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Friday Rambling Thoughts

The "Must Read Stories" topic has bugged me since the day I made it. I can't remember what I was thinking exactly (though I probably could figure it out by looking to see what the very first story was in the old LISNews Db), but it must've seemed like a good idea at the time. It's not used much, and seeing it on the homepage today kind of surprised me.

It's not that I'm against other authors calling something "Must Read," it's just that I can never seem to find a story important enough to apply such an honor. There've been some good stories over the years, Sony Barari, the Questia marketing thing, the interview with Pat Schroeder, and a few others, that I think everyone should've read at the time, but I just never feel that confident. I hate to "cry wolf" and use it too often, though never using it makes it equally useless I suppose.

Usually I think most of what I post should be read by everyone. Taking a quick peak at today's stories, yes, I'll stand by that statement. It was an eclectic mix of loosely library related stories that I think many people could learn something from. I know I took a bit away from everything I posted. The non-Blake stories were even better. Grades=driving, a nice google piece, a pro-filtering, book banning… all over the map, and that's just why I love reading LISNews, I never know what to expect next (Yes, obviously this can go too far). That's why it's not just my site, it's ours, it's not a meblog, it's a weblog. The past few weeks have seen a huge jump in the number of authors, or at least a huge jump in the number of people with the potential to be an author. I've added close to 30 new author accounts, though few have posted yet. In the 4+ years we've been around a lot of people have come and gone, very few have stayed on for more than a year or 2. The collaboration between all us authors, and all the other LISNewsterz is what makes the site so much fun, often the comments are often as interesting as the story itself.

I've been criticized in the past for not taking a more active role in editing LISNews. People have told me I should think of myself as a journalist, an editor, and act like it by forcing the LISNews authors to fall in line and focus the site. I have always waved my paw and said "bah" to those suggestions. It's all about collaboration, and I don't think we need more control at this point. I do think of LISNews as being journalisticISH, but I've never felt it fits the traditional definition of journalism. It's darn close, but we're not there yet, we're missing the originality that I would expect from a true gang of journalists (a gang of journalists come together and form some form of media outlet, which generally sells ads, and therefore becomes an advertising company). As the site matures I hope we do start to do our own original reporting, interviews, and whatever else we can come up with. Weblogs have not yet revolutionized journalism, but they may be causing some small amount of change, and that could lead to something. The day my mom tells me she read something on a blog is the day I think blogs have really caused a shift.

Weblog: You soaking in it
Meblog: One person's weblog
Post: Add a new story to the site; a story on the site
LISNewsterz: People who participate @LISNews
LISNews authors: People who have secret powers to post stories
Stories: Things that appear on the index page
Thread: The resulting discussion that sometimes ensues
Journal: Something every LISNewster has to write in/on/with
El-Eye-Ess-News-Dot-Com: LISNews.com

Yet more snow - looks like New York

Ha, looks like New York around here. I may even give up grits. Just joking. We have had about eight inches of snow. WOW.

So, my son is still stuffed up, but I did find my kitchen counter. If I work some more, I may even have something to wear. Then, tomorrow, I can work on finding the floor. They have invented a robot vacuum cleaner that you can just let loose to do the rugs. Why haven't they invented a robot to do laundry and pick up clutter?

Well, at least the woodstove is going, and I am toasty warm.

From the snowy South ...

A Statement

A thought I have had recently:Library science graduate work does not involve sitting around all day eating bon-bons, tearing up ILL forms, blowing off colleagues, torturing undergraduates, having a social life and doing such like that. There is work to be done like learning cataloging!

filters

I got to play with the filter today. Or that is, I got to play with the last obstacle in getting the Linux terminal out. It's on the floor, it's ready to go. It's beautiful. But I can't get the filter to work with it. It shouldn't matter what browser I use, but it's not blocking a thing. I've been testing it. Now everyone thinks I'm a pervert.

No, they don't. They know why I'm doing it. I'm not liking it much though. It's sort of embarrassing. I always forget about the filter... I put the whole computer out on the floor and set it up for public consumption, and wham! I thought, "Shoot, the filter..."

So if anyone knows how to alter the Opera.ini file to get the proxy settings working send me the bit of code. The nice folks on the Opera board tried, but I'm still getting some nasty stuff when I type in "full frontal nudity". Our filter software is housed in Boston, in front of the firewall. I'm beginning to wonder about how well it all works anyway.

