Posted tagged ‘Amherst’

More Cuts

February 25, 2009

The Springfield Republican has a piece on cuts at my former home library.  The Jones Library in Amherst has lost $103k  and is having trouble deciding where they can make cuts.  They lost hours back in ’03 that were never recovered and are already at the minimum needed for state certification.  Furthermore it doesn’t help that one of their trustees is quoted in the article saying that she’s determined to maintain level service, which is a nice sentiment but doesn’t seem possible in the current climate.

I wish everyone at the Jones my best wishes.  They are probably the library that contributes most to our consortia, besides being an amazing library on its own.  They deserve the support of their community and I dearly hope they receive it.

The Aftermath

December 4, 2008

Wow!  This was a good day.  My workshop went amazingly well and the responses I received for it were more than I possibly could have hoped for.  Huge thanks must go out to Janet Eckert and WMRLS who organized everything and served as the most gracious hosts imaginable.  And the attendees were just as wonderful, everyone seemed engaged, there was a good amount of participation (that I hope will continue online), and they let me rant a bit on copyright, RDA, and the new OCLC records policy.  

And I even got to show off my favorite website of the week, which had nothing to do with anything, (Thanks Jason).  Sadly the answer we got from it was yes, and that prediction proved accurate.  But even the rain (ok snow while driving back over the mountain), couldn’t bum me out today.  Because I have a handfull of feedback forms that almost uniformly say the one improvement that could be made to the workshop, was to add more time to it.  And in the positive column I got some of the best praise possible, that it was actually practical and useful.

And to top it all off, lunch at the Black Sheep, home of the greatest cookie I know, the Repulican National Convention cookie (full of fruit and nuts).  They started making these back in ’04, they’re basically giant macaroons filled with whatever nuts, fruit, and bits of chocolate they had left over in the kitchen from all their other baked goods.  If you’re ever in Amherst you must stop in, the baguettes are amazing too.

Changing idea of obscenity

June 24, 2008

The New York Times has a fascinating article up today on an obscenity trial in Florida, in which the defense is using google’s statistics to prove that a community’s standards differ from what people profess in public.  I think this is a brilliant way to address the insanely inconsistant rules dictating obscenity cases.

I have some first hand experience with this.  Back in college I worked on an anthology of student comics, and since one of our best submissions featured some nudity the editors decided to run it by a lawyer from student legal services prior to distribution.  We met with a lawyer and all we got out of the experience was a photocopy of the definition of obscenity from a legal dictionary (he also felt the need to highlight it for us).

After a bit more research we found out the issue was even more confusing than we suspected.  I went to school at UMass: Amherst, which is part of a 5 college consortium in the Pioneer Valley.  We decided we would distribute our book on all 5 campuses, plus a few bookstores in the area.  What our research showed was that each town, and actually each campus would have its own legal community standard.  In the end we threw our hands up in the air and released the thing as planned (it helped that it was a very liberal area) and we didn’t have any difficulties.  But I can’t begin to imagine what people elsewhere have to deal with considering that the standard for us was essentially that there wasn’t one (until someone complains anyway).

So, I applaud the efforts going on down in Florida.  This is a law that needs to be reexamined and this is a great way to point that fact out.