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.

almost there

Well, my .xinitrc theory was all off with Linux. I got pdf to work by copying my root opera6.ini and plugins.ini to my user account. Go figure. Flash doesn't work with or without a desktop, which is weird, because it should. I've installed from rpm, tarball, multiple sources, taken binaries from home where it all works just dandy.

I'm sort of at loss. I hope it all just starts working magically.

Sort of like how our ILS stopped working magically last night at eight, when the people who maintain it went home. Sigh. I could ping and do other seemingly useless things, but contact with the server was intermittent at best.

Yesterday we had about a dozen magazines seemingly walk off. Some nice person took them in the bathroom and took them out of their sleeves and walked out with them. We have no security on them, not that they couldn't just rip that out anyway.

We also had some young men that were seemingly fascinated by how the table lamps turn off and on. They're not regular users (and you could tell), because library etiquette was out the window. One librarian took to calling them the "little thieves" because they kept asking for pencils. Not golf pencils... pencils with erasers. Then one asked why he had to pay for copies at a library. Free office supplies @ your library!

Actually, we had an adult come in and say the same thing. Why do I have to pay for copies? I'm thinking of keeping books on the economy handy for just such occasions.

Animals on the Underground

As a twice-daily rider of the MBTA, I was thrilled to see this notice from Boing Boing about Animals on the Underground.

A beginning

So my journal will be quite different from the others I have read here. I am a school librarian. I've been in this district for 12 years. I also live here, attended this school system and graduated from its high school . It's not the best, but certainly not the worst, either.

So today's trauma is this. Ths principal met me at the door this morning with e-mail from the ass. superintendent. The Governor is coming on Friday to meet with a woman's club. The woman's club has NOTHING to do with the school district but they are meeting here, in my school, in my library, at 11 in the morning. I must cancel 7 classes who are exchanging books, two classes coming for lessons, and make myself scarce for the day.
The stupidest part of this is we have early dismissal that day and we will all be gone by 1:15. But the meeting is at 11.
No consideration for the kids - or my program. E-gads.
So this may turn out to be a whinning journal. Sorry.


bored on a Monday morning

Trying valiantly to figure out just what I need to run on startup to get Opera recognizing Flash and other plugins. Frustrating as hell, excuse my French. I think I am going to have rethink. Man, I was so close. Sometimes I hate technology.

It would work beautifully as email only. Sigh. Oh, the frustration. It's gotta be opermotifwrapper-3 or lesstif or something.

You know, maybe if I logged in using Windowmaker, and then disabled everything there... No, I really like the elegance of

exec opera & ... whatever I need to add

It would help if I had any programming background other than XHTML.

I would go look up some information on my dead librarian today, but it's a late day, and the old building is quite frightening in the dark. And it's dark, I found, as I missed a stair or two the other night going in there.

Off to PLA!

Well, I'm off to Seattle for PLA! I hope to post about it when I return! This is to be my first professional conference and I am extremely excited about it!

The Shortest Book Review Ever

I just finished up "Things My Girlfriend and I have argued about" by Mil Millington, and I'd say it's worth a read. It follows the life of Pel who works at a library, and it's chock full O' good funny librarian quotes

Non-librarians generally regard efficient collation as a chore.

…"disruption" is to librarians as, let's say, salt is to slugs.

I work in the library – no one on planet Earth looks up to me.

I'd be swept by self-loathing if I were a qualified librarian, naturally.

You're excited about getting promotion within a library. Thie, Pel, is the moment you became old.

So if that stuff strikes you as funny, and you like British humor, it's a short, worthwhile read.

the closed stacks

I had a patron mention with sadness that she couldn't go into the closed stacks with me. The closed stacks are downright frightening... and about as off limits as patrons touching stuff in local history. Some of the materials look like they will crumble into thin air if you look at them cross eyed. Never mind the floor. The funky Aliens floor panels are replaced in some places by plywood boards. Fortunately, I've never needed a book on a plywood board floor section.

