Saturday, January 31, 2015

Learning | Pirates! In the Library!

One of the most interesting places in a library is the reference section.  It's a great place to look for answers to research questions, but the best thing about being in the reference section is stumbling on information you did not know existed. 

Recently, a co-worker found The Pirates' Who's Who, Giving Particulars of the Lives and Deaths of the Pirates & Buccaneers. Well, I was so surprised, you could have knocked me over with a feather.  A book about pirates in the Reference Section? An old book, from 1924. Over a century ago! And the thought of the pirates having a "who's who" book tickled my funny bone.

After we tried to look up Captain Jack Sparrow (who is a fictional*character, and unfortunately not in this book,) we thumbed through, looking up famous pirates, and discovering the not-so-well remembered pirates of yesteryear.

I looked up Jean Lafitte. He was a complicated guy.  He and his brother were blacksmiths in old New Orleans; they started selling smuggled goods through their shop. The goods came from pirates and privateers, who traded on an island in Barataria Bay. The governor tried to have the Lafitte brothers convicted for this activity, but they were acquitted. Lafitte and the Baratarians sided with the Americans in war against the English, helping to win the Battle of New Orleans. His blacksmith shop still stands, in the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) in New Orleans.

The Pirates' Who's Who book cannot be checked out, since it is a reference book. You can visit Cesar Chavez Central Library, and look at it in the library.  You do have some other options, however.  If you have an eReader, download a free digital copy of the book from Project Gutenberg. 

Looking for more pirate books?  Here's a list of some pirate books in SSJCPL's collection; most of these can be checked out.

If you really need library materials about Captain Jack Sparrow,  this list can help.

*And hot. Definitely hot.

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