Podcasts of the Week Ending July 7


Podcast of the Week returns!  Here are five podcasts from the past week that I think are worth listening to.

The Memory Palace :: The Taking of Tom Sawyer Island

That time when the counterculture Yippies attempted a hostile takeover of the land.  Disneyland to be specific.  Except only about 200 of them showed and half of them were there for a goof. What a long strange monorail trip it’s been.

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: red, white, and brew

Home brewing is a big thing these days, among a stereotypical group of white men, but has a long history in the United States among women, enslaved people, and immigrants.

WBUR The Artery :: Stacks Of Books, But Short On Cash: New England’s Public Libraries Face Funding Troubles

Libraries are used to tightening the belt financially, but in these days of Federal and state cuts they are facing unprecedented struggles.

DecodeDC :: DC History 101, Swamps and Scandals Then and Now

The history of Washington, DC, built on an actual swamp, and how the development of the city reflects the views of the ruling parties over time.

ESPN 30 for 30Yankees Suck

Here’s a new podcast based on ESPN’s successful television sports documentaries.  This episode covers the history of the notorious Red Sox fan chant and how a bunch of hardcore punks made a profitable business out of selling t-shirts emblazoned “Yankees Suck!”  Brings back good memories of late 90s Red Sox games.

 

Book Review: The Librarian (Book One: Little Boy Lost) by Eric Hobbs


AuthorEric Hobbs
TitleThe Librarian (Book One: Little Boy Lost)
Publication Info: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2011
Summary/Review:

This is a book I picked up as a Kindle deal because I like stories set in libraries.  This is a pretty imaginative one.  Wesley is a bookish boy bullied by his peers with one true friend Taylor.  On a class trip to their town’s mysterious library, Wes and Tay discover that the library offers portals into books.  A Lost Boy from Peter Pan joins them as they hide from villains by entering The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  It’s kind of young adult fiction take on Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, although with a less-engaging writing style.  Still, the book was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages.

Recommended books: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, A Soul to Steal by Rob Blackwell, Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
Rating: ***

Book Review: Bookhunter by Jason Shiga


AuthorJason Shiga
TitleBookhunter 
Publication Info: Sparkplug Comics (2007)
ISBN: 097427156X
Summary/Review: This graphic novel is a crime procedural set in an alternate universe of 1970s Oakland where the public libraries have a criminal investigation unit.  Many of the procedures used to solve crimes are totally antithetical to librarian ethics, but otherwise it is an enjoyable adventure where the clichés of detective stories are mimicked in a library setting.
Recommended booksLost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde and Rex Libris Volume One: I, Librarian (Rex Libris) by James Turner
Rating: **1/2

Banned Books Week 2010


It’s Banned Books Week again where we celebrate intellectual freedom by reading and highlighting books that have been banned, challenged, or otherwise suppressed.  Usually I pick out a banned book or two to read but I’m behind the curve on this one and haven’t even finished reading a book I started a couple of weeks ago and don’t have time to pick out new books to read.  So I decided to go through the ALA list of frequently challenged books and highlights the ones I’ve read.

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey (one book in series)
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

I have to say, of the books left there are not many I want to read.  I guess just because a book is banned doesn’t make it good, but more power to the people who want to read them.

More coverage of Banned Books Week 2010:

Related Posts:

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

Library Blogs


I keep hearing that Library Blogs are a thing of the past, something I’ve been hearing since I started following Library Blogs about five years ago.  Luckily, just like the frequently misreported death of libraries themselves there are many Library Blogs alive and well.  I follow dozens of them in my Bloglines feeds. Coincidentally, today I found two of them reporting on bigger projects for people looking for Library Blogs:

  • Swiss Army Librarian reports on a customized Google search engine that searches over 500 library blogs.  You can check out LISZEN Search yourself as it should be a valuable resource.
  • Walt at Random is working on a more ambitious project to create a directory of over 1000 library blogs and looking for submissions for more.  He even graciously includes Panorama of the Mountains although my posts with library content are few and far between.

Related Posts:

Ten Years @ The Library


Ten years ago today I began work at Baker Library at Harvard Business School, my first library job.  Ten years later I still work in the same building albeit I have had three different jobs (officially), survived a two-year renovation working in a windowless warehouse-like interim building, and find myself 21 out 53 staff members in seniority.  I’ve worked in 8 different offices and may be the only person to have office space on all four floors of the library building.

