Monthly Archives: March 2006


…..Friday. It has been an unbelievably busy week, culminating yesterday at Library Legislative Day.

This is my first time to attend this function in my new state, and it’s run much differently than in Nebraska. Instead of being able to chat with the legislators at lunch, we needed to make individual appointments, since buying them lunch is verboten. Apparently, giving one of these guys a mug is verboten. From what I understand, this was a knee-jerk reaction to some scandal a few years ago, which was solved in the time-honored parental decree that “no one may give anyone anything ever again!!! I would imagine the official language is a bit more legal, but you get the idea.

The meetings were interesting, and most of the legislators were quite pleasant. We wandered the tunnels underneath the capital buildings like hamsters, made nice-nice with folks, had lunch, and came home. I’m not sure why it was so exhausting, but it was.

I’m very, very much looking forward to the weekend!

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Conferences missed…

A few folks from MPOW went to conferences last week – two to PLA and one to CIL. All three came back brimming with new ideas, energized by the things they heard and the folks they interacted with. They even blogged about various and sundry.

Michael Stephens is one of the folks they were excited about hearing – and meeting, since he’s coming to Minnesota to impart his wisdom in May. His blog is one of those I read faithfully. He’s got really great insights into libraries and librarians, on tech stuff, and how all of this impacts how we can better serve our patrons.

I’m sorry I missed them….but on the other hand, I was delighted to have been able to travel home for a “little” brother’s 40th birthday celebration. Happy Birthday, Michael!

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Ode, Part 2

While duct tape remains the King of Handy Stuff, vinegar must run a close second. The Vinegar Institute has a list of the things vinegar can be used to fix. Amazing.

H/T Lifehacker

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."

I’m, like soooo suuuuure…..

From the New York Observer, a story on how our language is changing. And not in a good way.

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Forbes Magazine has just come out with the list of the World’s Most Important Tools. One was not on the list, but got its own article.

Models use it to create cleavage. Sled-dog drivers use it to prevent frostbite. Athletes use it to support weak joints. Veterinarians use it to repair horses’ hooves.

What’s this wonder tool? Duct tape.

The men in my family would heartily concur. According to my Dear Brother-in-Law, “If it can’t be fixed with duct tape, it can’t be fixed.” We always have a roll of duct tape in the house.

Ironically, duct tape is great for everything but ducts.

In 1998, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicists Max Sherman and Lain Walker tested a variety of sealing materials on sheet metal ducting, then heated and cooled the ducts to simulate the aging process. They soon found that duct tape leaked air so badly much of the cooling and heating was wasted — and that the tape frequently shrunk, dried up or separated.

“It failed reliably and often quite catastrophically,” says Sherman. “And nothing else except duct tape failed.”

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Changing paradigms

Eeesh. I cringe just reading my own headline. I despise jargon. Don’t talk to me about benchmarking our anything. Or about out-of-the-box whatever. My paradigms are fine, thank you.

Enter Bullfighter. It’s a lovely program that will “help you find and eliminate jargon in your documents.”

They even have a Mystery Matador, which will edit a document you’ve received and send the corrected document to the sender.

My heros.

H/T Lifehacker.

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Lest we forget….

I must admit, Katrina and its aftermath haven’t been on my radar for a while. But I came across a reference today to the New Orleans Public Library.

Not surprisingly, they’re in a world of hurt. The photos are amazing; scroll down to the Rebuilding News and you can see what’s going on in each branch.

They’re hoping for donations to help rebuild. Seems to me librarians should help other librarians. I’m giving. I hope you will, too.

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For invisible patrons?

The Invisible Library.

All the books within the books.

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."

Corned Beef for Everyone!

Oh, thank God. Or, the Archbishop.

Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent. This year, March 17th falls on a Friday, which is St. Patrick’s Day, for those non-Celts. Turns out, there are enough Irishmen mourning the possible lack of corned beef on Friday that a number of the Archbishops have granted an indult for the day. We can eat our corned beef, secure in the knowledge that we’re OK with God and the Church.

Whispers in the Loggia has been keeping track.

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Filed under Me and mine, Miscellaneous

Senior Moment?

Librarians have spent a great deal of time looking at ways to encourage the younger set – Millenials, as they’re called – to visit and use the library. In a terrific post, Stephen Abram reminds us not forget the folks on the other end of the age spectrum – seniors. He references a report by the U.S. Census Bureau, 65+ in the United States.

Here at MPOW we’ve got a wonderful program going called Senior Techies. A team is going around to libraries, training seniors of how to use a computer, how to use email, how to use a digital camera, and how to scan photos. The response has been overwhelming, and the stories are funny, and heartwarming, and eye-opening.

One couple wanted to learn email so they could communicate with their son, who was stationed in Iraq. The mayor of one town joined the class to learn email. The local Santa also attended.

One man shared with the trainer (Ann) that he hadn’t been in a library since 1954. He wasn’t sure about being there, but his wife had dragged him in. Ann assured him that he was more than welcome, and that there was much the library could offer him. He had left school in eighth grade, and wasn’t sure his reading skills were good enough for him to use the library.

Now, this opens up a whole philosophical discussion. Why hadn’t this man been in a library since Eisenhower was in office? What had his previous experience been that he felt so unwelcome? Are we doing the same thing today, alienating people who won’t visit a library again until 2056???

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