Thursday, November 30, 2006

A very cool reason to get matching MP3 players

Just share the love. See the post here, then watch the video. Warning, if you happen to be prudish, this is not for you.

Via AdFreak.

Some rules for drinking

I am not much a bar person. I prefer to do my drinking at home or with family and friends at their homes. Much of it has to do with the fact I see social drinking as that: something you do with friends and/or family, not something you do to get wasted. At any rate, there are rare occasions when I do go out to a drinking establishment. So, as a public service to those out there, here are some rules for the savvy drinker. Some of these I knew already, others are interesting. Do look at all of the list. Some of the ones that stood out for me, with some comment from me:

  • At the holiday office party, consume one drink less than your boss. (Actually, this is pretty much good advice. Way I see it, let the boss be the one who makes an ass of him or herself. Don't you be that ass.)
  • Every man should know how to make at least one drink from a foreign country, preferably one taught to him by a local female with whom he has had a complicated, unresolved, and quite possibly dangerous dalliance. (I know how to make a couple of things, and no, I am not telling you who I learned them from.)
  • Drinking is not a competitive sport (This is self-explanatory.)
  • There is no upside to karaoke. (I know, been there, done that. However, when you sing "La Bamba" with an assistant principal, who knows?)
  • The one foolproof hangover cure: don't get drunk.
  • If you don't smoke and you are in a bar, don't complain about other people who happen to be smoking, because virtuous friend, you are in a bar. (This should be self-explanatory as well. While I don't smoke, I certainly know that in bars people smoke. It is a given; it is in fact part of the reason many people frequent bars. If you don't smoke, and you don't like smoke, the advice is simple: don't go to a bar. And by the way, if I am at a bar with you, and you feel the need to light up, fine by me.)
  • Acceptable drinks for men: beer, wine, whiskey, cocktails that are neither sweet nor made with dairy or fruit other than lime or lemon or orange.
  • Acceptable drinks for women: whatever they want, except a certain few (the certain few are listed in the rules too.)
  • Pick up your drinks before moving the table. (This actually reminds me of something else. Make sure you have a good grasp on your drink. My grandfather was notorious in handing you a bottle of beer and then quickly making as if to drop it if you were not smart enough to grab the bottle from the bottom so it would rest on the palm of your hand. So, make sure you get a good grip on it when they hand it to you.)
A hat tip to the Liquor Snob.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Turns out that meme or other had extra items.

Found out from CW at Ruminations that this meme had some extra items. So, in the interest of being complete, here goes part deux:

1. What shirt are you wearing?

White Hard Rock Cafe tee, from the Minneapolis HRC. Actually, unless I am teaching, I am a tee and jeans kind of guy.

2. Name the brand of your shoes you're currently wearing?

Some cheap sneakers. Brand is not really an issue for shoes.

3. Bright or Dark Room?

Bright, somewhat.

4. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?

Have not met the person personally, but I enjoy the blog very much.

5. Where is your nearest 7-11?

Your guess is as good as mine.

6. Who told you he/she loved you last?

The better half.

7. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?

Hmm, nothing illegal. Other than that, an allergy pill.

8. How many rolls of film do you need developed?

None. There may be a roll floating in the apartment someplace, but as long as it is lost, it's not getting developed. You get the idea.

9. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?

I get annoyed, but what can you do?

10. Are you touchy feely?

Not really.

11. Name three things that you have on you at all times?

Hmm, can't really think of any. I don't wear any jewelry, and while I have a pocketwatch, I only wear it when I am out of the house.

12. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?

Frozen custards at Ritters last Saturday.

13. Does anything hurt on your body right now?


14. How much cash do you have on you?

A little bit, but that's for me to know.

15. What's a word that rhymes with “DOOR?”


And there ya go folks. As always, I never tag people. Do it if it moves you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

SF Book Meme

If it deals with books, odds are good I won't be able to resist a meme. I picked this up via Walt Crawford's Walt At Random blog. By the way, for this list, I have not read as many (only 14), and there are some novels not featured here I have read and liked, but we have to stick to the meme this time. Another problem is this is one of those lists I would never complete as it has at least one title that I have not read nor care to read (Harry Potter in this case). So, here are the instructions:

“Below is a Science Fiction Book Club list most significant SF novels between 1953-2006. The meme part of this works like so: Bold the ones you have read, strike through the ones you read and hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put a star next to the ones you love.”

