Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ain't Technology Grand

The Effing Librarian glibly juxtaposes some of the recent media tidbits on libraries:

"USAWeekend magazine's ParentSmart section says that parents should learn to use Facebook to communicate with their children, but the USAToday Technology section reports that Congress wants to ban a child's access to Facebook and other social networking sites within public libraries."

Read the rest of his entry, here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Reference

Wright's Black Boy

why don't we have a single J. Picoult book in? (Um: because she's popular?)


It's quiet enough for a while that I preview teen book reviews, then post them online.


printer troubles

a book for her child psych class

how to get to Kangaroo Jacs

(I sense more printer trouble walking my way....)
(And did I mention the caller earlier this week? No? Here's how that went:
Phone rings, I answer - My Lib information desk
Her: Yeah, I need a book on mice.
Me: Let's see as -["pets" is the word that was going to be next]
Her: You know, like how to tell if I have them in my house, and how to get rid of them.
Me: Ah. Let's see what I can find. ["Pests -- control" is a subject heading and one of our big libs has a book on household pests.] There's something at another library that might help; I can send it over here.
Her: You don't have anything on mice in that library?!
Me: Well, I'd bet there'd be something in one of our general household books. Let me call you back.
And sure enough, a Hints from Heloise book and Household Hints for Dummies (yes, really) look useful so I called her back and put them on hold for her. I am always a little surprised by how many people begin with "do you have a book on" as if we have one book on every subject.)

Twilight links
Interesting conversation about re-reading

Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett
Stoner & Spaz, Ronald Koertge

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Peaks of Otter Lodge

Resting on the way up

Atop Sharp Top
Kids These Days

A NextGen explains that she and peers aren't race-blind.
"Race is a socially created concept, and since its inception it has been a socially fed nuisance, to say the least. It sprang to life and run amok,"
Saaret E. Yoseph writes at The Root. She fusses at her elders for making them (well, everyone) check little boxes to indicate race. Yoseph notes, "There are more interracial couples, more biracial children and an expansion of the definitions of ethnicity, but all of that has done little to help us understand each other better." Read more, here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Reading Drags On

After reading (and logging online) ten titles, little kids get to pick a free book from a collection of shiny paperbacks. Each kid -- or his or her parent -- takes the choice as seriously as making a supreme court decision. They hover underfoot for an age, oblivious to gentle cues to just take something and move along!

Today I fielded the first, "but don't the teens get something??" Yeah, a chance to win an MP3 player. (They hadn't been impressed, after all, with rub-on tattoos or the oh-so-passe gel bracelets of years gone by.)

I've reprinted the stack of Take One reading lists only once -- for the middle school grades.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I thought I'd post a picture from the Peaks of Otter and boast about climbing Sharp Top, but all the good pictures must be on Phil's camera. So, here's, um, our new grill:

and here's the place we had lunch in the city of Bedford.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Consider Myself to Be a Serious Person

Ha. I was just confessing to FW, though not in such erudite language, that I had about these same feelings about the social networking that the kids are so into these days:

But Facebook's ick factor in the executive suite might have as much to do with its shiny, happy world of "friendship" as with security. "There's almost an inverse relationship between seriousness and how much you participate in social networking," says ReputationDefender's Fertik, laughing. That basically nails it: Facebook is simply unserious—particularly given how it prompts hard-driving business executives to regress into adolescent vernacular. "Poking" people, requesting "friends," writing on someone’s "wall": It’s cute when you're in high school or college. But in a corporate environment, it sounds disingenuous and downright silly.

Ultimately, Facebook candy-coats the true nature of business relationships. And it will rot your teeth.

From Wired.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Busy Monday on the Desk

Information on the Free-Soil Party

Do we have more science fiction than what's in that paperback rack?

A dozen summer reading club sign ups

Study room

Little kids wanting to collect the free paperback they get after reading 10

GED books

I dissuaded a mom from getting Chris Lynch's Inexcusable. It's highly regarded, I said, but you should know about the subject matter before you get it for your 14-old-daughter.

A zillion students wanting something from their school reading list

Directions to a library in the county just north of us

Kid I like a lot wants to do the teen Treasure Hunt (follow clues around lib, win a prize). She's too young, but I say Sure (because I like her). She needs help on almost every step. . . .

