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Funny how certain people make the humanity level in a room go way up.
After a very nasty remark about our Black History Month display by one patron, we got hit with some kids that seemed to think it was totally appropriate to play hide and seek in the basement of the library. I got them out quickly. Somehow when this happens, it blurs the lines of what's appropriate in a library for me again.
I mean, of course those two examples were inappropriate. Those were easy. But when you compare them with the high school kids that just sort of sit at the tables and talk, usually fairly quietly... Well... things get a little blurry for me. If they have a book we generally don't bother them. If they don't, I guess technically they're supposed to go.
But this certain group of kids is always polite, always restrained. There's just a lot of them -- doing next to nothing.
Today I take down the internet computers. One of our word processors is down. People are not going to be happy, but they're unhappy when they get on and things are amazingly slow because there are twenty four million cookies on the machines.
I am thinking the first Tuesday of every month might be good for this sort of maintenance.
I ordered memory. Wooo hoooo. A lot of it. Now we can revive a Mac or two and get the circulation computers running comfortably. I was hoping I could find some in some of the older computers to put in some of the newer computers... alas, the memory that one pulls out of a donated 486 isn't even particularly useful as paperweights.
I am always having strange comments directed towards me. Here is a recent one that takes the cake. Just a few days ago I was in the music room. Our elementary music teacher and I collaborate for a 20 minute music/library time. It is great. We sing songs, do puppet shows, read stories, etc.
Anywho â€“ Music teacher says to me, â€œAre you lactose intolerant?â€?â€?Why, yes,â€? I say, â€œWhy do you ask?â€?â€?Oh, you just look like you would be,â€? he answers.
My question to you, reader, is what is the look of lactose intolerance? I am not puny, but not huge. As Goldie Locks might say, â€œNot too big, not too small, but just right.â€? I am about 5â€™4â€? and 130 pounds. Pretty normal looking gal â€“ I think.
Maybe it is my features. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. I have had many people tell me that I look like Reese Witherspoon. Reese has a cute chin. My jaw is mannishly square. I look more like a Tracy Flick than an Elle Woods.
So what is it about me that oozes an inability to digest ice cream? I donâ€™t broadcast my affliction to the staff. At our last carry in, I did not forgo dairy all together. I just hope that I am not leaking horrible gas while I am telling stories. No wonder the kids are quiet. They are intoxicated by nauseous fumes!
This has been a "blog-of-interest" among some people I 'know' over the past few days (all bloggers):
I guess this kid had a class assignment to try to reach a certain number of hits, and he went about it by writing a lot of incendiary stuff, posing as a redneck frat boy. He came out today to say it was all for an assignment but he certainly had me fooled.
I am an active blog reader (not so much with the writing), and I guess this serves as a reminder that you don't really know 'who' you're reading, or who's reading you...
Cross-posted with Yahoo blogging article
The following remark came to me via a third party (of course) -- I quote: "Nobody goes into a library after they graduate." Now, this comes from a man who teaches mathematics at my high school. I don't know about anyone else, i.e. non-librarians, but I have had zero reason to step into a math classroom after graduation, and libraries are my second and third homes.
It just so happens that Oregon ranks 5th in the nation for library visits and reference transactions, and 2nd for circulation, According to the National Center for Education Statistics.
What do you say to a guy like this?
For the past several days here in Southeast Alaska we have had unexpected sunshine with daytime temps around 40. For us, that is a lovely spring day and some people are already breaking out shorts. I myself don't switch to shorts until we hit the 60s -- high 50s if I'm hiking.
Hope other people (especially slashgirl) are getting some nice weather coming their way!
If the weather folks are right, we'll have rain and snow in a day or two, but even so, it will have been a good run of good weather!
This one will be sans my spiffy little charts and graphs due to lack of Photoshop here at work.
So last month...
~126,700 sessions, that's an average of about 4,400 a day. We served ~371,000 pages, which is about 12,800 a day. All that added up to a daily average of about 61,000 hits, a total of around 1.7 million for the month. All of those numbers are a bit ahead of the previous month. We posted an amazing 443 stories from 33 different authors this month, which is the most impressive number, for me at least. That's almost double the numbers from January. Is more always better?
