Friday, December 31, 2010

If I Ran the Library Circus

If I Ran the Library Circus, an End of the Year Fantasy

In all the whole town the most wonderful spot is behind the reference desk at the library.
Its just the right spot for my wonderful plans.
If I can answer all the questions a day spans.

Now a librarian like me, said Librarian D.O.A.
Could help all these people with just a bit of time
I could give them a great pile of books to read.
And chop through their Internet questions.
Find them wonderful movies, perhaps two or three.
And then the library would be ready, you see

All ready to put up the chairs for my performers
with some extras on the side for the squirmers
The Library Circus, the world’s greatest show
on the face of the earth or wherever you go.

The Library Circus! That heaven for readers!
The Library Circus! Where we help followers & leaders
The Library Circus! Colossal! Stupendous!
Astounding Stories! Fantastic Films! Terrific Technologies! Tremendous talks!

I’ll bring in my actors, musicians and will never frown
from a thousand and three faraway towns
to the place where you’ll see em, ladies and gents,
the large meeting room behind the reference desk!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo's Last Stand

Big sigh of relief. My effort to get in a post a day came so close, missing only one day, so I will call it a success.

When we were doing the original 23 Things, trying to complete NaBloPoMo seemed like a great way to be assured of a vast reader base because we were keeping our scintillating blog updated frequently.

I know better now, but I still had to try to conquer it just once. I got in a post every day but Thanksgiving on this and my games blog so I'm thinking I should get extra credit, E for Effort or a sucker or something.

In order to actually have something to say daily on this blog, I found it easier to try to focus on the topic of libraries than to just write willy nilly whatever came into my tiny head. Imagine that.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Picky Picky Picky!

(Pat Paulsen reference for you young uns)

I have nothing to say today but here is a short clip called The Librarian Dialogues which you may have seen already.

We librarians do in fact like some semblance of order.

We don't like sidewalk sausages or beeping checkout machines.

Don't even ask about the ever-grinding noise of the conveyor for our check ins, tsk.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Calculating crowds

For all the of counting we do at the library trying to measure our use and perhaps effectiveness, we are unable to gage things such as how many people will stream through the door on the day after a holiday.

You want to have an idea so that you can staff accordingly, but if former years were our gage, we would have needed another person today.

Completely atypical, Thanksgiving weekend 2010 was a sleeper. Maybe everyone has lost their head and they'll be out shopping till Christmas, and the heck with free services, snuggly librarians, and nice bookstacks.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Guardian: Without libraries, we will lose a mark of our civilisation

In an article dated November 28th, 2010 (a small bit of time zone travel) Catherine Bennett talks about the closure of 250 libraries in England.

Some libraries are being taken over by volunteers and Friends of Libraries organizations. I can't guess how long these could stay open given the demands for hours, materials, and technologies which would not be funded any longer.

It isn't enough to just prop open the door, you have to have an actual library and services and people trained to help you on the other side of that door.

Friday, November 26, 2010

National Day of Listening

It's always something, isn't it? Today is the National Day of Listening.

Because I've been trying to put together a sort of mixed media approach to family history for my family, I appreciate finding out that today is a day to interview and record people in your family to keep and playback in years to come.

As we all know, we often grow up listening to our parents and relatives tell stories about when they were growing up, and their families and experiences. We think we'll remember and if we don't, we can just ask that loved one.

The older you get, the more you realize that these people, no matter what a solid rock they are in your life, may just not be there for all the time you might wish. So photograph them, put them in movies, and do some sort of reminiscence about those important stories from their lives so you capture a bit to keep through the years.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a lovely day tomorrow. Enjoy the ones you love, be safe, travel well.

Needless to say, don't be a turkey!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blog Spotting

The Closed Stacks Blog has a guest post by the effing librarian titled: A Librarians advice on dealing with librarians. I understand the frustration and have encountered every situation that he/she (effing being none too gender specific)mentions here. The first one where effing requests that the customer not explain why they haven’t been in a library in 30 years. Well hey. We’re scary snooty and cranky so I give everyone a pass on that one.

The only Librarian Blog I keep on the sidebar that sort of pokes fun of everyone that comes up to the desk is Love the Liberry. It seems more like a snapshot of a public desk than a cheap shot most days. For instance this short snippet Unprofessional Question

The Do Some Damage: An Inside Look at Crime Fiction blog has been having online book discussions for awhile on the blog. They have moved to a GoodReads group and invite interested mystery/crime fiction readers to join.

At the Inkspot Blog, Sue Ann Jaffarian writes about social media and how it allows readers to glimpse the person behind the author, but is this sometimes too much?

In her Murderati post Not Coming Soon to A Bookstore Near You author Louise Ure talks about the dread bookstore signing where there is a tiny or non-existent crowd. I cringe to read it because I always hope for a large crowd for events here and this year has been a tough one for getting people out to them. I feel for the authors and performers with their remarkable talents who do not get to talk to a good group of their followers and potential followers.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lord of the Libraries

Today we have a take on the brave fellowship returning a library book 30 years overdue to a bookdrop deep within a library at the university of Kansas.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just Books, No Cookies!

Libraries offer an incredible array of goods and services these days.

Yet almost daily someone will come in or call and ask for something we don't have, can't offer, wouldn't remotely be able to offer even with all the budget money in the world.

Customer response to their requests being unfullfilled is usually a very reasonable "Oh, okay, thanks."

Some days, the customer will get quite rowdy and upset that he/she can't have what they want. They don't want a referral to a place where they could get it. No explanation will satisy the fact that they just want it NOW. And the library is the one they want it from.

Tsk, rather like Cookie Monster in the clip below:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Librarians Do Gaga : a better way to market libraries

See what fun libraries can be? How slinky is the catalog, really? And those librarians are really stacked.

National Blog Posting Month Day Nineteen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Have You Read More than 6 of these Books?

Via Erin Hart:

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here...

Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I was looking for the original article and found this one instead wherein people admitted to lying about having read certain classics.

This looks like the original list, from 2003 and the BBC's Big Read.

I've read all the ones I list. Peeked at a few. I always wanted to like Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, but could never do much more than start it then put it down.

Lord of the Flies always sounded intriguing yet too mean so I haven't read that yet.

Why I have never read the Secret Garden I don't know. I think what little I do know is a let down from what I imagine a secret garden might be. Something with magic involved. Or more flowers.

I count that I have actually read 23. Better than 6.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Library garden: The [sad] state of NJ School Libraries

Library Garden is a blog maintained by librarians from many types of libraries. In a new post April Bunn talks about the loss of $500,000 from her school district budget.

She talks about all of the innovative programs that have been lost along with her own position as librarian.

