Off to the coal mines...

I had a funny email that had a list of reasons students wanted to work in libraries from their application forms but I lost it. Sorry. Maybe I will find it again, and if I do, I will post it.

I'm just counting the minutes until I have to teach a quick session on the joys of EBSCOhost to what will likely be a group of uninterested college students. I just love the blank looks on their little faces. Reminds me why I decided against teaching as a profession. Then we have a fire drill! This should be a fun night. :-)

Going the way of the dodo

This bit appears in the March 2004 "Notes & Comments" section of The New Criterion online, under the rubric "Prizes for everyone":

Remember the Caucus Race in Alice in Wonderland? The creatures “began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over.� “But who has won?� the contestants asked when everyone stopped moving. At last the Dodo said, “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.� We thought of the Dodo’s approach to competition recently when reading about the decision of the Nashville, Tennessee school system to abolish its honor roll because it had become “an apparent source of embarrassment for some underachievers.� As The Washington Post reported, “after a few parents complained that their children might be ridiculed for not making the list, lawyers [it’s always the lawyers, isn’t it?] for the Nashville school system warned that state privacy laws forbid releasing any academic information, good or bad, without permission.�

Surely, we thought, this is to take a very parochial view of the matter. For if students might feel embarrassed about not making the honor roll, think of how embarrassed they would be if they were not the valedictorian, the winning quarterback, a national merit scholar, a prize-winning pianist, the homecoming queen, or one of the students accepted at Harvard. Think of how awful they would feel if it got out that they were not in every way as smart, as attractive, as talented, as successful as the lucky few who were, like Emma Woodhouse, “handsome, clever, and rich.� An honor roll, as its name suggests, is meant to honor, to give public recognition, to those who excel. It is a last, pale inheritance of the spiritual patrimony we have inherited from the ancient Greeks who strove to be the best—and to be publicly recognized for their achievements. Nashville, like so many other communities, has decided to side instead with the Dodo.

Sexual Harassment

You can well imagine that when I sent a message with that subject heading to my principal, I got a swift response.

What a laugh

So I log on to check out the latest offering of articles and there's one that was suggested by an anonymous patron, and the title reads: Islamic Ministry Votes "No Jerks" in Iran.

Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was: What are they going to do with all those priests?

What a long, strange trip it has been. AkLA conf

My library conference (Alaska State Library Association) ended Sunday March, 28. I boarded a plane at 1pm. I did not get back to Juneau until last night at 9:30pm.

I was stranded with several colleagues and a nice author/speaker from the conference in both Anchorage and Seattle.

Details to follow, but I wanted to let the few folks that follow my journal that I'm still alive.

The LISNews Numbers For March

Total of about 158,000 sessions, that's about 5,100 a day.
Served about 446,000 pages, 14,400 a day.
That totals up to about 2 million hits, 63,000 a day.
Which meant about 12 gigs worth of files were transferred.

Most popular pages where, as usual,, index, lisnews.rss,, and article.php3. It surprises me how much the old php files still get hit.

Along with being the most prolific writers, shoe and nbruce are also the most widely read. The two of them account for about 10% of all the journal hits. The are followed, thoguh not very closely, by me, ChuckB, slashgirl, Rochelle, Daniel, rudimeyers, moneygirl, and tomeboy. The more you write, the more you're read. I'm guessing that an LISNews journal would be read more often, to start, than if someone just started blogging elsewhere. There's a good number of people @LISNews who read all the journals.
Journal RSS files are fairly similar, with shoe being the most read by a wide margin, followed by zamiel, nbruce, me, slashgirl, Bibliofuture, Samantha, Daniel, ChuckB, and tomeboy.
The top journals were hit a total of over 26,000 times last month. The top 10 accounted for about 25% of that total.

