Archive for May, 2007

Amy’s 8 Things

(Hmmm I kinda like the sound of that)!

So I have been tagged here and on the PML blog – do I have to come up with 16 things or should I just refer you there!? ;-) EDIT: Okay I managed to come up with 8 more – if you’re really bored or interested check them out! ;-)

Well, I’ll do 8 here and then see what happens:

1. I like to keep my fingernails really short because I can’t stand typing on the keyboard with long ones. I spend so much time typing that it really is an issue for me and I can now hardly stand for them to be much longer than the very end of the tips of my fingers. This is okay though because I also pretty much prefer them this way and like the way they look. I also like to paint them dark red.

2. When I was little we had a tire swing in the backyard, hanging from a very large, old tree. I used to play outside on that tire swing all by myself for hours! One thing I would do was to “broadcast” my own radio show while I swung around (weird).

3. I have worked in the following places: a 5 & 10 store; CVS; a Mail Boxes, Etc. (no, it wasn’t a UPS Store back then); a Manhattan publishing company; the Clifton (NJ) Public Library; and now at the Paterson (NJ) Free Public Library. It NEVER occurred to me to become a librarian, not even once, for one second, even though I went there ALL THE TIME, until about the year 2001.

4. I used to have a really weird habit of washing my feet before I went to bed. I just hated the idea of putting dirty feet into my bed. I don’t know why I used to do that, and I don’t really know exactly when or why I stopped doing that.

5. I don’t really like to cook. My husband doesn’t really like this fact about me.

6. I have never, ever, ever smoked a cigarette. Not even one puff once to try it. Never.

7. The first car I ever owned, which I bought myself, was a used Nissan Sentra. Stick shift. I didn’t know how to drive stick. I couldn’t even drive the car home myself. While learning to drive it, I once drove it right through the garage door! The only person who finally succeeded in teaching me how to drive that thing was a friend of my mom’s. She was also my brother’s Pre-K teacher and also then became a librarian!

8. I used to be a soccer superstar!

And, I’m not tagging anyone else. I hope that won’t bring me 8 million years of bad luck or something…!!??!?

May 31, 2007 at 12:55 pm 6 comments

8 Things (Janie)

Since our entire blog has been tagged (and since I have been too overwhelmed lately to post), this is a good reason to play along with the 8 random things meme. Posts of substance are in the works, I just need a few more hours in my days.

1. In 7th grade I wanted to be a cruise director like Julie on The Love Boat. The funny thing is that being the program coordinator at a public library is very similar in many ways, so I guess I achieved this aspiration.

2. My first childhood pet was a goldfish named Goldie. Apparently I was not terribly original when it came to names as a child because I also had a teddy bear named Bear-Bear and a doll named Dollie.

3. I am terrified of bats. This fear is not without reason, but the story is too complex for this post.

4. I used to be able to sing along to the entire soundtrack of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and can still make it through all of the Time Warp without prompts.

5. I have read every single book by Margaret Atwood, some more than once.

6. I am happiest when I am at the family cottage in the Kawartha Region of Ontario. I could happily spend my entire summer on the lake with nothing but a pile of books, jigsaw puzzles and a canoe or kayak.

7. My family is planning a trip to Disney World this September. The last time I was there was in 1975, the year that Space Mountain opened and it was a really big deal. My husband has not been there since 1977 and this will be Alex’s first trip. I hope it is not 30+ years before we go again.

8. I think Parker Posey is absolutely brilliant and many of her films are among my all time favorites. Party Girl should be required viewing in library school. In fact, when it first came out I was in library school and about 40 of us went to theatre to see it together — including the dean of the school and several professors.

Now my turn to tag. I think this meme requires 8 people to tag, so I am going to tag Pop Goes the Library and all of their blogging team (that takes care of 5 with one) as well as Helene Blowers, Karen Schneider, and Christopher Harris (who was an undergrad at HWS when I worked there as a Reference Librarian… makes me feel old).