Oh my god, my head is going to explode! Too much to take in.

Today a woman accused a man of staring at her while she typed her email. She's right, he was. Like everyone there stares at each other on the computers. He was keeping his distance, though, so I didn't say anything. Well, keeping his distance more than most patrons. Then she got in a tussel with him, and I went over. She said that it was so loud in the library she couldn't think and that for the last twenty minutes (at the ten minute email terminal, I might add) she was getting stared at. She told me how uncomfortable that made her...

...then she touched my arm. Okay, I have this thing about being touched. You don't do it. That makes me uncomfortable. So whereas I could relate to her discomfort, and I can relate to her lamenting that people were staring, somehow I lost some sympathy. I told her I understood, and when I came over the guy backed off.

Being new, not only to this job but to the library field in general, I have little to go on as to where to draw the line at behavior. I don't want to stop kids from talking in the library if they are legitimately studying as well.... I don't want them to be loud, and I don't want to turn them off libraries forever. I do taking being stared at and being touched or any unwelcome approaches seriously. I do. It bugs the bejeebies out of me. But I also realize it's a public place, and people do have the right to sit there and... well... look at things. Preferably books, but if someone wants to look at the scenery and they aren't bothering anyone, then I'm not going to say anything. But I haven't gotten enough experience to really know where to draw the line.

Moreso, it's a relatively close public space. You're never really far from someone else. And people don't seem to realize that internet terminals are like ATMs... there's a code of conduct as to how close you stand. There is one particular chronic offender, who got mad at us yesterday and left in a huff. .

I am the systems librarian. I like technology. I like to share technology. I like people to benefit from technology. But boy, do I dislike people fighting over computers. For whatever reason. It's just silly.

There will be rioting when the access is card only. But that's the way it's going to be.

One day, I'd like to see two patrons get in a fist fight over who gets to take out War and Peace next. Sigh.

GUESS WHAT???? Tomorrow... we get a Prius! We found one in Vermont and will be there at nine tomorrow to pick it up. It's a white one, AI package. Almost exactly what we wanted. We wanted that particular package, in silver. White was our third color choice, but hey. Time to see if I can put Linux on it.

New Species of Fruit Discovered!

Think berries. Ummmmm...... What comes to mind? We’ve all heard of strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, boysenberries, mulberries, etc.

What then is a LIE – BERRY?

Yes, I now work in a middle to upper class suburban school district, but before that, I was a public librarian – wait – or is that liberrian? Since things are absolutely dead serious at work with budget cuts and other crazy things going on, I think I will share some of my public library adventures. Humor keeps me sane. Well, that is a matter of opinion.

Just this past summer I was a Summer Reading Assistant at a branch of our city’s library. I totally enjoyed it, but it opened my eyes.

“We’re goin’ down to the LIE-berry to get us some videos.�

Would Dewy be turning over in his grave right now? The scholars of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina are cleaning the dust from their ears. What?!? Did he just say liberry?

I wanted the staff of our branch to get T-shirts that had all kinds of berries on the front with a picture of our branch on the back. The slogan? The best berry of them all. Wouldn’t that have been adorable? The branch down the street from the school that I now work at would not get the joke, but travel a little deeper into town and all of the “liberrians� would be howling!

Now I am in a school – both an elementary and HS and our state just came out with library media academic content standards. I added my own – “Every student will be able to pronounce library by the time they leave this school.�

my birthday!!!

Use this to wish me a happy birthday! Yes, it's true. I'm 44 today. Man, do I feel old.

Unfathomably Horrid Day, with Budget Implications

I snapped. Went of the deep end. Had a cow. Flipped out. Suffice to say, that tears that have not graced my cheeks in nearly eight years (love those SSRIs) fell in abundance yesterday morning.

Due to an uncanny confluence of boring personal events, I arrived 30 minutes late to work. I phoned the school secretary, and arranged the details with her, and went about getting a ride to school.

Imagine my surprise to find my library lighted, open, and in use when I finally arrived! I immediatately phoned an admin and informed him of the sitch. Thank god our administration understands the wisdom of keeping expensive equipment and books monitored at all times.

Many people came and apologized for the snafu, but I just had that icky feeling you get when you know someone's been messing with your stuff.

As for the budget implications: My adult assistant was laid off for good this year, after having her hours cut in previous years. Without her I have very little flexibility. Plus, the whole "I'm the lone ranger for a user group of 1,000" issue just seems to have caught up with me this week. The secretary offered Xanax. Mine is not the only department hit by Oregon's budgetary folderol.

