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Field trips and police visits

This is a week of field trips for me. Today I got to go to a computer shop that will remain nameless, so that the computer could work perfectly there. Well. I told them to hold on to the stupid computer and keep hitting the power button periodically. I swear, every other computer we have starts just dandy. It's gotta be the power supply.

Tomorrow I'm taking a trip to our branch library (packing some antivirus software with me) so that I can figure out a few issues she's having there. It sounds like nothing a simple reinstall of IE can't fix. Of course, Opera would be my browser of choice.

Through the wonders of a little program called WinsockFix, I got the damned 169.xxx.xxx IP address to release on the children's room Dell and reassigned it a new IP address. It was so easy. I wish I thought of it before.

Not such good news about the IBM in the children's room. One day it went to sleep and just never woke up. A great way for someone who's lived a rich long life to go, not so great for a computer. At least, not on my watch. Best I can tell, because there isn't a fan in the thing, and the children's room has the tendency to accumulate... well, stuff... around the vents, the chip cooked. Now I have extra memory to play with. And hard drives. And CD ROM drives.

But what we really need is like three more functioning computers.

Today a fight broke out over the internet terminals... an honest to goodness, we had to call the police fight. Thank god for our reference librarian (who was systems before me). I would have let them probably take each other out of the gene pool if they're going to fight like that over something other than food or shelter. I love technology: the internet is a good thing. It's not worth being a stinkin' barbarian over, though.

I am running our eval version of the time management software, while waiting for another vendor to contact me with their eval version as well. This seems to be reaching critical mass. I'd like to get the Macs printing, and leave the Macs up for non-card holders and the PCs for card holders. Simply necessity: They don't seem to make time management software for Macs. Suggestions are welcome (hint hint).

Monday, Horizon is being updated. Joy. I forsee lots of phone calls to Boston in my future.

Viruses.

I wasn't in trouble. Basically the whole story got twisted around in Boston, and came back to me that the assistant director called... when it was really me that called. Does this mean I got a promotion?

Today I have to bring the new computer that is tempermental about starting to the computer shop. I think it's a bad power supply. It's a cheapo brand 300 watt powering a cd rom and an A drive. I should probably get the vital stats on those machines. I think it's running at least a P3, quite possibly a P4 chip. At any rate, it starts every fifth time you press the button.

I doubt it's our wall outlets, which was the other possibility, because everything else starts just dandy.

I got my antivirus software at work just in time. Loads of it. I've installed some of it. I got the new virus in my inbox... Unicode text, binary attachment. I sent out a warning about it, figuring if I got it, it was probably blanket emailed to everyone at the library. I'm sure someone will click on it. Perhaps I should be sure to send my little message to the branch library as well. I just don't have the address right now.

Incredibly polite high man came in last night. He thanked me for removing him from the computer when we were closing.

Know what I like about working at the library versus working retail? At closing time, the library throws people's butts out of the library. No needing to hang around while people poke at the lizards and tease the turtles and decide whether they want to purchase the $.99 can of fish food.

Tomorrow, a trip to the branch library to figure out what's up with IE. Of course, I'd just install Opera and be done with it if it were up to me. I am so tempted to do it on all the public access terminals. Expand your horizons! Download an alternative browser today!

Paying it forward on the web.

Warning: This is one of those "everybody should be just like me" entries…
Seems like everyone is saying the end of the free web is coming, thanks to low click
through rates and increasing costs.
I like the idea that the web is for sharing and part of how I choose to pay for reading sites is by clicking on an ad. Slashdot and fark get several a day from me, while I've sent matt a couple bucks to keep mefi going. I try and support the sites I really like and use all the time.

But there's other ways to pay or get paid back. The search engines web dude
is a good example of that. Whatever his motivations are in submitting so
many stories, I pay him back by having a link back to his site on his
submissions. Each link, especially the ones that I change to "search engine
submissions" is my payment to him for sending in a story. It doesn't really cost anyone anything, but we both get something we need.

At LISNews, I like to think people pay us back by suggesting stories and clicking on
the google ads, but the former is true much more than the latter. The ads
have a click-through rate of well under 1% and if we're lucky we'll get
maybe 5 good submissions a day, most days it's more like one or two. But that's still pretty good, anything is better than nothing in the submissions area.

There's other ways to pay it back on the web, paypal and amazon both have
tip jar apps written, and bitpass and others are trying to make a go of the
second generation micropaymets system. It'll be interesting to see how those grow, or die.

Am I in trouble?

First off, yes, I am neurotic.

