Wednesday, June 30, 2004

"Librarians wield unfathomable power" and other good pre-comps thoughts at
Librarian Avengers, which I found via The Shifted Librarian. The latter gets her name from a "1984 Supreme Court decision in favor of VCRs in which the judges declared that these devices were okay because consumers were using them to 'time shift.' In other words, to record shows to watch them at their convenience." Apparently, she programs her TiVo with a PDA, which, to me, is a superhero power.

On I95
FOUR south-bound vehicles with the TV on. Swell (nearly?)full moon. Great views for me, as today was G's turn to drive! Yay.

Monday, June 28, 2004

What is a library? (via Library Stuff.)

On the Muzak at Ukrop's: Mirror in the Bathroom
Capital City Weather: low humidity, low 80s

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Libraries in general, and Seattle's in particular, are getting good press at not martha -- do skim the comments, too. Fellow library school students, note them as testimonials (can we cite a blog in comps?).

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I need to finish reading this: Al Gore's speech, from May, on Bruce Springsteen's website. I need to be reminded: why can't we have an intellectual president?
Victorian Names of the Week

From photos in the VHS collection:

Bathia Thomas Hundall
Creed Thomas Knight
Wray Thomas Knight
Delight Thomas Davis
John Deleplane Danforth
Miss Everlina Walker, of Walkerton (This King & Queen Co. resident went to the Davis Gallery, on Broad, to have her picture made.)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Find of the Day

If I find it in my own house, can I send it to Found Magazine? On shopping list paper: "'We no longer think of the natural climate as ideal.' M[orning] E[dition] story on A/C"

Everybody Else is Doing It

Book List
(Everybody = Mitch, Maggi). Anyone know the list’s origins? I’m not searching the www for it; I shouldn’t even being spending time blogging. I did check the print sources at hand: it’s not the Modern Library’s list (almost all male authors; longer on “popular” and, well, modern). Nor is it related to NYPL’s Books of the Century (1996), a longer and more international list that includes much more non-fiction as well as half a dozen or so children’s books.

I left off a good handful that I am only pretty sure I read in those long teen summers before I started going to camp: Three Musketeers, Pygmalion, and Cyrano are high on that list. I followed Maggi's lead of noting if I've read the author's "other" important work.


Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights

Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness

Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment [The Grand Inquisitor on the Nature of Man]
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy [my Amer Studies prof at W&M preferred Frank Norris in Dreiser’s place]
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury

Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22

Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady [but, A London Life]
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby-Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible

Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales [most of a “complete works”]
Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet

Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath [the much lighter Travels with Charley]
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels

Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair [I was assigned it, but didn’t get far]
Thoreau, Henry David – Walden [selections from]
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse

Wright, Richard - Native Son

Capital City weather: overcast, humid, 80-something

Sunday, June 20, 2004

The EPA says that people leaving computer monitors on when they are not using them leads to a waste of enough electricity to power over a million households for a year. They're giving away software and having a "Million Monitor Drive" -- a sort of pledge to turn the things off. Read about it on their Power Management : ENERGY STAR page. (Morning Edition did a story earlier this week.)

Breaking news from suburbia: the Stuffy's (sub shop) in the shopping center at Huguenot and Robious is gone! I psyched myself up for a Famous, but found a florist in its place.

Capital City weather: clear, low humidity, a ridiculously cool 76 degrees. Fab.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Photo Realism

For five weeks now, I have been making a database of Virginia studio photographers, 1860-1920, for the Virginia Historical Society. As well as the photographer's name and address, I make notes about the "imprint," the pre-printed design on cardboard to which the photos are mounted. (For those into these details, we're talking cartes de visite and cabinet cards.)

Working on this reminds me of an American Studies professor I had at William & Mary whose refrain was, "there's a paper in this." Choose one:

  • Social history: In Richmond, the Main St. studios were a nicer; probably, you made an appointment to sit for your portrait. The Broad St. studios, in contrast, tended to be more middle-brow, and permitted "walk-ins." If the family came into town twice a year, a spontaneous stop for a photo was possible the Davis Gallery, say.

  • History of the business of photography: changing address or city; poses; claiming to be an "artistic photographer"; backdrops; changing imprints often v. maintaining the brand image for several years.

