Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Hiatus

June 15, 2010

I’m going to be taking a short break from writing here for a few weeks, as I have just received a new job and need to move across the state.

I’ve spent the last 4 years working as the technical services head at the Berkshire Athenaeum, which has been an incredible experience, especially for someone fresh out of school like me.  Besides getting to work on all the standard cataloging challenges, I got to toy with an enormous local history and genealogy collection, a collection dedicated to the work of Herman Melville, the library of Oliver Wendel Holmes, lead a number of workshops for patrons, host a number of sing-along to Journey nights (Rock Band) and of course drive a dump truck across Connecticut.

I can only imagine what new challenges await me when I get to the Worcester (sorry Wistah) Public Library in a few weeks.  I can’t wait!

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Team Unicorn

March 18, 2010

I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days now.  I’ve gotten involved with a new blogging project.  I’ve joined forces with some of the greatest librarians across Massachusetts to create Team Unicorn.  So go and check it out.

And no worries, I’ll still be updating here as well.

On Video Games

September 29, 2009

Over the last few days I’ve had a few people ask me about possibly building a circulating video game collection at my library.  And much to my surprise I’ve wound up as someone who is strongly against the concept.

I think games are great for libraries and I would love to start this collection, but I just think this is a really awful time for us to do so.  After budget cuts our YA, DVD, and music budgets are nearly non-existant, so why do games rate over those?

I think the answer is because they’ve suddenly become trendy in the profession.  Every conference includes a game night, every mailing list has a games thread, and every issue of American Libraries seems to have an article on the subject.  So now games are important, although many of the librarians who have been given this belief don’t really know much about them.  Over the last few days I’ve had to explain the differences between the multiple consoles, that our standard vendors (with the exception of Amazon) don’t really carry them, and that the average gamer is 35 and not 8.  

There’s also the logistical side of things.  I spend an enormous amount of time testing out a/v items for damange.  To do that for games we would need one of each console unless I start taking work home with me (which is hardly ideal).  Somehow I don’t see the money for this coming our way in the near future.

So building a games collection for now is bad, but I’m still looking forward to our Rock Band night tomorrow.

Bookless

September 15, 2009

I’ve avoided talking about the Cushing Academy bookless library bruhaha thus far.  Mostly this is because there is really nothing that hasn’t been said elsewhere.  But also because I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the situation.  The mere thought of a bookless library makes me shudder, but on the other hand libraries really do need to start thinking a bit radically and this certainly qualifies as that.

But now my local paper has gotten into the act, and has associated my library (as well as the nearby Lenox Library) and our budget difficulties with Cushing.  However, Cushing’s decission to turn their library into a techie information center doesn’t exactly speak ill of their budget.  What it does say is the Academy felt the books were being underutilized and that they were desperate to get students in the door.

Now this is a plan that just reeks of desperation.  The original globe article indicates that the library’s books were not circulating (albeit with fairly scant supporting evidence).  But let’s be generous and take this statement at face value.  If the academy is pumping thousands of dollars into a book collection that isn’t justifying that expense, then it’s not too hard to see how they could reach the conclusion that the books should go.  

This is sad, and horrifying, and despicable, but all too understandable.  I’m really hoping that history will eventually show Cushing to have been far too short sighted, but that may not be the case.  And I’ll be really surprised if another library doesn’t follow their example.

Review: Dark Entries

September 3, 2009

It’s been said elsewhere but it bares repeating, Dark Entries marks the low point in publisher marketing this year.  A little history is needed for this.  A few years back when Denise Mina was writing Hellblazer she managed to connect Vertigo with her friend, bestselling writer Ian Rankin.  Before too long word started to leak out of Rankin writing the book.  Then Vertigo started thinking of launching a line of crime books, and with Rankin already commissioned to write for them it made sense to launch the line on his name (which appears in a font roughly 5 times the size of the title).

The only problem, THIS ISN”T A CRIME COMIC!!!!!  It’s not even much of a mystery, despite the god awful “graphic mystery” logo on the cover.  Also worth noting, the title of this book comes from the name of a reality show that is central to the plot, however the plot description calls that same show “Haunted Mansion”.  Nice to see that people are paying attention.

OK, enough with the rant, what about the book itself.  It’s a pretty routine Constantine story.  There’s a haunted house, a damsel or two he fails to save, a few demons, and a lot of British snark.  Rankin also performs admirably for a first time comics writer.

The art from Werther Dell’edera suits the material well, but suffers at the begining because I’m guessing the first 40 pages or so were originally intended for the ongoing series.  There are pretty clear chapter breaks, and the art feels like it was inteded to be colored (later in the book the pages gain a lot more detail).

So, this is a pretty good Hellblazer comic and it seems better suited to a graphic novel format than it did a serial.  However, if you buy this expecting an Ian Rankin mystery you’re going to be very disappointed.

Ageism

September 1, 2009

The other day an article on ageism in the library profession made the rounds on Twitter, and generated quite a bit of conversation.  Long story short, there is a lot of ageism in the profession.

As the converstaion went on a few trends became apparent:

Employers are resistant to hiring young librarians for fear that they will not remain for long.

Young librarians are often given unreasonably high expectations, leading to inevitable burn out.

Newer librarians often feel belittled by their more experienced peers.

Personally I think that while I have experienced some of all of these issues, I’ve generally been pretty fortunate.  I do however have my own observation on how the generation gap affects librarians based on my library.  I find that the difference between generations manifests primarily as conflicting approaches to librarianship.  The experienced librarians think in terms of the library’s patrons, the younger librarians think about those not being served.  And I guess I’m not alone, based on a recent post from frequent commenter Wolfhowl on the need to advertise libraries to those who aren’t already using them (such a novel concept isn’t it?).

I know quite a few colleagues that have entirely given up on attracting new patrons to the library.  They won’t think of it in those terms, instead they’ll talk about how there are so few teens in the place, or how many of our regulars have begun to die out.  On the other hand it seems to be the young librarians who come in and immediately want to find ways to make the library relevant to a younger audience (thus ensuring a steady stream of library n00bs).

So, I know budgets are tight right now, but if there are any jobs out there, please get over your hang ups and seriously consider a recent graduate.

Going Public

August 31, 2009

I Twittered this earlier, but it certainly bares repeating.  The Berkshire Eagle has finally decided to cover our budget cuts, and our hours reduction in particular.  Although as a commenter points out, the article never mentions what that reduction is (a gold star to the commenter who guessed we’ll be closing at 5, albeit only on Mondays).

So there it is, read the comments, and puzzle over why exactly someone thinks we should start selling lottery tickets.