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Cycling for Libraries

Librarians on bikes, unite! From the website:

We (Finnish librarian Kai Halttunen, Tampere University) – me with a team of keen library lovers – will arrange this tour supported by library associations and collaborators in different countries and I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience for all you who like cycling, get-together and passionate and visionary conversations about a variety of library topics.

Our aim is also to bring libraries, their highly proactive staff and the work all librarians do more to publicity and media. We mean to make this public by using internet and social media and making a documentary about how we handle this challenge of cycling 650 km --from Copenhagen to Berlin in spring-summer 2011 (We leave Copenhagen 28.05.2011 and arrive in Berlin 05.06.2011; 6th and 7th of June we have programme in Berlin).

We all know that good ideas are generated in cafes and hallways and not so much on lecture halls’ benches or somewhere we expect them to generate. That is why we go to this courageous venture of cycling about 10 days together – to see what kind of spectacular performances the library staff can reach if they just wish to. This is a challenge for you, and I hope that you accept it. Let’s go cycling for libraries! The participation is open to all librarians and everybody interested in the field of libraries.

Stay tuned by following this site or our Facebook page.

Reddit's Astonishing Altruism

Reddit’s Astonishing Altruism
Even more amazing has been the flood of selfless generosity on Reddit. The upvoting system has encouraged the Reddit community to be brave. As a general rule, Redditors are not mocked or scoffed at for offering advice and support to one another. The result has been an unprecedented swell of uncontrolled, unmitigated, and often unsolicited help and succor. From using software prowess to help clean up family photos to donating thousands of dollars to an individual’s cause, the Reddit community has come out in force time and again to help one another. Here are 25 of the most incredible examples of that unique brand of Reddit altruism.

Top 10 Library History Websites

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The Library History Buff's Top 10 Library History Websites There are a number of top 10 library related lists around. George Eberhart even has a book about them - The Librarian's Book of Lists. I was pleased to be selected as one of the 10 Librarian Blogs to Read in 2010 by LISNEWS. So I thought I would do my bit to promote more good library history websites by identifying what I consider to be the top 10 library history websites.

BookBrewer: Blog to eBook in Minutes

Interesting Idea: How it Works: Import posts from your site or blog, or copy/paste from a manuscript. Edit content and drag it into chapters, then congratulations ... you're an eBook author! Pay $89.99 to send your eBook to online stores with your ISBN or one we assign for free, or $199.99 to get an ePub file to do with as you wish.
http://bookbrewer.com/home

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Nice Ref Desk!

Way cool ref desk in the Netherlands from Recycleart.org...via Val Hawkins.

Podcasts Without A Fruit-Based Player

Sometimes posts are not easily made to Drupal. Drupal likes text and can be tricky to use if you want to incorporate images into posts. When you have a situation of multiple screenshots to display with text, Adobe Acrobat format can be a better container for such information.

In recognition of that the software & service review article attached to this post is available in Adobe Acrobat format only. Click the download link to access the piece. Podcast subscribers will automatically receive the PDF in their playlist as if it were yet more liner notes.

Video Dominoes at Tea Tree Gully Library

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Quoting the description on Youtube: To celebrate the demise of the video collection and the now unchallenged reign of the DVD, staff felt that the remaining videos must go out with a bang. One weekend staff came in on their own time to film the final stand of the video in a giant domino train throughout the library space as a fitting homage to their service. May the videos now rest in peace. Long live the VHS! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2Qup0kA6kw

Sublime Stitching's Sexy Librarians embroidery patterns

Sublime Stitching's Sexy Librarians embroidery patterns
Sexy Librarians is just one of several fantastic embroidery patterns made by Sublime Stitching and for sale in the Boing Boing Bazaar. There's also Meaty Treats, Vital Organs, and Lucha Libre. Check them all out here. And check out the rest of the Makers Market for more maker-made marvelousness.

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Check Out This Website

You've gotta see this...a beautifully done promo for "Life List" by Olivia Gentile. Site design by Pentagram.

Calling All Print Supporters...Read the Printed Word

Read the Printed Word!
A fan of the printed word? Add their code to your library's site or blog to show your support for the printed word in all its forms: newspapers, magazines and, of course, books.

Here's some background on the project from one of the creators.

Read the Printed Word!

