or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Chelmsford Library to get Electric Car Charging Station

   August 18th, 2011 Brian Herzog

Electric car chargerWell, the fun never stops at the Chelmsford Library - I recently read in the newspaper that we'll be getting a car charger for electric cars.

What?!?, you might exclaim - I did, anyway. I was surprised to be finding out about it from the newspaper, but also the logic of placing it at the library wasn't immediately apparent to me.

According to the article, the charging station is a result of a state grant our Town Manager applied for (Chelmsford was one of 25 towns included in the grant), and it seems this project is really being driven by the Town (rather than the library).

The Town's Facilities Manager is attending an informational meeting this week, and hopefully will have more details to share after that. Right now, it's not entirely clear where the charger will be located, and therefore what kind of impact it will have on parking. I'm not sure if we'll have to dedicate a parking spot to this, how long it takes cars to charge, or if anything will be required of library staff. We've been assured that this won't be added to our electricity usage though, so that's good.

I'm pretty happy that car chargers will start popping up around the state - especially that many of the town listed on the grant are small rural towns, and not just big cities. Chelmsford makes sense because a lot of commuters go through here, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of these as electric cars become more popular (which they probably won't until chargers are widely-available, so I don't know if that makes us the egg or the chicken).

Since this was a Town project, I understand why they're placing it at a Town building, situated in the center of town. But it still does seem like an odd fit for a library - even more of a stretch than a Redbox. However, our solar panel array was also part of a Town grant, and the library was chosen in that case to help showcase the use of renewable energy, and we also built a print collection around it. Hopefully we'll be able to do the same for electric cars.

By the way, here's a Sun-eye view of the solar panels at the Chelmsford Library:

Satellite view of solar panels on the roof of the Chelmsford Library


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The Right Way To Organize Books

   July 12th, 2007 Brian Herzog

cover of Sewer, Gas and ElectricI finished Matt Ruff's Sewer, Gas and Electric last night, and found one more good library-related quote. This one pretty much speaks for itself; especially with libraries trying alternatives.

"The call number was the hard part," Kite said. "The call number we got from the video tape was in Dewey Decimal classification code; this library uses the Library of Congress code."

"What did you have to do, translate it?"...

"It's not that simple," Kite said. "You know I never appreciated it before this afternoon, but library filing systems are remarkably arbitrary."

"There's no one right way to organize books, huh?"

Indeed.

classification, classification system, classification systems, ddc, dewey, dewey decimal, electric, gas, libraries, library, library of congress, loc, matt ruff, sewer, sewer gas and electric



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Where The Naked People Are

   July 5th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Unshelved comicI love it when completely unconnected things converge to create a complimentary coincidence. Conspiracy? Come on...

Today's confluence involves the Unshelved comic from 6/29/07 (click the image to read the entire strip), and the book I'm currently reading, Sewer, Gas & Electric, by Matt Ruff.

The quote below, like previous quotes, concerns libraries, but unlike them, is a bit lengthy (but it's worth it):

...Maxwell had also found a vocation of sorts, unpaid but satisfying, even addicting.

He moved library books.

"You ever notice how you can't find any naked pictures in a library?" Maxwell would sometimes say to strangers on the subway, by way of explanation. "What I mean is, you're a kid, your voice changes, and one day you start and wonder if you could find a book with naked pictures at the public library. Like, could they have bought one by mistake, put it on the shelf where even a kid could get at it. So you look up subjects like 'Erotica' and 'Nude Photography' in the catalog, and it turns out they have some hot-sounding titles, like An Illustrated History of Pornographic Films. But when you check for the call numbers on the shelf, those kinds of books are never in. Hell, you might find one that's all text, in French, but if it's a book with actual naked pictures, it won't be there. Even if the catalog says it's on the shelf, it wont' be there. Even if you come back and check every day for a month - when you voice changes, you do that kind of thing - it'll never be there. Like it's been removed. Surgically.

"Well, you know, I figured out why that is, not just at one library but at any library you go to. ...it just hit me: there's a conspiracy. Guys all over the country, a secret brotherhood. They come into every library first thing in the morning, and they grab all the books with naked pictures before anybody else can get to them. They don't take them out, and they don't steal them or burn then, they just refile them. They put the books with naked pictures in boring parts of the library, stick 'em in between the books that nobody ever reads. Then, later, when the kids whose voices are changing come in, the members of the brotherhood just stand back and laugh up their sleeve. It's a very important job."

That is, of course, unless you happen to be browsing the reference collection in the Muskingham Muskingum College Library.

boo, books, electric, gas, libraries, library, matt ruff, muskingham, muskingum, naked, naked pictures, nude, nudity, public libraries, public library, ruff, sewer, sewer gas & electric, sewer gas and electric, unshelved



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