29Jun04hi - 29jun
Hi. Apparently, due to a screw up by somebody, the very clever "talk" I was to give at ALA didn't happen. A computer was ordered for the program and didn't arrive. Suckamo. I'll save the talk for later and not-so-secretly add this item to the "Reasons Not to Renew Membership After Council Term Expires" list. Hope the rest of you had a lovely time.
Oh hey guess what? Remember when Ashcroft called us all "hysterics" and then showed us convincing documents stating that section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act had never been used? Apparently it now has been. [laz]
27Jun04happy ala conference
Hope all of you at ALA are having a good time. Here is a sneak peek
at my "talk" that I am giving in absentia at the Revolting Librarians panel today at ALA.
24Jun04how to help your library not look stupid
PUBLIB librarians have compiled a final list of "things making libraries look stupid
" which should be read by anyone involved in library policy, as well as library staffers. We just call a lot of these things "good customer service" where I work, when we get it right, that is. [shifty]
I know what
do when I go to conferences, but what do you suppose non-ALAers think we do
I never joined ALA, because even in 1966, it was beyond the pale for me, then a liberal Democrat. Soon they, or it, will be meeting in Orlando, Florida, world of fantasy and make believe, where librarians will meet to pretend that our society will some day pay them what they are worth if they make everyone else's business their own.
SaveOurLibraries.org used to be the domain for the Save America's Libraries campaign that now has this little page
with a crap URL on the ALA site. Now there's another site at SaveOurLibraries.com
that addresses some of the recent issues surrounding the San Francisco Public Library. I see the unlinked acronym RFID there, I'm interested to see where this goes.
23Jun04hi - 23jun
Hi. I'm heading to the wedding this weekend instead of ALA and, as with every conference I miss, it seems like this one will be the conference to end all conferences. Next weekend I'll be hosting an informal drop-in all-weekend BBQ up at my house in Central Vermont. Anyone who is anyplace nearby and would like to stop in and say hello, please consider yourself warmly invited.
22Jun04access should be on your MIND before the building project, not after
Seattle Public's new building has some serious accessibility flaws
, say disabled users. While some of these concerns are stylistic, some are quite serious and should have been thought about before the design was finalized. People with disabilities were invited to give their input about the design, but felt that it was ignored. SPL says it is willing to make changes. Similarly today ALA discussed making the ALA web site more friendly to the visually disabled stating [on the Council list] "[T]he Web Advisory Committee and ASCLA are currently working with ITTS on a priority list for implementing accessibility on an application by application basis." Wouldn't it have been nicer -- and cheaper -- if they had made accesibility a priority before they built the site?
Are vendors really making what libraries want? A look at the e-book "explosion
" and Daniel Walter's recent comments which provoked a vendor response
. Walter's answer: no. Vendors answer: a not-unsurprising "of course"
21Jun04hi - 21jun
Hi. Happy Solstice. Today I took a book-truckload of books over to the local senior residential center as part of a monthly Bookshelf program I've been trying to get started. 20-30 books, mostly large print, some books with normal type but lots of pictures [art books, gardening books], delivered monthly on a regular schedule. Books on tape coming soon and we take request. I generally get along pretty well with older people, but it was particularly gratifying to have some smiling older woman come right up to me and say "Hey this is a really neat idea, thanks for doing this." and then walk off with a book of Krazy Kat comics or a Learn To Use Your Computer book.
Apparently, it was just a computer programming glitch
that caused libraries to get weird assortments of CDs [such as 148 copies of “Entertainment Weekly’s Greatest Hits of 1971.”] as part of their settlement from the major record labels. [thanks tammi]
A sane article
on the whole Google vs. The Library thing. There's some good thinking here, although I would argue that the NYTimes' paraphrase of the issue as "A few research librarians say Google could eventually take on more of the role of a universal library." could more accurately be stated -- based on their own quotations, as "A few research librarians say Google could eventually take on more of the role of indexing
a universal library." [NYT, randomwalks]
19Jun04hi - 19jun
Hi. This just in, for those of you going to ALA. Fahrenheit 9/11 will be shown at ALA in the Auditorium at the Convention Center, Sunday night, June 27, at 10 pm, two days after it opens nationwide. There will be a $10 donation that will go to ALA's efforts in the areas of the First Amendment, Intellectual Freedom, and the struggle against the USA PATRIOT Act.
