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Faced With Budget Cuts, Library Clones Librarian

"Facing another round a budget cuts for this coming fiscal year, my library had to lay off all of our reference staff, except for me [Brian Herzog]. However, in an effort to continue to meet patron need at the Reference Desk, the library is capitalizing on Massachusetts’ strength in the biomedical technology industry by partnering with biotech firms to create librarian clones. The advantages are numerous:
* multiplying the effect of a library degree
* staff training is streamlined
* communication within the department is excellent
* we all share a single social security number so we also share a single salary"

(Read more on this exciting new development)

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The Onion: Nation Shudders at Large Block of Uninterrupted Text

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<a href="http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nation_shudders_at_large_block_of">Nation Shudders at Large Block of Uninterrupted Text</a> "Unable to rest their eyes on a colorful photograph or boldface heading that could be easily skimmed and forgotten about, Americans collectively recoiled Monday when confronted with a solid block of uninterrupted text...Dumbfounded citizens from Maine to California gazed helplessly at the frightening chunk of print, unsure of what to do next.

Audiobook DRM versus the patrons of the Cleveland Library

BoingBoing Pointed the way to this funny because it's true comic: Audiobook DRM versus the patrons of the Cleveland Library. "This installment of the Brads webcomic shows the 22 steps a reader has to take in order to borrow a DRM-crippled audiobook from the public library. A compelling argument for libraries to boycott this stuff."

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The Social Order Of Libraries

“Balan whispered to the Wart, “Colonel Cully is not quite right in his wits. It is his liver, we believe, but the kestrel says it is the constant strain of living up to her ladyship’s standard. He says that her ladyship once spoke to him from her full social station once, cavalry to infantry, you know, and that he just closed his eyes and got the vertigo. He has never been the same since.” T. H. White. The Once & Future King.

One of the questions that comes up frequently, especially among librarians applying for their first or second job, is the question of social status. While we may not understand it, we all recognize it, especially when it is applied to us. Mostly it is seen when a librarian attempts to change the type of job he or she does in a library.

"It doesn't surprise me that there are problems of going from one aspect of librarianship to another. It violates class rules in libraries, and upsets the social order. Actually, there is an unnamed but very strongly identified pecking order in the class of librarians. Why are people getting so upset over this problem? Passions are heated because the stakes are so small. Actually, social settings are set up rather like a water fountain, with a number of different library jobs floating at the top, but fewer identified ones at the bottom."

While few people can agree about who all should be at the top, everyone agrees about who should be stuck in the bilge on the bottom. Like the definition of a lady, which few people can define but whom everyone knows who isn't one, librarians are set into a social hierarchy of class and station.

So here is my definition of the library pecking order based on my own limited library experiences. Individuals may disagree somewhat, but those who disagree the most probably are either set at the top of the list, or haven't had to look for a new job recently.

Announcing The LISNews Librarian Joke Contest

As the LISNews Librarian Essay Contest winds down it seems like a good time to formally announce the LISNews Librian Joke Contest! We won't judge each joke, but anyone who submits a joke will be entered to win some cool prizes.

From www.funkandweber.com and www.StitchingForLiteracy.com ...a set of four Needle and ThREAD: Stitching for Literacy cross stitch bookmark patterns, including two designed from the old chicken-and-frog library joke. You know, a chicken walks into a library and says, "book, Book, BOOK!" (you gotta say it like a chicken), so the librarian gives her a book. The chicken takes the book outside and down to a pond where a frog sits on a lily pad and croaks, "read-it, read-it" (that's right, say it like a frog).

Book Marks from www.InMyBook.com
Web Hosting from www.LISHost.org

You'll want to submit your joke(s) HERE starting on MONDAY.

Follow along on the tracker page (http://lisnews.org/joketracker) or RSS feed (http://lisnews.org/jokes/rss)

Sarah Palin follows the lead of Cliff Stoll

Sarah Palin is taking cues form Cliff Stoll. See the first minute of this video. Pay special attention from the 40 second to the 50 second mark in the video.
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"I can quit Googling anytime, man!"