The books in those areas of flooring look like they've been there since the beginning of time, usually, so I don't even think they're in the system. God, I hope not.

In related news, school is back in this week, so it's back to kids congregating by the internet terminals, till I move them on, then they go to the videos, till the librarian there moves them on. Then they come back to me. Perhaps we should just throw them out, but I hate to because on occasion they really do use the materials. They aren't bad kids, really, always quite respectful. Just, boy, are there a lot of them, talking to each other.

Tomorrow I am guessing I will be on reference for a few hours. I wish I could bring my Linux box out to reference and play with it there, but it's not exactly as easy to do as cataloging in that respect. Not quite as portable.

The problem with the Linux box does appear to be my .xinitrc file. Some nice person confirmed that Mozilla, when set up without a desktop, does the same thing Opera does... basically, ignores every plugin except Java. This makes me think that Operamotifwrapper or Lesstif or something needs to be run in the background on .xinitrc as well. But I'm not 100% on this one.

Oh, how I would like to get the thing off my desk! Maybe I can set up the word processor tomorrow. Right now I have three computers on my desk. They all work, in varying degrees.

I would like to post a picture of my desk at some point. It's huge, and it's loaded with some Micron PC (which I believe is the company that brings you the best memory on earth, Crucial) that can't take a working LAN card, the Linux box, which is just persnickety, and my P3 IBM desktop real work computer, which looks like it came from, well, the turn of the century. Underneath my desk are a bunch of magazine boxes filled with parts!

Hard drives. Floppy drives. CD ROM drives. LAN cards. And every computer I go into, as a trophy, I rip out its old modem. I feel guilty throwing them out, even though they're probably all 14.4s or some silliness. I pulled out some cables (hey, you never know when you're going to need more cables) and some screws and some various and sundries from some boxes, and they're under there too.

Curling Up With AACR2r 2003

Electronic Intergrating ResourcesThat is the name of the game this week for homework in my cataloging class. This should prove interesting. I printed off the notes from the instructor as well as the relevant stuff highlighted that is from OCLC. I am going to have plenty of fun stuff to curl up in bed to read.Last week was printed serials. I hope that the annotation of mistakes for that exercise will not nearly be as awful as it was for all those strange non-book forms we worked on prior.

Prisoners of Hate by Aaron T. Beck - A recommendation

I've been meaning to suggest the book Prisoners of Hate: The congnitive basis of anger, hostility, and violence by Aaron T. Beck for some time now. If you click on the Barnes & Noble link above, you will be able to read some professional book reviews. I found it to be a convincing and engaging read -- though better in the diagnosis of problems than in their solution.

The scope of this book is vast and almost beyond summarizing -- finding a common thread between barroom brawls, domestic violence, terrorism and war. Along the way, it answers the question asked by so many -- why can't the people who hurt me see that I AM RIGHT AND THEY ARE WRONG?

Here is the table of contents for the book, which gives you a flavor of what Dr. Beck argues:

ch 1 The Prison of Hate: How Egosism and Ideology Hijack the Mind

ch 2 The Eye ("I") of the Storm: The Egocentric Bias

ch 3 From Hurt to Hate: The Vulnerable Self-image

ch 4 Let Me Count the Ways You've Wronged Me

ch 5 Primal Thinking: Cognitive Errors and Distortions

ch 6 Formula for Anger: Rights, Wrongs, and Retaliation

ch 7 Intimate Enemies: The Transformation of Love and Hate

ch 8 Individual Violence: The Psychology of the Offender

ch 9 Collective Illusions: Group Prejudice and Violence

ch 10 Persecution and Genocide: Creating Monsters and Demons

ch 11 Images and Misperceptions in War: The Deadly Construction of the ENEMY

ch 12 The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Attachment, Altruism, and Cooperation

ch 13 Cognitive Therapy for Individuals and Groups

ch 14 Perspectives and Prospects: Applying Cognitive Approaches to the Problems of Society

The chapters dealing with war and genocide warn that assuming that all of the good is vested in your group and that all of the evil is vested in the other side only leads to tradegy. He doesn't pretend that people never mean harm, only that retaliation will never lead to peace, but will only strengthen BOTH SIDES feelings that they are ABSOLUTELY right and the other side is ABSOLUTELY wrong. They will then redouble their efforts to eliminate the hopeless evil other.

