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:


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.


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.