Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Iraq Update

My brother's unit just saw its first casualties -- for those of you keeping him in your thoughts. We've been unable to talk by phone/Internet for a couple of weeks now, since he's out in the field with no access.

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Friday, March 23, 2007


More Friday Covetousness

After I get one of the amazing touchscreens from a few months back, I think one of these superfast printers might be its new best friend. (Scroll down to watch video.)

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I heart Google Reader

Normally I try to avoid me-tooism, but, after probably the 150th time I saw someone talk about Google Reader, I finally decided to import my subscriptions yesterday. This thing runs circles around Bloglines, is all I have to say. If this is the 151st time you've seen someone say this, check it out for yourself! That's all; I can't contribute anything else that hasn't been said.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Blogversity - An Attempt at a Meme

The discussion on well-known library bloggers made me wonder -- what do people read outside the library field? I never get to play the meme game with anyone, so thought I'd attempt to start my own...

Here are five random picks out of the non-library blogs I follow:

The Lipstick Chronicles - (mild nsfw warning) is pretty much just for fun. Written by four authors who "write books that combine elements of chick lit, mystery and romance," it gets into the writing process, kids, sex, family, books, and whatever else have you.

Barbara's Blog: Barbara Ehrenreich Comments on Working in America
- If you've found her books interesting, you'll probably also find her blog interesting, although it's only updated sporadically.

Bitch Ph.D. - Academia, parenting, and feminism, what's not to like?

Boing Boing - I admit that I wait for Boing Boing to approach a couple hundred new posts, then do a massive skim. But the mix of fun, weird, and thought-provoking pointers make it worth dropping by.

Inkygirl: Daily Diversions for Writers - Thoughts on the publishing process, mixed with cartoons.

So what do you read that's absolutely not library-related? If you're a library blogger reading this, consider yourself tagged, and tag your own post fiveblogs.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007


Move and Shake

Library Journal has posted its March 2007 "Movers & Shakers" supplement. If you're feeling down on the field, go and read about some of these folks to get yourself energized again. Congratulations to everyone -- I was lucky enough to get to write a few of the profiles, so if you're bored on a Sunday night, you can play a little game and guess which ones :).

(On a totally unrelated note, I just noticed Blogger didn't update for daylight savings time. Hmm.)

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A couple of the respondents to the alternative careers survey mentioned that they keep up by reading library blogs, but added parenthetically that they find the well-known blog/bloggers to be too inbred, too repetitive, and too busy patting each other on the back. I've heard people say this before, and I'm wondering how prevalent this feeling is.

I usually like seeing several bloggers take on a given issue, because each tends to have different insights and bring in different links. But, I also try to subscribe to a variety of blogs, as well as to less well-known blogs, to avoid becoming my own filter. While I dearly love my Bloglines (and keep meaning to check out that Google Reader people are raving about -- another reason for repetition, since it takes several times to sink through my head!), I try to be aware of the dangers of confirmation bias as I note myself jumping to the bloggers that I most agree with and skimming over those I don't.

I find This Week in LibraryBlogLand and Carnival of the Infosciences helpful in bringing in ideas and bloggers I might otherwise miss. But, I'm curious: What do you all do to overcome your own confirmation bias? Do you still read the "big name" bloggers?

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Glasses with Class

Guy in Glasses
Originally uploaded by lib_rachel.
In other news, we picked up Jake's new glasses today -- I obviously now need to learn how to take photos without creating a horrible glare off the lenses.

He's looking forward to being a big brother one of these days, although he did ask if we could possibly instead adopt a "baby lion cub. You know, like in Lion King?"


Adoption With Class

We spent a lovely St. Patrick's day yesterday at an all-day international adoption seminar, which is a requirement both of our agency and for foster care licensing for this purpose in Illinois. If you should ever have occasion to attend one of these things, be prepared for people to bandy about scary terms like "attachment disorder" and "failure to thrive." We were heartened again, however, by the parent panel at the end of the day, complete with cute babies and toddlers galore -- all of whom looked fairly attached and thriving to us!



One of Those Librarians Who Blogs About Her Cat

Emma in a Closet
Originally uploaded by lib_rachel.
OK, yeah, I've become one of those librarians who blogs about her cat... but can I help it if this photo tickles me? (The piles of computer books are from my review gig for LJ.)

Friday, March 16, 2007


Not at Odds

Take a look at this interesting little article (via Bitch PhD) in the New York Times about op-ed writing seminars for women.

Ms. Orenstein asked: Could every woman at the large rectangular table name one specific subject that she is an expert in and say why? The author of “Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale,” Ms. Orenstein began by saying, “Little Red Riding Hood” and writing the words in orange marker on an oversize white pad.

Of the next four women who spoke, three started with a qualification or apology. “I’m really too young to be an expert in anything,” said Caitlin Petre, 23.

“Let’s stop,” Ms. Orenstein said. “It happens in every single session I do with women, and it’s never happened with men.” Women tend to back away from “what we know and why we know it,” she said.


After the presentations Ms. Orenstein returned to the orange-colored words “Little Red Riding Hood” written on the pad, saying that if she had limited herself to that subject, her contribution to public debate would be about the size of a tack.

“I would have to reframe myself,” she said, drawing a triangle around the words. At each of the three points she explained how she set about enlarging her area of expertise: from Riding Hood to female heroines to women; from fairy tales to myths to stories we tell and are told; from the nursery to popular culture.