As we gaze across the globe, this message seems true to me. It's put into the terms of cognitive psychology, but it represents thought I believe that Christ and Gandhi would have recognized and endorsed. It's worth a read.

Job update

Got my "thanks, but no thanks" letter yesterday for the academic position. A disappointment to be sure, but hey, I've got a job, so it's not disastrous. I went out with my mentee last night to drown sorrows in margaritas and guacamole. He's waiting to hear about library school, so hopefully we'll be able to celebrate good news soon.

Yesterday was just one of those not-very-good days. The closing on my refinance went awry, and had to be rescheduled, got the bad news letter, and was woken up at 3 a.m. to hear oldest daughter say, "I'm barfing!" And, boy was she! It was a very impressive spew--pretty much everywhere but the toilet. So I was up swabbing the deck (and the sink and the floor and the bathtub and the wall) till after 3:30. She seems fine and perky this morning. I will try to be fine and perky as well.


Yesterday we got an offer for a donated computer. I'd earlier had a talk with the assistant director and we discussed no longer taking donation computers... because technically, well, they're old computers that people don't want any more. We've got snowbanks of them. I haven't seen so many 486s since... well, 1994.

The lady was nice, and I was gracious, but I prickled a little when she said, "Well, what do I do with it?" It became a little suspect then that perhaps she was just trying to skirt her way out of paying the $20 to have the DPW haul it away.

Speaking of which, I hope DPW gives sister government organizations a break when hauling away old equipment. As I said, we've got snowdrifts of it. Some nice person at one point or another dropped off an IBM Aptiva (circa 1995) and the instruction manuals. I wish people would drop off their driver disks, too. It does make making the printer work a little bit easier.

I stuck an uber stick of memory in the Dell at the circ desk, hoping that it would ward off the crashes. It seems to have. I found my new favorite thing, too: upgrading memory.

There's nothing like seeing:

System memory has changed

in your BIOS splash screen.

I have a dead librarian project. I have to look up some information on a past librarian at our library. She began her career in 1921. This should be interesting.

The girl who cheesed off the cataloger came in today. She asked for the same old book. It was due in today, but had not yet been returned. Alas, the second copy of the book was not yet out of processing.

I really hope the book is returned on time.

How hard is it to turn off your cell phone in a library? Personally, if my cell went off in a library, or theatre, or any place like that, I'd be mortified. I'd not take it out and start talking loudly. And then, when the reference librarian and then the reference librarian's supervisor came out to speak to me about it, I sure wouldn't be surly about the whole thing. Is library use a right or a privilege?

I personally think it's a privilege, but I think it falls victim to the "this message board can't ban me because of my right to freedom of speech!" way of thinking. It's similar to people that think they can behave any way they want in a retail establishment. Of course not. There are rules. We might be a public building, but you can't walk barefoot into City Hall without getting thrown out. You pay taxes, sure. But there are still rules.

Udder Nonsense

Do not, may I repeat, do not read the following if you:

  • are an avid animal lover
  • only eat cheese pizza
  • are a literary critic
  • can't stomach sloppy eaters
  • would rather talk about that Patriot Act thing.

    Just a modest offer to introduce a little humor."Little" perhaps the operative word.

    FWIW I regularly scoop up little spiders and such around the house and free them in our backyard.
    (Probably only to be eaten by a bigger bug ; ) )

  • Harry Potter for the Ancient Greeks

    I didn't think that this would work as an article but thought all Lisnews-ers would like to see this.

    Hopefully, this will help make classical education seem a little less stuffy.

    Friends and Foes and Such

    I just posted this as a comment elsewhere, and I'll just drop it in here as well, it might be helpful to other LISNewsterz as well.

