Friday, December 29, 2006

New Home

I have revamped my "home" page - take a look. I'm working on rolling my own RSS feed for it, and I will be adding a colophon soon. I am planning to change the pic and color scheme with the seasons/weather/holiday/unexpected whim of a crazy mind, so the RSS might be helpful if people are curious to see what I've done.

Yes, I do these things just to amuse myself.

One tech note: the page does a weird almost frames-looking-thing on monitors with low resolution settings. I am working on that issue, but I'll be honest - I have no idea why it's doing that.

EDIT! I just fixed that issue by setting auto-width margins on the content, rather than using the fixed BODY margins that the original code suggested. You don't care, do you...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's all about me(me).

Thanks for tagging me, Josh! I love silly stuff like this. If you don't give a rat's ass about my personal trivia, um, you're crazy.

Five Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

1. I spent the better part of a year a few years ago "following" the Barenaked Ladies with my best friend. We traveled up and down, all around, from Pennsylvania to Toronto. We got lost, we got front-row seats (cuz I'm cute), we got hugs from Steven Page and Ed Robertson, I got a drum stick from Tyler Stewart, we stalked them at the Providence Place Mall, and we had an absolute blast.

2. I won a blue ribbon at the 2002 Portsmouth, RI 4H fair in the Cast Iron Skillet Throwing contest. Yes, yes I did.

3. I took a typewriter with me to college. When my roommate asked why I didn't use the computer instead, I said, "I'm not using a stupid computer!" You see, I had to be tutored through BASIC in high school as I had no understanding of, or affinity for, computers. This just cracks me up, now.

4. Becoming a librarian was a total lark. The guy I was dating at the time (a librarian) suggested I look into it. I called the local MLIS program, went to take my MATs the next day, scored well, got an ALA scholarship, and was sitting in class 5 months later. I had no idea.

5. With 1362 "finds," I am the top-ranked geocacher in Rhode Island. A friend of mine refers to geocaching as "organized littering," but he's a big spud, so I don't listen to him. Oddly enough, I have been asked by RILA to give a talk on geocaching.

"Bonus Fact"
6. I have an unnatural tolerance for pain. I recently found out that I have broken several bones (that are now healed) and didn't know it. I'm a big freak.

I'm supposed to tag five other people - I apologize if you've been tagged already...
Zenformation Professional, Kaijsa, Vampire Librarian, The Hot Librarian, and Ruminations.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays - Here's Some Cash!

For years, we've been paying taxes on our long-distance calls - in spite of the fact that most phone plans today don't charge for long-distance in the manner for which the taxes have been calculated. Bottom line: some uppity folks went to court over the ill-gotten gains, and the IRS has decided that we should all get some money back. Cool - that's what I like to see - the IRS sending out checks.

This is the IRS explanation.
This is a FAQ sheet.
And here is the form you need to file to get the dough.

Granted it's a token payout, but, 30 bucks from the IRS is 30 bucks I didn't have beforehand. If it doesn't seem worth filling out the paperwork, do it anyway and send the money to me - consider it a charitable donation to a destitute librarian. Heh.

Happy Holidays - Merry Christmas - Happy Hanukkah - Happy Kwanzaa - Happy Boxing Day!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Running out of Steam

When I applied for the university job a few weeks back, they made it pretty clear that I wouldn't know anything until, possibly, the beginning of the new year. So, I have no reason to be bitching - but I am just dying to know what the story is, as it really impacts what I am doing at work now.

The YA portion of my position requires a fair amount of thought/planning/preparation - this is the part of my job that uses my "progressive nature," and I spend quite a bit of time thinking about "what's next" for YAs here at the library. So, now, the problem becomes this - if I get the job, I will be leaving here pretty quickly, and any plans I make will most likely go directly out the window. There is no budget for YA here (which is just a sad commentary on this town and the library board, as far as I'm concerned), which means that all of the work I have done/tried to do has been frosting, and it most likely will not continue once I leave.

Which makes me sad.

I have tried to continue on as though I will be here next year (at least for a little while), but to be honest, I feel like I've done all I can (afford) to do here. The job will never offer any more hours or money; though this is a decent-sized library serving a decent-sized town, no one is interested in having a REAL YA program here. I'm sick of being poor, and I'm sick of feeling like I'm pissing up a rope, if I may be so eloquent. And the departure of the director has taken the remaining wind out of my sails.

So, yeah, my motivation level has been low, and I just really really really want this new job. I'm ready for something new, something challenging, and something that allows me to pay the freakin' rent. And I feel like if I don't get "the job," I will still be looking to make a change - and that may mean taking a non-library job to make ends meet. Which would just be pitiful.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Library Talk - Shall we try this again?

OK, because I'm a glutton for punishment, I've done up a Library Talk Blog.

At the moment, it's an old-school Blogger blog; in order to post, you'll need a Blogger account. HOWEVER, anytime now the Blogger folks are going to pretty much force everyone to switch over to the NEW Blogger - meaning that you will have to create a NEW account with Blogger using your Google (or Gmail) login at that time. What I suggest is this - if you have not already done so, go create your new Blogger account (as well as update your profile) now, so that when the switch-over happens, you'll be ready to go. Right now I am not "eligible" to switch over, but when I am forced to, I will.

All the details about how I see this working are in the first post. Naturally, this whole process will evolve when (if?) people get involved with the blog.

I will be looking for a couple of moderators as well. No big comittment, just an extra hand with keeping an eye out for comment spam and inappropriate comments (meaning mods will have "admin" logins).

Even though I have some issues with Blogger, and I'm not a huge fan of some of the BETA changes, I created Library Talk in Blogger because
1.) I wanted it to be easily accessible to anyone who wants to post, and many people already have Blogger and/or Google accounts
2.) I don't have the time to learn how to create a blog register/login system (like MetaFilter has) unless this becomes wildly popular and usage dictates that we need another vehicle
3.) it was easy to throw together as an experiment

So, here ya go - have at it!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Meebo Me 2

I just put up a Meebo Me widget on this blog - feel free to say hi.

And, oh, yeah, I didn't miss the fact that Meebo was surprised to find that librarians are big Meebo fans. Looks like far too many people still think that librarians simply check-out books. Hey, maybe that can be the first topic on the new Library Talk blog!

Meebo Me

When I signed on to Meebo this morning, the Meeblog had these nice things to say about librarians!

I have been using Meebo daily for about 6 months now, and it has replaced Trillian as my IM multi-tool of choice. I still think that Trillian is one of the best, and most stable, multi IM clients around, but I am just in love with the fact that I can hop on Meebo no matter where I am. It means one less piece of software I have to have running in the background, and one less program to download if I'm not at home.

Like Jessamyn, I have been wanting to turn my library on to Meebo. We currently block all chat and IM, and block sites that support chat/IM like MySpace. This policy was in place before I arrived on the scene, and it's pretty obvious that I'm the only one that thinks it's a bad/short-sighted policy, but I have wondered if Meebo might be the ticket to addressing the issue. Side note: The teens have a number of ways to get around the blocks and into MySpace, but they haven't figured out that they can chat from Gmail without encountering a block. I don't know how it is other places, but it seems that the kids in this area don't use/have Gmail accounts, and instead use MySpace, Yahoo, and Hotmail (in that order) for email. Interesting.

Anyway, if I could get the library onboard with Meebo, the next step would be to push for some level of IM reference using the Meebo Widget. Perhaps I will play with this concept on the teen blog. I have the widget on my personal blog, and it works great.

Hopefully, I will hear about the job soon - it's hard for me to "make plans" and come up with ideas when I have no idea if I will be around to implement them.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Library Talk Alternative?

