Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This university library did an awesome job of letting students know how useful and helpful it is.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

One of these just walked in the door of the lib.
Professional Tool

I just added a WorldCat search to my Firefox tool bar, and that search box over there on the right to the template. It was a snap, and now I can find which library has a book I need, from the convenience of my own laptop. Too bad I am not in school or doing research for anyone at the moment. It'll make a great back up for those few times work's OCLC logins are all in use -- though only when I think I am going to find an item in a neighboring system. When I suspect we're going to be ILL-ing something, I need to go on through our system so I can jump straight into making the ILL request.

Capital City weather: we had one of those intense "30% chance of rain" thunderstorms last night. We lost power at NP twice, including lock-up time. Neat-o. It made today hot and sticky.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New New York

Did you catch David Sedaris on This American Life? He described sitting in a restaurant and assuming no one would come to wait on him. Ira Glass thought this was absurd -- they're in business! Of course they will come wait on you! I am firmly in Sedaris's camp, though with slightly different complexes: I assume I am being snubbed, pointedly, for being too unhip or curly-haired or poor.

This how I felt at the new New York Deli last night. Even though I wore a cute vintage top, I knew I was too un-trendy to have a good experience. We went because Phil wanted to go. I knew from the first hints in Style that the friendly low-key deli would become a Hip Spot, and the weekly's recent gushing about the new current of nightlife it carries confirmed it. Still, P wanted to go, and maybe my horizons needed expanding.

P's version of the outing is just a click away, and of course the first commenter on P's blog about the evening sounds like exactly the sort of self-proclaimed "scenester" I don't want to share space with. My NYD was the sort of place where old gents living on their own here in the city could have an early dinner alone -- and feel comfortable doing it. Those are the fellows I want as fellow diners when I grab a bite before a show at the Byrd or have Sunday breakfast with some girl friends.

And the waitress knew all of this about me, I know it. This is why she paid so little attention to us that she felt surprised when we said, Um, could we get some silverware? She all but said, Oh are you still here? Or, No, I am sorry, your top covers too much of you and you are not wearing a short flippy skirt, and therefore are not entitled to this nice cloth napkin and zany mismatched diner silverware.

About the time I admitted to P that the wrap was tasty, and he made me taste his bitter dish, the other (competent and friendly) waitress noted I needed water and offered to top off my glass. No thanks, we're just trying to get our check.

I went in expecting it to be like this (though with fewer babies and toddlers), but P expected to be treated civilly and to have a tasty meal, so he was getting increasingly angry. Thankfully, Bev's is just across the street and so the outing was saved.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Saturday at NP

I wore my Chuck's to work, partly as my disguise as a hipster librarian, and partly so I could do a quick garbage pick up in the library's yard. From driving by, S and I had identified a piece of fabric in the parking lot as underwear -- in fact, it was only a nice plaid hankie. Nearby was a single-shot bottle of Segrams gin. In the woods along our driveway, what I took to be beer cans turned out to be containers for Slim Fast and an energy drink. The beer bottles -- Heinken, mostly -- were deeper in the woods, in a clearing that felt oft-used. It wasn't until my return swing that I noted the tin of chicken, the lid popped open but not off.

From then, the day was fairly uneventful until the weekly exchange of obscure video tapes inter-library loaned for a patron who struggles to follow our ILL rules to the comma. Instead of arriving at 31 minutes until closing time as he has been doing, he came at Children's Librarian's lunch break, at the same time that I was helping:

Another patron with a single ILL request. And

A nursing degree student struggling with her first homework assignment on etymology. The point seemed to be to introduce them to the notion of Latin roots and so recognize things like "renal" as having to do with kidneys. She had trouble grasping it, and so asking me questions, and I don't know that I helped as much as I could have. Whether part of the assignment or a tangent, she also wanted to know more about Senator Allen's name-calling.

And a boy who needed to put money on his SAM account.

And a woman looking for Future Shock.

No, Nice School Librarian whose name I can't recall, We're not always this busy on Saturdays!

Thanks, M-M, for the heads up on LJ.

Reading Rampage: Cloud Atlas, Weetzie Bat, Morality for Beautiful Girls, , and an article on the mills at Matoaca (Chesterfield County, Va.) in Virginia Magazine.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Professional Reading

1) Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century found that:
  • libraries hold high credibility in their communities
  • the public values both traditional and 21st century services
  • people who are civiclly engaged are very pro-library, but not worried about library's competition for funding
  • leaders see libraries as poised to solve problems, but vulnerable
  • most people reject cutting library services

2) Langmedia: online language lab, from the Five Colleges

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Onion

Dewey Decimal System Helpless To Categorize New Jim Belushi Book

DUBLIN, OH—Members of the OCLC Online Computer Library Center's Editorial Policy Committee, which oversees the Dewey Decimal System library...

As well as wanting to draw your attention to the interesting item above, I wanted to try out The Onion's "blog" button. Pretty neat.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Stacy Schiff wrote on Wikipedia for The New Yorker's July 31 issue (so I don't know how long that link will last).

Much of the article defines Wikipedia and describes the growing number of people with responsibility for content. The thing about having credentialled people keeping an eye on things, she writes, it that "too many Wikipedians are fundamentally suspicious of experts and unjustly confident of their own opinions." They don't take well to edits and just change them back. Or, they write at length on popular that topics, one hopes, are ephemeral: "The (generally good) entry on St. Augustine is shorter than the one on Britney Spears."

Style often goes wanting, too, Schiff points out. She gives the entry on Nietzsche as an example: while "debate" leads to frequent revision of the essay, the disagreements are "over Nietzsche's politics; taken as a whole, the entry is inferior to the essay in the current Britannica, a model of its form."