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert*
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick [?]
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury*
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. *
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester*
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card*
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman*
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley[?]
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys*
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester*
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein*
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Walt added a bit to it, feel free if it works for you:

"I’ve added one more element: [?] means 'I may have read this, but can’t remember.'”

Yea, I'll be happy to take the keys

I don't know for how long this result will remain accurate, because given some of the things that have been going on at MPOW as of late, I am thinking about lining some shotglasses and pouring out some tequila. On a serious note, I do tend to be moderate when it comes to my drinking. And I noticed the result may group some smokers of alternative plants. I will point out I do not smoke. At any rate, what can I say? It is Friday, and the weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday. If you do imbibe during the holiday, please be responsible about it.

What type of partier are you?
Your Result: The designated driver

You are the gem of any party, the rock, the one who can roll with the group and have a ton of fun, even though you are completely sober most of the time. You may have a rare occasional drink, but really don't need it or care if you have one. The potheads tend to fall into this group often, as they prefer to smoke up instead of drink anyway, and it wears off before its time to go home. You find your friends amusing as they get ripped and try to hit on you, slurring their words and calling you 'the best', though you get annoyed at the constant 'come on, just have one with me' as they try to buy you a drink.

The Lurker

The Socialite

Hardcore drunk

The rock-star party animal

Bar Social Butterfly

Bar Slut

What type of partier are you?
Make Your Own Quiz

A hat tip to the Library Tavern.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If your 'hood lacks a library, tell your government to get you one

This is a cool quote, in my view. Comes from the April 15, 2006 edition of Library Journal's Front Desk section. I got to see it now via the ever slow internal routing. Good thing I have the journal on one of my alerts so I can actually read the stuff in a timely fashion. The quote then:

"Don't blame the white man for nothing. . . I came to this country--I didn't know how to speak English, I made something of myself. I went to the library. . . They got libraries in the 'hood. And if they don't got libraries, tell your mayor, your governor, whoever in your county, put some more f***in' libraries in the 'hood."

--Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean, in the film Dave Chappelle's Block Party.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Some meme or other

I picked this up via Ruminations, who picked it up someplace else, and well, you get the idea.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

Hmm, I don't actually recall looking in the mirror this morning. Oh, yea, I did brush my hair, so that counts. First thought: I need a haircut.

2. Favorite planet?

Uranus (you can never have enough Uranus jokes).

3. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?

Don't carry one.

4. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?

If I carried one, I would be the one leaving the basic ring on.

5. Do you “label” yourself?


6. What does your watch look like?

Pocket watch. Silvery metal color.

7. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Sleeping. I usually don't stay up late during the week as the commute to work is quite the pain.

8. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?

I told you, I don't carry one.

9. What's a word that you say a lot?

Carajo (Spanish for "hell," but not very nice). I also use a few other dialogue enhancers, just not in polite company.

10. Last furry thing you touched?

Autumn and Isis, my cats.

11. Favorite age you have been so far?

Hmm, not sure, though 13 was a fairly good year. 18 was better. I finally got out of the house.

12. Your worst enemy?

Incompetent people and people with no spine.

13. What is your current desktop picture?

The logo for The International Order of Librarians--Ordo Bibliotheca. (I am a proud member and fan of Rex Libris. Sapere Aude).

14. What was the last thing you said to someone?

"If you need anything else, I'll be here for a while yet." To a patron at the reference desk.

15. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?

I suppose flying, but only because a million bucks does not go very far these days. Make it about 20 million, then we can talk.

16. Do you like someone?

Yes, and she knows who it is.

17. The last song you listened to?

Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life"

18. What time of day were you born?

Don't recall, even though mom did tell me, but I think it was afternoon.