Here’s my progression of work:

…I started as an Access Coordinator, a position that involved both the grunt work of checking ID’s and bags but also a good introduction to  ready reference and bibliographic instruction.

…After a year & a half I moved into the Interlibrary Loan/Document Deliver office and learned the wonders of OCLC Passport and making lots and lots of photocopies.  I still worked a lot of hours on the desk  providing access and ready reference.  And I worked on Saturdays supervising the casual staff.  The Tue-Sat schedule helped with library school internships albeit it made life exhausting.

…In the summer of 2003, the library was closed for renovation and ILL was folded into something Article and Book Delivery Unit which provided access to print resources stored offsite.  My new digs were in a musty warehouse that also housed the university police rifle range and a kiln for the ceramics club.  My desk time was curtailed significantly and I spent many hours anonymously hidden in the stacks pulling books and journals.  Fun times.

…Moving into the renovated library in 2005, I resumed ILL/DocDel work and public service desk shifts but added more reference activities as a liaison to the reference team.  This included verifying citations for the faculty research division, creating a reference interview training program for my Access colleagues, and responding to email reference questions.

…In the summer of 2008, I made biggest job change yet joining the Information Lifecycle Management team taking care of the school records storage programs and working in the metadata and taxonomy team.

…Just over a year ago after the departure of the Information Lifecycle Manager and some budget considerations ILM was merged into the Archives.  I began reporting to the Archivist and taking on many new archival responsibilities including reference and processing.

I’ve been fortunate in that whatever my official job duties I’ve had the opportunities to learn new things.  While working full time I went to library school at Simmons College greatly eased by tuition assistance and release time.  Following a somewhat circuitous route I’ve found myself working in archives which is where I was interested in going from my earliest days in the field.

Previously:

March Madness?


I’ve read on several blogs and new sites about a recent study that apparently links research behavior at American universities with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. According to this study by Charles Clotfelter, after Selection Sunday when the tournament teams are announced, the number of articles viewed on JSTOR drop.  What is really frustrating me about this study and all the people passing it along as a done deal in correlation is that it does not take into consideration one important factor.

Clotfelter doesn’t mention — and I haven’t seen anyone ask — what effect that Spring Break has on research behavior.  Think about it.  Every March colleges and universities have no classes for at least a week and many students leave campus for recreation, volunteer service projects, and job recruiting activities.  Of course they’re not looking at JSTOR during Spring Break.  Even upon returning to campus, many students aren’t going to head straight to the library, especially if their mid-terms were before Spring Break.

So yeah, college students may be watching basketball, but maybe Professor Coltfetter needs to revisit his assumptions.

Return of A Day In a Life of a Librarian


Back in July, I participated in a web-wide librarian event entitled Library Day in the Life.  This event was created by the terrific librarian-blogger Bobbi Newman to allow people who work in libraries to share the great variety of work we do with students, patrons, and fellow librarians.  For more on what I do, check out my post from July.

A Day in the Life of an Information Lifecycle Management Assistant

  • wake up late after a rough night due to my son having frequent coughing fits.
  • once out of bed though, he seems alert and energetic so now it’s time to chase him down to get him to school.
  • my wife drives my son and I to the school.  He goes to the childrens’ center, I go to the library.
  • sort through my email and catch up on social media sites.
  • scan a few articles from Peter Kurilecz’s Records & Archives in the News (RAIN) update, but none of them seem worth in-depth reading today.
  • spend some time planning out tasks for the work week to come.
  • worked on a project to calculate the amount each administrative office at the school would pay for records storage (costs currently absorbed by the library).
  • lunch break:  the students are back so there are nearly no seats left in the cafeteria.  I’m able to sneak into a dark corner to eat my salad and write in my journal.
  • for one hour I’m on-call to page materials to the reading room from the stacks, but I’m not needed.
  • read articles from professional literature and blogs related to libraries, archives, records management and general news.  Tag some articles on Delicious.
  • place an order to retrieve a box of student records from offsite storage.
  • get a call from the Childrens Center that my son didn’t nap well due to coughing fits, and he’s a little warm but not feverish.
  • work on accessioning five boxes of videos which includes making a preliminary inventory, labeling & barcoding the boxes and preparing accession forms.
  • talk to wife on phone about coming to pick up me & our sick son on a miserable, rainy night.
  • close out day & head to the Childrens Center.
  • my “sick” son is cheerfully jumping up & down and playing with his friends.  As usual, he doesn’t want to go home.
  • supper, tubby time, bedtime for the boy & chores for me, and that was the day that was.

