Wednesday, December 22, 2010

End of the year links

It is the end of the calendar year, and I have personal plans to travel during the end of the year holidays. I will not be around, and for at least a week, will not even be checking my email or any other electronic device. Right about now, completely unplugged is sounding good!

So....here is a last batch of links that I found of interest:

First, tax forms...and the federal forms have not arrived here yet, I am wondering if the IRS held back printing some because of the possibility of changes (or no changes) to federal tax law. I find the ordering system initially simple, but more complex as time goes on. Brian Herzog (Swiss Army Librarian) made some comments under the clever title/quote: You May See an Increase in Patrons. Let me note here, the irony was not lost on me that the IRS announced that they were not sending forms only after the TFOP (Tax Forms Ordering Program) deadline for libraries (and others) to order forms for this next year. I expect to make numerous supplemental orders!

What every Library School Student should know

Back in November, a series of posts caught my eye...it was about what Library School students need to know.

Jill Hurst-Wahl's post is from the viewpoint of a faculty member. In addition to being up beat, she has a few key words of advice which I am excerpting here:

  • Your coursework won't teach you everything you need to know.
  • Every information professional you meet during your graduate program is a person who can connect you to a job.
  • Your reputation, CV/resume and portfolio matter.

She then followed up (in a different forum) with some comments and links to the other posts on which I will comment below.

Bobbi Newman gathered together a number of posts which address the topic under the title "Is She Crazy to Want to Work in Libraries?"

Her post was succeeded on Will Manley's blog with two posts:
“Any Advice for an Aspiring Librarian?”

“Do Grade Point Averages Make a Difference in the Hiring Process?”
I suggest that you read both, and the comments...

Finally, Roy Tenant added to Jill's post by noting several points that I am highlighting by pasting below:

  • No matter how close to graduation you are, your education has only just begun.
  • Although it might sound like work, constant learning is fun.
and in practical advice:
  • Find someone in the profession you admire, and offer to take them to lunch or drinks or dinner at a conference you are both attending.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writing/Blogging

As I pulled into the parking lot at work today my almost 3 year old car turned 98,000 miles exactly.

What does that have to do with writing and blogging?

I got to thinking about some of the work-related writing I have done over the years, and this blog as well. Back when I was first a library director, I had not yet begun the habit of writing monthly reports for my Board, but I did have to write for the Annual Report. It was not a difficult task, and only occurred once a year. But then, after almost a decade I changed jobs.

I became the Executive Director of the Southern Connecticut Library Council (SCLC), a multi-type, cooperative library organization with schools, academic, public, and "special" libraries as members. [SCLC no longer exists.] There were two parts to the writing. First was a monthly report to the board. That was not so difficult, and my audience was only a dozen or so. However the monthly newsletter was different. The Director's column was on the front, and we printed multiple copies to send to our 300+ members. It scared me at first. However, I soon got used to it.

It was interesting to find out what people reacted to. During that time I also served a year as the president of the Connecticut Library Association. For the newsletter I had to write a column also, and it had to be different than the SCLC one, since most of the SCLC members were also CLA members. That is where we loop back to the opening of this post about my car. In both of the columns I wrote that year, I included occasional persona snippets including about the car which I was then driving, and turned 100,000 miles. I told stories about driving and the car at the end of some of my columns (in both publications). I was amazed at how many people commented on those remarks.

It occurs to me, that the reason is that so many own a car that they can really identify with the situations I described. (BTW, I did talk about driving in earlier posts (in chronological order): July 2005, and again, June 2008, August 2008, March 2009, and August 2009.

Now, in thinking about the writing thing, it occurs to me that blogging has helped to channel what has become a need to write. It was stirred by my SCLC/CLA experience. What I did not note is that starting with the SCLC job, and continuing through my next two directorships, I instituted a monthly written directors report. In both of those cases, I wrote the initial part, and then compiled from the reports which I requested from each of my "direct reports."

Interestingly, I was recently catching up on links and blogs and found that Andy Woodworth also wrestled with the issue of "why do I write" in a recent post.

Unlike some colleagues, I am not a trained writer. [I am thinking in particular of Karen Schneider who has an MFA in writing.] And I would note that I am not even as talented a writer as Walt Crawford who often downplays his talent in this area. Here is a link to his "writing and blogging" category. In so many ways I am a hacker at this writing thing. I know that I am more unpolished as a blogger than I was as a column writer or even as a library director reporting. In all those cases I had editors and someone to review and make suggestions for editorial revisions. At the same time, for me, and many others, this is a great outlet.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The future (of libraries, of library services)

OK, so we had videos (Betamax then VHS), and then moved to DVDs. What will be the next technology? "Streaming" is what I had been told. Certainly that is the way folks like Netflix and Hulu are moving. This may be a way for libraries to deal with the "streaming" issue, or may be an interim step. I am not sure which. Flix on Stix

Mita Williams (New Jack Librarian) from Canada has a long and thoughtful post about the future of libraries. She called it The future of libraries is what we create in the present. She closes with the following, pithy statements:
When I talk about the future I really mean this afternoon.
When I talk about the present I really mean this morning.
Eric Hellman has a post called Lots of Markets, Lots of Business Models. In it he talks about the structure of the book publishing industry and starts off with this interesting analogy:

The book industry is a lot like the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union consisted of fifteen ethnically divergent states (soviets) stitched together by a highly centralized government model. When that government model weakened, it turned out that there was little holding the soviets together. The Soviet Union no longer exists.
He goes on from there to talk about the shift in book publishing from print to digital and compares the book industry with the music and film industries. It offers some interesting thoughts.

Happy Birthday Mevil Dui

Stephen Abram reminded me with his posting that today is the birthday of Melvil Dui (as he preferred to spell it). He had a long and interesting career. Some is posted on the OCLC web site (they sell the Dewey Decimal publications).

I also found the New York Times obituary, as well as his entry in Wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Links?

Cognitive authority. Is this the explanation for the reason that many young people today do not respect copyright and other "intellectual property" related issues? Rory Litwin points to an article which discusses this. He does not totally agree with the author, but does note that it is an important observation which deserves more discussion.

Library management and "moving on up."

- ALA-APA's Library Worklife article

- In the Library with a Lead Pipe has a thoughtful post

- Meredith Farkas on becoming management

-Jenica Rodgers on lessons learned as a manager and micromanagement

E-books, DRM, and Britain

- Andy Woodworth has a post on the current flap

- Closer to the source is a post from the British Bookseller web site

- And there is a reply from a British public librarian

- Thoughts from the LJ/SLJ virtual presentation by Emily Williams

- And Steven Harris on the same topic, cleverly titled "I got your ebook manifesto right here!"

Meredith again (this time in American Libraries) about the importance of reading the fine print of licenses.

There have been couple posts about anonymity on the web, in both blog posts and comments. Bobbi Newman has some interesting comments on pseudonyms.

And finally, one of my alma maters (my undergrad one) is now offering its alumni access to some of the Ebsco databases in a two year trial. I wonder how far this will spread? Is it because this is a private institution with a significant endowment? My other two alma maters are both state schools. It will be interesting to watch.

