Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buttersafe: How Not to Use a Thesaurus

Oh, Buttersafe. You so crazy.

Smelling Books, Part 47

From the folks over at Green Apple Books, another note about my old semi-nemesis, "old book smell":

"Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us."

- From Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez's Perfumes: the guide.

Go check out the rest of the blog, too. It is a source of good things. Alex, you might enjoy Dog Ear. I really want to get my hands on Press Here, a kid's book that sounds pretty ingenious.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Partying at the Library

Three local libraries are experimenting with something new this summer: birthday parties for kids.

Price: $20 per kid, includes dynamic story time, one hour in one of the private rooms, a craft - four available themes: Digging for Dinos, Fun with Furry Friends, Under the Sea and Everything Princess.

How that compares to other paid party options:
  • Cosmic Adventures - $24.99 per kid for the standard 8-kid package, includes food and cake
  • Movie Theatre - $17 per kid assuming 8 kids, movie, snacks, party room for 1 hour (no cake)
  • Ray's Reptiles - $23.33 per person (that applies to adults as well), 45 minutes in zoo with feeding demonstrations, 45 minutes in party room - pizza, cake, drinks, zoo themed loot bags for the kids, 1 Ray's Reptiles t-shirt for the birthday kid for the all inclusive birthday deal
Pretty decent and competitive, but competitive enough? I'm really curious as to how well this works out.

Maybe you want links to the other party options. You aren't getting them! I have to support the library above all else! You can use Google.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


The easiest way to explain ilibcause is probably to just read what's on the 'About' page:

About #ilibcause
#ilibcause - why are you a librarian?

It occurred to me that some of the best conversations I’ve had lately revolve around the question - why are you a librarian?

I thought it would be fun to collect these stories in a central place so that we’d have a snapshot of all the different reasons people join the information science profession but more importantly, why we’ve stayed in libraries.

I’m collecting anecdotes from Twitter (tweet with hash tag #ilibcause), via email (ilibcause@gmail.com) and via a submission form on the website ilibcause.com/submit.

Your answer(s) can be short, long, serious, cheeky (“I look good in pencil skirts”) and anonymous! I’m using Tumblr as the platform, so you can upload videos, photos, chat logs, text, quotes, etc.

My hope is that doing this exercise will accomplish a few things: connect us as a profession, show us ways that we can redefine our image, and perhaps even help recruit new talent into the field.

The forum is open to current library science students and faculty, library paraprofessionals, catalogers, systems folk, and even traditional reference librarians! I am hoping to have representation from all library sectors so be sure to pass this along to anyone you know.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to reading your submission!

So lazy of me! Less lazy of me: trying to figure out what my answer to this question is. It took me a while to decide on a career to pursue. (My backup plan is actually welding; I've taken some courses but the brutal apprenticeship, carcinogens, noise, and general danger have made me shy away.)

I have yet to come up with a solid answer. Mostly, it's little things, some of which seem pretty common:
  • I have always loved reading and the comfort/solace it provides
  • I love books
  • I love helping people - I don't think I'd make it as a full-time teacher, but it makes me very happy to help someone learn something
  • I want to know everything about almost everything
  • I have always liked librarians
  • I like how libraries are adapting and changing and the prevalence of technology suits my skill set
  • I love the stereotypical librarian look (how shallow, but true)
  • The world of communication nowadays is exciting and astonishing - I still geek out over how awesome the internet can be
  • I like putting things in order so that they're easier to use/more organized/can help other people

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Windsor-Essex Librarian Layoff

This is pretty awful: the Catholic School Board system in Windsor has decided to lay off most of their librarians despite heated protest.

The decision was explained last month as a way to address an $8 million to $10 million deficit caused by a forecasted enrolment drop of 800 to 1,000 students in the fall. Most parents and students only found out about it once librarians cleaned out their desks, some libraries were shut and elementary schools were emptied of books.

“What communication was there?” asked Brennan student Shaun Steven. “We are all desperate to tell you how much we need the libraries and librarians, so why weren’t we asked?”

