Coffee Talk: Library Hand or Professional Penmanship and an Announcement

Coffee Talk {living outside the stacks}

I’d like to welcome you to Coffee Talk. If you’re new here, this is where I share some of the great and not~so~great stuff that I find on the web. Topics range from news stories that leave me scratchin’ my head to DIYs that I think are absolutely clever. And, who knows, there may even be a recipe thrown in here or there just for fun.

Do you remember learning penmanship in school? I do. I remember that weird brownish/tannish/beigish paper with the lines on it… I also remember the way that paper smelled. Like a mixture of trees and pencil shavings. Don’t ask why I remember something like that, but I do. I also remember getting the xeroxed white sheets with the purple lines for take home practice. That paper had a weird smell. And, I ain’t gonna lie, I used to volunteer to copy the papers so I could inhale it as I walked down the hall. Too much information? Ah well… Anyway, I remember it was my father who taught me how to write. He had the most beautiful cursive writing in the world. And I don’t say that lightly. He was an artist, so there were flourishes and curlicues… All the things that made people gasp and ask “Did you really write that?” Also all the things that no 1st grader should be learning to do. I got in trouble a lot because, well, 1st grade and turning in assignments written in cursive and in beautifully swirled cursive at that… Anyway, I was reading an article about a form of penmanship called “Library Hand.” Who knew? Apparently, a bunch of librarians back in the late 1800’s got together to create a uniform penmanship so that card catalogs could be easily read. Really, my profession is just so thorough. It does break my heart that students are no longer taught penmanship, much less cursive writing. Sitting with my dad, while he held my hand and guided me through the paces {forcing me to touch both the bottom and top lines with my pencil} will be be memories that I will treasure until the end of time.

How do you feel about celebrities speaking about politics, social issues, etc.? I used to think the only space they could occupy was the one on my screen, but then I realized something: they exist in this world too. I recognize that their issues may not be the same as mine, but they live/work here and so do their families, so they have every right to express an opinion. Even if I disagree with that opinion. The reason I’m asking is because a number of athletes have expressed an interest in boycotting the traditional White House visit because they disagree with President Trump’s policies. Some folks are saying that celebrities should keep their mouths shut because no one pays them for their opinions while others are applauding their decisions. What do you say?

My girls bought celebratory chocolate cupcakes for me on Friday. To find out why, click here.

Now, it’s your turn… What’s going on in your world? Anything have you scratching your head or belly laughing? Is there a book I absolutely must add to my TBR Shelf? Have you cooked or ordered anything tasty?


Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}





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  • I have never heard of library hand! I am afraid my penmanship would not have been satisfactory, at least not without a lot of practice. I am subbing in public school libraries these days since retirement and children have no idea how to write in cursive. Wonder how they will sign their names once they are grown if they never learn cursive as children. Electronically, I guess. I started elementary school in Boston where they didn’t teach cursive until sixth grade. We moved to Memphis the summer after my fifth grade year. In Memphis, children started cursive in third grade. As a result I never learned to write properly. In fact, they talked about holding me back and making me repeat 5th so I could learn to write!!

    As far as celebrity opinions go…they are entitled to theirs and I am entitled to mine. Their voice should be no louder or considered any more valuable than the voice and opinions of the rest of us.

    • Leslie, isn’t that article interesting? I always wonder about things like that – who wrote this or that, how script was standardized, etc. I teach college and many of my students don’t know how to read or write cursive, which I found out because they couldn’t read my comments on their papers. It was mind boggling. It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, bad penmanship would’ve been reason to hold a student back….

      I agree on the value of a person’s voice, no matter what their social / economic standing.

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