And adding two more items on anonymity:

First from In the Library with a Lead Pipe a long and thoughtful post about pseudonymity and anonymity. [It is interesting to read this while listening to a biography of Benjamin Franklin who wrote a great deal using both!]

Second is a snarky take from Salon.com which reflects what is happening on some news web sites with comments.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Norman Horrocks

Norman Horrocks died in mid October.

I am still devastated about Norman's death.

How often do you find me speechless, never mind that Janet Swan Hill is also speechless?

Norman was, in every sense of the word, a gentleman. He was a man who was incredibly gentle and nice. While I cannot claim to know him incredibly well, I never saw him say a really cross word, and never, even when chastising me, did he not have a gentle look of kindness in his eyes.

I am not sure that I can pinpoint when I first met Norman, but I heard of him at the beginning of my career as a librarian. Perhaps because Michael Gorman taught my "Intro to Librarianship" course and it was around the time that Norman when to Scarecrow Press.

I do know, that when I first was being oriented to ALA Council (back in the mid 1990s), my predecessor as the Connecticut Library Association Chapter Councilor talked about him.

Early on, I made my presence known on ALA Council. (I was the one who used the phrase "core values" on the floor of Council in a debate about a resolution on outsourcing in Hawai'i which resulted in two task forces, and finally a policy.)

Norman was most kind in offering comments about wording and the process suggested.

Jessamyn West (one of my Web/Library 2.0 heroes) posted a great reflection on the man.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Copyright (yes, more), outsourcing, and other links

Here are two more posts on the copyright/licensing/Netflix issue as covered by librarians on the web. First up is Kent Anderson who blogs at The Scholarly Kitchen which covers scholarly publishing. He notes that
While the purpose of the use may be nonprofit and educational, if the materials are entertaining movies, if they are watched or delivered in their entirety, and if the users no longer feel the need to rent or buy the movies, 3/4 of the criteria of fair use are unfulfilled. This creates huge exposure for universities, both from Netflix and from film companies.
Read the whole post which includes numerous links back to librarians on the issue.

Andy Woodworth, at Agnostic Maybe (a great title, I think), put his finger on the issue when he says "I believe that the actions of these libraries and librarians are a symptom of a larger issue for the profession: the coping (or non-coping) with the expansion of licensed content as part of the collection." He has a lot more to say, and there are some great comments.

The second topic burning up electrons among librarians is the issue of outsourcing. In this case the outsourcing of the management of public libraries. It is an issue which was hot in the late 1990s (pre-blogging), so I guess it is not a surprise to see it come up again.

On one of the discussion lists, Pat Schmann (ALA Past President and the Schuman in Neal-Scumann Publishing), sent a link to her article called: The selling of the public library: It's not just ‘outsourcing,’ it's privatization. The article appeared in Library Journal back in 1998. It is worth re-reading. (It is an eight[8] page PDF file.]

I picked up this post on the issue which is a long, and thoughtful post on the issue. There is much more in the PUBLIB archives.

I also ran across this post in another non-library blog.

Miscellaneous other links:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Copyright, copy-wrong and Netflix

First, from a month ago, some thoughts on copyright based on a composer's experience. I am not sure where I picked up this article which talks in general terms about the attitudes towards intellectual property and the rights of the creator. I was very much interested in hearing directly about a creator's experience. In this case a composer who had an online interaction (discussion is not just the right description) with someone who was giving away his creation.

As I reflect on this, I remember the whole issue with Napster and Kazaa. It is that experience that I am sure is reflected in some of the digital rights management software which is used with commercial audio and video.

Which then gets us to today and licensing and Netflix. (And may be related to libraries lending e-readers such as Kindles and Nooks, but that includes actually loaning a physical device which includes the electronic media.)

So the "Netflix "buzz'" is really more about terms of service than copyright, but it sort of is about copyright since in this case, Netflix is acting like libraries do with books, except that all the rules are much more complicated!

I picked up on this with Iris Jastram's post on terms of service. Michael Stevens had a guest post on his blog about the basic service as it is being done in one academic library. (Is this the original source?) Meredith Farkas had some insightful comments (as usual), which were picked up in several places. On the Library Law blog (a great resource for librarians who need to know about the law and libraries), Mary Minow talked about the legal issues involved.

Jessamyn includes links to many of the above, but one thing she said hit home with me: "The big issue is that Netflix is responsible to their main customers, the studios..." Hmmm, are the studios the main customers, or are we (the general public not just librarians or our libraries)?

Somehow, I wound up at The Consumerist, who adds this thoughtful bit:
Is this a violation of Netflix's terms of use? Yes. But the librarians don't particularly care, and Netflix doesn't seem to, either. Yet. As a Netflix spokesman said, "We just don't want to be pursuing libraries."
I am not totally sure what to think, other than to opine, that this is all part of the huge intellectual property/digital rights management/first sale controversy that will ensue as we move away from physical media to downloadable media.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Blogger - How the hell do you give them feed back

Ok...I know that this is a free service. But, did you know that it is next to impossible to find a way to send them a message???

It may be one of the few places on the web where there is no way to give input on changes.

Today when I logged in, I find that I am required to use my Google/gmail account. This is even though, I established this blog with a different email.

Why does that matter? Well, if I want to log out of editing the blog, I am automatically, and unceremoniously dumped out of my gmail account.

As with so many Google "enhancements" (and similar to the "features" provided in Microsoft upgrades), it was unannounced (even though they *do* have my email address...or two!).

What is up with that? Look at what happened to Jstor.

Wordpress is beginning to look good.....

September Links #1

The title assumes that there will be at least one other post with links this month.

From Salon, comes and an article about the trouble with Google Books.

And here is an interesting take on the concept of privatizing public libraries from Google's staff futurist. Not sure what to think about this.

Stephen Abram has a wonderfully thoughtful post about our freedoms and rights called
We strengthen our rights by exercising them. I highly recommend it!

There was a interesting series of articles about ALA's Midwinter and Annual meetings and the possibility of Reed Exhibitions taking over the management of the conferences and perhaps combining Annual with the BEA trade show. I first caught the Library Journal article which cited an article in PW. [Both LJ and PW used to be owned by Reed, but they are now separately owned by others.] ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels denied this was happening. My first clue was that I cannot find anything in the ALA Executive Board documents which refers to it, and secondly, the PW article talks about a combined ALA/BEA event in the summer of 2012 in Chicago -- when ALA's conference is scheduled to be in Anaheim. ALA will next be in Chicago in 2013. The schedule of dates and locations for ALA Conferences is set well in advance, and is currently planned through 2019.

Somewhere I came across this explanation of net neutrality on the Criminal Law Library Blog. It includes links to the AALL (American Association of Law Librarians) statement on the issue.

Kate Kosturski Librarian Kate wrote some interesting perspectives about the de-professionalization/professionalisation discussion which took place just before Labor Day.

Sarah Houghton-Jan asks questions and posits some thoughts about how libraries (particularly public libraries) are handling music in this day of downloads. I don't know the answers, but do know that it is something we need to think and worry about.

And finally some fun (with a shout out to Michael Sauers from whom I got this):

Monday, September 06, 2010

Book Review: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia

I don't generally do book reviews. I am making an exception. In this case, I actually know the author of Save the Last Bullet for Yourself: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia by Rob Krott. Rob and I have met a couple times while on vacation.