The big news from last month was Slashdot. They sent about 3,500 people our way, most in one day. The server held up just fine, I think I was more worked up about it than the server. The rest of the months referrers were, google, radio, yahoo, bloglines, aolsearch, and msn. "No referral" holds steady at #1 with about 75% of visitors not reporting a referral.

With well over 2800 accounts now, all the other numbers I can pull out of the Db are up again as well.
1044 comments from about 200 folks. AP's are hard to count, but my educated guess is about 90. I do know for sure, 108 different users posted at least one comment.
57 people moderated 152 different stories. Just 12 people metamoderated.

If I have some time this weekend I'll make some quarter one stats available as well.

No computers today or tomorrow--no foolin'

Today, the library where I work got a delivery of new computer furniture. Some of it will replace crappy old pods, and other of it will accommodate additional computers, nearly doubling our public access. To make this happen, we've got no public access for at least a couple days. As a result, the library is nearly dead. Thus far, we've turned away 30-40 people who only wanted access. Some have come up to the desk to sign up for service, and when we give them the scoop, they look disgusted, then look around, as if to find out where we've really hidden the machines.

Wal-mart to sell Linux pcs online

I wasn't sure whether this would be a news worthy story or not but thought that you guys might be interested. I saw this on Excite this morning...

Pretty cool. At only 289 bucks, I might invest in one and dump my XP... LOL... except I probably couldn't play Sims anymore.

doling out sweet internet justice

Yesterday I got to play with some of the finer bits of the OCS software. Luckily, the kids were acting up on the Win2k machines. I would have been out of luck on the Win 98 box.

One girl was just being a pain in the behind, deliberately defying me. I told her once that if she and the various boys that kept coming over to say hi (why wasn't I that popular as a kid -- never mind, don't answer that) didn't stop physically abusing each other in front of the computer, it would be shut off. Well, they didn't stop abusing each other, so I reset the screen. She freaked, but didn't seem to get the point. She frantically tried all her friends' (used) one time use numbers, to no avail. Since she got on (evidently) with someone else's library card, and they had left, and all her other friends either had no card or were saving it so they could use the computers properly, she was up the creek.

She wandered around for a good three minutes saying, "But I had time left." She didn't seem to realize that it wasn't a computer glitch, it was the Great and Terrible Oz that took away the computer.

Then it occurred to me internet justice isn't so cool unless they know that you took away their access for certain unforgiveable transactions. There are these boys that all gather around the computers. I don't mind so much if they are gathering, read real quick, and move on their merry ways. But yesterday they were camping out and that wasn't cool. When I told them to sit down, they said, "We're reading!"

So I did a little psychology experiment. I sent them a message. I said, "One to a computer please, or you will be shut down." They laughed, agreed that was pretty cool and -- wonder of wonders -- sat their baggy jeaned butts down. I think they realized that, at that point, I could shut their machines down if I wanted.

Now if I could only get them to read something that isn't on a computer screen.

I am trying to install a LAN card in a Win98 machine. Damned if I can get any of the LAN cards to work. There is even alledgedly a driver that comes with Win98 for one of the cards I put in. But it will not see the network. I've tried three cards, and two different drivers for one of them. I think it's time to retreat and concentrate on reference today. But I know me. I am as dogged when it comes to computer problems as some people are with computer games. So I know I'll go in and tackle the LAN card issue again.

I got this reference catalog from Congressional Quarterly. I am fascinated by it. The books look great, and some of them might even prove useful. Fun book orders!

I wonder what's become of that copy of The Innocents? I think someone took it out. It hasn't followed me anywhere for the past week. Perhaps its hold on me has broken. Now the DSM-IV TR seems to be following me around. Is there an entry for librarian in there?

I saw one of my scholarship books being used yesterday. Joy! There is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing someone walking around with a book you ordered in tow.

A Silly Notion

I just realized how many ALA higher-up folks participate here. It does seem some days that this is truly that close-knit of a profession. LISNews does appear to contribute to an atmosphere of demystification, I think.

Get Arrested @ Your Library!