The entire article is a sobering look at what we all might face if budgetary cuts hit our own libraries.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Shelf Required: a blog about eBooks in libraries

Though the No Shelf Required blog is an academic library blog, there are discussions and news valuable to all library types.

In a nutshell:

No Shelf Required is a blog about eBooks, loosely defined to discuss eBooks, audio books, and other digital content found in libraries as well as the technology needed to read and listen to this digital content. Electronic reference interfaces are another popular topic of conversation. The blog is designed to inform librarians and publishers of the happenings in the industry, from a variety of perspectives, and give them an opportunity to discuss eBook issues. All are encouraged to participate in the discussion through commenting and posting via the moderator, Sue Polanka from Wright State University Libraries. The discussion will focus on the issues, concepts, current and future practices of Ebook publishing including: finding, selecting, licensing, policies, business models, use (tracking), best practices, ebook readers, and promotion/marketing.

Recent topics include weeding eBook collections, and Overdrive for the iPhone.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Few Good Questions

It isn't all requests for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels for your librarian on the street.

Question One:

Today I had a lady looking for the Cake Lover's Bible. We didn't own it, but while trying to make sure the title was correct I found the author's website which is lovely.

Real Baking With Rose Levy Beranbaum is about baking with forums and a blog and lots of recipes.

Over on the side I noted a link to another site with 78 Mouth-Watering Baking Blogs you need to Bookmark. Yummy!

Question number two:

A guy gets a wierd popup on his laptop whenever he tries to use Microsoft Word. As it turns out, the laptop was purchased used and the popup was asking for a Product Key. This unlicensed software let him create a document but not print or copy and paste it elsewhere to print it. Lesson to be learned, make sure if you buy a used pc, that you get any documentation that went with it.

Question Three:

Printing from Windows Live Word App

You have to make sure you use the print icon within the onscreen window for the application. If you try to use the File menu or the Print icon on the Explorer Toolbar, you will get nowhere.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Facebook's New Group Creation Tool

I wanted to post family pictures and just give family access to them.

Creating the group is simple. You select Create group, invite friends and you can post just to those you invited to the group.

I had in my mind that I could make a photo album within this group page for separate people and events. Though you can add photos, they just show up as a wall post with the picture and your comment attached.

I can live with that.

I was happily adding photos and narrative descriptions and my sister says "how do I save them"? Just click on my album on the sidebar, I said. Puzzled as to why she didn't think to get there the same way she just got in. So I thought. Then my husband stops by and says "I just got about 15 emails from you".

Doh. So everytime I post a new picture I'm spamming the email of my relations. Eeek. I see now my sister and husband just clicked on the email link to see the post, they didn't log into Facebook and pick my album at all. Yow. Sigh.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Rebus Answers at Last

So, I left you hanging last May with my devilishly clever Rebuses, eh bunky? I see it remains the top most read post.

Ponder no more:

Rebus 1: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Rebus 2: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us

Friday, November 12, 2010

Los Angeles Times: Libraries reinvent themselves as they struggle to remain relevant in the digital age

David Sarno of the Los Angeles Times examines libraries and new technologies and how they will affect readers and libraries in this article.

I found this interesting since our library will be offering Overdrive next month:

A few companies, like OverDrive Inc., offer a service that allows libraries to buy digital copies of some books. Once users download the digital copy to a PC, they have three weeks until the book deletes itself, at which point another patron can download it.

But OverDrive has a limited selection, and because e-books are often wrapped in proprietary software to prevent copying, the company's books can be read on some electronic readers but not others.

We're getting a very positive reaction to this upcoming service. There seems to be a sudden rise in e-book Reader owners. People are looking for advice on Readers, and they want ones that are compatible with Overdrive. (Thus far the Sony Reader and Nook.)

Anytime our customers are excited about books in whatever form they may take, I think we're doing what libraries should do--getting the works of authors into the hands of readers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blogger Widgets: Site Count and Popular Posts

Monkey see, monkey do. I added the built in site count from Blogger (new) and their Popular Posts widget since I had added them to my Sword Blog which is officially registered with NaBloPoMo this year and agghh I'm having a devil of a time posting once per day.

I'm doing a post a day on both blogs. Unofficially here since I have failed to complete two years running on D.O.A.

When I originally worked my way through the 23 Things, I didn't add a widget for the most read posts because I thought it might be sort of self-perpetuating. You put the top ones up there and people keep clicking on them out of curiousity and voila. Popular indeed.

I can see right away that the Sword blog has more readers (I knew that anyway). It is also clear that people like lists. I know this from reading various articles and posts, that people just want to be directed to the very best or any kind of list. Sillies.

Since I write this for my imaginary audience anyway, I always write what I want, but knowing what people are reading might give me the incentive to update posts that do have lists, and to think of more wily lists to please my imaginary readers.

And OOPS! I never posted the solution to the Rebus! I'll save that for tomorrows post :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

MNPost Short Shorts Contest

Showcase your writing skills with a 'short-short'
By Marge Barrett | Published Mon, Nov 8 2010 9:56 am

Short-shorts is back -- with a shorter-short contest.
Submit your 200-word story by November 22, 2010.
Contest guidelines: Only Minnesota writers can submit. Only one short-short by an individual will be accepted. Your short-short must be under 200 words. Please put your last name and short-short contest in the subject line of the email. Include your name, address, telephone number, email address, word count and a brief biography (up to 150 words). Send your entry -- in the body of the email, or as an attachment -- to mbarrett [at] minnpost [dot] com. The file must be saved in Word.

I, who have never entered a writing competition of submitted my writing to anyone but my elementary, high school and college teachers am entering. You should too!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Finally Somebody Gets Libraries Right

We had a full house again today, busy all day long and it wasn't kids out of school. Adults packed the computers, study rooms and study tables. We see more and more of this trend. There just aren't any "quiet" periods of the year anymore.

Yet we, like all government agencies face budget cuts that will make it more difficult to take care of our customers.

I have seen so many articles over the past few years saying the Library is Dead, blah blah, nobody uses the outmoded library, blah blah.

Not so at all, as Roberta Stevens from the Washington Post so eloquently points out in her article: Commentary: Technological and economic shifts have only made libraries more valuable

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And..a little something for my own son...

Talk about someone who is his own man... my son has been an afficianado of Comedy Central for at least ten years and one of his favorite comedians, to my surprise, is George Carlin.

I always think of George and his words you can't say list.

Here he is with another list of words, all current, all hip, all technology all the time. I can't imagine how many times he had to rehearse this to be able to rattle it off without a pause.

