Thursday, March 08, 2007

Library Stuff

Librarians Use Bloglines
I try to go to a monthly reference forum training, last month the topic was blogs and blogging. Blogs make it easier for people to publish on the web, and there are plenty of blogs simply devoted to books. Some librarians look to blogs as a source for readers advisory (the libarian's term for helping people find a "good book to read"). Unlike book review journals, blogs will cover older books, or specific types of books from specific genres. I got the impression librarians like to use Bloglines. I've been using My Yahoo for RSS feeds, but as the number of blogs I read grows, that's getting clunkier. (One person said, "They make blogs sound like a drug!" Several of us chimed in response, "It is!") So...maybe I will give it a try. I do like to have online sources for favorites lists, because then it doesn't matter what computer you're using, you can still access those regularly visited pages.

Making Cities Stronger
Page 3 of this document, picture of my branch library, said to be the busiest branch library in the nation. Apartments above, coffee shop to the left, and quite a few restaurants, antique stores, banks, grocery stores within four blocks. The document is a report by the Urban Libraries Council on why libraries are so good for economic development, and what it is libraries do that support economic development. I haven't had time to read the whole document, but the conclusions make sense. "Central libraries manage to make a considerable mark on the look and feel of downtown areas." In commercial strips and mall, libraries are "contributing the valued commodity of foot traffic to local businesses, anchoring redevelopment, and providing quality of life amenities to neighborhoods." In mixed use develepments, like my library pictured on page 3, libraries add "significant public amenity value to burgeoning commercial, office, and residential corridors." Interestingly, our libary system was not one of the survey sites or one of the case study sites...but we're pictured!

No Doubt You Heard about the Case of the Dog's Jewels
Here's a good synopsis. It occurs to me that this squeamishness over the words scrotum and vagina might not be due only to religious tyranny, but to corporatization of America. Not all that long ago, many families lived on farms. They wanted their animals to mate and reproduce. Children would have been quite familiar with animal parts and what the animals did with those parts. Chances are they just called a dog's balls a dog's balls. Now, not so many families living on farms, growing up naturally with the facts of life. Agribusiness rules the land while families shield their children from the facts of life.

The funny thing about this award-winning story, I thought, was that the inquisitive girl overhears a drunk telling a story about a snake biting the dog's scrotum. Now wouldn't the drunk say "balls" or "nuts"? A teacher used it in her lessons, asked the kids what they thought would be controversial in the story. They thought it was the drinking.

The author herself weighs in here. For those obviously titillated by the mention of private parts in children's literature, Gelflog made a list for you.

Web 2.0
Neat little youtube demo on the difference between the first web, and web 2.0, here. At the very end, the director says, "We'll need to rethink a few things. Copyright. Authorship. Identity. Ethics. Aesthetics. Rhetorics. Governance. Privacy. Commerce. Love. Family. Ourselves." (Only in a more dynamic digital way than this.) He missed one. Libraries. Libraries are rethinking ourselves in this world too. There are 8,320 results for the keyword "libraries" on youTube. At the very least, librarians are making sure they know what's available so they can better serve the people who come to the library to use it. The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County took that learning online with a blog and contest for Learning 2.0.

A Better Wikipedia
A cofounder of wikipedia wants to create a more accountable wiki encyclopedia. Librarians don't like to use wikipedia because they want reliability in their reference sources. I will tend to use it to help me find the words I need to refine a search for a patron, as it is often near the top in google results. Citizendium will rely on "gentle expert guidance."

oh boy. was that too geeky?

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