Closed Stacks's blog

Regional Reference

The Swiss Army Librarian often does a “Reference Question of the Week” post that I always think is really interesting. Then I get jealous because I feel like he gets more interesting reference questions that I do. Thankfully, I do occasionally get those gems that really make you realize that you need a good librarian and that google can’t tell you everything, or if it does, you may need a second opinion.

I got a phone call recently from a frantic-sounding mom who asked me “Can you tell me where the WPA plaques are in Providence?”

Full story at: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3371

I'm Tired of Talking About eBooks

Is this what it felt like to those librarians in the profession when the internet came about? When I started this blog in 2008, I felt like I would never run out of things to write about. This profession is so varied and vast, how could we possibly cover it all? Now, all I read is more and more about eBooks. Certainly, this is something we all need to talk about, because libraries are getting royally screwed, but I also feel like being so singularly focused on one thing that’s not really working out, is talking the wind out of my sails.

Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I don’t think I am.

Read More: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3364

How Can We Harness This?

"I read an interesting, if depressing article the other day about how many people are now going to bookstores to browse the shelves, making a note of what they see and then buying that book from an online retailer for a cheaper price. It’s become such a ubiquitous practice that it’s got its own name: showcasing, and booksellers (rightly) hate it. Admittedly, I’ve done a similar thing, but it’s so that I could then go to the library and check it out for free."

Full Post at Closedstacks.com: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3356

Bad Library Board Members

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague (who is, coincidentally, my manager as well) the other day. We were discussing the differences in how the generations view “need vs. want” and how “going without” now is a rather different concept compared to what it was a few decades ago. If you really compare the idea of “going without” to how people lived during the Depression Era, you will see a stark contrast in views about material goods vs. what we need to sustain ourselves on a day – to – day basis. She had commented to me that her mother, who grew up during the Depression, once lived in a home with twelve other people (family and renters) in order to scrape enough money together so everyone could eat. Imagine doing that now, she said…most people can’t.

Full posting at Closed Stacks: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3352

Another Library Closes

On July 1, 2011, The Central Falls Free Public Library closed for an indefinite amount of time. Twelve staffers–six part-time and six full-time were laid off. Central Falls is a 1.5 mile square city with 18,000 residents in the state of Rhode Island, and it is often referred to as the poorest city in the state. Central Falls has also been in the national news lately for firing all of its public school teachers. Now that that drama is (mostly) resolved, the city is in receivership, looking at probable bankruptcy and has now lost its library.

Full Story: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3344

The YA Literature Rant and Rail

I’m not sure what angers me more about the recent article by Meghan Gurdon in the Wall Street Journal about the coarseness, violence, and overall lack of quality in young adult books today: her insistence that any books that give teens a look at reality is bad for them or can even promote destructive and infectious behavior, or the list of “Books We Can Recommend for Young Adult Readers” on the side of article, broken down into books for boys and girls.

Full article: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3336

Choose Privacy

Another Choose Privacy week has come and gone and I kind of forgot to/ didn’t know how to celebrate. I think this is my favorite library holiday and one that needs to get more attention than it does because as much of an issue as people oversharing already is–it’s only going to get worse.

Full post: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3321

If Reference is Dead, Why am I so Tired at the end of the day?

"Librarians are the book nerd who is totally convinced that the quarterback will date her if only she loses ten pounds and finds a way to get his attention. You know what, book nerd? The quarterback may pay attention to you if he needs tutoring, but he’ll certainly forget about you and your new, svelte figure afterward."

Full post: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3315

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.

The overabundance of theory in MLIS programs may be the degree trying to sell itself as academic rather than professional, but I’m not going to get into all of that. The debates that have been floating around the interwebs about what library school need to do with their students all seem to point firmly in the direction of practical skills. This is what we need to be successful in the field, therefore, this is what the course of study should give us. But how much can we possibly expect from a 30-42 credit program? In fact, how much can we expect from one or two internships?

Full Story at Closed Stacks: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3283

Drunk on our own Power

...Cornell University Library recently released a statement saying that they will no longer do business with publishers who refuse to let the library disclose the price they pay for what they get from those publishers: “It has become apparent to the library community that the anticompetitive conduct engaged in by some publishing firms is in part a result of the inclusion of nondisclosure agreements in contracts.

Full blog at Closedstacks.com
http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3288

Does Using the Library Make you a Bad Doctor?

I can see why some people might think that by using the library you are saying you’re bad doctor. Because visiting the library means you are admitting you don’t know the answer. Some doctors are like that; they refuse my help because they won’t admit they don’t know or that they aren’t sure. But do you, as a patient, want that doctor?

Full Post at Closed Stacks: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3285

Social Networking Best Practices

When I first entered library school, Librarian About Town‘s innovative Myspace page for her community college library was getting recognized on a national level. No one was using social networking as a promotional or engagement tool for their library yet, and my friend was ahead of the pack.

Just a few years later, almost all libraries have Facebook pages, and we are figuring out as a profession just how we’d like to use them. Are we engaging with our community on these pages, asking for feedback? Are we promoting programs? What exactly are these pages for?

Read the full piece at:
http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3269

Suggested courses for addition to the library school curriculum

LIS707 – Organization of Information Materials by Cover– 3 credits
Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems are disregarded in this study that focuses on the concerns and techniques of organizing items by cover and the modern library users’ information-seeking behavior. Concentrates on the understanding and application of this in demand trend, including how to separate colors and the differences between scary and sexy vampires.

more at: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3258

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