping customers make their own startling discoveries. These may be old news to you, but they blew us away:

  • The rail yard buildings are so huge because building and rebuilding steam locomotives meant hoisting the locomotives into the air.
  • The first water treatment plant ran from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
  • Albuquerque’s first street lights were in series, like old fashioned strings of Christmas lights. If one light went out, the whole string went out.
  • Albuquerque was the first community in the United States to hire female streetcar conductors, who were referred to as motorettes.
  • Private rooms in tuberculosis sanatoriums were furnished with ash trays.
  • The Villa de Alburquerque (Old Town) didn't become part of the City of Albuquerque (New Town) until 1949.
  • The planning department changed 300 street names on July 1, 1952.
  • Albuquerque banned discrimination in public places in 1952, but didn't pass a fair housing ordinance until 1963.
  • For the 1956 celebration of Albuquerque’s 250th Anniversary, the City Commission ordered the men of Albuquerque to start growing beards and the women to stop wearing cosmetics.

We’re confident that we have much more to learn, and we invite you to join us! Our speaker series continues on Saturday, July 12th at 10:30 a.m. Come share the startling discoveries as retired Assistant Chief Herman Bishop tells the story of how Albuquerque’s Fire Department moved from the era of the horse drawn fire wagon to age of the hook and ladder.