Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Road Trip

Lots of holiday traffic
View on I-80 E to Laramie, somewhere in Central Wyoming

Over Memorial Day weekend, I drove to Salt Lake City to visit my friends Karen and Eric and their dog Charley. The trip was my first out of town since I moved here in March and my first time driving across Wyoming. While I know I shouldn't do it, I like to take pictures while I drive and the wide open spaces here make it a lot safer than it was in Seattle.

My visit was fun and I got to eat lots of things I've been missing and can't get in Laramie, like Thai food, sushi, and gelato. K and E also took me to Liberty park, where we visited the aviary and saw a bird show.

This guy was really showing off
This guy was really showing off

There were peacocks everywhere, strutting around and eyeing the visitors. I told Karen that they were the peacock security force. It was fun to walk around and see all the birds you don't normally see up close, like vultures and bald eagles, but I think I liked the bird show best for the photo opportunities. During the raptor segment, one of the handlers challenged me to try to take a picture of a barn owl as it flew toward me. I think it turned out pretty well.

Barn owl flying right at me!
It's flying right at me!

Crazy! So, Karen and Eric, it's your turn to make the drive and come see me in Wyoming!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Long Pause

I've been trying not to let so much time lag between posts, but I'm still not in a good routine here. It's been hard for me to gauge the passing of time because the pace is so different from Seattle. Instead of commuting 7 miles in 45 minutes, I now commute 3 miles in 7 minutes. It cracks me up that people have commented that I live "way out" from town. Please, I don't need a lecture on driving everywhere. Believe me, if there was transit in this town, I'd use it. I guess my tiny car and I are not polluting too much, though, because this morning I filled up my gas tank for the third time since I moved here on March 19th. It's been, what, two months and it feels like six.

So, have you seen Thingology, the new LibraryThing blog? I read the O.G. blog every so often, but I'm betting I'll follow this one more closely because it's the "ideas blog, on the philosophy and methods of tags, libraries and suchnot." In other words, it's for geeks and librarians. And geek librarians. There are only a couple of posts so far, but the discussion of the way tags and Library of Congress subject headings complement one another is fascinating. I think I'm going to continue getting sucked into LT because they keep adding features I want, like LCSH of course, and recommendations. I'm betting the recommendations in this social networking environment will work better than in commercial environment like Amazon, which never offers me stuff I want.

Also, I succumbed to an online quiz, but only report it here because the results crack me up. Sometimes these unscientific instruments can be eerily accurate. I guess I truly am an evil information scientist (TM SJ).

My World View
You scored as Materialist. Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.









Cultural Creative








What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Name Calling

The May issue of American Libraries arrived yesterday. After reading through it this morning, I'm expecting some fallout from the latest "President's Message." I get that Michael Gorman has a strong point of view and while I disagree with him on some issues, I do respect his opinions. What I don't respect is the way he disrespects those he disagrees with. Why does he think this is necessary?

If you believe, as I do, that there is a crisis in library education that threatens the very existance of libraries and librarianship, you are likely to draw a negative reaction from a variety of people. First, there are the millenniarist librarians and pseudo-librarians who, intoxicated with self-indulgence and technology, will dismiss you as a "Luddite" or worse. They and their yips and yawps can safely be reduced to their acronymic backwaters and the dubious delights of clicking and surfing. (Gorman, 2006)
Does Gorman not see how hypocritical he's acting? He's the one using dismissive language and name-calling. I don't understand how he can honestly think this kind of rhetoric will advance his position. I understand and agree--to an extent--with Gorman's concerns about a core library education. What I will never understand is how he decided that technology is a threat to librarianship.

I went to school to become an academic librarian. While my program wasn't perfect, it gave me the theoretical, and yes, technological foundations I need to practice librarianship. I believe that my MLIS program prepared me to keep learning and improving as I grow as a librarian. I also know that technologies are tools I can use to practice the craft of librarianship. If my students are reading blogs and using instant messenger, I'm going to use those technologies to reach them and promote the services and resources that can help them be successful in college and beyond.

Maybe it makes Gorman feel better about himself to put down others in his profession. Who knows? I don't find that satisfying at all. In fact, I'm in awe of the many "clicking and surfing" librarians who are actively promoting and bettering the profession through their blogs, wikis, webcasts, online conferences, and most importantly, the services they provide to their patrons.
Gorman, M. (2006, May). President's message. American Libraries, 37, 3.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Boss!

We have a new department head, and I'm very pleased with the selection. This will make my life as a new faculty member a lot easier, as I can begin to set goals for my first year review and T&P documentation and get started with a plan of action for my new role here in reference and instruction. It kind of feels like I'm really getting started now.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Results Are In

The results of the ALA elections are in, but I haven't gotten an email notification. I found out only because I read blogs. Boo. The ALA website is also super slow today and it's driving me nuts. I can't read two of the press releases because of "connection errors." Double Boo! I won't get started on the design and usability of the site itself because it's a beautiful day and I don't feel like getting grumpy. I will complain about the fact that fewer than one-quarter of the membership voted, which is a really pathetic turnout.

In other news, I just signed up for one of the university's summer book discussion groups. I picked the title on higher ed rather than either of the two history titles because it looked the most interesting to me. So now I have another book to read this month. Will I ever learn?

Reading Obsessed

I haven't had much to report lately. Work is going well. I should soon know who will be my new supervisor. I'm going to a teaching colloquium next month, which unfortunately coincides with a teleconference on information literacy for at-risk students. The common text for the colloquium is Ken Bain's What the Best College Teachers Do. I haven't started it yet because I'm trying to read all the journal articles I have printed out and in my email. My reach always seems to exceed my grasp when in comes to professional literature. I know I can't read it all, but I keep trying.

Also, we just met with the architects who are planning our new library building. The new facility will be wonderful, but it's hard to get too excited about it yet. I'll be in my little windowless office for another two or three years so I'm trying not to think about the new space or my old office too much, especially now that the weather's threatening to get nicer.

What else? My latest musical obsession is Jon Auer's new album, Songs From the Year of Our Demise. It's really good; ignore the nonsensical review in last week's Stranger. It made the top ten at the Big Takeover several times, which rules. I'm also trying to get through my huge stack of unread books. The only way I can justify paying to ship 20 boxes of books is to make sure I read them all. I'm about of a third of the way through Gilead, and it's so good. I'm trying to read it slowly because it's not long and Marilynn Robinson has written only one other novel.

My latest BlogHer post is about books, too. If you're inclined, check it out.