29 July 2005

a book, an interview, a web site: lots of blatant promotion

Looking for something to read in the 300s (335.998, to be exact)? You can check out my interview with Fran Hawthorne, author of Inside the FDA: the Business and Politics Behind the Drugs We Take and the Food We Eat.

In other publishing related news, I'm happy to report that Third Coast Press* is moving this very weekend to its new place of virtual residence, LIShost. Expect some fluctuations over the weekend, but thirdcoastpress.com should be up and running smoothly again by early next week--and then (yippee!) we'll be able to fix up some things on the site and (double yippee!) start adding new content again.

*Third Coast Press was an alternative monthly newspaper published in Chicago from January 2003 through March 2005. It's now a web site and will, we hope, resurface as a quarterly print publication. The Fran Hawthorne interview was originally scheduled to run in the May issue.

Update on 7/31/05: I just realized that the link at the bottom of the interview was broken. That's fixed now. Also, one of the images (which is really just a quotation pulled from the interview) doesn't show up on Internet Explorer or Safari (and Safari, for some reason, messes with my fonts). All the more reason to switch to Firefox, I say! Everything looks dandy there.

28 July 2005

only connect. . .

According to yesterday's newsflash, the Dominican web site is Webby worthy. The Webby Awards are, as you might imagine, kind of like the Tonys, but for web sites. This year, in addition to the winning nominees, the judges picked about 20% of the over 4000 entries as "Webby Worthy."

According to the judging criteria,
The Academy evaluates Web sites based on six criteria: content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall experience.
One can only assume that they were awed by the little rotating pictures of happy Dominican students and grads and that their monitors were large enough (unlike, say, most of the monitors at Dominican) that the menus all fit on to the screen. And, for that matter, one assumes they did not happen upon the infamous GSLIS Information Center.

If you have a high-speed connection and plenty of plug-ins, the Webby winners can make for some good browsing. In February 2004, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that
That means that 66% of Americans don't have high-speed access at home. The study further notes that "[o]nly 10% of rural Americans go online from home with high-speed connections, about one-third the rate for non-rural Americans." [Here's the full report from the Pew people.]

(And remember, none of those statistics indicate the number of Americans who don't have internet access at all. Interestingly, the only report I've been able to pull up about that so far--with, I must admit, only a modicum of searching--is six years old.)

26 July 2005

scheduling and grumbling

I just registered for fall classes at Dominican, or at least I sort of registered. I'm registered for
I'm waitlisted for
Course descriptions are here. I need to end up with three courses, for financial and health insurance reasons. (Oddly enough, I'd also like to take 743, Reference Sources in Business and Economics, but that woud entail dropping one of the other evening classes and driving to Schaumburg. . . anyone want to tell me it's worth it?)

If this schedule seems a bit schizophrenic, there's a reason: I'm trying to strike a balance between things that I think would be useful (e.g. Searching Electronic Databases, which I'd just like to know how to do better) and things that I think might be good to have on my transcript (e.g. Library Materials for Young Adults, since I'm considering the whole teen librarianship thing as well as the reference librarian thing).

I wandered over to the LISSA [Library and Information Science Student Association] Blackboard, where a few people have posted requests for information about classes and professors, and one astute reader of the schedule has noted that there are only 5 morning classes (as opposed to 41 evening classes, 8 afternoon classes, and 7 weekend/all day classes) and that two of these are core classes and the other three meet on the same day at the same time. As the writer points out, evening and weekend classes are great for those who work 9-5, but those of us who work evenings and weekends are kind of screwed. I'm lucky in that I only work a few nights a week and that my place of work is understanding and flexible about my schedule. Not everyone, I assume, has that luxury.

Also of note on the LISSA Blackboard is the "LISSA and GSLIS Request and Suggestion Forum":
LISSA and the GSLIS administration want your suggestions and questions. Please help us make our school better. We can’t do everything you may want, but we would sure like to try, or at least help you make a difference. Students, faculty and administration are welcome to read and post.
Not surprisingly, there are no messages in said forum. LISSA is supposed to be a student forum and an advocate for students: by opening their forums to faculty and administration, they've pretty much guaranteed that students aren't going to feel welcome. It's often hard to make honest criticisms and suggestions when you know that the people in charge of evaluating you are, or could be, reading.

