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

Vacation Lessons

   September 16th, 2008 Brian Herzog

Cocoa Beach Public LibraryToday is my first day back from a week and a half long vacation. I went to Florida for a cousin's wedding, and then to Ohio for the birthday parties of my niece (1) and nephew (7). I had a few goals for the trip, so here's the update on those along with a few things I learned along the way:

  1. Playaways (at least with the included earbuds I used) are not loud enough to be heard when you're sitting on an airplane next to the engine. Next time perhaps I'll try a noise/anti-noise arrangement
  2. Key West isn't much fun when it is evacuated before a hurricane (I didn't make it to the library)
  3. People in airports don't take other peoples' books, even when "free book!" is written on the cover. I released five Bookcrossing books in airports this trip, and watched at least three people sit down next to one of them, look at it, and then go about their business. I found this interesting, but I'll have to rethink my guerrilla strategy for promoting literacy
  4. The Brevard Country Library System is wonderful. I used both their main library and Cocoa Beach branch, and everything worked, the staff were all nice, and it was just pleasant all-around - exactly what I needed while on vacation. I also picked up a few tips to bring back and implement in my own library
  5. Boston's Logan Airport has chairs with power outlets and USB jacks built right in - great
  6. Even if you're not in a hurricane, it can still effect you - the Keys were evacuated in advanced of Hurricane Ike, so I had to change plans and go north to Cape Canaveral. And then at the end of the trip when I was flying back from Ohio, the remnants of Ike knocked out power to much of southern Ohio and shut down the Cincinnati airport, thus canceling my flight
  7. A birthday party of eight seven-year-old boys is never dull

It was a good trip all around, and now I'm back to real life and the library. But NELA's annual conference is just over a month away, so that's another trip to look forward to. I'm part of a panel presenting "Library 2.0 For You" (or, L24U, if you like that sort of thing) on Monday, so mark your calendars.

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Gone Traveling

   September 2nd, 2008 Brian Herzog

Monroe County Library, Key West BranchNot that this is going to break anyone's heart, but I'm going to be traveling for the next week and a half, and so won't be posting anything for awhile.

The first part of the trip is to the Florida Keys for my cousin Johnny's wedding, and then to Ohio for the birthday party for my nephew Andrew and niece Samantha. Andrew is turning 7 and Samantha is turning 1, and it's even more special because they're brother and sister and were born on the same day.

Since you can take the boy out of the library but not the library out of the boy, I've got a few library-related activities planned for the trip:

  • I'm taking two playaways with me. I generally don't like mp3 players, but listening to these on the airplanes will allow me to knit at the same time (I'm taking a few print books, too)
  • I'm curious to stop in the Key West Library to see how it balances serving local patrons and tourists (and for the air conditioning and internet access)
  • I'm going to release Bookcrossing books in airports to continue with the Airport Public Library project

Between these two events, I think I'm going to see everyone on both sides of my family - which is nice, because I don't see them enough. And luckily, I think I'll slip right between the hurricanes.

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