Showing posts from May, 2014


Today is the beginning of the Summer Reading Program, and I'm down four staff members, and we're going crazy. Just...just chaos. So, there's not much of a post today, other than the amazing list of links.

I know what really matter to you guys.

But first - happy birthday, Walt Whitman! You should go read some of his poetry. I'm particularly fond of A Noiseless Patient Spider.

Libraries, Books, & Authors:Freedom to Read Under Attack in SchoolsIn his latest vlog, T. Michael Martin discusses, amongst other things, childhood and wonder and his next book, which sounds awesome. Incidentally, I won a copy of his book The End Games, and I'm really, really, really looking forward to reading it! I'm sure you'll see a review of it on A Shelf Life. If I had the wedding to do over again, I'd seriously consider these: 10 Book Themed Wedding Favors.The Clerk Manifesto blogs today on the ten best blogs on the Internet. My only complaint is that I didn't ma…

The State of the Blog

This is my 100th post, so I thought I'd celebrate by answering 100 questions, so you'd get to know me a bit better!

Then I realized how many questions that was, and said, "Nope!"

So, we'll look at you instead. According to my stats, most of you are from the U.S. No big surprise there, but a special word for my international friends - you are abnosome! (I know who you are.) A lot of you use Firefox or Chrome - good for you! I'm a Chrome girl myself. 5% of you still use IE. Why? Seriously, I'd like to know. More than half of you use Mac OS, and only 7% use Linux. Wow! I like Linux. Mostly. (Although, to be honest, I sometimes long for Windows's easiness. Linux takes work. Sometimes it's fun; sometimes it's frustrating.)  Some of you like to check out my blog on your phones; does it look okay?

My most popular blog post ever was on TPP; far behind, the second favorite was on King Cake. I don't know, I really don't. I have very little focus…

I Quit

Not the blog - don't worry, I have too much to say to do that.
No, I quit this book. I won't tell you what book, because it's not a bad book. Rather, it's not a terrible series. I read the first two books of the series ages ago - in my early teens, and I'm not saying how long ago that was, but it's been a while. I loved them. Absolutely adored them. They were my introduction to apocalyptic literature, still a favorite sub-genre of mine. 
I decided to revisit them because the last book in the series is soon to be released. I got through the first two again, started the third, and...I just can't. They're good books, and I think Swicky will enjoy them in a couple years, but there's nothing there for me anymore. 
I can't fall into the story the way I did when I was 13. Now, I need some way to believe the world is "real" in order to enjoy the plot. Not "real" as in "mirrors our world" but "real" in a cohesive …

Goodbye, Dr. Angelou

It's a sad day. Maya Angelou has died. She is one of my favorite poets and a wonderful author; she was a powerful woman - a staunch civil rights activist, a presidential adviser, an educator, and a woman who never stopped learning and loving. She has a long list of poetry I adore (you should read some of them today, in memory of this amazing person), but I'm going to share today her vision for the world:

A Brave and Startling Truth We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our uni…

Happy Towel Day, You Hoopy Froods!

I know exactly where my towel is - hanging up, drying, because today I went swimming. It was a beautiful day in New Orleans, and I hope tomorrow is just as gorgeous!

My second favorite character from The Hitchhiker's universe is Marvin the Paranoid Android - so: Happy Towel Day: Six Life Lessons From Marvin The Paranoid Android.

(My favorite character is The Guide Mark II.)


Libraries, Books, & Authors:If you are/have a teen looking for a summer reading list, here's a list of 40 great YA novels! You should see what your local library's Summer Reading Program is like for teens, too.Why I am Smiling In This Picture Neil Gaiman discusses the need to pay attention to the human cost of the conflict in Syria - and not to regard the refugees as incidental to the political situation. Free ebook: "Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication" Thanks, NASA! Milwaukee teen criminals find success in books I'd like to see the long-term results of thi…

If you're in Thailand, you might not want to read this post right now...

Is Troubled Thailand Tumbling into Civil War?
I've been out of Thailand for years (we left the day before the 2010 protests closed the airport in Bangkok), but I still have friends and family there, so I'm watching the situation carefully. And, honestly, the situation there has been unstable for a very, very long time.

The situation is particularly worrying if you believe, as I do, that a strong democracy cannot function without the access to information needed to form rational beliefs and the intellectual freedom to discuss opinions and ideas, leading to informed decisions, individually and collectively. Right now, both access to information and the ability to discuss the political situation are being stifled. People with the knowledge and ability are not being allowed to share information, and people who need information are not allowed to get it.This is, obviously, not conducive to supporting a democratic structure.
If Thailand will not function as a democracy, then it is t…

TBT & Links!