The book is a memoir, and therefore told in the first person. I can so very much hear Rob telling this story. [That is a good thing, authenticity is important.]

Now, I am not a big gun person. Rob is. There is a lot of detail about munitions which went totally over my head. On the other hand, Rob also spends time talking about group dynamics and personal interactions. He has dealt with a variety of very "interesting" people in his travels. His education with the Franciscans at "St. Bony" and at Harvard Grad School do show through. I also don't want to discount the training from the US military over the years.

I wish that the book had maps for both Bosnia and Somalia. I am, in some ways, a typical American with only limited detailed geographical knowledge of Bosnia/Croatia and Somalia. I will say, that remembering those conflicts, I did gain more insight to what was going on in each of the situations.

I could see a talented scriptwriter making an interesting movie or semi-documentary from this memoir. I hope that Rob and/or his agent can find one.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mid August Links

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is what, 25 or so years old, I wonder what took so long for Final regulations on disability access to libraries and other places issued reported in Library Law Blog, among other places.

Library Society of the World (a sort of anti-ALA) has its second coloring contest (in part to celebrate the end of the summer).

The last couple days, Rory Litwin of Library Juice, Library Juice Press, and Litwin Books (among other ventures and adventures) has been waxing philosophically about libraries and librarianship. On August 18, he ruminates about standards and accreditation. The next day he wrote A Brief Note about Libraries and Elitism. Both are well worth a read.

Bobbie Newman (librarian and writer at both Librarian by Day and Libraries and Transliteracy) has a thoughtful post on the role of control in the age of social networks. [I found it fascinating since my daughter has just taken a new job where social media is part of what she does. She even gave me permission to tell her when I notice something...]

Brian Herzog (a librarian in Massachusetts) has an interesting blog: Swiss Army Librarian. There are two recent posts which caught my attention: the "Reference Question of the Week" in July and dealt with Postal Service and address changes, and a Checklist Reference Desk Manifesto. The first reflects an notable federal government attitude/policy where some things are free online and others cost, while the paper process is free. Address changes is one. Filing income taxes is another. As of this past filing season, you could file for free if your income was low enough, if you were too high, you had to pay to file electronically (even though electronic filing saves the government money). Where is the logic? The second....is on my list for work.

I just loved this Illustrated Guide to a PhD, especially since getting a PhD in LIS was a topic in the car this morning.

One of my new guilty pleasures is reading Will Manley, daily, at his new blog!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Skills and shifting skills

Several days ago, a friend who is a librarian (but not working as one) sent me a very thoughtful note about the skills needed for the 21st century job hunt.

The day he sent it to me, I had spent a good quarter hour with one of our library users. He had found a posting for a job on Criagslist, but did not know how to apply. First we walked through getting an email address, and then we went through the reply process on Craigslist.

Other days it has been helping folks find their way through various job application web sites. Yesterday, it was 15 minutes on the phone with someone who was trying to apply through a civil service web site.

Here is what my friend said:

Recently I’ve been helping a group of unemployed adults apply for apprenticeships. Many of these people have been without jobs for years; some are parolees, others simply down on their luck in these recessionary times. They have many strikes against them: criminal records, long breaks in employment, lack of marketable skills. Most of them find the process is like trying to jump onto a speeding conveyor belt. And in fact it is the process that they find daunting, even more than their own personal challenges or lack of qualifications.

Over the past few years the job-seekers’ required kit has gone from simply owning a pen (for filling out applications) to the possession of a resume (required to demonstrate experience) to the ability to understand and manipulate computer applications.

Take a look at how job-seeking works these days:

There are almost no more newspaper help-wanted ads. Job seekers must search the internet for openings and then complete applications online. Most of these applications require applicants to attach documents such as resumes and to submit the whole to whatever firm or public entity is offering the job. The process assumes the following skills and abilities:

1. First, the possession or adequate control of a computer. Occasional availability leaves the person at a distinct disadvantage: it takes hours of searching to find openings, hours more to submit applications, and then the applicant must wait for results, invitations to interview, et cetera. The person forced to use the public library computer or one at a job center has too few opportunities to search and apply and respond.

2. Second, the ability to use a computer and the internet with sufficient skill to make the process work. A large portion of the population have difficulty with keyboarding; they type so slowly as to make application an ordeal, particularly in the case of resumes and cover letters—and this is assuming a fair level of literacy, which with the longer-term unemployed is often not the case.

3. Finally, a high level of patience and the ability to endure frustration. This has to do less with the win/lose nature of job-seeking than it does with the cold, faceless and often maddening character of the internet.


Over the past few years I’ve been involved in teaching word-processing and internet skills. This has meant attempting to transfer some portion of the typical internet skill set to classroom groups. Success or failure seems to be determined by the characteristics of incoming participants much more than their desire or effort.

Successful participants will already be adept at keyboarding skills. Those who enter the class without touch-typing skill will almost certainly fall behind and, if they do complete the course, will not be able to compose text or use the computer at any reasonable level of function.

Successful participants will have a computer at home to practice on; otherwise the learned skills will evaporate within days.

Successful students will have a reason to continue to use and polish their computer skills, be it on a job or just internet surfing.

It goes without saying that illiterate or semi-literate students will fail to come away with anything of value.

Though this is the case, most of the programs existing to help the long-term unemployed merely offer their clients a quick run through computer/internet skill sets, then release them into the broad world to thrash about unaided. What the system calls for is a way to offer employment that doesn’t rely so heavily on skills and abilities that are scarce among potential applicants.

There is much talk about the “digital divide,” but the real problem is that there is and will continue to be a class of people who will never become proficient in computer use, in the way that a percentage of people will never become fully and functionally literate. Teaching computer skills is important but obtaining work is much more so. Rather than attempting to teach a smattering of skills it would be better to provide ongoing services to these job-seekers, including personal guidance through the entire process of obtaining work. To believe that the long-term unemployed can simply vault onto the moving conveyor of the employment machine by themselves is wrong and counterproductive.



Let me repeat: There is much talk about the “digital divide,” but the real problem is that there is and will continue to be a class of people who will never become proficient in computer use, in the way that a percentage of people will never become fully and functionally literate.

This is so true and is redefining what libraries can and will offer, but also makes it more difficult to measure any success (outcomes) which is what so many funders want to know about.

Much food for thought here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mid-Summer Links

Joshua Neff wrote an interesting take on the "specialness" of librarians. He come to an interesting conclusion.

Not really a library, but this place in Hungary sounds interesting. [It is tempting to chuck it all. Watching Anthony Bourdain last night in a re-run of when he sailed the Caribbean made me want to chuck it all and open a rum shop with a little library on some tropical beach...]

Steve Lawson posted on his blog a rant/tirade/thought-piece which he received anonymously from a reported Assistant University Librarian which argues that libraries are dying. It is worth a look.

I had to post this one activities in NOLA from a new-ish blog. This post is about an early July event which mocks a much older Spanish event.

The Wall Street Journal has done a series on privacy on the web here is the first one on the business of spying.

The Atlantic has a long, thoughtful piece about Closing the digital frontier which predicts the end of the browser.

