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