Day in the life….

Last time the Library Day in the Life went around, I skipped it. I was feeling unproductive at work and didn’t want to share how much time I thought I was spending online in my social networks. This time, however, I am keeping my one New Year’s Resolution of doing more work at work, so here’s my typical day (I hope…we’ll see if anything blows up on me today…)

I am an Electronic Resources and Education Librarian at a small liberal arts school in Nashville, TN. I usually have too much on my plate, so it’ll be interesting for me to see how much I have to do during the day.

6:20am – the alarm goes off, playing NPR. I hit snooze.

6:35 – time to get up and walk the dog and do the morning routine

7:40 – grab a Diet Coke and it’s off to work!

8:00 – try to find a parking place somewhere near the library…Our campus is just like any other- parking is at a premium.

8:05 – make it into the library, and make my way upstairs to my office.

8:10 – eat breakfast (oatmeal) while checking email and checking in on Twitter,FriendFeed, and Facebook. Read a variety of links from Twitter/FriendFeed that look interesting (this morning? see my Delicious links to see what I thought was useful)

8:40 – start going through work emails to see what needs to be done today and what has to be responded to.

9:00-9:30- email inbox is cleaned up, with all remaining emails functioning as today’s “To Do” list.

9:30-10:00 – check links on the library website, update links to new database subscriptions, provided requested usage statistics to subject liaison, email about updating links on our proxy server

10:00-10:30 – send information to various liaisons about their subscriptions, and about a subject guide on the library’s website we are collaborating on; updated more links on the library website, passed on database renewal information to the appropriate parties

10:30-11:00 – walked across campus to pick up the toner cartridge for my printer, stopped for a snack on the way back (yogurt!), and returned to the office for still more emails, chatted with a colleague about a problem we’ve been having with our print release station, updated the problem log for said print release station

11:00-11:30 – prepped renewal invoices for director’s signature, checked in on Twitter and FriendFeed and discovered my Twitter feed has been taken over by LITA-related tweets.

11:30-12:00 – updated the case file for our ongoing print release station problems, looked into a possible problem with our 360 Link


12:30-1:30 – Lunch! Time to escape the building for a bit, even if it is frigid outside.

1:30-2:00 – play catch up after lunch – check emails, fax renewals to publishers, update another subject guide on the library’s website

2:00-2:30 – troubleshoot print release station, answer more emails,

2:30-4:00 – move donated Education books out of a study room so that the students can begin using it again

4:00-4:30 – back to the office to answer emails before going home for the day!

Is it really Google?

Tennessee has a purchasing consortium called Tenn-Share, and every year, Tenn-Share hosts a “DataFest”. The DataFest is a day-long gathering of librarians from around the state, and from all types of librarians. Various database vendors are invited to show off their products, and it’s always an interesting day. This year, several of the vendors contacted me to meet with me personally before the DataFest, which is fine. But in those meetings and at the DataFest itself, I heard vendors say things about how Google has caused everyone to want that single search box on the screen. And it hit me that I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I think what Google has done is made searching easy. And *that’s* what people want.

Google wasn’t the one who made people want easy searching, but it was probably the catalyst that made people realize that’s what they wanted. Previously, to find good, reliable information you had to know a librarian who could search DIALOG for you. Then came the internet and online databases. Wow! All that information! But you still couldn’t find what you were looking for. So back to the library for the librarian who could search the database. Vendors didn’t feel pressure to make their interfaces more user-friendly because patrons weren’t actually using them. Librarians, with their specialized training, were. With the further advent of the internet and online databases, more and more patrons can get to more and more databases from *outside* the library. This means there is no friendly neighborhood librarian to help them out when they get stuck. So the librarians get more comments about how people can’t find anything, which are passed on to the vendors. And voila! Vendors are talking about how people want Google-like interfaces for their databases.

Well, of course they do! Patrons don’t want to search! They want to *find* the information they are looking for and move on. Librarians are the ones who enjoy the hunt (and not even all of them do). So it’s not really Google’s fault that people want thing simpler and more user friendly. It just so happens that Google *is* simple and user friendly. And really good at giving people what they want. It’s the competition from Google for information sources that has caused the vendors to play catch-up with all the web services that have been around for a while.