We've had a series of cop visits the past few weeks (not initiated by calls from our security). Two to three cops will stride in, divide up and case the joint. This morning, there were three who fanned out and found the alleged back at a table. He was someone I had never seen before, and went quietly.

finding that line and crossing it -- @ your library

First off, Jessamyn West, who always has good stuff at has her nice take on a talk at CiL. I agree with her wholeheartedly. Our patrons neither seem to be clamoring for wireless, nor do they seem to care about rss feeds, and yes, it is all I can do to keep up with our public access terminals as is. Sometimes I feel like reference gets neglected. Sometimes I feel local history gets neglected. Sometimes I feel like it's all about treading water. Sometimes I feel like it's all about the computers. Computers are important, and necessary to offer, but they aren't the heart of the library.

For instance: yesterday I was talking to OCS about our machines. They wanted to know why we had such a mix of computers and OSes. Funny, for a company that deals with public libraries. I don't especially think we're unique in that we just can't afford the latest greatest most whiz-bang OSes (not that I'm recommending XP for much of anything. I am quite happy with Win2k for the Windows route.) I explained to the nice tech a little bit about what libraries face. He was amazed.

As are a lot of patrons, I find.

The other day, I once again had a moment where I saw a couple of young patrons crossing what I would say was my line in the sand... The kicker: they were dealing with another librarian, and whereas I would have kicked them out for their transgressions, which I would have called downright racist and abusive, she tolerated it a bit longer. She did (with two of us as back up) kick them out eventually.

It really bothered me to hear them make fun of her, right in front of her. I wanted to get up and throw them out, but I also sort of felt like it was her prerogative as well, as she was dealing with them expressly. So what do you do? Do you throw out a patron in the middle of transaction with another librarian? I suppose I should have.

Still trying to find my library legs. Certainly if they weren't working directly with her, and were doing it behind her back and she weren't so involved, I would have had them out so quick.

I'm eager to see how day three of the timed access trial goes. I haven't received a call this morning, so I'm assuming they printed the one time numbers out all right. The real test will be Saturday, when I'm not there all day.


Today I am going for the second course of acupuncture for the treatment of migraines. I have been to the neurologist and quite simply, the medications he gave me did not work. Fellow library workers suggested TCM (traditional chinese medicine) and someone even found me a really good deal that only charges $30 per session.

One of the great things about working in a library is the access to a myriad of great databases. There are some really interesting articles on acupuncture. If anyone is interested please e-mail me and I will forward them to you.

Get Out of My Drawers

Get out of my drawers!

As librarians, we know that we are giving up a certain amount of privacy and personal space. Anyone has access to our stapler, Scotch tape, and Can ‘O pencils. Some of us are lucky enough to have an office and even a phone, but even that is not sacred. I have a staff member who helps herself to everything. I find her sitting at my desk, talking on my phone all of the time, even though there is a phone in the storage room two feet away. She opens the locked equipment cabinet and helps herself to scanners, digital cameras, and projectors. She opens my drawers behind my desk while I am standing there and rummages through!
Well, I know. I am part of the problem for letting it go on. I am only there 2.5 days, so I thought I could put up with it. But, just because her tutoring room is in the library does not mean, “What is mine is hers.� I am also her personal librarian. When she needs help with any piece of equipment, she wants me to drop what I am doing to help her. I don’t mind helping, but most of the time my help would be just messing around and plugging things in and trying again. It aggravates me this much because many of these times she is without students (she is an ESL teacher and has 2-3 students in a day) and I am taking care of two libraries and am pressed for time. I also feel miffed because she closes her door on a regular basis to be alone when she has no students. She can sit in her quiet room and use my stuff and me whenever it is convenient?
I have been thinking. Just saying something to her will not be effective. I have to illustrate it. Here are some ideas.

