Sunday, August 14, 2016

Reflections on a flood event

It has been an interesting couple of days. I don't think I have ever been in the middle of a "national natural disaster" before. Yes, there have been the snow storms ... but nothing like this.

One's perspective of the disaster (from inside) is often shaped by where you physically are. Baton Rouge as a city, and East Baton Rouge as a parish, are physically very large...much larger than the communities of the north and northeast with which I am most familiar. The parish is 470 square miles.

Historically, as in much of South Louisiana, the older parts of the city/settlement are on the higher ground. It is true in New Orleans, it is true in Baton Rouge.

We had been getting pretty regular rain for the past couple weeks. Daily showers/thunderstorms with a half-inch of rain or so. Not drenching, most of the time, but sometimes there were some pretty strong, but short, downpours. Thursday night to Friday was different. It was hard, steady rain over an extended period of time. This meant that Friday morning, there was a lot of water around, even in the older parts of the city. There was ponding, and drains that simply could not handle the volume. That happens. But, it kept raining. And raining, and raining.

Just for the record, the weather almanac in the Sunday paper (the only print one I buy) says that we have had 20.76 inches of rain this month (normal is 2.51) and since January 1, we have had 64.95 inches (normal is 38.57).

As the intensity of the storm lessened, the older parts of the city drained. It was not bad near where I live, and in downtown. The further out parts, however were beginning to see the accumulated run off. That is the flooding (as I believe) that we are seeing now.

I drove through some of the more eastern parts of the city today. (For me, that is east of Airline Highway.) There were places that had some water yesterday, that now had a lot of water. The Florida bridge of the water by Sharp Road was not quite flooded over, but a couple miles further the road *was* closed from flooding. I drove through some neighborhoods, trying to get around, and was unsuccessful. What those neighborhoods had in common was age - or lack thereof. Most seemed to be built in the 70s or more recently. They were part of the urban sprawl. Big houses, with big lawns, with spaces between them, and often a median down the street with trees. Yet at the same time, some of the drainage ditches closer in, had barely more water than normal for this time of year.

Those are some random thoughts. I have spent time over the past few days keeping the library's LibGuide on disasters up to date. There have been challenges in finding information on the web sites where you would normally expect to find them (Red Cross shelters, for instance). Some of that will become work to be done after the dust settles (? is that a bad metaphor?).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

ALA Annual Conference - 2016

Here is my tentative schedule for ALA Annual in Orlando. Note that it is still tentative!

This year Annual is back in Orlando. I'll be driving down (with a day at the beach before and after, I hope). I will get to Orlando on Thursday (June 23). I'll be staying through the Inauguration on Tuesday, June 28.

If you are looking at this in May, you will have to page forward to June to see the schedule.

I have finally figured out how to make "Agenda" the default view! Clicking on any event will show details.

And do note the time zone note, I think I have fixed it to show the time zone that the conference is in (at last).

Monday, March 07, 2016

ALA Elections - 2016 version

It is getting to be that time again. ALA Election time.

The good news could be that I am not running for anything this year. I have enough to do already. In June/July I become the President of a division (ASCLA).

Every year I have a couple of colleagues who ask for advice on making selections from the very long list of candidates for ALA Council. It is a long list! One of my friends has taken the list of ALA candidates and created a searching tool so you can create your own list of parameters as you decide for whom to vote.

Here is the link to what Andromeda Yelton has created:

Play around with it. See how it works for you. I might create a list this year, but then again I might not. Back in 2009 (that was after I left), the ALA Executive Board  set some campaign guidelines. As an "officer" within ALA, I received an email with the following noted:

Appointed committee chairs, or members of committees may endorse candidates and may use ALA electronic discussion lists to express their support for an individual candidate or candidates for ALA offices, as long as they do not use their official titles or create the impression that they are speaking on behalf of an ALA committee or unit of ALA. Candidates can list endorsers by name, but not by ALA title or office. Executive Board members shall not endorse any candidate in any American Library Association election.
I need to ponder more.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Learning from Failure

Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert
One of the books on my list of titles read was Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. In the book is a section called "Hungry Ghosts" about failure.

A key sentence at the beginning of the section says: "...I have come to understand what part of me is suffering when I fail: It's just my ego."

Later she says: "Some version of that hunger dwells within all of us. We all have that lunatic presence, living deep within our guts, that refuses to ever be satisfied with anything. I have it, you have it, we all have it. My saving grace is this, though: I know that I am not only an ego; I am also a soul. And I know that my soul doesn't care a whit about reward or failure. ... "

I commend the whole book.

The web site for the book (the author's site) is:

Books Read 2015

Here is my list of the books I read during 2015. I read a total of 26 books during the year. Almost all were books which arrived as Advance Readers Copies. That has helped to broaden the choices of what I read. They will stay on the Currently Reading page for most of January.They are listed in reverse chronological order (i.e., the last book I read is at the top of the list).
    Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Life's Darkest Hours by Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis with Robin Gaby Fisher ARC
    Magna Carta: the Birth of Liberty by Dan Jones ARC
    Expatriates: A Novel by Janice Y.K. Lee ARC
    Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell ARC
    The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
    Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell ARC
    Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters ARC
    Seeds of Grace: A Nun's Reflections on the Spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous by Sister Molly Monahan
    The Rocks: A Novel by Peter Nichols ARC
    Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert ARC
    Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, in Brief (2nd edition) by Henry M. Robert III, Daniel H. Honeman, and Thomas J. Balch with the assistance of Daniel E. Seabold and Shmuel Gerber
    Church of Marvels: A Novel by Leslie Parry ARC
    The Gates of Evangeline: A Novel by Hester Young ARC
    X by Sue Grafton ARC
    The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley: A Novel by Jeremy Massey ARC
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
    So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson ARC
    Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now edited by Ann Imig ARC
    Stepdog: A Memoir by Mireya Navarro ARC
    Discontent and Its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London by Mohsin Hamid ARC
    Hall of Small Mammals: Stories by Thomas Pierce ARC
    The Girl on the Train: A novel by Paula Hawkins ARC My review
    Watch Me Go: A novel by Mark Wisniewski ARC
    If I Knew You Were Going to Be This Beautiful I Never Would Have Let You Go by Judy Chicurel ARC
    Living Abroad in Panama by Miriam Butterman
    Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister ARC