Well, as you know, the Library Talk Forum was an utter failure. I'm not sure if it was lack of interest, or lack of time, or the staggering amount of comment SPAM that happens on many forums now, but it just didn't "take."

OK, I can accept that - sort of. See, my problem is, I still really have this desire to communicate with so many of you. I read about 100 different library-related blogs, and I am constantly amazed at the stuff everyone knows and the opinions everyone has - and I can't help but think that we are collectively missing out on some sort of opportunity to "talk" to each other.

I have about given up on listservs - I simply do not find them all that useful unless I have a specific question that I want a few answers to. If what I am looking for is discourse, listservs, I'm sorry. I lurk over at WebJunction from time to time, and while that board certainly sees a lot more action than Library Talk ever did, I feel like it's the same 20 people doing the bulk of the posting. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Maybe I'm just jealous.

Anyway, because I am like a freakin' dog with a bone, I feel the need to try again. While I personally feel like a forum is the logical choice, creating and moderating a forum is time-consuming, and the comment SPAM is just a real drag. So, I was thinking of trying a conversational, community blog.

I spend hours reading blogs. Hours. And many times, the comments are far more entertaining than the original posts. I'm thinking that perhaps the original post can be the topic starter, and the comments can be the discussion. Simple, no?

"But what about being able to START the discussion?" you ask. Well, my evil plan is to have the blog open to anyone who wants to post. You simply e-mail me to let me know you want to be a blog poster, and I add you to the "team." Simple. Right? RIGHT?

Hey, wait, this sounds a little like MetaFilter. Except that MetaFilter is HUGE and awesome and run by a team of savvy people...

I realize that I am probably doing this just to amuse myself. For some reason, I have had a hard time getting people interested in this type of thing (see my fruitless pleas for Info Share), but, whatever. I'm stubborn.

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hell Yeah

This political cartoon appeared in the Newport Daily News this past Friday. I want this on a t-shirt - and you know I'd wear it to work.

The artist is Gail Greenwood, a Middletown, RI activist and a former member of the band Belly. Who knew.

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's a done deal.

Well, after weeks of waiting and wondering, the Director of my library has resigned. This is not a good thing - not a good thing at all. If you are so inclined, you can probably reach this story if you sign-up with the Providence Journal.
http://www.projo.com/ri/middletown/content/EB_MIDDLIBRARY1_
12-01-06_9G34MM1.3385bd9.html

Sigh. I haven't said a whole lot about this on this blog, basically because I am one of those gutless bloggers who worries about what would/will happen if certain folks read what I have to say. I say gutless because I firmly believe that I should be able to say whatever the hell I want on my blog without fear of reprisal, but we all know that that is not reality...

But, I will say this: I think it stinks, and I think it's political BS, and I think it's going to hurt the library. This was not a strategy that was supported by the library patrons - quite the opposite, in fact. But, hey, who the hell cares about what the LIBRARY PATRONS think!?

I didn't even get to say goodbye - I've been out of work sick with a nasty cold (and I am a firm believer in keeping your damn germs to yourself). So, the crap hit the fan last night, and now he's gone. Cripe.

In the short-term, I think the library will carry on as usual (except for the fact that most of the staff is really bummed about this) - the people who work at the library have, for the most part, been there a long time and know how to do their jobs well. But, I have the definite impression that the board will not be looking for a "progressive" director, and in the long term this will only serve to hurt us. I don't see us moving toward any "2.0" goals anytime soon, now.

I really hope that I get the job I applied for - it's definitely time for me to move on.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New Job?

I've been pretty quiet about this because I am just superstitious enough to worry about "jinxing" it, but I had a pretty good interview last week for the "job of my dreams."

I had given up on getting an academic job - around here, if you don't already have an academic job, it's pretty tough to break in - you know, the age-old problem of "How do I get experience if no one is willing to hire me?" But, since I have been very happy in my public library position, I wasn't heart broken at the prospect of staying in the public sector. Hell, I'd be happy with full-time in either!

Then a job came up at a local university, and I decided to give it a shot. With no real academic experience and a ton of un- and under-employed academic folks out there to compete with, I didn't figure on even getting an interview. But, I did, and it went better than I thought it would.
Actually, it was the presentation that went very well. Since it's a reference/instruction position, I had to give a short presentation on the subject of my choice. I put something together a la Jessamyn, spent a few days hyperventilating about it, and found that it was a great blend of appropriate subject and cool presentation.

Since things are about to change at my job, and not for the better, I am hoping and praying that I get this position. It's everything that I had in mind when I graduated: it's a great school in a gorgeous location (and it's HERE! I don't have to move!), a beautiful library, friendly people, reference AND instruction. The librarians also seem to want to embrace the "2.0-ness" of things, and that makes me very happy.

So, send good job vibes my way - this is what I have been waiting for!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ms. Dewey, Part Deux (sorry)

No, I have not forgotten about this blog, I have been busy blogging everyday over at my personal blog for NaBloPoMo. I cannot do two things at once, obviously.

OK, so, my last post was simply a link to Ms. Dewey and my comment that I thought it odd. Well, now I know why I don't "forcefully" review anything on my blogs - people get crazy!

This Ms. Dewey has stirred up more disagreement in the info world (about something almost completely superfluous) than I have seen in a long time. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people hate the haters. Most men love it simply because Ms. Dewey is "smoking hot." Some people aren't taking it too seriously and have no idea what to make of those who do. Wow, all this over what I thought was the info equivalent to the Subservient Chicken. (Warning: Liberal use of the words "love" and "hate." No, I wasn't striving for safe, neutral, terms here!)

Personally, I got a kick out of it for a few minutes and then moved on. I don't think I ever thought of using it seriously as a search tool - in fact, I only looked at a few of the search "results" - and since they weren't anything that I couldn't find FASTER on my own, I really just wrote it off as a funny site - ha ha. Maybe I'll pay more attention when someone comes out with a "smoking hot" GUY version...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Shameless Promotion

This is not library related, it's shameless self (and family) promotion.

Let's face facts - I'm beyond poor. In order to pretend to make ends meet, I do all kinds of stuff "on the side" to make a little extra scratch. I cat-sit. I do research and editing. And, I "make stuff." The holidays are coming, so if you'd like to see what "stuff" I've made (or can make), stop by my Etsy shop. I also take custom orders for tags, cards, and cookies.

And, my mom has a blog! It's not a typical blog - nothing at all typical about my mom. She's afraid no one will read it, so stop by and post a comment if you'd like. I really had no idea that my mom is this creepy...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hmmmm, should I feel badly?

My library blocks MySpace. This is not a policy that I personally endorse, but no amount of carping from me to the board is going to make any difference. The reasons for blocking MySpace are the standard ones - compounded by the fact that the 14 year-old daughter of a patron was corresponding with an 18 year-old boy/man - who was using MySpace here at the library. Sigh.

Anyway, the blocking software wasn't catching MySpace for a few days, and apparently word spread - tonight the computers were over-run with teens, every one of them on MySpace, and every one of them rude and obnoxious. I had complaints from adult patrons due to the noise. I was eye-rolled, talked-back-to, and completely ignored (until I got Queen Latifah on them, rolled my neck, and said, "Oh no you didn't!"). These are not teens that EVER come into the library - once MySpace was blocked months ago, they all disappeared. The ones waiting for a computer to open up were disruptive, and not one of them picked up a BOOK - heaven forbid. I tried to talk to them (like I usually do with teen patrons), but they were not interested in anything I had to say.

The block was reinstated while they were here, and when the screens shut them down, they all got up and left - loudly. I doubt I will see them again unless the block fails again.

So, what does this say? Here I've been one to advocate for social software in the library and for education over blocking, but, I gotta say, having to police those kids tonight was a real pain in my ass.

More Spaces

So, has anyone checked out the new Microsoft Live Spaces?