He manages without seeming effort to show a snapshot of who and what we are, just by tossing out the jargon we use. What a wise and talented man he was.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Here's a Heartbreaker

On the Nerdy Apple Bottom blog is one of the most touching stories I've ever read about love and mindless hate and the inability of some people to let people shine however they want to shine.

Nerdy's five year old son, a huge Scooby Doo fan wanted to be Daphne for Halloween. He'd already been Scooby, and this year a brightly colored, absolutely silly and wonderful Daphne costume caught his eye in a catalog.

Read the full post, because here is a Mom of Moms who lets her child choose what costume he wants to wear, who he wants to pretend to be on a day that is all about fun and imagination.

In a time when bullying is rampant, and all of our gains for tolerance and loving our fellows seems lost, step back and think of where this starts and stop, just stop.

Friday, November 5, 2010

10 Librarian Blogs to read in 2011: Time to Suggest Your Favorites

The LIS News site does an annual list of top ten librarian blogs to read each year. You can make suggestions now for them to consider.

Just write in your suggestion in the comments section here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things on a Stick News Volume 1 #10

Day four of NaBloPoMo and I'm still writing! I did not register this particular blog since I have failed to complete with it two years running and thought luck might be with another blog. So far so good writing daily on both.

One of the things you might do to keep writing regularly is to feature information and ideas from other blogs and sites so you can share the wealth and keep your site active. I like to put my own spin and comments in so that I'm not just a little ticker tape.

As I'm trying to work through National Blog Posting Month, I inevitably go back to my 23 Things roots. Just in the nick, here is the latest post from the new version of the 23 Things on a Stick blog featuring a new type of aggregator called Alltop that lets you get the latest news from both blogs and websites that will help inspire you to write.

Thing 67. Alltop

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WordPress Tip: What to do when your Login Prompt Disappears

I use WordPress for another blog and recently changed to a new template. To my consternation my login prompt was gone. The only sidebar items were links to other sites. There I am, thinking how on earth am I going to update that dang blog if I can't log in?

I did a little research and the solutions not only looked complex, they had red margined warnings to Back Up Your Settings.

One thing I did pick up from these tipsters was that I needed to type in the actual web address of the site. I'm sure I wrote this down when I created the blog, but where did I put that? I just use the link on my favorites bar to get to the sitre, which wasn't helping me now.

My twisty mind then thought, when you sign up for a blog, they tell you your site address. So I just need to find that original email and get my address and...

In the original email there were four "handy links". Handy indeed! As soon as I clicked on one I got my beloved login prompt, and in I went to change the template to something login friendly.

Sigh of relief...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Frederik Pohl's The Way the Future Blogs: Drawing for new Gateways Anthology (Non-USA folk only)

One of my favorite blogs is written by science fiction writer Frederik Pohl. On his blog, he writes and reminisces about 70 years in the science fiction community, and dispenses wisdom for today.

He has a new anthology that was compiled by his wife Elizabeth A. Hull for his 90th birthday. It features short stories by other prominent science fictions authors writing in his Gateway Universe.

Until November 15th, if you live outside the United States--the US version of the giveaway was done by Tor Books and is done, alas, you can enter via e-mail in a drawing for a copy of this book. The book will be autographed by Frederik Pohl, Elizabeth A. Hull and Gene Wolfe (who will pick the winner).

Visit The Way the Future Blogs to enter the drawing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finding Election Information and background for Local Candidates

We're finding out today how hard it is to find background information on local candidates. State and Federal information is everywhere, so it seems, but the local races can be a challenge.

Tip 1: Look up the community paper for your area online and see if they have an election guide. Many do!

Tip 2: Use the sample ballot on the Secretary of State Pollfinder site (after typing in your address info), write down your local candidates and then look for web pages for the city and county candidates.

Laughing Squid: Yahoo's Y! Mash

Scott Beale of the Laughing Squid introduces Yahoo's new social network (a person can never have too many of those)

Y! Mash lets you edit your friends profiles in a wiki style so your buds can tell everyone all there is to know about you. Ideal!

Scott links to his Mash Profile to show what it looks like, but oops!

The person you have searched for either does not exist or has chosen to hide his profile.

Learn more about the profile on Yahoo!

Crouching Scott, Hidden Scott!

He does ask you to send him an email if you'd like to join him so maybe that is the answer to this puzzle!

Puzzle pic of Scott made with Dumpr

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Closed Stacks: Just because you want it doesn't mean it exists

A few weeks ago I wrote about the many types of questions we get on a typical day.

One type of question that stands out is the question that hasn't got an answer. Not the sort of answer the person wants, in any case.

Usually, the person is trying to make a point or settle a bet, so they want research or statistics that back them up.

They might have an assignment and they want to answer it in very literal terms based on what their teacher wrote on the assignment sheet.

I was pleased to see a discussion of this very frustrating phenomenon on the Closed Stacks Blog, with plenty of discussion in the comments.

Interestingly, the discussion turned at times to the attitude of the librarian being asked the question. Were they approachable, did they do enough work on behalf of the customer? Did they explain to the customer where they had looked, and what roadblocks there were to finding an answer?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dumpr Photo Editing

I've been looking for something that turns a photograph into a pencil sketch for some time.

Thanks to the 23 Things Newsletter Archive I found Dumpr and produced this delightful sketch of my colleague Cleery:

Original picture (a zombie makeup artist stopped by the library one day)

Wall Street Journal: New Library Technologies Dispense With Librarians

In an October 24th article, the Wall Street Journal presents libraries which are taking the Vend-O-Matic approach to library services.

Faced with budget cuts, government agencies apparently think getting rid of those costly buildings filled with books for all ages and interests, DVDs, CDs, newspapers, magazines, storytime kits for home use, Bifolkal Kits for remembering the past programs, storytimes, programs bringing the cultural arts to the public, and PEOPLE are outmoded.

The Library staff, those nice people who help you find books for reading or an assignment, work to familiarize you with software they might or might not be familiar with themselves, and who welcome you in whether come to them regulary or whether you're brand new...poof!

Replaced by a cold metal locker or a vending machine that doesn't care if you find what you came for or not.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Monster Mash Starring the Leary Girls

I used old school pictures to make this lovely Halloween clip. The girls appear in birth order from oldest to youngest. Funny how little they've changed over the years!

USA Today: Trick-or-treaters' Halloween candy often picked off by parents

Adults are eating all of the Halloween candy, tsk. Are you guilty of sharing your child's candy? Do you tell yourself they should not be eating all of those sweets so you're saving them from themselves? Hmmm, bunky? You're not alone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Minnesota Voting Info

The excitement continues to build in the close races for Minnesota and everywhere. In recent years with insanely close elections and recounts, more than ever every vote counts!