The journals got hit a lot last month. Shoe & nbruce being the most popular, both had well over 20 reads a day. I was a distant third, followed by birdie, Rochelle, Daniel, AshtabulaGuy, tomeboy, djfiander, Bibliofuture, Samantha, and Aaron. If you write, it gets read. It looks like for most people, having the new entry show up on the LISNews index page leads to most of the readers. The more popular writers also have a significant number of people scraping their rss feed as well.
Referrals continue to be all about google. Though only about 25% of LISNews readers even use a referral, those that do came in from one of googles sites more often than most by a large margin. Yahoo, MSN, and Aol were all in the top 10, but msn and AOL were both beaten by Radio rss users. The most popular search terms tell me most folks are not finding what they had hoped for @LISNews. I often think of just adding a meta tag to exclude the entire site from search engines all together just to see what happens. An experiment in web stealth.
Last month we also saw a record number of comments, and moderations. We now have well over 2700 members, and a rather vocal minority are commenting frequently, with a decent number of people jumping in from time to time as well. 763 comments last month, compared to 495 the month before, and 291 back in December. Those comments came from 88 different people [this is an undercount I just relized. It counts AP's as just one, when it could've been hundreds, I'll work on that for next month]. 55 people moderated 456 of those comments. Just 17 people metamoderated last month, which is up one from the previous month, but still rather anemic, which leads me to believe maybe I should just shut that off.
I keep hoping to get some development work done to the site, maybe that will happen this month. I'd like to add [not ass] an Atom feed, as well as a feed that shows all the journals at once. There's also a few other bugs floating around out there as well.
I posted on Opera's forums asking how to alter the ini file so that I could go through my proxy server (and hence get filtering software). I was told (by mods, no less), a method which I knew would work to enable the proxy server, but didn't tell me exactly how to do it from the ini file. Being a wannabe Linux geek, I like to see how things work under the hood. Of course, it dawned on me, like the mods said, that I could re-enable the GUI and use that. But I wanted to try it the hard way first. It must be a New England thing.
The hard way is not working, alas. I typed in various strings of code, hoping that they'd work, to no avail. So tomorrow night, if I get the chance, I re-enable the GUI and test it that way. Of course, if the GUI enables it correctly, this will also require a quick view of the ini file to see what exactly the code is. Now I have to know.
I think if this doesn't work, I may call Boston just to verify the IP address hasn't... um, moved. That scares me just a little. I fear we are often out of the loop. Although I think that I saw a site get blocked the other day on someone's computer. I'd like to just take the internet down completely if I had an afternoon free. It might be a morning free thing, though. Usually afternoons are spent doing crowd control.
Where are all these kids coming from? Many are well behaved, but exuberant. Some (and this number, though fewer than the well-behaved kids, is still substantial) are less than desirable. They went downstairs and whipped a bunch of books off the shelves the other day. Then they decided the library was boring, so it was better to go the Y.
Of course, they came back the next day. And the next.
I do need like three solid hours to do computer maintenance at the internet terminals. Coming into it on Monday isn't good, and Wednesdays are out. This leaves me Tuesday being my best bet, methinks. And I do so want to take it down in the afternoon. This sounds horrible, but there are certain people I'd like to get off the computers if only for the afternoon. I'd like to open their eyes that there are books, other people and other things in the library besides the damn internet terminals.
The internet terminals are part of my job. I keep them going, and I like people to use them. I like kids to come in and do homework with the internet's help, I like people to come in, get books on health conditions, and then do some research on the internet as well. I don't mind people checking email. Or filling out forms for job applications. It bugs me when the glassy eyed woman goes from computer to computer, literally taking seats out from people as they're sitting down, swearing at the librarian who gently reminds her she's signed up for a total of eight half hour turns that day (and it's only two o'clock). There is flagrant abuse of the system, and that bothers me.
Your books AND CDs are organized by subject or type then author/composer. Actually, my books aren't organized anymore. We purchased four eight foot tall bookshelves and to maximize space put all the paperbacks together, all the big books together, etc. So, the books aren't in order by subject anymore. But, then my husband and I have gobs and gobs of books. That's what I get for marrying a historian. ; )
Happily surfing along last week, I suddenly lost my DSL connection. Working with tech support, I was told that sometimes, Windows ME and 98 will suddenly decide that it will no longer support DSL via USB connections. I was told I'd need to install an ethernet card and/or upgrade to Windows 200 or XP. I don't even have an ethernet port on my clunker, so dude, I'm getting a Dell (go ahead, make fun of me. I've told you before that try as I might, I just don't have geek cred). Wasn't planning on plunking bucks down for a new machine at this point, but my machine has been acting funky, needs lots of upgrades, and I'm taking on more freelance projects that require a reliable machine. How's that for justification? I wonder if I can write it off as a business expense (or would I have to demonstrate time spent on professional activity vs. time spent on, say, Neopets). Anyway, I'll be relying solely on my work connection until the new machine comes.