The only reason I had even come across it (though I'm sure I would have, eventually) is that Barenaked Ladies (my favorite band) is using it to blog their new tour. And, because I am a librarian, and feel like it's my "duty" to check out all of these things (who am I kidding - I wanted to enter the BLAM contest), I slapped a page together.

So, first of all, it's pretty much a blatant rip-off of MySpace - I mean, they barely even changed the name. That, and the fact that it says Microsoft, would have kept me away - but, like I said, I'm a librarian in pursuit of knowledge (cough*contest winning*cough).

I am wondering who, exactly, the target audience is for this "space." I doubt that the MySpace-ers will flock over here - why would they? The "pros" of this set-up - easy to choose and arrange modules, "tasteful" templates, clear instructions (most of the time) - would hardly appeal to the teens who have already taken great pains to conquer MySpace and make their page as garrish and unreadable as possible. That, really, is one of the joys of MySpace. I am forced to believe, then, that this "space" is aimed at my generation (one of the choices about your musical taste is "I'm still stuck in the 80s" - most MySpacers have no recollection of the 80s).

Does Generation X need a "space" to call their own? Maybe. I graduated high school with more than 600 people, and only a handful (less than 50) of them can be found on MySpace, and even fewer have any other web presence (and I've looked, believe me) at all. Why is that? I've been online in various incarnations since 1996 - am I really that unusual?

Anyway, if the aim of Live Spaces is to be a more user-friendly, less fugly, 80s hipster alternative to MySpace, they might be on to something - in theory. In reality, they need to do something different with their advertising campaign, and they need to lose the Microsoft branding - even if it does belong to them. Because, let's face it - nothing screams "not hip" like Microsoft.

And, they need to add music players full of the 80s classics.

So, yeah, I have a page there, and it will probably get even less use than my MySpace page - which is too bad, because I'd love to hear from some of my old classmates.

Librarian Hair Rocks!

Erica at Librarian Avengers had a fabulous idea - no one will ever say we have "librarian brown" hair again! I am so excited that my hair ended up in this rainbow...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Got (extra) Books?

I came across this on Alexandra Sokoloff's Blog. Alexandra has been a champion of the Teen Spot Reviews Program, so I am happy to pass on the good word.


There are plenty of places to doante books, and this seems like a worthy cause. I know that in some states the court system does not encourage prison libraries - I'm glad these folks are making an effort to address the problems of their young offenders, not just lock them up.


Donate books to the LA Juvenile Court System:

ATTENTION: READERS, AUTHORS, PUBLISHERS AND BOOKSELLERS:

Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, California is a locked facility housing 700 juveniles awaiting adjudication and sentencing.

"In collaboration with UCLA Department of Library and Information Science, we are in the process of developing a LIBRARY to provide these juveniles with a range of reading materials to instill hope, increase literacy, and combat the boredom of incarceration.

We are looking for individuals and organizations able to DONATE BOOKS, LIBRARY SUPPLIES and FUNDS. (NOTE: These donations would be tax-deductible.")

Make a difference in the lives of our at-risk youth!

Please send materials to:

Attn: Christina M.
16350 Filbert Street
Sylmar, CA 91342


Or call (818) 364-5505 for more information.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back to Work

Well, I was sidelined for a few days with a little medical emergency, but I'm fine and will back terrorizing the library on Friday. Eh, I didn't need that gall bladder (and, just how the hell old am I, anyway!?). I have been writing about it on my personal blog, which you are welcome to root out, if you wish. BUT, if you would like to maintain any illusion that I am rational, sane, or at all classy, you should probably just take my word for it.

Anywhoo...

The Newport Daily News did a very nice article on the Homework Drop-In Program - I'd link to it, but they want a dollar to read it. That bugs me. I mean, yeah, I get it, but I hate it just the same. Oh, I don't know, maybe some link to something breaking copyright will show up later....
The story has done wonders to bring people in, and the program seems to be taking off, so, I'm really glad I decided to give this a shot.

In other good news, the author of one of the YA books reviewed on Teen Spot Reviews saw it and linked us up. Props to Holly, who is simply the coolest YA patron, reviewer, and tutor ever.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

libraryland and sharing information

So, are you folks heading over to libraryland at all? I think it's funny that this blog has developed more of a readership than I ever dreamed of, while libraryland seems kind of quiet. While sometimes something useful stuff gets posted here, for the most part it's just me blathering on about my job, and occasionally, pieces of my life. At least at libraryland you might find something that you can use.

To that end, I have renamed the Original Works page - it's now the Info Share page. You can read how that came about here.

Once again, I am going to beg for your wonderful bits of creativity, wisdom, and in some cases, utter BS. I know I am not the only info pro out here with a folder full of pathfinders, webliographies, and bio-bibliographies. So, come on, share!!! An active Info Share page would be the one thing that would make libraryland somewhat unique.

Oh, wait! I just had a thought - would more people play if it was a wiki? Hmmmm.... Really, let me know what you think of the wiki idea - if people are into it, I'd gladly change the format.

Anyway, I hope you can add libraryland to your reading list.

Homework Program

Well, after much anticipation, the new Homework Drop-In Program is set to begin tomorrow!

I think I mentioned here a while back that I was interested in starting an after-school tutoring program. I had no idea what I was doing, and no idea if it was feasible, but I mentioned it to the director and got the go-ahead. At that point, I don't think he thought it would go anywhere, as two days ago, at the training session for the tutors, he said, "I'm so impressed that you did this."

Anyway, what i "did" was contact the service learning programs at the two area colleges and let them know that we had a volunteer opportunity here at the library. I sent over an outline of the program, my e-mail address, and watched in amazement as the e-mail started to arrive. What was even more interesting was how wrong I was in my initial assumptions concerning the participation levels from the colleges: Roger Williams, my alma mater, came through with two-thirds of the volunteers and even invited me to a Service Fair, while Salve Regina remained a bit more "hands off" (but still provided some very nice volunteers for the program). I also put up flyers in the library hoping to attract a few patrons, but um, no.

This past Thursday I held a "tutor training session" and marveled at my 17 shiny, new volunteers! I am unbelievably thrilled at this turnout, and the "kids" all seemed really enthusiatic. It is very possible that when they left they said, "Wow, she's crazy," but, whatever.

Initially, I contacted the librarian at the high school and figured I'd promote the program there, first. Well, it didn't take long before word reached the middle school, and I've had several e-mails from parents interested in the program. I purposely waited until I had some volunteers signed up before promoting at the schools, but I had parents coming in to inquire before I even had the details ironed out - cool, and kinda scary.

So, I am going in on my day off tomorrow to be on hand for the first day. The Director informed me that the newspaper would be by to take pics - not sure if he called them or if they got wind of it some other way (and I hope there are kids there to take pics of - I DO NOT want my photo in the paper!). I didn't even get as far as putting a press release in the paper - seems the middle school has its own listserv (which is neat).

I really think there is a need for this type of program in Middletown. And I also would really like to increase the teen traffic IN the actual library, and ON the library's various teen blogs. But, if just a few kids learn how to use the catalog and maybe - gasp! - one of the databases, I'll be thrilled.

Hmmmm, I wonder if this will lead to more work - in some way, shape, or form, for me. That'd be nice.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Simmons Skill Share

Saturday, I went to the Simmons GLIS Skill Share, and had a great time. I met up with my friend Jessamyn, and we attended a couple of sessions together and the excellent keynote by the way cool Jenna Freedman and Eric Goldhagen from Radical Reference.

This was the first "skill share" event that I have attended, and I really had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be a group of sessions presented by students (and teachers?) at Simmons, which in the case of the sessions I went to turned out to be very informative overviews of courses offered at the college. Now, this may not sound overly useful for someone who is not only not a Simmons GLIS student, but no longer a student at all (and I think Jessamyn is right that we were the only non-students in attendance), but I did come away with some new, and very useful, information.