Where to vote

If you're not certain of your local polling location use the Pollfinder from the Minnesota Secretary of State to find your location.


Also from the Secretary of State, answers to many of your basic voting questions, including Absentee Balloting, Voter Registration, and how to get a ride to the polls.

Minnesota Votes

For local and state candidate information and answers to a standard set of questions that might give you a feel for where the candidates stand, visit the League of Women Voters of Minnesota Voters Guide for 2010.

League Of Women Voters Minnesota Voter Guide 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shelf Reading Training for New Volunteers

When I took over as our branch volunteer person, I wanted to cut down the training time from a two hour training to a one hour training. I also wanted to set a particular time each month when I offered training because none of us have much running room in our schedules anymore and I could not be flexible enough to try to train people when it was convenient for the potential trainee and myself.

I train on the Saturday morning that I work before we open. I have cut the training time down to one hour. Here is what we do:

Welcome to the library.

Collect their application and waiver if they have not turned it in before today.

Explain what our volunteers do (shelf reading mostly!), talk about shelf reading and what it is.

Mention other potential ways they can help with programs etc during the year.

Give them a list of other organizations in the community who might have more opportunities for them.

Take the shelf reading test below. I designed this to be like the Post Office test that requires people to put items in order. This is "open book". They are able to use the pamphlet we hand out when they ask to volunteer and I answer any questions they have as they're doing it because the purpose is not to test them as much as it is to get them to think about how items are arranged and be able to put them in order. We have many areas that are interfiled and I tried to reflect that. Many collections have undergone label changes over time, but older cutter numbered items sit beside newer items that use the first five letters of the author's name, etc etc. People need to learn to recognize fiction or non-fiction and collections such as Mystery and Large Print no matter what the varying labels were over time. Tricky!

Please put the items in each group in order by noting 1,2,3,4 in the space preceding each call number/author/title line

____J551.4 P77 Pond, Alonzo William Caverns of the world
____ 635.965 Su1 Success with house plants
____301.412 P72 Pomeroy, Sarah B. Goddesses, wives and slaves
____914.7 P77 Pond, Elizabeth From the Yaroslavsky station

_____Fic F86 Fraser, Anthea Laura possessed
_____Fic M14 McDonald, Kay Brightwood expedition
____Fic F85 Frankel, Charles Stubborn case
____Fic M15 McEvoy, Marjorie Down the hill

_____Juv Fic W65 Wilkinson, Brenda Ludell and Willie
_____Juv Fic W65 Wilkinson, Brenda Willie
_____ Juv Fic P77 Pomeroy, Pete Mallory Burn
_____Juv Fic P17 Parce, Amory Little friends

_____Q636.8 P77 Pond, Grace Complete cat encyclopedia
____J921.2 H65 Wilkinson, Burke Helmet of Navarre
_____J745.594 Su7 Supraner, Robyn Valentine’s day
_____J923 L72 Wilkinson, Burke Louis XIV, early years

_____Fic Westm Westmacott, Mary Absent in the spring
_____Fic Walla Wallace, Irving The Source
_____Fic Frank Frank, Harriet Single
_____Fic McEvo McEvoy, Marjorie Hard times

_____Easy Su1 Surany, Anico Etienne-Henri
_____Easy W65 Wilkinson, Barry Adventures of Tom Thumb
_____Easy Su1 Surany, Anico Lora, Lorita
_____Easy Su1 Surany, Anico Burning Mountain

_____LP Myst F82 Fowler, Earlene Steps to the Altar
_____Large Print Mystery Patte Patterson, James 7th Heaven
_____LP-M Myst G56 Goldberg, Lee Diagnosis Murder: Murder the Death merchant
_____LP-M Myst P27 Patterson, James Cross

_____Fic Oke Oke, Janette Love comes softly
_____Fic Oke Oke, Janette Nana’s Gift
_____Fic Oke Oke, Janette A Woman named Demaris
_____Fic Oke Oke, Janette The Measure of a heart

_____J-DVDN 025.4 Sa1 The safe side. Internet Safety
_____Children’s DVD 306.85 Famil Families of Brazil
_____Children’s DVD 625.1 Lots Lots & lots of trains. Vol.2, Thunder on the tracks!
_____J-DVDN 616.6 T73 A Trip to the dentist through Pinatta’s view

_____Easy B75 Brett, Jan Trouble with trolls
_____Easy Os1 Osborne, Mary Pope Kate and the beanstalk
_____Easy P48 Pfister, Marcus How Leo learned to be king
_____Easy M61 Miller, William Richard Wright and the Library card

We go through the first 5 questions and answers to give people a feel for how the system works.

Next we tour the library, talking about how each area is arranged as we go.

They see where to sign in and out, and how to pick up where the last person who shelfread left off.

We look at where that last person left off and we go to that area and each person does one shelf length so they get a last practical bit of practice.

I tell them that current volunteers and library staff can help them with questions when they come and we'll all help them continue learning as they go.

Yes, you bet I do talk really fast!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dancing As a Star Part 2

Most reality shows have lots of mean people you'd like to see voted right out but that isn't the case on Dancing With the Stars. Everyone works their heart out and it is a shame to see anyone go. If I were on the show, that wouldn't be true.

Click to see me trip the furry light fantastic!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hog Wild Storytime

As a followup to my post on my once in a lifetime storytime, here is what we did:

Used my Scrapbooking supplies to make a little sign so I could say today's storytime is brought to you by the letter P!

I quizzed them on what are a baby pig, mother pig and daddy pig called?

Read three books (Piggy Pie Po, Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch, Granny Gomez & Jigsaw). I thought Piggy Pie Po by Don and Audrey Wood went the best and had the nicest flow between words and pictures for the wee crowd--all ages three and below.

Did This Little Piggy went to market...with our fingers rather than TOES. Sacrilege!

Sang the Pigs on the farm go oink oink oink to the tune of Wheels on the Bus.

Did a Fingerplay about black and white pigs that went well and allowed us all to work on our counting and finger waggling skills.

I attempted to get everyone to Oink each time I read the word Oink in a story but the group resisted after the first Oink or so.

I had pictures of famous pigs on the wall behind me and asked the crowd to identify them. The moms get kudos for DEEP PIGGY KNOWLEDGE.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

D.O.A. Hams it up with first ever Piggie Storytime

Tomorrow morning I do my first (and likely only) storytime ever. Classically trained as your basic Reference Librarian, I never dreamed I'd be auditioning for the role of porcine patterer in front of the boss with pig noises. I think I need to work on my Oink, but my pig snort cannot be beat.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dancing with the What the Heck?

