August 2008

Tips for the worried librarian relative to Gustav

As seen in the past, hurricanes are big news. We worry about loved ones and the electronic communications bring us ever closer. As noted in the response to Hurricane Katrina, communications were a major issue. Rumors easily spread out of the Superdome and due to those massive communications nets those rumors whipped up pretty drastic hysteria.

What can a librarian do in this? The first thing to do is to be patient. While librarianship is sometimes considered a helping profession it must be remembered that a drive on our parts to help must be tempered with caution. The time to start thinking about donations of physical goods is best after landfall rather than before. The best thing that can be donated before landfall is money because that is far more fungible than a roll of toilet paper might be in terms of procuring goods. Money allows for those directly impacted to make decisions about how to respond rather than such being made in a disconnected place. The after-action reports from Katrina showed that while folks outside the impacted area might have been well-meaning sometimes the bulk donation of some types of physical goods was not quite effective.

Communications will be presumably impacted by this event. LISTen will not be reporting on Gustav. Rather than get details second-hand from LISTen a pointer is given below instead to an experimental podcast from the National Hurricane Center that may be issued as often as hourly. In this case it is best to get it directly rather than filtered. Care must be taken to ensure that telephone communications are not disrupted by attempting to contact loved ones that might still be in the projected impact area. If you receive a message that circuits are busy, it is best to wait as it may be a while before congestion clears. Many emergency response plans prioritize telephone traffic to support emergency response traffic first so continually trying might only cause you grief rather than relief. Individuals impacted by the storm should have registered with the American Red Cross “Safe and Well” system which is set up to help alleviate circuit congestion issues.

Even though it is a holiday weekend in the United States, the hard part is having to wait. Folks abroad also may have worries too. The links below are commended as ways to keep yourself up to date as well as for sharing with others who may have concerns.

Useful links:
American Red Cross “Safe and Well” Site
Tip sheet by the American Red Cross on hurricane evacuation
American Red Cross Gustav Newsroom
American Radio Relay League’s links to resources
List of groups from National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster who you could donate funds to that might aid relief efforts
Jim Lindgren at The Volokh Conspiracy highlights a report about charities that performed best in responding to the 2005 storms
Details about the National Hurricane Center Podcast
Gustav Information Center on Ning
Podcasts available from The Weather Channel
CNN reporting on Hurricane Gustav
RSS feed for CNN hourly news audio
RSS feed for CNN twice a day news video
ABC World News webcast via FeedBurner

Former WI library employee told police she stole money to survive

While being interrogated a second time about stolen cash, a fired Lake Geneva Public Library employee threw down her arms in frustration.

“I did it to survive,” she said June 13, according to court documents. “I knew it was wrong all along. I can’t even say that anything justified it.”

Mercedes Mogensen, 44, Elkhorn, is accused of stealing $18,500 from the library and charging about $70,000 on the library’s credit card for personal purchases.

What would you rather have? An Olympic medal or your dream career?

For Tsawwassen’s Jeannie Cockcroft, there’s no contest. Twenty years ago this summer, Cockcroft was a promising young high jumper taking part in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. “So what is her life like, now?” wonders Cockcroft, who has since moved on to greater heights. On Aug. 5 she took over as community librarian at the Tsawwassen Library, a job she lobbied hard for, returning to her roots after 13 years at the Vancouver Public Library.

Decline in use forces CO board to ask volunteers to run facility

The Gateway library branch will no longer be staffed by a paid librarian because of what administrators say is a decline in use, leaving the operation of the library up to volunteers who claim they’re already stretched thin.

The Mesa County Public Library District Board of Trustees voted 4-2 Thursday night to stop staffing the Gateway branch and transition to a stand-alone “leaf” that would be run by volunteers.

Second-hand book sellers learn to adapt

Second-hand book sellers learn to adapt The World Wide Web has found a home amid the shelves and stacks of Canada’s second-hand bookstores.

But sellers say that doesn’t mean the final chapter has been written for customers who like to troll nooks and crannies in search of lexical treasures.

“Most of our sales are just good old walk-in traffic — the old-fashioned way,” says Pat Edgar-Brown.

Maine City Drops Case Against Woman Who Won’t Return “Normal”

The showdown between the city and JoAn Karkos ended Friday even though Karkos failed to return a library book she has deemed obscene. Karkos will not be ordered to jail for violating a judge’s orders. The city will not continue trying to wrest from her a copy of “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health.” There will be no national debate drawn to Lewiston based on the arrest of a 64-year-old grandmother. City leaders believe they made the right choice by choosing to drop the matter. Karkos, they say, still has to pay a $100 fine and cannot return to the library until she does so.

So can I assume I can go to the library and take whatever I want now?

Where the books world ends

Could Kettering be the least literary town in Britain? That’s what JL Carr claimed, but Sam Jordison is not so sure. This opinion of the town is backed up in the Spectator magazine, which here describes the town curtly as “far from the literary world”. Meanwhile, Rogers himself describes it evocatively as a “a large, sad Midlands town where shoes once got made”.