Archive for April 2009

Hanging out in Albany

Just gave a talk to UNYSLA this morning, and now I’m delayed in the Albany airport. I must say, though — if you’re going to be delayed, free wi-fi is a definite plus. (And I found a little desk area with an outlet! Take that, Barnes & Noble.) Smaller airports, bonus.

What I enjoy about airport customer service, though — the screen at the gate just says “delayed” — no reason, no time estimates, no agent here, no nothing. I have to go online to find out that it’s delayed at least 2.5 hours, so I could go grab dinner or something if I wanted. It’s little things that help people not get angry — rather than making people hang around just in case there’s an update, take a page from librarians and SHARE THAT INFORMATION.

But anyway, this is mainly just an excuse to post about this sign for the “Meditation Room.” I’m tempted to go check it out (balance is sorely needed right now), but can’t give up my little workspace spot here. So instead, I am practicing blogging as meditation — does it work for you? :)

Was the art THAT good?

Imitation is the sincerest form of what, now?


This is the third LIS-related use for this cover, by my count…

Donate to in honor of National Library Workers Day

I just got a mass email from ALA-APA about donating to support their programs in honor of National Library Workers Day today. So this inspires me to say, what the heck, if you’re in the donating mood:

Donate to in honor of National Library Workers Day. Why? Because it’s a big old free resource for you, because I don’t get paid to run it, and because you know you’ve used it.

PayPal or donate via mail:, PO Box 6931, Villa Park, IL 60181. Thanks :) .

Student rates and not commenting

I usually blithely repost announcements on Beyond the Job without comment, whether or not I find something personally interesting or agree with its focus. But, this one made me snort coffee. I just gave a talk at UM-Milwaukee last week for their “Get That Job!” day about career building in a down economy, one part of which stressed free/low-cost professional development opportunities (including student rates and volunteer opportunities at conferences). So the topic’s been on my mind — then this crossed my inbox last night:


The Northeast Document Conservation Center Welcomes Students of Library and Information Science to join us at:

DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Fundamentals of Creating and Managing Digital Collections

MAY 27-29, 2009
Westin San Diego
San Diego, California

CONFERENCE FEE: $700 (includes a Networking luncheon on Day 1 and the Conference Reception)

DISCOUNTED STUDENT RATE: $595 with a copy of a valid student ID (emphasis mine)

(See: for Student Rate instructions)

Coffeesnort! I haven’t been a student for a while, but in what world is $595 a good student rate? And here I was thinking the $140 ALA wants to charge was a bit high… No disrepect intended to NEDCC in particular (hey, it is $105 off the regular rate!) but especially in the current economy, I think some of these conference structures bear rethinking.

Behind the scenes at Netflix

This photo set is kind of cool — somehow I thought the process would be much more automated!

B&N emailed me back…

And here is what they had to say about their outlet sign

Dear Rachel Singer Gordon,

We strive to create a friendly, inviting atmosphere and welcome customers to study in our stores, provided it does not prevent us from properly serving other customers.  We discourage the use of laptops plugged into electrical outlets primarily because it presents a potential trip hazard to other customers and our Booksellers.

We respectfully request that all customers refrain from using our our electrical outlets for personal items. Our customers’ safety is of paramount importance to us, and we certainly want to do all we can as a retailer to prevent accidents in our stores. However, you may certainly use your laptop provided it is battery operated with no hanging cords.

We value your patronage and hope to see you in our stores again soon.


Customer Service Representative
Barnes and Noble Customer Service

Dear Barnes & Noble: I’m trying to envision how plugging my laptop into the wall next to my chair presents a trip hazard, but nevermind the logic here. If everyone from Panera to your local library can provide outlet access without people tripping wildly all over the place, I think you could probably manage. If you’re really worried, let’s think about ways to make your signage a teeny bit friendlier, shall we?

Still annoyed and out of juice

(xposted at

Garb for your next ALA conference?

Things you find on Flickr while looking for something else…..!

Speaking of unfriendly signs…

Here’s some seriously bad customer service — and for no real reason. My son has a 2 1/2 hour class this morning, so I hopped over to the nearby Barnes & Noble intending to get some work done, drink their coffee… Not only are there NO OUTLETS in the cafe area, which I can only imagine is a deliberate oversight, the only outlet near a table anywhere now sports this sign. Talk about customer disservice — next time, I’m going to the Starbucks across the street. Dear Naperville B&N: You’ve just lost yourself a customer.

(Please tell me your library doesn’t do this…)