[link to it] 29Feb04what if Ben Franklin & Co had never existed?
An interesting way of indicating support for an upcoming levy. Asking: Can Public Libraries Ever Work?
I got my CD refund check in the mail yesterday. California's libraries will be getting 665,000 CDs as their share of the 5.6 million CDs being given to libraries and schools across the country. Jenny is donating hers to the EFF to help prevent further abuses like this in the future.
[link to it] 26Feb04hi - 26feb

Hi. I got my royalty check today. I thought I would break it down for everyone, since many of you shared in the book-making or book-buying experience. First off, we sold 563 books. Yay! Then 39 were returned. Boo! Total sold, that stayed sold: 524. Now, as you all know, the cover price is an astonishing $35. So, $35 x 524 books gets us $18,340. Then there's this black box where we convert this number to the "net proceeds" which is, as my letter helpfully tells me, is gross receipts minus refunds. The letter does not explain "gross receipts." The letter does say that the amount of money I get is not a percentage of the list price of my book, because of discounts and so forth. Net proceeds are $14,659, roughly 80% of the cover price. Katia and I get 10% of this. I get 50% of that. Beers are on me next time you guys are in town.

Placement stats from ALAs report on Midwinter. Jobs down almost 40%, job seekers up almost 40%.
"Jobs: 196 (The highest number, 31, was for general reference positions.) This compared to 318 jobs last year in New Orleans. Job-seekers: 293 (The highest number, 203, interested in reference positions.) This compared to 214 job-seekers in New Orleans." [thanks tj]
Squirrels in the library.
Our library's motto: If you cannot read while nuts are being cracked, help crack nuts.[thanks lis]
Miss Eli shares a Stanford University Libraries memo regarding strategies for trying to staunch the hemorrhaging serials budget.
"Libraries are encouraged to scrutinize the pricing of journals and to drop those where pricing decisions have made them disproportionately expensive compared to their educational and research value. Special attention should be paid to for-profit journals in general and to those published by Elsevier in particular."
Ebooks: Neither E nor Books, a discussion of Ebooks and copyright by Cory Doctorow.
"This isn't to say that copyright is bad, but that there's such a thing as good copyright and bad copyright, and that sometimes, too much good copyright is a bad thing. It's like chilis in soup: a little goes a long way, and too much spoils the broth."
[link to it] 25Feb04hi - 25feb

Hi. I am realizing I don't have categories for anything tech-y except computers. I also launched the library website yesterday and it went well except for one thing that was my fault that went horribly wrong that is now fixed [think custom 404 redirecting to a broken link... yep]. I am also adding a faq to librarian.net as a result of a good question-and-answer email I got regarding the NYTimes link I used to have. If you think there's a question that should be there, ask it. As for the questions that are there, they really are frequently asked.

If you are in Seattle for PLA [and I am jealous I cannot be with you] and looking for WiFi, read this from technobiblio outlining your options.
[link to it] 24Feb04bibliocide, perhaps. The Yongle Encyclopedia
What happened to the Yongle Encyclopedia? No one is quite sure, but they're still looking for the 22,000 volume set in China. [sjk]
Rachel Singer Gordon is working on a book about library management and is looking for library workers to take a very brief survey. [beyondjob]
George Poland Henderson, librarian, editor and publisher, RIP. [thanks bill]
Seems that Ashcrofts have been disrespecting librarians since way back when
It was Mother s Day, a Sunday, 1990, when I was called by my staff; who told me Mrs. Ashcroft wanted the Missouri State Library opened, recalls Monteria Hightower, who was then state librarian. Assuming the governor's wife wanted to show visitors around (and that I could make a pitch for new computers...), Hightower left her family at home and hurried to unlock the darkened library. She found Janet, outside in a car with a driver, accompanied only by a boy of 12. With astonishment, she heard Janet's reason for her Sunday appearance at the library: I want to find something on the Elizabethan era for my son s homework assignment. [thanks lis]
[link to it] 21Feb04earlham librarian is tops
People seem to be suprised when I tell them that Indiana -- parts of it anyhow -- are a hotbed for progressive and proactive librarianship. My sister went to Earlham college, home to Evan Farber, whose library director was just chosen as the top academic/research librarian of the year by ACRL. [thanks dsdlc]
I'm not sure how I managed to never see Library Issues before... last month's issue contains strategies for dealing with the PATRIOT Act.
You know, what sort of irks me about these "X for a Day" contests, like this one at Woman's Day magazine -- is the subtle implication that the job is really easy, you just have to be lucky enough to be able to get it. [thanks all]
Yale has a minority librarian in residence program to try to increase minority representation among Yale library staff. The information page also lists other academic institutions that have similar programs.
[link to it] 20Feb04hi - 20feb

