Friday, September 29, 2006


This development came to my attention through a link in something I read about Tolkien. It had been billed as an attempt to create Middle Earth, in Oregon. The front page, however, and the first few I read after that, made it seem like little more than an over-the-top planned community, with an English cottages and village look. Thomas Kinkade also came to mind.

With morning coffee in hand, I read further. My goodness! It looks I can't link straight to a picture, so, go here and look at some of the last pictures for a view of Hobbit Hole 1! And this page has a few things to say about Bree. Wow.

Here in Capital City, I wonder if I mentioned that the Fan Market, most recently a combination tanning salon and video rental place, is now a Starbucks? The mega chain finally infiltrated the Fan.

I wasn't going to read Style this week, because I am disappointed I never made the Top 40 Under 40 list, but I relented. Slipek's review of the Historical Society's addition is more a sketch of its evolution, though eventually he mentions that he doesn't like the way the new wing juts out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Happy Banned Books Week

Harry Potter tops list of most challenged books of 21st Century, says the American Library Association. One of our copies of HP is on the endcap display that Children's Librarian and I put together on Saturday. The first books to go from our display of banned and challenged works? Sendak's In the Night Kitchen and Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The later, like Fahrenheit 451, has been assigned in schools recently. Both have flown off the shelves.

To celebrate the week, we also have a little quiz -- chose the NOT-banned book on list -- to enter folks into a drawing for a book. The only person I got to enter so far is one of our local school librarians. It was busy, but we had a brief talk about banned books and how she talked about the subject with grade schoolers.

Last night, also at a hectic moment, a patron who I couldn't quite place came up (why was he barefoot?? It was only in the 60s, don't you think?) with an inter-library loan return. He jumped right in with a limp gesture at our brown-paper wrapped prize book, "What's this all about?" "I'd love to talk with you about that -- let me just finish with this gentleman."

"Okay. Banned Books Week is celebrated by booksellers and libraries every year, as a chance to talk about how while some people think some books shouldn't be published, we think all books should be published, and people should pick which ones they want to read." Yeah, it probably was a run-on sentence a lot like that, but I felt okay about the content.

"So it's new? It's some the county does?"

"Oh, no: it's been celebrated for a number of years by booksellers and the American Library Association; the county libraries are joining in [again] this year."


I checked in his ILL as he reminisced about his copy of a racially sticky children's book and how he'd "be rich" if he still had it. (Yeah, if it was a first edition, buddy. If you never took a crayon to it, or bent a page. Few old books will make you rich.)

Have a nice evening. Next please.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Since a good work friend has a daughter in the junior class at Randolph-Macon Woman's College, I have been following, blow by blow, the decision of the trustees to admit men, and the students' reaction. Students objecting to the change have expressed themselves through letters, demonstrations, protest t-shirts, a hunger strike, and by trying to sue. (After all, at least some of the first-years must have selected RMWC because it is a women's college.)

My first reaction, I suppose, was realistic resignation: Yeah, I could see that happening to another of the smaller women's colleges. After all, it is a girls-gone-wild era. I recall an interview show (Oprah, I think) featuring Boomer and X'er women shaking their heads at the giant step back such behavior represents for equality and feminism, while the under 25 set argued that their focus on pleasing men makes them liberated. These young women, I know, don't want to go to school without men, and they represent income for colleges and universities of all types. It's hopeless, I figured.

This weekend, I read about a two-year men's college, Deep Springs, in Dana Goodyear's "The Searchers" (9/4 New Yorker), and it refocused me on the positive outcomes of single-sex education. One of the things we often extol in women's colleges is the chance for women to fill all the roles: not just secretary, but also president. The editor of the paper, the star athlete, the best grades, every D.J. -- all women. Given that, it's odd I hadn't considered the reverse: what's it like when men fill all the roles? Of course, Deep Springs College has unique expectations, and since it does, men do "manly" chores on the school's ranch, and also "womanish" chores like milking, cooking, and cleaning. The wife of an alumnus noted that the students were also freer to take on "female" behaviors "like being a good friend and listening and crying" and that this "remove[d] some of the gendering from those things." Hey, that sounds like a good thing for our world. Maybe RMWC's trustees need to think about serving men only.

