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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Top Journals For January

Top 20 journals, with # of page views, according to Urchin, for the month, so far.

Equal Access

I've been getting some pressure from some patrons to put Chinese language word processors on the internet terminals. We most indubitably need Chinese word processors, but not on the internet terminals. If there is no word processing on the internet terminals, there is no word processing on the internet terminals, regardless of language.

The problem being, I'm nearly 100% sure that our word processor terminals, which are sad little boxes running Win95, can't handle our Chinese word processing software (used on staff computers).

By Douglass Shand-Tucci. The Crimson Letter.

By Douglass Shand-Tucci in the book The Crimson Letter page 350...
...
Nor do I mind as much as I should that the Boston Public Library still
refuses to publish (though they have duly paid for it) my evidently too
inclusive guide to that landmark.
...
pages 49 and 79...
...
We know something more of these clubs
[St. Botolph Club, Tavern Club]
from the more intimate memories of some of their leading members.

Theodore Dwight, for instance.

anti-war lyrics after 40 years

My 16 year old son put together a collection of anti-war songs at my request and even though these lyrics are 40 years old, I realize that they have as much significance today vis-a-vis the war in Iraq as they did when my friends and I protested the war in Vietnam. Check them out: Bob Dylan's Masters of War lyrics here and P. Sloan's Eve of Destruction here, not to mention Country Joe McDonald's Fish cheer and Fixing to Die Rag

It's too cold to go to the library

Honestly, I think it was... It was dead today. I even got to install Chinese fonts on all the new computers. I don't think I can do it with iMacs. The Macs all know how I feel about them.

I learned I don't like to order books. I love spending money on books, but I felt like a total slacker sitting on Amazon all day looking at reference books. Not that we get them there, but it was a good way of seeing what was available. I also learned we're woefully behind in certain series. I have to call Gale Group on Tuesday.

Life In The 00's

So here's an interesting problem that most people don't have now, and no one had just a few years ago.
I accidently let my wifes domain name expire earlier this week. Luckily I caught it in time, so no harm done. Even while it was expired her email kept working, which I don't understand, so she didn't catch me, but I did fess up.
So for a happy marriage, always renew your domain names early, it's like never forget her birthday or anniversary.

Chinese fonts

Remind me I have to download some Chinese fonts for the new computers... of course, I don't think our brand spanking new print station supports Chinese fonts, so I have to look into that too.

Bush-Hatred Part II - Some bad policies are bipartisan

In my last post, I stressed the importance of focusing on policies rather than riduculing or demeaning an individual, say President Bush.

One of the reasons I think this is important is because some of the worst policies of the past few years have had bipartisan support. A few examples:

2001 "Bush Tax Cut" - This passed a Democrat controlled Senate and is one factor among several contributing to our $400 Billion Deficits.

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