July 26, 2007

Call for Papers: SWTX Popular Culture Association

Call for Papers: Libraries, Archives, Museums and Popular Culture Area of Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association and Southwest/Texas American Culture Association

2008 Annual Conference
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque - Albuquerque, New Mexico
February 13-16, 2008

The Libraries, Archives, Museums and Popular Culture area solicits paper proposals from librarians, archivists, curators, graduate students, faculty, collectors, writers, and other aficionados (yes! including people who use libraries, archives, and museums!) of popular culture and information settings of all types. We encourage proposals for slide shows, video presentations, workshop formats, and panels organized around common themes. Among recent presentations were a slide show on petroglyphs, a history of a museum of bad art, and a comparison of Holocaust memorials.

Some suggested topics:
* Histories and profiles of museums, archives, libraries, and other popular culture resources
* Intellectual freedom or cultural sensitivity issues related to popular culture resources
* Book clubs and reading groups, city- or campus-wide reading programs
* Marketing popular culture materials to library, archives, or museum users
* Collection building and popular culture resources
* Organization and description of popular culture resources
* New media formats and popular culture in libraries, archives, or museums
* Wikipedia, YouTube, social networking, EBay, and their impact on popular culture collections
* The Harry Potter phenomenon in library and museum programming
Other topics welcome!!!

Send a 200-word abstract to the Area Co-Chairs by November 16, 2007. Include your complete mailing address, school or other affiliation, e-mail address, telephone number, and fax number. Graduate students are encouraged to present, and to apply for the graduate paper prizes listed on the web site.

Catching Up: A Few Random Links

So I'm finally starting to dig out from this week's LISNews, LII's New This Week, LotD, etc - hopefully tomorrow I can spend some time catching up on blogs. Here's some things I've come across, or that have been sent to me, that I wanted to share:

* This awesome library poster posted by Flickr user Felicia... I'm seriously thinking of printing out one and posting it on my office door! (thanks Amy!)

* An interesting article about "Library Law: Library Dress Codes: Keeping Up Appearances" that includes court rulings and suggestions for library dress policies (via LISNews)

* Greg Schwartz's Uncontrolled Vocabulary blog and podcast is a great live (every Thursday night) discussion about hot topics in the library world today. One of these days - if I can stay up that late - I might even join in! (via multiple bloggers)

It's currently a lovely (well, for us at least) 85° with an active flood advisory in effect. Whee...

July 23, 2007

Thunder, lighting, and rain, oh my

Crazy last few days - quiet on the posting front because I've spent most of my time preparing for a series of big reviews that start tomorrow. Once they start, though, I can begin sharing my oh-so-insightful thoughts with you all again!

In the meantime, it is pouring here - yay for rain!

Currently, well, raining - and an amazingly cool 79°.

July 20, 2007

I Can Has Snarlz

So. Turns out that SLA - despite selections on the program planner and forms being filled out - did not, in fact, record my talk in Denver. They didn't actually record any of my division's sessions. (As you can imagine, my division chair is just a tad upset with them.) Arrgh!

July 18, 2007

Vendor Make-up

I spent the day with two representatives from the company that makes our EDMS (that we were having such problems with) and I'm quite pleased with the progress we're making. It is no longer unthinkable that we may be using the software again before the end of the year. Not only are we starting to get real results (as in, "hey, we could duplicate your problem here and found the cause" kind of results, although they would have been nicer to have last year when we had the problem) but they brought me a brand spankin' new Dell server to use as a testbed platform. (Pity I have to give it back in September!) I'm feeling very positive about what we've worked out so far and the progress we made today, and given that most of the engineers have stopped spitting whenever the EDMS is mentioned, I'm hoping things will work out all right. (I still believe in this product; eternally optimistic, that's me!)

It's currently a lovely 86° and we got 0.03" of rain today! Too bad I voted for no rain in our office pool... ah well, would rather have the actual rain than the points!

July 17, 2007

And now...

Originally uploaded by desertlibrarian
...I finally match my avatars!

The Expert: New on TV in the Fall!

