Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ranganathan's sixth law

You've probably heard of Ranganathan's five laws. His sixth law is lesser known, but perhaps the most widely implemented:

'teen zone' at the belmont library

6. Every teenager has his or her Teen Zone.

(Enough already. Whose idea was this, anyhow?)

Business cards

my business cards. the back says 'share the world', laying on top of David Rakoff's newest book
Aren't they pretty? Unfortunately, no IM address. We'll see what I can do about that.

(Oh, and that's the book I'm currently reading. I have to remind myself to read grown-up books every once in a while.)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Library education discussion in New Orleans: Jobs

Mark your calendars! (or in my case, a scrap of paper with all sorts of times and room numbers scribbled in a vaguely chronological order...) On Saturday, June 24 from 3-4pm at booth 3450, I will be facilitating a little chat on jobs as part of the library education discussion series in New Orleans. The Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) and Radical Reference are coordinating the series to continue the conversations that began at the Library Education Forum in New York this spring.

The guidelines for sessions are very open, and if you're interested in leading a discussion you should contact Jenna. There's more info here and suggested topics here.

I'll probably try to lure folks from the New Members Round Table (NMRT) session on jobs just beforehand, and I'll drag anyone who comes to the ALA membership meeting at 4pm (in the convention center La Nouvelle Orleans ballroom).

Friday, May 26, 2006

NOLA public transit

It looks like it is possible to take a bus from the airport to downtown. Jefferson Transit operates a bus from the airport to Tulane and Carrollton, then you can catch the 39 Tulane into town. The whole thing should take less than an hour if you make a good connection. Both Jefferson transit and RTA (they operate the 39) are free at this point. Neither one runs particularly often in the evening, and the airport line stops running a little after 9pm. Unfortunately, my flight to NOLA gets in a little late for the bus. I saw a blog post or email a day ago that said something about no bus service from the airport, but of course I can't find it now. There's an airport shuttle since the cab situation seems a bit dodgy. I think I'll have to go with the shuttle when I arrive, but I might give the bus a shot for the trip back. Unless someone wants to share a cab/adventure? I arrive 8:15pm on Thursday and leave at 1pm on Monday.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Claws, paws, scales, & tales

Yesterday I read the California summer reading manual. One of the sample activities included a "What animal am I?" puzzle. It listed the names of animals from various stories and you have to fill in the blanks with what kind of animal the character is. For example: Chet (gecko), Wilbur (pig), and Nicodemus (rat). Except it matched up Crookshanks with cat! Hellooo, everyone knows Crookshanks is part kneazle.

Council facebook

Okay, not really. But there is going to be a photo gallery of ALA Councilors. I just got the email asking me to submit a photo. At the end of a laundry list of pixel sizes and caption guidelines, I found this:
10. Photos that are deemed inappropriate by the ALA Executive Director shall be returned to the Councilor with a written explanation and a request for a more suitable headshot. Inappropriate submissions may include: avatars, caricatures, or other symbolic representations.

Oh well. I tried to make myself into a Simpson's character, but I couldn't manage to come up with anything that looked like me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Today I got to have lunch with the author and illustrator Kevin Henkes. I was the only one who brought library books for him to sign. Which is good, because that way I didn't feel guilty making him sign four books. He even drew a little picture in one of them.

photograph of title page from Kevin Henkes book showing author's autograph

It's fun to place buried treasure for our users to uncover. Alongside the posters and promotions, we need to create opportunities to experience the pleasure of discovery. When you find something that's hidden, it makes it feel all the more like it's yours. It's part of the social nature of asynchronous feel connected to other people when you find the trail of breadcrumbs that they've left behind.

Libraries are offering more and more ways for users to scribble "I WAS HERE" in the woodwork. What else can we do?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Three weeks, four books

It's the beginning of week three. Week one was a pure adrenaline blur, week two suffered under a cloud of exaustion, I'm thinking week three might begin to suggest shades of a normal rhythm. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out where writing/blogging fits into the new schedule. So in an attempt to stall for time, instead of a post or two with thoughts on the new job, my plans to raise a ruckus on ALA Council, and details of the agony of apartment hunting in San Francisco, I'll just share a few books that I've read during my lovely train commute:

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. Despite the awful title (you know it's bad when you can't remember the title even though you're a hundred pages into the darn thing), I really enjoyed this one. Two parts sci-fi, one part fantasy. Futuristic yet technologically backwards cities on wheels roam around gobbling up suburbs in acts of "municipal darwinism." Add a dash of the usual: an evil plot, a dastardly villain, and a couple of clever kids who must save the day. Adventure ensues. The ending impressed me by not doing what I expected. Evidently, it's a series and there are more books on the way. (Thanks for the suggestion, Steve.)

Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison. Sassy girl detective who makes fun of Nancy Drew at every opportunity. A little bit of romance, but not the sappy kind. More of a carrot that's dangled in front of your nose, always maddeningly just out of reach (but in a good way). The characters are all over the top in that hyper-real, beautiful rich kid way...just let the parallel universe wash over you and don't dwell on the fact that most high schoolers don't get chauffeured around in white strech limos. This book impressed me by having gay characters and not making it a BIG DEAL. I found this book by stumbling onto the author's blog.

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger. Okay, so the gay thing is a BIG DEAL in this one, but that's kinda the whole point. A small group of gay teens start a club to talk about what it's like to feel alone. The characters aren't perfect, they make bad choices and eventually learn from their mistakes, but not in a preachy annoying way. The style is conversational, like you're listening in on a really good gossip session. Like most good books, it's not a one trick pony. There's more here than just the gay stuff, there's a whole lot of life stuff, too...friendships, love, bullying, peer pressure.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters. Luna's a boy who's really a girl, and up until now she's mostly hidden it from the rest of the world. Her sister Reagan acts as confidant, shrink, and narrator, which makes for an interesting look at the ripple effect of Luna's struggle to live as her true self. There's a nice girl-boy romance here, too. I cried a little at the end.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

We should do this

ad for podcasting for ages 7 to 13 at the burlingame apple store
I was walking around Burlingame the other day waiting for the library to open, and I happened to walk by the Apple Store. There was a big beautiful sign in the window advertising how-to podcasting workshops for seven to ten thirteen year olds. My first thought was, we should do this. Eventually the penny drops and I remember that I am now a youth librarian, and the thought changes to whoa, I should do this.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Free coffee

If you're thirsty in New Orleans, look for someone named Michael and see if he'll buy you coffee.

Both Michael McGrorty and Michael Golrick just offered to treat students to a chat and a free coffee at annual (proof that newlib-l is good for more than just the occasional job posting). Guys, I raise you a sandwich. Anyone willing to sweeten the pot?

Here's what they look like:Michael McG., Michael G. I'll even help you track them down.

(hey, I may not be a student anymore, but I still got yer back.)

Monday, May 08, 2006

First day (really)

I know exactly five people in the entire region, and I ran into one of them on the train this morning. It's already starting to feel like home here.

The morning started out with checklists and a tour, and I got to hang out in the children's area in the afternoon. I answered my very first question (how can I find a book about wolves?), and I even remembered who wrote the Magic Treehouse books without checking the catalog. They did a very good job of not overwhelming me with too much stuff on the first day.

I met tons of people, and I think I might remember most of their names.

I called a bunch of people while I was waiting for the train to take me home, and someone asked what I wore for my very first day. I started to describe my shirt..."it's got a big embroidered butterfly"...and I realized it made me sound like one of those librarians who wears the holiday-themed jumpers. (No offence, I'm sure they're very nice people.) I had to take a picture to prove I didn't look frumpy.

Friday, May 05, 2006

First day (kinda)

I went to a meeting and filled out paperwork yesterday, even though I don't officially start until Monday. The administration building, aka Central Library, is in a pretty random location. I think I may be the only person ever to have travelled there by bus (a remarkable feat, considering the bus only goes that direction five times a day).

In the middle of the pile of tax forms and email policies was something a little odd. I had to swear an oath to the Constitution.

I, ________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any [???] reservation or pur[???] of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties [???] which I am about to enter.

Road trip

On the road again. Honestly, the only time I use my driver's license is when I'm behind the wheel of a moving truck.

Elev. 14,162. Mt. Shasta and me. (That's Steve's thumb, btw.) The highest point on I-5 is actually a ways back, just across the Oregon border in the Siskiyous.

Madam, I'm Adam. Sadly, the Yreka Bakery went out of business. This is as close as we could get.

Exit 631. The fuel pump went kablooey and we broke down about three and a half hours from where we needed to be. The engine lost power on the interstate...luckly we were able to coast to the offramp. We were stuck there for about three hours, and it was pretty hot. The folks in Corning, CA, are incredibly kind. Several people stopped to give us water.

Rescued! If you're ever stuck in Corning, Phil's Towing gets a big thumbs up from me.

Backwards. We got towed to Redding the next day to swap the truck (that's about an hour north of where we broke down).

Second time's the charm. Things got very deja-vu-y at this point. The same Madonna song that was playing when we broke down even came on the radio again.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

All grown up

Wow, I just found out I'm getting funding to attend ALA this summer! To commemorate this milestone, I'd like to announce the Starving Student scholarship, in which I will treat current students to some tasty morsels at annual. (I'm not promising anything fancy, I've still got student loans, after all.) No application essay neccesary, all you have to do is find me in New Orleans. To qualify, you've got to promise to do the same for another student once you're able to. And a big thanks to everybody who fed me in Chicago and San Antonio. I'll be sure to raise a glass to you.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I just took a break from unloading the moving truck to check my email, and it looks like I got elected to council!!! Hee hee!

Thanks to everyone, and congrats to my soon-to-be-fellow-councilors!

(more when the truck is empty...)