Who has the moves? Out of season, but I'm ready for tonight's Dancing with the Stars, obviously.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's What's Up Front That Counts

While thinking of a title for this post on reference questions, I came across this old ad. Ah, the 1960s, what rapscallions we were.

I thought I'd take a look at what sort of questions I get during a typical day. Instead of using traditional categories, I used the sorts of things we actually get every day. My take on things always is that every question is valuable to the person asking it, and so every question counts!

We get such an endless variety of inquiries, and I don't think people can appreciate how quickly you need to shift mental gears and call upon a huge knowledge base of accumulated information just to know where to look for answers or give the person as much help as quickly as you can because you've got a line of people waiting their turn for help. Think fast, Don't panic, Keep Moving is the order of every day. Sometimes you can help a person quickly and efficiently, sometimes they need more time and more help. There is no way to know with each person how long you'll need to spend with them to assist them. Having people right out front there to help is more important than ever. Nobody else is providing this incredibly wide variety of services.

Reference Questions: People can and do ask for information on every topic imaginable. We of course don't know everything!!! but we need what I call "glancing knowledge" of authors, titles, subject areas. We have to be familiar with adult, teen and children's authors, titles, books in series so we know where to begin looking. Some topics are repeated frequently enough so that you can get right to what the person needs. Sometimes a customer asks something so completely esoteric that you can't even be sure where to begin, so you'll need to ask them more questions to see what resource might lead to an answer. On rare occasions, someone will ask for data or information that has not been compiled by anyone that you can find. It takes a long time to get to that point in the question and answer process, however.

Holds Help (Explain they're filed by the last 4 digits of the library card number, convince the person to take out their card and look at it if they don't do that automatically, if their request isn't on the Hold shelves, go look in the back room for it)

Requests In person (Could be one title, could be 15. Some people will let you show them how to do this themselves on our catalog, some don't care to learn. If the items are on the shelf, some people will go look for them, some won't and you'll need to go out with them and find them) Telephone (Could be one, could be 15, some people call every day, multiple times per day)

These would be stolen every day if we didn't keep them behind the desk:

Newspaper Star Tribune Pioneer Press WSJ USA Today



Tax Forms (We carry Federal and State forms, but only the most common and only what the Feds and State make available to us. Availability of these forms on the web has helped alot, but some folks have uncommon forms they need and don't have access to a printer or for some other reason they want us to be their source of forms. You would be surprised at how outraged people can be when we don't have the form they want and they have to pay for printing.)

Sign up for or cancel a class (We have an online events calendar for sign ups, but because most of our classes are basic computer instruction, the customer isn't often comfortable signing themselves up)

Refer to Circ (Meeting rooms bookings, fines, charges of any kind, card replacement)

Help finding an item in the library (Easy when the item is where it says it is, frustrating when it can't be found at all and the person looks at you and says "But it says it is here". Sorry on that one!

Help using the catalog: Don't understand the general keyword search concept or any searching concepts, show how to use the advanced options for searching by author, title, subject, show how to use their Account to view or suspend holds, pay fines via credit card, show the 83 or so databases and help them find one that helps them with their question, show MNLink, How to use NetLibrary (and sign up for an account)

Copier Help: Using the right coin box, enlarging, reducing, doing double sided copying, paper is jammed

Internet and Microsoft Office Help:

Help logging in (including the reservation terminal, finding that their out of county card isn't registered with us, or they owe old monies and need to pay those first)

What's My PIN

Word (most common--finding the print option under the Office Button, using and finding various options under the Ribbon, how to save to a portable storage device, changing the style set to Office 2003 for the familiar spacing and formatting)




Email Sign up Attach a document Attach or download a picture or file (complicated by the fact that all email systems are a bit different..we have people using free email such as Gmail and Yahoo but also their work and college email systems or commercial systems such as Comcast and AOL. We know the basic concepts but can't have working knowledge of all of these but people expect that we do)

Web Site Specific Help (The problem here can be that some web sites aren't easy to use and we have as much trouble navigating them as the customer, but they assume we know how to use every web site, yikes.)

Applying for a job (problems filling in form, don't know what to write in, filled in form and got kicked back to start page, attach or copy/paste resume)
Paying a Bill
Booking a flight/printing a ticket
Making an appt with the Immigration office
Buying a car
Printing a Casino Coupon

Printing using our multi-step networked printer (There are about ten steps to printing, not complex, just putzy but too much for many people to grasp. We also have instances where people cannot get certain sites to print, or the pages print with nothing on them and you need to explain Print Preview to someone too frustrated to listen...)

Children's PC Help Game is stuck, computer got shut off somehow

Test proctoring (Distance learning must be in its heyday, because we have people taking classes and needing a Test Proctor for their Printed (we get the copy in the mail or sent via email for us to print out) or Online tests from universities as far away as Alabama.

Ebooks (Lots of interest in this now, we are in a position to work with and explain the compatibility issues to people wanting Ebooks for their Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or iPad and explain what currently have available and if it is compatible or not. Since the library does not offer any of these Readers, we are working somewhat blind trying to help people with something we don't have any working knowledge of ourselves.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Not Remotely Service

After a nice relaxing week off I'm looking at a busy weekend at work. Since I'm all by myself this Sunday (no sub could be found apparently) I am reminded of a conversation wherein librarians on the desk are being replaced by little TV screens and a librarian at some remote location "helps" people. Ack, I say, ack.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Last Page by Anthony Huso

The Last Page is a glorious fantasy novel set in a steam-punkish Lovecraftian world. The new king of the duchy of Stonehold inherits an imminent war, and a cast of characters ready to advise and mold him into something that suits their needs.

Caliph Howl, a long time student learns everything he can about the duchy as quickly as he can. His ability to plot and strategize serves him well, but the seething city of Isca with its wonderfully named sections such as Three Cats, Ghoul Court, Murkbell and Lampfire boggles the imagination and provides him with unlikely enemies and allies.

There is a sisterhood of witches who are spies and assassins, and the most promising new talent in their cadre is obsessed with Caliph Howl for many reasons.

The world operates on magic and logic and mathematics.

There is a secret book called Cisrym Ta which is sought by all. Caliph Howl is its key.

When you turn the last page, you will want to know more about the city of Isca and its people, and having spent four hundred and fifty pages hoping for victory for Caliph and Sena, you will be sad and happy at the same.

You will be pleased to know that a sequel is in the works. I'm hoping the author is writing very very quickly.

Visit Anthony Huso's Site.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Survivor Nicaragua: new night, new challenges

I always love Survivor, but this time out, the survivors will be split by age. The youthful beach lounging types will have to go after their fellow loungers instead of picking off the more well seasoned players.

