Hmm, An Unexpected Result

August 31, 2007

Ok, I can’t resist these quizzes. Honestly, I wasn’t suprised by the Oscar the Grouch part – but was about the Elmo reference. I’m pretty sure that no one has ever described me as childish or naive about the world. I think I tend to be more jaded and world weary. I’m now picturing myself as a part green and part read muppet. Anyway, this is the first time that I got a tie in one of these quizzes.

Which Sesame Street Character Are You?

You are part Oscar the Grouch. You can be gruff and often have a chip on your shoulder. Despite your intelligence, manners (and cleanliness) are of little importance to you. At the same time, you have a few very close friends who you allow to see a softer, kinder side of you.
You are part Elmo. You are lovable and ticklish, and always inquisitive. Sometimes, though, your excitement about the world can make you seem childish, naive, and occasionally irritating to others.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Found via Martha Hardy at The Vital Library.


Happy Blog Day 2007

August 31, 2007

It is Blog Day again. Here is a list of five blogs that are new to me over the past year – and that I now read assiduously.

  • Gather No Dust -Jeff Scott is a library manager who blogs. He blogs quite a bit about technology and its impact on library staff – a topic which I think needs more attention.
  • nirak.net – Karin Dalziel is a fellow LIS student. I thoroughly enjoy reading her blog – she always reminds me that I’m not alone in my struggles in graduate school.
  • The Vital Library¬†– Martha Hardy is another LIS student. I often get many web quizzes from her – and that makes me happy. ūüôā
  • Midnight Run¬†– Joe Fox is also an LIS student in an online program at San Jose State University. He posts quite a bit about his experience in school.
  • Circ and Serve¬†– Mary Carmen Chimato is the head of access and delivery services at a large academic library. She add a unique voice to the world of library blogs – one that I always enjoy reading.

A Brief But Beauteous Blogging Break

August 29, 2007

I’ve deliberately stayed away from blogging – both reading and writing for the past week. Summer session 2007 was a difficult one. I had a great deal of school work to do with some serious outside distractions (meaning life – or my attempt to have one outside of school and work). I have been wholeheartedly enjoying my time off from school, somewhat dreading the start of the fall semester and trying to relax as much as possible. I think that I have probably read about¬†40 books over the past week (all fiction – mostly of the trashy variety – nothing intellectually stimulating to say the least), and it has made me happy. I’ve also had a week long moratorium on computer time while away from work. I definitely need to do this more often!


Something That Makes Me Happy

August 21, 2007


Stormtrooper!
Originally uploaded by ScruffyNerf.

Regardless of how smoothly things seem to be going before the students return at the library where I work, something always happens to muck up the works. It is generally fixable – sometimes the problems are easier to resolve than others. However, stress abounds for me at this time of year. Today, imaging machines in one of our labs is just not working as hoped. I’ve given up for the day in hopes that tomorrow will be filled with a greater measure of success. Sadly, that may be unrealistic. But, I’ve had all I can take today.

So, I’m turning to those things that make me happy for some amount of peace – my Han Solo and Princess Leia wallpaper – and my picture of a Stormtrooper helmet. The helmet is from Nick Malley’s The Yoda Guy Gallery in Saint Marten. Mike & I were lucky enough to meet Mr. Malley on our last visit to Saint Marten. Very cool!!


My Last Two Weeks

August 20, 2007

Several family members have asked when school starts again. I was a wee bit embarrassed to have to admit that I was completely ignoring the thought of the fall semester and had no clue. Well, I knew it was after Labor Day. Anyway, classes start on September 4th – two weeks from tomorrow. I’m planning to fully enjoy my last two weeks without homework, heavy reading and paper writing.


A Book Is A Book Is A Book – Or Is It?

