Friday, January 30, 2009

Stuff I Did at Work Today

1. Typed up a list of a cart of books I have to give away to other branches and sent it to other librarians

2. E-mailed a woman who wants to host swap meets at our library since she read my post on a local mailing list about our upcoming clothing swap.

3. Showed my coworker a bunch of random things on the internet like the baby tiger that was confiscated from the woman who killed two librarians in a hit and run recently and a $199,999 condo I wish I had the savings to buy

4. E-mailed a local teacher whose students are supposed to be coming in here for their 8th grade projects and getting their work stamped with our cute little owl stamp. I haven't seen any of her students yet.

5. Made this flyer for our February Teen Programs

6. Had several discussions about the library hosting a summer breakfast program for low-income kids

7. Read library blogs and my RSS feed

8. Wrote this blog post

9. Put my schedule for next week in my Google calendar and asked my supervisor for more Saturdays so I can visit my bf in May

10. E-mailed a librarian from Central that I met at a training yesterday to ask about learning more about the backend of our Brooklyn Collection digital database

FYI I'm not scheduled to be on the desk until this afternoon, so this is just a list of the things librarians might do when they're not answering reference questions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dear Old Authors

I have just realized that at thirty I am having a hard time remembering if I read you recently died or published a new book.

Sorry John Updike. I'll always remember listening to Run Rabbit Run on tape while shelving in the Olympia Public Library.

Questioning the fiction spine label

I'm looking at 32 books and spine labels covered part or whole of the authors name or title on 15 of the books. I would suspect the other 17 books have publishers that know a large percentage of their sales (or these editions) are for libraries.

As someone who alphabetizes her records by artist, and not all LPs have names on the spines, and 7" simply don't have spines except for the box sets, I really wonder WHY?

WHY are we bothering with spine labels on fiction?

Especially when I'm making my own this afternoon. At least once upon a time I worked in a library where we had label paper and decided on a font to use that was relatively close to what Baker and Taylor provided. Now I try to cut the paper straight (no guillotine here!). I just can't seem to get a good standard width to the font either, so there are some kinda ugly tricks to get the first letters of the authors last name on the side. Plus, when the author's first name is covered up because of the spine label, the Smiths never stay in order on the shelves.

One good reason is so patrons can tell what is a library book if the book is misplaced on their shelf. Fine. Like every book you get from the bookstore comes with a shiny plastic cover. We have the location code on the side too. Yes it makes shelf reading easier, but maybe we'd need less shelf reading if you could just read the authors name on the spine in the first place.

Would the system save money? Would it make it more difficult for patrons to find books? Would it make it harder for the part-timers to put books back on the shelf?

In no rush

I'm not going anywhere. However, if you know of any RSS feeds for California Bay Area library/tech jobs let me know. It's for friends right now, but I'm a little surprised at how few jobs in the area I see on the national RSS feeds i subscribe to and I know I'm missing something here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who will clean up Flickr?

I'm looking for Creative Commons (CC) licensed images for Black History Month and I'm seeing a ton of copyrighted images. Some are even "credited" to the original photographers as if that matters. It's way too easy to wander off of a CC search to non CC images by clicking on group pools or tags.


I mean, if your friend wants you to post some party photos, fine, but don't go around taking images from magazines and the Library of Congress and putting them up in your Photostream. Either be a jerk and link to the original image for your blog (beware, if you piss off the person hosting the image they could switch the image on you, it's one of those things that's rude but not illegal in most cases).

Still, I'm trying to be concientious of what images I use on my flyers. I might not be familiar with every image ever taken of Martin Luther King Jr. and if you stick a photo up in the CC stream I'm going to think it's okay until I see it somewhere else and realize YOU DIDN'T TAKE THAT PHOTO.

Still, I see the mess Flickr creates right here. I see its usefulness limited by these people. How will we get rid of the junk?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Twitter Take Two

While I try to keep my library blog worksafe, sometimes I'm amused that no one lets me know they read it. For instance, last night I was out with some friends and apparently I was volunteered at a meeting to come in and talk to admin about Twitter. Obviously no one read my post about disliking Twitter as a marketing mechanism. I tried to come up with some ways I would like Twitter in libraries, and I think it's going to seem very complicated.

1. Each library branch or cluster (local groups of libraries) and department would have their own Twitter account. That way messages would be targeted by audience, parents could know about local storytimes, teens could find out about teen events etc.

2. If it was a systemwide account, it would be best to deal with either announcements (ie closures) or trivia (ie strange things found in books). Trivia accounts must respect patron privacy including annoying/harassing/irrational behavior that makes library work so interesting

3. Would the accounts be interactive? If not the library is just using twitter for web cred, which it loses by using an interactive service as a free text messaging service. Someone would have to respond to direct messages AND would have to read the subsribers messages (including what everyone eats for lunch)

4. The library should be monitoring Twitter for messages that may be related to the library. This might be the most important use. If someone has a customer service complaint and tweets about it rather than fill out a form at the library, the library should be watching out for these.