25 July 2005

more books

Remember the book meme thing? Here's another response--this one from the Gypsy Librarian--that I've been meaning to post for awhile.

cataloging tidbit

You'll be glad to know that you can now render eBay as eBay (instead of Ebay, I guess), according to the latest update of AACR2. Hurray for "unusual capitalization." [Via Catalogablog]

24 July 2005

books they don't want on display in Hillsborough County, FL

If you haven't been following the news, here's the latest on the gay-themed books brouhaha in Florida. And here, courtesy of Martin Sicard, is a list of those extremely dangerous "teen-friendly books that were on display at the West Gate Library that spurred the Hillsborough County Commission to bar county agencies from acknowledging, promoting, and participating in Gay Pride recognition and events." Protests against the county's action have included a Read-In and something more like a Read-Out, featuring a librarian with a bullhorn. [Stories via LISnews.com]
The County keeps saying that they are not banning books, they are banning the endorsement of books, or, as one Tampa resident put it in the Tampa Tribune a few weeks ago
It's not the job of librarians to highlight collections of books, argued Patrick McDowell, a Tampa resident who frequents the West Gate library branch, where one pride display was removed. "I would defend their right to have the books in the library, but it's not their job to promote books.'' [full article]
Next thing you know they'll be telling us we're not supposed to promote literacy.

Finally, if you're looking for more gay-friendly teen lit to add to your collection, Martin also recommends Geography Club by Brent Hartinger, Luna by Julie Ann Peters, and Misfits by James Howe. I'd remind you not to forget the wonderful and frequently challenged Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. Don't forget to check out the Lambda Literary Awards for books for all ages, and ALA's GLBT Round Table for some further resources.

22 July 2005

do you Dewey?

My new favorite blog (aside, of course, from the wonderfulness that is Overheard in New York [thanks to sivacracy.net for pointing that one out--and note to enterprising Chicago area folk--I think there'd be a market for an Overheard in Chicago]) is the Dewey Blog.

Where else could you read about the proper cataloging of muggles (and the lack of a suitable catagory for quidditch?) or where to book books on flirting? Of course, you can also weigh in on more serious matters, such as the cataloging of graphic novels or cultural objects. But it's things like learning that catalogers have favorite Dewey numbers that makes me a happy reader. (I myself must admit that I don't have a favorite Dewey number, but my favorite section of the DDC is the Table of Last Resort. It's almost as good as the Greek verb construction know as the optative of unfulfilled desire.)

The Dewey Blog does what all good blogs should: it gives a human face to something that used to seem like a monolithic block. And if, like me, you're still trying to get a good handle on your Dewey, reading the blog is one nice way to do so.

19 July 2005

librarians--we're everywhere

PopMatters now has a column called "Bad Librarian," written by a library paraprofessional (a bibliotechnician, in his words, or a librarian in all but respect and pay, in others). Here's his take on Section 215 of everybody's favorite act:
Mr. Fed: Gimmee that.
Librarian 1: Sir, this is private information! You've no warrant!
Mr. Fed: I said gimmee.
Librarian 1: Okay, here.
Librarian 1 hands over the records and sits down to weep fitfully. Librarian 2 walks over to chat.]
Librarian 2: What was that all about?
Librarian 1 (sniffs): What?
Librarian 2: The guy with the Oakleys.
Librarian 1 (wipes nose): I really can't say.

17 July 2005

change, part 2

The last post I made here was meant, actually, to serve as an introduction to this post from the Shifted Librarian about the new Ann Arbor District Library web site. Happy reading!


One way I've changed, after a year of library school and a few months of working in a library, is that I am much more demanding of my sources of information. I'm not quite sure how this happened, but now when I'm looking for something on a web site or in a library and I can't find it, I ask. If I have an idea about how information could be made more accessible or more helpful, I suggest it. Sometimes that suggestion goes nowhere, but sometimes the results are faster and better than I could have imagined.

For instance, the other day I was reading the PLA Blog. They have these great round-ups of public library news from all over the country, but it was often hard to tell where exactly the different articles were from (there are, after all, a great many Springfields in this nation). So I wrote in to ask if maybe they could include the city and state of the library in question. They wrote back saying, hey, good idea, and the next day, lo and behold:
We had a request to add the city and state of the library being discussed in each article. I will also add links to the library's web site as well. I hope this enhances your PLA Blog reading pleasure.
Thanks, Steve, and thanks PLA Blog!

15 July 2005

librarian pixels

The Curmudgeonly Librarian points us to two new photo pools on Flickr: Librarians in Glasses (started by Rochelle) and Modified Librarians.
If you've never played around with Flickr, it's great fun--and, as Aaron Schmidt points out in the little technology pull-out section of the latest Library Journal, it's a great way to get photos into a blog--or a library. The La Grange Park Library has a set of photos of their renovation project.

Me, I just like to look at pictures of Utah.

