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


Hello, I’m the Swiss Army Assistant Director

   January 20th, 2016 Brian Herzog

In Mother Russia, sometimes the agent changes you.My library's long-time Assistant Director retired at the end of last year, and I am taking over that role. This means two things:

  1. My library is hiring a Head of Reference - if you're interested, check it out. It's fun.
  2. Second, since I'll no longer be a reference desk librarian, this blog will certainly change.

For whatever it's worth, I'm going to try to keep writing new posts here whenever I come across something people might find interesting. My desk hours are going to change drastically, so the Reference Question of the Week posts will be less frequent. Which is too bad, but we'll see what happens. I've done almost one of those a week for over nine years - wow.

I'm a little nervous about change. I'm sure things will be fine after all the transition, but not spending most of my time covering a service desk will certainly be an adjustment.

But really, if you're interested in being Chelmsford's new reference librarian, send in your resume. It's a nice place to work.



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Librarian-Related Gift Ideas

   December 12th, 2012 Brian Herzog

This time of year always brings out the "best gifts for" and "best of the year" type lists. Instead of adding my own lists to the pile, I wanted to highlight two slightly different takes on library-related gift ideas:

First, a great blog post by the Nocturnal Librarian - instead of trying to find the one right book for someone, she came up with a much better idea:

My idea of the perfect gift book is not going to be yours, and might work for your sister but not for your grandfather, your niece, or your teen. So I suggest the gift of professional reading advice.

Read the full post.

And secondly, Stephen Colbert has the best possible advice I wish everyone would gift to the librarian in their life:

Stephen Colbert's message

Via LISNews, that is the gift that can make any day Christmas Day.



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Librarian Q&A Forum At StackExchange Now Live!

   May 30th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Unshelved comic stripGreat News - the Libraries and Information Science question and answer forum, by librarians for librarian, is now open for business! Check it out:

http://libraries.stackexchange.com

This is the long-awaited replacement for Unshelved Answers - at least, I've been waiting for it, because I used it all the time. I love that librarians have a place to ask each other questions, share tips, ideas, and best practices, and just easily communicate - all with a searchable archive.

Thanks to all the early committers and beta testers. If this is completely new to you, please check it out - it's worth it, and is definitely useful professional development.



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The Librarian Song on The Red Green Show

   February 29th, 2012 Brian Herzog

I can't believe I forgot about this song - the Red Green Show is one of my all-time favorites.

[video link]

Happy Leap Day, everyone.



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Damn It Feels Good To Be A Librarian

   February 1st, 2012 Brian Herzog

I had thought that by doing fewer posts per week, I'd end up with higher quality overall. However, not so much, exactly.

My friend Chris emailed me a link to the image below, which showed up on failblog under the "ugliest tattoos" category. This font wouldn't be my first choice, but I don't think it's so bad (although I cropped out the worst parts - click through to full size if you dare).

LIBRARIAN tattoo

But this tattoo reminded me that, unlike my unmodified self, there are lots of librarians with tattoos, piercings, dyed hair, et. al., who probably hear "you don't look like a librarian" every time they tell someone what they do for a living. I have nothing specific to say about this, other than I'm glad our profession is as diverse as our collections, from the individual to the flickr group to the The Tattooed Ladies of Texas Library Association (or just search Google Images for tattooed librarians).

Also: while reading about tattoo librarians, I found a Jessamyn post pointing to a book project: author Shelley Jackson's project for her story Ineradicable Stain: a 2095-word story published exclusively in tattoos, one word at a time, on the skin of volunteers.

Now that is truly lib-core. Incidentally, the title of the post comes from the Geto Boys "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta," featured in one of my favorite movies, Office Space (NSFW, literally and figuratively):

And in case someone doesn't follow my leap from this tattoo to gangsta, it's the font. Check out, homies.



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Support the Stack Exchange Library Forum

   January 10th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Unshelved by Gene Ambaum and Bill BarnesThe beginning of the year is apparently my favorite time for good causes - although this is one I've mentioned before.

Last year, Unshelved Answers, a Q&A site for librarians, went offline. A replacement was proposed on Stack Exchange, but to move forward it needs 894 people to support the idea.

I used Unshelved Answers a lot, to both ask questions and share knowledge (sometimes that I had to find out the hard way). If you're interested in a professional open forum (essentially, a reference desk for librarians) to communicate with each other and share tips and tricks and best practices, take a look at the proposal and consider clicking the Commit! button. Thanks.



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