Those thirty and below are on one team and those 40 and above are on the other. This can work even with physical challenges, I think, because it isn't just the pure physical stamina that wins, it is teamwork and competitive spirit.

It will be interesting to see which team has the stronger desire to show what they've got and the ability to work together to pull it off.

Survivor moves to Wednesday night this season, so grab your chair, your beagles and a cool can of pop and watch the fun!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I've decided to enter the 21st Century as a reader and get a Kindle. One of our mystery book group readers has one and was quite enthusiastic and a staffer has one (and generously showed it to me) and with the new low Kindle price, perhaps the time is now.

One thing our staffer said that I liked alot was, if the price of a Kindle edition and the actual book are close, she gets the book. I love books and have too many, but what is life for?

Why get one at all, you say? I see lots of authors putting their own out of print titles out as Kindle Editions. It seems like wonderful opportunity to own some of those things you just can't get anymore.

In cases where you need a book for your book group fast and the waiting list at the library is over 400, it is yours.

Also, since I learned about the Book View Cafe, I have wished that I could get some of those nice works of science fiction and fantasy right from a nice author consortium.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This Week in Dakota County

Thanks to a pal, I am now reading This Week in Dakota County regularly. It does a great job of covering local Dakota County cities and it is covering the budget situation for our county, which affects everyone who lives and works there.

Keep up with all the latest at the This Week newspapers site.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just. Buzz. Off.

Buzz Off! according to the Online Slang Dictionary means:

To go away. Origin: from onomatopoeia "buzz", the sound an insect makes, implying that the person addressed is annoying and should leave.

I used to use that phrase all the time, in the 1980s or so when it was popular. It has a nice ring to it. Short, sweet.

Imagine my delight when I found a new author named Hannah Reed, who was in the process of writing and publishing a new mystery called Buzz Off: a Queen Bee Mystery.

I was able to get past my mixed feelings about bees (love them for my plants, dodge them for the possibility of being stung).

Hannah is full of sass, style, and has more wise things to say on any given day than most of us ever think of.

Her book is set in the small town of Moraine, Wisconsin. Hello, neighbor! Story Fischer runs a wonderful store in a refurbished church. It has basic groceries items and stock from local orchards and farms, Wisconsin wines and cheese, and honey, that wonderful bit of gold. Everyone stops in at Storey's store.

As a hobby, Storey is learning beekeeping from her friend Manny Chapman. When the police pull up during her National Honey Month open house, she is shocked to find they want her to come to Manny's farm to help them. Manny has been found covered in bees. Someone needs to get the bees off of him so that he can be examined. Storey is that someone.

Since the bee blower is suspiciously missing, Storey uses a fan to remove them from Manny. Once he is pronounced dead, she immediately has to defend the bees and their hives. Locals want them destroyed. Bees leave their stingers in a person then die, reasons Storey. Yellow jackets do not and could sting over and over. It had to be yellow jackets.

How to prove this before the hives are destroyed, or sold to a mysterious beekeeper nobody ever heard of but who has suddenly appeared? The hives Storey keeps in her backyard are soon under siege from fearful neighbors. The journal Manny meticulously kept on his bees is missing.

More deaths occur and only Storey seems to make the connections to Manny's death. This is a well thought out mystery. I considered that just about everyone but the actual killer could be guilty.

I loved the town and its characters. Although Storey is trying to get over her sleazy ex-husband, he's her neighbor. Her high school sweetheart is buzzing around, as is the high school bully who might have a crush on her.

A rumor mongering neighbor with a telescope keeps an eye on everyone. Nobody likes a gossiping snoop, but Pity-Party Patti shines, seemingly believing most of what she makes up herself.

Storey's disapproving mom is always threatening to come and show Storey how to run the store and her life the Right Way. Good thing Storey's grandma is around to hip-check mom out of the way.

The local LIBRARY figures nicely into the plot. Dang those people sending out wierd messages from library Internet computers!

Recipes are at the back of the book making this one sweet read.

Visit Hannah Reed's Queen Bee Mystery Page
to learn more about bees, honey, and this great new series.

Find Hannah on Facebook

Hannah's alter ego is Deb Baker. Well, maybe Hannah is the alter ego since Deb is the real person and Hannah is a cute lil bee, as far as we can tell.

Friday, August 27, 2010

How to get a free Google e-mail account

Google Mail

You need an email account to do just about anything these days. Gmail is free and can be opened from any computer anywhere that has access to the Internet. A place like your local library!

Gmail is a good choice for anyone, especially a beginner. Sign up is easy, the interface is simple, and there are no annoying ads tacked onto your emails.

Before you begin, write down three possible sign in names that you'd like to use, and three possible passwords (making sure your password is at least 8 letters or numbers long). If you're prepared with these, the sign up process will be much smoother. Be SURE to write down which one you end up with.

Click to enlarge to view this sample Gmail sign up form

How to sign up:

Go to

Click on Gmail on the upper left of the screen

On the right side click on Create an Account

You’re presented with a form to fill out. Click inside the boxes to enter information in each box.

Before you begin, think about what you want your login name to be. Keep in mind that millions of people use Gmail and it is very likely that the name you wish to use is already being used by someone else.

Write down a few variations. Consider adding another short word or a number to your name so you’re ready to try something different if the name you want is in use.

Your password has to be 8 characters long. This can include letters and numbers. If you try to use something shorter, your account won’t be created until you make the change.

Here is what is on the form:

First Name

Last Name

Desired login name (the name that you will use to log into Gmail and this will be the first part of your gmail address as well)

Check availability (click here to see if your username is in use or not)

Choose a password (notice as you type this in that you can see if someone might easily guess your password or not on the password strength meter)

Re-enter Password (just type in your password again.)

Stay signed in (click in the box next to this to remove the check mark. For your own security, do not stay signed into your email)

Enable Web History (Uncheck this box. You do not need an extra layer of a website remembering where you have been on the web.)

Default Homepage (uncheck this if you have a homepage that you find useful. This is the web site that is displayed whenever you open the Internet.)

Security Question (The security question allows you to access your account if you forget your username or password. Click on the arrow next to this box to choose a pre-set question or write your own.)

Recovery email (You can leave this blank, since this is probably your only email account)

Location (Use the arrow next to this box to choose the country you’re in)

Birthday (Make sure you enter your dates in the format they suggest below the box)

Word Verification (you will need to type in the scrunched up word you see on the screen in the space below. You will not need to use capital letters, but you must be accurate. These are often very hard to read.)

Terms of Service (Read the account agreement by scrolling down through the text box)

I Accept (Click on this)

Once you click on I Accept, you should get a screen that welcomes you to Gmail.