I think a lot of people are doing “A Week in the Life…” but for me I will end it there unless there’s some popular demand in the comments for more.

Sesame Street @ Your Library


This is part two of my tribute to Sesame Street on its 40th Anniversary.

Sesame Street is an educational program for preschoolers with one goal to help children begin to learn to read.  As a result they’ve been a boon to my profession with sketches that make the library look like a fun place.

Of course, even as Grover extols the virtues of the library, they can’t resist the stereotype of librarians as overbearing shushers:

The exasperation of this librarian is more understandable as Cookie Monster continually asks for things that are not available at the library.  Some library 2.0 types will probably ask themselves “why doesn’t the library have cookies?”:

The whole cast of Sesame Street comes together at the library for an elaborate light opera:

If Gilbert & Sullivan isn’t your thing, you can also rock out in the library:

I know that some readers are probably annoyed about all the book focus in these clips.  Here, Elmo discovers that computers are in the library in your neighborhood:

Related Links:

Book Review: Rex Libris: I, Librarian


Author: James Turner
Title: Rex Libris: I, Librarian
Publication Info: San Jose, Calif. : SLG Pub., [2007]
ISBN: 9781593620622

Summary/Review:

Rex Libris is a tough-as-nail librarian now several eons old fighting to protect knowledge and make sure books are returned on time, even when they’re held by intergalactic space creatures.  This comic book/graphic novel is funny and intelligent and lets you on what life is really like for a librarian.  I just wish Turner didn’t give away so many of our secrets.

Rex Libris succeeds at being witty whereas the Noah Wyle Librarian movies are just goofy (although the latter has Bob Newhart, so a point scored to them). I found the writing to be similar to the creative vein of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels.
Recommended books: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde, Five Fists Of Science by Matt Fraction, andVandals in the Stacks? by Richard J. Cox.
Rating: ****

A Day in the Life of a Librarian


Librarians everywhere are signing up for the Library Day in the Life project as a way of showing what we do to fellow librarians, library school students, and anyone curious.  I missed out on this the last time it occurred so I definitely wanted to participate this year, especially since I’ve been looking for ways to kickstart the library content on this blog.

My position at my place of work (MPOW) is Information Lifecycle Management assistant.  The job title is not the most self-evident and in the year and one month I’ve been working in this position the responsibilities and definitions have shifted.  Basically, I work with people and records whether those records be active (records management) or permanent (archives).  My typical responsibilities involve accessioning records for storage or for archives, retrieving & returning boxes at the request of an administrative or faculty office, and answering reference questions related to archival material.

That scratches the surface, and hopefully this exercise will explain more.  With no further ado, I present…

A Day in the Life of an Information Lifecycle Management Assistant

Monday

  • wake up (late).  My son gets me up with zerberts and lots of giggling. Get ready for work.
  • My wife drives my son and I to the school.  He goes to the childrens’ center, I go to the library.
  • begin work day by checking emails, planning out tasks for the day and other administrative tasks.
  • check out Twitter and FriendFeed to see how my other library peeps are doing.
  • continue an ongoing reference project to learn about details of the lives of students from China who attended the school in its early years.  This involves reviewing registrar records, yearbooks, and alumni bulletins among other things.
  • at request from a faculty assistant, arrange to have boxes picked up and returned to offsite storage
  • prepare a student file for loan to the admissions office.
  • Lunch!  I eat a salad and read the Rex Libris graphic novel.
  • Spend an hour on-call to page materials from the stacks for patrons in the reading room.  Spend the time populating a spreadsheet for records storage stats and reading scholarly articles and blogs relevant to my job.
  • At request of my manager, I refile boxes related to a reference question we worked on last week.  Also photocopy a few pages of interest to the patron.  I cut my finger when trying to remove the staple.  Ouch!
  • Resume research on Chinese students.  Also work on a similar question about the school’s earliest research in India.
  • Close out my day of work.
  • Go to childrens’ center to pick up my son.
  • Take bus to public library.  I get teased for going to the library on my time off, but MPOW generally doesn’t specialize in stuff I’m interested in.
  • Ride subway home.  My son is inordinately fussy.
  • Relieved to get home, eat supper, put the boy to bed and go to bed myself.  Whew!