  • Fashion: c. 1895 woman had to have an enormous comb sticking off the back of their heads; men's ties (bow or cravat or long; straight or crooked); a brief fad for key-shaped pins; etc.

  • View of aging: if you wrote an age on a child's photo, 90% (or more) of the time, you wrote it in years and months -- and probably days. The oldest youngster to get this was "Age 16 years 1 m 21 days."

Yesterday, the most amazing thing happened. Let me back up. I began with a collection of over 700 card photos assembled by a former staff member. Once I entered those, I started slotting in data on images scattered about the museum collection. Yesterday, I went to add a photo from a popular studio, with a particular imprint. I had already entered one like it, so I inserted a new line under that entry and began describing the one in hand. I noted as I typed that I was about to give it a similar title - boy by chair. "Hunh, I wonder if it's the same chair." Needing a stretch, I went to the shelf for the big collection. It wasn't just the same chair -- it was the same child! One is addressed to Grand Ma and Grand Pa, the other to Auntie. Made from the same negative -- capturing the same moment -- apart for all those years (since Chirstmas 1885), and together again in my hand in 2004. Digitization doesn't give you that tiny thrill.

Capital City weather: 90s, 100% humidity

Monday, June 14, 2004

Nature Moments

A robin spent several minutes swooping over my back yard pond the other day. At first, it barely touched the surface, landed on the other side and ruffled itself to spread the water all over. After several passes, it ducked its head under for two or three passes. A robin! In my tiny pond, acting like, I don't know a skimmer or something. Fabulous.

Two trips to Midlothian in three days treated me to roadside mimosa trees, trumpet vine, and queen anne's lace a-plenty.

A very odd thing greeted me at the folks' place, today: two dead fish, at the end of the driveway. At first, I set up a Somebody Else's Problem Field, and resolved to ignore them. But a sense of duty got the best of me. They were 4 to 6 inches long, white bellied, with lightly spotted tops. They did not seem to have torn mouths, suggesting hooks, nor did they have marks suggesting that a mammal snatched them from a catch or a market trip. Using the plastic-bag-as-glove trick, I picked them up. They seemed desiccated, not slimey at all; when I thought I saw creepy crawlies, though, I closed my eyes and knotted the bag.

"Tech Notes"
apologies to CB for upsetting his world with change here at CCD. I never adored the old design, and while this isn't what I'd dream up for myself, a fresh design template from the fine folks of Blogger did solve the problem of the misplaced Comments function. It took a while to figure out the code. I guess it's html; I guess I learned something when I figured out that "h2" is a subheading code. I needed to learn that to put all my extras back in. When I chose a new template, Blogger popped up a warning window: You know you'll lose your personalizations, right? And I clicked Sure, somehow forgetting how much personalizing I had done.

In related news, visit Steven Cohen at Library Stuff. He's got a few words on blogs as tools for library promotion, and thoughts on blog promotion. He links to a story that reminded me of an item I read in American Libraries about an NYU student who lived in the library.

On the muzac at Ukrop's: "Safety Dance"

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Probably only of interest to fellow SLIS students (but it's easier to blog it than to put it on my verizon site): SLA Web Search Update. (via AK's instructor....)
Here's one for data hounds: Free Online Lookups.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Friends and Associates
With any luck, Monday was my last day substitute teaching! Since I had world history classes at HHS, I asked them what they knew about the former US President who died over the weekend. They said Ronald Reagan was

  • a Great Man
  • president a long time ago
  • responsible for ending the Cold War
  • President in the 80s
  • a humanitarian
  • governor of California
  • President of the Screen Actors Guild
  • an actor during the . . . 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s
  • getting too much media attention

As you can see, the only problematic facts were how long ago he appeared on the silver screen (those are a couple of students' guesses) and how long ago the 1980s were. "Humanitarian" is odd; I didn't get to the bottom of that one. But the near choruses of "he was a great man" bowled me over. I have talked to various folks about why working class (and "lower"?) black -- and a few white -- kids would think that Reagan was a great man, and fingers were pointed at the media. These teens are good at parroting what they heard over the weekend, on TV and the radio. Probably, their opinions do not reflect political discussions of the grown ups in their homes.

