Showing posts from 2007

Thoughts on Academic Librarianship, Reviews, Various other Things

On the review front: still waiting to hear from the Journal of Web Librarianship about my review on Teaching with Technology: An Academic Librarian's Guide and Choice about my admittedly lukewarm (more luke than warm) review of, but:

Happy days! My review of Bell & Shank's 2007 Academic Librarianship by Design: The Blended Librarian's Guide to the Tools and Techniques was published in the November 15 Library Journal. It really should be on your shelf if you're an academic librarian who has anything to do with planning or implementing library programs or instruction. If you are an academic librarian who is not involved in those things...perhaps you should rethink where you work. Get involved or get out - it'll help your library become far more fabulous if you let someone who is interested in the work - and the welfare of the students - participate in building the library's future.
I say this not out of spite, but because I've seen libr…

Returning from Residency

Just returned from Louisville late last night, and am recovering from a hugely intensive residency week. (Who knew being a writer could be so exhausting?)
In other news, I've had poems picked up by Poetry Midwest, Creekwalker, and just had another nabbed by Survivor's Review. (I also heard a tale at residency of a librarian who became such a good poet she was able to quit her job...) This, combined with the recent workshopping, my first public reading, and the work I have planned for next semester all have me raring to go, submitting manuscripts and wildly revising what I have already written. I'm even feeling kindly towards the editors that have, to date, rejected me. The ones who hand-write their rejections I consider actual fans. Yep, definitely a good place to be.
On the other hand, I am back at work (which I did miss), and working on deleting a backlog of emails, as well as planning a workshop I am to teach tomorrow on alerts. (You know, where you can have the database …


Sadly, this is the first year in quite awhile that I haven't costumed up for my stint at the reference desk. Call it moving fatigue, call it paycheck fatigue, call it "leaving-for-a-week-and-a-half-on-Friday-and-tons-left-to-do" burnout. I know. I'm disappointed in myself. Way down deep, there's a pirate gypsy that's dying to make her entrance. Having only been here three months at this point, I think I'll wait until next Halloween to bust out my glaringly ridiculous Halloween self. Hopefully, by then they'll love me far too much to retract the employment offer. *grin*
But I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that not all librarians are as lame as I happened to be today. In fact, I harbor some serious nerd-love for the Maker of the MARC Pumpkin. not that I have general affection for makers of MARC records, as a rule - while I appreciate their work, catalogers are a breed I cannot claim to understand. The Librarian Avengers draw our atten…

Nerd Love and Librarians

Do YOU want to be a librarian? You should, after watching the music video.
The music video by HauntedLove, "I want to be a librarian," was posted quite awhile ago, but I'd like to re-post it here, because it's the most fabulous song about librarians ever. (Not to mention that they squish a problem patron in the movable stacks, which I have been tempted to do...muahahahaha.)

I want to be a librarian
I want to check out your books
Please give them to me
With the bar code facing up
Please don't bring them back too late
or I'll have to charge you fifty cents a day
(and you won't like that)

I want to be a librarian
Wearing glasses every single day
Don't you find me appealing
in a nerdy sort of way?
Please don't talk so loudly

Meet me in the closed reserve
I'll let you read all the new magazines
I'll let you touch the first editions
If you promise me
If you promise me
If you promise me your hands are clean

(To all the folks who wil…

Librarian After Hours

What does a librarian do after a long day of answering reference question, reading books and writing reviews, planning presentations, teaching classes, conducting some original research and pondering podcasting? I could give you the dull (but true) answer that I read. I read ravenously. (You would too, if what you read for reviewing were titled "The Beginning of Collegiate Education West of the Appalachians, 1795-1833: The Achievement of Dr. Charles Coffin of Greeneville College and East Tennessee College." No offense, Mr. Patrick.)
While that last title may prove fascinating, I approach what I deem my 'trashy reading' with far less apprehension, perhaps because the titles are shorter - or because no one's expecting a review, so they feel a bit less like homework. Pressfield's Gates of Fire, Byrne's new book of poetry Flammable Bird, and Catherine Coulter's Blindside (which I happen to be reading completely out of order, because I didn't reali…

The Digitization Debate

We hear a lot about how many librarians and IT folks figure that with all of the nifty technology we've got nowadays, they'd much rather run their libraries off in the ether, behind the scenes without having to deal with that nasty, germy face-to-face business we have in walk-in libraries now. Most of the rhetoric surrounding \that has to do with the fact that hey - doesn't it increase access if you put it online? Then you don't have to deal with building hours! Or staff time off! Or worrying about creepy porninators coming in and bothering everyone! Jolly good!
These are the same folks who believe that digitization is a panacea for all building-laden woes, that if can be made available online, the physical access to something is just a ridiculous redundancy. As it was stated in the Billings Gazette: "phasing out services associated with the library as public space" is part of the plan. *sigh* Those pesky patrons again, bothering us in person, when they could …

Library or Information Science?