I'm looking forward to some critiquing from the Luddite Librarian blog
. The LL believes, as I often do "...that criticism is a worthwhile approach to improving our image.", dislikes PowerPoint, and is critical of the gadget-craziness that permeates at least some of the librarian-blogger community.
Providence Public Library lays off workers, gives admins big raises
uring the week of May 24th, the administration of the Providence Public Library announced to the staff that because of financial trouble they would be forced to lay off over 60 people. This would include the entire unionized custodial staff whose jobs would be outsourced to non-union labor. Forty more would be cut from Central and 10-15 from the branches.
18Jun04more on ALA + Walgreens
I have been writing some emails to the Council list about the new ALA parnership with Walgreens. Since I know there are many ALA members who do not navigate the complexities of the ALA web site just to read the Council list [though you can subscribe on a read-only basis] I figured I'd post my thoughts on the relationship here
17Jun04hi - 17jun
Hi. I just finished an article for Clamor Magazine about librarian activism and the PATRIOT Act which should be appearing in a few months. I have a few gmail accounts leftover -- if anyone in the library community feels they "need" one -- and I know at least one other librarian that does as well. AIM me at iamthebestartist today and I'll hand them out as long as I have any left to give.
Just like what we thought all along: books are interactive
, a good read about how to cite our sources independent of the form they are delivered in. [thanks david]
Curious about the CD settlement and all the music CDs that were supposed to be flooding public libraries? One librarian breaks down what her library got
"71.2% of what they sent us is stuff currently sold in remainder bins. Dunno if the terms of the agreement said they couldn't send cutouts or not, but if I know the record industry, they are following the letter but not the spirit of the settlement. "
16Jun04hi - 16jun
Hi. Lots going on here in library-land. I made a GLBT display for the front entryway that has gone seemingly unnoticed [which is good in my community] but the books are disappearing. Let me know if you'd like a copy of my Lambda Awards flyer. Also saw my first patron looking at really raunchy porn yesterday. We have a "be cool" policy which means you're free to look at pretty much whatever you want, but if other patrons complain, we may ask you to work towards wrapping it up. I find that while I'm pretty anti-filtering, and even pro-porn, I was a little embarassed sitting near this guy while at the reference desk and seeing people see what he was looking at, look at me to see if I saw, see that I saw, and then wait for the inevitable beatdown they expected me to give the patron, a beatdown that never came. If they had bothered to talk to me about it, we could have had a discussion about our Internet use policies and freedom to read etc. Instead, at least once, I felt like I got that look that said "We all know what you're supposed to do now, right?" and that assumption, the assumption that we all think the same way, and all have the same standards of morality and the same values, is one that I'd like to work my way towards overcoming, for me and my patrons, even if it means looking at raunchy porn while I work
13Jun04librarian needed to throw out collection
Librarian needed for the Summer at the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts. Your responsibilities? To purge the film library
according to a correspondent, the hospital designation "film librarian" bears little or no resemblance to the actual librarian positions we know and love, except perhaps for the low pay. And not to be confused with this fine web site: film librarian
Not a USAPA story but close to it, a real world example of cops coming to a library
to try to obtain patron information and the library saying "no." [thanks jonathan]
Vatican library says that if they keep cataloging at this rate, they'll be done in 350 years or so, maybe "only" 40 to get just an outline of the collection. Read about some of the hassles involved in cataloging for the Vatican Library
Proverbio pulls out a small, notebook-sized Turkish manuscript containing economic data about the Ottoman Empire in the mid 1600s.It's missing the first eight pages and the last few pages. There's no author listed, date or index. Yet it's full of nuggets of information that might be of interest to scholars - so much so that Proverbio has produced 10 pages of catalogue information and he's only halfway through. How long has it taken? "Two months, I'm ashamed to say," he says. [thanks jude]
11Jun04today's assignment ALA + Walgreens = true love always? no.
