Friday, December 31, 2010

New Librarian Blogs to Watch in 2011

From LISNews: Tell Us About Your Favourite New Librarian Blogs.

I can only assume my lack of inclusion on this list is due to this blog not being new. Or the fact that I am not a full-fledged library tech. That's okay. That's fine, it is, my feelings aren't hurt. Much.

I kid.

In any case, welcome to any new readers or pokers or peerers from 2010. Keep reading in 2011, bookmark, tell your friends, and be sure to check out the blogs suggested above, too.

Library Under Fire for Black Ops Tournament

Via LISNews and from The Escapist: California Library Under Fire For Black Ops Tournament.

According to the Sacramento Bee, The Sacramento Public Library is planning to host a Call of Duty: Black Ops tournament as part of its humorously named "Nerd Fest." Even though the library will only allow those 17 and older to play, the tournament is still attracting the ire of activists that likely have nothing better to do than rail on videogame violence... again.

"If they come in there for video game violence, are they ever going to go in there for books?" community television talk show host Jeanie Keltner asked. She, the Sacramento chapter of Veterans for Peace, and other activists are reportedly calling on the Sacramento Public Library to cancel this and any future Black Ops events.

A side note: if you are at all interested in video games or fast-talking Australian guys, The Escapist is also home to Zero Punctuation, game reviews provided by a sarcastic, cussing, fast-talking Australian guy.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

From LISNews: Computers in the Library - Stamp Them Out!

Via LISNews, in full, but here is a link anyway:

Computers In Libraries: Stamp Them Out!
December 13, 2010 - 1:04pm — Blake
"It should be stamped out '...the computer is not for library use; that all the promises offered in its name are completely fraudulent; and that not only is it extremely expensive compared to other methods at this time, but that it will become increasingly expensive in the future; that it has been wrapped so completely in an aura of unreason that fine intelligences are completely uprooted when talking about it; that its use in a library weakens the library as a whole by draining off large sums of money for a small return; and that it should be stamped out."

–Ellsworth Mason, "Along the Academic Way," LJ, May 15, 1971"
(See Also:'The great gas bubble prick't; or, Computers revealed' by a Gentleman of Quality [Ellsworth Mason] in College and Research Libraries, 32 (May 1971): 183-196.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shelving in Sims 3

I just realized that when I play The Sims 3 I organize their books into different bookcases based on content: skill books, fishing books, recipes, kid and pregnancy books, and general reads. And when they're all asleep I go over their shelves and reshelve if necessary.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chocolate Library a No-No

So apparently it's illegal to refer to something as a library if it is not, in fact, a library, such as a chocolate shop.

Around Thanksgiving, a fastidious little artisanal chocolate shop called The Chocolate Library opened in the East Village. We know what you're thinking—won't little schoolchildren get confused and wander in there to borrow a copy of My Pet Goat, only to emerge all jacked up on sugar? The State Education Department’s division of library development was thinking the same thing, and bureaucrats quickly swung into action to choc-block the shop!

The other day I had a chocolate lunch. It was a bad idea. A delicious bad idea.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fake Film: The Library

I'd watch it!

The Library from openiris on Vimeo.


Digital Pagination

One of the problems I have with ebooks is the lack of page numbers. (Kudos to PDFs there.) The notion of introducing pagination to digital documents intrigues me a little.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thank You Notes

When I was little, my mother insisted we write thank-you notes after Christmas and birthdays. My brother and sister and I hated doing it, but we did it anyway. I can't remember when we were 'allowed' to stop, but my brother and I did so. Maybe my sister did for a while, but she took it up again. She even went so far as to write thank-you notes from her baby daughter for gifts we gave her, which were hilarious and which I kept. I started thinking that it was sweet of her to do this and wondering if maybe I should take up writing thank-you notes again.

A lawyer named John Kralik decided to write more thank-you notes; one each day. He wrote a book about it called 365 Thank-Yous. Included in the article is a list of thank-you note writing tips. I think I should read this book; it's about time I got back to thanking people via real notes.

After the holidays, it's easy to view thank you note writing as a chore, but Kralik says that sincerity is the best approach — he encourages people to focus on one true, meaningful sentence about the gift or the person. The notes don't have to be long, Kralik explains; sometimes limiting yourself to just a few sentences forces you to distill your sentiments.

A long time ago I went through a very difficult period in my life; I suffered from clinical depression. (I still do. I'm just very well medicated now.) The importance of lots of little things hit me: the small things people do that are thoughtful and kind. Things I should be grateful for. We take a lot of things for granted, including people. When it was hard for me to feel cared for or worth caring for, I decided to try to make sure people who were kind to me or provided some kind of service to me were thanked. I figured maybe if I took a few seconds to be thoughtful, maybe I could make someone's day a little better or at least more tolerable. Little things like that wound up making a big difference to me when I was miserable.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Saddam Hussein Had a Koran Written In His Own Blood

From Huffington Post: Saddam Hussein had a Koran written in his own blood. Whiskey, tango, foxtrot. WTF.