Oh, my ride to work yesterday morning? My father. Since my assistant was laid of he's been volunteering. The only thing he does is cover hard-bound books, but he's very good at it. Its nice to have him here occasionally -- my mom appreciates it too ;-)

Snow

So, it is snowing. Very pretty. I'm torn between being thrilled because I can put stuff up and find the house (I think I have a house - I'm not sure - I can't see it) and being irate because I will have to make this day up at work. They really need to build more snow days into the calendar.

We are using the makeup time (Thursdays from 3:00-6:00. Be there or be square) to work on SACS. Ah, yes the dreaded SACS process. Bad news: I'm the head of the standards and assessment committee. That means I get to find paperwork for ninety different standards to prove we are meeting those standards. Good news: It gives me something to put on my resume.

My five month old son has a cold or something. Poor thing. He is sleeping in his bouncy seat in front of the fire as I type this.

Preservation grunt Feb. 26

- A nice recording of the Montreal Symphony from the mid-seventies. This fine 1/4 inch audio tape is encoded with Dolby noise reduction.

- Argh, no it's not. Re-jig dubbing equipment.

- Wait! The label and documentation say it is Dolby encoded! Argh! Throw out CD-R. Start again tomorrow.

[next day]

- Re-jig dubbing equipment to decode Dolby.

- Wait! That timpani doesn't sound right! (No CD-Rs harmed this time) Argh^3

- "Audio engineer, is this encoded with Dolby?"

- "No."

- Re-jig dubbing equipment. Record to CD.

- Contact Senior Librarian: "How should I catalogue Dolby tape that is not Dolby?"

... and so it goes.

An Icky Day

Snow, cold, wet...it must be library school in the Allegheny foothills!Now just to figure out how to apply AACR2r 2002 (with annotations to bring it up to the 2003 revisions) as to electronic integrating resources...

children's room

Somehow I ended up in the children's room last night to cover while there was a book group. I don't mind once in awhile, but let's go on record that I'm not fond of kids. I choose to be kid free. That being said, I appreciate that parents and teachers (and school librarians) have probably the most difficult jobs in the world. Although it was a bit of a refreshing change to unite kids with Clifford rather than throw out adults for having spent the last five hours hogging the internet.

I looked at our internet sign up sheet, which seemed to have the same six or seven names all over it. That worries me some. When the time management software is implemented, it really is going to be an hour a day. I mean, I know damn well people are going into chat rooms and that's what's sucking up the time. I don't know what to do though -- it's kind of a fine balance between, "Hi, I'm looking at your screen to check up on you" and patron privacy. Some chat rooms look a lot like email boards.

Today I am going to spend time tweaking the Linux box, to hopefully be put out the beginning of next week. The iMac will then be moved either back to Internet terminal #2 or I'll take the second one downstairs to put OS X Panther on it in peace. Linux is getting a warm reception from the staff as I kind of explained what I am trying to achieve with it.

Reference books are mighty expensive. I found we had one version of a series on standing order, when we really need both it and it's companion series on standing order. What a racket. After putting another series on standing order last month, I'm a little worried that this is decimating the budget.

So how late are your public libraries open? Last night I had a patron complain we were only open till nine (computers shut off at eight thirty, or we'd never get out of there). I think that's pretty late for a public library, many of which in the state have limited hours. I also explained we were open Saturdays, which isn't necessarily always the case as well. I don't know... the public library at midnight could be a dangerous place. Things people don't realize.

EBooks, EGads, Not Me

I love the concept. I want the reference ones because they could automatically be updated, and I could clean some shelves.

So, why don't I buy some?

Visit my school library. Heck, visit the school. Every teacher has one archaic barely squeeking into the Pentium age computer. They might as well be on dial-up. Visit the computer lab. Twenty-five of the same old computers. My library sports four brand new computers and four old models. One of the new ones has been broken since December. One since January. I serve 650 students. You do the math.

Well, let the students access them at home. No go. The students don't have computers or have a computer but no Internet access. Not just a few students. I haven't done a formal survey, but I could give a safe guess of 200 out of the 650. Chesnee is a small, rural community and times are hard.

So, no EBooks. Too bad. I want them. I drool at the thought. But then, there IS one more problem.

You can't snuggle in bed with them and a hot chocolate. At least, not yet.

Looking forward to the Dune concept of a book...