13 July 2005

library services in extreme temperatures

This morning on Chicago Public Radio there was a pretty good story on the 1995 heat wave [Real Audio file] that killed over 700 people, the majority of them poor and elderly people who had no access to air-conditioning. I haven't yet read Eric Klinenberg's Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of the Disaster in Chicago, but it's worth noting, as did Micaela di Leonardo, reviewing the book for The Nation in 2002, that
first we need to come to terms with the epidemiological realities of heat crises. Extreme heat, Klinenberg explains, tends not to be taken as seriously as other weather and human disasters--hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, blizzards, plane crashes. But "more people die in heat waves than in all other extreme events combined," and the '95 crisis has "no equal in the record of US heat disasters."
[Micaela di Leonardo, "Murder by Public Policy," The Nation (September 2, 2002) Available online to subscribers and via various databases]
The City of Chicago's Hot Weather Safety page (which is sort of buried, I might add) provides tips for keeping yourself and your pets cool, and a list of related links, including Chicago Public Library locations and the Department of Human Services Weather Relief page, which explains when extreme heat and cold warnings are issued, and what the DHS does about them:
The Chicago Department of Human Services coordinates the operation of Cooling and Warming Centers. Beginning with its own Human Services Centers, CDHS works with the Chicago Department on Aging, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Public Libraries to make public buildings available. In times of excessive need, the City enlists the help of community organizations that can open their facilities to the public for respite from the weather. [emphasis added]
In addition to coordinating the Cooling and Warming Centers, the department also works to
As summer continues, you might want to think about the people in your library and what kinds of services you are providing to those who may need the library as a place to stay cool. We can't all provide this kind of service. [link via Ruminations] But we can make sure that we provide all library users the same courteous service, whether they're looking for a copy of Heat Wave or just looking for a place to stay out of the heat.

11 July 2005

fall schedule, finally!

The fall schedule of courses is finally available (special bonus: spring 2006 is also up).* Registration hasn't started, and I haven't been able to retrieve my pin (and, interestingly, Firefox gave me a number of warnings about entering an insecure site), but at least one can now begin to plan one's schedule.
I checked the LISSA Blackboard and people are starting to look for information on courses/professors/etc., so head on over there. Alternatively, if you e-mail questions to me, I'll post them here (minus your name, if you wish) and people can leave comments.

In other GSLIS news, there are still no new announcements at the GSLIS Information Center. If by any chance you're reading this because you're thinking about coming to Dominican, there is a GSLIS Information Session on Tuesday, July 19. [Thanks, Events at DU RSS feed!]
* Update 7/11/05 at 4:08 pm : Spring 2006 is listed as an option when you pick semesters, but if you try searching for LIS classes, nothing shows up. Thanks to David (see comment below) for pointing out my lapse.

08 July 2005

Grokster round-up and another ALA tidbit

Just in case you can't get enough grokkin':
Finally: I was late (the usual McCormick Place is really far away from everywhere else thing) to "The Googlization of Everything: A Threat to the Information Commons?" and thus only caught the last 10 or 15 minutes of Siva Vaidhyanathan's presentation, but you can read some coverage from Aaron Dobbs (thanks, ALA Wiki!). Also, if, like me, you arrived late (or if you attended a different event at the Intercontinental and didn't hear about the boycott), Rory has helpfully provided some coverage of the boycott, including a letter of protest you can download, in the latest Library Juice.

06 July 2005

me too! me too!

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

I actually got randomly selected for this several weeks ago, but now that all the cool kids (plus more I can't track down now) are putting the link up on their sites, I just had to, too.

05 July 2005

ALA day 1: fostering civic engagement, part 2

Here's part 1 of this report.

We all know that the most common question at the reference desk is "Where is the bathroom?" But what's the most common question if you're serving as a librarian on the street? The next presentation at Fostering Civic Engagement had the answer.
Jenna Freedman talked about Radical Reference: "serving activist communities and independent journalists online and in the street," as her handout put it. RadRef started as a response to the 2004 Republican National Convention. As you may remember, not everyone was happy about the event, and many protesters were coming to town. The earliest RadRef members saw a role for themselves in the midst of the mayhem--they could be roving, on-the-street librarians. Ten or twenty RadRef volunteers went out on the streets, armed with ready reference kits that included maps, phone numbers for legal and medical aid, and a very detailed schedule of events, useful for answering that most frequent question, "What event is this?" They also carried cell phones, which allowed them to call in to other volunteers based at home, who provided back up support. They also set up a website and an AIM account so that people could post questions that way.

