Save NJ Libraries: reverse the cuts

Save NJ Libraries

Save NJ Libraries

My reasoning behind this design was to underline how important libraries are in New Jersey for people who otherwise don’t get the opportunity to sit and listen to, or better yet interact with, a brilliant speaker, enjoy an amazing array of books, magazines, newspapers, and journals, do scholarly research in a vast set of rich databases, enjoy entertaining, informative, and beautiful audio/visual media, and maybe even just get a chance to hop on the internet. For the rest of us though, it means a cornerstone of society, community and culture being quickly and deliberately dissolved.

Please tell everyone that you know to tell everyone that they know that the cuts to libraries are a devastating blow to social progress and societal stability in New Jersey.

March 19, 2010 at 12:51 am 3 comments

Save NJ Libraries!

Save NJ Libraries

You have probably heard the bad budget news for libraries in NJ.

Below is a message from Eileen Palmer about joining the advocacy groups that are already in place.

Please take a moment to join them if you haven’t already, and please be sure to talk about this issue to your friends, family, colleagues and patrons and have them sign up too!

To our many readers outside of NJ: If you have friends/family in the Garden State, please share the links with them.

Watch for more information and actions coming soon!

(If you haven’t heard the news, Nicole Engard did a nice post on it yesterday here.)

Good Morning,

As NJLA prepares its response to the drastic cuts to statewide library programs proposed by Gov. Christie, and a renewed attack on the minimum library funding represented by A2555, please take a moment to join one or both of the following initiatives:

1.  Save NJ Libraries Facebook Group

2.  NJ Library Champions http://www.ilovenjlibraries.org/

Please reach out to Friends, Boards and patrons to become part of these initiatives so that we can get the word out as quickly as possible in the coming days.

Thank you,

- Eileen

Eileen M. Palmer
Executive Director
Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium
empalmer@lmxac.org

March 18, 2010 at 10:51 am 3 comments

In honor of Einstein’s birthday and Pi day, some life lessons

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Posted by John LeMasney

Yesterday (March 14th) was Pi day in Princeton, a celebration corresponding with Einstein’s birthday, and I saw (a little bit too late, I’m afraid) a suggestion from Janie Hermann to repost a great article which I sent her on “10 amazing life lessons” that one could interpret from Einstein’s quotes.

The article is at http://www.dumblittleman.com/2010/03/10-amazing-lessons-albert-einstein.html and the ideas from that article are listed in this illustration here.

In keeping with my visual posting plans for LG, I used Inkscape to make this image. I started with the famous Lucien Aigner image of Einstein at a chalkboard, and bitmap traced it in grayscale mode with 4 layers, which results in a posterized, if very recognizable image made out of points and lines. I extended the blackboard and using the calligraphy and gradient tools made a smooth transition between what’s in the photo and a gray neutrality. Then, I took the content of the post and laid it out in the right side of the image.

Thanks Albert, for all you brought to our lives. Thanks Lucien for the great image. Thanks to Janie for the suggestion. Thanks to you for taking a moment to remember Einstein with me.

March 14, 2010 at 11:14 pm 6 comments

Missing Mayors and Freeholders in our Libraries

This is less of a post and more of a request for comments.

I’m just curious how many of us have seen their mayors in the library recently?  How many librarians have seen any state/city official in their library over the past year or so?

Is he/she a regular user? 

For that matter, do you think he/she is aware of libraries increase of patrons, circulation and services?

Personally, I’ve generally thought that most city officials do not use their libraries ( I would love to be wrong about this).

A few years back, when I worked in Trenton and we were experiencing the first wave of a budget crunch, employees joked that they had not seen their Mayor at the library in years.  While we felt he talked about libraries in a positive light we were not sure if he actually knew what problems and condition his city’s libraries were in.

That said, I am happy to say that I now work in a library where we do see our Mayor.  In fact, we see several of the administration and township employees on a regular basis.  They are enthusiastic, supportive users and it clearly shows.

I would love to hear how other people view their elected officials and they feel their library is supported.  Remember, you can always comment anonymously ;-)

Posted by Tyler Rousseau

March 12, 2010 at 9:56 am 9 comments

A Ph.D. in Library Science?

Posted by Emily Knox

Not long ago a participant on a listserv that I am on asked if she should consider getting a Ph.D. in library science. The answers were swift and almost all were negative–the poster should get a Ph.D. in anything but library science. Although it’s hard to believe now, this was something I considered before starting my Ph.D. program. Would I be boxing myself in if I studied library science? Should I get a doctorate in an area that is primarily identified by a professional master’s degree?

I told that poster that she should get a Ph.D. in an area that interests her. Ph.D.s take so much time and commitment that it is difficult to finish if you start one in an area that doesn’t interest you. According to the Council for Graduate Schools, the average completion rate for all Ph.D.s hovers at around 50%.

My area of interest, intellectual freedom and censorship, is a classic field within the library and information science. If this area were part of another discipline, I would be in another department. However, what has been most surprising to me throughout my coursework at Rutgers is how much I love studying libraries. I enjoy thinking about them, researching them, and having arguments with my fellow students about their status in society. Even the information science classes weren’t as bad as I had anticipated since they broadened my understanding of how people interact with data/information/knowledge in the world.

I find it disheartening that other librarians think research in our field is only necessary for teaching other librarians and has nothing to say to the wider academic community. We must encourage research in LIS in order to have a stronger voice in academia and to boost the status of libraries throughout the world. If we don’t believe that a doctorate in LIS is as worthwhile as one in another area, who will?

