In a Cloistered Monastery – A Reference Question

Picture of a turn.“The architecture of cloistered convents features a small door to the exterior designed specifically to allow groceries and other small supplies to be delivered while maintaining the privacy and separation of the nuns. What is the formal name for such a door (it likely has a name in Latin) and what is the English translation of that word?”

This question came in to the Level 7 reference desk at the Central Library on a busy day during the week before Easter. We hunted around a bit online and did not immediately find a fitting term, so we took the patron’s contact information to dig a bit deeper. Continue reading “In a Cloistered Monastery – A Reference Question”

Streetwise Revisited: Library Resources

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

Tiny Streetwise RevisitedThe Seattle Public Library is hosting the Streetwise Revisited: A 30-year Journey photography exhibit by Mary Ellen Mark exploring the lives of youth and families experiencing homelessness.

It begins next Thursday, September 15 through Thursday, November 3 at the Central Library in the Level 8 Gallery.  Public programs will take place in library and community locations.

For more information about the Exhibit and a calendar of the programs and film screenings, please visit the Streetwise Revisited page. Continue reading “Streetwise Revisited: Library Resources”

April Question of the month – an irregular feature

I am interested in a rather obscure topic. Do you have any information about the history of the whalebone corset and the industry of whaling and whale oil? 

Thank you for your questions regarding whales and whalebone corsets.  There are a number of library resources that might be interesting. 

We have a reference book on the history of corsets.  You can find it using the following search on  in our catalog:
Chose – Subject from the drop down search menu in the upper right hand corner of the screen
Type the terms “Corsets”, “History”, “19th Century” in the search box

We also have books about whaling.and whaling ships. If you select the keyword search from the same drop down box then you can use the search terms “whaling” and “ships”.  And of course the Library also has several books about the whaling industry.

In addition, you may consider looking at the long article on corsets in Wikipedia – it has sound historical information and ax excellent references and external links section.

We hope this information will be helpful; please let us know if we can be of more assistance.

Got a stumper? Click on Ask a Librarian. It’s what we do.