Monday, January 31, 2011


I've been meaning, for a while now, to teach myself how to embed youtube videos onto my blog. Turns out it is WAY easier than I thought: if you know how to copy and paste, you know how to embed videos.

I needed something to practice with, so I used these videos that were recently shared on my school listserv. The staring librarian is an alumni of my Master's Program, and he's got some great stuff here.

I hope he's cool with me sharing these - I figure if he wasn't, he wouldn't have put them on you tube...

If you like what's here there's more at his YouTube channel, including short book reviews. Certainly worth checking out.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

we've gone global...

Not long ago, I posted about a fund-raising campaign that my cohort was conducting, raising funds for graduation: The 2011 Tattooed Librarians of the Pacific Northwest Calendar. So far we've made a couple of hundred dollars, so it's been a success (don't worry, there are still plenty of months left to fill with beautiful ink and intelligent young librarians, so you should buy yours today!). One of my favorite parts of this project has been watching where on the internet it's been popping up.

For example, it was featured on two of my favorite blogs: The Swiss Army Librarian and Needles and Sins. An overarching goal of the project (other than making us money) was ensuring that it was accepted in both the library community and the tattoo community, and seeing that calendar on these two blogs confirmed our success.

I think my favorite spot we discovered the calendar being promoted (and certainly the most surprising) was Bibliothecaris in blog, Dutch librarian/writer Laurent Meese's blog:

They always tell you to be careful what you put out on the internet, because you never know where it might end up. Logically, this makes sense, but it is still surprising when it happens to you. Thankfully, this sort of surprise was super positive, proof that our calendar now has a global reach (I just hope that folks across the pond are purchasing our calendar)!

I wanted to confirm the language this blog was written in and read what was actually said about the calendar. So I hoped over to Google Translate, and it was pretty easy to copy and paste the text. He is what Mr. Meese had to say:

Tattooed librarians, it is not an oxymoron. The students of Emporia State Master of Library and Information Science give a remarkable calendar for charity, namely himself. They should, has recently paid for their graduation and thus to generate some income. The calendar shows no traditional librarians pads with a bun but trendy birds with tattoos and piercings. DiVenti photographer Lisa took this funny pictures of the prospective librarians in the Pacific Northwest College of Art Library. The calendar costs 25 U.S. dollars. Last year there was a similar project with the Texas Library Association and their 2010 calendar "The TattooedLadies of TLA . A new fad is born, so it seems.

...Trendy birds with tattoos and piercings, indeed! Obviously not the best translation, but enough the get the feel. Thank you, Mr. Meese, for helping us with our cause (ourselves) and spreading the gospel of tattooed librarians!

PS: If anyone knows of any great plugins for FireFox that offer great translating features, please share!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

sharing equals caring

Why is it that when I want to make an omelette, my eggs get scrambled and when I want to make a scramble, my eggs turn into an omelette? Not that this is either here nor there, but I am finding there are two things in my life that are turning me to Buddhism: Public transportation and cooking eggs.

Anyways, onto librarianship! Here are three articles I've read online in the past week that I thought were fascinating and wanted to share.

First up: Bookstore on the ropes. Here is a story about an independent bookstore that is going out of business. I know, I know: sad. But I think the owner has come up with a great analogy for the trifecta of threats (poor economy, eBooks and online shopping) that is bringing down independent booksellers: A perfect storm. I hate that bookstores are closing, but I like a good analogy.

Next up: Patrons clear the shelves. Here is a story of a British library that was on the chopping block (much like the bookstore in my first story), and the patrons were so concerned that the library is going to close that they checked out ALL the books in the library. I feel ambivalent about this story. On the one hand - I love the direct action that the patrons took to send a strong message to the library power holders and decision makers. On the other hand, part of me thinks that it sucks that there is nothing on the shelves. I know it is obviously a temporary action, but I feel if any patron walks into a library, they should be able to check out a book, even if it is not the book they are looking for. This action also makes me wonder what librarians (and myself) can do to make sure that an action this extreme is not needed, and the value of a library is always understood.

This last one is interesting, and got stuck in my mind after a recent conversation. I was having a drink with friends after class, and a recent acquaintance - who apparently is a devout devil's advocate just learned that we were library students - wanted us to defend our profession in the age of google. We did our best in dealing with a tired argument, but I wish that I had his email address to share this article with him: Humans vs. automated search: Why people power is cool again. This article discusses some issues that the infamous google algorithm has - mainly that spam and "content farms" can really effect the results of google searches - and how people influenced searches can really insure that good information can float to the top among a lot of the crap that is out there.

