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.

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.