My first time in New many years ago... :D

Libraries, Books, & Authors:House passes flawed USA FREEDOM Act; summer fight looms in Senate Baby steps, maybe...but we're getting there. Privacy is important! And libraries and librarians aren't going to stop fighting for your privacy.Happy birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! I have always loved Sherlock Holmes - albeit never more than in his current BBC incarnation. I think it's absolutely wonderful that the BBC show apparently doubled sales of the books, too! And what better way to celebrate the author's birthday than by announcing the imminent announcement of the release date of the new season! (Excuse me while I go quietly mad over in this corner...) Goodreads Q&A! Ask Your Favorite Author or Fellow Readers Questions on Goodreads! I am going to bug the heck out of some authors.Neil Gaiman, an absolutely brilliant author (if you haven't read his work, just go read anything he's written), r…

Movies with Friends

Last night, my friend and I went to see Only Lovers Left Alive. It was amazing! Dark and funny, with enough references to Tesla, Shakespeare, Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft, and others to make a geek girl/librarian giggle, it is such a refreshing change from the angsty teen vampires running rampant around bookstores and theaters today. Adam has his fair share of angst (but at least it's a fair share), but Eve is far from the doe-eyed maiden thrilled to exist in his shadow. There are poignant messages about love, human nature, science and art - and the movie itself is simply gorgeous. It helps, of course, that the main characters are played by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, but the cinematography is brilliant, the play on colors is wonderful, and....

Look, just go see the movie. Then we can talk about it, yeah? Warning: Rated R, for good reason; it's really not for kids. If you're looking for more Twilight, move on...

Libraries, Books, & Authors:Public Access: Supp…

Two Ways to Make Your Life Better (&Etc.)

Don't ask for your privacy. Take it back. Reset the Net - June 5, 2014


So, you might wonder why I harp on about net neutrality so much.

Well, partly it's because I'm a big fan of the Internet as it is, and would hate to see it destroyed. If you're reading this now, I assume you kind of like this whole Internet thing, too. So, part of it is pure self-interest.

But I'm also concerned about you.  All of you. I'm a librarian - it's in the job description. I want to get you in touch with all the lovely information you need and/or want. Many people - particularly those who have no other options - depend on libraries for access to the Internet and the wealth of information it provides. Ending net neutrality would be disastrous for libraries - or, rather, for those who depend on them.

If you'd l…

Nothin' but Links

Libraries & Books:TNT Orders The Librarians, Starring Rebecca Romijn and Noah Wyle Well, I know what show I'm looking forward to!Yinka Shonibare’s beautiful batik library Pretty...Literary Snacks: A Story Vending Machine Hits High SchoolNet & Tech:“This proposal does not provide or mandate paid prioritization,” Wheeler told reporters after the FCC’s vote. “There is nothing in this proposal that authorizes a fast lane." That's technically true - because it's already legal, since the court overturned the previous FCC order. It doesn't stop them, though - and that's what we're concerned about. Learn more: The FCC doesn’t have to authorize Internet fast lanes—they’re already legalI hadn't even thought about what "fast lanes" could mean for voting, if/when we move to online elections. ISPs would have a great way to influence elections: The "fast lane" to internet civil warScience:New bee loss data show continued, unsustaina…

Taking Back Democracy

Democracy is supposed to be a form of government by the people, for the people. Ideally, everyone has an equal voice. Unfortunately, that isn't how it works out - money greatly influences political influence. And some of the richest "persons" are corporations.

As we can clearly see from the recent FCC net neutrality news, corporations, with lots of money to spend, are not exactly conscientious about doing what's best for people in general - and politicians are more than ready to listen to them and their dollars. Corporations, if we want to call them "persons," happen to be very greedy people, concerned entirely with making more money and securing their financial best interest. That's only to be expected - that's what corporations are designed to do. That's why, frankly, they shouldn't be "persons."

As true persons, we are and should be concerned about not only our interests, but the interests, needs, and problems of other people. A…

I Strongly Dislike Wheeler

Despite public outcry, protesters in the streets, and the ire of several tech companies (I talked about all that yesterday), the FCC has said OK to terrible Internet traffic rules today. If passed, these rules would end net neutrality and the Internet as we know it. (I'm not going to link to all my posts about this - all those links are on yesterday's post, too.)

That's extraordinarily unfortunate. We have come to rely on the Internet for access to information - everything from entertainment sites to tax forms and job applications seems to be moving online. Ending net neutrality makes it even more difficult for those who most need access to information, furthering the digital divide, and endangering the work of independent artists and "fringe" social justice groups (among others) who depend on the Internet.

Several times in the past, President Obama has professed support for net neutrality. We need to call on him to act now. You can sign a petition calling for th…

Net Neutrality News - ISP Reaction to Net Neutrality Support

I've written a lot about net neutrality. Seriously: a lot. Here's another link. And another. There's more in there somewhere.