August 16, 2007

I’m fascinated by this discussion about books and what actually constitutes a book. There is quite a bit going on in these posts – and the discussion has changed focus during the ensuing conversation. Iris Jastram from Pegasus Librarian summarizes the discussion with the following: “Over at See Also, Steve and Dave* are hashing out whether a book is a book if it’s not printed on paper.” Both¬†posts and the accompanying comments are worth reading. But what really caught my eye was a sentence in a comment left on Lawson’s post from Mark Lindner – “A book is not the contents at all; it is a specific form of container.” This is a response to David Lee King’s¬†contribution that “The content in a book – the actual words‚Ķ that‚Äôs the book.”

Hhmm . . . I guess last week I wouldn’t really have thought too much about the concept of a book. The notion means something specific to me – I understand my own conception of a book. But, it is obvious from this discussion that people have different ideas about what constitutes a book. In this discussion, my thoughts about books are much closer to David Lee King’s than to Mark Lindner’s. The word book, I believe, has come to mean much more than just the packaging. I read a book because of its content, not because of its format. I admit to prefering paper books for pleasure reading. However, I’m all for ebooks especially for things like textbooks and for shorter works. Last semester, I purchased one of my textbooks in ebook format, and I would do so again in a heartbeat. I refer to that electronic copy as a book. I think of it as a book. Its format is actually irrelevant to me. I have purchased several shorter length text in electronic format over the past several months. I still call them books – and have been surprised to find that it isn’t all that unfulfillling to read them on a computer screen.

One of the reasons for Lindner’s belief about books has to do with language and our use of it. I understand where he is coming from on this (and I’m not trying to add to his angst). I do agree¬†with his assertion that book is not a content word. Books¬†are books regardless of their content.¬†However, the word book has become symbolic of¬†a bigger reading experience – at least it has to me. The thought of books can evoke feelings – both good and bad. This isn’t unprecedented because¬†words can often mean much more to people than what their definitions suggest they ought to mean. Language and its use is incredibly complex. It is dynamic – and connotation, implication, emphasis all change language dramatically.

I think this is a very complicated topic – and I doubt that everyone will agree with one another. But to me,¬†a book isn’t always just a book. It’s meaning is in the eye of the beholder or rather the holder.

*Steve Lawson from See Also and David Lee King and his eponymously named blog.


A Peaceful Evening

August 16, 2007


The Reflecting Pool

Originally uploaded by ScruffyNerf.

It is a beautiful, although muggy, August evening. I’m enjoying some much needed peace and quiet – and anxiously awaiting a new episode of Burn Notice tonight at 10PM. Life is good!


Getting Ready For Fall

August 16, 2007

Grades for the summer were available yesterday. Both summer classes went well. Today, I finally remembered to order the text book for my fall class – ILS519 – Collection Development. I keep thinking that I have plenty of time, but that isn’t the case. As I started scrambling like a mad woman to get ready for the fall in my work life, I should have remembered that also meant my classes would be starting soon too!!! The break was too short, but I will comfort myself with the fact that I only have two classes to go (and no, I don’t think I will get tired of writing this).


Coming Full Circle?

August 16, 2007

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time reading, thinking, and writing about the state of libraries and librarianship. This isn’t by accident. After all, I decided to return to school to pursue my MLS because I had a real sense that I was stagnating in my professional life, and I had a general sense of frustration with what I was accomplishing. Many things had become quite routine. I thought going to school would help motivate me to grow and to expand my horizons. I was right that returning to school would do this. I have made an incredible effort to learn more about libraries and about those external forces that affect libraries, to be more aware of current trends and to understand where technology fits in. This has undoubtedly been worth the effort. I sometimes feel quite overwhelmed with it all, but believe that I will be better off for the effort.

However, there has been an interesting consequence to my attempt to broaden my horizons by returning to school. As part of the process of becoming a student again, I have naturally assumed a more subordinate role Рa role in which I have expected to learn more from others as opposed to a role in which I educate others. At first glance, this seems to be a normal part of the educational process, especially the formal educational process. But, it seems that I have in many ways taken on the role beyond school. I have been questioning too much, spending too much time researching ideas and concepts and subjugating my own experiential knowledge. I have allowed conversations in the world of library blogs and listservs to make me question myself and what I have accomplished in my professional life. As I think back, this is definitely something that happened after going back to school. Before this point, I was fairly confident in my own abilities and my own knowledge. I was more secure in my place as the technology advocate and expert at my place of work.