May 31, 2007 at 12:15 pm 8 comments

8 things (Pete)

Wow, the whole blog’s been tagged. Here goes my part:

  1. I really, really, really want to visit Australia.
  2. Every year I walk around the lake outside my office and take pictures of the newly hatched baby ducks and geese. It’s hard not to smile when looking at the fuzzy goodness of baby ducks.
  3. At any given moment I’d almost certainly rather be playing tennis. It’s very Zen.
  4. Joe Versus the Vocano is one of my favorite movies and I don’t understand why it’s not more widely loved.
  5. I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love. A wonderful book!
  6. I kept a dream journal for years, sometimes recording 10-15 dreams in a night. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…
  7. I really, really, really tend to like people. (which is good, considering how many of them there are running around out there.)
  8. Animals? Not so much. I wish I liked animals, I just usually… don’t. Which is unfortunate considering how many of them there are running around out there. (Baby ducks, and other furry youngin’s excluded, of course.)

May 31, 2007 at 12:00 pm 5 comments

8 Things Meme (Tyler)

I’ve been tagged for the 8 Things meme by my Teacozy “real life” buddy. The rules are as follows:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I’ve been working on a book for about 2 years now. Since I am anal retentive, the plotline is written out and yet I am only on the second chapter of the book.

2. I’m a guitarist who is unable to tune the note B. I have a gap in my hearing pattern that makes me tonedeaf to the frequency which is known as B, and the higher the frequency of B the worse my tuning ear gets.

3. I have a bad habit of leaving closet doors, silverware drawers and kitchen cabinet doors open. I claim it is to test whether we have ghostly spirits in the house (if the doors slam shut by themselves, that’s a hint)… it’s a total lie. I’m just lazy and forgetful. What’s strange is that:

4. Oddly enough, I am fanatical about making sure the doors and windows are locked and closed when I go to bed.

5. I almost became a received a degree in Organismal Biology and Evolutionary Science. I decided to go with an Science and Education degree instead. If you ask me now, I wish I went with OB instead.

6. I still love going to zoos.

7. I have one major goal in life… I need to visit Australia at some point in this lifetime (see the connection in the last 3 things).

8. My dream job would be a golfer. I don’t need fame and fortune, just enough to play golf and raise a family. There is not enough time in the day for me and golf.

The people I tag are, and I apologize if any have already done so:
Amy and Mary of Pimp My Library
Tracy
Crazy Roommate
Sara

And since the rest of my buddies have all already been tagged… I’ll leave the list as is.

May 31, 2007 at 11:47 am 6 comments

You Don’t Have To

Feeling overwhelmed by everything?

I sure have lately! Finding facebook and loving it somehow pushed me over the edge. I thought of myself as “keeping up” and “in the know,” and then somehow I found myself feeling as if I’m drowning in the sea of incredible, new and fun tools, unable to get a breath!

I was talked down by this post from The Shifted Librarian (Jenny Levine). All I can say is, Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jenny. Your timing couldn’t have been more perfect (sorry for that word ha ha.)

Please, for those of you feeling overwhelmed, I highly recommend you read it. Now.

You can’t do it all, and admitting it is okay. This online stuff, it’s
great. We *love* living in this time, right? It’s fun, it’s constant learning,
it’s empowering and alluring if you love learning and information. All of those
tools at our fingertips to learn about and play with, all to help people. It’s
beyond cool.

But it’s not your life, nor should it be. You have to learn to let some of it go and then be okay with that (which is the hard part). Michael Stephens talks a lot about how librarians need to let go of the “culture of perfect.” For the younger bibliobloggers I will add that you have to learn to let some of the pressure go. You physically cannot keep up with it all, so beating yourself up over failing to do so is pointless.

May 30, 2007 at 11:06 pm 6 comments

What are the library students of today learning?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and starting to talk to some people about it. I am happy to have found out that Leslie Burger, current ALA President and Princeton (NJ) Public Library Director is also interested in this and is looking (I believe) into ways of assessing and addressing it…..

I just wonder what our current library students are learning and if they are learning about Web 2.0 technologies, customer service and the importance of these things to libraries. If we are spending time and effort to “catch-up” our current librarians, unless we are producing librarians who are “up” on these things, we will be fighting a losing battle.

