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January 31, 2008

Edward R. Casey, 1928-2008

Edward R. Casey, 1928-2008
Originally uploaded by Michael Casey.


January 30, 2008

Shame on Apple!!

My Apple iPod is just eleven months old and it, like many other iPods, will not play iTunes rental movies. Read more here.

January 29, 2008

Joy of Computing: Recipes for a 5-Star Library

I've spoken about TechSoup’s MaintainIT Project before and I'm very excited to hear that they released their latest cookbook, complete with the same easy-to-follow tips, techniques, and stories about supporting public computers from libraries across the country.

Download the FREE Joy of Computing: Recipes for a 5-Star Library.

The newest cookbook covers everything from setting up public wireless to time and print management for your customer computers. It even has information on setting up a laptop checkout program. Also, I'm very happy to see several Georgia contributors in this latest Cookbook:

  • Rhonda Bartlett, Lake Blackshear Regional Library
  • Sara Paulk, Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library
  • Valerie Stroylis, Lake Blackshear Regional Library

The MaintainIT Project asks that you get in touch and share your challenges and successes so libraries can learn from your experiences. Email them at maintainit@techsoup.org

January 28, 2008

Hulu Beta

Originally uploaded by Michael Casey.

A very well made streaming television and movie site. Sign up during their private beta test period. http://www.hulu.com/

Huge Archival Find!

A suitcase full of negatives of photos taken by famed photographer Robert Capa has been found. Read all about this amazing story.

To the small group of photography experts aware of its existence, it was known simply as “the Mexican suitcase.” And in the pantheon of lost modern cultural treasures, it was surrounded by the same mythical aura as Hemingway’s early manuscripts, which vanished from a train station in 1922.

The suitcase — actually three flimsy cardboard valises — contained thousands of negatives of pictures that Robert Capa, one of the pioneers of modern war photography, took during the Spanish Civil War before he fled Europe for America in 1939, leaving behind the contents of his Paris darkroom.

Capa assumed that the work had been lost during the Nazi invasion, and he died in 1954 on assignment in Vietnam still thinking so. But in 1995 word began to spread that the negatives had somehow survived, after taking a journey worthy of a John le Carré novel: Paris to Marseille and then, in the hands of a Mexican general and diplomat who had served under Pancho Villa, to Mexico City...

An great story and a stunning find!

Article: Library Walks Fine Line on Web Pornography

From today's New York Times comes an article on libraries, filtering, and porn. Within the article is a quote which I never would have expected.

Grappling with what constitutes the rights of citizens in their pursuit of knowledge versus the protection of those same citizens from the use of obscenity is “a delicate balance,” Ms. Walsh said.

This is something we never thought we’d have to address in library school,” she said.


Read the whole article here.

January 18, 2008

Dummies book display at Lawrenceville library

Dummies book display at Lawrenceville library
Originally uploaded by Michael Casey.

I love the effort they put into this. Good job!

Those Artsy Mac People

Are Apple users more artsy or liberal than PC users?  Take a look at this new Mindset Media survey:

According to Mindset Media, people who purchase Macs fall into what the branding company calls the "Openness 5" personality category -- which means they are more liberal, less modest and more assured of their own superiority than the population at large...

So-called Openness 5 types tend to seek rich, varied and novel experiences, according to the company, and believe that imagination and intellectual curiosity are as important to life as more rational or pragmatic endeavors. They also are receptive to their own inner feelings and may experience life with more emotional intensity.

Read the full article here.

January 17, 2008

Blyberg on Two-Oh!

Just go read it.

I’ve been feeling, for awhile now, that the term Library 2.0 has been co-opted by a growing group of libraries, librarians, and particularly vendors to push an agenda of “change” that deflects attention from some very real issues and concerns without really changing anything. It’s very evident in the profusity of L2-centric workshops and conferences that there is a significant snake-oil market in the bibliosphere. We’re blindly casting about for a panacea and it’s making us look like fools...

