Monday, October 31, 2005


Happy Founder's Day to my Girl Scout friends! Juliette Gordon Low was born today, in 1860.

My dinner break is almost over: will I wear the fringed jacket to the ref desk?? I am wearing my 50s square dance print skirt and my red cowboy boots, already. . . .

Capital City weather: stunningly clear blue skies, 70 ish.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Things for Which I am Thankful Department: That as a GS volunteer, I get to do only the bits that are fun and important to me. We had a good training session at CK this weekend, despite the October thunderstorm at 6 a.m.!

Nature Moments: barred owls hooting in SH. Bald eagle swooping over tiny field, just past Heathsville (shout out to Draco for spotting it).

Frequent Flyers, Please Note: I turned on the function that will ask you to prove you are a human, and not a webbot comment spammer, by typing in the letters that you see at a certain point. Accept my apologies for that tedious red tape, but it's a great disappointment to me to think I have had many people read and comment, and then find stupid ads.

Friday, October 21, 2005

It's True: You Are Better off Playing Solitaire.

The folks at Librarian's Guide to Etiquette bring it up in this post in the context of "don't waste time doing that newsletter: no one will read it."

I've often thought the same thing in a different context. You are better off playing solitaire because if you sit here at the reference desk doing any of the following, some wit will come up and say, "Ha, I wish I could get paid to sit around and read." This implication that you are goofing off will be thrown at you even if you are:
  • keeping up on professional trends with Library Journal
  • reading the NY Times Book Review
  • plowing through this month's book discussion group (for which you must formulate inviting, stimulating, but not overly-intimidating questions)
  • cruising through the latest YA novel so you can truly know "what's in there" when some outraged parent asks
  • or keeping in tune with community needs and trends by pursing the local paper
So you have a couple of choices: read the local paper, NYTBR, and LJ online -- or play solitaire, or read library blogs. Because people think key-tapping and screen-gazing equal work. No one ever comes up and says, "I wish I could get paid to do unseen things at a computer screen all day."

Capital City weather: rainy and 60s
Reading: Carl Hiaasen's Flush
Guest Blogger: Traveling Pants

CNB e-mailed to tell me about the pants she just bought (and later granted permission to share this with you all):

Can I just say that I'm fascinated with the whole idea of package tracking.

I ordered a pair of pants from Lands End the other day and they've sent me both confirmation and shipment info emails detailing for me everything I need to know about a single pair of pants. I just checked the link to the UPS site to see where my pants were, and tracked the pants from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania to Maryland. At 3:30 AM these pants were in PA, and at 5:30, when I woke up, they were arriving in MD. According to the web page the pants have already been delivered to my house.

I know this is probably really boring, but I find it fascinating and can't get over how incredible the whole system is. . . . It's like my pants are the special ambassadors from Trouserland or something, and they must be tracked for fear of offending the tribal overlords or something.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Tuesday on the Reference Desk

Sometimes my weeknights working until 9 p.m. are full of fun stuff: homework, readers' advisory, do-able computer support, or helping folks begin household projects from aquariums to patios. This week, NP's been packed, but no one really needed us. And yes, I got out from behind the desk to push in chairs, pick up abandoned books, and randomly ask "did you find what you needed?"

The most interesting reference query came at the end of the evening, from a woman who spent her first few hours at the library pouring over our Bibles, a Bible concordance, and related reference books. At one point, I spent maybe 3 min helping her use the copier. Then, at half an hour til closing, she asked for a book on sumo. Well, we didn't have much: a children's encyclopedia of sports around the world had a picture and brief explanation; I also offered the books kids use for reports on other countries. As the patron packed up, I brought her a printout from a Japanese sumo match organization's information page. She thanked me, adding, "My sermon Sunday is going to begin with a sumo match." Well all right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fresh Links

Words invented for Simpsons episodes, here. "Kwyjibo" is my favorite.

I like this trick, from Extreme Pumpkins, to ensure that kids about 15+ get a box of raisins instead of my carefully-chosen treats. Even if I just had separate bowls (since it's hard to send people round-about when you live in a rowhouse), I don't think I could gyp the teens since they are often with, or on the heels, of tots. Anyway, I work Halloween night this year. Query: Which annoys you more: a 17-year-old on the make for Snickers bars, or a mother with babe-in-arms and a sack to collect "for the baby"?