USA Network has announced their 2008 slate of shows, and amongst them is The Expert, summarized as "A reclusive librarian with a unique condition called synesthesia works with the police squad to aid in their investigations. Synesthesia allows her to mix her various senses -- she smells sounds, hears colors and feels words enabling her to explore unconventional ways to pursue criminals." Should be interesting! (via LISNews)

It's 104° with a 40% chance of rain. Yes!

July 12, 2007

Modules & Themes

I am so pleased with how easy it is now to apply modules and themes in Drupal 5.1. Maybe it's just because I was on the steep side of the learning curve with 4.7, but it seems much more straightforward and intuitive (once you know the proper directory to put things into, at least) in 5.1 than it did in 4.7. I'm quite pleased. I've got a couple of new modules (namely front_page and image) and new themes (K2 and NoProb) and *poof* they were instantly on my module and theme administration lists, ready to be tweaked! Yay!

I still have a long way to go but I feel better now than I did a week ago... each time I install or configure something I learn a few more things. Way cool.

102.5° and plenty happening on the radar. Now if it would just head our way...

July 11, 2007

Updated: We're not what you think!

I first mentioned this site before this blog even existed, and just to get it in the local record I blogged about it last year, too - so here's a third go round! Librarians: We're not what you think! has recently been updated by John Hubbard (tip o' the hat to him for including YDLLaL) - the full essay is quite a read, and don't forget to check out the gallery. (Thanks to multiple folks for the heads-up.)

It rained last night! And it's gonna rain today, I'm sure of it. Even if it's only 20%Rh right now. (And a temp of 102°.)

July 10, 2007

Let the games begin!

According to the National Weather Service, we've hit our third day in a row of dewpoints above 54°; this means that the 2007 monsoon season officially started Sunday the 8th. And in other weather-wonky news, yesterday was our 27th consecutive day of 100° temps, but we broke the stretch today with a high of only 99°. I bet, though, we'll have another run at it -

What does this mean in the short term, other than muggy days and awesome lightning shows? Well, we here at MPOW actually start a contest to see who can predict rain the best. We vote every day by noon, you get 2 points for a correct yes, 1 for a correct no, and none for an incorrect guess. Competition runs high and hallway hassling is not unheard of. It's the highlight of our summers (sad, but true!).

Random Musings du Jour

Coffee is good.

The furor continues over the hip librarian articles. (Wow.)

Mother Nature can be a real bitch sometimes.

The Searcher's art just amazes me (both his imagery and his word-wrangling.)

Rain at 4am - even accompanied by thunder and lightning - is very soothing.

I like coffee. (wait...)

July 9, 2007

The Librarians Speak Up

Bet the authors of the NYTimes and NYSun articles previously mentioned didn't anticipate the reactions...and I have to admit, neither did I! (Maybe I need more coffee.) It's been quite interesting (and illuminating) reading what other librarians are saying about these articles:

* Caveat Lector says, "Talk about what we do", not how we spend our recreational time;
* Free Range Librarian says, "To be cool is to be young and male?" (The "guybrarian" thing is really not good; based on the comments, messages and IMs I've gotten, every guy I know who's a librarian is offended by it. Not to mention all the women who've said same);
* The Cool Librarian points out that the coolest librarians she knew were the older, more technically challenged librarians she first worked with, and they're why she went on to her MLS;
* Hedgehog Librarian points out the inadequacies of the salaries quoted in the articles (amongst other things);
* Information Wants to be Free is relieved she didn't end up quoted in the article after all (be sure to read the comments, too!);
* Pop Goes the Library wants to throw these articles across the room.


As the self-styled Maven of All Things Librarian Image (*laugh*snort*), I just want to add two more cents to my earlier postings. (1) Both articles were in the, shall we say, "fluffier" sections of the respective papers, and I didn't expect anything serious at that point; (2) Sometimes just getting us out there in front of the public in a way that isn't behind the desk is good; (3) epithets are bad; and (4) I don't expect these articles will do much to affect the overarching image we have to Joe Q. Public. On the other hand... small steps, people, small steps, and the more of them the better - maybe J.Q.P will surprise us!

