May 31, 2006

News to Use

If, by some chance, you don't already subscribe to Library Link of the Day I strongly urge you to. It's a daily tidbit of information about something happening in the library world, delivered right to your inbox. Some of the recent links have included:

* White House Wants NSA Lawsuits Nixed [CBS News]
* Web inventor warns of 'dark' net [BBC News]
* Life On The Web's Factory Floor [BusinessWeek]

LISNews is another great stash of library-related news; you can subscribe to the Daily Newsletter to be delivered via e-mail as well (you must join to do this; it's free and easy.)

Both of these are great ways to keep on top of a variety of things that matter to us. Run out and subscribe now!

Currently 83° and really lovely.

May 30, 2006

Posts Redux

I mentioned both of these briefly over on You don't look like a librarian! but I know everyone doesn't check there (not that I'm deluding myself that this gets read a lot!) so I wanted to mention them again.

* InfoSciPhi has written a great article about the librarian as a Wise Old One archetype. I really liked it when I found it back on May 1st (wow, that seems so long ago already!) and I still like it today. Go forth. Read it. Try to be wise.

* Librarians: We're Not What You Think is a great web and PDF rant originally published in 2002. I found two claimed authors so will acknowledge them both: John Hubbard (HTML) and Jerry Whiting (original PDF mentioned on YDLLAL).

Still only 90°.


In case you didn't already know about it, please do consider learning about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (I, myself, am a death threats, please.) You can even view an officially-sanctioned church building! Astonishingly, my own alma mater's newsletter even wrote an article about the Prophet of the FSM....possibly because now he lives here.

Currently a lovely 90° and sunny...probably the last day for a while that we'll be under 100°.

May 26, 2006

Read This Book

Better yet, read them both. John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" and "The Ghost Brigades" are great science fiction stories, and I recommend them both. I also found the personalization of the main characters to be great - I really wanted to know what was happening with them, and not only laughed out loud but wept as the stories progressed. "Ghost Brigades" isn't exactly a sequel to "Old Man's War"; it's in the same universe, with some of the same characters, but you could read either as a stand-alone. I hope more stories about the Colonial Defense Force are on the way!

Check 'em out from your local library. And a thanks to my husband's boss, who loaned him "Old Man's War" in the first place - I'll be adding both to our home library.

Currently a balmy 95°.

May 23, 2006

Ice Break on the Rillito

Well, fooey. Here I've been waiting to see when we'd hit 100° for the first time this year, and it turns out I missed it already! Sheesh. According to the National Weather Service the ice broke on the Rillito river in the 4pm hour on Sunday, May 21st.

Drat. Ah well, it certainly won't be the last day; I'm betting we'll have over 100 days of over 100° temperatures this summer. And the wildfires have already started.... sigh.

Currently 72° and sunny. (72°! That's cool to me!)

May 22, 2006

The Importance of Paraprofessionals

There's a rather large discussion going on on the Nextgen discussion list about paraprofessionals; the folks there have had some really great things to say about the importance of them, but I know of several libraries where the actions of the librarians put across a very different message. It saddens me; my mother has been working in the library world for more than 35 years, and while she may not have a master's degree she's forgotten more about librarianship than I will ever know. It boggles my brain when the degreed librarians in her library treat her and her co-workers like they're not "real". (It also makes me a bit angry, to be honest.)

I went to school on an Air Force scholarship; I come from a long line of Air Force personnel (back to when it was the Army Air Corps), and my father (an NCO his entire career) was proud that I'd be taking the next step into officerhood. One of the most important things he ever told me, that I have carried through my medical discharge and into this whole new life, is to "always listen to your noncoms" - basically, you may have the bars, but they've got the knowledge, so shut up and learn from them.

The same thing applies in the library world - you may have the degree, but the paraprofessionals have the nitty-gritty knowledge. I rant and rave about this to my mother (who really doesn't need it, she lives it) and a few other library friends, but I don't think I've ever summed it all up as well as Adrienne Strock did on Nextgen (posted here with her permission):
  • Don't act like you deserve to be working there just because you have a degree.
  • Don't act like you deserve to be working there more than them because you're degreed and they are not.
  • Respect the knowledge and skills that come from experience, not the degree.
  • Realize that no job in the library is beneath you. Just because you have a degree does not mean that you're automatically exempt from certain tasks.
  • Have a question about the library or its operations? Ask one of the paraprofessionals.
I hope I will always view paraprofessionals as the treasure trove of knowledge that they are, and that I will never, ever dismiss one as being knowledge-less and "beneath me" because I have a pretty piece of paper.

Currently 85° with a wind advisory. Yay, it's our own personal sand-blaster.

May 16, 2006

Aah, the sweet smell of success

I love having good technical support for a chunk o'software; even better, I love tech support folks who explain what's going on to me so I can continue to learn more about our software, how it runs, and how to fix it. I've been wrestling with an upgrade of our EDMS since Friday; Sunday things took a turn for the worse and I've been keeping two guys in Sweden and the UK up very late on work nights helping me out. (Thanks, Tor and Simon!)