Wikipedia people are quoted as predicting the doom of print encyclopedias, and in return, "Jorge Cauz, Britannica's president, told [Schiff] in an e-mail that if Wikipedia continued without some kind of editorial oversight it would 'decline into a hulking mediocre mass of uneven, unreliable, and, many times, unreadable articles.'"

Friday, August 11, 2006

Just Read

A new YA librarian mentioned that Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak is one of her favorite teen novels. Having finished the captivating Cloud Atlas (Liam Callanan ) for this month's adult book club, and as I was straightening the A's, I checked it out.

Ah, yes: another downer teen problem novel, very much like Just Listen, which I read earlier this summer. Now that I think about it, the oft-annoying, yet occassionally useful, yalsabk listserv compared the two endlessly, so I might have known I could skip the older title.

I hereby give myself the homework assignment of reading something light, cheerful, and/or fun next week!

On Muzak: Librarian Girl writes wittily about it, here. One of her commenters writes that it is supposed to appeal to the "perceived customers of the business" -- and even as a retype that, a lightbulb goes on! All this time, I thought Ukrop's was trying to say something about itself: no they nod to us when they choose "80s pop tunes" or whatever that is. I still find it jarring that the alcohol-free, closed-on-Sunday grocery plays music that makes me think of frat parties, but now I get that it's not about them, it's about me.

At the Diamond: RBraves won for us last night, on Library Night! Will they keep it up tonight, when we are invited to the "Governor's Box"??

At the Byrd: Will it be worth $1.99?: The DaVinci Code

Monday, August 07, 2006


P predicted the selling of bottled ice-cap-melt water; it'll be a sign of how little The Majority cares that we've ruined an entire planet. Here's Greenland ice cap beer: is that better or worse?

In other commercial news, after a pretty successful East End yard sale, we came back to town for dinner at home and a walk to Gentrification Towne -- er, Carytown. From a table in the window at Bev's Ice Cream, we people-watched. Bygones grabbed this summer's hot pirate theme for their Watermelon Festival window -- a pirate chest of melons. A woman in a turquoise blue dress took some photos (or video?) from the Byrd's marquee and climbed back in the balcony-level window. The new New York Deli had customers; one in the window had placed her Vera Bradley bag for all to see how Nice a restaurant it is now. A Byrd ticket taker came outside to scope out a tandem bicycle chained to a sign post.

Just as I was going to make a grand overgeneralization about the well-heeled suburbanites cluttering "my" sidewalk, a trio dressed in a "gangsta" fashion caught my eye. "Look how carefully he's had to arrange his skort-shorts," I thought of the young man. The billowy trousers were low enough to allow us all to see a good 4 or 5 inches of his underwear -- but they were belted in place, so as to stay put at that optimum point, I guess. Maybe they were wanna be thugs, maybe they lived over on Parkwood. As the threesome moved off, a couple caught my eye: Well, at last, those hipsters look a little more like us. Oh, wait, it's P's new coworker and her husband! They'd come to Bev's for a pre-movie dinner.

After a quick chat with them, and at P's insistence, we popped in to the new NY Deli and he asked for a menu ($7 - 9 salads, sandwiches, mac and cheese, and General Tso's chicken). It's all medium wood tones and tiny little hanging lights: an upscale version of the Panera we visited over by the mall, the next day. Around the corner, half of For the Love of Chocolate's former space is occupied by what seems to be a grocery called the Tokyo Market. (FLC moved to Cary Court.) Looks like everyone's settled in just in time for the Watermelon Festival.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Screw Loose

I don't think I ever mentioned the little round table.

We anticipate beginning a self-serve pick-up system for books placed on hold by patrons. To get ready, a table for handouts and the photocopier were moved from just inside the front door, to a desirable spot right next to the men's room. The handouts table became a desk for a new employee -- and it wouldn't have fit next to the copier in its new location, anyway.

For a couple of weeks, I ignored the need for a table next to the copier. When you're makin' copies, though, you do need a landing place for originals, the other book you need info from, your quarters, etc. When a patron came over and politely suggested that we get a table, I knew I had to take initiative. I hated to, but I took a little table from the break room.

Until New T opens, my branch remains the newest and (in most aspects) most well-thought out library in the system. We have a sizable break room -- the envy of many! -- with a 'fridge with water and ice in the door, a round dining table and four chairs, a sofa, a club chair, and next to the last, a spikey-legged round end table. On a slow lunch break -- or when a book group book is due -- I like to sit in the club chair with my cup of tea at my side. But, short of a Baker & Taylor box, "my" tea table was the only spare surface in the entire place, so I grabbed it by its top and carried it out onto the floor. It does the trick, and it fits our beech wood and metal Look out there.

One day, as I looked the place over before opening, I saw that the table looked odd: the top didn't seem to be centered on the legs. It wasn't. It wasn't even attached to the legs any longer! "Something snuck in and chewed holes in all of our sneakers!" I said to myself, recalling what a tent-full of Junior Girl Scouts once exclaimed to me. I was dubious, then, but I was ready to believe that some wacky patron could well have taken all the screws out of our little table.

This week, I finally thought to mention it to the county buildings and grounds -- er, "general services" -- man who checks in on us every week or so. As part of his assessment of the situation, he picked up the legs, and we heard a little metallic rattle. "Hunh," he said, "seems like they fell through." Eeek! Probably from carrying it out here by it's top, I didn't admit. "I ought to be able to fix it next time I come by."

Capital City weather: just don't even ask
In the garden: something keeps eating our "Sweet 100" cherry tomatoes

When I first heard that someone wanted to dig the train out of the Church Hill tunnel, I said, "Why?" Here's a Style backpage from a man who agrees. See also information I put together for a Valentine Museum event, here (scroll down a little; sorry there aren't better internal links).