I attended a session on Literacy and Services to Underserved Populations, which I was very interested in as this was my field before I became a librarian. I came away with some great info on the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and Talking Books, and a huge list of great literacy links (which will be posted in a day or two over at libraryland).

The keynote was an absolutely inspiring talk on Free/Open Source Software, and I left feeling like I want to DO SOMETHING to get computers and such software into the hands of people who may not be able to afford full computer set-ups (and everyone else, for that matter). So, yeah, now I need to install Linux (I may start small with Open Office, etc, on the new machine), and figure out how I can parlay my real loves, librarianship and OUTREACH, into a job that supports me. I am so glad that I still get excited by other people's humanistic ideas; it makes me realize that it was not a mistake for me to leave the corporate world (and also makes me realize that I am most likely doomed to be destitute).

Kudos to the organizers! I hope to see more events like this in the future.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Banned Books Week

Hmmm, is Miss Zoot a closet librarian?

I, however, have had so much going on, that I dropped the ball on Banned Books Week, and I never ordered a poster for it, or anything else for that matter. Since we do not yet have the teen foot traffic that I would like to see, I am not overly concerned that I do not have the ALA "goodies" to pass out, and I will put together a display anyway. But, if anyone has a spare Banned Books poster (adult version) that they would like to donate to the cause, please let me know.

Friday, September 08, 2006

"Hacking" Blogger -Tagging

Because I know that several of you use Blogger for your blog(s), I figured I'd post this here as well as libraryland.

I love the ease of Blogger, and use it for all but one of my blogs (libraryland is done in WordPress). But, the one thing I have always wished that Blogger supported is tagging or "catagories" for posts. Well, the good news is that Blogger has added this functionality in its Beta version; the bad news is that Beta is not yet available to everyone (you can sign-up for a Beta Blogger blog if you have a gmail account - I have a few invites left, email if you'd like one).

However, if you'd like to add tags to your Blogger posts before the Beta becomes public, I have found two relatively easy ways to do that.

The first method is using the easy Zoom Clouds app (thanks, Geeky Artist Librarian!), which you can check out in my sidebar. In a few minutes you can have a nifty "tag cloud" added to the sidebar of any blog you own. It updates itself, and you can customize the look of the cloud, which is cool. However, the "tags" are chosen by the application, and are based on frequently occuring keywords in your posts. This is fine with me, but some of you may want more control of your tag words.

If so, welcome to Qumana, method number two. Qumana is a blog editing tool that you download and use in place of your Blogger (or other) editor. Qumana lets you add tags to your posts, and they show up after the post title. Nifty. This program is also useful if you host several blogs using several blogging tools - just sign into Qumana and edit all of your blogs from one place. Oh, yeah - if you are so inclined, you can use both Zoom Cloud and Qumana in tandem, and create tag clouds using the tags you specify in Qumana. Way cool.

This may all be a moot point once Blooger Beta becomes public, but both of these apps work with other blog editors as well. Tag away!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Subscribe via E-mail

For those of you who prefer to get your blog updates via e-mail, I have added a Feedblitz link to the subscribe section - about time, huh?

That's Nice

So, just now, one of my co-workers came over to the desk and said that an out-of-town patron who has been visiting the area this summer, and using our library frequently, asked if she could have copies of my posters/flyers about the Teen Spot Reviews program, the Homework Drop-In program, and the What Do You Want books lists. The patron said she thought they were "wonderful," and that she would like to see her local library work harder to promote teens using their library.

Wow, that makes me feel great! And slowly but surely, the kids are signing up for the programs, which makes me feel even better. Comments like this make leaving the area for another job pretty tough - I love it here, and perhaps I am doing some good.

Now If I could just figure out why funding a fully-functional YA program here is not on the Town's, or Board of Directors', list of things to do.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bye, Bye, RI?

Well, the second "made for me" job has been posted - in CT. The jobs are great, the pay is great, and I think I would have an excellent shot at getting either job. But, they're in CT - nowhere near water. I know that people don't understand, believe me, I've been told many times that it's a STUPID reason not to move (especially for a job), but, I grew up on the ocean, and have never lived more than a quarter mile from WATER. Never. I chose my college based on this (my dorm was 200 feet from the water). My apartment now is ON A PIER. Seriously. I don't know if I could take it.

What about Cape Cod, huh!? Why are there no jobs in RI or SE MAss!?

Sigh.

Providence Public Library Branches

When I started library school, I was offered a Prism Fellowship - I am probably the only person to ever turn it down. My main reason for doing so, at the time, was that it would have forced me to take only 2 classes per semester, and I didn't want it to take me 3+ years to finish my degree. Also, at the time, I wasn't overly sure that I wanted to work for Providence Public. Don't ask me why - that should have been my dream job. But some weirded out feeling told me to stay away from there.

That was the first, and only, time in history that my intuition would serve me well.

If you are not in/from Rhode Island, you may not be aware of the problems Providence Public has had in the past 2-3 years; in a nutshell, jobs have been drastically cut, branches closed, and leadership questioned. The "media coverage" link on this site will help you fill in the blanks...

Today I received a link to a great site that talks about the condition and perhaps fate of the Branch Libraries of PPL - Not About The Buildings. Take a look - there's some moving, and important, stuff here.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Library "Talk"

I think I am going to pull the Library Talk forum. In spite of my best efforts, no one uses it - ever. Oh, yeah, except spammers.

So, does anyone out there have a Library 2.0 alternative to a bulletin board, and especially to listservs? Because, I'm sorry, no offense librarian pals, but listservs are so NOT 2.0. They are more like .5...

I really wanted to create a slightly more social place to have a "conversation" with other librarians about the professional and the not-so-professional stuff we are interested in. My board was a bust. And while listservs are useful for question and answer stuff, I find the conversational element of them completely lacking.

Am I missing something? Anyone have a better idea? I have bandwidth to burn, so if you would like to see something else, please let me know.

YAY!

Less than a week ago I did a little weeding in the YA section. I have a decent book budget, and I am not a librarian who can't stand to pull things from the collection, so I regularly go through and pull old/outdated books, and books (especiall paperbacks) that look just plain crappy. If it's a popular or classic title, I buy a new one. If not, out it goes - I want the section to have the latest and "best" (way a matter of opinion!) titles, AND I want it to LOOK inviting.

Anyway, I decided that rather than throw the books out, I'd make a FREE BOOKS box and put it in the "teen sitting area." A side note about this area: we don't have a teen room, so we put three chairs near the YA shelves and used a large, long table to create a little "nook." The table also serves as additional YA display space. I named it the "Teen Spot." Um, I have no money, so it only has some pretty LAME posters and a bulletin board. And, what I've noticed is that all the older folks like to sit there - I have taken to calling it the Age Spot (but not out loud). Sigh.

So, I was psyched to come in yesterday and find several girls sitting on the floor, FREE BOOKS box between them, digging around in it and excitedly choosing something to take. Wheee! Then I had a family come in from out of state. The girl (about 13) was looking at the shelves longingly. I asked her what she liked to read, and she said, "Oh, we're on the road, so I can't take anything out. But I've read all the books I brought with me." I pointed to the FREE BOOKS box and she said, "Really, I can just take one? Cool!" A little while later her mom came over to me and asked if the Teen Reviewers program was just for local kids. "Hella no!" I said (OK, again not out loud). I explained that it was all done via e-mail, so anyone could join. Her daughter signed up and said we were "cool."

And a good day was had by all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back to School

Well, I am gearing up for Back to School - let's see if I get any more cooperation from the high school this year (I somehow doubt it).

