how to be so-called famous

Karen Schneider has a great post that is just now crossing my radar because I’ve been ignoring my RSS feed for a while and spending more time cooking. It’s called How To Be Famous and there are two things I like about it a great deal.

First, when I scanned it the first time I was like “Oh this was great but she forgot…” and then on a second read I realized she didn’t forget a thing, at least as I see things. Second, she wrote this list so I don’t have to. People in libraryland ask me what I do or did to travel and speak like I do — less than most but more than many others — and I let them in on my little pair of secrets which is 1) you have to want to do it to be able to do it, which already rules out a ton of people with other obligations or who just hate travel, public speaking or, frankly, other people. 2) I can manage to do what I do because I live a very small and simple life in rural Vermont with no pets or children and only a few peaked looking houseplants. The town rolls up the sidewalks at eight and most evenings I noodle away working. I am lucky to have a job, or a few jobs, that are flexible enough to allow me to travel and I’m equally fortunate to actually enjoy schlepping around and meeting other people.

The most important things I would point to on Karen’s list are these. The importance of taking care of yourself or as she says “pace yourself.” Not only are you no good to anyone if you haven’t gotten enough sleep or down-time, but being continually on-the-road exhausted is a lifestyle problem at some level. If you’re a brain surgeon, this may not be true. If you’re a librarian, it definitely is. Also, I believe strongly in helping up-and-comers and mentoring people newer to the profession or even people just considering the profession. People were there to answer my million questions when I was an early WLA and ALA member, I figure I can do the same for early bloggers and facebookers and whoever. Time and effort you invest in other people, for the most part, is time and effort well-invested.

The well-rounded librarian

I sometimes feel that people look at me and my laptop and my typa-typa routine and think I don’t have another life outside of computers. This can be the good news — when they need a computer expert, I’m there — but also the bad news because my life is deeper than just computers and libraries. In fact, I’m certain that’s true for all of us.

Just recently I was delighted to read Karen Schneider’s piece that was in Nerve. I heard about it on Twitter, but she also talks about it on her own blog. It’s called Range of Desire and it’s about guns and sex. It’s great. If you like Karen’s bloggish writings you’ll love it when she’s less (or differently) constrained by form and gets to tell a long story. Karen used to be in the Air Force; it’s part of who she is. Similarly the librarian I worked with today is married to a farmer and I saw her carrying around a bag of maple syrup containers. For my own part, I have a sculpture/welding background back before library school, and a huge coin collection in the attic.

One of the things I like so much about meeting other librarians online or elsewhere is a chance to get to see a bunch of other parts of them, not just their “work faces.” I think it helps the whole reference and information exchange if our patrons see us as people first and librarians second, or maybe they just see us as librarians and people at about the same time.

A few things that didn’t make it to the carnival…

There was so much good stuff in the Carnival yesterday, that I didn’t append some of my favorite links from the week, but here they are.

– Two links about Google Books. One is Scott Boren’s long piece on LISNews about full txt serching in books. What you can search and how you can search it. Great well-researched piece. The second is Julia Tryon’s contribution to FreeGovInfo concerning the amount of government information available via Google Books. Google provides no statistics. This will be part of an ongoing project she’ll be working on there, stay tuned.

When looking at the search results in Google for publisher field has GPO, I found 141,600 items, only 82,487 of which were available in the full view. And although it is nice to think that we have the full text for 82,487 documents, not all of them can be used. I randomly picked a title to see how it looked and chose the Statistical Abstract for 1954. The pages were clear enough to read easily but on every even numbered page part of the right hand column was chopped off.

– Also from FreeGovInfo comes this analysis of Google Video’s closing and what happened to all those DRMed video files that people supposedly “purchased” Please read Part I: DRM Killed the Files and also Part II: Why the Google Video story should scare you.

– Karen Schneider has been writing some great stuff lately. It’s been fun to see her getting into what I see as the more technical side of librarianing because her explanations of techie stuff are clear and free of nonsense while still being readable and engaging. Her article in Library Journal Lots of Librarians Can Keep Stuff Safe about LOCKSS and Portico really helped me understand the fairly complicated world of e-journal archiving.

– Bryan Herzog’s always-excellent blog has pulled some Reader’s Advisory suggestions off of ME-LIBS the Maine Librarie dicussion list and added his own commentary. Brian also made a custom book review search using Google’s custom search function. Very very nice. I’d love to see someone toss together a page of Google Custom Searches that were useful to librarians. Has anyone done this? I’ve already made a Custom Ego Search but that’s not the same thing.

Despite my Very Large Skepticism of Google in general, the tool itself is very easy to set up and is potentially extremely useful (especially for librarians). Basically, it lets you limit searching to a select group of websites – in this case, book review websites

changes in the blogosphere

Sarah, the Librarian in Black, has a new job. Karen, the Free Range Librarian, is dealing with some funding challenges at her place of work and has stepped down from ALA Council so that she can focus on work and life stuff. This has sparked more interesting discussion about the value of ALA versus peoples’ ability to substantively participate if they have limited time or financial resources. Michael from Tame the Web is condo shopping outside of Chicago, and I’ve been looking into some interesting job options for when the tech mentoring stuff wraps up in September.