How To: Adding fair use images to people’s Wikipedia pages

collage of photographs of 41 librarians of color ranging from old black and white ones to much newer color photographs.
I’ve always got some nerdy Wikipedia project going. I think improving Wikipedia’s coverage of marginalized voices is worthwhile work, even as I understand and agree with many of the criticisms of the place. My most recent project was to look at the list of African American librarians (108 in total) and try to add as many photographs as I could (41, many articles already had images) to articles that didn’t have one. This is tricky work, because you can usually only add images that have free licenses–either public domain, or certain Creative Commons licenses. These can be hard to find.

However, there is a very useful loophole which is that if you are adding an image to Wikipedia–and not Wikimedia Commons where most image uploads happen–you can take a copyrighted image, shrink it to a small, low-resolution size, and use it to illustrate a page of someone who is deceased. Here’s a page that explains it but it’s a lot of reading. There are similar fair use exemptions for logos, cover art, and a few other categories; this is just about images of people. Here’s a short explainer. Continue reading “How To: Adding fair use images to people’s Wikipedia pages”

Vermont Libraries in the Time of COVID

Cover slide for this talk which says "Public librariesin the time of COVID" with a little cartoon library beneath it and the URL of the talk

I’ve had my head down and have been staying home for the most part, no news here. A pleasant surprise is that there’s been work, talks to give, things to write about. Also: a lot of Wikipedia work. I did a presentation for the Vermont Humanities Council, an organization which I love but will also love to be cycling off of the Board of Directors of, about what Vermont libraries have been up to this past… year. I’ve excerpted it for an upcoming Computers in Libraries article, but as I was updating my talks page, I thought I should maybe mention it special here. If you’d like to read it or watch me giving it, you can go to this page here: Public Libraries in the time of COVID.

2020 reading list and commentary

the cover of a box of postcards that is called BIBLIOPHILE and the postcard on the cover is a stack of books

Here was the twitter thread of what I read last year. It was, as you might expect, a weird year. And I read LESS than the year before. Not sure if this is because I had less access to graphic novels, or because I had less time on airplanes, or something else. I started 110 books and finished 109 of them.

Here are stats for the books I finished and I’m adding one more: ebook vs. print book. Obviously they’re both books, but I think it would be nice to track how much I am reading digitally versus in print.

Here are stats for the books that I finished.

average read per month: 9.1
average read per week: 2.1
number read in worst month: 6 (October)
number read in best month: 15 (September)
number unfinished: 1
percentage by male authors: 52%
percentage by female authors: 48%
percentage of authors of color/non-Western: 14%
fiction as percentage of total: 64%
non-fiction as percentage of total: 36%
(many comics compilations in there which are a mix of both)
percentage of total liked: 89%
percentage of total ambivalent: 11%
percentage of total disliked: less than 1%
ebook to book ratio: 1:1

Previous summaries: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004. The always-updated booklist, going back to 1997, lives at and it has its own RSS feed.

2020 in Libraries

a view of the library from the top of the stairs showing a gorgeous circular reference desk with a librarian talking with a patron

Like many people, I had bigger plans this year than I managed to realize. However, I did get to two new libraries which was decent for a year that saw only twenty-seven library visits total, with nineteen of them at the same library. The full list is short but memorable. I really hope to get back to the Goodrich Library in Newport again, it’s got a great collection and incredibly nice staff.

Previous years: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and some reviews from 2003.

  • Kimball – my local, weekly drop-in time and occasionally pinch hitting for shifts
  • Rochester – did some irregular drop-in time here
  • Hartness – did not get to VTC as much as I’d like
  • Pittsfield – had an empty drop-in time but it was cool to see this tiny library with an actual paid staff member now
  • Goodrich/Newport – I did a First Wednesdays talk here and it was really enjoyable
  • Montpelier – Don’t remember why I stopped by, but I always like visiting here
  • VT Law – Hadn’t been here in a while and I stopped by before meeting a pal in SoRo
  • Concord NH – Stopped in here while spending some time bumming around Concord with Jim

Ask A Librarian: Senior-Friendly Devices?

hands of two men using a tablet computer

I’m working with a Council on Aging and they are looking for “senior-friendly” devices to purchase for their participants, ideally tablets that are also budget friendly. Does anyone have any recommendations? Are there any resources that exist to help people compare devices?

My opinion, as someone who works with seniors all the time who struggle with various devices, is that any device can be set up to be “senior friendly” and a lot of this will depend what other technology, if any, exists in their world.

So for someone who had a Mac, even an old Mac, an iPad is the right answer (could be an old iPad, they are remarkably useful still). Someone with a Windows laptop wouldn’t get as many “it just works” effects from one. I feel like the important part is setting up tablets to work for people which involves… Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Senior-Friendly Devices?”