March 4, 2010 at 11:21 am 5 comments

Reference Renaissance Twofer — New Book & CFP for 2010 Conference

A post by Marie L. Radford

Nothing thrills a writer/editor more than the joy of finally being able to see a finished book that you have had in the works for many months.  I am delighted to announce that Reference Renaissance: Current and Future Trends is now available from Neal-Schuman!  I had the privilege of working with co-editor Dave Lankes of Syracuse University on the book which captures the latest in the work of researchers and practitioners, updated from their presentations at the first (hugely successful!) Reference Renaissance Conference. Dave is the creative, intellectual, and dynamic force behind the ground-breaking Virtual Reference Desk conferences and books which have provided inspiration and models for the Reference Renaissance events and publications.

Anyone interested in the latest buzz should take a look at this book which features current research in reference, including virtual services like IM and live chat, innovative service models, and philosophical approaches. In addition, numerous “reports from the field” chronicle innovative service models, virtual reference successes, marketing, initiatives in staff development and training, and using search engines and other virtual tools.

I have authored a chapter with Lynn Silipigni Connaway of OCLC called:  “Getting Better All the Time: Improving Communication and Accuracy in Virtual Reference” that features results and recommendations from our Seeking Synchronicity IMLS, Rutgers, and OCLC, Inc. grant project. Here’s a sneaky – peek from our chapter… The top tip for boosting accuracy when you are providing live chat VR is the following: when asked for specific information, before you push a Web site or URL, check to make sure it contains the precise information requested by the user, not just a general overview of the topic. We found this simple verification step would have increased accuracy from 78% to90% for ready reference questions.

The book also contains the provocative keynote “Reference in the Age of Wikipedia, or Not…” by David W. Lewis, Dean of the IUPUI University Library, as well as the remarks from the plenary panel on “Theory Meets Practice: Educators and Directors Talk” featuring Dave Lankes and myself (the educators) as well as Jamie LaRue, Director of the Douglas County Libraries, CO and Carla J. Stoffle Dean of the University of Arizona Libraries (the directors).

To heighten our excitement, this book’s publication comes as we are dead smack in the middle of planning for the second Ref Ren conference: Reference Renaissance 2010: Inventing the Future which will be held from August 8-10, 2010 in Denver, CO. I am again honored to be co-chair of the conference program, this time working with co-chair Rivkah Sass of Sacramento Public Library, and  Justine Schaffer of BCR, who is the overall conference chair. The Call for Participation is out and we are upping our game, inviting a greater diversity of submissions in innovative as well as traditional formats. We seek papers, panels, reports from the field, workshops, and Pecha Kucha proposals to do with forward-looking initiatives and strategies in all types of reference service and from a variety of library environments.

April 1st is the deadline, and I encourage all LG readers to think about submitting a proposal and planning to join us in Denver!

March 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm 1 comment

A quote by Alfred Mercier

Mercier on Learning

Mercier on Learning

Author:  John LeMasney. As a supporter and fan of libraries and librarians, I find it a privilege and honor to be able to post on Library Garden. I also sometimes find it just the slightest bit intimidating. I’m always just a little bit reluctant to post something that I think might be too far outside of the librarian’s perspective. At the same time, I’ve been  working closely with libraries in New Jersey and elsewhere for the last 3 or 4 years as a presenter, trainer  and consultant, and I love the topics that I’ve been able to put into my personal Venn diagram with Libland.

Topics such as technology, design, blogging, open source, outreach, and learning all have been focus points for my work with libraries, but my favorite by far has been design. As a result, for the posts I’ve created here at LG, I’ve made them about design. In order to increase and maintain my posting numbers here, I’ve decided that I’m going to not only write about design, but to actually do relevant designs for this blog. As inspiration, I’ve discovered many pages of quotes about libraries, learning, media, and librarians that I thought would be the perfect muse for illustration.

This is the first of what I hope will be well received posts in this vein. Mercier’s quote here about indelibly learning that which is pleasurable rings very true in my experience, and I thought you, dear reader, might agree, so I’m sharing the thought with you.

This was made in the open source illustration package called Inkscape. I typed out the quote in several single word blocks in order to have the most flexibility with their placement and manipulation. I kerned each word very tightly, as to add some speed to the reading. The font, one of my all time favorites, is Gill Sans. I added several rectangles overlapping in the background, in various woodland hues and tints, and then converted them to paths, so that I could add curves to them. Finally, I added translucent gradients to each of the blocks to create a misty effect.

You might wonder (or at least that’s my nagging suspicion) how this relates, exactly, to libraries. I’d say that if you do design in your work of attracting patrons to programs, and maintaining posters or fliers, that it very directly relates to you. I’d go further to say that if you’re using Word or Publisher to do that work, you’d have a rather difficult time of doing this particular design there, despite the fairly simple design. Even if you don’t recognize doing (or feel that you) design directly in your work, I’d argue that everyone who faces a blank page on a screen makes design decisions. That’s probably you.

Part of the message I’m trying to send is that some of the best tools in life are free (as in cost, and in freedom) and that with just a few key skills, you can greatly improve your designs. Another part is that what we learn with pleasure, we never forget.  Another part is that I firmly believe that design can change your life, bring you pleasure, and alter how you see the world forever.

February 27, 2010 at 9:00 am 2 comments

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