19. What's your favorite number?


20. Where did you live in 1987?

Humacao, Puerto Rico. It was my last year of high school, and boy, am I glad I left (none too thrilled about high school. College was great though).

21. Are you jealous of anyone?


22. Is anyone jealous of you?

That'd be the day, hahaha. You kidding? Who the hell could be jealous of me?

23. Where were you when 9/11 happened?

I was in graduate school, during my previous life as an English major. I was about to leave the apartment when my wife told me about it.

24. Do you consider yourself kind?

Most of the time. If you treat me kind, the odds improve.

25. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?

Well, if I had to, probably on the shoulder or shoulder blade, so I can hide it under a shirt if I had to. Nothing big.

26. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?

Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian. Actually, I would love to learn a new language, just about any language.

27. Would you move for the person you loved?

Yes, but I am married. If I was single, it's even odds.

28. What's your life motto?

It can vary. There are a few favorites. My favorite as of late is "Lead Me, follow Me, or get the hell out of my way."

29. What's your favorite town/city?

Bloomington, IN was pretty good (not perfect, but pretty good).

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?

So long ago that I can't even remember. Do cover letters for job applications count? In that case, it was almost three years ago. And I do send out Christmas cards. But personal letters, pretty much zilch.

31. Can you change the oil on a car?

Nope. I did not inherit the male gene of feeling macho when it comes to cars. However, I would like to learn how to do it.

32. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?

That she had to work this morning. I married her, so I will see her when I get home.

33. How far back do you know about your ancestry?

Not too far back. A few things about the better half's side, not as much on my side other than some names.

34. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?

I wore a suit with tie. My brother's wedding a few years back.

35. Have you been burned by love?

Haven't we all? Yea, I have my little moments. It's only human, if you are in love that is.

Friday, November 10, 2006

And fights break out at Chuck E. Cheese's

I have taken our daughter to Chuck E. Cheese's a couple of times when her school has one of those fundraising nights. While not the greatest experience in my book (I am fine with arcades and pizza, it's the crowding I mind), I have not witnessed any violence there (yet). Apparently up in Milwaukee, brawls are a regular occurrence at the place, enough that city officials are calling for the place to actually close. Apparently today is one of those strange news days.

A hat tip to Obscure Store and Reading Room. By the way, you may want to read the comments over at the blog.

A burrito is NOT a sandwich, judge rules

In the wacky world of news, it turns out that a judge in Massachusetts settled a dispute between Panera and Qdoba over what constitutes a sandwich. The beef is that Panera does not want competition from Qdoba at a certain location, so Panera argued that burritos were sandwiches, which the judge ruled against. Go read the story. It gets funnier as you read it, and there is even a little survey for you to decide what makes a sandwich or not.

Me? I know a burrito and a sandwich when I see them. Either way, I am hungry now, so I will go get some lunch.

A hat tip to Obscure Store and Reading Room.

The color of my passion

Folks, it's Friday, so readers out there know the odds are good there is a quiz in here. By the way, my apologies if after the move to beta, you got a bunch of old entries on your aggregator. I had no idea it would do that until I read some of the help pages.

So, of all the colors, yellow (my result) the most likely to be bisexual? That sounds a bit like one of those high school yearbook statements. While I can certainly appreciate a handsome fellow on the street, I don't think I will be heading his way anytime soon; actually, it is more likely the fellow would just run the other way away as soon as he saw me, haha. Though the rest of the result is fairly accurate. I can be very adaptable and open-minded overall. Then again, I am usually pretty easy-going, which is helpful in my line of work. It also helps when enjoying some quality time with the better half. Anyhow, feel free to check it out and see what your color is. The result then:

Your Passion is Yellow

You're a total sexual shape shifter.
You possess a complex sex drive and are very adaptable.
Of all the colors, you are the most likely to be bisexual.
While you the most passionate, you are very open minded.

A hat tip to Liz at the Library Tavern.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

So far on the beta

I noticed a glitch in the dates of the archive links when I moved over. Apparently, there are some bugs regarding the time zone settings. Once I managed to set it to Central Standard, where I am at, it seems to have fixed that little bug. Not essential, but it did not look nice when it had two Octobers for instance under the archive.