Hi. Made it to Yale, went to the Sterling library and went to the Beineke where I was able to look at the Voynich Manuscript. Apparently it's so popular that unless you're a really serious scholar [which I clearly wasn't] they just have one of the librarians [thanks Stephen Jones!] bring it out and show you through it. I was happy to see it. Also tried to get my parking validated at New Haven Free Public Library, but they're closed Fridays.

[link to it] 19Feb04hi - 19feb

Hi. I'm on the road today heading to Mass. to see some family and then to Yale to see some Rebellious Lawyering and maybe get a peek at the Voynich Manuscript. Updates resume Sunday evening.

I'm in Boston now coming to you wirelessly from Boston Public Library, after paying my respects to Mother Goose. Anyone with Mass residency [or who is willing to fudge it] can get a library card and a PIN that will get you on their wireless network more easily than when Jenny was here in June. The delight in this network is that you can pick filtered or unfiltered access, right up front when you enter your card number and PIN. And unfiltered, as near as I can tell is still really unfiltered. The big bummer, besides the guy who said "wait ten minutes til your number is activated" then left my application on a pile and went home, is the lack of Mac instructions on the configuration web pages, and no print instructions anywhere in the library that I could find. It seems to me that the more we treat technology like some sort of appliance that people should know how to use just like plugging in a toaster, the less it deserves a place next to the encyclopedias in the reference section. The more we treat new technologies like an extra reference source and place to go to get answers, the more we should have people available to assist our patrons in learning to use it, and use it well.
[link to it] 18Feb04hi - 18feb

Hi. Does anyone but me feel that it is a bit facile to add high-scoring word qi and za to the Scrabble dictionary? Especially after they nixed all those slurs with the third edition.

The Sophist has a neat little profile on Liz Kellison, a content manager and all around good egg at WebJunction. [thanks lisa]
Oh hey, while you were watching the debates, the US and Australia were entering into a free trade agreement. What does this mean for libraries? Australians suddenly need to shell out a whole bunch more money [generally to businesses and media companies] to use intellectual property that was previously in the public domain.
"Dr Rimmer described the changes as a victory for corporate America over Australia's public interest, and contradicted the Intellectual Property Review Committee's recent finding there was no evidence to support a copyright extension. He said Project Guttenberg Australia, an online respository of public domain works, was likely to be among the first to suffer."
An oddly sweet story about... weeding.
Begin with Books, an innovative program for jail prisoners in Arapahoe County. [thanks john]
Sometimes patrons in a library don't think they need "help" per se but they could use some assistance finding a particularly well-hidden book. The Lipstick Librarian -- responding to an ongoing PUBLIB thread -- offers some suggestions.
[link to it] 17Feb04hi - 17feb

Hi. It's been a weekend of e-housecleaning here at librarian.net. Some updates: links are now in bold to facilitate useful scanning and differentiation. Search box now searches using Google, which I think is an improvement. Date-based archives are now linked down the lefthand side of all monthly archives. Category archives have both date and category links in them. Special bonus for all you non-RSS folks... category archive pages will show you the RSS titles I've been adding to all these posts.