To recap: Since a week ago Friday, I got rejected for a job, my computer went kablooey, and I've missed nearly a week of work due to some horrible gastrointestinal virus that's swept my family, me being the most recent recipient. I still see the glass as half-full, but this week it's been full of urp. Tonight, though, thunderstorms are expected, and that's always enough to perk me up.
Man, did I have a patron today with bad oral hygiene.
Yes, someone wedged the men's room key in the lady's room knob and it snapped right off. I think perhaps we did have an extra key, because I think people were using the men's room later on. Today I had a lady nicely tell me that she was going to use the library, but she needed to use the bathroom first. Thanks for sharing!
It's hard to look up obituaries when you have no idea what the deceased person's name might be. No reference interview can change that simple fact.
Ever feel guilty when you don't have a book, or when you just can't answer a question (even if it's because a question is completely unanswerable?) I had a lot of reference guilt today.
I shouldn't have... The one subject I was asked about we probably should have had books on was prefaced with, "Do you sell the books you loan out?" No, no bells and whistles saying "You'll never see that book again" going off there, boy howdy.
So when a simple search didn't yield any results, I didn't push too hard. Instead I directed them to Borders, where they do in fact sell books.
Because I have been out, there hasn't been a newsletter from the library to the staff since May of 2003. What really got me motivated was my principal's comment during a staff meeting (long story) that he was going to visit and he didn't know what went on in the library. Sigh. So, I type a rough draft idea because I am going to let the newspaper staff send one out for me. That way some students will know what is going on as well.
Well, I am crossing my fingers. Not only do I have the usual stats, but I included two sections that will hopefully raise some eyebrows. The first asks teachers and students to be patience since we have multiple projects and apologizes for the lack of computers (two are broken - one since December). The second section talks about weeding, why I weed, the policy for weeding, and gives the following statistic - 45.6 percent of the collection is twenty years old or older. Hopefully, the information will cause some stir.
Whatever you do, don't read this book unless you've got a notebook handy and a lot of time free to read other books. My "To Read" booklist doubled when I skimmed through this.
Interestingly enough, while I recognized a few authors, Nancy seems to delight it talking about authors that you've never heard of in almost all the categories. Which is a Good Thing, of course
I drove by a library today, but alas, there was a super-white (as opposed to plain-old-white) Prius in Bennington, VT with our name on it, so we stopped not.
We hit the road at five-thirty five in a green Saturn this morning, and returned this evening at seven in our Prius. We got 52.6 MPG in less than optimal conditions (it was cold as hell as we passed over the mountains in central Massachusetts) and reached 0-60 without a hitch in less than ten seconds.
We loaded up the CD changer, we changed the wallpaper of the touchscreen, but damned if we could set the radio stations. After about five minutes of Celine Dionne we realized more drastic measures were called for and started hitting buttons on the audio touch screen indiscriminately. It worked (it works with Linux sometimes too, I found). We found a few good stations, but were unable to set them in memory. Thank god for the owner's manual. Deliver us from Celine Dionne.
We can coast from the corner to our driveway in "stealth mode", just running on the electric motor and totally silently. People on the street don't know we're coming.
No library stuff today, folks. Except that the assistant director also wants a white Prius (but he's going to get super-white...)
My favorite color names: Salsa Red (descriptive) and Tideland Pearl (um, yeah. And this color would be?)
For the record: Tideland Pearl is a minty green color.
The "Must Read Stories" topic has bugged me since the day I made it. I can't remember what I was thinking exactly (though I probably could figure it out by looking to see what the very first story was in the old LISNews Db), but it must've seemed like a good idea at the time. It's not used much, and seeing it on the homepage today kind of surprised me.