Also noticed that the various buttons I had added over time are gone, so I have to put them back in. However, this makes a nice opportunity to see what I would really keep, and if anything could be removed. I had the nice Blog Day widget with the countdown, but it seems the code messed up the template, so I went with the small one. Not as flashy, but it still looks nice. Overall, I do think small is nicer, at least on this template, when it comes to buttons. I will put in the subscription and listing items down the road. I can either do them manually, or wait until I get the back up file and dig them from there. We'll see. I will give this a try. I have to admit, the drag and edit features work nicely and are easy to use. I will have to upgrade the other blog in terms of template in order to get the customization I am getting here. However, I am not messing with that one until I get more comfortable here.

While I am not intending on taking these blogs private, it is nice to see that the option is there.

Switched to beta, so just testing

I finally buckled and decided to switch the blogs over to the beta version. Hopefully, this will not be terrible on the readers or on the blogger. As always, feel free to provide feedback via comments, or you can e-mail me if you prefer the e-mail route. Actually, need to doublecheck the e-mail, since beta links to Gmail. Anyways, best, and keep on blogging.

On a side note, I may be changing the template to The Itinerant Librarian, my unruly cousin. Since that is the personal blog, I figure experimenting there first may be better. Anyhow, stay tuned.

Crossposted from The Gypsy Librarian.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Two Words: GO VOTE!

I came in to work a bit later today because I was voting. Yes, today is Election Day in the United States. I know that there are some questions about voting technology and accountability, but the real way to make sure your vote does not count is by not casting it at all. So, if you are over 18 and registered to vote, go do it. Where I am at, the polls are open from 7:00a to 7:00p.

Here are some resources that may be of interest:


State and Local, if you are in Texas, and in Harris County:

  • Voter Information, from the Secretary of State.
  • Harris County Votes, for information on voting. However, do note that the voter registration information, such as your polling location, is under the county tax office (yea, go figure).
  • Harris County Tax Office. Click on the red link for "Find Polling Location," then enter your zip code. If you click on the link for "Voter Registration," you can see the voter database, which allows you to see your registration and the incumbents in your district.
(Crossposted to The Gypsy Librarian and to Alchemical Thoughts).

Update Note (same day): Don't just take my word for it. Erica, the Librarian Avenger, reminds us to vote today as well. This line is the best one I have seen:

"Today is U.S. election day. Today. Tuesday the 7th. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today you need to find ten minutes before, after, or during work to drive/walk/bike/train/carpool/drunkenly stumble to your local firehouse/school/residence hall/public space and vote."

It is today, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You miss out if you don't do it today. I voted at a church; it did take about ten minutes, and no, I did not drunkenly stumble there. I may have to consider that for the next election (hmm). She then briefly tells you what you need to do to know where to vote and who to vote. You can look over her links or the ones above.

Update note (same day, later on):
I know, I keep fiddling with this post, but I keep finding good stuff, so here goes. Find more resources for voting, as well as for keeping up with election results, via The Resource Shelf.

So, with all this wealth of information, you really have no excuse. Make some time and go vote.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Recruting Minority Librarians, huh?

I came across this article from the San Antonio Express-News for October 25, 2006 entitled "Minority Librarians Needed." Some people out there have made a fuss over this statement from the article:

"'Coming into a library for the very first time can be a daunting experience,' said Keith M. Fiels, executive director of the American Library Association (ALA) out of Chicago. 'If someone looks familiar it certainly creates a more comfortable atmosphere, particularly if foreign language is an issue.'"

It can be a daunting experience to go into any library. In a diverse community, it helps a little if you see a friendly face that looks like you. If you don't embrace diversity because your community is becoming more diverse over time, maybe you should do it out of a sense of compassion for someone who may need a friendly face. Sure, every librarian should be that friendly person who welcomes people and their queries. The color of their skin or the fact they speak a foreign language should not be an issue. But if we can add people who are more reflective of their communities as well to the profession, that should be seen as an asset. Anyhow, don't ask me where I saw the fuss, as I am not giving it a link.