Lately, one of the more interesting and lengthy discussions on the JESSE listserv (for L&IS education discussion forum) has been the tension between information science and library science, and whether the 'shift' to information science is happening in theory, but not for practitioners. There have been a number of thoughtful posts on the subject, and (chatty librarian with big, fat opinions that I am), I decided to put my two cents in. One of the more recent postings asked whether, indeed, librarianship is distinctive from information management, and if so, if librarians actually had knowledge and skills that were sufficiently up to date and advanced. As a practitioner of librarianship (and as someone who turned down a job in information management because of the severe - and to me, horrifying - differences), I stand firmly by the belief that there are sharp contrasts between the two, and that both are necessary...but this doesn't mean they are the same thing, nor shou…

Life of the Librarian

Life is good. I've acclimated to Chattanooga (by acclimated, I mean 'they barred my way home and I spent an entire late evening lost but made it back anyway'). The apartment is great, but for the small issue of a Korean family below me who likes to play their music loud and host MTV-esque parties into the wee hours. The creative writing juices are flowing, which is just as well, since the MFA program needs me primed and ready for the November residency in Louisville. But mostly, I'd like to take a gander at the two months I've now got under my belt of academic librarianship. The real kind, with the actual job title.
Work is good. No, work is fantabulous - I love it. I teach classes - so far, the Freshman Life library intro class and the introductory English class library sessions - and I love it. The freshmen have so much energy! Plus I find it fun to teach them databases in a semi-interesting way. (I mean, c'mon. You can only make Academic OneFile so exciting, …

ALA Fails the MLS programs...and Students

I am in love with the Annoyed Librarian. Why, you ask? "She's cranky!", you say. "An absolute anarchist and one who pees on the parade of librarianship!" you shout.

Nope, I respectfully disagree. While I have the good fortune of now loving (lurving, even) my position, I worked in one of those hellacious bureaucratic academic libraries that couldn't give two hoots about treatment of the librarians, staff or patrons so long as admin fatcats were kept happy. In fact, I worked full time at the major library on the very campus where I worked on my MLS degree, and I have to wonder if those made uncomfortable by the AL don't feel that way because she hits the nail squarely on the head.

For instance, the post on library science education. Alas! I read the post and comments with much laughter, because it's true. Library science education as it stands in many schools (probably not the ones up on the latest and greatest tech and programming stuff) could be…

Librarians and their Soldiers

My little brother, a Marine in Afghanistan, asked for books, because he and his fellows had little to do during their downtime. (Remember, no gambling - including card playing, no naked or semi-uncovered women, no general rowdiness allowed.) I rallied my fellow librarians, and we sent over ridiculously huge boxes – popular fiction, nonfiction, and classic literature. My brother later sent me a letter mentioning that he was punished by one of his superior officers, because when the officer asked what my brother was doing, he replied, “Reading Paradise Lost, sir.” The officer assumed he was lying. Upon his return from two stints in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, Patrick (never much of a reader), proudly proclaims his profound and unending love for Beowulf, and reads every translation he can get his hands on. I have never been prouder of what I do for a living.

Heads up, librarians. Be good to your soldiers, and have them come home with a serious case of booklove.

Nikki Gemmeli's The Bride Stripped Bare

Nikki Gemmelli. The Bride Stripped Bare.
ISBN-10: 0060591889

A gem, for any of you folks who haven't seen it on the Target shelves yet: Nikki Gemell's The Bride Stripped Bare.

Written in Lessons instead of chapters, the novel begins with, "Your husband doesn't know you're writing this. It's quite easy to write it under his nose. Just as easy, perhaps, as sleeping with other people. But no one will ever know who you are, or what you've done, for you've always been seen as the good wife." From there, Gemmell takes us on a journey through a woman's erotic and frightening self-discovery. The narrator moves from boring housewife to experimental secret-keeper upon the discovery of an Elizabethan manuscript that describes women's secret desires. Intrigued that another woman so far removed had felt the same urges and longings, the narrator careens through testing the limits of marriage, dragging the reader through the …

I *Heart* LibraryThing

Please let me expound, for a moment, about my love for LibraryThing.LibraryThing is the nerd tool to end all nerd tools, at least for the bibliophiles around the world. If you could see me, you would see little floaty hearts rising above my head every time I wrote LibraryThing.