The decision ignores the needs of students in favour of buzzwords like “21st century learning,” he said. “Regardless of what century we’re in, a school needs a library.”

Parent Diane Westenberg accused the board of showing a blatant disregard for parents and students. She and other speakers urged trustees to cut administration costs instead.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library

A very cool library being built at the University of Chicago.

The robotic arms sound great. I hope they're easy to maintain and they have a lot of backup power. I also hope all that glass doesn't make the library into an oven on sunny days.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How Much Can a Professional Degree Teach?

Via Closed Stacks, how much can a professional degree teach?

The biggest complaint lobbed at the MLIS by myself and others is that it’s too theory-driven, too abstract, it doesn’t actually teach us how to do what we will do as librarians. You graduate, having read a bajillion articles about privacy, building a balanced collection or library 2.0; but if you haven’t worked in a library, that first day on the job can be a shocking experience.

I'm still happy with choosing a college library tech program after my first year of classes. From what I've heard talking to classmates about their summer job placements, our courses really are very practical and come in handy out in the real world (one person mentioning acquisitions specifically).

Monday, May 9, 2011

My First Dictionary

Today's loosely library related link is My First Dictionary, which makes me laugh because I am just that kind of person. It looks a lot like the simple dictionary I had as a kid which had illustrations demonstrating the meaning of words. The format is similar, but the content is not.

As you can see, the font on the images is pretty large, so maybe don't look at the site with someone looking over your shoulder who might be offended by terms like 'dead hookers'.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Anyone in New York Wanna Do Me a Favour?

The New York Public Library's 100th anniversary is coming up, so they're giving out a free book with pieces from '100 icons' from New York and around the world's favourite part of the NYPL's collection. It's just such a wonderful building, and while I don't care what Johnathan Franzen thinks (nor do I think he is an icon), I am curious as to what the Trinity Killer* has to say. You can read more about it on the library's website. Free is very affordable.

* John Lithgow is no longer the silly alien from 3rd Rock from the Sun. He is now the Trinity Killer in my mind.

If anyone looks at you funny for having this on your screen, just tell them the Trinity Killer kills... jam. Yes, jam.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Foot, Sad Foot

From From Salon: How a podiatrist sign became a literary icon.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's generation had its green light at the end of the dock in "The Great Gatsby," that symbol of unattainable dreams, and today's young literati have -- a podiatrist's sign?

The sign for the Sunset Foot Clinic on West Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles is known to some locals as a kind of fortuneteller. On one side is depicted a foot with a woeful face, a bandaged big toe and crutches, while the other side shows an ecstatic foot in gloves and sneakers giving the thumbs-up sign. (Yes, these feet have both arms and legs.) When the sign is working, it rotates, and several residents of the nearby Silver Lake and Echo Park neighborhoods believe that whichever side they see first indicates what sort of day awaits them. Others use the sign as a guide: If they see the Happy Foot, they get to do something fun, while the Sad Foot condemns them to an afternoon of chores.

Just kind of funny. Though thinking of The Great Gatsby and signs, I make an mental link to the blue and gigantic eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleberg and their yard-high retinas and of some mistake involving use of the word 'retinas' I read about when I was studying the book in high school, which was over a decade ago. I imagine I can be excused for my memory lapse. Fun fact.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Publisher's Postbag in Pictures

From guardian.co.uk:

During his 30-year career as a children's book publisher, Klaus Flugge received almost 100 beautifully illustrated envelopes by artists including Posy Simmonds, Tony Ross and Axel Scheffler. Here he introduces some of his favourites.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shelf Reader App

Snagged from librarian.net:

Very cool. I wonder how well it deals with the really freakishly similar long call numbers. I also wonder if one day I'm going to be carefully sticking little squares with the scanning IDs on book spines in the future. Hold on to your stomachs, the video has lots of shaky bits.

Not really on topic, save that it involves paper and paper is in books, which are in libraries: Simon Schubert is a German artist who uses paper as his medium. Just paper and folding. The results are pretty fantastic.