However, what struck me in the article was the last statement from ALA's executive director:

The average starting salary in the nation just barely hit $40,000 this year, according to Fiels. In San Antonio, the entry-level salary is $28,752.

Librarians are being lured to corporate jobs where they can make double their salary, Fiels said.

"It's a tough, competitive market out there," Fiels said. "But I think people who come in to librarianship do it because they want to make the world a better place. So money isn't always an issue."

Hey, Mr. Fiels, you may want to get a clue. True, we go into librarianship for reasons other than money, but it does not mean we want to work at low wages and below our actual value. I will go on and say it: you want to hire good librarians, you have to pay them what they are worth. Sure, there are a lot of intangibles in our profession. In my case, there are some of those intangibles that make the job a bit more rewarding. But after a while, you have got to stop using the excuse of "it's competitive, the corporate world takes them away." How about ALA actually starts working on promoting better salaries instead of trying to lure old librarians back from retirement or other less than great ideas? Nothing against the retirees, but if they are working (and I don't mean the basic volunteering), they should be paid. I don't know about other librarians out there, but after a while I get tired of hearing the recruiters bemoaning they can't get good people because there isn't enough money to compete. I say to libraries out there that if you want good people, you should put your money where your mouth is. Goodwill and altruism on the part of librarians (and other people in education fields) only goes so far. And there's my two cents.

Update note (11/07/2006): For another take, and a well written one at that, The Annoyed Librarian has delivered her point here. Go take a look. Please, try not to sing along.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Yes, I cuss and curse once in a while.

It's TGIF. Readers here know the drill. So, when it comes to this quiz, what else is new? Yes, I have been know to use "dialogue enhancers" once in a while. By the way, I heard that phrase from a Spongebob Squarepants episode. It is kind of cute when they use a dolphin sound as their "bleep" tool. I would not describe myself as a champion cusser. In fact, I grew up in a household where my mother would not tolerate any profanity in any form, and you were afraid of upsetting mom. Not because she was mean or would beat you or such, but because, she was (still is) the type of dame you don't want to disappoint. So, while I do say the occasional "spicy" word in public, I still watch what I say at home. Anyhow, the advisory does apply, since once in a while we will say "fuck, shit," and so on in this blog. Why? Because once in a while, you just need the right fucking word. We are definitely not afraid of using such language here as needed (or just for fun. Just recall the South Park episode with the word counter). As with other things, go for some balance. Have a great and safe weekend.

Champion Cusser

You are 61% capable of making other people's ears hurt!
So, how'd you do?

I'm in awe, since you're clearly not afraid of a little rough language! At the same time, you don't go completely mad with it, and I'm guessing you know when to hold your tongue so people don't want to punch you. Which is awesome, since being beaten up is such a drag anyway. You might pull out the swear words - and you might know the various slang fairly well - but you probably also appreciate that its use is mainly just to show that you mean business.

What occasion, I hear you ask? Well, some people find talking dirty arousing. Sometimes swearing can be helpful in looking tough when one of those hoodlum-types approaches you. Using some language on your boss may also be effective in stirring things up, but maybe that's just me. Either way, be careful, as getting your timing wrong can result in getting fired, or sleeping alone for the next month. Use your good judgment!

Finally, a fun link for those of you interested in brushing up on your swearing skills: click here to view The "Alternative" English Dictionary

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on ouch my ear

Link: The Verbal Obscenity Test written by seeyoshirun2 on OkCupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Booknote: Hey Ranger!