On the heels of last night’s post, I saw this older article come across Twitter entitled “100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information”. Apparently, it would appear that librarians are not simply the kind, educated information philanthropists that society and culture has caricatured us. No, we are users and pushers for the dopamine system.

[…] the latest research shows that dopamine causes seeking behavior. Dopamine causes us to want, desire, seek out, and search. It increases our general level of arousal and our goal-directed behavior. (From an evolutionary stand-point this is critical. The dopamine seeking system keeps us motivated to move through our world, learn, and survive). It’s not just about physical needs such as food, or sex, but also about abstract concepts. Dopamine makes us curious about ideas and fuels our searching for information. The latest research shows that it is the opoid system (separate from dopamine) that makes us feel pleasure.

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10 Best Songs About Libraries and Librarians

10 Best Songs About Libraries and Librarians
"So you’re laid up in bed with the flu like everyone else, with nothing to do but chug Emergen-C, ride the NyQuil train, and gaze glassy-eyed at hours of DVRed shows that you’d usually let languish. It’s time for a new playlist! When even keeping your eyes open starts to hurt, queue up this nerdy mixtape and zonk out to the best in library-inspired jams. Thanks to @flavorpill follower Lauren for the smart (and challenging!) idea."

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Offline Book "Lending" Costs U.S. Publishers Nearly $1 Trillion

Offline Book "Lending" Costs U.S. Publishers Nearly $1 Trillion

From what we've been able to piece together, the book "lending" takes place in "libraries". On entering one of these dens, patrons may view a dazzling array of books, periodicals, even CDs and DVDs, all available to anyone willing to disclose valuable personal information in exchange for a "card". But there is an ominous silence pervading these ersatz sanctuaries, enforced by the stern demeanor of staff and the glares of other patrons. Although there's no admission charge and it doesn't cost anything to borrow a book, there's always the threat of an onerous overdue bill for the hapless borrower who forgets to continue the cycle of not paying for copyrighted material.

Thanks Chuck!

'The Librarians' US version

The Librarians

The US definitely needs to import the Australian TV series 'The Librarians' here.

It worked for 'The Office.'

I made this picture for one of my MLIS class presentations, we'll see how it goes this Tuesday night.

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lOO Book Challenge

I don't understand trademarks. From what I know, a trademark is applied to product or service with some exclusivity and can't be used by a different product or service which conflicts with the original trademark. Conversely, if I own the trademark for Bean Shoes, "the shoe made entirely from beans," I can't keep you from selling Bean Caps, "the cap to cover your bean." Or at least, that how it seems to me.

So it seems odd that the American Reading Company sent a cease and desist letter to LibraryThing because they proposed a 100 Book Challenge for 2010 whereby everyone would strive to read 100 books. Apparently the American Reading Company sells products under the brand, "100 Book Challenge" and they don't want to share their ownership of those three (or four; does "100" count as one word or two words hyphenated?) words.

My only response is that the American Reading Company misread the LibraryThing name. It's not the 100 Book Challenge, but the lOO Book Challenge.

Forgive the spelling, but the word is "loo" as in the slang term for lavatory in Britain. The real LibraryThing challenge for 2010 is for everyone to read books in the loo.

I understand that the American Reading Company is concerned about their trademark, but really, these are two entirely different things. I realize that lOO looks similar to 100 to the naked eye, but a computer can see the difference.

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Penny Arcade Does Pop Fiction

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While Penny Arcade is normally a video game strip, every now and then they speak of books because, after all, the strip's creators love to read. Today's strip discusses some popular fiction and classic works of sci-fi.

You Know You Work in a Library when...

What's the deal with librarians and cats?

You know you work at a library when your coworkers gather into a group and go "awww" over the latest kitten calendar for over 5 minutes.

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Psychic librarian reads with her nose

In Victoria (AU), "Maura the clairvoyant librarian will check your aura, look deep into your eyes and see if you’re more Dan Brown than Salman Rushdie."