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National Library of Ireland William Butler Yeats Exhibition

Enter exhibition here. Enjoy the elaborate virtual reality exhibition, and follow Yeats development as a poet, a playwright and writer of prose. The National Library of Ireland has the largest collection of Yeats manuscripts in the world, many contributed over the years by his widow and by his son.

10 Librarian Blogs To Read in 2010

10 Librarian Blogs To Read in 2010 I started the "10 Blogs To Read This Year" 4 years ago to help highlight people writing in the many different areas of librarianship. Those people who are doing some of the most interesting and original writing on the web. Each year we've attempted to gather a group of librarians whose writing helps increase our understanding of the profession and it's place in our rapidly changing world. Again this year we tried to choose 10 writers who cover very different aspects of our profession, 10 sites that inform, educate and maybe amuse. By following these blogs I think you'll find something new to read, and a place to gain better understanding of a part of librarianship that's outside of your normal area. We all have much to learn from each other, and these bloggers are working hard to share their knowledge and understanding with you. Read on below to see why each site made the list, and why there's an honorable mention this year. This year I also made an OPML File for your reader. Here's the list in alphabetical order:
  1. Academic Librarian (Feed)
  2. Awful Library Books (Feed)
  3. The Best Of PubLib (Feed)
  4. Disruptive Library Technology Jester (Feed)
  5. Everybody's Libraries (Feed)
  6. The Library History Buff (Feed)
  7. Library Garden (Feed)
  8. The Merry Librarian (Feed)
  9. The 'M' Word - Marketing Libraries (Feed)
  10. Walt at Random (Feed)
Honorable Mention: Agnostic, Maybe (Feed)

Search Engine for Creative Commons and Public Domain Images

ResearchBuzz Points The Way to a neat site called Sprixi. "Sprixi gathers images from quality sites around the web and brings them together. Currently we get images Flickr and OpenClipArt, as well as our own images. "

How to Make a Book of Pop-Up Dinosaurs (if you dare!)

How to make a pop-up book by Robert Sabuda, leading children's pop-up book artist and paper engineer, who works with Matthew Reinhart on this Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up (not available on Kindle?)

Want to try your hand at it? It doesn't look easy.

Lending Materials of a Different Sort

About six months ago, I read about an organization called Kiva that makes microloans to groups and individuals in economically disadvantaged countries all over the world. These loans, ranging from several hundred dollars to several thousand, represent people trying to improve their business and lives. Microloans are a great way to provide capital to small businesses that are otherwise ignored by financial institutions. (Read about the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh; this Nobel Peace Prize winning organization started lending to the poor in Bangladesh.) Over time, the loans are repaid to your account; you can take the money out or you can re-loan it to other applicants. It is not without its risk. For myself, it’s a worthwhile calculated risk. At best I get paid back so I can make another loan; at worst, I tried and it didn’t work.

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True Stories from a Book Drop Near You

Oct. 25th blog post, www.merrylibrarian.com

Book drops. It seems simple, doesn’t it? A name like “book drop” doesn’t leave much room for mystery…you’d think.

A recent poll of librarians has proven otherwise, however. Across the nation, patrons of public libraries have confused a book drop with trash receptacles, a donation box, urinals, chicken coops… The list goes on and on.

While we may never understand how or why this confusion occurs, we do know that the result of patron confusion–though sometimes disturbing–is frequently amusing. So, until the government provides libraries with several billion dollars to launch an education campaign on proper book drop use, we have taken it upon ourselves to provide you with this useful list of book drop dos and don’ts–all based on the true stories that have been sent in from around the world.

1. Situation: You work at a library in the city of Las Vegas, NV. As you approach the book drop, you hear the sound of squawking and scratching.

Don’t…Assume you’re crazy. You may be miles from the nearest farm, but there actually are chickens in your book drop…complete with food and water. Hey, it happens.

Do… Tell your coworkers to fire up the bar-be-que, baby!

2. Situation: Upon opening the book drop, you are pummeled by the stench of garbage. And on top of the rubbish heap in your book drop? A used maxi pad.

Don’t…Toss your cookies into the book drop. You’d only have to clean that up, too.

Lost in Translation--Crazy Reference Questions

The following is another story from The Merry Librarian. Once again, this true story is an example of patron expectations for a librarian’s abilities. As bizarre requests go, this one is definitely a strange need for information. And we’re just curious…why is it that when a patron needs something complicated and bizarre, they always want it within 24 hours? Just curious....

