Monthly Archives: January 2008

Minnesota Book Awards

I was a preliminary judge again for the Minnesota Book Awards, and I loved it as much this year as I did last year.  What a great task – to read 25 books!  My category was Genre Fiction, of which I am a particular fan.

The judges assembled on Saturday to choose the finalists.  It was a tough decision, as there were a number of terrific reads. We could only choose four, however.  The finalists in Genre Fiction are:

  • Code Black by Philip Donlay (ibooks)
  • Maiden Rock by Mary Logue (Bleak House Books/Big Earth Publishing)
  • Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
  • Thunder Bay by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)

They’re all terrific reads and I recommend them all.  If you’re interested in learning which books were chosen as finalists in the other categories, you can visit the Minnesota Book Awards site. 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Miscellaneous

Avatars

So, part of Minnesota’s 23 Things is to upload an avatar to represent yourself. Now, I had a perfectly acceptable (to me) photo that I had artistically altered and used, but the program rules state it must be a Yahoo Avatar. Needless to say, it looks nothing like me…..but I’ll play along.

So pardon the avatar….we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled photo shortly.

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging

Breaking news from The Onion….

Area Eccentric Reads Entire Book

Heh.

Leave a comment

Filed under Miscellaneous

Share

Cool.

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) today announced the winners of the first SPARKY Awards. The 2007 contest called on entrants to imaginatively illustrate in a short video the value of sharing ideas and information of all kinds.

The three winning entries offer a glimpse of student views on the importance of access to information, and feature an animated look at the most basi benefits of sharing, a film noir-style crime investigation using the Internet, and a tongue-in-cheek documentary on Open Access.

This one was the winner. Love it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Libraries and Librarianship

Things on Sticks

I’ve just registered for “23 Things on a Stick.

The multitype systems of Minnesota have decided to create a Learning 2.0 program, modeled on the now-famous program developed by PLCMC. Great idea.

Why the stick, you ask? Well, virtually every food item sold at the Minnesota State Fair is On A Stick. We even had Hot Dish On A Stick. (For the uninitiated, a hot dish is what other areas of the country call a casserole, and is a mainstay of Minnesota culture. The aforementioned Hot Dish On A Stick consisted of meatballs on a stick with Cream of Mushroom Soup dipping sauce. Brilliant.)

I’m delighted that the state is embracing the concept and is encouraging librarians statewide to participate. Those who complete the program get – what else? – a stick: a memory stick, that is.

I’ve already played with many of these things, but it will be fun to reintroduce myself to some of them and play further with others. And since it’s a whopping 2 degrees outside, this seems like as good a time as any to be inside playing!

1 Comment

Filed under 23 Things, Blogging, Libraries and Librarianship

LoC Flickrs!

Oh, now….this is just cool. The Library of Congress has started a Flickr page, and as you might imagine, the photos are amazing. The folks at C|Net blogged the story:

The good news is the Library of Congress is putting 3,000 images up at Flickr. The bad news is they’re relying on us to tag them all.

In a pilot project announced Wednesday, the government archive put the public-domain, copyright-free photos on the Library of Congress Flickr page. That’s just a small fraction of 14 million photos and other visual materials at the Library of Congress, according to the archive’s blog, but hey, it’s a pilot project.

If you’re like me, you recognize the value of tagged photos when you’re looking for a particular shot but can’t remember when or where you took it, or when you want to sift photos to zero in only those with something like “birthday” and “grandma.” But also if you’re like me, you probably tag your photos only intermittently.

So it’s a safe bet that the Library of Congress photos won’t immediately sport a huge range of highly descriptive tags. But I’m inclined to see the glass as well over half full: having the photos easily available is great, and I can’t imagine the government would pay on its own to fund some dedicated tagging effort.

It’s not only interesting that the Library has chosen to put their photos on Flickr, but are relying on tagging by viewers to classify them.

Originally posted on SELCO Librarian. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Libraries and Librarianship

Porn Again

The subject of Internet porn and the realization that people are able to access hideous stuff on public access computers in libraries has reared it ugly head yet again.  An editorial in the Dallas Morning News takes libraries to task for their handling of the situation, and I have to admit I rather agree with what the writer has to say.

Let’s review: You cannot eat your sack lunch inside the Dallas Public Library, because that would be messy and distracting. If, however, you wish to view an Internet site depicting “merciless scenes of raw brutal domination,” that’s your business.

