A Contest and Some Library Love

I love libraries. In elementary school, I’d grab one of the whistle chairs, drag it underneath the reshelving desk, and hide under there with a stack of books until the verrrrrry last moment of line-up call. My last two years of grade school, my teachers made a deal with me: if I finished all my work early and well, I was allowed to go to the library to read on my own. Heaven. I’d shovel my math worksheet at my teacher and zoom across the hall, where the librarian was ready with another book recommendation, another reminder that I still had two books out, my favorite whistle chair in place under the reshelving desk. The library was the only place I could relax into who I was: a frizzy-haired, buck-toothed, book-loving nerd.

That love continues. While writing Word by Word and while researching for this next book, my local libraries have been indispensable sources of hard-to-find books, research advice, and fiction-bingeing, I-can’t-write-another-word-about-stupid-dictionaries solace. I took my kids to children’s story hour when they were growing up; as they hit their teen years, I encouraged them to go to the teen program the library ran. My little town library hosts events for senior citizens, lectures, classes; provides free computer use and internet access; hosts the town spelling bee and provides meeting space for community organizations. The librarians have never refused to help, even when my question is absurd (“I don’t suppose you have a facsimile of William Bullokar’s 1586 Bref Grammar for English?” “…Can you spell that?”). Every day, librarians show up to work and deal with drunk people, angry people, confused people, and people who just want to sit on the Internet all day and shitpost, so you can understand my fellow-feeling for them.

So, in honor of libraries and the librarians who staff them, I’m running a little contest. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to a local library.
  2. Check out a book. Any book. Something that catches your eye.
  3. Take a selfie of you and your book. (If you check out ebooks or audiobooks from your library, take a screenshot of the checkout receipt, or a selfie of you reading/listening to said book! ALL BOOKS IN ALL FORMS WELCOME.)
  4. Post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #WordbyWordLibraryLove and #Sweepstakes.

On October 7, I will choose five entries: those five folks will each win a signed copy of Word by Word.

How does this help your library? Well, it’ll get your sorry butt in there, for one. But I’ll also be making a donation to the American Library Association to help support all the work that libraries do.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 living in the United States (except for residents of VA, because you have very weird laws regarding contests, and residents of the U.S. territories and possessions, because ditto). You’ll find the full rules here.

See you at the library.

Stamper_WordByWord_Sweeps (1)



Filed under general, lexicography, Uncategorized

10 responses to “A Contest and Some Library Love

  1. Melissa Bjorklund

    This VA resident is now crushed that she’ll have to settle for reading her library’s copy of “Christology of the Later Fathers” instead of contest-selfie-posting with it.

  2. Reblogged this on WHETSTONE and commented:
    Show some library love and enter for a chance to win Kory Stamper’s “Word by Word” — and a signed copy at that!

  3. Such a delightful blog. As a retired foreign language educator, I have long had a love affair with words. Thanks for this visit. Happy writing!

  4. John Kidman

    In your article about 8 neglected(?) words, you stumbled into the Hebrew word “firgun” (the opposite of “schadenfreude”), then used it as a verb, “I am firgunning..” It is a bit more complicated: firgun is a noun; as a verb, you would say, “I mefargenet…”

  5. DDeDeN

    Three senses of AA been: 1- has been (past perfect). 2- has long been. 3- being (currently) be-ing-> be’en-> been. 🙂

  6. E. N. Genovese

    Just got your book. “[E]x coeli” (p. 12). Not “ex coelis”? Also “thusly” (p. 13). Ugh. Nevertheless, on to “But.”

  7. I just posted a link to your blog in my blog, Cruisin the Internet. Your comment about irregardless reminded me of a research paper I once wrote on the Periphrastic Future of Will and Shall. for Professor Morgan Jones at SUNY New Paltz more than 30 years ago. In the 30 page paper I used irregardless which generated a marginal comment “an unforgivable barbarism.”

  8. Peeververein, looked it up in most of my dictionaries. Nope. Nope. Nope. Even dictionary .com. Then I googled it. Got here.
    Thank you very much for a very entertaining book. Of course you know, I am only about a third of the way through. You keep causing me to go look up unfamiliar words. Thanx again.


  9. This morning I get this book and as I was expecting about this book was not actually but quite interesting rare subject of this book make it attractive well done it’s Overall intresting book and I love it 👍

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