So last night, none of our catalogers could catalog, thanks to some network problems with Boston. Try getting someone in Boston at 4:59 pm. I managed to get a human being (not an answering machine) at about 5:03. Of course, he's not really the "fix the cataloging" problems guy, but he was a human being who could physically find another human being who could help fix the problem.

He was suitably apalled that we couldn't save records, so he went off in search of someone that could help me. Then I was told by the other librarians to get home, because I was making them look bad working overtime.

I probably should have stuck around, maybe, just a little... See where my neurosis comes in? I've been there a little under a month. Man, I am hard on myself. Anyway, this morning, I check my email (see where my neurosis comes in yet again?) and there is a message from the assistant director saying that he got someone in Boston and explained the problem and had it fixed.

Perhaps I should whip out the big guns before I go through the "proper channels" next time. Because the proper channels said, "I'm going home. Email me in the morning." Then, I didn't know how widespread the problem was. Reading between the lines (a key neurotic symptom) certainly makes it seem as though there were other issues going on I didn't know about. I need to implement some sort of reporting system.

The problem is, the support staff doesn't come to me a lot of the time when there is a problem. The other librarians, fortunately, do. Sometimes, if it's a problem with a particular record, I tell them to wait it out. But that certainly isn't the case every time. I don't know what would motivate them, though, to come tell me consistently. I would have a log book, but I don't think anyone would actually use it. Besides, people think it's something they did when the SQL error comes up, not something that the system did.

I also have to get better at being pushy. Like, there is a problem with Horizon today, fix it.

Never been a real supervisor before. I mean, I've supervised people, but never to this extent. Still wrestling with my promotion from peon to, um, less of a peon.

Who's Your Governor?

Upon reading about the Florida state library and its proposed exile by Governor Jeb Bush, I've concluded that there are a lot of strange governors out there. How did they get elected? Well, we sort of know how Gov. Schwartzenegger got elected (at least it hasn't left our collective memories as yet)... Same goes for my governor, George Pataki, former mayor of Poughkeepsie ...how did HE make it to the Governors mansion? Who's your governor, and how's he/she doing? Please add your comments...especially you Connecticut residents.

rebel technology

The fates were conspiring against me today. First, my supervisor and trainer called in, so I got to do the schedule in her place. It wouldn't have been a problem, except that there was no Monday schedule from last week to base it on. It was time to get creative. The trickiest thing was making sure everyone got lunch.

Fortunately, the info desk was very quiet from nine to ten, when I was the only librarian in the building.

Then I got a sales pitch from a vendor that shall remain nameless. I requested it, but I sort of had like twelve thousand other things going on, and just wanted very basic information. I hope I wasn't too rude.

I realized our Mac security software works poorly with IE. I ended up installing Netscape. I played some games though. First I left the icon for AIM up on the screen, and when you (try to) sign in, nothing happens. I centered the sign that says "No Instant Messaging" right above it. Tech librarian humor.

I also uninstalled Flash and Real Player. I'll be damned if someone is looking at movies at our ten minute Internet email terminal!

It made me smile... Someone tried to install Flash within twenty minutes of my putting it out there. But they couldn't download or execute it. Mwahahahahahahaha!

I also met with incredibly gross man today. First he was complaining because copies were $.15. Then he was upset because all our books on a certain trade exam were missing. But I showed him where the given trade books were anyway. And boy, could this guy burp. He illustrated his talents often... At the info desk, in the reading room, down the stairs, in the stacks. We're not talking little, "Oh, excuse me" burps, we're talking break the sound barrier, I just drank a whole keg of carbonated beer sort of burp.

At 4:58 (these things always happen between 4:55-4:59), Horizon started doing flips in Boston. None of our catalogers could catalog. So at 5:15 I was putting in a few extra minutes to give Boston a call. I think everyone went home.

Then I meant to send an email to the assistant director, and everyone got a copy. Whoops. Best be fixing my address book. At least there wasn't anything I'd say to my assistant director that I wouldn't say to any of the librarians.

"Poor" candidates

What is it about growing up in poverty/depravation that appeals to the American voter? Those of the Dems who can attest to being from modest beginnings are screaming it from the rooftops. Ok, so Dean and Kerry are affluent. Their parents were educated. They were privileged as children...they were probably read to each night at bedtime! Why apologize? I can't imagine any other country on earth where candidates for the highest office would be ashamed to have sprung from comfortable beginnings. What is it about modest means that appeals to us Yanks?
On the other hand, President Bush
of course grew up with a diamond-encrusted platinum spoon in his mouth. Hey, maybe that's why he has so much trouble talking.

long term projects

I have a couple of long term projects. One I think is sort of funny... wireless for the library. Why is this funny? Well, half the people that come in the library to use the computers have no idea how to use them. How would they benefit from wireless? And people with laptops... they might like wireless internet, but still insist on plugging in their laptop's power cord, which is against policy.