I have often prided myself on having a weblog unsullied with "I want" links... That is all changing today. Please buy these card catalogs, some of which were used by me personally a decade ago. If you'd like to get one and hold on to it for me for a while, that would be fine too. [thanks bill]
[link to it] 16Feb04hi - 16feb

Hi. Someone wrote in response to my ALA-APA article that Vermont can't have much of a "staunch commitment to libraries" if it will pay its librarians $8/hour. And isn't this the rub, then? I know Vermont loves its libraries, and yet, I also know that in many cases Vermonters would love rooms filled with books and free Internet and no librarians if it would lower their taxes. I'm not sure if you can say that a desperately poor parent isn't committed to nutrition if they can't feed their kids better food. Can you always feed kids well for cheap? Can you always find the money to pay your librarians well? And, as is often the real choice: if you can't do both, what has to give?

At some level we as librarians have to be committed to our libraries as well. I firmly believe that this should be at a good - or at least equitable - pay rate. But would I take less to live in a place I loved, or with a person I loved? In a second. People used to try to get their foot in the door for good library work by working in libraries for free. My union forbids this sort of thing entirely. But Mary Jane Blackwell might not have turned out as the librarian she did if she had to wait for a paying job to come her way. Pay is important to our profession, but so is passion. [thanks beth]
I hate to see the USAPA debate as an Us vs. Them thing, especially considering where a lot of libraries get their funding from. However, if a patron asks "How private is my personal information?" I really don't know what to tell them. An editorial about this librarian bind.
I haven't yet seen the new copy of American Libraries but apparently there is an opinion column by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller explaining why he thinks we need to keep the USAPA available as a tool to use in libraries.
Speaking of American Libraries, wouldn't it be nice if American Libraries Online had a URL that wasn't ghastly? I guess that wasn't one of the URLs that got fixed. There is a shorter URL, but it's not shown anywhere on the site, or in the "cite this page" entry for the AL Online site, which is where I would expect to find it.
[link to it] 14Feb04hi - 14feb

Hi. Getting this website standards compliant is rougher than I thought. Thanks to everyone who gave me good feedback on the library website. It should be ready to go live next week. I just finished reading a prepub copy of yet another book-about-books, this one a rare book mystery called Codex written by Lev Grossman. I recommend it. Also, happy birthday Peter Scott!

So all this rare book reading and an impending trip to Yale has gotten me on a rare book kick of my own. First, Yale's Beineke has not only a lovely library but an impressive online photonegative database.
The Beineke holds the Voynich Manuscript, an illustrated mystery manuscript, written in no known text, which has remained undeciphered since it came to the attention of modern scholars early last century. It is "either an ingenious hoax or an unbreakable cipher". More links here, more images here.
And, to bring it full circle, Grossman wrote an article about the Voynich MS for Lingua Franca which, incidentally is out of business and all its old URLs point to the Chronicle of Higher Ed.
[link to it] 12Feb04accessibility basics for librarians
ALA's OITP is doing an email tutorial on accessibility basics for librarians. Free to ALA members. Does the page the announcement is on validate? Um, no. Is it accessible? Um, no. Is accessibility unattainable? No. Incidentally, librarian.net needs help as well, I'm not saying I'm occupying the moral high ground here. [technobib]
Speaking of accessibility, this is an aside to all you code jockeys. Mouseover OITP in the previous post. On most, if not all, current browsers, the full title for the acronym will show up as a tooltip, even in my aggregator. This can help make our sometimes inane sounding acronym soup more accessible to people who are not as familiar with the profession, and aids in Google's indexing of your page. Use the acronym tag. Easy code:
<acronym title="Office for Information Technology Policy">OITP</acronym>
NYPL has hired consultants. You may remember McKinsey & Co. as the people who advised cost-cutting at Disneyland
The McKinsey & Company consulting firm has been contracted to review all Library operations and make recommendations about how we can improve service delivery, both internally and externally in the context of the current economic realities.
LISCareer has a newish "articles by date" feature that makes it easier to say "hey, there's new articles up!" and have somethign to link to. I was immediately drawn to Michelle Millet's article called Libraries Have Cliques Too as someone who has recently started a new job at a library which has had very little turnover in the past decade.
My article for the ALA-APA newsletter "Rural Library Compensation, The Vermont Initiative " is available online. Check out the word GOPHER in that URL for the VT Dept of Libraries in the bibliography, sexy!.
[link to it] 11Feb04hi - 11feb

Hi. Fixed the about link from yesterday.