Being born in 1980, Saddam Hussein was like a kind of childhood boogeyman for me, the way I imagine Osame Bin Laden is for younger folks. A boogeyman that was real* and while this news doesn't surprise me it creeps me right the heck out. Good riddance, you crazy mofo*.

* Bin Laden: also real.
** Pardon the language.

Twelve Theses on Libraries and Librarians

From Faith and Theology via LISNews: Twelve Theses on Libraries and Librarians. Worth a read. A couple of things jumped out at me:

When you think of librarians, you may imagine those bespectacled mild-mannered characters with their index cards and carbon paper and obsolete black-and-green computer screens. Librarians often contrive for themselves this Luddite image. But they are in truth the most progressive and visionary figures in the whole university: like bloodhounds, always hot on the trail of the future. Their demure appearance is a cunning disguise which allows them to perpetrate their radicalism all the more effectively. It is a camouflage net thrown over an armoured vehicle.

I'm all for looking like the stereotype. It's probably helpful for library patrons to be able to identify a librarian by sight. That and it's a stereotype for a reason - 'the girl with brown hair and glasses' describes quite a few people in my program at college. I myself am a brunette with glasses, a fondness of cardigans, and pearl earrings.

Myers pours on the flattery, too, describing librarians as 'the most progressive and visionary figures in the whole university'. Really? All of them? Huh. While I am very much for librarians and how awesome they are, sometimes I kind of roll my eyes when they're described as visionaries and guardians of knowledge. I also roll my eyes at the phrase 'information wants to be free'. No, it doesn't. It doesn't want anything. But anyway...

The library is also the safest and friendliest place on earth.

Maybe an academic library? But a public library is open to the public. The public includes violent, crazy, and violent and crazy people.

Look at me and my pooh-poohing. I did like the article, though, especially:

I know a woman who worked as a librarian back in the 1960s, when the novels of D. H. Lawrence were still banned in Australia. The library’s Lawrence holdings were kept in a locked filing cabinet, and my friend – a young woman then – was responsible for the key. So one by one she secreted them away; during her lunch breaks you could find her smoking cigarettes and reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover beneath the shade of wattles and the hum of bees. The moral of the story: the librarian is a sly animal; and if you're nice to them, you might one day get a glimpse of those treasures that lie hid in every library, away from dust and prying eyes, secured by lock and key.

You don't need to yell about how much of a noble visionary gatekeeper you are; that just makes it more difficult for the quiet, necessary subversion. Or at least don't be obnoxious about it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LISNews: Ten Stories That Shaped 2010

Back in 2009, LISNews posted their list of the ten stories that shaped that year and this blog covered at least half of them! When it was only three months old!

LISNews has posted their list for 2010, which includes:

  1. YouTube Sensations
  2. Libraries and DVDs and Netflix, Oh My
  3. Piracy Crackdown
  4. Under New Management
  5. Gizmo of the Year: iPad
  6. I For One Welcome Our New Media Overlords
  7. Web 2.0 Fatigue
  8. Sign of the Times: Libraries = Offices for Unemployed
  9. Google eBookstore Opens
  10. Wikileaks Freakout
While I did not bother posting about the Old Spice Guy bit, I did have a mock version. I also had Gordon Pinsent reads Bieber, which wasn't a sensation but should have been. I will count that as one.

I didn't bother with the story about DVDs and Netflix, mostly because we didn't even have Netflix in Canada until recently. Nothing about the specific piracy concerns mentioned in LISNews, but a bit aboutWarner getting sued for Antipiracy Piracy as well as Confessions of a Book Pirate. Something about calling for new privacy laws as well. Maybe point five?

Outsourcing libraries! That's a solid one!

I made fun of iPads but failed to report on how libraries were using them. Point five. New media, case covered, one point. Web fatigue? The last time I mentioned it was in 2009 in a disparaging manner. I still think there's too much arm-flappy wailing, so no point there.

While I mentioned libraries being important for the unemployed and their job searches in at least one college essay, I failed to mention it here as far as I know - that's another zero. I talk about Google so often I have a 'google again' tag. Believe it or not, I actively try not to constantly blog about Google, so I did not mention this topic. Zero! One mention of WikiLeaks, but nothing on the freakout. No point there.

The total is... 4. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Steve Donoghue's Worst Fiction of 2010

Steve Donoghue did not like these books. Pretty brutal!

Crace has always thought it acceptable to waste the readers’ time (and money) with pointless, meandering digressions on any little subject that happens to be fascinating him at the moment he sat down to his computer. As a result, his stack of tellingly slender novels are as stinky and insubstantial as a rack of farts. This novel, like his previous two, doesn’t even bother to conclude – it just appears, offends, and vaguely dissipates.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chuck & Beans: Life Before Google

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Amazon Reviews

It's kind of on topic, and it's funny: sometimes Amazon reviews are hilarious. Not mentioned but still my favourite: Three Wolf Moon shirt.