LibraryThing allows you, for free for a few hundred books and for as many books as you can enter for a $25 lifetime subscription, to catalog your own library. Oh yes, ladies and gents – the broke folks among us who have tried to do it in Excel and failed? Who have dreamed of having Voyager modules of our very own, but not quite so complicated or expensive? Our time has come. Try it for free; you’ll find yourself slapping down the $25 fee happily, just to be able to enter ALL of your books, and to have this nifty thing for a lifetime. An online catalog of your own personal library – no moldy old card catalogs for us (though we may still dream of someday getting the gumption to buy one and slave over handwriting t…

Finances for Girls

My cheeky, but oh-so-correct girlfriend A has hit the nail on the head (well, at least my nail) with her latest post Nice Girls Don't Talk About Money.

Now, Suze Orman I am not (as evidenced by my teetering piles of credit card bills and the fact that I didn't even look up what sort of interest rates I was paying until this morning), but I like to think of myself as a relatively civilized, evolved woman. I am smart. I am relatively good-enough looking that people don't look at me funny in Starbucks. (Well, they do, but it's the tattoos, not my face, that has them a bit out of sorts.) I have graduate degrees under my belt. I have a personal library of more volumes than most people own in entire lifetimes. All in all, I am a normal(ish) late-twenties woman. But I have to admit, that I often fall into the trap of wishing I had someone I could hand my check over to and trust to get my bills paid properly. As long as he gave me a book allowance, of course. A woman has to h…

Greenfire: an uneviable flop

Because I am supposed to move halfway around the country next Thursday, I have been diligently putting off anything that resembles packing and or preparing to move my giant hoard of junk. Strategies have included cooking actual dinners instead of my handy salad-in-a-bag standby, wandering aimlessly about the house ignoring the packable items, eating far too much ice cream for my waistline's comfort, and reading. Ah, yes - this is one of the reasons I became a librarian in the first place. When there's something unpleasant to be done, you can usually find me shuttled away with a book. (At work, at least, it comforts me to be surrounded by them, even if I can't escape into the tomes.)

Anyway, having polished off Rowlings' Deathly Hallows in a voracious 5 hour stint, I have managed to drum up some other reading to keep me occupied. Let me review for you:

by Saranne Dawson.
Publisher: Love Spell, 1994.
ISBN-10: 0505519852.
ISBN-13: 978-0505519856

To be fair, I picked…

Romeo & Juliet: Reloaded

My good friend (and former classmate at a teeny private liberal arts college - that should warm you for what's coming) and I were talking the other day about Romeo & Juliet.

Now, I have to say, I love the Bard. In an unadulterated, flamboyant, non-sexual, "I-wish-they'd-find-additional-secret-tomes-of-work-in-a-flat-somewhere" kind of way. I think it's a durned shame that some students never become enamored with him - love, sex, war, insanity - the man incorporated it all.

Anyway, back to our discussion of R&J. After listening to Deana Carter's song 'Romeo" and the intriguing tagline "I would not die for you," I wondered. Wouldn't die for him, eh?

Is it possible that many of the relationship ills we find ourselves beseiged with are traceable back to this lovely little play? (What relationship ills, you say? Watch the news. Or your neighbors. It's pretty obvious.) Yes, truly, where did we get it into our heads that true love …

The Citation Gods are Watching...

So, I have been semi-lurking on a list of librarians that have been addressing bibliographic citation. (By semi-lurking, I mean reading everyone else's comments and limiting myself to only one.) Yes, even we librarians understand that for most (read: normal) folks, working on citations is just left of the sort of fun represented by, say, a pitbull attached to the left cheek of your Levis. We understand that. We strive to make you understand WHY you need to purchase the MLA and APA handbooks, and know about Turabian and various other nifty styles of citation. Not because we enjoy torturing you - that's hardly the case. (Have you ever noticed that the folks teaching this look almost worse off than the students?) It's because we - okay, I - feel that citation is necessary to not become academic whores.

That's right, I said it. I like bibliographic citation. It requires a bit of effort, yes, which apparently everyone has become allergic to. (Good thing we are now an inform…

Back Up and Running

Yes, folks, I have been out and about for the better part of a year. I left my evening post in Kentucky for greener (literally, better-paying) pastures in New York and visited with the family a bit. It took me approximately three weeks to remember why I haven't lived in the Big Apple for the past ten years, so I began the job hunt.

Ah, the job-hunt. I actually enjoyed mine, believe it or not. No, really. I don't have a single horror story. It helped that I didn't have a personal deadline, and was simply hoping to get nearby to Kentucky, if at all possible. (What can I say, it grew on me.) After a number of phone interviews, and a few flights out to some wonderful places, I seem to have found a wonderful match at the University of Tennessee - Chattanooga, where I will begin my first (gasp! drumroll!) tenure-track faculty position on August 6th. I am terribly excited. The job is bagged, the apartment is paid for (well, the first month, at least), and all I have left to do is…