Nearly a year later, the group is going strong, with over 150 volunteers still answering questions on the web site and at events. There are local Radical Reference collectives in Austin, Boston, NYC, San Diego, and San Francisco who work on local projects--the Boston group put together the Alternative Guide to Boston for ALA Midwinter 2005. Additionally, they've been providing reference and information services, including workshops on fact-checking and how to file a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act request], for independent journalists across the country, most recently at the Allied Media Conference in Bowling Green, Ohio. Sometimes, as Jenna pointed out, these workshops are a simple as teaching people about the resources available in your local library--like databases that mean you can get older articles from the New York Times for free.

She also talked a bit about the nifty open-source technologies that RadRef uses, and about a library school education summit being planned for New York this fall. Watch this space for more on the latter.

Finally, Jenna addressed some of the problems and challenges Radical Reference has faced, including accountability, quality control, collaborating in a virtual environment, decision-making in a large group, and working with the many working styles and ideologies that Radical Reference volunteers bring with them. If any of this sounds at all interesting, you should think about getting involved. Good times, great company, fascinating questions, and a chance to exercise your reference skills in a variety of ways.

Next up was Debbie Abilock, editor of Knowledge Quest, the magazine of the American Association of School Librarians. Her presentation consisted of a list of questions and ideas of ways that schools and school libraries could foster civic engagement. Here are just a few of them:
Her point overall was that you can't have civic engagement without engagement--you can't teach students that they live in a democracy and expect them to believe it or care about it if you don't let them exercise some democratic rights of their own, in their own sphere. Amen, sister! I say. And I got to tell her my great story about my grade school and the Pledge of Allegiance. (Short version: we got to vote on whether or not we'd say the Pledge. We voted no, except on special occasions, and then only if you wanted to say it.)

Cathy Carpenter, the last speaker, talked about her experience organizing a voter registration drive in the library at Georgia Tech in the fall of 2004. The last-minute effort garnered 500 new voters in 3 weeks. The best reason to have a voter registration drive at the library? Well, there are lots, but here's my favorite: very few young people affiliate themselves with any political party, and thus they are less likely to register to vote at partisan events or tables. What better place to have a non-partisan voter registration effort than at the library, where, at least in theory, there's a little bit of every point of view?

Finally, there was a small amount of time for questions and comments. Here are the ones I jotted down:

03 July 2005

jobs et al.

Jessamyn beat me to the news, but I have been meaning for some time to point to a recent post about the library job market (from an Australian perspective) by my friend Morgan over at explodedlibrary.info. (For more on the same, you can visit the very first post on this blog [she said, shamelessly]).

As I have noted before, I would have less of a problem believing the ALA job-hype if I didn't read so much news about libraries losing funding.* It's a bit hard to believe that the world is awash in jobs for librarians when it is also awash in libraries closing, cutting budgets, hours, staff, etc., etc.

On the other hand, I am not in a state of total despair.Meredith and Dorothea both recently landed jobs, and I can't tell you how many people I met at ALA who told me encouraging things. I didn't walk away with job offers, but I did walk away with a clutch of business cards and a handful of opportunities to submit articles to various publications and get involved in sundry organizations--and all from such enthusiastic and interesting people! I'll tell you, it's a big change after being in a writing program, a field in which there truly are no jobs.

In the unlikely event that you are waiting with baited breath, I shall mention that I will be finishing up my ALA coverage in the near future. I've spent most of the past week recovering lost sleep and organizing various summer reading programs @ my library. In the meantime, if you are desperate to learn more about what happened, check out the coverage at the PLA Blog, the LITA Blog, and the extensive guide to online coverage over at the wiki. (And thanks to whoever put up the links to the posts I've made so far!)

*NB questions by Rochelle and comments by Jessamyn on the underfunded libraries map.

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

01 July 2005

the other news about the Court

Before you get too deeply ensconced in worrying about the fate of Roe v. Wade et al. in the wake of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirment, please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with two extremely important decisions handed down by the Supremes this past Monday.

The Grokster case you probably know a bit about already--it's sort of Napster, Round 2. The Brand X case, however, which deals with whether the Internet is a telecommunications service or an information service (a more crucial distinction than you might think), is potentially even more important. Millions of Americans are able to have telephones because they are a telecommunications service and are considered a near-essential service and are thus regulated to make them more affordable. The Court, in examining Brand X, decided that cable modems were actually an "information service," which, for reasons beyond my ken, is not considered as important or essential as a telecom service.

For far more informative and enlightening discussion of the effects of the Court's decisions than I can give you, read on. Thanks to Mitchell Szczepanczyk for research assistance.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Creative Commons License