This is true for professional writing, as well -- not to mention true of our larger careers. When we negate our own expertise, we become less effective in imparting our importance as professionals, and our self-effacing attitude hurts us in areas from salaries, to promotions, to our ability to grasp new opportunities.

As I'm going through the responses to the alternative careers survey, it's becoming clear that the ability to claim, reframe, and broaden our knowledge bases and skillsets is essential, not only when moving to a nontraditional setting, but in responding to both internal and external changes.

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Time Flies

A couple of months ago, my post office pulled down its clock, leaving a large hole in the wall for me to stare at while standing in line. I just figured the thing was broken, but lo and behold, it's apparently part of a new policy where post offices around the country are removing clocks to help with "standardization" or "to encourage customers to focus on postal service and not the clock."

You have to admit, this is an interesting solution to long waits, and I can't help but wonder how we could follow suit. Shelving too high? Let's remove all the stools, so no one notices they might need something to stand on. Waiting list for the Internet too long? Well, if the post office doesn't need clocks, I don't see why libraries need to have them. The mind boggles at the possibilities here.

update: Hmm... I slam the post office, then run across this an hour later -- if they plop one of these in my neighborhood, it might make the no-clock thing worth it!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Twirl a Squirrel

Forget Squirrel-be-gone -- I'm thinking that Twirl a Squirrel may be the wave of the future.


Friday, March 09, 2007


Alternative Careers Survey

I'm working on a book on alternative careers for librarians, and am looking for input from folks who have pursued nontraditional paths.

I'm interested in hearing from a broad variety of people, including: those who have embarked on a new career after working for some time in libraries, those who earned an MLS but never worked in a traditional library setting, those who pursue alternative opportunities as a supplement to a traditional library career, those who work in a traditional setting but do nontraditional work, and those who do library work in nontraditional settings. Basically, if you think you might have/had some sort of nontraditional career, I'd love to hear from you -- thanks!

A few survey questions follow. Please feel free to distribute widely.


Alternative Careers Survey

Thanks for taking the time to talk about your alternative career experiences. Your answers may be quoted and/or used as a sidebar interview in a forthcoming book from Information Today, Inc. If you formerly had a nontraditional career, but now have moved back into library work, please answer the questions as they pertain to your previous career.

Please e-mail your answers to

E-mail address
Job Title
City, State (or equivalent)
Do you have an MLS? If yes, when and where did you earn it?
Would you like to remain anonymous if quoted in the book? Y/N

Had you worked in libraries before pursuing an alternative career? If so, for how long, and in what type/s of institutions?

Can you talk a little bit about the path you took to your alternative career? Why did you choose this particular type of work?

Can you give me an overview of what you do in your nontraditional career? What are some typical daily tasks and responsibilities?

What do you like best about your alternative career? What do you like least?

In what ways do you see this career as being related to librarianship?

In what ways have your library skills/knowledge and/or LIS education transferred?

What new skills/knowledge did you need to acquire in order to be successful? Were there ways in which your previous non-library background came in handy?

What advice would you have for someone interested in pursuing a similar path? Is there anything you wish you had known prior to making the leap?

In what ways do you keep up with the library field while pursuing a nontraditional career path?

What do you miss most about libraries/library work? What do you miss least?

If there is anything else I should have asked, please ask and answer it.

May I contact you via e-mail for clarification or additions?

May I use your answers in a forthcoming book from Information Today, Inc., tentatively titled: What's The Alternative: Career Options for Librarians and Info Pros?

Would you like to be notified via e-mail when the book comes out?


If you have moved back to librarianship from a nontraditional career, please also answer the following two questions:

Why did you decide to move back to a more traditional library career?

What do you bring back to the field from your experiences in your alternative career?

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Computers in Libraries this April

I've just posted my schedule-in-progress on the CIL2007 wiki. If you're attending and would like to meet up to talk about a book idea, writing for ITI in general, or just to meet, drop me a line at or AIM rachelsgordon.

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Social Software in Libraries Alternative Book Cover Contest

Meredith Farkas is running a promotional contest for her new book, Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication, and Community Online. Check out the real cover, then try your hand at creating an alternative book cover for the title, and you could win your very own signed copy.

(It will be up on the Information Today web site soon soon soon, but meanwhile, check it out at

I'd think this was cool even if I weren't her editor!

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Monday, March 05, 2007


Word by Word

So I just finished reading February's American Libraries (I'm a little behind) and noticed that in their job ads section they talked up the newish ALA JobLIST site, but only as an add-on option for institutions placing print ads. I thought that sounded odd, so headed over to JobLIST to check out their rates. While they do have online-only pricing, check this out:

Member rate*: $65 plus $0.65 per word

Nonmember rate: $75 plus $0.75 per word

Logo surcharge: $30 to upload a GIF or JPG of an institution's logo that will appear in the online ad

I'm kind of baffled by the whole concept of per-word charges in an online environment, where one of the advantages is the ability to break out of the little per-word or per-line boxes of print advertising. Are they afraid of taking up an extra few K of server space for the additional text? Nah, that's probably not it...

If you want to post your library-related job ad online, do feel free to hop over to Job Postings on the Internet, where posting is currently free. Enough said...

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