I have a pamphlet which is one of my favorite little bits of librariana called The Librarian's Cookbook [no, not this one]. It was published in the 70s and has a bunch of amusing recipes, mostly not intended for eating as much as explicating. And, of course, organized by DDC. Apparently there's another Librarian's Cookbook in the works, send in your favorite recipes. [lisnews]
Looks like they're dropping those subpoenas against the activists [and the library worker]. [infocommons]
[link to it] 10Feb04hi - 10feb

Hi. I updated the "about this page" page on the site. My journal page is now categories by the SmartFilter people as "personal" which would seem okay until you read the description "This category contains URLs that are generally created by two main groups: students and subscribers to dial-up Internet service providers. " I am, of course, neither. And, by logical extension, if all personal pages are blocked [and owners of filter software can theoretically decide to block or not block this category] then all we have left is Pepsi, Coke and McDonalds. And maybe the public library. Guh.

Of course, when you get peeved at the Seattle Public branch for closing its bathrooms, remember that truly awful things do sometimes happen in library restrooms. [thanks sophie]
One of my next writing goals is to try to get something into First Monday. Here is an excellent article from them: Potential legal challenges to the application of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in public libraries
Grinnell library assistant Chris Gaunt arrested in "bring troops back home" protest. She was involved in protests at the National Guard local HQ where several Midwestern activists were arrested and issued subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury. The local National Lawyers Guild chapter was also subpoenaed and asked for a membership list, among other things. [thanks all]
University of Hawai'i library suffers horrible budget cuts to their serials budgets. Apparently the serials budget is inflating at faster than teh rate of the cost of living, substantially. [thanks brandon]
[link to it] 9Feb04hi - 09feb

Hi. I may have actually gotten SmartFilter to remove my journal page from their control list. They had it listed, oddly, as "chat". I sent them a note and they say it will be off the control list tomorrow. Now I'll start the countdown to see how long it takes me to get N2H2 to not classifiy it as "pornography". If you have websites that you would like seen in, say, the libraries and schools of Georgia, you may want to check and see if they're blocked.

It's been a week or so since I started using the RSS reader, and del.icio.us. I have to say, I'm fond of NetNewsWire and I feel that I don't use del.icio.us nearly as much as I thought I would. The RSS reader has its drawbacks, mainly the fact that, like Capitalism or Communism, the whole system works better if everyone is on board. As long as I still have to hop on to the browser to read 1/2 the weblogs and other content I read, it's less useful. For delivery of straight-up news, it can't be beat. For any content I want to interact with [LISNews, blogs that I comment on] it encourages non-interaction and I've gone back to reading those web pages instead. As far as del.icio.us, I just don't want to go through the extra steps for what I need to use it for, which is organizing links to add here and send other places, temporary stuff. Usually, I just drag the browser icon to my "add me" folder. Now I have to go to a web page, enter comments, hit submit. I can handle the lack of metadata and honestly, most of the stuff I'm likely to link isn't really showing up a lot of other places. It's a great tool, just not for me.
The Feminist task force of SRRT has come out with their 2004 list of recommended feminist books for youth. [juice]
Seattle Public Library opened their new renovated Capitol Hill branch but no one is allowed to use the toilets because of excessive drug activity. Do you think you would be more outraged to find a needle in the bathroom, or to not be able to use the bathroom in the first place? [thanks hannah]
As the above episode illustrates, sometimes our profession can be guilty of a lack of creative thinking. Here is an interesting creative twist on all our PATRIOT Act activities: The Patriot Act Game. And, of course, it has its own web site. [thanks barbara]
[link to it] 6Feb04hi - 06feb

Hi. I have the day off today which means that I can stay home, mess with cars, watch it snow and not have to shake my fist at the weather. I have been working on the library web site for the past month and it's almost ready to go live. If anyone would like to take a peek at it and give me some feedback, I'd appreciate it. My goals are to have the site use all CSS for layout, be accessible to people with low vision or who use screen-readers, be standards compliant [I am still doing some retrofitting to make this work, like closing my [li] tags] and have stuff be easy to find. On the back end, I'll be running Movable Type on Lishost so it will have a series of templates and stylesheets that can be ignored as content is updated. Things I could not control includes the inclusion of images, the boxy logo and most of the content, which came with it. Here's the old site and the new site. My goal is to improve on the old site which was not terribly bad to begin with, but hard to update and maintain, and to make it one of the best public library web sites in the state of Vermont.