The second long term project is time access management software.

I had a request to disable the "log off" function on the public access terminals. This leads to the, er, obvious problems. We do need to be able to log off. And we do need to be able to shutdown (and I'd rather have a librarian logging in every half hour than a patron turning the computers on and off, and still needing a librarian to log in anyway). I could enable ctrl-alt-delete on those boxes again, but I don't want every schmuch ctrl-alt-deleting when our network is slow.

The network, my nemesis. I still don't understand, exactly, how the network at the library works. We're networked to a T1 line. Evidently we are behind a firewall that Boston uses. Windows is our responsibility. But I'm thinking we must have a server machine somewhere, although my predecessor says we don't. So where is our filtering software? Also in Boston, because it has to operate in front of the firewall. I think I need to talk to someone and get the low down on exactly how this whole thing knits together, before I start even pondering too deeply the ramifications, good and bad, of time managment software.

We simply can't afford a kiosk or another computer to manage internet reservations, and even if I could somehow rig the print server to act as as server for this as well (I'm not entirely convinced I can't), I don't relish the idea of having the librarians and support staff have to log on to the server to make appointments. The key here is to save time. And a self-service station requires more hardware. If any new hardware comes in, well, it's going to the staff. Or the unfiltered terminal, which is pre-1997.

Client only should work, even though it won't entirely eliminate our handy dandy sign up sheet entirely. Try finding variety in client only systems. And I would like it to work with Horizon, without having to be tweaked in Boston. And I would like it to work on Macs. Tall order. If you know of anything, please, please drop me a line.

My wish list for wireless? Yeah. Well, I'll get to that, when I'm entirely convinced it's a good idea. The assistant director suggested it, and I'm not sure he's entirely convinced it's a good idea either. I would rather be a late adopter and get it right, at least on this, methinks.

My first weekend off the ref desk

Ohmigawd! Ever since I was hired part-time as reference support staff in 1995, I have worked a Tuesday-Saturday schedule. This is my inaugural weekend as a M-F person. Of course, I'll be on a weekend rotation (every 3rd Saturday, every 6th weekend), but this is my first Friday to be home, chill out and know that I don't have to be up at any time I don't want to be up Saturday morning.

When I got my MSLIS degree in '98 and became a full-time, (capital L) Librarian, I was given the chance to adopt a M-F schedule. At that time I had younger kids--they had a lot of school holidays on Mondays, and they were with their papa on Saturdays, so it made sense to keep my Tue-Sat schedule. As they are older (10 and 13) and don't need (or want!) me as much, and have more Saturday activities, a good ol' Amerkian M-F schedule makes more sense (yeah, I still have one night per week, so it's not strictly a 9-5 deal).

Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've been to a garage sale?

Fist fights @ your library!

I was on information alone for the first time today. That's when everyone and their brother decided to come in. I had people dropping off posters and books and mail. I had people wanting new cards. I had people crashing the Macs (they like to freeze up and nothing but a hard reset will fix them), I had people with issues about their local post man (like I can help that), but the best of them all was the near-fist-fight.

It was young patron versus older patron. I don't know who was more trouble. It was over... what else... the internet. The older patron didn't want to sign up for the next slot because she didn't want to sign up for a computer that might not come available. I told her that was the policy. She told me she wasn't a moron. Of course, it would be easy enough to cross one's name off the high tech paper and golf pencil sign up sheet we have.

The young patron called her something less than polite, and she came to tell me. I got the young patron (who'd already been there an hour and half) off the computer, explaining that she'd been there over the amount of time we allow and others were waiting. She was fine with me, though knowing human nature, she might have been less than polite with the other lady.

Then it started. They started going at each other... First comments about manners, and civilization, and etiquette. I was waiting for them to whoosh out the boxing gloves. I stood there, like an idiot, just looking at them. My first thought was... we're getting this excited over Hotmail and Internet Explorer? So I stood there, unable to say anything, between the two of them. Believe me, I wanted to say something. But I couldn't think of anything that would sound professional. So I just let them glare at each other, and left when I was reasonably sure no one would get hurt.