This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that's when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called mehth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him.

I arrived at Wal-mart, mounted my courtesy-scooter (walking is such a drag!) sitting side saddle so that my wolves would show. While I was browsing tube socks, I could hear aroused asthmatic breathing behind me. I turned around to see a slightly sweaty dream in sweatpants and flip-flops standing there. She told me she liked the wolves on my shirt, I told her I wanted to howl at her moon. She offered me a swig from her mountain dew, and I drove my scooter, with her shuffling along side out the door and into the rest of our lives. Thank you wolf shirt.

Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the 'guns'), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark.

And so many more.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The End of the First Semester and Illiterate Babies

Rejoice and make merry, for I am done my first semester of college. One down, three to go and then a library technician diploma will be mine. There's catching up to do, however, so it's time for backdated posting. I can pretend I was here all along!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nap Time!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grover In the Library

I stole this from a student presentation in one of my classes:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sir Patrick Stewart Geeks Out About the Internet

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let's Hope

Snitched from a lovely classmate:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seniors and E-Readers

Who says older people don't like new technology?

An October poll of 3,000 U.S. book buyers by the trend-tracking company Bowker found that people over 55 were more likely to find “high benefit” in these e-reader factors: font size (61 percent vs. 45 percent for those under 55), portability (87 to 70 percent) and instant access to books (77 to 66 percent). That helps explain why 66 percent of those over 55 purchased an e-book last month, compared with 5.2 percent of those under 55.

Have baby boomers and seniors caught up with technology, or have the newer electronic devices, especially tablet-like e-readers, caught up with older consumers?

Yes, and yes.

I know what she means, but...

“Being able to read ‘one-handed’ under the covers,” Eighmey said, “is pure joy on Minnesota winter nights.”

Kenilworth Police Move Front Desk Into Library

A police front desk has been moved from the station to the library next door to save money.

On Monday February 28, the force is teaming up with Warwickshire County Council and Warwick District Council to provide the services currently available from the front desk enquiry office at Kenilworth police station, from the Warwickshire Direct facility next door.

There you will be able to report crime, anti-social behaviour incidents and place lost and found property enquiries.

Let's see you get belligerent about your late fees now, suckers!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Never Say Die

Snagged from Climbing the Stacks, Loretta Gharst explains why librarians will always be around even in a technological age.

Also of note on Climbing the Stacks: an account of things learned during the first year of working in the public library system.

Child Librarians

Well, sort of. Since their library assistant position was cut, elementary school kids are volunteering in their school's library to help the librarian by shelving books and doing other tasks. Adorable but kind of sad since the library's services are still cut back.

More On Keith Richards and Libraries

...but this time less awesome. He killed a rare orchid in the office of a library worker in the New York Public Library.

Brooklyn Law School Smut

Apparently Brooklyn Law School let Diesel, a clothing line, do a shoot in their library and they aren't happy with the results. Link NSFW (not safe for work).

Scott Cawelti On the Meaning of 'Elite'

Scott Cawelti on the meaning of the word elite and how it comes with a stigma.

Whenever you want something done well, you seek a member of the elite, meaning a specialist, a board-certified doctor, a recognized, experienced expert, someone who's practiced a craft or art beyond an apprenticeship.

If you don't believe in an elite, you're welcome to take your chances with the quacks, frauds, con artists and all-around amateurs who've learned the talk, but didn't finish, or even start, the walk. Good luck with that.

Sometimes it makes me think of 7331 hax0rs. Oh, internet. What have you done to vocabulary?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Something Wrong With Library Desk Design

Uploaded to with the note 'I think there might be a flaw in the design of our library desks...'

View comments here. I take no responsibility for whether you find them funny or not.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kids Are Like Ferrets

Friday, December 3, 2010

Overheard in the Library

Cheap Friday post!

Overheard in the Library: just a few little conversations preserved for posterity.

Twinky 1: I like totally use the Library all the time!
Twinky 2: Wow, you must read a lot.
Twinky 1: No… I just come here for the DVDs.

Some Great Book Suggestion Sites

Pilfered from my Reference class today, here are some great sites to go to for book suggestions:

Book Spot is a portal site with links to other sites based on genre.

All Readers has this crazy search function that goes by plot, main character, main adversary, setting, and style. You can also specify how much (percentage-wise) of the book you would like to be violence or feelings or a few other things. You can specify the gender of the main character and whether they have special powers or not, how smart they are, how much violence they use, and a whole host of other options. Seriously, if you just click a few times and play around you'll be amazed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Literary Tattoos

A piece in the Boston Phoenix about literary tattoos and an upcoming book about them. I like the idea but, like a regular tattoo, I have no idea what I love enough to etch on myself permanently. I assure you it's not Twilight.