I have been out of library school since 2003 (and that is even longer ago really than 4 years when you take into consideration how technology and the world changes even faster and faster as time goes by). None of these Web 2.0 things were being talked about then, but they really weren’t on the radar then. I had some wonderful professors. I am sure that there are some wonderful professors now who are teaching these things or who are open to them – maybe the library students are teaching them in some cases! – and I am not disparaging library schools or professors. I just don’t want us to focus all of our efforts on the current librarians only to find that the “new” ones also need such “catching-up.”

You might assume that all “new” librarians are “young” librarians. But this is certainly not the case, just as it isn’t the case that all “young” librarians and people know and embrace all of the Web 2.0 technologies and approaches or realize their necessity in the library world.

A colleague shared this (and he can identify himself, elaborate, or not, I have altered the quote a bit for privacy, and hope he doesn’t mind):

I did a talk for (a class) as recently as October 2006. By show of hands, maybe 2 out of 30 in the class had any idea what RSS is, or read any library blogs.

I found this upsetting (because) RSS IS an information literacy technology. Perhaps it is THE single best technology for allowing us to manage the flow, display, sharing, and consumption of information. As promoters of information literacy, librarians should be ALL OVER THIS.

You know, you could say that perhaps they are using RSS and don’t know it, like many “lay” people who are using it but if you ask them they have no idea that they are! Although I think the point is they should know… However, the part about not reading library blogs is just inexplicable!

I posted about it on another blog and got an interesting reply from a library student:

LibraryNation said…
I’m in library school right now and I’d have to say that there’s a division of thirds in regards to the level of skill we future librarians have: a third of us are really up to
date on technology, web 2.0, and the like; a third don’t know a lot about these
things, but really want to learn more and take all sorts of tutorials and short courses from our IT lab (staffed by fellow students) to expand their knowledge/understanding/use of these technologies. The last third don’t have much interest in learning about these technologies, or perhaps don’t even know that this is something they should be teaching themselves… something that’s vital. Kind of like marketing ;)
… And maybe you’re right about needing to educate our professors. I think they also fall into the three categories: those in the know, those who want to be in the know, and those who think it’s relevant/unimportant or are unenlightened.

Let’s make sure we take an even broader view – look at the even bigger picture – and make sure that the librarians of tomorrow coming out of library school will truly be librarians of tomorrow and not librarians of yesterday!

(Maybe things aren’t as bad as I fear – can anyone help me out here?!)

UPDATE 05/29/07:
I received this message from Leslie Burger -

I’ve just appointed an ALA presidential task force on library education to
take a look at what is being taught in library schools, consider core
curriculum, and how the LIS curriculum needs to match what we need in the
marketplace. ALA Past President Carla Hayden is chairing the TF which
reports back to the ALA Executive Board with the recommendations at the 2008
Annual Conference.

May 27, 2007 at 11:29 am 22 comments

Friday Fun: Are you old?

The bloggers at Library Garden have a little listerv on the side that we use to stay in touch with each other, and this week we found ourselves questioning whether or not we’re old. This was prompted by an experience Amy had at the reference desk, and I’ll let her blog about that if she chooses.

I was reminded of an old SNL monologue by Billy Crystal where he recounts his young daughter saying to him, “Daddy, is it true that Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?” To which he replies in the voice of an old Jewish man, “Let me tell you about a little band known as… THE BEATLES.”

In an effort to help Amy feel a bit younger, I posed these questions on the listserv and suggested that if she could answer ‘no’ to ten of them, she’s decidely not old. At her suggestion, I’m sharing them here. Enjoy! And a most pleasant weekend to all!