The Scout Report (from the University of Wisconsin published resources on homelessness resources.

Eric Hellman starts his ever thoughtful post on copyright from with this great quote: "Here's the most important thing I've learned about intellectual property law: the lawyers who say "yes" when you ask if you can do something are much, much more expensive than the lawyers who say "no"."

"Want to Innovate? Stop Working So Hard" is the title of a thoughtful post by Bobbie Newman on her librarianbyday blog.

A good article on basic rules on making charts

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cooperation - Shrinking?

I was going to just post Peter Bromberg notes on leaving Library Garden as a link in a long list of links. But then I thought better of it. He takes the time upon his departure from the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative (SJRLC) to reflect on the continuing pattern of library cooperatives to being consolidated ... usually driven by budget forces rather than by a plan or vision.

It happened in Connecticut in 2003. It is happening now in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Illinois. It has been happening, in a way, to the OCLC "partner" systems over the course of the past year to year-and-a-half.

Now, let me note, I used to be the chief honcho at one of the multi-type library cooperatives in Connecticut. That single, state-wide organization had to fight for its life in the last state budget cycle. The systems in Illinois have been more than decimated. Several have simply ceased to exist!

Most of these cooperatives have a long history, and are the results of grassroots cooperative efforts of librarians to provide better service to the public. Most date from the 1960s.

I wrote about some of my experiences, and personal knowledge, with multitype cooperatives in an article which was published by ASCLA [the ALA division, the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies]. As I look now, I can't beleive that it has been a decade already!

It is sad to see some parts of the consolidation. I was in Connecticut when that happened, and while the Connecticut Library Consortium is, by all accounts, successful, I think some of the personal touches have gone away. As it, they are still providing some of their services based on the old [CLSU] regions.

Maybe I am just reflecting that change is hard. In a way, I hope that is all that I am reflecting. Peter has some comments on the process in New Jersey. I suggest you read his thoughtful post/article.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Read and Listened to: January - June 2010

OK, I am lazy this time. The list is in reverse chronological order. And it is first books, then audiobooks.....

Books read, January - June 2010

In the Sanctuary of the Outcasts by Neil White
for the East Baton Rouge One Book/One Community


The world that made New Orleans : from Spanish silver to Congo Square by Ned Sublette

Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans: The City Where Food Is Almost Everything by Tom Fitzmorris

Thelonious Monk: the life and times of an American original by Robin D. G. Kelley

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

Nadirs = (Niederungen) by Herta Müller
translated and with an afterword by Sieglinde Lug

Corporate Diversity: Swiss Graphic Design and Advertising by Geigy, 1940 - 1970 by Andres Janser, Barbara Junod, Karin Gimmi, R. Roger Remington, Yvonne Zimmerman
I did not actually read the whole book, merely browsed and sampled. There are some great, classic graphic designs featured.

The passport by Herta Müller translated by Martin Chalmers

Fabulous New Orleans by Lyle Saxon
[A 1988 reprint by Pelican Press of the 1950 reprint of the 1928 original. Christmas gift.]

Letter to My Daughter: A Novel by George Bishop
Advance Reader's Edition

Listened to:

There's a (slight) chance I might be going to Hell: [a novel of sewer pipes, pageant queens, and big trouble] by Laurie Notaro, read by Susan Denaker

The Traveler: [a novel] by John Twelve Hawks, read by Scott Brick

The Associate by John Grisham, read by Erik Singer

No way to treat a First Lady by Christopher Buckley, read by Grover Gardner

Searching for paradise in Parker, PA by Kris Radish, read by Barbara McCulloh

Inside Drucker's brain byJeffrey A. Krames, read by Sean Pratt

Buyology : truth and lies about why we buy by Martin Lindstrom

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, read by Brian Emerson

Genghis: bones of the hills by Conn Iggulden, read by Richard Ferrone

Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis, read by Anthony Heald

Thelonious Monk by Thelonious Monk, Legacy (2000) To accompany reading a biography of Monk

Monk alone: the complete Columbia solo studio recordings of Thelonious Monk by Thelonious Monk, Columbia/Legacy (1998) To accompany reading a biography of Monk

The complete Blue Note recordings by Thelonious Monk, Blue Note (1994) To accompany reading a biography of Monk

The Humbling by Philip Roth, read by Dick Hill

Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse, read by Martin Jarvis

The prince of tides by Pat Conroy read by Frank Muller

Googled: the end of the world as we know it by Ken Auletta, read by Jim Bond

Celebrated cases of Judge Dee: [an authentic eighteenth-century Chinese detective novel] translated by Robert van Gulik, read by Mark Bramhall with Lorna Raver & Stefan Rudnicki

Breach of faith: Hurricane Katrina and the near death of a great American city by Jed Horne, read by Andrew L. Barnes

The last Dickens: [a novel] by Matthew Pearl, read by Paul Michael

Handle with care by Jodi Picoult, read by a full cast (Celeste Ciulla, Jessica Almasy, Jim Colby, Charlotte Perry, Alma Cuervo, Cassandra Morris)

While my sister sleeps by Barbara Delinsky, read by Cassandra Campbell

The dart league king by Keith Lee Morris, read by Nick Landrum

Football genius: a novel by Tim Green, read by Tim Green and the Full Cast family

Body movers. 2 bodies for the price of 1 by Stephanie Bond, read by Cassandra Campbell

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith, read by Robert Ian Mackenzie

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Blog Anniversary, etc.

Well, it is my son's birthday (again), and it also means that my blog is having its anniversary also. I started this five years ago today. And, no, I did not do it on my son's birthday on purpose.

This year was the first time in a very long time that I did not attend ALA Annual, and as a result I don't have the same kind of "post-ALA blues" which I wrote about in my first "real" post on July 7, 2005.

My posting patterns have changed over the years, as has the content. I am about to head out on vacation, and for the blog I have two goals: 1) finish editing three posts from April 2009 to wrap up the PLA Spring Symposium; and 2) to spend some time reflecting on where this blog is going to go.

We will be in Northern Minnesota, and have been told that cell service is "spotty" but that the resort has wi-fi.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More links

Dorothea Salo [spelling corrected...thanks, Eric] regularly writes about institutional data repositories. The ALA Washington Office reports on a meeting where libraries were viewed as having a key role in data curation.

Eric Hellman asks if public libraries are in a death spiral. He reflects on his experience in industry when a major contraction took place. He suggests that cutting hours is counter-productive, and advocates more fund raising like NPR. I respect Eric and his writing, but it is clear to me that he has not had to manage in the public sector. Much of the public does not believe the bad news of budgets until it hits them. Been there, done that. He includes a list of links to articles about public libraries being in trouble. I have talked about some of my experiences in July 2008, (twice), August 2008, and even earlier embedded in a post on customer service.

I am no longer sure where I picked up this citation, but it has good advice for bloggers, Bloggers: 7 questions to ask before hitting "Publish".

There was also a thoughtful post about copyright by Laura Crossett with both some good information, and interesting insights and reflections.

One of my electronic friends posted a link to this article which simply demonstrates the wrongness of the Arizona bill and other efforts to target immigrants legal (like this kid) and others. After all, there is only a very, very small number of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances whose ancestors (or they) are not immigrants. Certainly somewhere back there (in the 1800s) all my ancestors came from another country! This attitude scares the crap out of me!

