Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Dan continued my thread on postcards, here. I, too, like old postcards for the messages. Often, a writer's two-cents-worth was about a change in travel plans or a reminder that'd he'd be coming to stay next week. This collector of Mount Holyoke postcards transcribes the messages, which convey much about the college as well as the type of messages ("arrived safe," e.g.) for which people used them. I'm sure there are a gazillion postcard websites. Two others I like are Lileks on motels and diners; and VCU's online exhibition of Richmond postcards, though the later never and the former rarely shares the message. Any others you all would like to share?

: Alan Alda's memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
On the Muzak at Ukrop's: Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"
Capital City weather: 90, humid, clearish

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Week in Review

Monday, I put fish in the pond.

Wednesday, the FOUND Magazine guys came to town. Did someone give them this cool MCV find then? (Thanks for link, P.) They did a good show, if a bit of a repeat from last fall. Still, a live show rerun beats a TV one any day.

Thursday, I stayed home sick with a tiny fever, aches, and whatnot.

Yesterday, T and I went north to see both the Basilica and and A Prairie Home Companion. Did you hear us cheer when Old Crow Medicine Show sang "The James River Blues"?

Today, is the Upper Mattaponi Pow-Wow and a cookout in the suburbs.

Capial region weather: sunny, humid, 80

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What He Said

I, too, spent some time cleaning out the other day. The juxtaposition between, Why did I keep this?, and Oh! This! (Such good memories.) is nice. Raised by parents whose folks got rid of Mad Magazine #1 and Beatles mementos, though, I have a lower number of the first kind of memento than the second. It's hard to get myself to that "my stuff doesn't own me" moment. Thus I found a dozen or so Star Wars bubble gum cards, and I kept them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I think I have only two of these Chuck's-on-the-cover YA novels at my branch. It's the end of the fiscal year, ya know: no money.

Friday, May 19, 2006

On Blogging

I recently read Marydee Ojala's article in Business Information Review, "Blogging: For Knowledge Sharing, Management and Dissemination" (22(4), pp. 169-276). [*cough!* Retyping that title, it occurs to me I must have read it because I thought I didn't have enough jargon in my diet.]

After defining blogs and sketching a brief history, she notes the aging dinosaurs of library blogging. "Early adapters of technology, librarians were among the first to start weblogs as true communication devices rather than diaries." She lists the Shifted Librarian and Library Stuff. Now that I am out of school, I rarely look at those two: too educational (dull). She put Resource Shelf in this list, too. It's new to me, and looks useful.

Having shown us the difference between "communication devices" and "diaries," Ojala next discusses two types of internal workplace blogs. There are those that are an "outgrowth of current awareness newsletters" and there are those that are tools for knowledge sharing. (Should I remind you all of the hierarchy of mere data, then information, and finally Knowledge?) The second type of blogs -- and, as a blogs, being save-able (I hesitate to using "archivable," though she did) and searchable -- make great institutional memories as well as venues for exchange. Ojala stresses, though, that they need to be grassroots, not management directed, to succeed. When all can blog and comment, knowledge sharing is more comfortable. "Ask someone simply to respond to a blog post about how a particular procedure works, for example, and that person is much more likely to respond than to fill out a tedious form."

Ojala closes reminding the reader that blogs may well be a flash in the pan, but since e-mail's usefulness seems doomed to drown in spam, its future, too, is murky. To that I'd add all I hear and read about instant messaging and NextGens: People under 25 view e-mail as a way to talk to old people. When I asked a small meeting of our Teen Advisory Board about good ways to communicate with them, they said they never check e-mail, that IM is too transient (that they probably wouldn't make a note of it if we IM'd them about an upcoming meeting), and that MySpace would be great. To include them as our colleagues and customers, we must be mindful of this.

I am mindful that I most enjoy the oft-dismissed diary-style blogs: Librarian Girl leads at the moment; the Vampire Librarian and Libetiquette follow her. Perhaps I gain the occasional idea or technique, but mostly I gain the sense that I am not the only GenXer doin' the library thing, and puzzling over, say, patrons' hangups with staplers or how to act in public. Oh, and I gain lots o' laughs. That's important.

Capital City weather: sunny, breezy, 60ish on its way up to 70

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What's in a Name

Last night, Polite-Though-Casual Patron had me helping him track down information on Mary Surratt, who was hung as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination. I began by trying to move him from "a book on" to "information about," and to that end went to pull a reference work of biographies of Civil War figures.