Two patrons today (and lots of staff) mentioned time access/management software. I think it would help. People would be cheesed because they'd have to use a card for the internet, but hey. It is a library.

The unfiltered terminal's keyboard died this morning. No biggie, right? Yeah, it's one of those archiac pre-ps/2 keyboards. Believe it or not, I went in the computer cemetery and found one with the right adaptor that worked. I had to clean it off. I didn't want anyone to catch anything from the keyboard.

A well deserved weekend. Yay. I will spend it researching software and... the Toyota Prius!

And no powerpoint!

The whole thing was worth it, last night, when our director did her Howard Dean impression. What a scream.

So I wonder how many upper eschelons will have fundraiser hang over. No, no one was drinking, but I left at nine, when my coach turned into a pumpkin, and it was still going strong.

I got to explain the new print station yesterday, which was a might bit surprising for me. I came in, and suddenly I was giving a staff presentation.

I learned that none of us know where the toner is coming from for the printer, so I have to call about that today. Thank god laser toner lasts a bit.

I also realized my brochure for patrons on how to use the thing should come sooner rather than later.

This is the only time you'll hear me say this: The computers started acting out at the presentation, and boy was I glad. It kind of gave people an introduction to what to do when I'm not there and that happens. For most things, the assistant director wants only me touching the boxes (my preciousssssssssss) but I really think that most people can handle holding down a power button till the fans stop and then waiting ten seconds and pressing "on" again.

The director asked how I felt about the custodians switching the computers on in the morning. Hell, I don't care. As long as they don't kick them. Gotta leave something for the patrons to do.

The ornery machine is kept on the carpet, which bothers me. The alternative is to keep it on the edge of a tiny table, which also bothers me. The alternative I like the best is keeping it in my office.

It's Friday, the day the library is at half-staff. When the kids get out of school, the place is hopping. Last week there was a fight over the pay phone. Some kid came up to me after the fact and said, "That kid on the phone for an hour wasn't really talking to his mom." I never would have guessed.

Last Quotes from New Seeds of Contemplation

Off and on, I have been sharing selections from Thomas Merton's "New Seeds of Contemplation." I finished reading the book several weeks ago and continue to recommend it highly. I'm closing with a selection on peace and one about hate that I thought were especially valuable today, though they were written back in 1961. The years 1961 and 1962 brought threats to America's existance that make 9/11/2001 pale into insignificance.

From Chapter 16, "The Root of War is Fear"

"When I pray for peace I pray God to pacify not only the Russians and the Chinese but above all my own nation and myself. When I pray for peace I pray to be protected not only from the Reds but also from the folly and blindness of my own country. When I pray for peace, I pray not only the enemies of my country may cease to want war, but above all that my own country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable. In other words, when I pray for peace I am not just praying that the Russians will give up without a struggle and let us have our own way. I am praying that both we and the Russians may somehow be restored to sanity and learn how to work out our problems, as best we can, together, instead of preparing for global suicide."

From Chapter 24, "He who is not with Me is against Me."

"Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you were capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.

Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy is an enemy of God just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy precisely because he can find nothing in you that gives glory to God. Perhaps he fears you because he can find nothing in you of God's love and God's kindness and God's patience and mercy and understanding of the weaknesses of men.

Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God, for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice, your mediocrity and materialism, your sensuality and selfishness that have killed his faith."

This last section flows nicely into the book I'll start discussing on and off in the next few weeks -- Prisoners of Hate: The Congnitive basis of Anger, Hostility and Violence by Aaron Beck. A book with a Grand Unified Theory of Hate that explains barroom brawls, domestic violence, and the endless war in Chechnya with a single principle.

Take care until next time,

Special collections dreaming

So last night I dreamt about local history. Our local history department is located in the old building, and is ruled with an iron fist, and rightly so. There is some old stuff there, not the least of which is the refinished furniture.

No one is allowed to touch the refinished furniture. It's all placed around the gigantic old fireplace and old librarian office, to make a corner of the library look as it did 120 years ago or so. It's gorgeous. Check out Henry Hobson Richardson and the Small Public Library in America : A Study in Typology
by Kenneth A. Breisch. We're in there. I believe that's us on the cover; it certainly looks like us. I've never seen Richardson's other libraries in person, so I wonder how similar they all are.

Anyway, I had this dream that a class full of fifth graders came in and were climbing all over the furniture, and I was under the watchful eye of the director to get them under control.

When they left, I discovered they all wrote evil things about me in the poll books.

