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, 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...


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 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. ; )


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.�
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.

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.

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