Additional Reading:
- "dozens of women's colleges ... are stronger than ever" -- comments by the chair of the Women's College Coalition, summer 2006
- a review of an apparently thin but charming book on college and women in the New York Times
- Quotation I found pinned on my bulletin board from a not-too-old Alumnae Quarterly, from former MHC President, Liz Kennan '60: "'After the Ivy League and other colls. went coed in the '70s, there was an expectation that the world of equality had come, that there would have be a level playing field for men and women in educ. But in fact, the stereotypes have not been broken. The millennium has not come for women's educ. in a coeducational setting.'"

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I think I heard about the Presidential Doodles book on the radio; I am pleased to see there are a few samples on the website.

For fun I read Jasper Fforde's latest, The Fourth Bear; for work I am reading Blood on the River, as the author will be visiting our library system next month. To quote the 12-year-old (who read it in a night and wants to know how I am not done yet): "it's not bad."

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The first half of the week at the ref desk has been characterized by a good bit of computer trouble-shooting, while the IT staff updates the software that manages patron computer sessions and printing. "No, you are not limited to just one hour of computer time, now. Let that hour run out, then sign on again and you'll get the second." "We're sorry." "Thanks for your patience." "Can't print? Let me save that and print it from my computer."

Near closing time on Tuesday, I got a tough question, on the phone: "What's the birthdate of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran?" Ah Ready Reference! The almanac had the year: she wanted the day. Our biography database didn't have that info; -- the portal to all things governmental -- was a pain to use and yielded nothing; and Google gave me nothing I could trust. Ah! Silly Old Bear: the encyclopedia. Our online Britannica had it.

Monday, September 18, 2006


As far as I know, I have only 3 or 4 friends who regularly keep "general interest" blogs. One tagged me for this list, two do these all the time and so may be Over It, and Phiance may know even fewer bloggers than I do -- so I don't know how I will answer the last one. I guess we will see when I get there.

Four jobs I’ve had
1. Camp Counselor
2. Assistant Curator of Photography, Valentine Museum
3. I love that as a Temp, I spent an entire work day handing out Ralph Lauren perfume samples at Thalhimers Westmoreland, and wrapping years of service gifts for Blue Cross.
4. Librarian

Four movies I could watch over and over
1. Singin in the Rain
2. Spirited Away
3. Buckaroo Bonsai
4. Diner

Four places I have lived
1. Philadelphia, Penna.
2. Midlothian, Va.
3. South Hadley, Mass.
4. Oxford, Miss.

Four TV shows I love to watch
1. Seinfeld
2. M*A*S*H*
3. The Simpsons
4. Star Trek

Four places I’ve been on vacation
1. Alaska
2. Kiptopeake State Park
3. Baltimore
4. London

Four websites I visit [alomst] daily
1. Librarian Girl
2. boingboing
3. Wired
4. National Weather Service

Four of my favorite foods
1. Chocolates
2. New York bagels
3. Mom's lasagna
4. Eggs benedict

Four places I would rather be right now
1. the Outer Banks
2. a James River park
3. sailing on the Great Wicomico
4. dinner party at Dan's

Four blogs I’ll tag
Um, any volunteers?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A more formal portrait.
Thanks, Jess.

I adore my engagement necklace, which belonged to Phiance's mom. It's simple, yet shiny. An added bonus: no awkward poses with one hand by my face, or both folded in front of me to show it off!
Wired offers us an item, here, about the fear of terrorism and the real threat. "In fact, your appendix is more likely to kill you than al-Qaida is."

Saturday, September 09, 2006

We Are Now Engaged

P proposed at Natural Bridge on September 2nd

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The patron who kinda reminds me of my (late) fraternal grandmother was just in. She likes Steven Colbert, so I used InfoTrac to find the February 13th, 2006, issue of Newsweek in which he appeared for her.

My lib lost power around 1:40 on Friday; after 3 hours in the dark, we closed. Power out at our house only 10 or 12 hours.

Capital City weather: outstanding

Friday, September 01, 2006

Not that I am in the habit of suggesting the RTD to anyone, but they have some storm blogging going on.
Capital City Weather:

Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Fall 1999: Floyd

September 2003: Isabel

August 2004: Gaston