I’m glad to get that done.  Now I’ll have to find time to read what everyone else wrote.

Meme: Dewey Decimal Classification Name, plus Blog Analyzers


Via Phil Bradley, a quiz to convert your name into a Dewey Decimal Classification class.

Liam Sullivan’s Dewey Decimal Section: 002 The book

Class:
000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

Contains:
Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You’re working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

As an extra added bonus to this rather lazy post, Random Musings from the Desert posts links to various blog analyzers!

According to Typealyzer, this blog is:

ENTP – The Visionaries
The charming and trend savvy type. They are especially attuned to the big picture and anticipate trends. They often have sophisticated language skills and come across as witty and social. At the end of the day, however, they are pragmatic decision makers and have a good analytical abilitity.

They enjoy work that lets them use their cleverness, great communication skills and knack for new exciting ventures. They have to look out not to become quitters, since they easily get bored when the creative exciting start-up phase is over.

I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test myself and always come out INFP, so my blog is more extroverted than I am.  Of course that text above is rather laughable.

GenderAnalyzer says:

We think http://www.othemts.wordpress.com is written by a man (73%)

Must be all the stuff I write about beer, baseball, farts, films with lots of ‘splosions, and nekkid jello wrestling.

Finally, the analyzer I fear the most, The Blog Readability Test:

blog readability test

TV Reviews

Ouch!

With a little Googlin’, I found one more blog analysis tool, How Much is Your Blog Worth?


My blog is worth $7,903.56.
How much is your blog worth?

That’s what I get for a high school education.

Previously:

Banned Books Week 2008


So, it’s Friday, and the ALA’s Banned Book Week is coming to an end and I haven’t posted about it yet.  Thus, here’s my post and a reminder for you to go to your library or bookseller this weekend and get a banned or challenged book to read.  And yeah, go in person, don’t be a wuss and order from Amazon.  You need to go to the counter, hold the book over your head and announce in a loud voice: “I’d like to get this banned book!”

If you’d like to know why opposing book bans and challenges is important, you need to watch this episode of The Facts of Life on Hulu.  Now!!!

Okay, now if you’d like a less-contrived and more thoughtful statement on the freedom to read, check out this blog post by jamie posted on myliblog last summer: Uncle Bobby’s Wedding.  This is the best response to a book challenge I’ve ever read.

Here’s some other news from Banned Book Week:

As for me, since I’m now a parent, I decided this year to pick up a couple of children’s books for my son:

  • First, a book about penguins that is the most banned book two years running: And Tango Makes Three.  Apparently these penquins live in Manhattan, and thus are liberal elitists.
  • Second, a classic book about nightmares, In the Night Kitchen.  Some folks think this book should come with little fig leafs.

Have a great weekend and enjoy a banned book!

Previously: Banned Books Week 2007

War of the Worlds video


Catching up on a request from a friend to share a promo video for the 70th anniversary of the War of the Worlds broadcast which will be held at the David Sarnoff Library in Princeton, NJ. This video is worth watching simply for the kickass theramin theme music.  Sure the visuals are dull, but the event should be fun, so if you’re in New Jersey on October 25th, check it out.

Previously: Radiolab podcast about War of the Worlds

Book Review: Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff


I learned about Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (2008) by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff from the HBR IdeaCast Episode 91: Be a Social Technology Provocateur.  I was intrigued enough to check it out from the library that employs me but it was quickly recalled.  Luckily, I had gotten far enough to sign up for the Groundswell blog where I learned that Forrester was giving away 100 copies of the book to bloggers for review.  I was lucky enough to snag a copy and I’ve finally read it so I can fulfill my end of the bargain.