10Jun04hi - 10jun
Hi. I decided not to go to ALA in Orlando today. I'm conflicted about this, but after looking at my workload at work and at home, talking to some more friends, and planning out all the travel, it just seemed like a lot of travel, air-time and couch-surfing in FLA for two Council meetings and one short post-conference talk. I changed my flights and now I'm only going to a wedding that weekend in Chicago. Contributing factors to this decision were:
- lack of funding from work - with the exception of four hours professional leave and a gracious shifting of hours enabling me to attend at all this was going to be all on my own dime and it wasn't going to be cheap.
- lack of low-cost accomodations in Orlando - I had two roomshares and was seeking one more but unlike Toronto there are fewer hostels and other cheapie places a public transpo ride away. Schlepping your laptop-laden backpack around through 90 percent humidity is hell on earth.
- airline vagaries - because of flight schedules I was going to get to Orlando Monday night and have to leave Thursday afternoon which means I missed most of the stuff I wanted to attend in order to attend 2 out of 3 of the things I should attend.
- responsibility issues - it was becoming clear to me that going through insane hassles to get to Council meetings was not what "You should go to all Council meetings" strictly means. People expect other people to be reasonable, I'm just unreasonable with myself sometimes.
So, since I'm an At-Large Councilor to at least some of you, I wanted to explain and somewhat apologize. All friends have been put on notice that there are to be no more weddings during my very important meetings. I will not only be in Boston during Midwinter, I live a few hours north of there, so please send all travel inquiries my way, or plan a side trip to my house in Vermont afterwards.
"Self described library activist" says F-word to a librarian
, gets banned from the library. Interestingly, I know that guy, he used to do his library activism in Seattle and would chat me up when I was teaching computer classes. [thanks tom]
My boyfriend started his summer internship for Senator Jeffords on Monday and gets a day off on Friday thanks to the Ronald Reagan hoopla. Here is an at-a-glance portrait of the Reagan library
where Reagan will be buried tomorrow. [lisnews]
Speaking of the overlap between cemeteries and libraries, check out the UNT "cybercemetery
" whose mission is "to provide permanent public access to the electronic Web sites and publications of defunct U.S. government agencies and commissions." [like maybe this one
9Jun04"are you sure you're using that citation properly...?"
Gary Price honored
for "his unflagging and selfless 24/7 work in keeping the news librarians themselves up to date" [stuff]
Past ALA President Nancy Kranich has authored a document for the Free Expression Policy Project about the information commons movement
. Well worth reading, though I'm sure the word "sex" in the URL will get it banned at any library using filtering software.
" the public's right to know is to be protected in today's world, citizens must have optimal opportunities to acquire and exchange information. The stakes are high, for as the Supreme Court noted years ago, American democracy requires 'the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources.'" [sethf]
8Jun04hi - 08jun
Hi. I've been updating my links page, removing links about books, adding links about blogs. It's still far from comprehensive [maybe I can get my RSS feed linked in there too] but it's neat to see people getting their own domains over time, and amazing to see old time blog-style sites like What's Gnu still at it.
Anyone gotten a blog from the folks at library-blogs.net
yet? I just now noticed this page but without setting up a blog myself, I can't really tell much about it.
A little bit of follow up
on that reality TLC show where the librarian
got a job at the Coyote Ugly bar.
I still plan to audition for a job at the new Coyote Ugly in San Antonio. I think it would be fun to work there part time and in a library part time.
7Jun04AFPL watch, now out of a job?
Now that Atlanta-Fulton Public Library system is getting a new director and a significantly smaller board
will the AFPL Watch
site shut down
? The AFPL site, if you haven't read it, is a scathing and sometimes amusing indictment of one clearly dysfunctional library system, board and director written by "concerned citizens" and anonymous AFPL staff. How much of your own library do you see in it?
