Archive for the 'librarians' Category

remembering Norman Horrocks

Norm Horrocks died last week and I’ve been thinking about him all week. When I told my boyfriend about Norm’s passing, he asked “Is that the guy you introduced me to who yelled ‘Yoo hoo’ at us from the golf cart at PLA?” and I said it was. Norm, always eager to make people feel happy and welcome, had spotted me and wanted to make sure I spotted him. He made quite an impression.

I first met Norm when I was serving on ALA Council where he took me aside and assured me that it wasn’t as confusing as it looked and that I could make valuable contributions there. I was lucky to get to spend time with him at the Nova Scotia Library Association conference in Antigonish a few years ago, where he gave me a Dalhousie pin to wear and we reflected on how much we both loved Nova Scotia. Norm could always make you feel like you were integral to the profession and that he was the profession’s smooth and dashing liason to you personally.

Every time I’d run into Norm at library functions, he was a delight and brightened my day. He was charming and cultured which made a great backdrop for his goofy jokes and wry asides. He deeply cared about libraries, library associations and especially librarians. He seemed to make it his personal mission to be an emmisary for librarianship, to make sure newer librarians had a good “user experience” within the profession.

At the same time as he was charming us all, he was doing the work. His background includes a stint in British Army intelligence the director of Dalhousie University’s library school and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. Reading through people’s blog posts about him (1, 2, 3, 4), you can’t help but be struck by the warmth, generosity and kindness that Norm passed to to every single person he interacted with.

People are leaving rememberances of Norm at ALA Connect, CLA Toolbox, and this wikispaces page. ALISE has set up a slideshow. Donations can be made to the Dalhousie-Horrocks National Leadership Fund in Norm’s memory if you are so inclined. As one of the blog commenters said on one of the many memorial posts “He was the best of us” and he will be deeply missed.

prison library confidentiality

I read this short essay in the NYTimes magazine section. A little slice of life of a prison librarian, soon to be part of an upcoming book called “Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian” Enjoyed the anecdote and yet, oddly, felt weird about seeing the titles of the books listed. Old habits die hard.

Libraries are full of hints to life’s great puzzles. For the mystery of which recently released, 5-foot-10 or so Latino man still owed two books, the prison library offered a name, and the two books he owed: “Introduction to Astrology” and “The Astrology of Human Relationships.” But regarding the mystery of what he discovered in his study of the cosmos, the prison library was completely silent.

Thomas Mann interviewed by Joshua Kitlas

Library student Joshua Kitlas interviewed LoC reference librarian Thomas Mann for one of his classes at Syracuse. I am a Mann Fan, so it was fun to get to read this.

“The profession is radically getting dumbed down. There is so much more to search than Google or OCLC. You need to see relationships between subjects and their headings. Tags by users are simply no substitute. They’re okay as supplements to controlled vocabularies–but not substitutes. There’s a need to go beyond the internet and look at the systems librarians and publishers have developed that are not accessible by Google or the other engines.”

show us the numbers re: new librarian jobs

If the numbers are there, I’d like to see them. Otherwise this speculation about the graying of the profession doesn’t really seem to be fact-based.

“ALA is still promoting the idea that we are approaching a librarian shortage and cannot possibly train enough people to continue on the grand tradition of librarianship. This information was suspect a couple years ago, and considering the state if libraries right now–academic, public and special– it’s a damn lie.” [via @librarianmer]

Tom Bruce’s plenary talk at Cornell, tech + librarianship + the Ivy League

Tom Bruce from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute talks about technologists being managed by non-technologists, and about the future of academic libraries in this thoughtful and amusing plenary talk.

In my experience, most of us don’t think about professions most of the time. We just get up and drag ass to work, whether we’re law teachers or opera singers or technologists or librarians or plumbers. We like to go to work if that is a place where our expertise is respected. And if we are not respected and we see ourselves as having little control over the very things for which we are held responsible, all of us get very, very unhappy. At the simplest level talk about professional models is nothing more and nothing less — on both sides — than displaced anxiety about where we stand in the workplace. Librarians have, for a long time, been able to draw some comfort and stability from trappings built up around the technology of print. That is going away. Technologists never had such a stable place to stand. And universities and law schools are particularly anxious workplaces now. So maybe we should spend less time debating professional models and concentrate on why it is that we need to talk about them so badly.

[thanks RepoRat]

UC’s polite Nature Publishing Group boycott request

The Awl reports:

Dear Members of the UCLA Faculty,

Please see the attached document regarding a possible boycott of Nature Publishing Group journals by UC faculty. We urge you to read this important update, which has been jointly prepared by the University Libraries and the University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication. Please contact me directly with your comments and concerns.

Sincerely,
Gary E. Strong
UCLA University Librarian

[via the infodiva]

Colorado woman gets 36 years for role in death of Greenwich librarians

Just a small heads up in case you missed it. The woman who was responsible for the deaths of the two Connecticut librarians, Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz, on their way home from ALA in Colorado has received a sentence of 36 years in jail, the maximum allowable sentence.

my library school sure has changed

Not only is it now an iSchool, and they’re offering an MLIS [among other degrees. I have an MLib] but they’re making information accessible and popular. Enjoy this Lady Gaga sendup. Watch for the Nancy Pearl cameo. Awesome job folks. I really should go back for my PhD. Some discussion and adoration on BoingBoing. [via]

Thanks Paul Clark – Florida Libraries get funded for one more year

Florida decided to restore state aid to Florida’s public library system. This is good news. There’s also a quirky feel good story about one Florida librarian a systems librarian at Wilderness Coast Public Libraries, who dedicated his vacation to hanging around the Capitol which he did last year as well.

This year Paul spent days at the Florida Capitol, holding signs in suppport of State Aid funding for public libraries. At midnight on April 26 as funding was restored, Senator J.D. Alexander acknowledged that advocates could learn a lot from Paul’s example.

FLA blog mentions this, and Paul comments “Together, as a team we won a victory for the many patrons who rely on their libraries.” Thanks Paul, and Co.Longer story over at Tampabay.com and Library Journal.

on mentoring

Sarah Glassmeyer has some great advice for people in the profession who are looking for mentoring or considering being a mentor. I find that aside from more official ALA sorts of set-ups, there are a lot of opportunities to help people who are newer to the profession sort of get their sea legs and sometimes it’s incredibly useful to give/get a “reality check” about what is considered normal in the workplace. I know I’ve benefitted greatly from other more expereinced librarians and technology folks giving me their read on a situation and I like to think I can do the same for others.