Other than that, the kids had busy work, er a class evaluation to complete. Since they had 50-minute classes, I let them do whatever they wanted to do when they were done. Many had yearbooks. I recall the drapes the photogrpaher gave us young women so we all appear to be wearing velvet dresses. But, did the young men of Midlo High wear tuxes? The seniors of H High sure looked sharp in theirs. The ritual of passing yearbooks around for signatures has not changed much. A couple of kids (all girls?) who didn't have yearbooks had made autograph books out of a couple of pieces of paper. One young woman's cover page read "Friends and Associates." I think it was later, though, that I overheard this conversation:
1: "Who's signing mine?"
2: "Is it a real one?"
1 not sheepishly: No.

Two final notes on the day:
One girl dressed 80s a-go-go (sorry, mixed metaphor). How excited am I that those grubby plastic and rubber bangle bracelets are back in!
And, I heard "babydaddy" used in context, often. For example, "my cousin's babydaddy went to that school."

After learning so much, I will treasure this experience always.

Capital City weather: on the brink of a thunderstorm -- breathlessly still, dark.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

People on a listserv I'm on have been harping over librarians and image. The Nancy Pearl action figure is old news, people! Move on. This SuperLibrarian tool (index? directory?) is interesting, though.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Seattle's 21st Century Library

I finally got around to Paul Goldberger's review of Seattle's new library (The New Yorker, May 21, 2004). The glass and steel abstraction, designed by Rem Koolhass(!) and Joshua Ramus, "celebrates the culture of the book," says Goldberger. He goes on to allude to the modern role of libraries as information centers. While his examples are not always explicit, he conveys a strong sense that libraries are and will continue to be needed.

The architects arrived at this understanding by doing their homework (research, environmental scan -- call it what you will). They "investigate[ed] how libraries actually work and how they are likely to change." Yet in describing reference services, Goldberger writes that librarians point people to "the books they need" -- missing an opportunity to talk about the ability of librarians to help users search the Internet or find information on online databases to which the library subscribes. He glances this way when describing the financial commitment to the eleven-story building as "a powerful testament to architecture as a container for the delivery of information." Delivery of information -- and in some settings, packing of information -- is the business of 21st century librarians.

I agree with Goldberger that the Seattle's library "emphasizes the value a culture places on literacy" -- too bad he didn't explore just a little further into all that modern literacy includes: knowing how to read, knowing how to search for print and electronic sources to meet one's need, know when to seek help, and knowing how to evaluate the unearthed data.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Ding Board
Does anyone even use that term, anymore? Did anyone outside Massachusetts ever use it? At MHC (and across New England, I believe), seniors would tape job or graduate school rejection letters next to their dorm doors. We called them Ding Boards. Always the late bloomer, I don't recall even applying for jobs until the summer after I graduated. Having just now typed all the data into yet another online application (Henrico County Libraries), I am here to tell you that I started that first job in November 1988 at about $13K. And I am here to tell you that I am keeping the PoMo Ding Board at right, as an electronic self-shaming, peer pressure tool.

Capital City weather: Damp, 60 degrees.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Lileks on "Kennedy-era children's multimedia" here.

In library school, classmates have been known to tell moving tales of libraries they knew as kids, full of books and friendly librarians. I have no particular memory of the people, sad to say. Not even the women in the high school library, where I worked in place of study hall (half of senior year? all?). They gave me a lovely address book as a graduation gift, though.

I don't know why I imagine everyone but me is talking about beautiful, hushed Carnegie library-type spaces, but I do have this notion that only I went from a trailer public library to a mod, open-plan school library.

I remember Robious Elementary School's Media Center. We had a conversation pit off to one side, for story time; also great for jumping around. Books were kept in the middle and to the right. On the far back wall, also a hallway, hung a Seurat poster. And to the back left were, several carrels with, well, Kennedy-era children's multimedia. Some of the machines played regular filmstrips in the small space, as I recall; others played chunky film loop cartridges. I don't really remember the topics: space and nature come to mind, but there might have been terrible versions of fairy tales, too. Certainly, that's what we saw as big films and filmstrips ("Hi, I'm Troy McClure...").

Old business: the city changed the traffic pattern around the Lee Monument: it's to be treated like an actual traffic circle: vehicles in the circle have the right of way. Yet, all of the other monuments are still just blips on the east-west route? Great, a new rule at each intersection.