Monday, December 21, 2009

Books 2009

A couple different people have posted (in varying places) asking for readers to submit their "best books" or "favorite books" of 2009. I looked over my list, and came up with this:

Coop: a year of poultry, pigs, and parenting by Michael Perry

In my couple years in Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to meet Michael Perry several times. He is a good writer, and gives a great view of that part of the world.

A Great and Godly Adventure: The Pilgrims and the myth of the first Thanksgiving by Godfrey Hodgson

It is slightly scholarly, but gives a more accurate picture of Thanksgiving

Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink by Tyler Colman

An incredibly interesting book on the politics behind what so many of us drink.

American character : the curious life of Charles Fletcher Lummis and the rediscovery of the Southwest by Mark Thompson

Charles Lummis was the Director of the Los Angeles Public Library for five years just after the turn of the last century. He led a fascinating life!

The soul of a new machine by Tracy Kidder

In many ways, it brought back memories of my days growing up in Central Massachusetts, and my early computer experiences

Sneaker wars: the enemy brothers who founded Adidas and Puma and the family feud that forever changed the business of sports Barbara Smit

A very interesting book about the history of these two brands

My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme

I was inspired to read this by the great movie “Julie and Julia.”

As a newcomer to New Orleans, I would recommend these two titles which I read this year, the first is older.

Rising Tide: The great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America by John M. Barry

Nine lives : death and life in New Orleans by Dan Baum

I also have been listening to a lot of items here are a few I would recommend:

The irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British spy ring in wartime Washington by Jennet Conant, read by Simon Prebble

Dahl is now better known as an author of children’s literature, but he did a lot of work as a British spy in DC!

This just in by Bob Schieffer

An inside look at how the news gets reported – from a singular perspective

Fallen Founder: The life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg, read by Scott Brick

Most of Burr’s diaries and papers were lost at sea, so it was his enemies who wrote most of the history. This is a fascinating, well written look at one of the founders.

The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport by Carl Hiaasen, read by the author

This was just hysterical! And Hiaasen does a good job as narrator!

After the first of the year, I will still do my "clean-up" of the sidebar.

Links - End of December

Great article I picked up from Stephen Abram. He uses this stop light analogy to ask us (as librarians) to think about unintended consequences.
Cute picture here (from Boing Boing, I can't remember who pointed to it). It reminds me of the old TV show Green Acres!

You have to admire when someone admits that they do not do something as well as they think they should and points to a better example. David Lee King does this in talking about inviting comments.

And then there is the topic of Ebooks. First a set of predictions for 2010, then a free Ebook from Seth Godin.

One of my online/virtual friends is an academic library director (and happens to be at the undergraduate alma mater for one of my brothers and his wife -- SUNY Potsdam). She has an interesting post about "redecorating" a stairwell which was not originally part of the designed public space in the building. They let students do it! Graffiti as art! Way to go, Jenica!

The Unquiet Librarian (Buffy Hamilton) has a guest blog piece about "What makes a Library a Library?" It is good reading.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Social Media Policies

A while back, I posted about Twitter policies. That piece got some great comments, so I suggest that you read the whole thing.

Since then, I have found several additional resources and thoughts on the topic:

  • The CIO (Chief Information Officer) of a health care company [in central and northern Wisconsin] has posted a thoughtful compilation of his organizations thoughts and policies on his blog.
  • The Ottawa Public Library (Ottawa, Canada) has posted its full social media policy (as a PDF file).
  • The High Tech Dad blog has a great post on how to craft a policy. (Each point of the policy is short enough to be a Twitter post!)
  • Ellyssa Kroski (who also blogs at iLibrarian) has written an article for School Library Journal (October 1, 2009) which is still applicable to public libraries. I recommend it.
A great deal is happening in this area, and happening quickly. I hope to find more policies before long.