In closing - my quiver for the blog is currently empty, and school is really kicking in. I hope to continue with regularly scheduled postings - at least once a week or so. But please don't be surprised if posts are a bit more space out than that. Thanks again to all my readers!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

what's a snooki?

It's been a tradition that after the Newbery and Caldecott Medal Winners are announced at the American Library Associations' Midwinter meeting the award recipients are interviewed on the Today show live in New York City. That didn't happen this year. Apparently the Today Show the morning after the meeting was already booked, and Matt Lauer interviewed...


For those of you who don't know who Snooki is, she's famous for getting drunk on ron ron juice and smushing in front of millions of viewers on MTV's The Jersey Shore.

Really, today show? Really? You're going to promote Snooki's new "novel" over award winning children's literature? When America is clawing itself out of a horrible recession, there was a recent national tragedy and the political arena is so vitriolic its painful to watch the news, this is what you choose to put on your show?


For those of who are as outraged as I am - there is a facebook campaign to try and get the Medal Winners back onto the today show. Who knows how successful it will be, but if facebook got Betty White onto SNL than it might just work for this campaign too.

And for those who are interested in who actually won the award, rather than the drama surrounding them, check out the Newberry Winner by clicking here and the Caldecott by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random theory...

Photo credit: accessed through creative commons from the State Library of Queensland.

Today as I logged into my work computer, I got that pesky message reminding me that my password was about to expire and asking if I wanted to change my email. I did, and am now in that annoying time period of a week or so where I enter my old password (out of habit) and then scramble to remember what I made my new password. Which leads me to my theory:

Remember back in the days before cell phones, when a lot of memory space was devoted to random phone numbers?

As we store contact information in our phones, I'm convinced that the specific brain function once used for phone numbers is now consumed by remembering all of the various passwords we need to access personal email, work email, school email, social networking, online banking profiles, online shopping profiles, etc. etc. etc.

Not that there would be much point in proving this theory (I would imagine that brain scans and inferential statistical analysis would be needed) - it's just interesting to think about how our minds need to adapt as technology evolves, and how the future of online informational security might look like...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

sunday morning infographic

I've mentioned in a previous post how much I love DIY culture, and even though I am not necessarily crafty, I believe that there is a strong correlation between it and librarianship.

Recently, I saw this post that made me think about this intersection again: 10 Things You Already Own to Wrangle and Label Cords. The post shares some pretty awesome ways to keep the multiple cords (that seem unfortunately necessary in this day and age) manageable, using common objects - from toilet paper tubes to action figures.

I'm always thinking of creative ways to organize information online, it's great to see creative ways to organize objects in real life.

Because it's Sunday morning, and I don't want to start my homework, and I'm a super dork, I processed my thoughts about librarianship and DIY culture into a Venn Diagram (which you should click on to get a better look at):

Putting together this infographic was a really interesting process. I found it way easier to think of common elements rather than unique elements. Granted, the fact that librarianship is a profession and DIY culture is (mostly) a hobby is a major difference. But once I started to really think about it - I was surprised at how much these two concepts overlap. For example:

Misunderstood: Most people think that libraries only deal with books and that crafters are crazy ladies who scrapbook. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Fetishized: The general public loves the concept of the sexy librarian. DIY culture is being co-opted as a marketing strategy to sell products.

Sustainable: reusing and recycling and self-reliance are major tenants of DIY culture. Libraries are at the heart of communities and community centeredness leads to stronger ecological values.

This post was a lot of fun. I have a recent obsession with infographics, and I'm always looking for an excuse to make my own. Writing this post makes me think if there are any other hobbies/professions/concepts that would be fun to fit into a Venn Diagram...

A big thanks to Serenity (and the magic of Gchat) for letting me bounce some ridiculous ideas off of her...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Should the ALA follow the Bar Association's example?

I have seen a lot of criticism among the online library community against both the ALA and library schools concerning the high number of students who are getting churned out every year in an unsustainable job market.

Here is some fodder for the fire: It appears that the American Bar Association has issued a warning about the potential risks of going for a law degree.

I first saw this on The Atlantic website, where the author provides statistics showing that the salaries for first year lawyer's have been cut in half since the recession started while the average amount of loans taken out by students remain ridiculously high.

My question is: Should the ALA follow the ABA's footsteps? I haven't seen any statistics about salaries or hiring rates for first year library professionals or recent MLIS graduates, but as my graduation approaches, I am certainly feeling the heat...