  • Did you ever have a black and white TV? One with knobs (no buttons, no remote)
  • Did you ever NOT have a microwave oven?
  • Did you ever have a car with a “choke”?
  • When you were growing up were you limited to 12 channels?
  • Do you remember when people used to smoke on planes?
  • - And in stores?
  • - And at work?
  • - And in bed?
  • Do remember when the FDA tried to ban saccharine?
  • Do you remember when laetrile was going to cure cancer?
  • Have you ever known a world without:
  • - velcro?
  • - computers?
  • - digital cameras?
  • - compact discs?
  • Do you remember when polaroid was state of the art?
  • Do you remember when tape recorder meant reel-to-reel?
  • Did you ever take a tube out of your tv and bring it down to the local hardware store to test it on a big machine to see if it needed replacing?
  • Did a teacher ever make you run things off on a mimeograph?
  • Do you even know what a mimeograph is?
  • Did you ever wear parachute pants?
  • Do you remember when PONG was the most cutting edge video game and you thought your head would explode from the joy of playing it?
  • Did you ever have a commodore vic 20? (and thought your head would explode, etc…)
  • Do you remember when we didn’t own our own phones; we rented them from Bell Atlantic?
  • Do remember when the flip phone first came out and you thought your head would explode from the joy of flipping it open?
  • Do you remember stores giving away green stamps?
  • Do you remember shopping at Two Guys? at Korvettes?
  • Do you remember when Exxon was Esso?
  • Do you remember when gas was .55 cents/gallon and people were freaked out about how expensive it was getting?
  • Do you remember waiting on long lines to gas, and you had to go on an “odd” day or an “even” day.
  • Do you remember when Iran and Iraq were our friends?
  • Do you remember listening to Bobby Sherman on 8-track?
  • Do you remember twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonions- onasesameseedbun (and can you sing it?)
  • Do you remember when the coffee stirrers at McDonalds had little spoons on the end?
  • Do you remember when McDonalds discontinued them?
  • Do you remember WHY McDonalds discontinued them? (snort, snort)
  • Do you remember Hamilton Jordan at studio 54 (see a theme here?)
  • Do you remember ABSCAM?
  • Do you remember ME shirts (talking about McDonalds)?
  • Do you remember when Pet Rocks were the rage?
  • Do you remember Squirmels?
  • Do you remember When Evel Knievel jumped the Snake River Canyon? (well, he tried anyway)
  • Do you remember that George Hamilton movie where he played Evel Kneivel??
  • Do you remember Beer commercials with the “ya doesn’t have to call me johnson” guy?
  • Do you remember Aste Spumante commercials?

May 25, 2007 at 1:24 pm 24 comments

MySpace to give up names of registered sex offenders.

Man, this is a tough one. My many sides are really battling each other.

The librarian side of me screams about the rights of privacy and shuns them for giving in.
My business side wonders if it was necessary in order to keep the website alive… one too many lawyers to hire and enough bad publicity.

My researcher side of me tells me that underage children are lying about their identities on the site as well.

My educator side agrees and says we need to teach or children about digital ethics and how not to invite trouble into your life.

My logical side agrees and knows that this wont stop unregistered pedifiles from getting to our children.

Which leads to my rational side of me wondering if there are better ways of creating profiles that help avoid these problems on Myspace.

And through all this, the parent in me says damned straight! It is amazing how strong that voice became when my wife gave birth to our child.

All in all, I really don’t know how to think of this. Yeah, in a way I feel that they are convicts and deserve what they get now; but they are still citizens and therefore have all the rights of any other citizens despite their past actions… and some people do reform and have the right to a normal life.

I simply don’t know… anyone else?

May 22, 2007 at 10:22 am 10 comments

One Laptop Per Child

The other night I watched 60 Minutes which isn’t something I regularly do but I’m glad I did because last night they did a story called What If Every Child Had A Laptop?

Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at MIT, had a dream that every child on the planet had a laptop. He thought that this would enable kids even from impoverished countries to become educated and a part of the rest of the modern world. He figured if he could help invent an inexpensive laptop he could achieve this dream.

He founded a non-profit organization called One Laptop Per Child and he has managed to create a lightweight, very sturdy, inexpensive laptop that he expects will soon cost about $100.00.

The show was pretty amazing – the kids in some places he went to didn’t even have electricity or running water but when they got the laptops they only needed about 10 minutes to figure out how to use them! They taught each other and they brought the laptops home and taught their families. Sometimes the light from the laptop was the only source of light in the home! Some places he would like to give the kids laptops don’t even have a school. The laptops would be their school.

It might seem like a luxury but would it really be in places such as Cambodia, Brazil, countries in Africa?

Interestingly, the attendance at schools where the laptops were given out also went up – kids were coming to school because they had heard from other kids that school was a good place to be and a place where they got the laptops. These kids started crossing the digital divide.