I am in the throes of putting together my homework drop-in program. Both Salve and Roger Williams (my alma mater) are encouraging their students to participate, and I am psyched. I also have one high school honor student who's interested, and I have decided to open the volunteering up to high school kids who want to help middle schoolers. There's a target date of the first week of October for the program's start, so the coming weeks will be spent recruiting and training tutors and setting up some sort of schedule. Then, we'll see if anyone comes in for help... I am really excited about this.

There's also been a little more interest in the Teen Spot Reviews program, so I think I will push that right from the start this school year. I've been told that my biggest "tactical error" with the program was that I started too late in the school year last year, and the kids were already too swamped with school work. I need to get out there and do some begging for prizes - as much as it bums me out that kids need to be bribed to participate in things, I'm am certainly not above it. Hey, whatever it takes!

Speaking of bribery, I have decided to exploit MySapce - not for the kids, but for the hordes of YA authors that have coming-a-courtin' my profile. So far I have been able to wheedle some advanced reader's copies and even a few free published books out of the authors and publishers in exchange for a teen review. I have been hording them and plan to use them as bait (Free book for you to keep! Be the FIRST one to read this book!) to attract some new reviewers.

I am also preparing for my school visit again. This year, I am going to combine the parent's night visit and the "hang out in the hallway" visit in one day. Last year, I went to parent's night one day and hung out in the hallway a few weeks later - it's a lot of crap to schlep. The school librarian really wanted me to hang out in the school library all day, but I felt that I wanted to be more visible than that - the only kids that would have seen me were kids whose class was having a library period that day. So, instead, I set up in the hall, and bribed the kids to come over to me with FREE bracelets. It's a lot like taming a feral cat. This year, I begged for an additional 50 bucks for the trip and I have braclets AND carabiner highliters AND pencils! wOOt!

These activities make me strangely happy - I never in a million years pictured myself doing this stuff. I'm also frustrated - and not just because it's so hard to get the kids to get involved. I've kinda screwed myself here; 15 hours is not nearly enough time to do the YA stuff and the other things I am supposed to be doing (like weeding and shifting books). But, since I just pretty much "created" this YA "position," (meaning that the position doesn't actually exist and weeding and shifting should take priority), I just need to be quiet and do what I can. Ha.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Heh...

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/51562

If you'd like to read the reviews, which are pretty funny themselves, click on that fabulous hunk of manhood (oh, I am so kidding...).

Thanks, Melanie, for the heads up.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Game On: Games in Libraries

Game On: Games in Libraries

Just got an e-mail from the local YA Listserv referencing this blog - looks interesting. I think it's a great idea, if you have the space and resources, which, in my opinion, our library does not. And, I will admit it - I am not a big fan of gaming, but I will also admit that that may simply be because I have no frame of reference for it.... I don't know, am I old now? The other day a pre-teen boy spent 5 straight hours on one of our computers playing video games - 5 hours. Since it was gorgeous out, there were no people waiting to get online, and I had no reason to ask him to get off the computer. But, I just kept thinking, "Shouldn't he be OUTSIDE running around on a day like this?" God, I've turnedinto my mother (who, for the record, would LOCK US OUTSIDE on gorgeous days!).

Oh, yeah, I blogged this using the "Blog This!" feature - works great.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Homework Help

I am in the process of putting together a homework help drop in program (for 12-18 yr olds) here at the library. I'm hoping to use volunteers from the local colleges as tutors.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while, but I really didn't think I'd get the backing from The Powers That Be. I should know by now that I can almost never predict that - it seems to vary from day to day what is and isn't considered a good idea. At any rate, TPTB thought it was a great idea (yay!) and so now I am in planning mode before anyone changes their mind.

I'd like to have something - anything - in place by fall (I may be delusional). I don't expect that this will be a large venture at first, as we are not a big facility, and don't have a tremendous amount of teen foot traffic (something I am tirelessly working to address).

Anyway, I'd love to know about your teen homework help program, if you have one. You can either direct me to your webpage, leave a comment, or e-mail any helpful info - any feedback/input is welcome! I am also interested in the screening/training process you may have for your potential tutors, and what paperwork you require (if any) from the parents of teens using the service.

I am also posting this as a topic on the Library Talk Forum in another futile attempt to sway librarians towards the forum - feel free to answer there!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Interesting

I think perhaps I should print this information out and send it to the Town Council. Maybe then someone would realize that a library the size of ours SHOULD have some sort of REAL YA programing (and a librarian paid to do it).

Oh, what am I talking about?

I received the following e-mail via the local YA listserv. Very interesting information. Makes me feel like I am not crazy to think that libraries are actually important (to teens, and in general). Give it a read.

Last Tuesday, the Americans for Libraries Council, a nonprofit library advocacy group, released "Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century." It reports the results of a national study of the general public as well as interviews with national and local civic leaders. The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by Public Agenda (a nonprofit, nonpartisan opinion research organization).
Quoting from the press release http://tinyurl.com/omgrs:
"Four areas of opportunity resonated most with the public and leaders alike: (1) providing stronger services for teens, (2) helping address illiteracy and poor reading skills among adults, (3) providing ready access to information about government services, including making public documents and forms readily available and (4) providing even greater access to computers for all."
"The public is very concerned about teenagers and feel that providing safe and productive activities for teens should be a high priority (72%) for their communities. This is also an area where the public potentially holds their local governments accountable as they believe local government both can and should do more for teens. In the public's reckoning, libraries can potentially fill the gap: 3 out of 4 Americans (74%) believe providing services for teens should be a high priority for libraries."
There's a "Fact Sheet" on libraries and teens at http://tinyurl.com/qrksg.
Go to http://tinyurl.com/royve for links to the full report, a two-page summary, and "5 Things Civic Leaders Should Know About Libraries and the Public" (the fifth of which lists the "four specific opportunities for public libraries to integrate themselves more fully into the life of their communities" -- the first of which is "a safe and engaging place for teens").

WOOO HOOOO!

Very excited - I was just hired to do a freelance job! This isn't my first freelance gig, but it is the largest, and what is most cool is that the people saw my webpage and contacted me, unlike doing work for/through friends. Yay!

I was on Block Island for a couple of days, and did a little shopping in a posh bath/body products store (my personal shopping weakness). The owner was out of a product that I wanted, and I asked for her web address so that I could contact her to mail order it - she said she didn't have a webpage. I said, "I can put one togther for you." We traded cards. Mind you, I am far from being a web designer - FAR from it. But, I know enough to put together a simple page, which is all she's interested in. So, cool. Maybe I will barter for bath products. No, seriously.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

OMG...

Ok, right this very second, I am watching as a mother tells her pre-teen son that he can only take out two books. He is NOT happy about this - he wants to take out four (we allow 30 books out at a time). Oooo, the older (16ish) sister just asked her mother why he can't take out more books. The mother said, "Shhhh! Don't add to the problem!"

While the boy is definitely of the bratty variety, it kills me to see a 12 year-old boy's request for MORE BOOKS thwarted.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Well, this is interesting...

Two things from YA at the Middletown Public Library land:

All of a sudden, kids are signing up for my Teen Spot Reviews project. I've had three people join in two days and I couldn't be happier. Now, if they actually write a review, I'll be thrilled!

I had one response to my inaugural What Do You Want experiment. I was happy with that, especially since it was left by a teen that I didn't actually accost and force into participating. The interesting part, however, was her responses; she's a 17 year old girl, and her "picks" reflected that for the most part. But next to
The Full Spectrum : A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities by David Levithan and Billy Merrell, she penned in a large "NO". She did not do this on the other books she didn't select as "buy this" - just this title. And perhaps this simply reflects my own biases/preconceived notions/stereotyping, but I was actually surprised, as she is a GIRL (I wouldn't have been surprised if a teenaged boy had done this). Hmmm. I'm not sure how I feel about her adamance that a "gay" title NOT be included in the collection (OK, it totally bums me out), or my own prejudices - but, of course, I ordered the title anyway...