Toner

I have called, weekly, for the past several weeks trying to get toner for our print station. We're not out yet, but I suspect that we soon will be. It gets used a lot. This particular toner cartridge has alledgedly been ordered a billion times, and we have yet to see it.

Today, between local history, reference, and info, I need to devote some time to weeding reference, as a fellow LISnewser reminded me. I hadn't forgotten, actually, I'm just kind of avoiding it. With a passion.

Paul and I are jonesing for the Prius, which is on day... twentysomething of being on order. It definitely is a technojunkie car. We're scouring New England dealerships that may have some unclaimed here and there. Wish us luck.

Tix for The Passion

Churches and bible societies all over are buying up jillions of tickets to Mel Gibson's move to donate to the public. Too bad they can't spend the money on canned food for the hungry or winter coats for the homeless. Meanwhile, I haven't decided if I'm going to see the flick...I did like "Maverick" ...and I don't mind subtitles...but if I see it, I'm spending my own ten bucks!

On Moderation

The LISNews Moderation Reasons are unchanged from the stock Slashcode reasons:
Normal
Offtopic
Flamebait
Troll
Redundant
Insightful
Interesting
Informatice
Funny
Overrated
Underrated.

Normal really isn't a reason, it's just a nothing, Over & Underrated can both be applied to any comment previously moderated as something you disagree with. Offtopic & Flamebait both seem useful, and are usually well used.
But what about Troll, is there really a big difference between a Troll and Flamebait?

The three I really have troubles with are the three I's Insightful, Interesting and Informative. Insightful things are very often interesting and informative. Interesting things usually have some insight and information.

Funny seems good, except humour is so subjective, but there's not much we can do about that.

For those few of you that moderate comments, I pose the question to you… can we come up with new and better Mod Reasons?

Here's some ideas that've crossed my mind.
Pointless: -1
Silly: 0
Stupid: -1
Great: +1
Wonderful: +1
Saklad: -1
Hilarious: +1
LeftWing: 0
RightWing: 0
Moron: -1

Rob Malda has been writing about completely rewriting the moderation system, which could be neat, I just hope they keep us little guys in mind when they're thinking things through.

The question that can't be answered, and which comes up often in my mind is: How can I moderate this as 2 things. One recent comment comes to mind where the comment made such a good point, and, at the same time, was a Troll. How can the moderation system ever cover a situation like that?

LISNews has 2708 user accounts, and 60 different people have moderated at some point. 25 have moderated 10 or more times, and 5 have done it more than 100 (one of those 5 being me). I'll try to run some detailed numbers at the end of the month on some different areas of LISNews, I love watching the numbers.

some internet, mostly cop

Librarianism is much like policework. Did anyone notice the word librarianism sounds a lot like a disease? I spent much of my time on information and reference doing crowd control, which went better today than it did yesterday.

Speaking of police, they called this morning, looking for a patron. No Patriot Act. They found his wallet, and in it his library card. They called us so we could look up his number, call him, and tell him to call them. Of course, his number was out of service. And he owed us thirty cents.

The moral of the story: keep your library records up to date.

I took a break from my Linux kiosk today. By playing around with the various .opera ini files I should be able to make menus essentially disappear. I had Opera 7.50 on the computer, but it was terribly unstable. It works fairly well at home, but I'm running it on a much better box.

After watching the internet terminals for hours I learned that Flash not being on the Linux box probably isn't the end of the world. PDF, yes, since many people use PDF as a lame-o excuse for HTML coding. PDF is also a legitimate way to convey information. But Flash is used primarily for eye candy and games. Whereas I have nothing against eye candy, games are hard on our mice. And people do suck away the hours playing them.

My pet peeve: people who spend four hours on the internet terminals, then get kicked off so someone else finally gets a turn, then they stand, lost, in the middle of reference. I've said it before: it's a whole building full of books. For the love of Pete, find something to read!

My new love: OS X Panther. I never thought I'd say that about a Mac. The elegance of Linux with the interface of Windows. And boy, can you lock that bad boy down. Wooo hoooo!

Information confusion?

I wonder sometimes about people and how they look for information. Is it that hard to find? Do people really not understand or lack the skills? Does my brain really operate so differently from everyone else?

Before I became a librarian, I knew how to find information. Look in the index of a nonfiction book when you have to do a report. Browse the shelves to look for other books related to the one you just grabbed. Quotations marks help to narrow down your search on the Internet.