Fairfax County VA libraries are starting to use those little receipt-printers instead of the old ink stamps. We use it at my library and while I don't run the place, I must say I liked the ink stamps. I like knowing how popular or unpopular the book I was reading is. I like not having a piece of fresh paper to recycle or toss out. I like my book not seeming like a purchase, but like a loan. Of course, we've kept the pockets in the books, where else would you put the receipts?
Sometimes it's better to have no services at all than bad services. No services means hope for good service. Bad service means that all people do is talk about how much it will cost to fix what is broken, not, say, return service to the population. A sad tale involved with the Delhi Public Library's Braille Library.
Rachel Singer Gordon has written an excellent article for Library Journal about the "greying of the profession" hype we've all been hearing and how it doesn't necessariy turn into tons of jobs for younger librarians.
"How old will you be in 2019? Will you be watching for the "next next wave" of new librarians entering the profession then? Sitting around waiting is not only macabre, it's against the very spirit of librarianship, which recognizes the importance of the varied experiences and contributions of every member of the profession and of every piece of knowledge each of us possesses." [lisnews]
The New York Times -- and my favorite library professor Joe Janes -- tries valliantly to convince people that librarians still serve a purpose. This article interests me for a few reasons. Librarians still beat out Google in terms of being able to provide definitive, properly sourced, information. I also like Janes's description of librarians as being people who have a "plan B" when Google fails them. However I wonder if most of our patrons value this level of detail? If you need the name of the party Perot started do you really need to look through more than one page of Google results, as the Times somewhat snobbily implies most people don't? How many times do our patrons really just want to know what most people think the answer is, which is Google's strength, and not the One True Answer, which is ours. [thanks all]
Seattle's Big Beautiful Library is almost ready to open. Staff are getting a one week unpaid "week off" in march to avoid layoffs. Incidentally, SPL also has an amazing new [to me] website that's accessible too. [thanks bill]
[link to it] 4Feb04something you don't see every day in the world of library weblogs
SHUSH: a website for the conservative librarian.
Current stands that S* has taken include Pro-Patriot Act, Pro-CIPA, Anti-MLS/Pro-BS, and anti-privacy-of-minors.
[link to it] 3Feb04hi - 03feb

Hi. Let me know if the category links to the left are giving erratic results. On to the inbox....

This is great news, says Ryan [and me]. Though come on, how secret is it if it's in the Times?
Google has embarked on an ambitious secret effort known as Project Ocean, according to a person involved with the operation. With the cooperation of Stanford University, the company now plans to digitize the entire collection of the vast Stanford Library published before 1923, which is no longer limited by copyright restrictions.
Stanford, you might recall, made the press a few days back for withdrawing from ARL.
Searching for Stanford and ARL to try to get some more info on this story [a "shocker" says Library Journal] I came up with this nifty little document about applying Fair Use to the development of electronic reserves.
Technical services librarian Janet Rubenking wrote a useful column for PC Magazine about online databases, the type that would be connected to a library web site.[thanks carol]
I like kids. They are some of my favorite patrons. However, on school days, when the library is full of them, I like them less. Moreso when I feel like they've been dumped there and don't want to be there any more than I'd like them to be wandering bored in front of the refdesk. Apparently [and I pretty much knew this] this is not a phenomenon singular to our library. It's a social problem, and a bad one. [thanks all]
The University of Birmingham has this list of links for resources for the blind in the UK and internationally. [thanks eoin]
[link to it] 2Feb04hi - 02feb

Hi. I saw my shadow so there's ten more weeks of Winter. It is Vermont after all. Thanks to some nudging and helpful email from Hilary, I have categories up and running after a fashion. RSS readers you'll have to come to the site to see what I mean.

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