As for accosting the kids, well, I am finding that if I am on the reference desk, and a teen comes in, I make it a point to approach the teen and TALK to them. I show them the collection, I show them the projects that are going on, and generally HAND them the materials and hope for the best. It seems to be working - who knew?


What Teen Angst Book are You?

I admit it - I love silly quizzes - though I rarely post them on my blogs for fear it will make me look like the dork I am.

This quiz, however, was a must given that I work with the YA crowd. Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for the link. Links to the quiz and my result is near the bottom of the sidebar. I think it's funny that I am termed "boozy," given that I don't drink - at all. I have had this book on my "must read" list for a while, and now it moves to the top.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Google - Uncle Sam?

I remember linking to Google Uncle Sam on my original libraryland website in 2003. This was also the year I took "Gov Pubs," in school, so the website came in handy at times.

Well, it seems that Google has decided to "rebrand" Google Uncle Sam as Google US Government Search. This new devolpment is discussed here (and I'm sure other places as well), but what I'm not seeing is, um, "why?" According to Resource Shelf, the the Uncle Sam search and the US Government search are the same. Had the "Uncle Sam" become too "cutesie" given today's political climate? Or was it just not specific enough a descriptor for the average searcher? I'd be interested in your thoughts on this, and/or let me know if you find an article that talks in more detail about the switch.

Oh, by the way, if you are not familiar with the WayBack Machine, check it out - it was just the thing I needed for this post.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Blogging the ALA Conference

Wow, that was quite the angst-ridden post, huh? I think I'm OK now...

I've never been much for the conference scene (perhaps it was overwhelmingly "kumbaya-ness" of the Americorps conferences I was forced to endure), but, I have to say, I have had a lot of fun at the two RILA cobferences I have attended. So, I'm actually a little bummed that ALA wasn't in the cards for me this year.

So, I will be keeping up with the goings on via blogs.PLA, YALSA, LITA, La-La-Librarian, and LibraryGrrrl will be blogging the conference, and I am sure Jessamyn at Librarian.net will clock in as well. Let me know if you (or someone you know/read) will be blogging the conference as well, and I will add you to the blogroll.

I'll be looking forward to all of the news!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Jobs? Anyone?

Sometimes I just cannot believe that I picked yet another career path that seems to lead directly to the poor house.

When I decided to go to library school, everyone was saying "There will be so many JOBS when you graduate! All the "old" librarians will be retiring, and/or refusing to get on board with the technology." HA!

When I left my job as a Program Director of an adult literacy program to go to library school full-time, I was bringing home $1300 a month. I couldn't pay my bills, I never had any "extra" money for fun, and the job was never going to pay more than it was. It was a dead-end, so, even though I loved my job, I left it in order to "improve" my financial situation.

I now bring home $900 a month...

Don't get me wrong - I love my job, and I love my library. It's frustrating at times, especially since I really didn't anticipate working with teens, but, for the most part, it's a breeze. I love doing reference, I get along with the people I work with, it's an easy commute, and, for the first time in my professional life, my boss treats me like I have a brain.

But, I can't live on $900 a month - not even close. And because I have to work every weekend, it has been impossible to find an additional part-time job - professional or otherwise. Part-time work always requires nights AND weekends - weekdays are reserved for full-time employees. Sigh. The stress of being this broke is starting to take a toll on my nerves - every time I have to ask my partner for money, I get a migraine.

I have thought about relocating, but I really don't want to - this is my home, and I love it here. I'm not fresh out of college with no strings to tie me down - there are strings when you are, um, not 20 anymore.

In the state of RI, I have seen LESS THAN 10 full-time REFERENCE positions advertised during the past two years. Just about evey job has been for children's librarianship or directorships. Working with teens is challenging enough for me - considering that my hope was to do academic reference, working with toddlers is NOT what I want to do (nor would I be good at it - I don't have kids for a reason). As a new librarian, I am not qualified to be a director - and again, I am a reference person, not an administrator.

There is a full-time YA position in the state, and I am applying for it - mostly because I feel like I have to. If I got the job, it would mean moving, as it is more than an hour's commute. I'm not sure what it would mean for my relationship, as my partner has no interest in moving to almost CT. It would mean completely branding myself as a YA librarian, which would probably be career suicide, if my goal is adult reference in either a public or academic library. Sigh.

The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing that I am not alone. I know of several people in my position, working part-time, struggling to make ends meet - and applying for the same two jobs that I am!

So, if you know of anyone getting ready to retire from a RI or SE Mass library, let me know - I need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Web Work

I have spent the better part of my free time this week FINALLY tying together all of my blogs and my "professional" site - the result is The Home of the Cool Librarian.

Today was challenging. First, we lost power for a few hours to a nasty coastal storm system. Then, Blogger was down just about all day. But, I managed to get just about everything tied up - my personal blog, jessica, while functional, will be in better shape by next week (I am going on a camping trip this weekend, and will be offline for a few days - eegads).

If you are reading this, or any of my blogs, I thank you. If you have a blog, I'd love to list it in my blogroll, and would love a link on yours as well. Maybe it's just me, but the hours spent doing this stuff seems much more worth it if I think people are actually reading. I'm finding that it takes a long time for a blog to catch on if you aren't yet in the "inner library blog sanctum," but I'm going to hang in there.

On a technical note: I have used a number of tools to create my various blogs and webpages, and that was not an accident (though it may look like one). This, and my new jessica blog are managed in Blogger. I find Blogger to be the "easiest" of the blog tools in terms of initial set-up, especially if you are interested in screwing with the template code for a personalized look. My librayland blog is powered by WordPress, which was the perfect tool for a multi-page setup like that - though I find WP to take MUCH longer to get going initially, and the templates a bit more difficult to personalize (OK, a lot more difficult). Hats off to the WP theme creators - I don't know how you do it.

My business page was hand coded with HTML and CSS. A bit of a process, but so easy to maintain once it is together, and completely "controllable." It also produced the professional look I was going for. My undying gratitude to Auntie Weasel for letting me rip off some of her code. The logo was designed by a commercial art student.

Lastly, my home page was created in, get this, Publisher of all things. This was a total lark/experiment. I have been using Publisher for years, and I actually use Publisher to design any graphics I may need (because I am too lazy to learn Illustrator/Photoshop). Yes, laugh all you want - I know I'm a hack. But, for all the drawbacks, and there are many, Publisher was a QUICK fix for me, and produced a somewhat hazy-looking page that goes perfectly with the color pallette I used and the mood I was trying to create.

Oh, yeah, the color scheme I used for the homepage and the jessica blog is called yinyang green, and I found it on the wonderful Colour Lovers site. If you are a color freak, check it out.

Aren't you glad I told you all this?

RILA Conference

Yes, it was almost a week ago now, but I will still chime in and mention how much I enjoyed it.

One of the highlights was getting to meet Jessamyn West. I was really bummed to have missed her presentation last year, so I made sure that I was able to attend this time. Her talk was great, and then we got to hang out, eat cheese, drink wine, and watch the "other" librarians learn to bellydance. Looked like fun, but, believe me, no one wants to see me bellydance.

An unexpected treat was the featured speaker, Michael Sullivan. I just have to gush for a moment: I absolutely LOVED his talk! His "radical" ideas for public libraries were, in my opinion, right on the money - though I don't think my view was shared by all. It was actually almost as much fun to watch the faces of the people in the audience - they pretty much ranged from "Right on!" to "Shut the Hell up, you nut case." Heh.