Facebook privacy settings take another beating in this blog post from John Henry Clippinger. (Is that a pseudonym?) David Lee King also posted about the settings, with a screen shot and some cogent observations.

There is a great post for anyone thinking about freelancing. (It is a thought I entertain from time to time...) It is a good mix of philosophical and practical. [Note to self: see if there is a part two and/or three!]

And finally, I noted the issue with the California Digital Library and Nature Publishing Group. Steve Lawson was first on my radar with "UC to Nature Publishing Group: DROP DEAD." I then picked up on the story in the Chronicle of Higher Education. There are three which summarized the issue well for me, starting with Dorothea Salvo, and including both Eric Hellman and Steve Lawson. Eric's post includes links to actual documents. And here is the Library Journal summary of the dust-up.

Social Media Rules

Michael Stephens has written a post called Social Media Best Practices for Libraries. There is great content there, but it certainly does not spell out a suggested policy for a library. He does that in a separate post suggesting a policy for Anytown Public Library.

There is a great article in Public Libraries (November/December 2009, p. 23-25) by David Lee King and Michael Porter about dealing with comments. (I can't find the electronic version on the ALA/PLA web site.)

Jill Hurst-Wahl has a great series of posts on rules for using social networks. Here is #9.

Is this the end? I don't know. I think it will develop over time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Insurance - Medical

Arghh!

No matter how far away you are, or what thunderstorms are in the vicinity (we have had some strong ones tonight), you probably heard me when I picked up my prescriptions tonight.

I have two conditions for which I take maintenance medications. One of them I have been taking one prescription or another for over 30 years (think 6 doctors, in five different states). Today was the day to pick up the refills.

One refill was just fine.

The other, the cheap one (less than $5 per month) had a note: 14 day prescription. Why? I don't know. There was no other note on the paperwork (from a national chain). Ironically, 17 days from now I will be on a different health plan. (That would be my employer's idea not mine....and my fifth health plan in five years.)

Anyone who does not admit that the current system is broken, has their head in the sand, and is not grounded in reality. Why can some administrative person in an insurance company or drugstore chain decide that what my doctor (the one who went to medical school and then internship and residency, and in my case has many years of practice) had decided that I need to take, is not correct?

In 14 days, I will refill the prescription, and make them give me an explanation. [And the rise in my blood pressure is what the medication is supposed to control! They are not helping!!!]

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Great ALA Program

I won't be at ALA Annual this year, however one of my friends, Sylvia Turchyn is the Intellectual Freedom Round Table's Program Chair. She has lined up a great program:

Burning Man, Libraries, and the 21st Century: The Intersection of the Individual and Society

Saturday, June 26 | 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Washington Convention Center, Room 143 B/C

Can you imagine living in a city where censorship does not exist? Where your First Amendment rights and liberties are not only tolerated but encouraged and celebrated? That culture is created and that society exists in physical form for one week every August in Black Rock Desert, Nevada in the community known as Burning Man. The Intellectual Freedom Round Table is delighted that Larry Harvey, Executive Director of the Burning Man Project, will join Lauren Christos, Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, in a lively conversation on how intellectual freedom informs the Burning Man experience and our 21st century society. IFRT envisions that our program will challenge and expand the boundaries of currently held intellectual freedom beliefs. Through the social experiment that is Burning Man, the audience may come away with new and creative ideas to explore intellectual freedom in their personal and professional lives. There will be ample opportunity for Q&A from the audience. For background information on Burning Man, please visit http://www.burningman.com
She is also looking for folks to blog the program itself (which I wish I could do), so if you are interested, send her a note.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Links

Here is a set of random links...first in a while, but lets me clear a bunch of tabs...
  • Here is an interesting take from a school librarian for a Jewish school on various social media sites. (Oh, and it is a wiki rather than a blog...)
  • Nice article from Boston.com about the new library director at Boston Public Library. Having grown up in Massachusetts, and spent time in Wisconsin (not far from Minneapolis/St. Paul), I can really identify with a lot of the comments on culture in this piece.

Traditional Cultural Expression

One of the topics which is likely to hit ALA Council this session, is a resolution on Traditional Cultural Expression.

I was very confused about what happened at ALA Midwinter with this....it was proposed and then withdrawn, and at the time, given very little time to read and reflect, I was admittedly confused by the content, and therefore happy to have it taken off the agenda. That document is here (as CD#20.4, you will have scroll down).

Since then I have learned more.

Here is the document which engendered discussion, but note that it is not a resolution, but merely a statement. There is a web site, but it does not seem to have much newer than that to which I linked here.

Let's start with the definition of "Traditional Cultural Expressions" which is included in the document. In a footnote, the document explains the term.
For the purposes of this document, traditional cultural expressions are defined as, but not limited to, narratives, poetry, music, art, designs, names, signs, symbols, performances, architectural forms, handicrafts.
Wayne Bivens-Tatum, a librarian at Princeton, has written a long (almost 3,500 words) and thoughtful post which lays out many of the issues.

He starts by noting: "The basic thesis of the document is that librarians should be sensitive to the desires of indigenous communities regarding library collections of "traditional cultural expressions," i.e. objects, documents, etc. created by members of those communities." And like him, I agree with this in principle.

He has a section on philosophical objections which include his analysis of the language (which helped me understand). It ties the "cultural expressions" tightly to the creator or expressor. I think that is where I also begin to have problems.

I can't summarize or do justice to his long section on librarian objections. However, at one point he says:

Some parts of this document are utterly incompatible with such values. In the discussion, the other librarian posed the problem as possibly one of colonialist versus indigenous people's values. This is the cultural relativist perspective. But the Enlightenment perspective would pose it as a problem of universal versus local values. Who's correct here? Your position on this will probably determine your position on some of the more mystical portions of the document.
The tempting position to defend is that the values of the indigenous peoples should take precedent because they were both the victims of aggression and the creators of the "expressions." I'm tempted by this argument. However, one can be sensitive to the suffering of indigenous peoples without sacrificing universal values.
In his section with reasons to support a revised document, he has this cogent paragraph:

Returning some collections is also completely justifiable, but from the universal perspective of justice, not the local perspective of sanctity. Justice trumps even education and intellectual freedom. The important question is, how did these collections come to exist? Were they stolen? Purchased? Traded for? Acquired as gifts? The prominent libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick based his philosophy of distributive justice on the principles of justice in acquisition and justice in transfer. In other words, if property was initially acquired justly (via the Lockean proviso that enough and as good is left for others), and transferred justly, then whoever owns it in the end is the just owner. If we find at the end of the line that ownership isn't just, the principle of rectification requires us to reallocate resources in a just manner if possible.
Now, I would have gone even further and said, that if the "expression" had been legitimately (i.e. justly) obtained, then the control of it remains with the owning institution (library). It is part of why I support the return of skeletons, mummies, and the like which were pilfered from graves during the 19th and 20th centuries in the name of science and history.

My friend Melora Ranney Norman talks about TCEs with an "intellectual freedom" slant in her new-ish blog librarygist.

