Wednesday, August 31, 2005

In library school, we explored the reference interview. We read about understanding gaps to be bridged and phases of inquiry. We practiced using open-ended questions and statements such as, "Tell me more about what you mean by 19th century mountain lions." We addressed the fact that people with questions don't always know what the question is, themselves, as when a school paper topic is too broad or vague. But I do not remember practicing how to deal with people who, perhaps, are trying to be evasive, as the woman with the movie in this Libraries for Dummies post. Or people who are just not very articulate, whether for lack of education, shyness, or mental disability. Yesterday, we had a patron treat at least two of us to a long, complicated tirade -- complete with digressions into the family situation -- that seemed to boil down to this: Someone in the household put book x on hold; the message that it was at NP didn't get passed along; is it back on the regular shelf now so I can check it out? Why yes, yes it is. Only, of course, the online catalog said "on shelf," but really, it was on a cart in back waiting to be shelved.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Check out Libraries for Dummies, a site where a 21st Century Librarian blows off a little steam on the subject of public library work. Apparently, she's had some recent negative feedback about her negative outlook. I think that if we all understand that we are just blowing off steam -- that we don't really hate all of human kind -- it's okay to gripe about the characters encountered on the bumpy, winding road of customer service work.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lunch with an Old Friend

I need to complete a project, so I am at the Library of Virginia at the moment, researching and trying to write. Alas, I didn't make plans to meet anyone who works here or nearby -- but I do note an old friend in the vitrine here in the cafe area: the 1785 model of the State Capitol. Removed from the Capitol itself during the current rennovations, it sits right here on the other side of Broad Street among cafe tables styrofoam cups of coffee, wireless internet access, and chicken salad sandwhiches.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Interesting world view: Avant Game: a minor statement on avant gaming. I got to this site because I read,for the second time, about the game to move 1984 from Fiction to True Crime, History, whatever, in bookstores. (Oh, I see, she's an organizer. Must read more.) I wonder why stores and not libraries?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Now that I have read the article I mention below, from The Washington Times, America's Newspaper, I will draw your attention to Marty's sound bite: "Today's librarians must be 'more nimble and flexible' than in the past, says Martha Hale, dean of Catholic's school. The word science in the school's title never was more valid because, in Ms. Hale's words, '[Today's librarians] solve problems. It's the way they think of themselves on the job.' Innovative technology forces them to be alert to new methods of acquiring and dispersing information, she adds. "

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I'll link you to the DDC blog on a feature item on library schools in metro D.C., since I like his comments.

Reading: The Twenty-one Balloons, by William Pene du Bois. Sure, it's a "J," not "YA" book, but it's about Krakatoa . . . sort of.

Friday, August 19, 2005


70s stickers: I totally had some of the same ones!

Book vending machine, here.

While a Deluxe Nancy Pearl Action Figure is very cool, one of our minority colleagues propses other ideas. By the way, I rarely actually raise a finger to my lips in that "shush" gesture -- but one of those few times was just the other evening when a boy of 10 or so got so into the online song and/or video before him (and in his computer's headphones) that he started singing along. Whether he looked at me while singing just for a reaction, I don't know, but when he did, I just made The Gesture. A reflex, not doubt. Instantly, he stopped singing. In contrast, when I walk over to folks and say "I don't think you realize that we can here you at the other end of the building; please keep it down," I raise noise, muttering, and laughter. Maybe The Shush is not all bad.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

On the Way Home from the Y
1) It's darkish at 8:30. Goodbye, summer.
2) Is there an art gallery in a store that used to sell bathroom fixtures? When did that happen?
3) Another trendy bar is moving into the old Seigel's (sp?) grocery, across from the Fan Thrift. Could it really be called the "Martini Kitchen and Bubble Bar"? Maybe my memory is bad.

I led a pretty lively book discussion at work Monday: Simon Winchester's Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded.

I am most of the way through the odd, the diverting The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, by Robert Rankin.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cool link: the - Vintage photo gallery features smallish pictures and excellent excerpts from what the Consumer Reports experts thought about record changers, nylon shirts, plastic plates, and a wealth of other cool products!
In the News

Whew, for once, it's a county, not the City, being embarrassing. Read about the mad rush for cheap, torn-up laptops here or here.

On the Muzak at Ukrop's: 99 Luftballons
Capital City Weather: not-as-hot, fixin' to rain

Friday, August 12, 2005

I'm a Believer

Yesterday, a cataloger entered the "one billionth holding record in the WorldCat database." Click here to see what the book's about.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Knowledge Economy

Barack Obama spoke at the American Library Association meeting this summer. Somewhere (Library Journal, perhaps?) I saw criticism of some of the high-profile speakers -- that they just "give us what we want to hear" and offer nothing challenging. Someone did assert that that is what conferences are for: to reaffirm professionals in what they do. When I went to American Camping Association conferences, I certainly felt that, and enjoyed the feeling. The GSUSA National Council Session I attended did feel a little too rah-rah, but the Girl Scouts does that, sometimes.

Anyway, Obama's remarks appear in the Aug 2005 issue of American Libraries; a train of thought I applauded might be summarized with these two snippets:

... literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy that we are living in today.

Over the next 10 years, the average literacy required for all American occupations is projected to rise by 14%. ... The kind of literacy necessary for the 21st century requires detailed understanding and complex comprehension.

In other news, P and I spent an awesome weekend at Natural Bridge. Though 1960s colonial revival, I totally dug the Natural Bridge Hotel with it's quiet lobby with a few simple antiques, a cabinet full of archival tidbits about the hotel, and a smashing array of prints of Natural Bridge itself. Breakfast in the Colonial Dining Room meant a buffet -- I had my annual serving of grits -- genteel service, and an atmosphere not unlike the Miller & Rhodes Tea Room, except that the view was mountainous, not urban.

The Bridge itself remains, of course, one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World. We lingered there and strolled all the way to the Lace Falls on Sunday. But wait! That's not all! The Natural Bridge Caverns describe themselves as the deepest commercial caverns on the east coast. I felt amazed when we stood at the bottom of a giant crevice looking up 300-whatever feet -- a split in the earth torn apart by an earthquake. Damn.

As if that wasn't enough, there's a Wax Museum, too. Pictures are forth-coming.

Friday, August 05, 2005

ComedySportz Improv Theatre Richmond did a great YA program for us last night, with a 30-second (then 15, then 7...) version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer 's Stone, a sound symphony, "What are you doing?" and other wacky improv games. The 50 teens (and 7 or 9 adults and tots who snuck in) enjoyed it, and -- oh yeah! -- that's about twice as many people as the other area libraries got!! Not that it's a contest.
NY Deli link here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sad News the new issue of Style (not yet online): the New York Deli will close August 30! Oh how I weep for the loss of Sunday breakfasts with girl friends, pre-Byrd Italian subs, and a walking-distance source for Dr. Brown's sodas and Route 11 potato chips!
A YA author's New York Times Op-Ed piece that warns against age labels for teen lit and calls for publishers to move Young Adult books out of their children's divisions. It reminded me of something I learned reading VOYA: YA is not about how advanced a reader your little darling is, it's about content. That steamy teen romance may well be written with vocabulary words a 4th grader will know, but the situations speak to, or are aimed at, 15 year-olds.

On the Muzak at Ukrop's: "Come on Eileen" and "Life in a Northern Town."