Title: Hey Ranger!: True Tales of Humor and Misadventure from America's National Parks
Author: Jim Burnett
Publication Information: Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005
ISBN: 1-58979-191-6
Genre: Nonfiction
Subgenre: travel, humor, anecdotes

During his long career as a National Parks ranger, Jim Burnett has seen a lot, and a lot of it has been funny. Lucky for us, he was taking notes. Hey Ranger! is a collection of funny, at times hilarious, at other times gentle, stories of mishaps and humor. From dumb criminals to teens trying to impress a girl with less than stellar results, Burnett catches the humor as he tells the tales, in the process giving the readers an appreciation of what the job of a ranger entails. And no, it is not just living in the woods in a log cabin enjoying the wilderness, though there are days when the ranger does enjoy the beauty of his surroundings, at least until he hears "Hey Ranger!" We learn that the expression can be anything from a greeting, "Hey Ranger! How are you?" to "Hey Ranger! You ought to check that out" to "Hey Ranger! Help!!!!" The book is very easy reading, and Burnett always sets the scene for each park where the stories take place. Those little introductions provide a nice description of the park, and he always includes contact information, just in case you get the urge to visit one of these great places. I recommend this for readers who like anecdotes and humor as well as those wanting to see the lighter side of working as a National Park ranger.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My "why I did not apply to be an emerging leader" piece

This is one piece that I wondered if I would post or not. I even thought about just keeping it private, but after my attendance at JCLC's President's Plenary, I felt the need to express myself on it. So here goes, and since it is more an unruly kind of post, I get to do it here.

Back in September of this year, Brian Matthews, the Ubiquitous Librarian, explained why he did not apply for ALA's new leadership program. I was reassured when I read his post. Not that anyone would ask me to apply for anything, but jabbing myself aside, I saw a well-respected leader in our profession declining what seemed like a golden opportunity, and he gave good reasons for doing so as well. Additionally, I found as I read my post that those were my reasons as well.

The clique or exclusive club feel was not something that appealed to me. Personally speaking, I hate cliques with a passion. Before I go on, I will say that if you got selected, you have my best wishes and congratulations. After all, it was a selective program for 100 people, so if you made the cut, that is an accomplishment. If that is your interest, then, as Joseph Campbell would say, you must follow your bliss. But it's not for me, and I wonder how many "new" librarians did not apply for a similar reason.

Then there were the requirements. You have to be an ALA member. That's the easy one. So far, I have maintained my membership even when I question its overall value. This reminds me that I will be rethinking that membership when the renewal notice comes in, which should be any day now. Actually I am surprised I have not gotten it yet. Next, you have to be young. Young was defined at first as under 35. This was later amended to "include new librarians of any age with fewer than 5 years," and I am willing to bet it had to do with some other blogging librarians who were none too happy at being considered too old because they were older than 35 though new to the profession. Find a brief summary of that discussion at Mark Lindner's blog here. Initially, I had no idea I was over the hill at 36. Heck, for a guy who came from another career to librarianship, I thought I was still on the young side. Nope, not according to ALA. I do, however, have the "less than five years post-MLS experience" as I am entering my third professional year as a librarian (great job by the way, even if it has its "days").

Now, here is where it got hairy for me. Requirement four: "able to attend both ALA conferences and work virtually in between." Now, I am fairly savvy with online tools, though I am not a techie librarian. However, I could not, and still can't, afford two conferences, which are coast to coast by way (and I am somewhat in the middle being in Houston), neither financially nor in terms of time. If I told my supervisor, saintly as she can be, that I was planning all that travel in a year, it may not look so well, not to mention it would be out of my pocket. Anyhow, I have plenty of stuff to do here.

Matthews, always constructive, provides then his own suggestion in the form on an Innovators' Program. It is definitely worth a look if one could create a program that the national organization would fund that would actually give back to the members and their local libraries. Other than working in some committee, I don't see the new initiative as very much into giving back to the local libraries that send their people over to the program. Maybe I have a different definition of giving back. When I did National Writing Project, the idea was to take what I learned back to the school and teach other teachers as well as apply the new skills in my classroom. When I did Immersion, the principle was the same. These are not things to do in isolation in some far off committee, but they are things you learn and practice that you bring back to your own library community to make it a better place. That's where I am coming from anyways.

