Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ballistas and Onagers and Catapaults -Oh My!

The other day I was at the Information desk at Southside and a young 12 or 13-year-old boy walked up and said, "I want a book about Ballistas and catapults and Roman Army siege equipment."

And I thought, ah, what a sophisticated young boy, he already knows basic Roman Army equipment tables. It was the kind of reference question we librarians crave. Now it just so happens that in our new books, we just received The Rise and Fall of Ancient Rome, which sure enough, has the information on Ballistas, and Onagers, and other catapults. So it was instant gratification time, as he got the book he wanted. I already had it in mind when he asked.

And it was also a lesson for me as a librarian to never underestimate the sophistication of the reading public. One may think one has an idea about what the general public goes for, in terms of reading material, and general interest vs. more scholarly works, and then one meets with daily surprises.

As a matter of fact not only have we received some new books on Ancient Rome and Greece, a plethora of new books have been coming in recently. Some of them are new in the sense of coming out in 2007 or 2008. Some of them are new in the sense of being a new addition to the Southside collection. And there are some that are new in the sense of the whole Santa Fe Library system has not had these titles before. We have many new DVDs, new Spanish books, and other new nonfiction and fiction. So whether you are interested in finding out about Onagers, or want to see some new fiction titles, check out what’s new at your library.

PS: For those who haven’t been staying on top of the weapons of the Roman Army, a Ballista is like a very large man-sized crossbow that shot 6 foot spears and rocks. An Onager is a medium sized catapult which could be operated by 3 men. Each century, a group of 100 men, had one ballista assigned to it.

Posted by JP at Southside.

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