Maybe people are just lazy?

Example. Today, a young lady (teenager in my libray) was looking for Thomas Paine. She complained that the Internet was giving her book information. Well, yes, it probably did. I'm sure she typed Thomas Paine or typed some really incredibly long string like - Thomas Paines parents names. So, I told her about the quotation marks and suggested - "Thomas Paine" biography - as a search string. Bingo. First site had what she needed.

Where is the disconnect?

I'm sure this would be a great topic for a multimillion dollar grant winning paper.

Sorry, I don't have time.

But, someone else can do it. You don't even have to give me credit in a footnote. ; )

Rudi

Don't throw out that perfectly good (out of date) book - Ha

I pull my collar up around my face, hoping that no one will notice me lingering around the dumpster. The back of the school appears deserted, but one can never be so sure. Glancing around, I make my move. The overload dolly groans to a halt just inches away from the dumpster. I feel paranoid. Who could be watching? A car speeds by. Who was that? Did they see me?
I’ve taken precautions. I’ve harassed my customer service representatives every night at Kroger’s to get the very best cardboard boxes possible. I’ve loaded them down and strongly secured them with masking tape. There should be no leakage or overflow. I’ve done my homework. The janitors told me the time of trash pick up to the nearest couple of hours. I’ve come after lunch and made sure that there are plenty of stinky food laden bags to cover my boxes. Surely no one will move them to get to these boxes! And if they do, so what?
So What? Those are just words, I know. I could talk until I am blue in the face about accuracy, timeliness, currency, etc. But someone will dig through, find the box, open it, and think that the librarian has gone mad. “What? You are throwing away this perfectly good book? It has historical value.�
“This book does not meet the school needs any longer,� I envision my reply. “This book is called The Great Berlin Wall: Will it ever come down. It did come down. This book was published in 1967.�
“But students should be able to see that perspective,� they might answer.

Fair reader, you may think that I am exaggerating. No. Here are some of the recent weeds from an middle to upper class high school library. The dates are off. They are usually between 1963-1967.


  • The Great Berlin Wall: Will it ever come down?
  • The Race Problem (circa 1963)
  • Negro Life (circa 1965)
  • Introduction to the Races (circa 1964)
  • Recent Advances in Biology (circa 1966)
  • Foreign Affair Policy of the United States (circa 1957) This was only about 100 pages. I think they have added some since.
  • West Germany (circa 1970)
  • Readers Guide: Updated for the 70’s
  • A 20 year old set of encyclopedias
  • Bound periodicals from 1960 (But, they are not available online! Gasp!)
  • Many Hitler and Stalin biographies (I guess they were donated from a private collection many years back. Yikes!)
  • A directory for government contacts from 1981

Those are some of the most memorable. There are others, not to mention the 250+ collection of WWII books (all written in the 1960’s). Yikes!
I don’t mind that I have to weed these books. I do mind the reaction to it.
I ask, “Would you like these books for your collection?��No.� Is always the answer.�Would you want your student using outdated materials for one of your assignments?� �No.� Is always the answer.
BUT they always say, “Someone will want these books. They are perfectly good books.�
Sigh.
In an effort to appease these staff and community members, I have looked for places that might take donations of old library books. Guess What?

They don’t want them either! Do you?

School Librarians

Mock Turtle mentioned that school librarians are not well represented here at LISNews. That will surely change quickly, as Blake has infiltrated our listserve -- LM_Net -- and has hipped us to the need for us to become involved in this forum.

Day 2

Today was just a plain old day. Of course the weather is threatening...the sky has turned darker and darker...and the weathermen (who are in kahoots with the milk and bread men) are calling for snow, but we'll see.
In preparation for Read Across America I shared my PowerPoint with 5 classes. We have a lot going on next week and I ran thru the agenda.
I also printed a list of activities for the teachers and posted it in the workroom. Monday evening we have an author coming to speak to the kids. Wednesday we have guest readers coming from the jr. high, and then our assembly: Miss NJ, 5 class presentations, 13 prizes to give away, and Captain Underpants and Junie B. Jones. Should be fun. On Friday the PTO is having an assembly, too.
I got the prize barrel out, and got that all set up, I hung up my new Hall of Fame kids (But I still need photos) found the Readers' Oath for Steve, did the PO for Miss NJ, and put together 13 prize bags with books, candy, and Beanie babies.
Busy day. Just like I like it.

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