“Here’s a situation I ran into yesterday that I thought you might find amusing…it falls under the “librarians should know everything about everything” assumption that much of the general public seems to have. A man walked into our branch yesterday and asked me the following questions:

“If something were translated from English into Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics, would someone from Iran who speaks Hebrew be able to understand it?”

Umm…I’m thinking not.

“Well, then, could you translate it for me so they could understand it?”

…Why yes, of course I happen to be fluent in ALL those languages. (I am a librarian, after all.)

“Well, do you have a book that translates Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics into Hebrew?”

I’m thinking not…but I’ll check anyway just to appease you…Nope, just as I suspected. Nothing.

“Why don’t you have any books that do that?”

I don’t think there is a book anywhere that does that.

“Well, what can you do? I need it done tonight.”

Rebel Librarians? Yes, please!

The following is our most recent Story of the Week from The Merry Librarian (www.merrylibrarian.com), dated Oct. 11th, 2009. A new story is posted every week on our site. Be sure to check us out!

"Rebel Librarians? Yes, please!"

Library patrons are, by nature, very delicate clientele. They enter our doors with all kinds of requests and needs, but we, being the stodgy librarians we all are, sometimes forget that they are to be treated with absolute sensitivity. Sometimes, we blunder. We inadvertently step on someone’s toes with cold-hearted requests such as, “Please use headphones when listening to your death metal music on your laptop,” or “We’d appreciate it if you’d leave your flask of whiskey at home next time.” And we may slip up occasionally and ask difficult and alarming questions, such as, “What’s the title of the book you’re looking for?”. But hey, we’re only human…right?

Librarian: What can I do for you?

Patron: Can you check to see if a book is in your library?

Librarian: Sure! What book are you looking for?

Patron: I knew you were going to ask that! I just had it…and when you asked me that I forgot it right away!

…pause…

Librarian: Oops…sorry about that, is there anything you know about the book that I can possibly use to find the title?

Patron: No! You shouldn’t have said anything!

Librarian: …

Another Day, Another Taser

The following is posted from www.merrylibrarian.com from our Story of the Week archives, dated Oct. 4th, 2009. Check out the site for all of our stories!

"Another Day, Another Taser"

Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo, we no longer live in the cheerful, black-and-white world of “Leave It To Beaver.” The streets aren’t even clean anymore, much less safe. Where the public library was once a quiet, quaint place for study and leisurely reading, it has now become a strange mix of internet cafe/detention hall/day care/reading room/homeless shelter. Don’t get us wrong–we aren’t complaining (too much)! The library is supposed to be for everyone, and we gladly open our doors to any person who may walk through them.

But let’s face it: the whole “libraries are for everyone” thing means we get a lot of unsavory people stumbling past our desks everyday. And with them, we get a whole slew of uncomfortable situations. (It is the Merry Librarian’s humble opinion that librarians everywhere should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.) But the true heroes of the library are easily the library security guards. They undoubtedly see the worst. Not only do they get the porno freaks and drunks, they get the screamers, irate parents, gangsters, predators, thieves, liars, abandoned children, squatters…you name it.

Tough Love From a Tough Dad

The following is a post from The Merry Librarian (www.merrylibrarian.com) dated Sept. 27th, 2009. Check out the website for all postings!

"Tough Love from a Tough Dad"

This week’s Story of the Week is one of the rare stories that is genuinely heartwarming (though we’re sure there are more out there!). As librarians–as with any public service profession–we so often see the sad and traumatic family interactions. It is refreshing to witness powerful and positive relationships like this one. Thank you, “Diane”, for this great story!

I work at a small library in an area of town that tends to house the lower-economic demographic. It is not unusual for things to be stolen from our library on a regular basis–most frequently our DVDs. One day, I was at the reference desk when a man came in with a young, teenage boy. The man looked pretty haggard. He had tattoos everywhere (even a cross between his eyebrows! Ouch!) and lots of piercings. He looked like he’d had a pretty hard life. When he came up to the desk, he set a very tall pile of DVDs in front of me–at least 20 DVDs.

“I found these in my son’s room,” he said. “He didn’t check them out. He stole them.”

I didn’t quite know how to respond, so I (rather stupidly) said, “Oh. Okay. So none of them are checked out?”

“No, ma’am,” he answered. Then he knelt down on the ground so that he was eye to eye with me. His son knelt beside him, looking deeply humiliated and angry.

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