You know you are a librarian when...

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. ; )

Disaster in the life of an LISNewster

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.

Things the library should give out

    Things the library should give out as needed:
  • staples
  • golf pencils
  • scrap paper
  • breath mints

Man, did I have a patron today with bad oral hygiene.

    Things we should have that we don't:
  • Books in French. I'm not sure if books in Creole are common enough
  • More memory
  • Better Windows lockdown software
  • A spare bathroom key

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.

PR newsletter and more firepower (I hope)

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.

Book Lust

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

decidely non-library post

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.

Friday Rambling Thoughts

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 banning… 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

Yet more snow - looks like New York

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 Statement

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.

New Species of Fruit Discovered!

Think berries. Ummmmm...... What comes to mind? We’ve all heard of strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, boysenberries, mulberries, etc.

What then is a LIE – BERRY?

Yes, I now work in a middle to upper class suburban school district, but before that, I was a public librarian – wait – 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 city’s library. I totally enjoyed it, but it opened my eyes.

“We’re goin’ down to the LIE-berry to get us some videos.�

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. Wouldn’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 “liberrians� would be howling!

Now I am in a school – both an elementary and HS and our state just came out with library media academic content standards. I added my own – “Every student will be able to pronounce library by the time they leave this school.�

my birthday!!!

Use this to wish me a happy birthday! Yes, it's true. I'm 44 today. Man, do I feel old.

Unfathomably Horrid Day, with Budget Implications

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 ;-)


So, it is snowing. Very pretty. I'm torn between being thrilled because I can put stuff up and find the house (I think I have a house - I'm not sure - I can't see it) and being irate because I will have to make this day up at work. They really need to build more snow days into the calendar.

We are using the makeup time (Thursdays from 3:00-6:00. Be there or be square) to work on SACS. Ah, yes the dreaded SACS process. Bad news: I'm the head of the standards and assessment committee. That means I get to find paperwork for ninety different standards to prove we are meeting those standards. Good news: It gives me something to put on my resume.

My five month old son has a cold or something. Poor thing. He is sleeping in his bouncy seat in front of the fire as I type this.

Preservation grunt Feb. 26

- A nice recording of the Montreal Symphony from the mid-seventies. This fine 1/4 inch audio tape is encoded with Dolby noise reduction.

- Argh, no it's not. Re-jig dubbing equipment.

- Wait! The label and documentation say it is Dolby encoded! Argh! Throw out CD-R. Start again tomorrow.

[next day]

- Re-jig dubbing equipment to decode Dolby.

- Wait! That timpani doesn't sound right! (No CD-Rs harmed this time) Argh^3

- "Audio engineer, is this encoded with Dolby?"

- "No."

- Re-jig dubbing equipment. Record to CD.

- Contact Senior Librarian: "How should I catalogue Dolby tape that is not Dolby?"

... and so it goes.

An Icky Day

Snow, cold, must be library school in the Allegheny foothills!Now just to figure out how to apply AACR2r 2002 (with annotations to bring it up to the 2003 revisions) as to electronic integrating resources...

children's room

Somehow I ended up in the children's room last night to cover while there was a book group. I don't mind once in awhile, but let's go on record that I'm not fond of kids. I choose to be kid free. That being said, I appreciate that parents and teachers (and school librarians) have probably the most difficult jobs in the world. Although it was a bit of a refreshing change to unite kids with Clifford rather than throw out adults for having spent the last five hours hogging the internet.

I looked at our internet sign up sheet, which seemed to have the same six or seven names all over it. That worries me some. When the time management software is implemented, it really is going to be an hour a day. I mean, I know damn well people are going into chat rooms and that's what's sucking up the time. I don't know what to do though -- it's kind of a fine balance between, "Hi, I'm looking at your screen to check up on you" and patron privacy. Some chat rooms look a lot like email boards.

Today I am going to spend time tweaking the Linux box, to hopefully be put out the beginning of next week. The iMac will then be moved either back to Internet terminal #2 or I'll take the second one downstairs to put OS X Panther on it in peace. Linux is getting a warm reception from the staff as I kind of explained what I am trying to achieve with it.

Reference books are mighty expensive. I found we had one version of a series on standing order, when we really need both it and it's companion series on standing order. What a racket. After putting another series on standing order last month, I'm a little worried that this is decimating the budget.

So how late are your public libraries open? Last night I had a patron complain we were only open till nine (computers shut off at eight thirty, or we'd never get out of there). I think that's pretty late for a public library, many of which in the state have limited hours. I also explained we were open Saturdays, which isn't necessarily always the case as well. I don't know... the public library at midnight could be a dangerous place. Things people don't realize.

EBooks, EGads, Not Me

I love the concept. I want the reference ones because they could automatically be updated, and I could clean some shelves.

So, why don't I buy some?

Visit my school library. Heck, visit the school. Every teacher has one archaic barely squeeking into the Pentium age computer. They might as well be on dial-up. Visit the computer lab. Twenty-five of the same old computers. My library sports four brand new computers and four old models. One of the new ones has been broken since December. One since January. I serve 650 students. You do the math.

Well, let the students access them at home. No go. The students don't have computers or have a computer but no Internet access. Not just a few students. I haven't done a formal survey, but I could give a safe guess of 200 out of the 650. Chesnee is a small, rural community and times are hard.

So, no EBooks. Too bad. I want them. I drool at the thought. But then, there IS one more problem.

You can't snuggle in bed with them and a hot chocolate. At least, not yet.

Looking forward to the Dune concept of a book...


I have called, weekly, for the past several weeks trying to get toner for our print station. We're not out yet, but I suspect that we soon will be. It gets used a lot. This particular toner cartridge has alledgedly been ordered a billion times, and we have yet to see it.

Today, between local history, reference, and info, I need to devote some time to weeding reference, as a fellow LISnewser reminded me. I hadn't forgotten, actually, I'm just kind of avoiding it. With a passion.

Paul and I are jonesing for the Prius, which is on day... twentysomething of being on order. It definitely is a technojunkie car. We're scouring New England dealerships that may have some unclaimed here and there. Wish us luck.

Tix for The Passion

Churches and bible societies all over are buying up jillions of tickets to Mel Gibson's move to donate to the public. Too bad they can't spend the money on canned food for the hungry or winter coats for the homeless. Meanwhile, I haven't decided if I'm going to see the flick...I did like "Maverick" ...and I don't mind subtitles...but if I see it, I'm spending my own ten bucks!

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