It's not that I'm against other authors calling something "Must Read," it's just that I can never seem to find a story important enough to apply such an honor. There've been some good stories over the years, Sony Barari, the Questia marketing thing, the interview with Pat Schroeder, and a few others, that I think everyone should've read at the time, but I just never feel that confident. I hate to "cry wolf" and use it too often, though never using it makes it equally useless I suppose.
Usually I think most of what I post should be read by everyone. Taking a quick peak at today's stories, yes, I'll stand by that statement. It was an eclectic mix of loosely library related stories that I think many people could learn something from. I know I took a bit away from everything I posted. The non-Blake stories were even better. Grades=driving, a nice google piece, a pro-filtering, book banningâ€¦ all over the map, and that's just why I love reading LISNews, I never know what to expect next (Yes, obviously this can go too far). That's why it's not just my site, it's ours, it's not a meblog, it's a weblog. The past few weeks have seen a huge jump in the number of authors, or at least a huge jump in the number of people with the potential to be an author. I've added close to 30 new author accounts, though few have posted yet. In the 4+ years we've been around a lot of people have come and gone, very few have stayed on for more than a year or 2. The collaboration between all us authors, and all the other LISNewsterz is what makes the site so much fun, often the comments are often as interesting as the story itself.
I've been criticized in the past for not taking a more active role in editing LISNews. People have told me I should think of myself as a journalist, an editor, and act like it by forcing the LISNews authors to fall in line and focus the site. I have always waved my paw and said "bah" to those suggestions. It's all about collaboration, and I don't think we need more control at this point. I do think of LISNews as being journalisticISH, but I've never felt it fits the traditional definition of journalism. It's darn close, but we're not there yet, we're missing the originality that I would expect from a true gang of journalists (a gang of journalists come together and form some form of media outlet, which generally sells ads, and therefore becomes an advertising company). As the site matures I hope we do start to do our own original reporting, interviews, and whatever else we can come up with. Weblogs have not yet revolutionized journalism, but they may be causing some small amount of change, and that could lead to something. The day my mom tells me she read something on a blog is the day I think blogs have really caused a shift.
Weblog: You soaking in it
Meblog: One person's weblog
Post: Add a new story to the site; a story on the site
LISNewsterz: People who participate @LISNews
LISNews authors: People who have secret powers to post stories
Stories: Things that appear on the index page
Thread: The resulting discussion that sometimes ensues
Journal: Something every LISNewster has to write in/on/with
Ha, looks like New York around here. I may even give up grits. Just joking. We have had about eight inches of snow. WOW.
So, my son is still stuffed up, but I did find my kitchen counter. If I work some more, I may even have something to wear. Then, tomorrow, I can work on finding the floor. They have invented a robot vacuum cleaner that you can just let loose to do the rugs. Why haven't they invented a robot to do laundry and pick up clutter?
Well, at least the woodstove is going, and I am toasty warm.
From the snowy South ...
A thought I have had recently:Library science graduate work does not involve sitting around all day eating bon-bons, tearing up ILL forms, blowing off colleagues, torturing undergraduates, having a social life and doing such like that. There is work to be done like learning cataloging!
I got to play with the filter today. Or that is, I got to play with the last obstacle in getting the Linux terminal out. It's on the floor, it's ready to go. It's beautiful. But I can't get the filter to work with it. It shouldn't matter what browser I use, but it's not blocking a thing. I've been testing it. Now everyone thinks I'm a pervert.
No, they don't. They know why I'm doing it. I'm not liking it much though. It's sort of embarrassing. I always forget about the filter... I put the whole computer out on the floor and set it up for public consumption, and wham! I thought, "Shoot, the filter..."
So if anyone knows how to alter the Opera.ini file to get the proxy settings working send me the bit of code. The nice folks on the Opera board tried, but I'm still getting some nasty stuff when I type in "full frontal nudity". Our filter software is housed in Boston, in front of the firewall. I'm beginning to wonder about how well it all works anyway.
Oh my god, my head is going to explode! Too much to take in.
Today a woman accused a man of staring at her while she typed her email. She's right, he was. Like everyone there stares at each other on the computers. He was keeping his distance, though, so I didn't say anything. Well, keeping his distance more than most patrons. Then she got in a tussel with him, and I went over. She said that it was so loud in the library she couldn't think and that for the last twenty minutes (at the ten minute email terminal, I might add) she was getting stared at. She told me how uncomfortable that made her...