Her post is in a question and answer format. She is very up front about her issue in her second question:

Does it create a First Amendment/Library Bill of Rights conflict to officialize a document asserting that libraries should participate in the restriction of content when a cultural or religious group asks us to, whether by actually restricting the content in-house, or by returning it to the group so that they may do so themselves?
It was in reading this question back in early May that fixed the issue in my head...well, at least for now. If Melora's reading of the document (and I think mine, too) is that adopting the statement on TCE, ALA is suggesting that a group can control the distribution of something (folklore, stories, etc.) after it has left them, then we are allowing an outside "agency" to censor what we do. She uses an example of a group which believes that anatomically correct illustrations are abhorent, and therefore, all such depictions should be returned to them. She further cites the controversy of a couple years ago where a Danish cartoonist drew an image of Mohammed.

I have been going back to this over the past month, and still am both confused, and concerned that Melora is correct. If so, I am opposed to adopting the current version of the statement.

"We" have been promised that a task force, appointed by the ALA President will meet, listen, work on the document, and have public meetings at ALA Annual before anything comes back to Council. I hope that they can create a document which is both clear and inclusive, and that it avoids the pitfalls which Melora has identified.

At this point, what I long for is someone like Walt Crawford to gather any other relevant posts, digest them all, and offer his opinion from his perspective, which he refers to as "the radical middle." After all, this is what he often does in Walt at Random, and does incredibly well in Cites and Insights.

Hungry Town

Huh? I can hear you say?

I just finished reading Tom Fitzmorris's Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans: The City Where Food Is Almost Everything. Now, I don't usually do book reviews here, but this one inspired me.

I met Tom at the Maple Street Bookshop when they held a book signing a few weeks ago. I will admit that it was the offer of free Sazaracs, that pulled me in.

Tom Fitzmorris has been a New Orleans food critic for a number of years, and for a variety of publications. He also has a very successful radio show. He gained national prominence with his web site which tracks the number of restaurants in the New Orleans area. Post-Katrina, it began serving as an index of the recovery of the city.

One of the statements that lives with me (and I had subconsciously found to be true), is that in New Orleans, the most common topic of conversation is food. In other cities it could be politics, or the weather, but here it is food and restaurants.

On August 26, 2005 there were 809 restaurants in the index. This includes small neighborhood "joints," but not fast food or take-out only locations. By April 17, 2007, there were exactly the same number of restaurants, and today it is almost 1,100. Not a bad place to live.

The books includes a great deal of history about various establishments, both current and closed. It also includes a few recipes, and tales about some of the famous chefs from New Orleans.

I highly recommend this book.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Food - and misc thoughts

Several times recently, in Baton Rouge in particular, I have ordered "macaroni and cheese" as a side dish. In each case I have been surprised to get what I would call "spaghetti and cheese." To my literal, Eastern US mind, that is a different dish. [Actually, sometimes it was a mixture of spaghetti and linguine.]

A number of months ago, we were at our favorite barbecue joint in New Orleans, Squeal (on Oak Street). It is walking distance from home, go there! We asked why they did not have M+C on the menu. The owner/co-owner said that they had not been able to develop a dish which would stand up to waiting and being served with the right consistency. [As a home consumer, mostly immediately, I had not thought about the heat-table issues.] By the way, the menu at Squeal rocks...and they sometimes have "bacon vodka." The latter is a real treat!

I got to thinking about the meaning of the word "macaroni." For me, macaroni refers to a hollow shape of extruded pasta which has a hollow interior. For the most part, it is "elbow macaroni" (i.e. with a slight bend) and could be extended to ziti, rigatoni, and other hollow shapes. Interestingly, Wikipedia seems to agree.

I have heard Italian-Americans in the northeast use the term "macaroni" to refer to all pasta as macaroni, but that has been rare. Now, I have made pasta (linguine, spaghetti, spaghettini, etc.) but all of those are noodles, not extruded.

It has been an interesting change. BTW, Italians have been in the New Orleans area almost as long as they have been in the Northeastern US.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Impacts of budget cuts

Seven years ago, at the behest of the Connecticut State Library, the four existing multi-type library organizations folded into one. I had some misgivings, but it actually has worked pretty well. I suspect that some miss the personal touch from a more local organization. [In the interest of full disclosure, I had been the executive director of one of those four networks until I left to return to being a public library director.]

Massachusetts is in the process of following this model. I will note, that the geography and the geo-politics of Massachusetts are very different than Connecticut. I grew up there. Massachusetts is very much more spread out than Connecticut. After all, you can drive diagonally across CT in a few hours, and in MA, the distance from the New York border to Boston is more than that, and then you have "the Cape."

One of my few "publications" is an article based on a talk I gave many years ago. The article talks about successful library cooperative networks. While I was a director of one, a network I admired incredibly was the North Suburban Library System, run by the incomparable (and former ALA President) Sarah Ann Long.

I recently received an email which had this in it:
Dear NSLS Members and Colleagues,

I have sad but significant news. Due to our budget situation, NSLS will be dramatically scaling back programs and services effective May 30, 2010.

From our recent Needs Assessment Survey, we know Van Delivery service is the most important service for the majority of members. We will take all necessary steps to preserve this service intact. But most other services and programs will be dramatically reduced, eliminated, or spun off. Many NSLS staffers will be laid off. I will be one of the people leaving. We are still working out the details but quick action is needed.

As you are aware, 80% of our funding comes from an annual grant from the Illinois General Assembly distributed through Sec. of State Jesse White's office. We have not received 42% of the money owed to us for the fiscal year ending June, 30. If we continue to operate without making any service or staffing changes, our money would run out at the end of July 2010. We had hoped to receive additional funding soon, but our latest intelligence tells us that we are not likely to receive any state payments until November 2010 at the earliest. We are told this is not a temporary problem. Rather, there is a trend in Illinois to continue to delay state payments, not just to library systems. This means that cash flow is going to be a continuing and growing problem for NSLS, as well as many other state funded agencies and organizations. Under these conditions, we cannot continue to offer our members the high level of service they expect and deserve.

As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision to make. But I would not be fulfilling my responsibility as NSLS Executive Director or the System’s responsibility to our members as a whole if we did not take serious and immediate action to help preserve what is left of our budget.

To remind you how we got here, Illinois library systems have not had a budget increase in 20 years. On top of this flat funding, last August, we received a 16 ½% budget cut. Since we had just received our final payment from the previous fiscal year, we were already working under a deficit but at that time we did not recognize that cash flow would become more disabling than flat funding and budget reductions. Despite this bleak situation, we were determined to fight to ensure that systems did not receive any additional cuts. We initiated two statewide campaigns, one targeted at legislators and the other targeted at Governor Quinn and Comptroller Hynes. More recently, we initiated a campaign to inspire public library boards to contact Secretary of State, Jesse White, to ask for the release of the Live and Learn funds for regional library systems. I have also contacted our area legislators personally to see if they could do anything to help us. We achieved some results from these efforts, but it wasn’t enough.

I am confident that we have done everything possible to turn this situation around. Unfortunately, we have run out of options. Other Illinois library systems are on different time lines as to when they will run out of money, but they are also in trouble.