Okay, this is just an excuse to link to A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette. I am pretty sure it wasn't polite of me to keep repeating to the patron on the phone, "We're on X Road, between Y and Z." If the first two repetitions made her say, "Near the community college?", then for me to say it again the same way -- "No between Y and Z; beyond the community college" -- wasn't going to make it better. Note to self: Do Better.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The librarian who founded this blog stated in Library Journal (October 1, 2005, p. 40) that its initial purpose was to '''replace the somewhat annoying reference binder.'" To which I say: amen, sister. I wonder, though, if she strayed from her initial purpose? Must read closer.

Another good librarian blog is called The Vampire Librarian. Here's one on the Harry Potter Generation.

Shout out to CNB for this DIY site; tag line: "No Tea Cozies without Irony."

My sweetie and I marked 4 months since our first date by buying matching Chuck Taylor hightops. ;- )

Friday, October 14, 2005

The National Zoo's panda cub will be named Monday, but he won't be out and about until December or so. That's okay; winter is a great time to go to the zoo. July, when I would insist on the zoo as a birthday outing, is not such a great time. Unless you like hills, humidity, and humanity.

Capital City weather: clearing after a week of rain; cool

Monday, October 10, 2005


Like this guy, Phil and I found Jones Soda's Candy Corn flavor pretty gross. Caramel Apple was not as close as I hoped to Slice's experimental apple flavor that I drank like crazy during the year or so it was out, way back in the '80s -- but it's not bad. P said the 11 year-old didn't think much of Candy Corn, either.

Rainy Saturday at the Library
T joked that it would be a slow day -- that no one would leave their houses in the rain -- but we were hopping all day long.

I'd like to take a moment to offer future public and school librarians a phrase to memorize. Repeat after me: "We probably don't have a book just about ____, but I bet we can find some information." And then you go on to all that Reference Class stuff about The Reference Interview and ask about the project, whether they checked the encyclopedia, and if teacher is allowing online resources. On Saturday, folks came up to ask if we had a book on: yeast, badgers, the Transcontinental Railroad, some current football player, and Malcolm X. We do have several whole books on the last. It seems it's just natural for people to begin their query "Do you have a book..." without considering their topic may not merit a whole book in their small neighborhood library.

As well as homework help, I did some computer 101, some computer trouble-shooting, and a tiny bit of reader's advisory. I'm still not so good at that.

Plain Folk
We (and dozens of folks we know) made it to the Folk Festival on Sunday. Friends who went Friday and Saturday, when it rained and rained, talked excitedly about performances they enjoyed, but didn't mention the crowd size. Driving by the 7th Street exit Friday night, right before the event was to begin, I noted a lone police car, ready to direct traffic, and two Official Volunteers in golf cart -- and that was it. My stomach kinda dropped: Oh, no, poor Richmond, looking pathetic through no fault of it's own.

Sunday, the crowds seemed healthy, especially for big-name acts like Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars and Ralph Stanley. We had lunch near the latter's stage. I very much enjoyed the Cambodian dancers: shiny costumes and stylized movements used to tell a simple melodramatic tell. Plus, two dancers played monkeys. We took in Eskimo, Cowboy, and Tibetan music, too.

On the Muzak at an East Henrico Ukrop's: "I Love Rock and Roll," and "Boy Meets Girl"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Cool Events

The National Folk Festival begins its three-year run in Capital City this weekend.

The Virginia Film Festival includes Inherit the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Weather: not cool -- warm and humid

Monday, October 03, 2005

Along the James

A couple of Sundays ago, P and I did a little antiquing out Tappahannock way. Nadji Nook is as random -- and mostly over-priced -- as ever. I had forgotten about the used book and comix store on Prince Street, next to WRAR; we got a few things there. At the antiques mall (in the old Rose's I believe), he bought an excellent framed photo of the James and the Lee Bridge, from the southside, marked 1962. A trip south of the river yesterday solidified our opinion that it was taken from the roof of that c. 1962 apartment building, James River Tower, I think it is called.

We walked across the rocks to Belle Isle, zigged up the hill by the quarry, and recrossed the river on the old train bridge (also in his photo). Though it was midday, we spotted some good birds, including goldfinches and cormorants. Crossing the bridge, however, we had our best nature moment: in the clear, shallow pools on that rocky side, we watched some fish, including the unmistakably odd longnose gar fish.