    You set your relationship with other LISNewsterz by clicking the the little face icons (, , ) that appear next to their name wherever they may have left a comment, or on their user page.

    If someone makes you a friend, they are now your fan. If you make someone a friend, then you are now a fan. Your Amigos Page lets you look at all your friends journals. Setting friends and foes also gives you more options on your Messages and Comments pages, where you can choose to highlight, or ignore, things based on relationships.

    Good stuff to kill some time.

    contemporary social issues

    I need to compile a book on vague questions. Like: Do you have any books on contemporary social issues? I have to say, the reference librarian before me put it nicely... "There are a lot of issues. Any one in particular?"

    I still am new enough to get the deer in the headlights syndrome. I can't answer smoothly right away. I think, "Contemporary social issues? How contemporary? Jeez, I could use a drink right about now. Where did my other sock go? Maybe all our contemporary books have been taken out."

    I will only go to local history in the morning, when the sun is out. Otherwise the old building is just too dark and scary. I did find some great information about Harriet Robinson, woman's suffrage champion of Malden, and her appendage of a husband, William. I don't mean appendage in a bad way, he's just certainly not mentioned everywhere like she is. I think he was pretty successful in his own right. I do hope the lady that requested the information springs the ten smackers or whatever we're going to charge for it (we haven't decided how much my time was worth). It was certainly fascinating. I found all this neat stuff, now I want to unite someone with it. Ah, the joys of being a librarian.

    It was a long day and I trounced someone for saying the Mac was buggy. Sure it is. If you had people pounding on you for twelve hours a day you'd be buggy too. I said, "They take a lot of abuse. No, ma'am, you don't understand, a lot of abuse."

    Linux would be perfect for my public access terminal, but for one thing: I can't get the Opera plugins to work when I'm in my Opera only mode. It troubles me. Flash doesn't trouble me too much, but pdf really bothers me. So it's off to to ask the smart Linux guys what they think is wrong.

    Dumb question...

    How do you "fan" people? I can see how to friend people but what is this "fan" thing??

    Stupid faculty tricks

    Our faculty photocopier is down *again* and has been down for almost a week, which means that the faculty come to the library to do their photocopying. I've noticed an alarming trend with these people--they come in through the door, stand in front of my desk, and shake a piece of paper at me.
    Naturally this confused me. Why was this person shaking paper at me? Have they perhaps lost the power of speech, or forgotten what it is they are even doing on campus? So I ask them in my most polite, friendly voice, "Did you happen to need some copies of that? I'm not really sure what it means when someone shakes a piece of paper at me."
    This seems to get most of the offenders to actually act like human beings, or maybe treat me like one...
    Come on, photocopier repair guy! We need to get these dang faculty out of our hair!!!

    With Friends Like These--Marian the L. in bed with the FBI

    The background: Last week, our city's Human Relations Commission passed a resolution speaking against the Patriot Act. Many folks in the community were pleased that this happened.

    This morning: On the editorial page of the local paper, The Pantagraph is a political cartoon. Since it is not online, let me describe it in detail, since it's awful on so many levels. There is a librarian seated at a reference desk. You know she's a librarian because she's like a fat, old Marian, complete with bun, pince nez and starched white, high-necked shirt. In front of the reference desk is a little kid with an American flag sticking out of her/his back pocket. S/he is checking out a book. The librarian is on the phone, the "Patriot Act Hotline" no less, whispering "We got a live one." The kicker is that the sign on the front of the desk has our library's name on it. It's partially blocked by the little kid, but there's no mistaking what it says.

    Okay...the intent was probably to throw support to the resolution, but man, oh, man is this just plain thoughtless at the very least, and a huge blow to the trust we've built up with our patrons. Never mind what you think about the USA PAT--those who struggle with irony or satire are going to go through the roof with this, and we're anticipating a barrage of questions and concerned patrons. Then there's the whole stereotype thing. Unfortunately, the cartoon is not available online. Hope to have a scanned copy of it later today, though.

    The paper has, overall, been very supportive of library issues, but this just boggles the mind.

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