Like Matthews, I feel a new librarian should be focusing on gaining experience. They should settle into their jobs. They should be the best librarians they can be for their libraries. This was why I hate the "where do you see yourself five years from now" question that search committess love to throw at job candidates. I hated it when I was in the job market because, unlike most eager beavers, I don't want to be assistant dean, manager, administrator, or educrat. I am an Instruction Librarian. My first duty is to my students, followed by their faculty, my library and campus. Your administrative job, dear interviewer, is pretty safe from me, and if you treat me right, you won't be hiring someone down the road to replace me in five years when I decide it is time to find a greener pasture or advancement. You see, it is not that I am not interested in advancing. Someday I will be coordinating a large Information Literacy Program, or I will maybe head a Public Services unit, but not anytime soon. Anyhow, making sure you treat your librarian right means you gain continuity for your staff and library, which, as I understand it, can be a good thing. Pity that a job candidate can't be so blunt and honest in a job interview. But I am digressing.

Back to the prompt at hand. Matthews summarized pretty well the catch: "Basically, a new librarian, who pays membership fees, can afford to attend a handful of conferences, and is willing to volunteer for committee work." That doesn't look terribly challenging. Stressful on the pocketbook, possibly, unless you get ample institutional support, but it's not rocket science.

Now, here's what I want to hear about. I want to hear about those librarians, young in any sense of the word (you are as young as your heart, or something like that), who are doing great things in their libraries. If they are doing it by pulling on their bootstraps and fighting uphill battles with scarce resources, so much the better. Why? Because those are the troopers not many recogonize, outside of the few bloggers who point at them or who happen to be the troopers themselves. Those are the ones making a difference.

I think at the end of the day, the call for leaders as it was stated seemed contrived, something for the cv or resume. I did not give it much thought, but as I mentioned when I started typing this, my attendance at JCLC and Ms. Burger's statement that those selected were all under 35 made me wonder. It gave me the impression the powers that be were pleased by that detail. Whatever other wonderful traits the emerging leaders bring, and I am sure there are plenty, seemed reduced by that little statement that they are "all under 35." I was not ready to feed the conspiracy theorist back at the conference, and I am not about to do so now, but I did wonder.

By the way, readers wanting another take on this should go over to The Annoyed Librarian and take a look at her take on it. Look for her three tips on how to be a successful leader, or at least, a good committee worker. Laugh a little, then get back to work.

As for me, well, if I can aspire to anything like Lao-Tzu describes, I am halfway there:

"Superior leaders get things done with very little motion. They impart instruction not through many words, but through a few deeds. They keep informed about everything but interfere hardly at all. They are catalysts, and though things would not get done as well if they were not there, when they succeed they take no credit. And, because they take no credit, credit never leaves them."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

You can take this MySpace and. . .

Ok, so maybe there is no need to be that extreme. In the interest of open disclosure, as of this moment, I don't have a MySpace or a Facebook account, and so far, have no plans to have one. It does not mean that could not change, but that is the deal for now. I am intrigued by some of the work librarians have done in such spaces, thus I leave it open for me to try it out sometime. The only reason I have a 360 Yahoo! page is because it pretty much came along with the MyYahoo! I was already using. I doodle in it, but it is certainly nothing essential. Curious readers can click on the link in the margin to see my doodles. At any rate, the reason for this post's title is that the story of Gabe Henderson caught my eye. He is the guy who decided to cancel his MySpace. Yep, you read that right. The Iowa graduate student pulled the plug and is finding more freedom as a result.

Readers can find references to the story from The Wired Campus Blog and from The Kept-Up Academic Librarian.

There has been some recent discussions in the news and in blogs about how some students may be spending too much time on the Internet using services like MySpace, which may take time from some of their other academic endeavors. As I always say, the key is moderation.

Having said that, a recent article from The Washington Post for October 29, 2006, "In Teens' World, MySpace Is So Last Year," is making the rounds of the blogosphere. It seems a lot of teens are getting tired of MySpace and cancelling their accounts. My bet is that once they found out their parents were checking it out, it was time to leave for the next cool place. For some in the article, it boiled down to how much time they used to spend, time that can be well spent doing something else. So apparently, Gabe Henderson is not alone after all. However, detractors should not get too excited. MySpace and its ilk are not about to go away. They still get a lot of traffic and new users, so they will remain along with other newcomers to the social software field. May be interesting to see.