Database interfaces are now morphing into simpler, more easily understood things. And they’re offering RSS feeds and email and exporting features that people are (hopefully) making good use of! Grandted, for some of those features, you still may want a librarian’s help, but patrons are less intimidated by the initial screen.

I’m happy to see the 2.0 versions of search interfaces from database vendors. My questions is…..when is the ILS going to follow? I know there are these new “discovery tools” that are supposed to “lay on top of” the existing ILS. And they’re nice. But they really don’t solve the underlying problems of many ILSs. Searching is still difficult, LCSH are still weird, and there aren’t as many interactive features that would be very helpful for some people.

I guess maybe the ILSs will catch up with “web 2.0” when “web 3.0” hits 🙂

Who’da thunk it….

One of the blogs that I read on a regular basis is Yarn Harlot. Imagine my surprise when I see this: Children’s knitting group turfed from library under new craft ban. in her blog. My librarian and knitting worlds are colliding!

This article has been passed around the library blogosphere, of course, even being nominated for discussion on Uncontrolled Vocabulary. While it is interesting that the library has opted to keep their gaming events and not knitting, Yarn Harlot makes a good point in today’s post:

PS. There are several really good comments yesterday on the library issue, as well as more information here, and here. Keep in mind, as you debate – that we were not presented with all of the facts (and as suggested by the director – see the comment from Maureen August 19 at 8:25am- perhaps the ones we got were not even wholly accurate.

In addition, remember that this is a very, very, very tiny library – open only part- time hours in a very small community. Unlike a city library, or even a town library, there aren’t whole days to fit in programs, nor are there multiple activity rooms – or even multiple librarians. Think singular. There aren’t as many choices as there would be in a larger space, and that matters. Finally, the library has said that the video games (which would be an occasional evening, not a bi-weekly programme, like the knitting) would be part of a larger themed literacy evening with other components, not just a whack of teenagers sitting around wailing on guitar hero. This article was written by a member of the knitting group (which it turns out, is not just a group of little girls) and has – as you might expect, contains a bias towards their situation designed to make you sympathetic to the cause. ) Nowhere, in any of the articles has it said that knitting or arts and crafts is being replaced by weekly video games. Nowhere.”

Before we go off and condemn this library, we do need to keep in mind that they are making the choices that they think best for their library (or at least I hope they are). The knitters can still meet at the library, I’m sure, but the library can no longer support their meeting times/organization.

Privacy: Is it time for a revolution?

was tweeting/ lsw meebo rooming during panel presentations. see bloggers (kate, etc) for reports

hmm….panel just got asked what’s at stake for protecting privacy

Beth Givens says we’ll lose our privacy if we don’t speak out. Uses Minority Report as example…

Roth: What happens when we develop into a nation of niches? because of loss of privacy and specialized ad serving

Cory Doctorow – giant databases of info are toxic – copying, info is immortal

Roth: no one knows what to do with info they’re collecting. if something is going to happen it needs to happen now.

Beth: 50%+ use facebook, google, etc as hiring decision influencers – law is silent

cory: regulate way info is used, teach people how to use info. build skinner box to reward people for guarding their privacy & being safe/smart online ( has added this in…)

Roth: consumers don’t have any idea why they should care about privacy

Beth: gaining access to your profiles is important (like to credit report) so you can check data. Data broker industry is unregulated. Right of access legislation very difficult to pass (want law as robust as fair credit reporting act)

“Data Valdez” – happening over and over (Tracked on her org’s website –

Cory – SkipXIP – login manager to fake registrations, etc; writes deceased on direct mail

Kate- is it feasible, practical, etc, to make yourself invisible (cash only, etc)

Beth: you can do it, but must rely on someone else to do things (like take your mail, etc)

Cory: green can be glorious; privacy can be sybaritic (luxurious)

Roth – figure out what you’re giving away and what you’re not – incomprehensible privacy agreements