Her powers tell her that a good sniff of her customers reveals lots: for instance travel readers often wear "... no deodorant, so in many ways you can tell."

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Rules of Circ #05 (RoC)

Rules of Circulation #05 (RoC)

"Red or Blue Pill"

When a patron signs up for a new card or needs a replacement, I always ask them, "wallet sized or keychain sized card?"

I try not to speak so quickly, but the patron just stares at me quizzically. It is at this point that I pull out each card and hold one in each hand and ask the patron again. I feel like I'm Morpheus asking Neo, whether or not he wants the story to end or stay in Wonderland.

Is it just me, or is this a fairly easy question to answer in under 10 seconds, I could hum the Final Jeopardy theme song and they still couldn't make a choice. But alas, not all patrons are the same, when it comes to this decision you can pretty much categorize them: Straight Forward, Bank Robber, Shoot First-Ask Questions Later, and the Flip-Flopper.

The Straight Forward patron is the easiest to handle, they will give you their answer right then and there, crisis avoided.

I label the second type the Bank Robber, because much like someone at the teller line, they don't care just as long as you hand it over. These are the type that are in a hurry to get in, get their card, and jump on the public computers to update their Facebook status or Tweet to the whole world that they got their first library card.

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Rules of Circulation #23 (RoC)

RoC #23

"Do Not Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth"

I had a gentleman approach me at the desk yesterday asking if there was a manager on duty. I've learned from past experience that my lack of authority > manager's ineptitude.
So I told him that I could look in the back for one to which he replied, "Well, maybe you can help me."

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Bless the Swedes


Bless the Swedes

If it was not for them we would not have meatballs, easy to assemble furniture, and apparently to this children's series cover: square beef patties from Wendy's.

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Down with Romance Novels

I despise romance novels. You know the ones where the cover art has some shirtless Fabio looking flamer holding some half dressed floozy in his arms, preferably over some cliff looking over the ocean, both of their hair is windswept, and its usually depicted during a sunset. Yes, those horrible books. But my hatred is not just reserved for those outlandish titles alone, Nicholas Sparks I'm looking your way---Damn you and your Notebook. I blame these so-called "romance" novels for the high failure rate of marriages/relationships in this country.

Its not that I don't believe in love or romance but I think these books put an extraordinary extraterrestrial-high level of standards that girls expect their boyfriends/spouses to live up to. I really don't think that these books preach the morals and virtues of what love really is anyways.
Case in point, have you ever read any of the titles of these books? They've become quite the topic of discussion at work whenever we come across them. Its like MadLibs for trashy books: "The [insert adjective] woman finds true love with a [insert foreign ethnicity] millionaire and move away to [insert exotic location]."
Really, these types of books are cookie cutter stories. They're all the same, once you've read A Scandalous Mistress I really don't see the need to read His Lady Mistress. Take one lonely, loveless woman, one rich bastard, and an exotic locale and there you go.

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With partial apologies to Walt Whitman

This is the not the first time my family has crossed paths with Walt Whitman.

In my family’s lore, my grandfather would tell a story about how his grandfather (a judge in Camden prior to the turn of the century) once sent the famous and highly debated poet to jail for public intoxication. His grandmother and her friends would cross the street if they saw ole Walt stumbling their way, drunk as a skunk, for they did not want to be on the same side of the road as he passed. Their recollections, as retold by my grandfather, were singularly unimpressed with the man who has been called “America’s poet”.

Even in death, my mother’s family cannot escape some sort of proximity to the poet. Harleigh Cemetery, where my maternal grandparents, their siblings, and both sides of my grandfather’s family have family plots, is also the resting place for Walt Whitman. When I visit the family gravesite, I can see the Whitman mausoleum about one hundred and fifty yard away hidden in the trees that have grown over it. The only way out is to go past it. You can see the slots of the Whitman family behind a heavy barred gate with little knickknacks, flowers, and other minutiae left outside.

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Should you become a librarian?

Use this flowchart to decide whether you should become a librarian. I hope you find it helpful.

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