The good news is, it's all better now... the staff is working again. Whew.

Currently 93° and partly cloudy. (What a novelty!)

May 15, 2006

Poster Panic

So, I'm sitting here staring at a 4'x4' almost-blank slide (it has a title!) that will, when it grows up, be my poster for LISA V. Unfortunately, my brain remains as blank as the slide. I know what I want to talk about - I originally submitted for a talk and paper, not a poster - but turning my arm-waving presentation style into a static poster - one I won't even be standing next to with arm-waving explanations - is a lot harder than I thought. Arrgh!

Currently 96° and fair.

May 12, 2006

The Importance of Conferences

I've got two conferences coming up in June, SLA and LISA V; I'm looking forward to both of them. Not just for what I learn in the formal sessions, but for the invaluable networking that's done at these events. There's a long discussion going on one of the listservs I belong to, for the Solo Librarians Division of SLA, about whether it's worth going, about how to handle it if your company won't pay for you to attend, and other topics along those lines.

I'm incredibly fortunate that my organization sends me not only to SLA but to Internet Librarian every year; they recognize the importance of professional development and encourage all of us to keep up with it. They also pay my membership dues to SLA. I have to admit to a bit of naiveté; I thought most organizations would want this for their staff, and had assumed for many years that it was part and parcel of the employment package. I have since learned otherwise, and it's helped me realize once again how much I enjoy my job, and how lucky I am to have it.

Currently 77° and sunny.

May 10, 2006

Rex rides again!

Rex Libris #4 is now available for order from Slave Labor Graphics. I ordered my copy today, along with an "Ordo Biblioteca" Tshirt. I can't wait to read how Rex gets out of the situation on Benzine V, or how Circe deals with the Vandals back at the main library!

Currently: 84° and sunny.

Unshelved Strikes Again

My friend Amy sent me this link: "No snickering in the library, unless you're hooked on 'Unshelved'." If you're not already reading this awesome comic about life in libraries, you should start immediately!

Currently: 81° and clear.

Reading at Work

So, I've just discovered Pop Goes the Library, a blog about pop culture and librarians. (How perfect!) Interestingly enough, the very first post I read, "What's so funny about reading at work?", really resonated with me - I have the same problem. I'm three months behind on reading my various library publications, and never seem to be caught up on the blogs, yet I feel guilty if I crack open Computers in Libraries or Library Journal while at my desk.

Liz B (the author of the post in question) has some very, very good points; in order to do our job effectively, we have to read! My situation is a bit different; I don't need to create reading lists, etc, for my patrons - but in order to provide the best tools to my engineering team, I do need to keep up on CiL, Information Today, Ars Technica, and the various Microsoft and Linux news. And in order to keep up with what the rest of the library world is doing (I live in such a small corner of it!) I've got to keep up with the rest of the news!

I hereby resolve to not feel guilty any more about reading library journals, library blogs, tech blogs, and tech news at work.

Currently: 75° and clear.

Updated May 16th to make the links live!

May 8, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

So. Two weeks ago, we traveled to New Jersey; the hotel we stayed at was very nice, had free Internet access in the rooms (they even gave me a cable), provided a crib for our use free of charge, included a decent breakfast, and my son's crying couldn't be heard in the next room (which was a good thing).

I spent this past weekend in Las Vegas with the in-laws, and it's true when they say nothing in Vegas is free. The hotel/casino we stayed at offered wireless Internet in the rooms for $12/day, charged us $8/day for crib rental, didn't have soda machines available (but hey! You can visit the bar 24/7), and the walls were so thin that folks three doors down could hear my son when he woke up. And now I know where all the people who can't smoke in California and Arizona anymore have gone.... !

On the up side, I have to say the police in Las Vegas are very, very nice. We didn't get hit with a substantial fine when a policeman came across my father-in-law holding my son on his lap while he played a slot machine... the policeman was very kind while explaining it was extremely illegal for Isaac to be anywhere near the gambling machines, let alone touching one. I will admit we all saw the signs about "18 and under" but didn't get the brain cells connected with letting our one-year-old sit with his grandparents. Another plus was the "Tournament of Kings" show at the Excalibur - we all had a ton of fun at that one. And, of course, the biggest positive of the weekend was seeing family!

I didn't learn anything new about libraries or librarians this weekend... only that I don't think I'd want to attend a conference in Las Vegas, but I would like to win the lottery so I could see all of the shows! (OK, not all of them - I have no interest in Wayne Newton or Celine Dion - but I'd love to see any of the Cirque du Soleil shows, a Penn & Teller event, or a Blue Man Group performance.)