I'm not the only one who's complaining: major tech companies want nothing to do with the FCC's plan as it was presented, there's been a huge public outcry to support net neutrality, and there are people literally camping outside the FCC headquarters in protest. FCC Chairman Wheeler's plan is is serious trouble. We know he can feel the pressure - he came out to talk to protesters today. Whether that means he's actually open to changing his plan is unclear, of course. We'll find out tomorrow.

If you're still unsure why you should care, you should read Siva Vaidhyanathan's article. It is amazing.

The only ones in love with the end of net neutrality, in fact,  are the ones who stand to gain monetarily from killing it: the ISPs. They are now threatening to "stop investing as much as they do today in network upgrad…

TMI, I know, I know...

TMI Librarian, TMI

This. This is my biggest problem as an information literacy instructor. (Although, to be honest, I don't do nearly as much instruction as I used to. And I miss it...)


I have learned so many awesome tricks and techniques for research, and I just know that I can show students how to do better research in half the I find myself trying to teach Boolean operators and controlled vocabulary searches to people who came in to ask how to check their email.

Sorry about that...

Links! (Look, I organized them!)
Library & Book Related:Hundreds of library champions gather in Washington for 40th Annual National Library Legislative DayMaurice Sendak’s Little-Known and Lovely Posters Celebrating Books and the Joy of Reading10 Words Every Book Lover Should KnowDracula’s castle is for sale. Someone go buy it for me.Net Neutrality:FCC Net-Neutrality Plan in Chaos I can't wait to see the changes made.Pop Culture/Random:H.R. Giger has died. He was an amazing a…



Mother's Day!

It's Mother's Day!

I have an awesome mom. This is her:

I get my fashion sense from her. See:

She also had an awesome mother:

This year, my mother joined the ranks of the unmothered. My grandmother passed away very recently. Being unmothered is different from being motherless - my mom had her mother, and now she is gone, and there is no replacing her. But today I've been thinking quite a bit about the unmothered, the motherless, and the women who desperately want to be mothers and, for whatever reason, can't. This is a hard day for them, I'm sure. I'm very aware of how lucky I am to have my mom, who is a wonderful, sweet person who is in the habit of giving selflessly, even when she really can't afford to do so - materially, emotionally; giving her time, her energy, and, most especially, her heart. I was not her only child, and neither, really, was I only one of three. There are whole bunches of now adults out there who were mothered and loved, and are now, …

Serious Literature and...?

Please Stop Complaining About Harry Potter was written in response to The novel is dead (this time it's for real).

Look, I love Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy (I don't think you get more "real" than Southern Catholic, seriously) - but I also love Harry Potter, and it's pretty "real," too. My take? Read. Read what you want, when you want. Read what speaks to you.

Don't read because you think it'll make you a better person or because everyone has to read this book at some point in time - read because you're bored, or because the story sounds intriguing, or because you need to escape for a while.

Read because you want to, because you have to - like you have to breathe and you want to live. Read because it's there and there's nothing else to do at the moment.

I don't care what or when or how or why - the only variable that actually matters in this equation is "who" - hey, you: READ. I guarantee, it'll be "r…

A Word of Wisdom and Some Links


Why We Absolutely Need To Care More About Library Funding: ...the fact that the IMLS seems a bizarre target for those wanting to cut government spending: The Obama administration requested *only* $226.4 million for the IMLS for fiscal year 2015. To put that figure in perspective, it's 0.0017% of the cost a Navy aircraft carrier currently being built and less than a third of what it cost to occupy Iraq for one day...The silent dilemma of the digital divideWeb host gives FCC a 28.8Kbps slow lane in net neutrality protest: Well, that's a novel way to protest! I hope it gets the FCC's attention. You can read more about The Ferengi Plan at NeoCities' blog.Why the FCC Is Ditching Net Neutrality But, hey: we're definitely being heard! Internet ‘fast lane’ proposal crumbles as 150 tech companies voice net neutrality supportPublic Outcry on Net Neutrality Rules Puts Pressure on FCCHappy birthday, J.M. Barrie! Learn more about the author of Peter Pan.Pope to UN: Resis…

TBT & Net Neutrality Update

First, TBT pic:

Next, if you still aren't sure why net neutrality is important - watch Vi Hart explain Net Neutrality. There have been some interesting developments in the Net Neutrality Battle:

Preserving An Ever-Free and Open Internet by: Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner....Huge coalition led by Amazon, Microsoft, and others take a stand against FCC on net neutrality.....Net neutrality activists set up protest camp outside FCC headquarters....Elizabeth Warren Blasts FCC Net Neutrality Plan: 'Just One More Way The Playing Field Is Tilted'....Internet For the 1 Percent: New FCC Rules Strike Down Net Neutrality, Opening Fast Lanes for Fees....

If you haven't spoken up yet, do so! There are people listening! 

Toronto library denies request to pull Dr. Seuss' 'Hop on Pop': I should hope so. Sadly, in the rush to teach kids how to evaluate information sources, another skill -  evaluating their information needs- gets overlooked. Both are going to be import…