Her older brother complains that they prizes are "too kiddie."

Study room

Books on business plans

Something on nepotism

A new book with vampires, but she doesn't think its S. Meyer or Laurell K. Hamilton

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Late Adapter

Capital City Desk post #1 had to do with peer pressure, so perhaps this one -- post #1000 -- ought to as well. For a year or so, I've had a mild internal struggle about picking up a MySpace or a Facebook page. Even though the library system for which I work continues to filter social networking sites for teens, it seemed important, as a teen librarian, to understand the experience first hand.

Then again, it was one more thing for which I'd need to create a login and password.

The first time I'd read about MySpace and Facebook was in the New Yorker: such a middle adapter way to learn about trends! (Though it's good to remember that Gladwell's piece on cool hunting -- a chapter of The Tipping Point -- first ran in the New Yorker in 1997.) And I kinda wanted to sign up for Facebook right then, because it still had (or perhaps had just lost?) the snob appeal of being open only to students and alumni of certain schools, and mine seemed to be one.

But it meant more filling-in of online forms and making up a password -- plus, I didn't get how it was better than my blog.

Meanwhile, I set a work goal of doing some of the things on the 23 Things training program, and soon I was setting up names and passwords left and right. I tried Bebo as a different social networking site and have already forgotten the password I used there. I have kept up with Flickr, LibraryThing, and Bloglines for a while now, so why on earth would I create one more space for myself that seems to duplicate what all these sites (products/services) do?

Well, because everyone else is doing it, of course. Reunion must have been the (yes) tipping point for me.

So I filled in the form and created a password and now I have a Facebook page. And I joined something called Linked In, which is meant to be professional networking, I gather. We'll see how long I can remember the password for that one. . . .

What I like about Facebook is that I got to have a tiny, unplanned conversation with Sheree the other day. What I don't like is the feeling that I have to start so many things all over again. I could share books on it -- only I am pretty dedicated to LibraryThing, now. I can share pictures -- by taking them from my Snapfish and Flickr online albums. I'm competitive, so I can see challenging people to all these games (yeah, like I need another distraction). I can't see all the virtual presents and whatnot . . . but then the "flair" did give me pause because I've always sort of missed my denim jacket with its little 80s buttons.

To rephrase myself (see post #1): I'll be interested to see what I do with Facebook and if I have the tenacity to keep it and CCD going, too.

Just Read: Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. (I enjoyed it thoroughly. Allow me to disagree, however, with the NY Times blurb on the back cover: "'A direct descendant of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.'" Clearly, Good Omens descends from the Dirk Gently books.)

Capital City weather: hot, humid, clear

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Is It Just Me?

Because we all have those moments of imagining we are some kind of conspiracy victims -- that amazon or yahoo! or twitter is working for everyone else except us -- a computer whiz has developed a little website that lets you go check. Read about it in the NYTimes.

Library patrons often don't believe us when we say, "It looks like that error message means all of Yahoo! is down right now." It's all about "your computer won't let me read my e-mail/buy books/whatever" and "what do you mean a website doesn't always work??" So, I passed this link to lib colleagues so that when patrons are really suspicious, or annoyed, or confused, we can use this site to research it further. I got various thanks and accolades -- and I tried to act like I diligently keep up with the Times, but of course, I was just clicking around various diverting blogs and read about it on berg with fries.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Flip Flops

WDL: "Don't wear them to dressy restaurants. They are not dressy." (7/6/08)

Phusband: "Flip-flops as regular footwear are, like reality television and rude cell-phone habits, signs of the decline of western civilization." (11/30/05)

Cotton Dick Clinton: "Flip Flops and Mutton Chops" is the first song on the list, here. (It's really hard to date CDC songs...)

Capital City weather: rainy and 80s. Which really isn't flip flop weather, people! Put on real shoes and keep your feet dry and warm.

Recently Read: Twilight, Stephenie Meyer. Bella wears boots, sneakers, and that one high heel to the prom. I don't recall any floppin around.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Q & A

Q: How many patrons does it take to read the hours sign?

A: More than 3, apparently, because that pack of grown adults couldn't between them find the 11x17" sign just to their left. The one with, like, 2 inch lettering on it.