  • Hide the equipment key to the closet
  • Install pad locks on my drawers
  • Lock my office door
  • Rummage through her drawers
  • Rummage through her purse
  • Install shock device on my phone

I think I will abstain from action for now. Just a few more days (literally since I split my time between two schools…) until the school year is over. Our district is cutting and who knows if either of us will be there next year. Grin and bear it.

singing the praises

Yea, verily, let me sing the praises of timed access software.

This stuff rocks. The staff loves it so far (granted, it's only been two days) and the patron response has been largely favorable... with less people objecting to getting booted off than objecting to needing a library card. A few people have complained about our hour limit per day, even if no one is waiting. The fact of the matter is, someone was waiting at the time this patron complained. Go figure.

Only temporary glitch was that we lost printing capabilities for awhile. I was dumbfounded as to why it worked last week and not this week. Last night, mid-dream, it occurred to me -- Fortres. I buttoned up Fortres extra tight, and it wasn't allowing the server to throw up the print spooler. Best cold sweat I ever woke up in, I decided, when my printing worked this morning.

The custodians hate me. People keep leaving their one time use numbers everywhere. Tables, floors, inside books. Everywhere but the trash can. Certainly the library cards would lend more finesse to the whole operation, and people do seem to want to enter them.

The learning curve is pretty reasonable. If a computer's free it's downright easy. Most people are on and off so routinely the reservation software isn't used terribly frequently, but it's good it's there as word gets out. I forsee there might be some troubles as the reservations are more frequently used.

Even got some "regulars" to sign up for library cards. Heh heh, my evil plan is working.

I tried to install the OCS software on a Win95 machine, but the version of Fortres on there wasn't real happy with it. Some Fortres .dll was causing a stack error. I honestly wasn't thrilled enough with the box to actually try to fix it. I am going to try to install 98 on another donation box and get on with my life.

Today we discovered, with our noses, that a mouse must have died somewhere in the professional offices, where my desk is located. The assistant director came in to find us all crawling on the floor looking behind our file cabinets to see if we could find the offending rodent corpse. No such luck. I even looked through my big box of computer parts. I keep snakes myself at home, and have a freezer full of frozen rodents as (snake) food, but I wasn't real intent on finding some dessicated little corpse next to my LAN cards, thank you. We never found the little guy. My guess is he's in the ceiling.

Name Calling

OK, so its the lunch period. I'm walking down the hall with my newly short hairdo. Some wonderful redneck teenager with severe homophobia shouts "Who's the dyke?" at me.

How do I know its me, you may well ask. Well, I am on a 10 year hair cycle: hack it all off and then let it grow until I need another change. Therefore, the last time I had short hair was about 10 years ago. And at that time, a couple of high school boys drove by in a pickup truck and shout nearly the same thing. BTW, I was wearing a leather skirt with leopard print stockings at the time.

Promoting from Within

Some kids from our broadcasting class came to me this morning with a request to run a 30-second spot to promote library use on their next program. Of course, I was thrilled with the opportunity, and suggested that we incorporate TV Turn-Off week into the voice-over.

Anyway, the whole project is the kids' baby, even down to selecting which books they'll spotlight.


This is for all you tech services people out there... I've been working on some books on cassettes today and have seen some wacky orders. There doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern to how these things were ordered. (I'm not even going to go into the extraneous notes placed in the order records. Yikes!) I have multi-part titles that are each order differently. One title gets a single order record, and another gets individual orders for each part. Whee. Now, this is a HUGE order... like takes up the shelves on the back wall huge.

Change to LBC

The Librarian's Book Club (LBC) is now on a two month reading schedule. Previously a new book was selected every month. Now books are selected bi-monthly. This is to give people more time to read and discuss the book. Several people have recommended this change and I have seen the need for it myself as I struggled to keep up with the reading.

Are There Any Moderates Left?

I find that because the the current politically polarized climate I have become a Conservative. I am not and besides I find some of the conservative comment and dialogue extreme in the other direction.


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