speeding tickets

Librarians are among those least likely to speed?

Jessamyn posted a link today to a CNN report on bad drivers. Apparently, librarians are ranked among the top five professions that are least likely to get a speeding ticket. I guess this is another example of how I’m not your typical librarian, since I’ve gotten three speeding tickets in the past three years. Ironically, the first one occurred when I was moving to Kentucky to attend grad school for my MLS. After the last one, though, I have been more careful about my driving habits, and I’m proud to say that it has been eight months since my last speeding ticket.

rss journals

What if your favorite professional journals were delivered to your desktop via RSS?

Today I was commenting to my boss that I had found a resource of professional literature that was not dry or irrelevant — all of the library blogs sent daily to my RSS feed reader. That got me thinking a bit more, and it made me wonder what other uses could be made of RSS. One that had occurred to me the other week is having an RSS feed of new books as they are added to the catalog. I even found some discussion of such a tool on several blogs, as well as a resource called Project FLOW which plans to put together a toolkit of innovative add-on features for web OPACs.

Another idea that occurred to me this evening is publication through subscription RSS feeds (or even open-access models). For instance, the PLoS Biology journal recently released to the world could announce new articles or issues by making them available through an RSS feed, instead of or in addition to their current method of email announcements. Similarly, if I have an online subscription to Serials Review, I could get articles sent to me through some sort of secure RSS feed available only to subscribers. This method could come in handy for those publications that post articles online before they are published in the print editions, which mainly occurs in the sciences.

Now, I am not someone most people would consider to be an original thinker, so I figured that if this idea had occurred to me, then surely some of the more geeky types would have thought of it already. Sure enough, Wired already sports this feature on their website. Maybe some of the geeky library publications will soon follow?

more librarian t-shirts

New librarian t-shirts.

Jessamyn posted a link to some librarian t-shirts created by SLIS students at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I found one that aptly describes my experiences at the NASIG conference this year. Perhaps if I have an extra $100 before the next conference, I’ll get shirts for all of the posse.

marketplace recognition

Today there was an entire segement on the Marketplace Morning Report about using libraries as a free business resource.

Today there was an entire segement [RealAudio] on the Marketplace Morning Report about using libraries as a free business resource.

“Where’s the best place to go job hunting, get business information and career counseling for free? It just might be your local library. Despite huge funding cuts, many libraries are struggling to grow as a business resource — and it might be the best way to ensure their existence. Judy Martin reports.”

There was also a report about the CMJ conference which appealed to me because of my involvment in college radio.


McMenamins on the Savvy Traveler.

I just caught the last bit of story on The Savvy Traveler about Oregon as a travel destination. They mentioned the fabulous brewery/brewpubs of McMenamins. I was in Portland this past summer for the NASIG meeting and that was when I was introduced to the best fruit ale I have ever tasted. It’s called Ruby. It’s a raspberry ale that looks like a glass of iced Lipton tea and goes down very smooth. Unfortunately, the only place where one can buy bottles is at the brewpubs themselves, and they’re only located in Oregon.

minority librarians

My reaction to Clark Atlanta University closing their library science program.

According to a posting on LISNews.com, Clark Atlanta University is closing their LIS program (along with four other programs) due to budget problems. I nearly applied to Clark Atlanta when I was shopping around for library schools. I’ve never lived in Atlanta, so that was one of the appealing factors. When I told my parents my top five list of schools, they were shocked that Clark Atlanta was on it. That was the first I had ever heard that this school is one of the historically black schools. That shouldn’t have made a difference in my choices, but for some reason, it did.

In college, I spent two months in a West African country as a part of my studies; so I was already familiar with what it is like to live in an area where I am a racial minority. However, I have since discovered that the things that set me apart from my Ghanaian friends were not so much race as culture. I am a North American from the Midwest and they are West Africans. Here in the U.S., the differences in culture are less and it becomes more about race. I realized that I was afraid to go to a school where most of the students are black. I was afraid that I would be rejected and excluded socially because I am hopelessly not black. And that, my friends, is a stupid reason to cross an institution off of your list of graduate school possibilities.

The closing of the LIS program at Clark Atlanta concerns me. The library profession in the U.S. is, for the most part, overwhelmingly white. If I was uncomfortable with going to a school where I could possibly be the only person of my race, I can only imagine what minority students considering librarianship must be feeling like. At least Clark Atlanta University’s program offered black students an opportunity to attend a graduate LIS program where they would not be a minority.

There are two things that I see happening as a result of this closure:

  1. Fewer black students consider a career in librarianship.
  2. Other LIS programs experience an increase in black enrollment.

Frankly, I hope it’s #2.

Please feel free to correct any misconceptions expressed in this entry. I know very little specifically about Clark Atlanta University, it’s now defunct LIS program, or the position of black librarians in the profession beyond my limited experience. All comments expressed in this entry are a reaction to the news item read on LISNews.com and are not researched. If any offence is taken, please remember that none is intended. I welcome all opportunities for enlightenment.

conference presentation

Musings about my presentation at KLA last week.

I gave my first conference presentation last week at KLA, and I haven’t really had the time to sit down and write out my thoughts about it. The topic was my library’s implementation of SFX, an OpenURL linking software. My library is the first in the state to go with this particular company, and possible the first to make use of the technology at all. I had two co-presenters who provided perspectives from other areas of the library (public service and systems administration) to balance the presentation.

We were very prepared with the material. I wanted us to make sure we weren’t using PowerPoint as a crutch, so we limited its use to slides that contained screen shots of our SFX setup. Turns out that was a good thing, since our antiquated projector was so weak that even with most of the lights turned out it was difficult to see. Despite our efforts to encourage attendees to move towards the front, most stayed in the back few rows. Later, we received comments about the dim, small images. Gee, no kidding.

Other than the technical glitches, everything went well. I fielded quite a few questions on the fly that I hadn’t expected, but thanks to my improv theatre experience, I think I handled them pretty well. Attendance was smaller than I had hoped for, but there were a lot of other conflicts at that time. Still, 20+ attended and about 17 actually filled out the feedback slips. It seemed to me that most everyone who was there was interested in the product and our experience with it. I think we’ll be writing up the presentation for publication in Kentucky Libraries, since the feedback indicated that would be desired. Also, a friend in Oregon has talked me into submitting a proposal for Online Northwest on this topic. I plan to modify the presentation from not so much of how we did it but why other comprehensive universities should do it and how it has effected the usage of our A&I databases.

I’m still stunned that anyone would want to hear what I have to say about something in my profession.

the cubs & that guy

Wil Wheaton’s commentaries on the Cubs loss.

Wil Wheaton has a couple of posts regarding the Cubs sad defeat to the Marlins. First, and amusing letter to Alex Gonzalez from Bill Buckner. Second, an open letter to “that guy” who caught the ball, and who’s face, name, workplace, and reputation has been smeared by the media.