Many thanks to all who have participated in our campaigns, contacted legislators or offered help or solace during this crisis. I am very grateful for your support. We will keep you posted regarding the details of this change as well as additional changes to System services and staffing

Yours faithfully,
Sarah
It distresses me incredibly to get news like this.

Of all governmental agencies, libraries are the most cooperative across taxing district borders. We share a communicate with each other better than any other governmental unit! Each state has its own culture of how that cooperation happens. For most states, the cooperation between libraries should be a model of how other governmental units can cooperate to provide better service to taxpayers.

When a stellar example of cooperative service like NSLS is forced to curtail service in a time of increasing need, I am outraged!

I wish I knew that I could change/affect the decision.

Even more, I mourn the departure (however temporary) of a library leader like Sarah.

When she ran for ALA President, I did not know her well. Since then I have come to know, respect, like\ (and yeah, even love) her for the leadership she provides.

This is truly a sad day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How did I get here?

A while back I stumbled across a wiki based in Britain called "The Library Routes Project." It is an interesting project to gather stories from librarians about why they do what they do. I love this particular quote from the main wiki page:
The idea is to document either or both of your library roots - how you got into the profession in the first place, and what made you decide to do so - and your library routes - the career path which has taken you to wherever you are today. As well as being interesting of itself, it will also provide much needed information and context for those just entering the profession or wishing to do so.
So, here is my contribution.

I was always a reader. As a child, and especially in the summer time, I would walk or bike to the public library in the center of town. It was about a mile away, and in those days kids played outside unsupervised for long periods of time, and going to the library for a few hours was not a problem. It was especially inviting on very hot summer days because the library was air conditioned.

In high school, I got my first job. As a "page" in the public library. The children's librarian of my youth had become the Library Director. I suppose that it did not hurt that the mother of the boy next door (who was exactly two weeks older than I) was both the high school librarian and a member of the Library Board, but I was naive in those days. So, I worked my way through high school, usually going to work straight from school, and then heading home.

When I got to college (Brown University), my financial aid package included an on-campus job. Sure enough, they sent me to the library. Actually to the Biological Sciences Library. The librarian there was a great early mentor. During the Christmas break at the end of my first semester, the Biological Sciences Library merged with the Physical Sciences Library and moved into a brand new 14 story building. I got to work lots of extra hours helping to interfile and shelf read.

I worked in that library all four years. Some of it in Interlibrary Loan, and was often the student-in-charge for when the library closed at the end of the day. It seemed only logical to go to Library School.

I graduated on a bright and sunny Monday in early June, and one week later was in Library School classes. In those days, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign library program could be completed full-time in a calendar year. With student debt hanging over my head, that was the choice I made. Of course, I worked in the library there. I was in Interlibrary Loan (again) and also worked as a student assistant for both the Dean and an adjunct professor.

I got married straight out of library school (to a librarian), and we moved to Arizona. Well, there is a library school there, so it took me a while to figure out what to do. I volunteered and helped to organize, catalog, and teach cataloging for a good cause. Then I went back to school. I received an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) from the University of Arizona. About 9 months before I was done, I was offered a job as a young adult librarian at the public library's busiest branch. What a wonderful opportunity! After 6 months, they moved me to the Main Library as the "Business Information Specialist." As I moved up the ranks, I supervised, including a being the supervisor for a branch librarian 120 miles away!

But family called. I saw an ad for a job in Connecticut, and when I was "back East" for the holidays, I interviewed. A number of weeks went by, and I was suddenly offered the job!

I moved back to Connecticut, to the state's largest public library as the Head of the Technology & Business Department. (No, I did not do technology, I was in charge of the department which covered that subject.) After a couple years I was restless, and applied to be a library director in a small-to-medium sized suburban town. That is where I spent the next 9 years. It was a wonderful experience, and I still am in touch with staff from there.

In the winter of 1994-5, I became the executive director of a multi-type regional library cooperative. It was a great opportunity to learn some new skills (layout and design, flyer design, newsletter editing). I also had the freedom to become involved with the state and (eventually) national library associations. I served as the President of the Connecticut Library Association. I also served as the Connecticut Chapter Councilor on ALA Council. From that I had the opportunity to run for (and win) a seat on the ALA Executive Board. That, too, was an incredible learning experience. I have compiled some information on the structure of ALA, and posted it on this blog.

I left the multi-type to become the library director in my then adopted hometown. I had lived there for almost twenty years at that point, and had twice applied for the directorship. Well, this time I got it, and the great title: City Librarian. Urban public library directors face incredible challenges these days. It is constantly wearing to fight for the money, encourage the staff, be the public face of the library, and try to satisfy the public. In many ways you wind up not having much of a private life, and I also was giving to the profession and to community organizations. In short, after almost 6 years I was burned out.

I had the opportunity to move to a position half-way across the country which would give me a fresh start. I moved, leaving much behind, to a very homogeneous community. There are absolutely wonderful staff in that library, and some great library supporters in the community. However, things did not work out, and I left the position after just over a year and half.

I then moved south. After a while, I had the opportunity to work for the state library. Now, I had had many dealings with the state library in my prior two states, but here was an opportunity to see it from the inside. It was also the chance to work with library directors from all over the state, and to do something I always loved: statistics. That is what got me the title of "Library Consultant" and "State Data Coordinator." After almost ten months, I was given additional responsibilities as the Head of Reference, which I wrote about at the time.

I have moved twice to follow someone (to Arizona and to Louisiana). I had someone move once to follow me (to Connecticut). I have lived in places that I never would have expected, but I have loved almost every minute of it! Just remember to say "yes" and you will never know what will happen next.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Early April Links

Just after I posted about the Julie/Julia project, East Baton Rouge Parish Library posted about Julia's kitchen! [Note, their posts are frequent but usually short, and great promotion for some aspect of public library service.]

I don't remember where I picked up this great post on managing your Gmail account. (Now I just need to do it!)

Stephen Abram has done a series of posts accumulating the various studies on the economic value that libraries bring to an economy. The public library list is here.

Then there is the EBSCO dust-up.
  1. Meredith Farkas asked Has EBSCO become the new evil empire?
  2. Sarah Houghton-Jan [well respected as The Librarian in Black] reflected Unethical Library Vendors: A Call to Arms for Libraries to Fight Back
  3. Meredith further noted A lot of Davids make one heck of a Goliath
Eric Hellman (and you have to love the name of his blog: Go To Hellman) wrote an interesting non-librarian post about cataloging and the library role in helping to identify and organize information. It is well worth a read.

Barbara Fister wrote a long post about the relationship between publishers and librarians. (While I did link to it, let me admit I have not read it. I expect it to appear in an upcoming issue of Library Journal. I hope to be able to read it more reflectively there.

At PLA last week (or the week before?), a company announced DRM-free, downloadable music for libraries. I will say, about time!

Peter Bromberg wrote up Five Tips for Successful Webinars which I picked up from iLibrarian.

Personal note: I will be off on vacation next week...a brief trip, out of the country, and will be completely "un-plugged." I know that part of that is good. I will admit that I am not looking forward to the electronic piles which await my return. Oh, well.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Cooking/Julie & Julia

Those who read the blog directly will notice that Julie and Julia has moved from "current" to "read."

