Monthly Archives: July 2009

The gathering storm

We had the third in a series of three new freshman orientation days this week.  The students came, some with the bounce of youth and confidence, some with the timid demeanor of  shyness or uncertainty.  Many came with their parents. Some came alone.  Roommates were introduced, budding friendships begun.

The student affairs folks did a wonderful job breaking the ice with the kids, working with the parents to assuage their fears and answer their questions, and generally welcome all to the newest campus for UM.  As the Librarian, I was introduced and mingled and answered questions.

We won’t see them again for a month or so.  But they’re always in the back of our minds as we prepare for the upcoming semester.  Yuko, our new writing instructor (and a published author!) and I will be working together on class presentations and work.  I’ll also be working with other faculty members, to see how I can be incorporated into their classes, so that Information Literacy is an integral piece of the curriculum.

It’s going to be an exciting fall.  At the moment, it’s quiet….and I have the feeling of the calm before the storm, when nature is hushed in anticipation of the coming deluge.

Perhaps I should savor the quiet while it lasts.  The storm is coming.

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Filed under Academia, Libraries and Librarianship, Me and mine

Putting the “no” in innovation

Forgive my curmudgeon this morning.  I just logged on to Yahoo (my page of choice for years now) and they’ve changed their layout.  New!  Improved!  More spiffy!

Now, I’m a relatively techie person.  I’m writing this post now through a Chrome browser.   I (obviously) blog.  I Facebook.  I’m using Meebo as an IM aggregator – which I highly recommend, by the way.  I Twitter.  Blah, blah, blah.

That being said, at some point I don’t want anything to change ANY MORE.  I’m used to the Yahoo page.  It felt like an old friend.  I knew where stuff was.  They’ve already changed the My Yahoo interface, and I got used to that.  But damn it, enough is enough.  I want my old page back.  It’s an old friend.

So all of this curmudgeon of mine got me to thinking about our tendency in the library world to dive into the new and spiffy.  Granted, much of this is worth diving into, and will increase patron access library communication and all kinds of good stuff.  But in a world (OK, you must read this like the late, great Don LaFontaine…but I digress.)  In a world where it seems like everything is changing at breakneck speed, sometimes it’s calming to come to the place that is static.  That doesn’t change much.  That’s an old friend.

What’s the punchline?  I’m not sure.  I do know that I love the old libraries, with that old book smell and the big, comfy chairs and the fireplaces.  They feel like old friends, too.  I also enjoy technology.  Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, as my grandmother used to say.  Keep some of the old, the traditional, the comfortable.  With the world changing as quickly as it does, it’s nice to have a place to go to that still feels familiar.

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Me and mine

Holidays

DH and I wandered home over the weekend of the 4th of July to visit with family and friends.  DBF and her husband recently bought a lake cottage, and they christened the place with a lovely picnic on the 4th.

Among their guests was a couple that had immigrated, years ago, from Romania.  When    asked what brought them to the United States, she answered,  “To have our freedom.”  The simplicity and sheer power of the statement took us aback.

We too often forget the freedoms we possess.  As librarians, we hold the keys to information that in many countries is not made available to all, but only to a select few.  The idea that information should be free and available to everyone is radical.  I love that we have chosen to be radical.

The guest’s comment made me proud of my country, proud that we still stand as the place where people can come and be free.

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Filed under Me and mine, Miscellaneous

Year of Astronomy

One of the coolest features of the ‘net is the ability to connect with family and friends – and even strangers – and share experiences and information.  I recently discovered a cousin’s blog and he writes about the International Year of Astronomy and provides some great links to astronomical sites and podcasts.

Since this isn’t my area, I’ll let Tony do the talking.  Check it out!

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Filed under Me and mine, Miscellaneous