Bats Act as Pest Control at Two Old Portuguese Libraries

Bats Act as Pest Control at Two Old Portuguese Libraries

It’s not clear how long the bats have been doing this important job

The University of Coimbra’s grand old Biblioteca Joanina houses both books and bats.

For their new book, The Library: A World History, architectural historian James Campbell and photographer Will Pryce travelled the world to documentary of the architecture of book storage. And they found that libraries, writes Campbell, “can be much more than the dusty, dark wooden shelves.” Indeed, as The Boston Globe‘s Brainiac noticed, in a couple of cases, Campbell and Pryce found that these age-old institutions act as houses for not only books, but bats, too.

At Biblioteca Joanina and  the Mafra Palace Library, both, curiously, located in Portugal, and both built in the 18th century, small bats, about an inch long, act as guards against book-eating insects. The Globe reports on the bat-friendly places:

In an email, Campbell explained that the bats, which are less than inch long, roost during the day behind “elaborate rococo bookcases” and come out at night to hunt insects which otherwise would feast on the libraries’ books. The price of this natural insect control is paid in scat: The bats, Campbell writes, “leave a thin layer of droppings over everything. So each morning the floors have to be thoroughly cleaned…and the furniture has to be covered at night.”

It’s not clear how long the bats have been doing this important job, but Portugal, at least, is letting them take care of scaring away the book-eating bugs ( and probably certain human bookworms, too).


10 Book Dedications to Make You Smile

10 Book Dedications to Make You Smile

by Shan Williams   Jan 16, 2017    from For Reading Addicts

When you open the pages of a book for the very first time what do you do? Do you read everything that is available to you or are you a skipper? Do you ever read the dedications? I do, especially as now I have the honour of being mentioned in a dedication and also as we at For Reading Addicts appear on the back cover blurb for another.

Ever since I began reading these little gems from the many authors whose books I’ve read I’ve been pleasantly surprised by just how much many of our favourite authors share with us in those final few pages before the back cover is closed and some of them are outright hysterical. Take a look at these book dedications and then make sure you keep an eye out for any humorous ones you come across in your day to day reading.

House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Short, sweet, and to the point. Fair enough Mark, but I still read the book.

The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

Always listen to your grandmother; she knows.

Moorchild by Eloise McGraw

How amazing to know that there is someone out there who knows just exactly how you feel.

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Embrace your inner Titan Rick.

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

You can see into my heart Jen.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

You’re right Neil, we love you too.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Come on Jenny, let’s not beat about the bush; say it like it is.

Over Seventy by P. G. Wodehouse

Nothing better than proving someone wrong is there.

No Way Back by Matthew Klein


Austenland by Shannon Hale

You blew it Mr Darcy, you had your chance and you blew it.

I’ve often heard of mystery book buys where the book is wrapped in brown paper and you purchase it purely on the basis of how the first line of the book sounds, I wonder if anyone has ever bought a book just because the dedication caught their eye?


Bring a book, ride the trains for free!

from The Independent


Special book given out as gift to readers during National Book Week is accepted instead of ticket

Jon Stone 4/1/2019

Dutch book lovers got free rail travel across their country’s entire network this weekend as part of the Netherlands’ annual book week celebrations.

Every year since 1932 the Netherlands has encouraged reading with Boekenweek– a celebration of literature marked with literary festivals and book signings across the country.

Traditionally, a well-known Dutch author writes a special novel – the “book week gift” or Boekenweekgeschenk – which is given out for free to people who buy books during the festivities or sign up to a library.

But the special book – this year the novel Jas Van Belofte by celebrated author Jan Siebelink, can also be presented instead of a rail ticket on every train in the country on the Sunday of book week.

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the Dutch state railway company, has long been a sponsor of the annual festivities – and even organises book readings signings by top authors on its trains.

“It is good to see all those happily surprised faces of travellers,” author Jan Siebelink said after boarding a train for the city of Utrecht to meet passengers and read his book.

“We are talking about everything, including their journey. A traveller just said he was on his way to Velp, my birthplace. Often there are also children and I naturally hope that they start reading. That’s what we do it for.”

Murat Isik, who wrote the annual bookweek essay, a companion to the novel, added: “How incredibly beautiful and dynamic to meet readers on the train. Unfortunately, this is also the end of Book Week. A week full of wonderful meetings and conversations.”

This year the book week gift was given out by bookshops to anyone who spent €12.50 on Dutch-language books.

The state rail company, which has now been offering the annual free travel promotion for 18 years, said in a statement: “NS has a warm heart for reading, because reading is one of the favourite ways to spend time on the train.”

“That is why we have been the main sponsor of a number of reading campaigns for years, including Book Week.

“On Sunday 31 March, the Netherlands travelled en masse for free by train on presentation of the Book Week Gift, written by Jan Siebelink.”

NS is not the only railway company to accept physical objects in lieu of payment. This time last week for a week UK rail company Virgin Trains offered a 1/3 discount to passengers aged 18-30 who presented an avocado to ticket inspectors, as a dry joke about the delayed Millennial Railcard.

Recent Reads

Books and other things I’ve read recently

Image result for motorcycle samurai


Motorcycle Samurai, by Chris Sheridan  — I found this in a LFL on my way home from work. I knew as soon as I saw it the next three people to pass this on to. I’m not sure I need to find volume 2, but volume 1 was a good read.


Image result for blink



Blink, by Malcom Gladwell  — again, I know the next three people to pass this on to. It was hard to not start talking about all sorts of things from the book with my partner – gotta wait till he’s read it!  It was a good reminder of Paul Ekman, and also the show “Lie To Me” (might have to look for it on Netflix or something). Reading through the book, I was alternately dazzled and horrified by some of the things our brains have us believe. The upside is that plenty of other people do the same things – I’ve got a lot of company!

Image result for underwear mary elise monsell


Underwear, by Mary Elise Monsell  — I’ve been going through my picture book collections, hard copies and electronic books, culling the ones I’m not reading for myself or using for work anymore. It’s meant I’ve also re-found some old friends I haven’t read in a while. I’m rather fond of well-written, well-illustrated picture books about children’s favorite topics, of which Underwear is definitely one. I’m also a big fan of Lynn Munsinger’s work. Image result for bookee and keeboo chicken soup

Bookee and Keeboo Search for a Chicken, by Alfons Freire  —  I’m not quite as fond of this one. I’m not sure why. The pictures are kinda cute. The story is written at an appropriate level for its audience. The story itself is fine. I guess that’s it – the whole thing is… fine. Your mileage may vary.


Image result for hank's summer day


Hank’s Summer Day, by Jake Croft  — This is another one that’s decently done, but for me was Just Fine. It’s written and illustrated well-enough, it just doesn’t move me.



Image result for what are you reading?

Visiting SE PDX Little Free Libraries

Another in an occasional series of Little Free Libraries in southeast PortlandIMG_9725.jpg

I don’t often do much up close to I-205, but I had occasion to wander around a bit on the east side of it recently. While looking for my destination, I ran across this LFL.

This is LFL #46163 at about SE Lincoln & SE 97th, near Cherry Blossom Park.IMG_9726.jpg





When I visited, there were several children’s books, from early readers to early chapter books, with some in English and some in Spanish. There was a good assortment of adult books as well. So much room inside! The yard is rather pretty and the neighborhood seems nice. They had a lovely “how to use this LFL” flyer on the door as well.