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Monday, August 29, 2005

Better late...

OK, normally, better late than never is not at all my policy! But, in this case, I'll give myself a break. I didn't do my traditional "Saturday" blog this week because it was my husband's birthday, and we made it a point to go nowhere near a computer or do anything work-related. We both needed the vacation!
Also this weekend, I finished The Screwtape Letters,
http://www.bible-reading.com/screwtape.html, (sorry for the long URL, but the "linker" isn't cooperating) by C.S. Lewis.
Great great book. It really made me aware that there are good and bad angels, demons, forces or whatever you want to call them. And they are out there, fighting over my soul (and yours), using or abusing our temptations and even our tiny everyday struggles. It really helped put into perspective what the focus of my life should be, and I highly recommend it.

On a lighter note (and much less spiritual), I was also noticing in Vogue, www.vogue.com, how many more ads now contain Internet addresses. I remember as a kid I would call a 1-800 number if it was available. Now all I have to do is check out www.runway.polo.com to see anything I want to see! No bulky catalog, no junk mail. How 'bout that.
OK, I'll try to be on time with the blog this week!
We'll see how the week pans out.

Chris Crutcher

For those of you who like Chris Crutcher, he'll be speaking in Moulton during Banned Books week. Ironic because his book was banned there in Moulton.
"Ironman" was my favorite of his, but I haven't come close to reading them all.

Digital libraries

This story has caused a good bit of discussion on the SLIS listserv this week. Those who loathe and embrace the digital age came out in full force to defend their positions.
I love these knock-down drag-outs. Rather than get involved, in true journalistic fashion, I love to collect and present the arguments on both sides.

So, here are a few of the best cases for and against the bookless library:

"For those located along the coast, things like hurricanes (hello, Katrina?) tend to knock out power for extended periods of time, so what is the poor undergrad to do if his, and his library's, computer's don't work and he has a paper due. Nothing beats a live librarian who can hand you five relevant sources in under five minutes when you have a paper due the next morning and no Internet access."

"Digital resources have advantages over print materials for certain kinds of information seeking, to be sure. Print materials have advantages over digital resources for sustained linear reading. I don’t know anyone who prefers to do serious lengthy reading from a screen."

But students have expressed interest not necessarily in reading books online, but in the research capabilities and links that online access could provide.

Also..."libraries as facilities can have vastly different missions." The why can't we all just get along argument.

Where do I stand?

I'm not sure at this point. Being somewhat traditional, I can't imagine a library without books. However, I don't think we librarians (or media specialists) should discount the digital advantages, especially when the research, storage and other capabilities are just, frankly, more efficient. (Think Dewey!)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Believe it or not...

Another crazy week here in library-radio world. Jason and I have both been working around the clock, dealing with Fred's health issues and still adjusting to married life!
I'm still loving both jobs; although, I've realized the key to surviving the day is being asleep by 8 p.m., which is a bit of a challenge, even though I know I have to be up seven hours later!
Also...my husband introduced me to
"The Greatest American Hero" this week. Interesting show. The only previous reference I had was when George used the theme song as an answering machine greeting on Seinfeld.
I've also discovered and fallen in love with the Junie B. Jones series! She is a cross between Ramona Quimby and Bridget Jones, and I think Barbara Park used notes from my childhood to write the books! At any rate, I highly recommend them!
Jason and I are focusing on "resting and reassessing" this weekend, even though we're at work now...and we'll be back later tonight. I do want to "reassess" this blog a bit and not just give it a "weekly update" feel. Fewer events...more thoughts. We'll see.
Check back next Saturday to see what I come up with!

Blogging for Librarians

A great article came out in School Library Journal this week about blogging in schools and, specifically, blogging by librarians.
I know that I had intended to focus on public libraries in this blog, but I thought I'd branch out...just for this week, probably!
Anyway, we have a great service called "edline" at our school that the teachers use to keep the parents (and students) updated on homework, etc... But I don't think I ever thought of the potential that a blog could have when used as a school-wide service or as a benefit for the community.
School librarians have an incredible opportunity here. As the "technology hub" of the school, we should take steps to further educate teachers on these potentials, possibly with just a casual e-mail or through an in-service or display.
It's always challenging to come up with those new display ideas, so it might be a good idea to "think outside the book" and reshift the focus onto technology/services.
This is all just a thought, but I see myself getting more excited about this "Web stuff" every week!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Podcasting and one peeve

I saw this week that LibriVox is going to start podcasting books that are in the public domain, which I think is ultra-cool. I'm still learning and absorbing podcasting, but it seems to me that this effort will, basically, make books more available, which, again, is ultra-cool. I can't wait to hear more about this. And who knows, I might actually put my broadcasting skills to some good use!
Other than that, I would like to air one quick grievance.
As job hopefuls, we library students hear a lot about professionalism. Make sure you show up for interviews on time, dress and write neatly, that kind of thing. And as a journalism student, I got the same great advice...in addition to being reminded (daily) that accuracy is next to godliness.
I'd just like to add that those principles should also apply to potential employers, not just potential employees. I say this because someone contacted me for an interview this week and left me the company's fax number instead of the phone number.
A small thing, yes, but that small thing turned this journalist right off of that job.
See you next week!

Yawn

OK, so which one of you thought it would be a good idea for me to work two jobs???
Oh, that's right...the people from Stafford Loans...and VISA...

Just kidding!

Seriously, I am tired after my first week as an assistant librarian, but it's a good tired. A calm tired, I believe my husband calls it. The feeling you get when you've accomplished a task or done something productive. I'm actually working in my field...hanging out with kids and talking books all day. Pretty cool job, I think.

Next on the agenda is a quick trip to Tuscumbia tomorrow to visit Dad and to have Woodmen of the World bbq.

And, Jason and I have decided that it's finally time for us to find a Sunday school class. Our church is kicking off "Marathon Sunday" this coming Sunday, so we figure, what better time?

Then...it's just another Manic Monday...but, wait, I'm stepping onto next week's blog!

OK, check back next Saturday!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Biggest Issue

What is the biggest issue facing public libraries today?

The question came up this week, and I've been pondering.

Obviously, lack of funding, lack of community interest, not serving the community for which the public library is designed. These are all major issues that public libraries need to address.

However, I think these issues all point back to one basic problem.

Libraries today are struggling to stay relevant in a society that is more digital, more "connected" and not easily impressed. In order to generate funding and community interest, libraries must take a step out, think outside that proverbial box and, simply, reach people. Tap into a community need, and fill it.

Public librarians should think as entrepreneurs, should consider libraries as essential to a community as businesses and restaurants are.

Am I oversimplifying here?

I don't think so.

I think people can easily skip over and ignore simple solutions by over-analyzing and over-complicating problems.

So, there's my two cents for this week. Check back next Saturday for more!

New Job

Finally! I have a new job. I'm the new assistant librarian at American Christian Academy. It seems like a great place to work, and I'm really excited to be there.
And I'm not saying anything else about it because:
a) I don't want to be unprofessional!
b) There has been a slew of firings recently because of people who've blogged carelessly about their job!
Also, I'll be using my "professional" blog,
www.tiffanynorris.blogspot.com, to discuss library issues in public libraries, not school libraries.

OK, enough job talk!

Everything else here in Tuscaloosa is going well. Jason is almost finished with his class, so that's a relief! Only two more to go!
Fred is still in his Elizabethan collar, but he's doing OK, too otherwise.

I'm not sure in what direction I'll end up taking this blog. I might discuss spiritual or political matters or just everyday things. Probably just whatever pops into my head at the time I'm writing. So...bear with me while I get used to this "new" medium, and please check back next Saturday for more!

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