The basic gist of Groundswell is that new social networking tools allow the general public to greatly influence how companies and products are viewed by people at large.  The authors define the groundswell as “A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations,” (p. 9).  Many companies see this as a threat but the authors encourage organizations to embrace social technologies to give them competitive advantage in business.

Now I’m someone who recoils at the concept of “viral marketing” in particular and really the whole corporate-consumerist ideology in general, but what impresses me about this book is that it comes down to people.  This is not about marketers telling people what to buy, it is about engaging people and learning about what products/services would enrich their lives, how to respond to problems, and even how to influence the purchasing decisons of other customers.  One interesting notion is that while corporations have “product managers,” they rarely have “people managers” although that’s going to be necessary to continue in business in a groundswell environment.  They even make a good point that the customers, not the company, own the brand.

“Marketers tell us they define and manage brands.  Some spend millions, or hundreds of millions, of dollars on advertising.  They carefully extend brand names, putting Scope on a tube of toothpaste to see what happens.  We bought this brand, they say.  We spent on it.  We own it.

Bull.

Your brand is whatever the customers say it is.  And in the groundswell where they communicate with each other, they decide,” (p. 78).

Many executives want to join the groundswell and think it is as easy as putting a blog or comment pages on their website.  The authors warn that engaging the groundswell requires planning with particular goals in mind or one’s efforts will fail.  Groundswell is like a manual for managers that offers case studies, lessons from those cases, and how those lessons may be applied to one’s own business.

I’m obviously not a corporate executive, but I read this book from the perspective that libraries can benefit from the instruction of this book.  Like corporations, libraries would do well to listen to the ideas of their biggest supporters, respond to concerns of those having problems with the library, and engage people in making the library a better place for everyone.  I’d suggest this book be read by any librarians interested in ideas for transforming the library in the web 2.0 world.

Groundswell : winning in a world transformed by social technologies by Charlene Li. Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business Press, c2008.

Idea: The Librewery


I’ve been mulling an idea for sometime of opening a biblio-themed brewpub called The Librewery. The Librewery would have a bar and a network of small dining rooms, nice little nooks and crannies, or “snugs” as they’re called in Britain. The walls would be lined with bookshelves filled with real books. In keeping with library tradition, customers would actually be able to read and take the books although I think here it would work best as a swap “take a book, leave a book” system.

The menu would be designed to look like a classic catalog and each menu item given a call number. Since this would be my place, the chef would specialize in vegetarian dishes and the brewer would make cask-conditioned ales, wheat bears, and stouts. Yeah, there would be some meat options and IPA’s too. Of course it would be interesting if the meals and beers could be based on ones from literature. But not from Silence of the Lambs, that would be gross.

While this place would be for random socializing like most pubs, I’d also see to it that there would be quiet spaces set aside for people who want to read and write, work on their laptops (free wifi!), or gather together for book clubs, discussion groups, and gaming (both board games and video). Of course, this being my pub there will also be regularly scheduled sing-a-longs.

So that’s by dream brewpub that brings together many of my favorite things. I’m better at ideas than I am at acting on them. Any entrepreneurs out there who can help out? Investors? Chefs? Brewers? I’d love to see The Librewery brought to life.

del.icio.us, Library Thing, and Twitter updates


Here’s how I’m using my social networking tools these days.

del.icio.us

When I first registered for del.icio.us I imported all the bookmarks from my browser and then didn’t use it for a year.  I didn’t really need all those bookmarks so I cleaned things up by deleting them all.  I also cleaned up and consolidated misspelled tags.  I went back to all the links I’ve posted over the past 6 months and added the name of the source (newspaper, website or blog name) as a tag in hopes I can look back and see which sources I can recommend as reliable, or at least interesting. I may go back and retroactively add in all the articles from the many link-of-the-day posts in this blog.

Library Thing

In the process of entering (almost) every book I’ve ever read. I don’t actually own many books but I’ve kept lists of what I read for the past 18 years.  I also hope to use it to rank my favorite books of all time.  I may also try cataloging my son’s collection of children’s books just for kicks.