May 4, 2006

Brats: Our Journey Home

Holy cow. Someone made a movie of my life. Growing up as an Air Force brat is a childhood I wouldn't trade for anything; just reading the excerpts from the interviews was like reading my own diary. I am proud to be a member of this tribe.

My 20-year high school reunion is coming up and I'm encouraging the organizers to request a screening of Brats: Our Journey Home. I'm ordering a copy for myself, too.

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I have just faced the most complicated, demanding coffemaker I've ever encountered. It just might be more persnickety than my home computer. I'm alternating between a state of awe and a state of stunned amazement.


May 3, 2006

Network Neutrality

Save the Net Now

If you don't know about Network Neutrality, you should really learn. Dangerous games are afoot in our Illustrious Government that could affect every step of how you live your Internet life. Don't think it won't affect you: it will, and in a big way. Nobody will win except the giant corporations, and heck, don't they already have enough power?

Step up, fight Big Bidness, and help keep the Internet free and available to everyone, not just them folks with the big bucks. Never forget that one person CAN make a difference. Visit the Coalition's website at Save the Internet for more might be surprised who's part of the Coalition. You can also sign MoveOn's petition.

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Haole: The Other White Meat

MPOW's current chosen site for observatory construction is Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. Some of the residents are not in favor of us doing business there; a recent Section 106 meeting (public meetings to discuss Preservation of Historic Properties) was adorned with this sentiment.

Sigh. I'm so grateful that not everyone in Hawaii feels like this about us.

Blogs & Work

Part of the reason it took me so long to take the plunge into blogging is that I have been trying to figure out a way to use it at MPOW. I like to think I'm a creative thinker when it comes to applying new ways to do things but maybe I'm more restrained by a box than I realized, because I just haven't been able to do it.

I maintain not just our own web site and related databases etc, but also run the websites and manage the webteam for our parent organization, the National Solar Observatory - maybe a webmaster's blog where we could post what we've done to what pages? But I don't know what interest that would have; the GONG webmaster isn't all that interested in what the SOLIS webmaster did to their pages.

I could set one up for ATST itself, and put not only what changes I made to the web site but what new papers are being published, etc - but knowing my team the way I do, sending them announcement emails works much better than asking them to regularly visit a site. I don't know much yet about how to push content out; maybe I could push something to their desktops instead? More research to do.... how to wave new things in front of their faces while requiring the least amount of effort on their part.

I know a lot of other libraries are having great success with their blogs, but from what I read they are all public or academic libraries. Any special libraries out there who are tackling this question? What was your solution?

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I'm currently enjoying the latest issue of Archaeology, while mourning the demise of Archaeology Odyssey (which was subsumed into Biblical Archaeological Review). I'm not enjoying that so much...I'd like more archaeology from around the world and less focus on one particular set of religious writings in one particular geographic location. I have been reading the latest news on the Gnostic Gospels with a great deal of interest, though, and reading the differences in how they're discussed in the two publications is quite fascinating.

My ideal dream job would be on that combined forensics, archaeology, and librarianship. If you ever come across a job like that, please let me know!

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May 2, 2006

Gotta Sing

I had the pleasure tonight of attending the final dress rehearsal for competition for the Sweet Adelines chorus I sang with for a time, Tucson Desert Harmony. They were AWESOME! Go, TDH - kick some butt in Phoenix this weekend!


Read This Blog

Or, more properly, read these blogs...before I discovered Bloglines (and my blog list exploded), these are the sites I visited regularly. I wanted to share!

Librarian's Internet Index. Karen Schneider and her team provide an invaluable resource to us all, and should be told that regularly!

Free Range Librarian. Everything I was afraid to know about the inner workings of ALA, or what it would be like to go back to school for an MFA, I learned from Karen here.

Librarian.Net. Jessamyn West rules....and makes me stop and think about things, which is never a bad thing.

The Shifted Librarian. Jenny Levine is a goddess among bibliobloggers. IMHO.

Tame the Web. Another deity in the biblioblogosphere - Michael Stephens always has a good point, and makes it well. Hot!

Librarian In Black. Sarah Houghton's bits about life as a"techie librarian by default" always appeal to me.

(Side note: Although they don't know it, Karen, Jenny and Michael are all indirectly responsible for me starting this blog. For a long time I thought, hey, I don't have anything new to say that isn't being said elsewhere, much better - but all three of them showed me that sometimes, you just gotta participate. And as has been noted before and recently mentioned on several library blogs, the best way to learn about a technology is to use that technology. So here I am, having taken the leap.)

Anyway. This was where I started. My Bloglines account now has 42 blogs in it, and it grows daily as I read about, and find, even more excellent resources out there. Now I just have to keep up with them all.....

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It's a beginning.

OK, I've finally succumbed. This blog is a supplement to You Don't Look like a Librarian! - it'll be for postings about other events, ideas, and items I come across that interest me (and hopefully whoever ends up reading this!) but aren't necessarily about the image of librarians in the Internet age.

Thanks for stopping by.