...then she touched my arm. Okay, I have this thing about being touched. You don't do it. That makes me uncomfortable. So whereas I could relate to her discomfort, and I can relate to her lamenting that people were staring, somehow I lost some sympathy. I told her I understood, and when I came over the guy backed off.
Being new, not only to this job but to the library field in general, I have little to go on as to where to draw the line at behavior. I don't want to stop kids from talking in the library if they are legitimately studying as well.... I don't want them to be loud, and I don't want to turn them off libraries forever. I do taking being stared at and being touched or any unwelcome approaches seriously. I do. It bugs the bejeebies out of me. But I also realize it's a public place, and people do have the right to sit there and... well... look at things. Preferably books, but if someone wants to look at the scenery and they aren't bothering anyone, then I'm not going to say anything. But I haven't gotten enough experience to really know where to draw the line.
Moreso, it's a relatively close public space. You're never really far from someone else. And people don't seem to realize that internet terminals are like ATMs... there's a code of conduct as to how close you stand. There is one particular chronic offender, who got mad at us yesterday and left in a huff. .
I am the systems librarian. I like technology. I like to share technology. I like people to benefit from technology. But boy, do I dislike people fighting over computers. For whatever reason. It's just silly.
There will be rioting when the access is card only. But that's the way it's going to be.
One day, I'd like to see two patrons get in a fist fight over who gets to take out War and Peace next. Sigh.
GUESS WHAT???? Tomorrow... we get a Prius! We found one in Vermont and will be there at nine tomorrow to pick it up. It's a white one, AI package. Almost exactly what we wanted. We wanted that particular package, in silver. White was our third color choice, but hey. Time to see if I can put Linux on it.
Think berries. Ummmmm...... What comes to mind? Weâ€™ve all heard of strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, boysenberries, mulberries, etc.
What then is a LIE â€“ BERRY?
Yes, I now work in a middle to upper class suburban school district, but before that, I was a public librarian â€“ wait â€“ or is that liberrian? Since things are absolutely dead serious at work with budget cuts and other crazy things going on, I think I will share some of my public library adventures. Humor keeps me sane. Well, that is a matter of opinion.
Just this past summer I was a Summer Reading Assistant at a branch of our cityâ€™s library. I totally enjoyed it, but it opened my eyes.
â€œWeâ€™re goinâ€™ down to the LIE-berry to get us some videos.â€?
Would Dewy be turning over in his grave right now? The scholars of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina are cleaning the dust from their ears. What?!? Did he just say liberry?
I wanted the staff of our branch to get T-shirts that had all kinds of berries on the front with a picture of our branch on the back. The slogan? The best berry of them all. Wouldnâ€™t that have been adorable? The branch down the street from the school that I now work at would not get the joke, but travel a little deeper into town and all of the â€œliberriansâ€? would be howling!
Now I am in a school â€“ both an elementary and HS and our state just came out with library media academic content standards. I added my own â€“ â€œEvery student will be able to pronounce library by the time they leave this school.â€?
Use this to wish me a happy birthday! Yes, it's true. I'm 44 today. Man, do I feel old.
I snapped. Went of the deep end. Had a cow. Flipped out. Suffice to say, that tears that have not graced my cheeks in nearly eight years (love those SSRIs) fell in abundance yesterday morning.
Due to an uncanny confluence of boring personal events, I arrived 30 minutes late to work. I phoned the school secretary, and arranged the details with her, and went about getting a ride to school.
Imagine my surprise to find my library lighted, open, and in use when I finally arrived! I immediatately phoned an admin and informed him of the sitch. Thank god our administration understands the wisdom of keeping expensive equipment and books monitored at all times.
Many people came and apologized for the snafu, but I just had that icky feeling you get when you know someone's been messing with your stuff.
As for the budget implications: My adult assistant was laid off for good this year, after having her hours cut in previous years. Without her I have very little flexibility. Plus, the whole "I'm the lone ranger for a user group of 1,000" issue just seems to have caught up with me this week. The secretary offered Xanax. Mine is not the only department hit by Oregon's budgetary folderol.
Oh, my ride to work yesterday morning? My father. Since my assistant was laid of he's been volunteering. The only thing he does is cover hard-bound books, but he's very good at it. Its nice to have him here occasionally -- my mom appreciates it too ;-)