The city wants to devote taxpayer scratch to a pull-’em-up billboard campaign, lest anyone be subjected to the unsightly upper portion of somebody’s underpants. But if you want to park next to a schoolkid working on a homework project and use a city-owned computer to slobber over images of “unleashed sexual terror,” go right ahead.

Well, yes.  It doesn’t make much sense that we’re vigilantly banning soft drinks, but not hard porn.  She continues:

Librarians might argue that it’s not their job to be content cops, to decide what patrons can and can’t see.

But they already police content when they decide not to order Hustler for the periodicals department. Libraries make decisions about what they will and won’t offer every day.

Yup.  Collection Development is censorship, if you choose to look at it that way.  The reality is, we make choices all the time about the appropriate content for our respective libraries.  Leaving something out of the mix can be viewed as censorship, or it can be viewed as proper collection management.

Librarians are familiar, no doubt, with being caught in the vise of competing interests. A few years ago, one small Denton County town installed filters on library computers at city leaders’ behest.

A handful of patrons complained that this violated their rights, so the library unplugged Internet access completely. Then the state commission that funds libraries warned that, unless the Internet was restored, the library would lose state support.

Oh, geez.  It’s that kind of knee-jerk reaction that does no one good.  It rather reminds me of a childhood story: one day, driving around will all five of us kids in the station wagon, two of my brothers got to squabbling.  Tommy announced to my mother that, “Mo-om, John’s looking out my window!”  Mom, no doubt wanting quiet more than justice, declared, “No one look out anyone else’s window!!”   She’s now mortified that she actually said something like that, but I think it’s hilarious – and illustrative of the sorts of reactions we have when we’re stressed and sick of hearing about/dealing with a problem.  Someone’s looking at porn on the computers?  FINE.  NO ONE CAN ACCESS THE INTERNET EVER AGAIN.  Ahem.

It’s an idiotic situation – everybody making so much noise, while the librarians themselves are afraid to make a judgment call.

But for crying out loud, can somebody please muster the coconuts to say that civility and decency have value, that people who want to wallow in filth don’t have the right to do it in a public place and on the public dime?

I’d sign that petition.  My take on the situation has always been this:  while it may be your constitutional right to view this stuff, viewing it on a public access computer in a public place is about as appropriate as walking in the front door of the library and dropping your pants.  Get over yourself and CUT IT OUT.

The writer concludes:

I understand there are no ideal solutions here. Dallas libraries can and do warn patrons that they’re violating policy. Maybe the policy needs to be spelled out a little more plainly.

Filters aren’t ideal. Requiring librarians to pace around like hall monitors and check on what patrons are viewing isn’t ideal. Reserving a few unfiltered computers for adult users only isn’t ideal.

But doing nothing is worse than not ideal. It’s unconscionable. The city needs to pick one of those less-than-perfect options and live with it.

It’s amazing we’re still dealing with this nonsense.   Can we just decide that this is not appropriate viewing material for a public library and move on with more important stuff?

Leave a comment

Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship

Off to Philly

I’m heading to Midwinter on Thursday.  MPOW was awarded a Smart Investing grant by ALA and FINRA, and there is a workshop on Friday, so the grant recipients are being flown out to Philadelphia.

I’m a little sorry that I won’t be there longer, as I’ve never been to Philadelphia and I’d love to visit all of the historic sites.  Hopefully one of these days DH and I can spend a bit of time there.

Meanwhile, I’m gathering the stuff I need to take with me to the meeting, figuring out the logistics of travel, and trying to figure out how to carry it all without feeling like a pack animal.

So, I travel to Philly on Thursday, attend the meeting on Friday, and then fly home again on Saturday.  Unfortunately, I’ll miss the Packer game – so all of you Packer fans out there, cheer extra loud for me!

Leave a comment

Filed under Me and mine

Wildlife

For whatever reason, it’s been a rough couple of weeks.  My body decided yesterday that it had had enough and I napped for most of the afternoon, and then slept through the night.  I feel better today than I have in quite a while, and the icing on the cake was the wildlife show we had this afternoon.

DH and I bought a wildlife feeder last weekend that showed signs of being used, though the only creature we saw was a gargantuan squirrel.  This afternoon, though, the Ladies came to visit:

Somehow, it made the afternoon all the more wonderful.

Leave a comment

Filed under Me and mine