5. Daydreaming about my presentation that I haven't been asked to give. I want two laptops and projectors so on one wall I can keep my Twitter feed running during the presentation to give people an idea of what it looks like and how it interfaces with day to day life.

6. I've got to learn more about hash tags # . I know this is how numerous users group their tags about specific events and there is probably a use for this in the library.

7. Rumors of software for managing multiple posters to a single Twitter account are out there. The library needs to find out more about this (or if this is the case, I need to find out more about this). I blew off the idea recently because the one I looked at cost money.

8. I'm still trying to figure out how to manage multiple Twitter accounts from one phone.

9. Warning patrons and library staff about the importance of unlimited text messaging. Twitter is a fail when your mom (with two Twitter friends) calls to tell you she went $50 over her text limit in one month. Patrons generally are not as nice as your mom when a $50 charge appears on their account.

10. Last but not least, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this with a group of people who may have different opinions and knowledge and plans for this. While right now I have serious doubts, in a few months things may change to make this a valuable service for the library system. And as I wrote in my last post, I'm a very big advocate for Twitter as a social networking service. I'm just trying to figure out where it fits in as a marketing service.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Filter Failure, and Not To Find the Good Stuff

I was looking at the Modified Librarian page and did a little backtracking to see just what BME World is all about. That's when I made the mistake of seeing if our library's filter was any good. Now, I can't get to my favorite radio stations or Perez Hilton, which is probably good for productivity, and I'm pretty far on the open minded side of sexuality, but if a filter is going to shield my eyes from MS Paint ejaculate on celebrity faces I sure expect it to guard me against anything naughty at "dogslut's homepage: cock torture and self castration". I'm not linking there, you can go to the BME World homepage and see if it's blocked at your library on your own, and I don't reccomend testing it out while you're on the public desk or if "I was looking at librarian tattoos and went too far back on the server" isn't an excuse you can use (which, since it is my excuse, you really can't).

Which brings me to my typical rant about filters. Filters only filter what they know about. Filters don't filter email. Filters often don't filter chat rooms. Here is a ten year old web page that is not filtered.

It reminds me of a time a librarian friend was visiting my house from Portland. She had dial up at home, so her toddler was allowed to smash the keys on her computer as much as he liked. At my house, he happily climbed into the office chair and did the same. Except we had DSL and left a browser window open. He got "PPP" into Google and hit enter, bringing him one step away from the Polyamorous People's Party. Now, I'm sure they're nice folks, the page probably isn't even strange. Even if the kid hit "XXX" he was probably too young to be traumatized by whatever he saw.

Kids are smart. Filters are dumb. Librarians are curious. People put everything up on the web. You have to think to avoid stuff, and to find what you're looking for. I honestly advocate that parents should supervise their children online all the time. Should my parents read this they'll probably say "oh but you were so secretive!"...well yes, because as a teenager I was doing things I shouldn't have. This was before photos and webcams, but also before screen names. Yesterday was just one more incident in my history, and if I'd known I'd grow up to be a tattooed librarian, it could have happened a long time ago.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Much better

A patron comes up to the desk and says, "I have a problem."

I seize up, wait for the torrent.

"Life of Pi; do you have it?"

I admit my hearing isn't great, but it's much better to mistake something good for bad when it comes to working on the desk.
Happy New Year!

I've tried to reflect on the big life changes I had last year, but I think I take them for granted or see them as insignificant even when they are drastically changing how I communicate with the world.

For instance, Twitter. I can't remember if I joined to keep in touch with any one person or not. I do know that a few months into it, I had my mom (@mikimom) join, and now I don't want my cell phone to leave my side. I don't want it to be a marketing tool, although I appreciate when my DJ friends tell me their shows are about to come on, but I like sharing all my OMG moments, debating what to eat for lunch or if I should buy a certain painting and generally venting my frustrations with the world. I like getting into public private conversations with @jassylime. I like knowing everything @matthickey is up to, it's kinda like living across the hall from him again.

For all the hype, not many of my librarian friends are using Twitter. One set up an account for his library and bombarded me with Bette Midler lyrics as a test one day (I begged him to stop). I'm not really keen on getting under 13s to sign up for stuff they're not supposed to, and I'm not sure I would reach teens that would otherwise not come in the library. Most of all, the idea of keeping a one-sided Twitter account doesn't appeal to me, or keeping one that I wouldn't be able to use on my phone (unless I signed into the web browser, yawn).

So yes, I love Twitter for all the time wasting, why not just text, why not just call, no i don't care what you ate for lunch, i live in a different city than you and can't meet up for drinks that it brings into my life. Libraries, authors, bands, resturants and other professional entities, I'm not sure if I care.