I, personally, plan to implement his "no collection development plan," to a degree, in the YA department. Basically, Sullivan advocates the use of a book list, which is distributed to patrons, and he buys according to patron requests. While I don't think I can get away with that system completely, at least not right away, I will be developing lists from now on and basing more of my buying on YA requests, rather than just relying on School Library Journal (and a handful of YA review blogs) for reviews. I can't wait to see how it works. I plan to use YALit a lot in this venture.

Oh, yeah, just because I feel I should keep my readers slightly entertained, I'll tell you this slightly embarrassing factoid: I pretty much professed my burgeoning love for Mr. Sullivan, um, yes, directly to him, after his talk. In front of other people. I think the exact quote was, "I think I love you." Thankfully he responded with a great big laugh and said, "Well then, it was all worth it!" Yes, yes indeed.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

OK, let's try this again...

A little while back, I posted this to the blog, but I didn't get any comments. Now that there are a few more people checking in here, I will beg for comments again (you can post them on this post).
I have tried, in vain, to get people interested in this board. And, if people aren't interested, that's fine - but I would REALLY like to know why librarians prefer listserves (which I just find too difficult/time consuming to keep up with) to message boards.

One thing that is a drawback to message boards is SPAM. I have tried to put safeguards in place on the board, but it's a constant battle to keep the SPAM at bay. Which, also brings me to another point - if people aren't interested in the board, I might as well take it down, because used or not, I do have to spend time maintaining it.

Just FYI re SPAM:
On this blog, "Anonymous" comments are welcome, but comments are "moderated" - meaning I review them before they are posted here. The only reason I do this is to control "comment SPAM" - NOT content.

On the Library Talk Forum, you have to register, and I activate the registration. Again, this is the only effective way to keep a handle the SPAM. I know it means you might have to wait to post (I live online, so the wait is pretty short), but most people prefer this to the vast amount of SPAM that show up on unmoderated forums.

I welcome comments about the SPAM policies as well...

Did I say that?

OK, I may be changing my mind - again.

After spending more time than I wanted to trying to set up the new WordPress version of this blog, I have decided to keep it as is, but move it onto my server.

Sigh. I am one of those people that do not think that software upgrades are always a good thing. Case in point: the theme that I use for my libraryland blog, which runs like a champ on WP 2.0.1, does not seems to work (completely) on the newest upgrade, 2.0.2. I am no code guru, believe me, but there are basic functions that I simply could not get to work properly under the new software. Unfortunately, my server/service provider, which has WP integrated, only gave me the option of using the newest version of WP for the new blog (luckily, I don't HAVE to upgrade the libraryland blog - and I didn't just for this very reason). So, there goes my vision of having all my blogs using the same theme (in different colors) creating a somewhat "standard" look (unless I can get the theme designer to help with my bugs - but I doubt it).

At any rate, I'll keep you posted - I'll either find a way to fix the bugs, or I'll just move this blog and let you know what the new URL is.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Random Stuff

First of all, I'd like to say how thrilled I am that people are reading this blog, and that I have received such interesting/helpful/supportive comments lately! Thanks! This is exactly what I need to motivate me to update more frequently.

Along those lines, I think I have decided to switch this blog over to WordPress, and host it on my server, which is what I do with my other blog. It'll take a few days to get it up and running (I still have to find a theme I like, tweak the code, etc.), but when I have a new address, I'll be sure to let you know - especially if you drop me a comment between now and then (if you haven't done so already). Comments that link to a website/blog/e-mail address will get a note with the new info.

I have mixed feelings about making the change; Blogger is a very easy app to get started with, and I highly recommend it for new bloggers or people who aren't into doing any code tweaking. It's fast, easy, and FREE! But WordPress is a much more flexible application (although there are instances where it could be a touch simpler) - it's also much harder to get a grip on, especially if you are used to Blogger, or if you want to change the look of your blog (or the order of stuff in the sidebar - although, now they have come up with "widgets" which help that process a lot). At any rate, since I already have one blog on my coollibrarian.com site, and may be switching my personal blog (no, I'm not going to tell you how to find that blog) over there as well, it will be easier to administer all of them from one place.

If anyone out there is a WordPress theme designer looking to "advertise," let me know - I am looking for themes for the cool librarian blog, and my personal blog (and if it's compatible with widgets, so much the better).

Friday, May 05, 2006

Frustrated...

I'm feeling frustrated with certain aspects of my "library" life, and I'm a bit bummed about it.

Though I never had any interest in doing YA librarianship (I so thought I was going to be an academic reference librarian), since it is part of my job (sort of), I find that I would really like to have some sort of program that YAs actually care about - yeah, right. There has been no interest in the Teen Reviews program - in fact, a co-worker, who tried to get her girls interested (both voracious readers), said that the kids said that it "sounded like homework." I am guessing that's the general concensus, as no amount of advertising has brought any interest. It doesn't help that the area teachers have no interest in the project, either, and have not gone out of their way to "sell" it.

So, does this mean it's finally happened - that I am old and have no idea what teens are into (besides drinking and sex, which hasn't changed since I was a teen)? I REALLY thought that kids might be drawn by the idea of having their stuff "published," but I guess since everyone has their own MySpace page, there's no cachet in that anymore.

I have no idea how to bring teens into the library, when I have ZERO budget to put on a program. Sure, I guess I could come up with "free" things for a program, but then I would need to oversee said program on my own time, without pay, because I certainly can't take the time out of my miniscule schedule as it is. Sigh. Sometimes I'm not sure why I care, since YA stuff is a not a priority, anyway.

See, here's where I get in trouble: I come from a non-profit service background. Subsequently, I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make my librarian job "service" oriented. I keep trying to "help" people. I keep wanting to bring teens into the library. I keep trying to get the high school teachers to send me their assignments, or create a summer reading list that doesn't stink, or show ANY interest AT ALL in the library, or reading, or PROPER research skills. I keep trying to introduce "new things" (like the blogs)... and I keep forgetting that NO ONE CARES!

OK, rant done.

If anyone has any suggestions concerning any of this (and that can include just shutting my pie-hole), please, weigh in.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Women Writers

This is an interesting meme. After finishing it, I was surprised at the number of "classic" (and not classic!) books I have NOT read (jeepers, what the heck do I spend all of my time reading??) - interestingly, it seems I have read many of the "lesser known" works by some of these authors. Since my italic key only worked intermittently, there are many books on this list that I would like to read, but didn'tindicate as such.

Feel free to grab this.

Directions:
Bold the ones you've read. Italicize the ones you have wanted/might like to read. Place question marks by any titles/authors you've never heard of. Put an asterisk if you've read something else by the same author.

