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

Library Blog Search

   August 31st, 2010 Brian Herzog

LISZENSometimes when I am working on a post, I wonder if another library blogger has already covered it - an am afraid I'll look kind of dumb rehashing something.

So I thought, wouldn't it be great to set up a Google custom search engine to search all library-related blogs? Before I did, I checked if anyone already created one, and it turned out Library Zen had - four years ago (I'm even further behind than I thought).

LISZEN Search searches over 500 library blogs, and has an accompanying wiki to keep track. If you write about the library world, add yourself.

Something related that would also be nice is a custom search of just library websites - so it would be easy to quickly see what other library's policies are regarding ebooks, or circulating laptops, or how much they charge for printing, etc. But considering the breadth of libraries and the complexity of maintaining it, just using regular Google might be more realistic.

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Bookshelves of Librarians

   February 11th, 2010 Brian Herzog

Librarians are social creatures, right? Despite dowdy stereotypes, many of us are out there Web 2.0'ing it up - among other things, we like sharing our photos on flickr and our books on LibraryThing.

So, I thought a fun meme would be to combine the two - show photos of our personal books and bookshelves. I spied one of Jessamyn's, and uploaded photos of all my bookshelves.* I'm curious to see how other people organize books in their own space.

My Bookshelves (click for descriptions)
My Book Shelves - Non-fiction
My Book Shelves - Reference
My Book Shelves - Fiction

And since timing is everything, this is doubly fun considering LibraryThing's announcement this week about expanding LT's photo capabilities.

So upload photos of your own shelves (librarians and non-librarians) to flickr or LibraryThing or somewhere and share your personal organizational system.


*I didn't photograph all the books in places other than shelves: coffee table, bedside table, bathroom bench, car, piled on the floor, etc. I tell myself those are all "temporary shelving locations."

Also: I can't decide if "bookshelves" should be one word or two - so I use both.

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Going to ALA Midwinter 2010

   January 7th, 2010 Brian Herzog

Hey, ALA Midwinter 2010 is in Boston this month. Being so close, I can hardly pass up going, especially since I have a free pass to the exhibit hall courtesy of LYRASIS (steps for getting your own free pass below).

I went the last time it was in Boston, and was slightly underwhelmed. It's definitely more of a business meeting for the various ALA committees, which I didn't expect. But this year there are some vendors I want to talk to, librarians to meet, and LibraryThing is also planning an event. Please say hi if you see me.

If you're not going, the hashtag for Midwinter 2010 is #alamw10 - look for it around the interwebs (twitter, flickr, flickr group).

And here's the scoop on the free passes: my library is a part of MVLC which is part of NMRLS which is a part of LYRASIS. If you're also somehow covered under their umbrella, here's how to get your free pass:

  1. Go to http://registration.experient-inc.com/ShowALA101/DefaultExhGuest.aspx?CompanyId=2160
  2. You will be brought to the Midwinter website. Note the Exhibits times. Click "Next."
  3. Fill in your contact information. Click "Next."
  4. Click "Member" and complete your demographics information. Click "Next."
  5. Leave "Your Events" empty. Click "Next."
  6. Review your "Registration Summary." Click "Next."
  7. You're done! You will have a confirmation number; your total will be $0.00. Print your confirmation.

Oh yeah, and exhibit dates/times are below, with the story on the ALA page:

Friday, Jan 15: 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Saturday, Jan 16: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday, Jan 17: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Monday, Jan 18: 9:00am - 2:00pm

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Punk Rock Librarians

   August 20th, 2009 Brian Herzog

Punk Rock BrianIn July, Library Journal featured an article that compared libraries and punk rock, as an intro to a bibliography of books on punk music.

I liked the idea, and also enjoyed a follow-up post on The Contrarian, further exploring the similarities between libraries and what it means to be punk.

I do certainly see (and feel) the similarities each points out, and both posts are worth reading. Librarians know what is important to us and the profession, and if something threatens it, we have our own ways of pushing back - but I would like more push-back in certain areas.

And even though there is a stereotyped look for punks and librarians, there are certainly plenty of librarians who break that mold.

Incidentally, the photo is of me from the not-too-distant past. What can I say? I am a rocker. I rock out.

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Recently Noticed Library References

   May 12th, 2009 Brian Herzog

empty shelvesOver the weekend I found two references to libraries that I thought people would enjoy.

I just finished reading Guards! Guards!, by Terry Pratchett. It's a Discworld novel, and featured one of my favorite characters, the Librarian (of course). The plot is a bit complex, but I don't think this quote needs any setup:

Somehow, though, to a soul attuned to the subtle rhythms of a library, there are few worse sights than a hole where a book ought to be.

Someone had stolen a book.

Funny, because I get this same sinking feeling every time I'm pulling requested books, and the one I'm looking for is missing - the feeling is doubled when there's a gap in that spot on the shelf. Well captured, Sir Terry.

The second reference came when I was taking a Web 3.0 quiz on HowStuffWorks.com. Things were going along fine until I got to Question 9:

If the Web 1.0 experience is like going to a library and the Web 2.0 experience is like talking with a group of friends, what will the Web 3.0 experience be like?

  • having a personal assistant
  • going to class in a university lecture hall
  • going to a movie theater with every film and television show available to watch any time you like

Oh really? Libraries are like Web 1.0?

But the quizzes are interesting, so check out the whole list.

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25 Famous Librarians Who Changed History

   February 12th, 2009 Brian Herzog

Charles Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis CarrollLast week I received an email heads-up for a blog post entitled 25 Famous Librarians Who Changed History.

It's an interesting quick read, and it was neat to learn that both Mao Zedong and Lewis Carroll, among others, had both been librarians in their lives (congratulations to #24 for being recognized as a history-changer).

I'd never heard of the website before, but the rest of the posts on their blog (started in Jan 2009) seemed equally interesting.

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