My awareness of my recent tendency to subjugate my thoughts and opinions to those of others began when I read the August issue of Cites and Insights by Walt Crawford. Although Walt was not writing about this issue, I was quite struck by the following quote from the On Ethics and Transparency article: “I have faith in my own ethical standards.”¬†A bit later on, I read a blog post entitled Self-Reliance by Laura Cohen on Library 2.0: An Academic’s Perspective. In the post, Laura is arguing that people can’t entirely rely upon others to teach them what they need to know. After reading both pieces, it dawned on me that although I haven’t lost faith in my own skills, I have stopped relying upon that faith in myself. I have allowed the debates surrounding library 2.0, next-generation catalogs, and the like to make me question whether I am being effective or not. This is particularly scary because most of these debates are not grounded in day to day library business. I’m not trying to say that they aren’t important just that they should be taken with several grains of salt. I actually need to unsubscribe from several listservs where these types of debates rage in order to preserve my own sanity.

While I do believe it is important to be able to question one’s thoughts and beliefs and to be open to new ideas, it is possibly more important to be able to have confidence in one’s own position. I do have faith in my own skills, my own ability to judge what is appropriate for my library and my ability to learn from others. I guess that I forgot that for a little while – and maybe this is why I tend to feel¬†so ambivalent about¬†the 2006-2007 academic year (school and work-wise). I may be a library student, but I am also a library professional with a good deal of experience in my field. I guess I allowed the student persona to take over. However, both Walt Crawford and Laura Cohen reminded me about faith in oneself and self reliance. Thanks, I needed that!


Library 2.0 In Retrospect

August 15, 2007

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the library 2.0 movement and what is has meant now that much of the hype surrounding it has died down. Imagine my surprise when I saw Ryan Deschamps’ We Asked for 2.0 Libraries and We Got 2.0 Librarians post over at The Other Librarian. I find it a pretty fair and accurate assessment of where we stand with library 2.0 at the moment. I agree with Ryan that the use of library 2.0 has waned – and I think that is a good thing. When a concept is new, we tend to focus too much on defining it, arguing or disagreeing about it and even thinking about it. At some point, people get tired of hearing about it. Personally, I think more is accomplished after we stop hyping things – and get back to business.

I find the following to be the most important points of Ryan’s post:

  • “There‚Äôs no doubt that Library 2.0 got librarians to learn about themselves and the world of information they live in.”
  • Change in the ILS has been (and I think will continue) to be slow. There have been some exciting developments that may bode well for the future of our systems.
  • The changes that have taken place are not very visible to library patrons.
  • The most radical changes have taken place in librarians – hence the librarian 2.0.

To end his post, Ryan writes: 

So, while the term and hype dies down or changes to something else, rest assured that change has occurred in big ways and that libraries are adapting to the world. ¬† They are not doing this through the institutions themselves, but through a steadily increasing change of heart in librarians on the whole. Harp on hype all you want ‚ÄĒ Library 2.0 needed to happen and the world is better off because of it.

Ryan makes some great points about library 2.0, what it has meant to libraries and about its importance. For me, the most important part of library 2.0 has been the discussions that have taken place around it. It has made me work to view the library and its services from a different angle, to take a step outside of my comfort zone and to challenge my previously held thoughts and beliefs. Has it created significant changes in the way that I do things? Honestly, no. It has altered the ways in which I think about end goals of my projects Рbut not necessarily changed the projects themselves. To me, this means that I agree with Ryan about the importance of library 2.0. However, I would not elevate it above other, earlier trends in librarianship Рripe with their own buzzwords that made the rounds of library literature and conferences. It was the time for library 2.0 Рand in the near future it will be time for the next movement.