I'll be happy as hell when feeds that move have some way of automagically updating themselves in my aggregator if the blogs themselves post some little widget. For now, link propogation will have to do. Karen's Free Range Librarian now has its own URL
6Jun04hi - 06jun
Hi. I'm messing with spam filters this week. In order to staunch the tide of junk email to bogus librarian.net addresses, I'll only be accepting mail via the mailto form, or email at the domain-name-that-is-the-same-as-my-first name. Any mail going to firstname.lastname@example.org will go to /dev/null. I'm a bit sad, I liked the cutsienamehere game but until I get tougher spam filters for this account, I'll be playing it safe.
Georgia Public Library System decided to go with a homegrown open-source system
for their library automation needs. I'm going to be really
interested to see how much this solution costs the library over time, compared to a more traditional OPAC. My guess is it will cost less, both in vendor costs and also less lost staff time installing and fighting with new upgrades, featuritis and bad support. [teknobib]
. Really? Yes. As textbook prices
skyrocket and filesharing becomes ubiquitous, it's not super-surprising that tech-savvy students are finding places to download the items on their reading lists. [lisnews]
While I was on a trip to Northern Vermont this weekend I visited the H. F. Brigham Free Library
an adorable little one-room library with a budget of 14K, two Internet-enabled computers and a new hyper librarian who was determined to get the place hopping.
Red Sox player Johnny Damon shaves off
to raise $15K for unspecified Boston Public Library reading and tutoring programs.
You know you are dating a librarian when...
And speaking of Orlando, I'll be staying late this year so I can speak at the Counterpoise post-conference
[well worth the price of admission] and am looking to share accomodations on Wednesday night June 30th. I'm cheap but tidy. Anyone staying late or living nearby please le tme know.
Please consider running for ALA Council
and keeping me company during long council meetings. As a bonus perk, if you were already a Councilor, you'd have free wireless
at Orlando this year.
4Jun04hi - 04jun
Hi. Changed a few little things here. If it breaks your browser or RSS reader for some reason, please let me know. I've been invited to speak at a Health Sciences Library Association meeting in December on a topic along the lines of the talk I gave a few weeks back. Would still love to hear any stories of librarians that have had to deal with HIPAA for any reason.
Due to a weekend wedding, I'm going to have to miss Richard Clarke
speak at ALA. I will also, sadly, miss the Disney protest
. won't get there until Monday. Even though he's technically on "our side" he supports the PATRIOT Act
and is not one of the top 1000 people I think of when I hear the word "libraries." On the other hand, I'm not sure who I would
pick. TechnoBiblio wants to know who you would pick
French-speaking library enthusiasts will enjoy the blog, everyone willl love the URL: BiblioAcid
The Moon Book Club gets foreign language books
to Hawai'i's libraries. Meanwhile, the Hawai'ian library system has 108 staff vacancies
The library, beset by a critical staffing shortage and other needs, has an annual budget of only $35,000 for buying books in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Filipino and Vietnamese.... the principal difficulty in expanding the collection is cataloging, especially the Asian titles written in characters that must be romanized for the database. They also must be categorized correctly, and it's sometimes hard to find resources to help librarians do that. [thanks brandon]
Whiel I am sad that Bloodhag lives too far away to come to my library, I am happy that other libraries are jumping on the loud music band bandwagon
. [thanks mac]
As you've seen me write a zillion times, I pretty much don't review web sites or web apps that aren't library specific, but I helped a patron use this one in my library yesterday and it's worth people knowing about. IP-relay.com
is a web site put out by MCI that allows deaf and hearing impaired people a web interface to gain access to a relay operator
. They type into a chat-like java applet and a specially trained operator then speaks what they type over the phone to whomever they call. There is an extra cool feature
where using a video phone people can converse using sign language. A patron can sign to a video phone [for many deaf people this is their first language and English is second] and a relay operator will translate their signs into spoken English. For more information on deaf telecommunication hurdles in the US, I recommend reading A Phone of Our Own: The Deaf Insurrection Against Ma Bell
by Harry Lang.