People can be so rude. There was a guy on a cell phone the other day at our public access terminals, just gabbing away and surfing the web. He wasn't even talking in a hushed voice. I directed him outside. On his way out I heard him say, "Yeah, the librarian kicked me out." The librarian. Cool.

Today is my first fundraiser (take a picture, mom, and put it in my baby book). It's a trivia thing. I have a lot to do at the library, but of course, this is a good opportunity to actually meet all the people that are involved in the library, so I guess I'll forgo the traditional library tasks today.

I can't wait for my new reference books to come!

The road to the library is paved with good intentions

I love the public. Really.

I made change for this guy out of my own pocket because he was having a real hard time figuring out what "Dollars full, please insert coins" meant. I was sort of on my way to do something else, so I had to help him out quickly.

I did learn it's easy to hide in the young adult room if you sit at the librarian's desk and move her ALA "Read" poster stand in front of the computer.

I installed OpenOffice.org on a few computers today. I don't want to bankrupt the library buying Office suites after I bought the very necessary staff antivirus. I use OO.o in Linux and it's very capable, and plays fairly nice with Word and Excel. It seems just as good in Windows. My direct supervisor is getting a copy tomorrow. Then she won't have to take work home.

Speaking of viruses, some nice person downloaded one on one of our new internet terminals. Of course, it's the internet terminal that doesn't want to start anyway. I guess this virus likes to randomly rename dlls. Ahem. Norton (public access computers, at least, are pretty protected) says there's nothing toxic on the computer. I hope it nailed it. I really don't want to play the old "regedit"/repair game. Things were working so nicely.

I ordered some health books for reference today. Updated our HIV books, and got a cancer encyclopedia. And some books on diabetes. Next up, atlases. How long has the Soviet Union been defunct?

This is truly the toughest website to use

I'm happy. I just got an email from a LISNewster who called LISNews "truly the toughest website to use." Why am I happy about that? Because this person points out what's wrong with the code, pages that are broke, are hard to use, and links that are missing.

We get somewhere around 5,000 visitors a day now, and I'm lucky if I get one or two suggestions a month on how to best make the site run. This might be due to the fact that most people are happy , but it's more likely because people just don't complain enough. Rather than thinking something is wrong with the site, they think they can't use it because they are having troubles. This is not a phenomenon unique to LISNews in anyway, read any good usability book, or, better yet, do a usability study, and you'll see it for yourself.

I probably shouldn't complain about the lack of complaints, and I defiantly shouldn't ask for more, because, as they say, I might just get what I ask for. I simply don't have the time to make all the changes I'd like to make as it stands now, add to that a pile of new ones, and I'll never get anything done. Until I can figure out a way to run LISNews for a living, the changes will be slow in coming.

So my point today is simply, I know it's not the easiest thing to use in the world. I added what I thought would help to the help page, but if something's broken, or hard to use, or you just don't get it, let me know, and I'll see what I can do.

My geek tool belt

I got my husband a geek tool for Christmas, and it's somehow found it's way into my messenger bag. It's a Swiss Army Knife with screwdriver bits... Torx, and other heads... The little square head and stuff. I don't know what they're all called. The custodian saw me taking apart the mac with it and was quite jealous.

The Mac. Yes. My ever hopeful reinstall failed. No hard drive mounted. So I decided to take the hard drive out of another dead mac and put it in the previous mac. Right. Someone at Apple stuck the screws in the hard drive so tight the God of your choice him/herself couldn't get it out. So that baby goes to the shop.

Good news: I found a working Mac. I took the memory out of the hard drive impaired Mac and decided I'd beef up this one. Right. First, I dropped every screw I touched in the case. I had to open the case to get the silly things out. Then, surprise of surprises, one screw in the motherboard assembly (which I had to dismantle) was stripped. The kind custodian managed to get it open for me, so I could get the damn screws I dropped out.

After taking the mobo out, I realized the futility of my efforts... Older, tray loading Macs, may take the same type of memory, but not the same memory stick. Right.

I put the mac back together (with much swearing--most of it under my breath) and it still works, although you need an engineering degree to get the silly cabling to sit flush with the snap on cheesy plastic tray.

I guess the good news is that I learned how to open a Mac, and get around it. The bad news: three hours of my work day gone with really nothing to show for it.

Today: reference and local history. I am going to try to do a repair of the operating system and reinstall drivers on the Dell that got the virus (it was popping up porn in the children's room. Heh). Hopefully that will fix the fact that something about the NIC isn't recognizing the network.

Would MLK be treated as a terrorist today?

I saw this new article on WorkingforChange.com via Alternet:

---------
Martin Luther King: Terrorist?
Full article at
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=17594.