Beth – known access (but wouldn’t this require a centralized database – or list? That scares me more than having data scattered everywhere)

Cory – minimal logging as default setting in Apache would lead to radically different world; FF could do more to surface what happens to data when it leaves website; Linux could do better with privacy settings

Cory – password reading robot; something disclosing everything you just told the world via web would be very powerful

Beth: friend working on game called PrivacyMatters; creative ways to educate and inform people is good thing libraries are already doing

kate: libraries get asked for information that we don’t track b/c of privacy concerns on our end

cory- demand better privacy stuff from vendors and the tech is there to do those

Audience questions:

**What kind of arguments can we make to admin of institutions that protecting privacy is cost-effective?
Beth – scare tactics – more you collect the more you’re liable for $$ cleanup (larry ponemon- calculated data breach costs)
Cory – best way to avoid breach is not to have data

**As a consumer, i felt as if i was able to control personal id info and leave less around before 9/11 and before buying a house, but now i feel that it’s everywhere. any tips to help reduce amount of data leaving around?

Beth – start young and create trust fund for holding property, PO box and only PO box
Cory- 3 things – take control of tech (OS software, jailbreaking DRM); take control of debate (learn stats about rare occurrences & how things don’t make us safe)

**Question about surveillance and society – after 9/11 increased access by us gov to records of various kinds. wants to hear more on privacy and gov’t and things like that because bigger danger is more like social control – how much safer are we if gov’t knows what people are reading?

Roth: people are trying to say that post 9/11 increased info has not made us safer; may not reach golden age of full privacy, but people asking questions

Cory – safety & security are not platonic universals with single definitions. if safer from terrorists, are you safe from gov’t? saying that we are taking away freedom and safe from abusive gov’t is non-american principle

**Cult of celebrity – cool to divulge information, needs to be shift for us to eucate people about what future will be like if you don’t think about consequences of giving out that much info

Beth – PSAs showing how uncool it is to spread info is good idea
Roth – daughter of very secretive billionare kept 2 yr very detailed online journal that enabled roth to approach him and say what he knew about the billionare

**transparency and privacy ebb & flow across history, will never have absolute. need to assert positive rights to protect selves as well as defending privacy

Cory – a lot to be said for encouraging people to notice things ,not let it fade into background

blogger – demystifying media- it’s okay not to believe MSM all the time and work on

**useful for us to look at successes of ecology mvmt and piggy back on how it evolved. maybe haven’t reached financial point yet – information footprint/handprint

roth – real problem convincing people not to buy into stuff that they want to do (facebook, google toolbar) – need alternatives

cory – privacy represents adversarial relationship b/t people and corporations – 3rd alternative – while lobbying for legislation, use technology to protect privacy

**how to work with IT people to have them understand concern and work with us
how can we persuade systems designers to work with us?

cory – vendors believe strongly in privacy for selves; get them to expand universe of privacy they want to protect

**EFF has program called TOR to anonymize web surfing (started with office of naval intelligence)

Final words:

take survey at
follow privacyala on twitter to keep up w/revolution

ALA Membership Meeting I

1st speaker – “must” pay for virtual meeting attendance?

Steven Bell (who is he?) virtual participation encourages *more* full participation – yes, i think so – you have to be more alert and aware to be involved virtually

But does this run into the question of people who will say anything online because it’s not f2f? not “real” people, so can truly speak mind

distance learning – 3 distance students for every on campus student

still need f2f meetings, sure, but online not boring

Ester: ACRL IS has lots of virtual stuff – task forces, standing committee

open meeting policy is byzantine(?) (heavy req’s, esp for virtual committees that may meet on a whim or very short notice)

confidentiality issues?

Aaron – IT issues w/confidentiality are not necessarily issues for users (and there are IT solutions). Do something, soon.

SRRT Task Force on Env – e-participation will reduce carbon footprint

Heidi – open meeting – in person meetings are not open to people who are not here. Virtual meetings will make things more open.