Hipper Shushers?

(thanks, Kristie!) The New York Times published an article yesterday titled "A Hipper Crowd of Shushers", about the same Desk Set librarian crowd I mentioned earlier. Excellent marketing, you guys! This article's a bit deeper than the earlier one (IMHO), and this one mentions the label "guybrarian". The male librarian in the article doesn't like being called that - I'd be interested to hear from other male librarians, what do you think about that tag?

Monsoon's not here yet but it's right around the corner - hot and muggy is the plan du jour!

July 6, 2007

Rain and the Catalinas

Bring it on!

Image from the Arizona Webcam, a few buildings over from me.

Oh, to be a librarian in Brooklyn

I'd definitely want to join this group of "new-look librarians"! "Although 'hip' is not an adjective generally associated with librarians, a stack of archivists, publishers, illustrators, librarians, and other bibliophiles called the Desk Set is out to challenge their image as staid." It sounds like they're not only having a lot of fun, they're thumbing their nose at a lot of outdated imagery as well! (via LISNews)

We just hit 100°.

Do we need libraries anymore?

Hell, yes, we do!

I've been following the postings on this article (and other blog articles about it) for a while, but only realized this morning that I didn't mention it here, and I think it deserves a mention because too many people (and sadly, some of them are in charge of library funding issues) think that the Internet is the death knell for libraries.

Written by Marc Fisher on June 22nd, this article in the Washington Post poses the title question, and asks, "Have you seen your use of libraries drop off since the computer became standard equipment at home and at work, and what would you want from libraries in the future?" Reading the answers has really cheered me up, since reading the article is a bit of a downer (Mr. Fisher seems to think the answer to his question is "No") - my favorite response has been that of "G", who replied "Are you insane? Yes, there's data on the internet, but how much of it can you trust? You can't beat a library!" Yes, G, yes!

Drupal and Themes

So, I'm now running Drupal 5.1; I started this project at 4.6, and I have to say, WOW. I'm very pleased with the improvements, especially relating to the administrative interface. It's a lot easier - either that or I've finally learned all the steps! - to install and enable modules. I know there are more modules to be installed but I have TinyMCE and IMCE reinstalled, and it was easy. I can only hope the rest of this voyage of discovery goes as well!

I've been looking for two themes I can use for my templates - one for the front page, and one for the rest of the site - so I've spent a lot of time browsing the Drupal Themes directories. My consultant dude said it's much easier to tweak an existing theme to what I want than to try and write it from scratch, which is what I was trying to do. (It seems I have a tendency to start at the hard end of a task, sigh.) I think I've found two that will work, and my goal for today is to get the front page module installed, and both these themes, and then figure out what to do next.

Thunder and lightning and roaring wind last night, but no rain... at least not at my house. Sigh. It's 97° now with a 40% chance of rain - fingers are crossed!

July 5, 2007

Shelf Check

So, there appears to be a new library comic in town (thanks, Stephen!) - Shelf Check. There are only 14 comics right now but they're worth checking out. (#9 made me laugh out loud!) Here's hoping creator Emily Lloyd (aka Poesygalore) starts sharing them a bit more often with us!

Currently a nice, even 100°.

The monsoon is coming! The monsoon is coming!

Break out the raincoats, the monsoon is coming!

OK, maybe not so much. But for the first time in AGES there's a teeny tiny chance for precipitation forecasted for the next week. I know the NWS is just using climatology and has no real idea what might happen, but hey, based on years of what happened on the next few days we might actually get a drop or two of rain soon. Can't come soon enough... my fingers are crossed for a nice, messy, fill-up-the-rivers season this year! Plus, the temps are coming down - it's strange to live somewhere where you get excited that the temps are dropping down to 100°...

July 3, 2007

Holy Cow, Part 2

So, American Libraries also wrote me up in the June 20th issue of AL Direct, in the Actions & Answers section. Wow! Bummer that I can't subscribe to it directly, not being a member of ALA, but I'm going to start reading the web page regularly - there's good stuff in here!

Currently 103° and very sunny.