October/November/December Links

The Wall Street Journal article on the end of email certainly has generated comment both inside of and outside of the library community. I think that it overstates the case. I remember years ago having a discussion about "push vs. pull" of information. There are times when if it is not pushed to me (i.e. email), then I am likely to not get it or to act on it.

LibraryLaw Blog has some great info for librarians on the complexity of laws as they apply to us. There is a new-ish, but scary post which talks about the incredible narrowing of the meaning of educational fair use.

I haven't checked this out, but I trust the Librarian in Black implicitly. She wrote about how to back up data from some of the social networking sites.

I found this tip on how to keep Windows (or Windoze, as Mac fans used to write) from automatically rebooting when you don't want it to. [Note to self: Do this on your personal laptop!]

Dorothea Salo (formerly Caveat Lector, now Book of Trogool), has a great series on library thinking and terminology around organizing. The first was The Classical Librarian; the second was The Humble Index; the third was simply Classification; and the last (which is what caught my eye at last) was Classification and a Bit of Subject Analysis. All are well worth reading, and you should add her to your "usual list of subjects" if you are a librarian.

Interesting story in the Chicago Tribune which was posted to PUBLIB. Comments there ranged from decrying flagrant copyright violations to "just" infringement. Read the article, PUBLIB archives are here , posts are under "Chicago Tribune Article."

Other links floating around include an interesting article on getting past cut and paste, and getting students to think about the meaning of what they find on the web.

It is tough when technology changes faster than the rules, here are some thoughts on that.

This post is about smoking and where in the US it happens. But it is also an interesting way to to look at statistics and present them in some different ways.

From a more morbid perspective, what happens to your social networking accounts when you die? Here are some of the answers.

ALA now has the ability to do electronic petitions to run for office! I have signed one already. And in spite of what the Annoyed Librarian says (she says it was December 1 - and she is so wrong!), the deadline is January 29, 2010

In the most recent news, both Kirkus and Editor and Publisher are about to be defunct. Here is the announcement of the death of Kirkus, and a memorial.

More Seasonal/Weather reflections

I re-reading my last post, I realized that I had forgotten to mention another observation which is more related to the local weather conditions. This summer was a "dry" summer -- by local standards. Areas which were normally swampy/marshy were drying up.

Over the past few weeks it has rained a great deal. (To me if "feels" like the winter rainy season I remembered from my years in the desert of Tucson.) On Wednesday (that wonderfully warm and sunny day), there was a great deal of water in places that had been dry. There was water in the median (in the grassy areas, as well as on the bridges). It had turned into a wet world again.

The water went down over the course of the week. But last night it rained heavily at times, and pretty steadily over the course of the night. I expect to see that water again on Monday, since the weather forecasts are for more rain this weekend. (And yes, I much prefer rain to snow! Current temp [Sat, 8:30 am local time] 46....forecast, rain.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


A recent stauts update on Facebook commented that about 75% of the updates in the past day or so had to do with weather. That ties in well with a reflection I had this morning.

I was gone for the Thanksgiving holiday, and had only one day back doing the commute before I was again away and then off. Tuesday was a crappy weather day, warmish, but rainy and windy. Driving to work in the morning I leave in the dark, and going home is the same.

Today, because the sun was up (and out) for the last half of the commute, I saw some things which I had not noticed before. First was the leaves on the trees. There were some trees which had lost their leaves, and others with brown instead of green. The was the occasional swamp maple (with the emphasis on swamp!) with its red or red/brown leaves. It was the first time that I really began to believe that it is fall.

It is interesting how our perceptions of the seasons depend on these visual cues. The days have been getting shorter. (And don't start on the annual, pointless and useless time change fiasco...) But certainly sitting in my office, with its floor to ceiling windows looking out on the Spanish oaks with all their leaves, it does not feel much like fall! It took seeing the reds of the maples for me to (finally) realize that fall is here.

A final note about periodicity for this blog. You will see fewer posts, at least for a while. It is related to what is happening in my life. Most of it is good, and you will see conference posts when those seasons begin again (Midwinter, LLA, etc.)