...Don’t hold your breath waiting for technology to adapt to the library environment. Web 2.0 did not evolve with libraries in mind, and there’s no reason to think that it ever will. I realize that, at first glance, that statement seems to run counter to what I’ve been saying with regards to not forcing a square peg into a round hole. What I mean is that we cannot expect to retrofit our libraries with tomorrow’s technology. The true pursuit of Library 2.0 involves a thorough recalibration of process, policy, physical spaces, staffing, and technology so that any hand-offs in the patron’s library experience are truly seamless. We can learn a lot about collaboration and individual empowerment from Web 2.0, but we cannot be subsumed by it because we have a mission that eclipses “don’t be evil” which is the closest thing to a conscience the Web will ever have.

Again, just go read the whole thing. Thanks John. Well said.

Lester Public Library and Flickr

Getting the 'Look'
Originally uploaded by Lester Public Library.

I love how Lester Public Library uses their Flickr account. They always have wonderful photos of programs and events.

North Carolina Master Trainers Program

Lori Reed emailed me information about North Carolina's statewide training of trainers program called "Master Trainers". Here's how they describe their program:

The Master Trainer Program is a statewide initiative that was developed by the State Library of North Carolina to increase library staff skills in planning and presenting effective internal training programs. The State Library sponsors the Master Trainer program as a way to help public and academic libraries meet the ongoing need for training by providing intensive "train the trainer" sessions. The Master Trainer program is made possible through federal LSTA grant funds.

What a great program. While it's new to me, according their web site the program has been ongoing for almost ten years!

Training is such a difficult job and so many libraries find themselves in the position of having understaffed and underfunded training departments (if they have any at all) and too dependent upon untrained front-line staff to do the training when what they really need is trained full-time trainers. This type of program lets them get the training they need while efficiently using limited staffing resources.


January 16, 2008

Coping with Anonymity

Picture this: your library has launched a visionary long-range reorganization plan that sparks an anonymous, critical blog from staff members. Or your library appears in an anonymous YouTube or Flickr extravaganza that targets your authoritarian signage, unfriendly staff, and dirty public restrooms. Or your soon-to-be-launched web revamp is reviewed on an employee's personal blog before the library goes public. Hypothetical? No.

Read the full column here.

January 11, 2008

What's Playing at the Library?

By Loriene Roy and Joseph McPeak:

It's the hip new thing. Your teenagers are begging for it.

And it's likely to be at your local library. What's the big draw? The answer might surprise you - video games.

Video games? At the library? Is that . . . proper?

The answer, according to nearly 75 percent of libraries across the United States, including here in Philadelphia, is a resounding "Yes!"

It's important to remember debates like this have taken place as long as libraries have existed. Once upon a time, for example, U.S. library patrons were required to sign out several nonfiction books before they could sign out any fiction, since nonfiction was somehow more worthwhile.

Full opinion piece.

January 10, 2008

Perceptions 2007: An International Survey of Library Automation

Upheaval in the ILS world? You bet! Take a look at this quote and then read the whole report.

The products of SirsiDynix, Unicorn and Horizon, received low satisfaction scores from libraries responding to the survey. Unicorn, the company’s flagship ILS performed somewhat better than Horizon. 14% of libraries running Unicorn and about half of those with Horizon indicate interest in migrating to another system--not surprising considering SirsiDynix's position not to develop that system into the future. Horizon libraries scored high interest in open source ILS alternatives. The comments provided by libraries running Horizon voiced an extremely high level of frustration with SirsiDynix as a company and its decision to discontinue Horizon. Many indicated distrust toward the company. The comments from libraries running Unicorn, the system which SirsiDynix selected as the basis for its flagship Symphony ILS, also ran strongly negative—some because of issues with the software some because of concerns with the company.

Full survey results and report

January 09, 2008

Baghdad's Brave Librarian

Audio slide show from the Christian Science Monitor.