Peter McDonald – no real issue with robustness of tech. Sociological implications are overcome as well (many people see virtual participation benefits)
Finances rest on exhibitors who are at annual/mw – if exhibitors complain of few bodies, will be big problem

Michael – benefits clear, issue to consider – been coming since early 1970s, greatest value derived from conference attendance is serendipitous meeting of colleagues; employers might not finance f2f meetings if virtual meetings are big

Sylvia – IFRT councilor – experiment in e-participation – opened listserv of exec board to general population, allowed e-voting using listserv (13 exec board only)

Alexia Hudson – must choose between conference participation and aging parents/family; don’t forsake public gatherings, but include regional activities in conjunction with ALA, state assoc, consortia, etc.

Heidi – revenue – need new opportunities to retain revenue

Task Force on Env – wants regional conferences – video feeds of content + local content in various locales (distributed conferencing) SuRVEY!!

wishing for the transcript to be available online – having trouble keeping concentration focused. plus, avoid misqoutes!

HELP! I can’t do it without YOU!

I’m going to jail!

Okay, so not really….I’m being locked up for MDA (as are several others on my flist).  If you can spare some $$, I’d appreciate it if you’d donate….

Here’s the link:
(If you don’t want to donate online, just leave a comment and we’ll work something out.)

And here’s the official spiel

This year, I have the honor and pleasure of participating in MDA’s Stars Behind Bars 2008 to help “Jerry’s Kids®”. To reach my goal I need your help!

I’d like to include you or your company on my list of contributors who are helping me reach my goal. Your donation would help MDA continue the important fight against muscular dystrophy. Check out my web page by clicking on the link above. There you‘ll find all kinds of information about MDA, and be able to make your tax-deductible donation on-line using your credit card.

MDA serves people in our community with neuromuscular disease by providing clinics, support groups, assistance with the purchase and repair of wheelchairs, braces and communication devices, and summer camp for kids. MDA also funds research grants to help find treatments and cures for some 43 neuromuscular diseases that affect people of all ages, right here in our community.

I sincerely hope that you‘ll take the opportunity to support MDA. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me.

On behalf of the families MDA serves, thank you!

Warmest Regards,


Tag! I’m It! (aka Meme: Passion Quilt)

My friend Aaron, over at Aaron the Librarian, tagged me for the Passion Quilt Meme for twittering about Karen Schneider’s contribution. I always enjoy Karen’s writing, and her post for this meme resonated with me. I’ve always been a reader, and as my life gets busier it is one of the things I miss the most. I think she’s right in some ways – we should *always* make time to read. Take those stolen extra moments and read something!

Anyway….the rules of the meme are this:

1. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.

2. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.

3. Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.”

original photo from

The thing that I want people (not just students) to learn is to PLAY. If you have a new gadget or software or anything, really, just PLAY with it. Play with it until something cool happens. Sure, you can read the manual and follow the instructions. But don’t be afraid to start pushing buttons and just seeing what happens. Also, don’t forget to go outside and play 🙂 We all need fresh air and sunshine (even if you don’t like it). There’s nothing like an afternoon of running around in the park with your friends or your kids or your dog to refresh your brain for an evening of playing with your latest toy 🙂

Hopefully, this enthusiasm that I have for playing with things will never go away. I’ve always wondered “How does that work?” and then promptly taken it apart to find out. I try to pass this enthusiasm and curiosity on to people that I teach, formally and informally. Maybe it will stick for a few of them and they’ll pass it on too.

I’m not sure I’ve got anyone left to tag, but we’ll see who I can pester next 🙂
1. Tinfoilraccoon
2. Hedgehog Librarian
3. Nirak
4. Warmaiden
5. Ellbeecee

And for more pictures, please visit the Flickr Passion Quilt Pool!

BAM Challenge – April

Whoops…It’s May 1 and I just realized that I had never even chosen a book for the April BAM challenge! Major FAIL on my part. I guess between traveling (both for work and fun), presenting, and several important meetings, it just totally slipped my mind.

This month’s challenge hasn’t been posted yet, but hopefully I’ll have more time to read!