One of the things I received/retrieved at Christmas-time was my mother's copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It is a volume which I purchased for her as a gift back when I was in high school and worked at the local public library. [Somewhere is her copy of MtAoFC Volume 2, but my siblings have not found it yet, which was also a gift.]

I saw the movie (and loved it), and then went and read Julia's My Life in France before tackling the Julie Powell book. I think that having seen the movie first, and having read Julia's book before Julie's book, helped me enjoy the Julie/Julia project better.

Now, I will also admit that my memory of the Julia book (i.e., MtAoFC) had been of my mother making Lobster Bisque (which is not in volume 1, and must be in volume 2).

Later this summer, I will be retrieving some items from my storage locker in Wisconsin which includes a kitchen Dutch Oven which will let me try some of the recipes in this volume.

Would I ever do what Julie Powwell did? No way! Do I admire what she did? Absolutely!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Books and E-Books

Whither e-books? (And will there ever be agreement on the spelling?)

This started as a collection of links, which has suddenly grown.

I was reading Publisher's Weekly, when I came across a column by Cory Doctorow which talked about the recent discussion between Macmillan's CEO and Amazon's CEO over the pricing of ebook. One person commented: "This was the best break down of the Amazon vs. MacMillan slap fight that I have come across."

Tom Peters posted earlier today in ALA TechSource about how some Kindle owners (Kindlistas) are using the Amazon ranking system to show displeasure with some of the pricing schemes (which the publishers want...) It is an interesting read.

The same print issue had an article on booksellers finding the balance between print and electronic. It is also worth a read.

EBSCO announced that they are buying NetLibrary from OCLC. There is a good piece and reaction from Eric Hellman. In it he notes: "NetLibrary was a bubble-era dot-com that was the first company to try to make a business of creating, aggregating and selling ebooks." [I swear that somewhere I still have the NetLibrary bag from an ALA conference, Chicago 2000, maybe?] It is a long post, and like most of Eric's, very thoughtfully presented.

Stephen Abram posts the key concepts from a Michael Mace article "Why E-Books Failed in 2000 and What It Means for 2010."

And before I slide over to print, Eric Hellman posted just a couple days ago about the new Overdrive offer in a post called: "Overdrive to Offer Honor System eBook Lending for Libraries." He starts off talking about Newark (NJ) light rail, and segues into the DRM-free books being offered. [Of course, the announcement is timed with the PLA Conference. Oh, how I wish I could be in Portland (OR) for that!]

Finally, on the print side of life, The New York Times has an interesting article called "Text without Context."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

#450 - March Links

Here is post #450! Wow, who would have believed that I could be that prolific. This blog started in July 2005, inspired by then-Council colleagues Rochelle Hartman (Tinfoil and Raccoon -- now somewhat dormant) and Jessamyn West (librarian.net).

Here are the links I have stumbled on recently:

  • Eric Hellman (one of my new favorites) had a chance to chat with John Sargent of Macmillian about e-book publishing and libraries. He does a great write up, and the comments are also interesting.
  • Eric Hellman (again) forced by lack of electricity due to the weekend storm in the Northeast, went to Starbucks, and had some interesting, further thoughts on e-books and their distribution.
  • Jason Giffey writes about copyright and the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" in an interesting discussion of copyright and the DCMA on his blog Pattern Recognition.
  • A college classmate, Dan Woog, wrote about the Westport [CT] Public Library and the additional services they provided during the recent power outages in the area caused by storms. My friend Maxine Bleiweis (the library director) is featured.

ALA Candidates - President, Treasurer, Council

ALA election ballots are about to go out. I have had a couple of requests to list the folks I would endorse for office.

I know and respect both of the ALA Presidential candidates. I have had the opportunity to work, and socialize with both of them over the years. I will be voting for Sara Kelly Johns. Sara's web site is here. Sara is a school librarian from upstate New York. She has been president of AASL, and is a very dynamic speaker. (I was also flattered that Sara called me very early on for advice.) Sara has been reaching out to other parts of the profession, and has served as a trustee for a public library in New York. Here is her response to the questions from the Public Library Association about the biggest challenges facing public libraries today.

For Treasurer, I am endorsing Jim Neal. Jim has been very involved with ALA finances over the years. I think he has vision and can articulate the important financial issues which ALA inevitably faces. He has a very simple web page which states his credentials.

The Council list is longer. Here are the folks I will be supporting:
  1. Larry Romans (current Executive Board member and articulate member of Council)
  2. Pam Sieving (Pam has been at-large and the RUSA Division Councilor)
  3. Nann Blaine Hilyard (friend from PUBLIB, also served on Exec Board with me, been on Council several times)
  4. Thaddeus Bejnar (former New Mexico Chapter Councilor, and former chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee)
  5. Gladys Smiley Bell (former president of BCALA)
  6. Matthew P. Ciszek (a friend on Facebook and Twitter)
  7. Karen E. Downing (just finished her PhD)
  8. Loida A. Garcia-Febo (president of REFORMA)
  9. Sarah Smith (library school student at Simmons, who was persuaded to run at Midwinter in Boston - we need the voice of students in Council)
  10. Janice Greenberg (Facebook friend)
  11. Jason Griffey (blogger-extraordinaire)
  12. Erlene Bishop Killeen (school librarian from Wisconsin, has a good level head)
  13. Charles Kratz (current Exec Board member who also has a good perspective)
  14. Mary Mallory (ASCLA colleague and advocate)
  15. Bernard A. Margolis (New York State Librarian, even though he is not well at the moment, Bernie is an important voice)
  16. Michael L. Marlin (ASCLA colleague and vocal advocate for people who are blind)
  17. Melora Norman (public/academic librarian from Maine, former chair of COO)
  18. M. A. (Peg) Oettinger (retired school librarian, now from Pennsylvania)
  19. Michael Porter (Libraryman ... need I say more?)
  20. Susan Roman (Dean at Dominican's library school, and former development staff at ALA)
  21. Patrick Sweeney (up and coming California librarian)
  22. Bill Turner (former DC Chapter Councilor, current chair of Resolutions Committee)
  23. Patricia Wand (academic librarian who I got to know while working on the beginnings of ALA-APA, Pat is also a good thinker)
  24. Larry Nash White (Library Educator and statistics guy)
  25. Tom Wilding (at the U of Arizona library school, another good thinker from the origins of ALA-APA, Tom has also chaired committees)
That's my list!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Louisiana Library Association Conference 2010 Wrap up

Here is a summary post with links to all of the now updated posts from the conference.

Note that the two book cart drill team performances are posted on YouTube. That link was added to the first post, and is here as well. The two teams were from Ouachita and East Baton Rouge.

  1. Opening General Session
  2. Agile Librarian's Guide to Thriving in Any Organization
  3. Tweet, Tag, Connect: Using Social Networking in Your Public Library
  4. State of the State Library
  5. Your Web Applications on Your Space
  6. Copyright for Librarians

There are also photos on Flickr.

I also worked at the State Library booth for a shift, including helping to pack it up and return it to the State Library. I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the LSU Museum (for free) as one of the programs. There was not a lot to say, and they did not allow photos of the exhibit. You will see some photos from the museum window.

I am not summarizing the business meeting, which is being run very quickly and run very well. It will be followed with awards and a reception.