The computers have built-in cameras, drawing programs and programs to make music. They have wi-fi two to three times better than the wi-fi in this Dell laptop I’m using right now, according to Negroponte, and are currently in a testing program in Brazil. The computers are waterproof and do not have openings on the sides where sand or dirt could get in.

These laptops have other features I would love – the battery lasts 10-12 hours and can be recharged with the use of a hand-crank if no electricity is available. Who wouldn’t love that!?

Interestingly, this laptop which started out as a dream and is Negroponte’s completely humanitarian effort, has attracted some competition. Geekcorps – an organization that brings technology to poorer countries, much like the Peace Corps operates, thinks the One Laptop Per Child idea is great but director Wayan Vota isn’t sure that the kids can really just teach themselves. And there is another laptop up against Negroponte’s. The Classmate by Intel -

Negroponte says that worldwide there are over a billion children who would need laptops, so no wonder other companies want in on this idea. Negroponte says this competition is “shameless,” but Intel says it is just the way the business – the world – works. Intel believes that a project like this will require everyone working together and that there are lots of opportunities to work together.

To get his laptops into full production he will need at least 3 million orders. He feels confident he will get that despite the competition from Intel and others who will want to get their products into the hands of a billion plus kids.

If his ultimate goal is really a purely humanitarian one of really getting a laptop into the hands of every child maybe the competition will be good – maybe it will result in an even cheaper, and better, model that really can be distributed worldwide.

Whatever happens with the One Laptop Per Child program, one of my favorite parts of this whole idea is that when One Laptop Per Child comes to the US (there are talks going on already) and if the laptops become available commercially, parents will have to buy two if they want one. One for your child and one for another child. I think that’s a great idea and hey you’ll still only be spending about $200.00!

I think this program would be great in urban areas in the United States such as the one I am working in now, Paterson, New Jersey. Many of the kids in these schools do not have access to computers everyday, they don’t even all have real cafeterias, gyms or science labs in most of the schools! I recently toured some of the schools in Paterson during a seminar for Leadership Paterson, a program I am enrolled in. That was fascinating but I will post on that another time at my blog, Urban Librarian.

May 21, 2007 at 10:54 pm 3 comments

Teen Librarians: Who we are and what we are not

As a Young Adult Librarian, I have made the professional decision to immerse myself in young adult culture; the books they read, the music they listen to, the resources they use for information. I have also taken on the responsibility to provide programming opportunities for the teen community to participate in, if they choose to do so. In other words, teen resources are my specialty.

But I am not the babysitter for every teen that enters the library.

And I am not the only person capable of handling teens’ questions.

I am not disciplinarian for all teens.

Nor are my job responsibilities significantly different from any other librarian.

I am not their babysitter- Teens that come into the library are my specialty, not my responsibility. Just because a teen enters the building, it does not mean they can only be in the Teen Section. Teens have the same rights as all other patrons, they are allowed to go in any other part of the library.

I am not the only person to handle a teens’ question- Listen to the needs of the patron first and then figure out if my expertise is needed. If they know the name of book they are looking for, help them. If they want to find out where the copier is, show them. But, if the teens wants book recommendations, programming information, research help… I’m your person. Remember, I don’t send every old person your way.

I am not the teens disciplinarian- If teenagers are acting up in the library, this is not my fault. Furthermore, don’t send me the rambunctious teen and tell me to “deal with them.” In doing so, you have negated your own authority in the teens’ eyes.

My job responsibilities aren’t significantly different- If you don’t expect the rest of your staff to work multiple nights, then it shouldn’t be expected of your YA Librarian. If your typical Reference or Children’s Librarian does two programs a week, don’t expect the YA Librarian to have programming everyday, or every moment that teens are present. If you don’t expect your other programs to have 100% attendence from members of the library community, don’t expect every teen to show up for every program.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of good Teen Librarians who leave the position because of they discover the job expectations are disproportoinate to other positions in the libarary.

Consider families, consider the lives outside of job and please consider the wear and tear you put on your Teen Librarian when you send them patrons you personally would rather not deal with.
We are programmers, we are selectors, we are outreach and we are staff members dedicated to maintaining the enthusiasm and interest of the library’s future adults, future taxpayers, and advocates.

We do not need a thank you for this… we just ask for your consideration.

May 21, 2007 at 7:42 am 10 comments

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