Monthly Archives: October 2008



Originally uploaded by lola_joan.


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

Get out the vote!

Google’s 2008 US Voter Info Map has just updated with a new map layer that shows you where to vote on November 4th.  Enter your address and it will point to your voting location, with the caveat that you should double-check with your local election officials to make sure it’s correct.

This would be a terrific tool to feature on your library’s web page for the next two weeks.

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Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship

Digital Divide

It used to be that the phrase “Digital Divide” described the gap between those who had access to a computer and the internet and those that didn’t.  That has changed; many more people have access to computers than before, and especially in those communities where there was a deficit there is now access.

There is still a divide, however.  This divide is in the availability of broadband access to the internet.  What’s interesting is that many people – and most disturbingly, the people who are the decision-makers – don’t understand that this is happening.  I had a conversation with a state legislator a few months ago and mentioned that many rural areas of Minnesota still don’t have access to broadband.  He was truly astonished.

In the last few years many major metropolitan areas have instituted wireless access throughout their cities.  Their rural cousins haven’t been as lucky.

A tech guy recently decided to purchase a house in a rural area to escape the Big City and was surprised at what he found:

I recently acquired an old farm house in rural southwestern Wisconsin. I’ve always wanted a place out in the country. With the real estate market taking a hit I figured this was a good time to buy. Time will tell on the financial return, but the peacefulness return is already paying off.

However, it’s not all about relaxation — I do want to work from there from time to time. Foolishly I assumed that broadband was just about everywhere now, but it’s not. If you’re a mile off the highway, or not in a town of thousands, you may be stuck in the 90s.

The punchline is that at the moment, he’s stuck with dial-up.  Not optimum, to say the least.

This is where we come in, of course.  Legislators assume that as more and more of our patrons purchase computers, fewer of them come in to the library to use ours.  While that might be true in major metropolitan areas (though I doubt it) in rural areas, many of our patrons simply don’t have access to the faster speed that allows them to fill out long job applications online, search for jobs, send emails, work with photos, etc.

Our libraries are busier than ever.  I don’t have to tell you that, of course.  But we do need to tell those with the power and the purse strings.  Especially if you live in a state that has one or two major metropolitan areas and then a lot of small towns, it is imperative to talk to your legislators about broadband access for rural areas and to remind them that their public libraries are the only access option for their constituents.

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Techie stuff

Missing Monterey

I’m not attending Internet Librarian this year, for the first time in three years.

I will miss mingling with the librarians , hearing the sea lions bark, watching the pelicans beg at the restaurant windows.

But at my new POW, I have a limited budget.  I decided that if I was to attend one national conference, it probably should be ACRL so as to get to know my new academic cohorts.  So I’ll be in Seattle in March.

But I’m going to miss Monterey.

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Me and mine

Name trouble

I have too many names.

My parents gave me two first names: Mary Elizabeth is shortened to Mary Beth.  I added the second surname when I married DH, and so I have two last names, as well.  Hyphenated, to boot.

This causes no end of trouble on various and sundry websites, whose programs are set up to take One Name.  No alternative characters.  I invariably end up as Mary Sancombmoran.  Not really my name, but close.

It is unbelievably irritating to be told by a computer program that your name is wrong.  Doesn’t fit their parameters.  Needs to be altered.


So the library-related question is: for those of you with the option of applying for your library cards online, do your programs annoy your patrons like this?  In the spirit of Work Like a Patron Day, try and add a name like mine to your database.  Two first names.  Hyphenated last name.  Does it work?

If not – please fix it!

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Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship, Me and mine


DH and I were on vacation all last week, and it was delightful.

We visited the east coast: Washington and environs, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  We ended up visiting memorials, civil war battlefields, art museums, historic sites, and enjoyed the company of friends and family.

Photos of the trip are on Flickr, for those who are interested.

It was also gratifying and heartwarming to be greeted enthusiastically here at MPOW this morning, with folks telling me I was missed.

Good to be missed. Good to be home, too.

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Filed under Me and mine