Alcott, Louisa May–Little Women
*Allende, Isabel–The House of Spirits
Angelou, Maya–I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
* Atwood, Margaret–Cat's Eye
Austen, Jane–Emma
Bambara, Toni Cade–Salt Eaters
?Barnes, Djuna–Nightwood
*Barry, Lynda--Cruddy
*de Beauvoir, Simone–The Second Sex
* Blume, Judy–Are You There God? It's Me Margaret
Burnett, Frances–The Secret Garden
Bronte, Charlotte–Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily–Wuthering Heights
Buck, Pearl S.–The Good Earth
?Byatt, A.S.–Possession
Cather, Willa–My Antonia
*Chopin, Kate–The Awakening
Christie, Agatha–Murder on the Orient Express
Cisneros, Sandra–The House on Mango Street
Clinton, Hillary Rodham–Living History
Cooper, Anna Julia–A Voice From the South
? Danticat, Edwidge–Breath, Eyes, Memory
Davis, Angela–Women, Culture, and Politics
Desai, Anita–Clear Light of Day
Dickinson, Emily–Collected Poems
Duncan, Lois–I Know What You Did Last Summer
DuMaurier, Daphne–Rebecca
*Ehrenreich, Barbara--Nickel and Dimed
*Eliot, George–Middlemarch

Emecheta, Buchi–Second Class Citizen
*Erdrich, Louise–Tracks
Esquivel, Laura–Like Water for Chocolate
Flagg, Fannie–Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
*Friedan, Betty–The Feminine Mystique
Frank, Anne–Diary of a Young Girl
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins–The Yellow Wallpaper
? Gordimer, Nadine–July's People
Grafton, Sue–S is for Silence
Hamilton, Edith–Mythology
Highsmith, Patricia–The Talented Mr. Ripley
*hooks, bell–Bone Black
* Hurston, Zora Neale–Dust Tracks on the Road
Jacobs, Harriet–Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Jackson, Helen Hunt–Ramona
*Jackson, Shirley–The Haunting of Hill House
*Jong, Erica–Fear of Flying
Keene, Carolyn–The Nancy Drew Mysteries (any of them)
Kidd, Sue Monk–The Secret Life of Bees
Kincaid, Jamaica–Lucy
*Kingsolver, Barabara--The Poisonwood Bible
Kingston, Maxine Hong–The Woman Warrior
Larsen, Nella–Passing
L'Engle, Madeleine–A Wrinkle in Time

Le Guin, Ursula K.–The Left Hand of Darkness
Lee, Harper–To Kill a Mockingbird
Lessing, Doris–The Golden Notebook
? Lively, Penelope–Moon Tiger
Lorde, Audre–The Cancer Journals
McCullers, Carson–The Member of the Wedding
*McMillan, Terry–Disappearing Acts
? Markandaya, Kamala–Nectar in a Sieve
?Marshall, Paule–Brown Girl, Brownstones
Mitchell, Margaret–Gone with the Wind
Montgomery, Lucy–Anne of Green Gables
Morgan, Joan–When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost
* Morrison, Toni–Song of Solomon
?Murasaki, Lady Shikibu–The Tale of Genji
Munro, Alice–Lives of Girls and Women
Murdoch, Iris–Severed Head
*Naylor, Gloria–Mama Day
Niffenegger, Audrey–The Time Traveller's Wife
*Oates, Joyce Carol–We Were the Mulvaneys
O'Connor, Flannery–A Good Man is Hard to Find
*Piercy, Marge–Woman on the Edge of Time
Picoult, Jodi–My Sister's Keeper
Plath, Sylvia–The Bell Jar
Porter, Katharine Anne–Ship of Fools
Proulx, E. Annie–The Shipping News

Rand, Ayn–The Fountainhead
Ray, Rachel–365: No Repeats
Rhys, Jean–Wide Sargasso Sea
Robinson, Marilynne–Housekeeping
? Rocha, Sharon–For Lac
Sebold, Alice–The Lovely Bones
Shelley, Mary–Frankenstein

Smith, Betty–A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Smith, Zadie–White Teeth
*Spark, Muriel–The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Spyri, Johanna–Heidi

Strout, Elizabeth–Amy and Isabelle
Steel, Danielle–The House
Tan, Amy–The Joy Luck Club
Tannen, Deborah–You're Wearing That
Tartt, Donna--The Secret History

Ulrich, Laurel–A Midwife's Tale
?Urquhart, Jane–Away
* Walker, Alice–The Temple of My Familiar
Welty, Eudora–One Writer's Beginnings
Wharton, Edith–Age of Innocence
*Weiner, Jennifer--Good In Bed

* Wilder, Laura Ingalls–Little House in the Big Woods
Wollstonecraft, Mary–A Vindication of the Rights of Women
* Woolf, Virginia–A Room of One's Own

Though I could add many wonderful writers, I am adding:

Hoffman, Alice - Turtle Moon (I am working may way through her collection; I think I have 4 books to go. I am currently reading Blackbird House.)


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Teen Book Review Program

I have been working on a young adult project at work, in an attempt to bring some teens into the library. In my own head, such a thing sounds like a piece of cake - the town has a nice library with a good YA collection, and the town has teenagers - should work, right?

The first big hurdle was coming up with a program that won't cost us any money - we don't have a budget for YA programming, at this point. The second jump was coming up with a program that will be fairly self-sustaining and somewhat long-term - ie, not a one-shot-deal.

After putting together the new teen blog, Teen Spot, I thought it might be a good idea to come up with a teen blog that's a bit more "interactive" of sorts. I was also toying with the idea of having the YA crowd write book reviews (because though the reviews I read for collection development are "fine," they are definitely NOT all that useful for teens themselves) - I put the concepts together, and voila, Teen Spot Reviews!

So far, I have spent A LOT of time on this - the blogs alone took hours to get "right," as I wanted them to be somewhat unique in look. I have tossed numerous e-mails back and forth with the librarian and English Dept Head at the local high school, hoping they could spread the word, and maybe offer some extra credit to students who participate. I've made posters and flyers, and crafted a consent form, available online, in the library, and at the high school...

To date, I have one person signed up. But, I did hear that the school newspaper is doing a story on the program, so hopefully word will spread, and some kids will come in.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Library Talk Forum - Comments Wanted

So, am I missing something? Why do librarians love listservs so much - especially as oppsed to forums?

This is a serious question.

Even though I have been using the internet for many years, I never seemd to "get into" listservs as much as I did forums. Now that I am a librarian, I subscribe to several listservs - and I find that I simply cannot effectively read, or keep up with, the very active ones. I find this frustrating, especially when it comes to lists that often have a lot of great ideas and information. It seems that no matter how many times people are reminded to cut and paste appropriately, there's a ton of repeated info, and I find it nearly impossible to follow a conversation. And if two or more topics are being actively discussed, forget it. Am I dense?

In an attempt to address this issue (and perhaps it's only an issue for me), I put up Library Talk, a discussion forum for librarians. I was hoping that people might check it out and be swayed by a forum's "conversational" style. It's had a few visits, but not much action, yet. I even posted a question to a YA list that I subscribe to, and tried to nudge people to reply on the board, but no one did... (I did, however, receive a huge number of great replies to the list, but, again, sometimes it was hard to follow.)

So, are librarians anti-forum? Should I simply stop whining? Or should I let the board ride a while and see if it picks up?

I do hope you'll check it out, and either post comments to the forum, or here. (Yes, you have to register, but that is simply to cut down on spam....)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

You go, Girl.

A great quote from one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Weiner:

Salem: Why did you choose to visit Salem?
Jennifer Weiner: Short answer: The library invited me. And I am all about the libraries.

Here is the full online chat session.

And, a personal "yay!" for her comment about not wishing she was in Weight Watchers....

It's Baa-aaack....

After days, days I tell you, of playing with WordPress, libraryland is finally back in action.

I originally created libraryland during grad school as a resource site for library students. It was fairly popular, but I gave up the site when I changed domains. It's now been re-created as a multi-page blog, so that people can aggregate and be notified as the site is updated.

I hope you'll check it out, and add it to your reading list. I am also looking to add original resource content, so if you have a paper, presentation, pathfinder - anything library-esque that you've written - that you would like to see online, please let me know!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Interesting YA purchases of late

This was a little odd - when I opened my last YA order, I found that I had ordered 4 titles that were written in verse of some sort:
Dead on Town Line
A Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl
Seeing Emily
The Crazy Man

Each of these books is different in theme and tone, and The Crazy Man is meant for the younger end of the YA spectrum. I am going to read A Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl, because it sounds like several men I have known...

Taking a look around Amazon, it seems like the verse thing is exploding. The few books in verse that I had up until this point have circulated well, and have been popular with reluctant readers as well as voracious readers. Cool.