This article should be read in the light of the definition of "Domestic Terrorism," contained in 18 USC 2331 -

" (5) the term ``domestic terrorism'' means activities that--
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended--
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

A few choice quotes from the article:

"He would be decried, by powerful figures inside and outside government, as at worst a domestic terrorist, at best a publicity seeking menace whose criticisms of America gave comfort to our unseen enemies.

"snip"

The powerful black religious networks that produced King and so many other courageous civil rights leaders would be attacked by federal prosecutors as providing financial support for terrorism. Church groups' tax exemptions would be lifted; records would be seized. Charges would be brought, perhaps under federal RICO statutes or Patriot Act provisions. The FBI harassment that hounded King throughout his career would today be fiercer, and subject to no judicial oversight.

-----------------------
I should say that
Alternet and
WorkingForChange are not much more "Fair and Balanced" in outlook than Fox News is. However, they state their biases up front, which Fox does not.

Are there any legal types out there willing to offer an interpretation of 18 USC 2331 (5), specificaly if all three points mentioned:

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by
intimidation or coercion; or
iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;

must be fulfilled to be terrorism or whether only ONE of the three conditions needs to be met. If the latter, then it seems like the plain purpose of the Civil Rights marches was to "coerce" the American government and broader society to grant broader rights to blacks. Hence King would have been guilty of fomenting "Domestic Terrorism," as would Gandhi if a similar law existed in India.

Then again, I suppose any teenagers went on the marches without the permission of their parents, then the government could have added "kidnapping" charges as well -- thus fulifilling the full criteria for Domestic Terrorism.

Thanks for listening. Merton really is coming soon -- probably Thursday. - Daniel

Here it is...

Here is my first entry by way of a test message.

Score so far for this journal = boring but perhaps I will think of something useful to post soon.

Sam

Wuthering Heights

Nearly every copy of Wuthering Heights in a twenty mile radius of Boston was checked out (or lost) last Saturday. There was one left at Chelsea.

A young lady (not the Wuthering Heights type, I might add) came in looking for it, frantically. I was wondering what brought on this need for classic literature. We checked our library, Everett, Medford, Melrose, and finally discovered Chelsea's. But Chelsea closed at five. It was four fifty.

I told her I could put in a reserve, but she told me it was useless after Monday. Someone's flunking a test today, methinks.

When I was in school, up in Northern New Hampshire, they supplied the books we were required to read. I guess that's good, because the local libraries never could have survived the influx of kids looking for A Separate Peace. Then again, we're having trouble accomodating all those kids with Wuthering Heights, aren't we?

My Mac battles continue this afternoon (late shift for me). You know, once I'm off info. They're liking putting me on info and reference at the busiest times. I suppose it's good, but I'm always exhausted when I'm done.

I really hope my reinstall of OS 9.04.08.34.3942.89.2.1 works, as I found a web page yesterday about replacing iMac hard drives that claimed it was perhaps the most difficult iMac repair to do. It looks like we have later models than the iMac they showed, however. And I would hope Apple would fix a major design flaw that you have to remove the freaking motherboard to put in a hard drive.

Countryside Journal - Good Read / Practical Advice

I'm writing this entry especially for urban librarians and librarians who live at the edge of rural areas.

Try checking out Countryside Magazine. It is a print publication whose web site contains selected articles from issues going back to 1998. It is an extremely plain spoken magazine catering to the needs of homesteaders and people wanting to make a break for the country.

Some recent articles have included:

Practical Solar Power

How To Make Vinegar

Thinking About A Homestead Enterprise?

Every issue also hosts a whole bunch of recipes. Some are written by editorial staff and others are sent in by readers. I have found good recipes for pita bread, hummus, and oat cakes. Whether or not you live in the country, there will be something you or your patrons can use.

Part of what I think is great about Countryside is that no monthly issue sugarcoats rural life. Every issue has stories from people across the country making the homesteading life work. Even the ones who love what they are doing speak in great detail about how hard it all is.

The bottom line is that if you feel have have people interested in old-time recipes, frugality, or chucking the city life for the country, you would be doing them a favor by subscribing to Countryside. Alternative energy patriots would also benefit from a subscription.

If you already subscribe to EBSCO MasterFile Premier, you can already read Countryside Magazine online. As someone who's read entire issues online as well as in paper, I can tell you that the PDF version through EBSCO can't compete with a paper copy. At least on a computer screen. Maybe it would be okay on a reading tablet with an 8 1/2 x 11 screen.

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