As I checked the index for her name, a man said, "Lisa." I looked up and didn't recognize the well-dressed man in front of me. "How come you have a name?" he asked. Ever the quick wit, I shot back with, "My parents gave it to me; I've had it a long time." At the same time, I asked myself, "How did he see my nametag from that angle?" and "Okay, are we done, here, 'cause I am helping a fellow who asked a real question." Before I could move away, he launched into a speech about the importance of names -- not titles -- on nametags. Staff at Library D, for instance, has only "librarian" on their nametags, and he found this outrageous for "city" employees. He paid his "city" taxes and expected to know the names of police offices, garbagemen, and library staff. He called [full first name of County Library director (a name he does not use)] for a answer to this terrible problem. He didn't buy that a stalker following a library employee triggered it: what if a library staffer were hit by a truck crossing the street, would the Director bar us from crossing the street? "That's just faulty logic!" he cried, and his expression urged me to agree.

I didn't care to agree or disagree. I didn't care to discuss it with him. I wanted to get the book to Polite Patron. While I did manage, "Some people just don't like for their names to be known," I did not lash out with: "You have a lot of damn nerve choosing to address me by my first name, not last" "You know this is the county not city, right?" or "Sir, you are creeping me out with that tight smile, sales manager tone of voice, the way you don't blink, and the way you keep referring to stalking."

I did steal a glance, then another, at Polite Patron -- a man who does not wear a tie, admittedly, but who knows how to blink and how to ask a question. Finally, I pointed to the book in my hand all these hours and said, "I hate to cut you short, but I need to bring this information to another patron."

"Yeah, yeah, I just wanted to compliment you on having your name. That's real important."

Capital City weather: sunny and 70s
Show in the Far West End Tonight: GoGos

Monday, May 15, 2006

TV Star Visits Richmond

Two very different friends sent pictures of this happening, so I guess it is my duty to share it as important local news.

At 9 or so on Friday morning, P and I went to the grocery store to get the last of our camping trip supplies. I was very surprised to see cones up and down the Boulevard -- I thought the parade for the dude on TV was at 3 or 4? Do they expect people to line up this early?? When we came back from our errand, men were cutting the grass under the crepe myrtles in the middle of the road, and a street sweeper was at the ready. "Oh, good," I thought, "they are just making the Boulevard pretty for the parade to the Carillon."

By the pictures the librarian at R Middle School sent, the crowd was HUGE. She reports that he used to work at her pharmacy near UR. The pictures she and my pal the stay-at-home dad, Jesse, sent both feature the Star in a very practiced smile. Jess, who is starting to do some freelance photography, sent this one:

photo by Jesse Peters

In Other News

The beautiful sunny weather depicted above is about the only tie to our beautiful weekend. Though the forecast included threats of thunderstorms and mostly cloudy skies, we found mostly sunny (and moonlit) skies in Westmoreland County, until Sunday, when we packed up and visited Stratford Hall. We enjoyed hiking, birdwatching, marshmallows over a campfire, and just sitting in the meadow overlooking the Potomac. Some birding highlights include a mute swan, a couple of great-creasted flycatchers, and hearing a whip-poor-will. (The latter's cousin the chuck-will's-widow is much more common at Camp K.)

One of Virginia's state parks with roots in the CCC, Westmoreland features campgrounds ranging from our tent site by a cheerily blooming mountain laurel, to camper sites, to vintage cabins, to modern, central heat-and-A/C cabins. The pool, boats, and camp store open for the season at the end of the month, but did get to visit the one-room Vistor Center with it's display of fossilized shark teeth and stuffed birds and mammals. P found a shark tooth right away on Friday, but despite repeated visits to the river beach I came up empty-handed. We only learned on Sunday that original CCC-built structures are supposed to have a special emblem on them. As well as cabins and the snack bar, I think that the picnic shelter with fireplace beyond the pool must be original. The posts are not only rough-hewn and have little curved bracket details at the tops (too much whimsy for a modern build), but they are also thick with paint. The state's done a fine job of taking care of the place.

I had a refreshing, low-key weekend. I think that means I am recharged for work, but I may be too mellow: Yeah, go ahead and talk on your cell phone in Children's -- the dude at the end of the Big Meadow Trail was.

Capital City weather: cloudy, 98% humidity

Thursday, May 04, 2006