If there are any boxes that were not filled in correctly, you will be presented with the application form again.

Look at the form and read what is written in RED beneath any box or field. Make the suggested corrections.

Note you will always need to fill in your password again, uncheck the boxes for staying signed in, etc. You will need to do another Word Verification, and it will be a different word this time.

Click Accept and hopefully it works this time!

You’re on your way.

Monday, August 2, 2010

On the Desk: Gee I don't want e-mail!

Many people who come to the library to use our computers do not have any experience using computers. The don't like computers. They don't want to use them. They sure don't want to have an email address.

In our online world, you may need one to buy cars, airline tickets, do much of your banking, make mortgage payments and other utility payments (at the last minute!), get coupons for bottled water, casinos, clothing. It is the only way the immigration office schedules appointments. Many many agencies and businesses are forcing people to go online.

Those agencies are not there to help the forlorn new computer user, but we are. People with no computing skills are trying to do complex things and you just have to walk them through as best as you can. Many times people want you to sit down at the computer and fill out forms, create accounts and we cannot. We are ever and always short staffed, and we have to respect the privacy of the individual and we can't know their personal information. It can be a real struggle.

The long and the short of it is, if you want to do anything online that requires an e-mail address, you need to create and use an e-mail address. They are free, they are easy to set up and use. Anyone can have one whether they have a computer or not.

Instructions for setting up a Gmail account forthcoming!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On the Desk: Print Preview

Click the arrow to see panel 2

Just when you think most customers have mastered the use of Print Preview in Internet Explorer, someone comes roaring up to the desk outraged that "The Computer" printed out a bunch of mostly blank sheets of paper.

Many will let you calmly show them how to use Print Preview to get an idea of what their printed pages would be, and then select only the pages they want.

Some people just aren't willing to even think that the "Evil Computer" or better yet the library staff, those wily "I've got my hand in your coin pocket" types aren't out to get them. They won't listen and they argue and argue. Ouch.


Select File

Select Print Preview

Use the arrows on the preview page to see how many pages there are and what is on them.

When you know what you want, click on the Print icon on the upper left corner of the Print Preview page.

When the Print Dialogue box comes up note Page Range.

All is selected by default.

Click in the "Pages" radio button and type in the range of pages you want to print out. Say your web page had three pages but only pages 1 and 2 have information on them. Page three is just the web site address or some small bit of useless text.

In the Pages box, type 1-2. Page three will not be printed and you've saved money and you get a gold crown for not yelling at the librarian.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I write like Ray another dimension!

I write like
Ray Bradbury

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Via Rosemary Honnold on Facebook. I couldn't resist this. My favorite post here is my Dear Ray Bradbury entry. Almost certainly they picked his name out of the post and voila! Still, if I could write at all, he would be the one I would emulate.

Monday, July 12, 2010

First Lines

When I pick up a book to see if I'd like to read it, I read the flyleaf/jacket information and the first few lines to see if I like the author's style and if the story grabs me. First lines are so important. Fascinating, too, taken out of the context of the rest of the tale. These new books came across my desk today. Here are the first couple of lines of each. Which grab you right away?

If the Cardinal pinched the cheeks of his arse, the walls of the city bruised. They were that close, Siamese twins, joined by a wretched, twisted soul.
Darren Shan The City Book One: Procession of the Dead

“If I see one more ESTATE FOR SALE sign planted on our street, I swear I’ll develop hysterical blindness!” Polly Pepper complained from the back seat of her Rolls Royce.
As her son, Tim maneuvered the family car up serpentine Stone Canyon Road to Pepper Plantation, their fabled home in the ritzy hills of Bel Air, California, Polly continued her rant.
R.T. Jordan Set sail for murder: a Polly Pepper Mystery

For all it was just gone noon by the barkeep’s (carefully hidden) watch, the Bird-in-Hand dance-groggery was nevertheless crammed full with people either drunk from the night before, or continually drunk for the last few days, and counting. One of these, a huge fool in miner’s clothes, had spent the last ten minutes staring fixedly at Chess Pargeter, who stood sipping a shot of absinthe at the bar--a slim and neat-made man dressed in purple, head barely level with the miner’s breastbone, whose narrow red brow shaded to gold over a pair of eyes the same green as the wormwood and sugar concoction he held.
Gemma Files Volume One of the Hexslinger series: A Book of Tongues

Chloe Turner stared down into the black, roiling water, squinting her eyes against the cool spray. The wind ate into her skin.
Victoria Dahl Crazy for love

I first noticed the man I will call Benjamin in the bar of the Independence Hotel in Ndala. He sat alone, drinking orange soda, no ice.
Charles McCarry The End of the String from the anthology Agents of Treachery: never before published spy fiction from today’s most exciting writers

When the lights went out Darren Wylde was at Junction 47. It was the last thing he saw--the big stencil-painted numbers--before the shadows rushed out of the corners.
Jim Kelly Death watch: a mystery

“Morgan, did you say your name is? Funny things, names.” The depot agent, an individual so slow I thought I might have to draw a line on the floor to see him move, was gradually commencing to hunt through the baggage room for my trunk, shipped ahead.
Ivan Doig Work Song

If this is the chance I’ve been waiting for, then why does it feel like I’m in over my head? I mean, like I’m five feet tall in seven feet of water and haven’t the foggiest idea how to swim.
Tracey Batemen Book three in the Drama Queens series: That’s (not exactly )Amore

Terry banged on the wheel of the Rent-A-Wreck Chrysler Imperial. “Nuts!” she yelled.
Jennifer Colt A McAfee Twins Novel: The Hellraiser of Hollywood

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shelf Check

My third or so time around on Facebook I'm happy with the many good and interesting folks and sites I've found.

There is that snarky saying going around that Facebook is the people you went to school with and Twitter is the people you wish you went to school with. Silly Tweeters. Facebook seems more like a community, whereas Twitter still reads like an often nonsensical newsfeed.

I recently found a library comic called Shelf Check on Facebook.

The subtitle under the profile picture is "May you work the reference desk in interesting times". Amen to that, brother (sister, whatever). The times don't get more interesting than these at the reference desk.

In just a few panes, the cartoonist captures the utter absurdities that we deal with from all fronts. It makes me feel better to know that BIZARRE THINKING IS GOING ON ALL OVER.

I found this on Facebook but there is a blog for Shelf Check where the cartoons appear if you don't want to show your fannishness on Facebook. Hmmmm she uses the comic strip creator Toondoo. I thought I recognized the style. She uses it far better than I can though. Nice work!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Song stuck in head...