Twitter

Some strangers asked to follow me right off the bat, so I followed them back  which was fun for a day or so.  Then I was overwhelmed by the minutiae of their daily lives.  I’m eagerly seeking to use this as a professional development tool by following librarians who tweet about ideas and activities in their jobs and libraries. So from now on I plan only to follow librarians as well as non-librarian folks I already know.

I’m also using Facebook to play lots of games of Scrabulous, WordTwist, and Scramble which I guess proves that Facebook is a valuable social networking tool for wasting time with your friends.

library links for 19 February 2008


To start things off today a fun Sesame Street clip, “No Cookies in the Library” (via the new WorldCat Blog):

And now a couple of links about reading and writing:

Peter Brantley Lecture


The following are notes I took at a lecture I attended recently by Peter Brantley. The notes are a bit scattershot since Brantley spoke fast and I had trouble reading my own handwriting. I was impressed that he referred to a lot of current articles in his talk, so I’ve linked them where ever possible

DLF: What Rupert Could Tell Libraries

A lecture by Peter Brantley of the Digital Library Federation

Presented Jan. 24, 2008 at Harvard University

Generation Gap

Newspapers as a comparison point vs. libraries

  • Newspapers are similar to libraries in that they make information available and hold to higher standards and ideals unlike for-profit ventures
  • Newspaper ad revenue is plummeting, off line advertising is moving online, and the result is not good news for news
  • It’s hard to make money on online advertising
  • Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue by Jeremy Liew, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Feb. 26, 2007
    • broad reach – To get to $50m in revenue you would need 50 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 4 billion per month
    • demographic targeting – To get to $50m in revenue you would need 10 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 800 million per month.
    • endemic advertising – To get to $50m in revenue you would need 2.5 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 200 million per month
  • Could the ‘Wall Street Journal’ go free? According to this data the WSJ would need to increase online traffic by 12 to offset loss
  • According to the New York Times: “The strategic challenge for newspapers is not cutting costs, but how to attract a larger share of online advertising and make money off the millions of people who read them free online.”
    • They Wish Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine?, Dec. 18, 2007
  • Newspapers are ignoring obvious opportunities to operate more efficiently
    • Example: The Tribune papers cut an Orland Sentinel reporter known for being the best writer on NASCAR in the nation. He now publishes a successful blog on his own. There’s no reason he couldn’t have done the same thing for Tribune and brought revenue and readership to the company’s websites and papers.
  • Your real competition by Ryan Sholin, Invisible Inkling, Jan. 11, 2008
    • The competition is the web, this is not the time to wave them off
  • Newspapers and libraries are part of a larger information landscape

Ramifications

  • Not good. Tragic. Staff cuts.
    • $23B zapped in news stock value by Alan Muter, Newsosaur, Jan. 1, 2008
    • Making Changes Sharon Waxman, WaxWord?, Jan. 10, 2008. Former Times reporter resigned to work exclusively on her blog. “To me, this is a very exciting time.”
  • The Search Party by Ken Auletta, The New Yorker, Jan. 19, 2008
    • The nature of media may change as libraries have
    • Eric Schmidt – internet allows users to consume media in a different way
  • Comparison of library metrics over the last generation
    • Reading room visits at Libary of Congress decreasing
    • ARL Reference Queries decreasing
    • Circulation decreasing
    • ILL requests increasing (people are borrowing more books because they can see more books)

What would Rupert Say to libraries?

  • Kick butt with warm, fuzzy internet spaces and new media centers
    • Gathering spaces for studey and group work
  • Outsource redundancy:
    • relocate library contract specialists to campus business service
    • other organizations catalog books and things so you don’t have to
    • build things that will advance core values

Core Values

  1. Making information publicly accessible
  2. Preserving a record of past and present
    • No one else will do these things

Libraries must now strut our stuff

  1. Help put education in the heads of those learning
  2. Assist scientists in the discovery of our world
    • Both are really about a new sensitivity to data
  • Intervene with simplicity
  • Embrace the unexpected
    • Example The de Havilland Mosquito, a WWII bomber that excelled when all the weaponry was stripped off so that the plane was faster than anything in the sky
    • Lesson: there is something to be gained by simplicity as opposed to complexity
    • Example: Use tags instead of complex metadata (although Brantley added that “good core metadata is important” when questioned on this)

Libraries Suck at Change