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.


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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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.


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