This has been stuck in my head for several days :(

There Was An Old Woman
There was an old woman who swallowed a fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly,
Perhaps she'll die.
There was an old woman who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a bird,
How absurd! to swallow a bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a cat,
Imagine that! to swallow a cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a dog,
What a hog! to swallow a dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a goat,
Just opened her throat! to swallow a goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a cow,
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a horse,
She's dead—of course!

Thank goodness I find myself humming Ray Price's Heartaches by the number this morning instead.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sketch Cast with recorded voice

Here is experiment number two with Sketch Cast. I hoped to do a short tutorial and treat the Sketch Cast screen as if it were a chalkboard for writing in main points. I have a headset for recording and it picks up the tapping of the keys quite well.

That knocking noise that sounds like someone wrapping on a coconut? I must have been hitting my coconut-like head against something. No idea.

Think of this as a rough draft, an exploration of possibility, something like that....

Sketch Cast

Sketchcast lets you draw a simple drawing on a page which is animated upon playback. You may add voiceover which would help a great deal in truly trying to explain a concept.

Drawings are more effective than words since the stylus does not make for tidy printing or writing.

You could use this as you would a single slide, or for advertisement of an event, or for a cartoon which would draw itself before your eyes.

Here is my second effort (I deleted the first which was all scrawling text.)



Cut into pieces

Plant eyes up

In a trench




Friday, June 4, 2010

Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time

From the few reviews I read before going to see the movie, I expected it to be pretty badly done. Still, if you grew up watching every Science Fiction "B" movie you could as I did, you'd expect to like the film anyway. Your enjoyment of films, as with anything in life, wil be dependent on what you bring to it. I bring with me a huge love of adventure, fantasy, and good story.

I thought Prince of Persia was wonderful. It had elements of Arabian Nights stories and films, and it was true to the game world from which it came. Some games don't adapt well to other mediums. I think this film has all the elements that are enjoyable in the games, but the world is deeper and richer, and more time is spent on character.

The basic story: a street rat is brought to live as a son of the king after the king witnesses the boy rescuing another boy with great flair and acrobatic derring do. Dustan enjoys a good life with his family and is loved by his father and brothers.

When they are grown and on the road, they get word that the holy city of Alamut is making and selling swords to their enemy. They conquer the city and Dastan comes into possession of a dagger which can turn back time one minute. Having this does not stop his father from being murdered and Dastan getting blamed. Soon he is on the run from his own people with the princess Tamina in tow.

As they flee, Tamina reveals there is more than just the dagger at stake, and they must return to Alamut before the invading forces find the secret beneath the city that can stop time altogether.

I found Jake Gyllenhaal to be a fine Prince. If you've ever played the games, he is just the sort of easy going, smart talking character that I'd expect. He handled the amazing leaps and bounds across rooftops and along walls in pure princely fashion. He was charming with the princess and their banter was alot of fun.

The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is full of action and romance but I also really liked the emphasis on family, honor and doing the right thing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oops missed a post day!

Busted. Was thinking of little but my garden yesterday and missed posting. In fact, have been been in a garden zone for two days. It is a fine place to be. Made it halfway through NaBloPoMo post every day for 30 days this time but rats, no cigar.

My thought is to wait till the official NabloPoMo in November, but since the NaBloPoMo site is run by the Ning people, maybe they'll charge for entry in the NaBloPoMo event as well. In which case, I wouldn't be involved, but could just unofficially try try again.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Keyloggers, eek

Keyloggers can be physical devices or sneaky Trojan downloads. They track all of the keys you push on your pc and steal your information. As careful as I am, I got notification of an attempt tonight so I'll be extra careful.

Beware the biggest method is following an email link. It is always best to copy and paste into the address bar.

This note is for the logger folks: U Stink. That should take care of that, right?

Friday, May 14, 2010

When is a question not a question? During Survey Week!


We are always counting what we do so that we can report on the state of things in the library world. As with any sort of statistical presentation, we apparently only count certain things, rather than attempting to accurately portray the work we do every day.

Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

In the case of libraries, for some reason we want to conceal that we are helping people with questions galore, but not apparently reportable, fascinating questions.

In my opinion, we should count every person we help. They matter. Their questions are important to them and they trust us to be able to answer them, large or small. If someone cannot get you to answer a simple question for them, why would they ever think you could answer anything complex? DOH!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Agatha Awards 2009

The Agatha Awards were given for best traditional mysteries on May 1, 2010 at the annual Malice Domestic convention. The Agatha Awards are named for mystery writer Agatha Christie.

According to the Malice Domestic website:

The Agatha Awards honor the "traditional mystery." That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others. For our purposes, the genre is loosely defined as mysteries that:

•contain no explicit sex
•contain no excessive gore or gratuitous violence

The Best Novel winner was A Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Nominees for Best Novel:
Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews
Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett
Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen
Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The Best First Novel was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Nominees for Best First Novel:

For Better For Murder by Lisa Bork
Posed for Murder by Meredith Cole
The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

The winner for Best Non-fiction was Dame Agatha’s Shorts by Elena Santangelo

Duchess of Death by Richard Hack
Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James
Blood on the Stage by 1925-1950 by Amnon Kabatchnik
The Talented Miss Highsmith by Joan Schenkar

The Best Short Story was given to “On the House” by Hank Phillippi Ryan

“Femme Sole” by Dana Cameron, Boston Noir
“Handbaskets, Drawers and a Killer Cold” by Kaye George
“The Worst Noel” by Barb Goffman, The Gift of Murder
“Death Will Trim Your Tree” by Elizabeth Zelvin, The Gift of Murder

The award for Best Children's/Young Adult went to The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford
The Case of the Poisoned Pig by Lewis B. Montgomery
The Other Side of Blue by Valerie O. Patterson
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The 20 Most Popular Twitter Users via Mashable

Mashable has an article about an alleged "accept bug" which would allow you to type in a command based Tweet and have anyone follow you on Twitter, even celebrities who would never think of acknowledging your existence in the Twitterverse.

The most popular target was Oprah, who beat out Obama and Lady Gaga (by a mere squeek on Gaga) amongst others.

My Twitter account comes and goes. I am currently confining my interests to book and garden related folks.

I'm still picking up a few sales and marketing followers, and I block them along with all of the girlz who have "hot pics" to share.

Twitter seems to have changed a bit. I find the Retweets of updates by people I'm not interested in to be pretty annoying.

Where it hasn't changed is in the lag, and the "oh no something went wrong" messages.

As always, I don't read Tweets much, but I do think I may have more totally useless Tweets out there myself than I have had in any previous incarnations.

I prefer Facebook where people can have semi-normal "conversations". The 140 character limit for a blah blah blah person like myself isn't quite enough.