Sleep. Break today.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Daily Thoughts 2/27/2009
Today has started slowly. I wrote my monthly report of the activities which I have done. I also checked on the movies for the Sunday film series. I did a bit of tidying up and updated my current events display. It is quiet here this morning.
I have been designing some rough drafts for flyers for the upcoming programs. I have sent a few of them over to the community relations person. Mostly, today has been a day to tidy things up a little bit. Cut extra scrap paper squares for the desk, make sure the reference room is in order, and keep my phone numbers and calendar updated.
I think I am ready to go to the Whiteplains Supreme Court Law Library on Monday.
One of my colleagues is leaving for the City College of New York. He is going to be a college librarian working in interlibrary loan. We had a nice discussion about the process of getting published. He is very interested in family literacy. One of his ideas is adapting different learning styles to family literacy.
We have a new librarian starting on Monday. She has worked with law material before. Hopefully, this will help us a bit with answering law questions.
On the train home, I finished reading the Caryatids. It was an excellent read. Tomorrow, I will work on writing a short review.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
This book is about how to raise money for your library. There are numerous tips lists on extra things you can do in each chapter in this book. I found many of the tips useful. This book covers many other subjects than just grants.
The sections on capital campaigns, bond issues, and legislation were interesting. They talked about how to raise very large amounts of money. The book also covered LSTA (Library Systems and Technology Act) grants. We recently had a bond issued to improve the condition of the building.
For me, the most useful and immediate ideas that came out of reading this book were the idea of a renewal campaign contacting previous donors and creating a memorial giving brochure. These seemed like appropriate activities that our library might do.
There was a bit on direct mail campaigns for funds. I am not sure that this would be a great idea. I have mixed feelings about having lots of letters sent out to people requesting money. Some people might think this is junk mail.
We do many of the things listed in this book, but not as fundraisers. We have an art exhibition running in our library every month from the Westchester Arts Council. We do regular poetry (now it is called spoken word) open microphones. We have a Friends group that does regular booksales. The money from the booksales usually goes to pay for library programs.
There were a variety of events suggested, book fairs, book sales, garden fairs, fashion shows, poetry nights, flea markets, dinners, and auctions. They did not suggest a few things which are run in our area. The literary tea seems to be a favorite around here.
Opening a store in our library would be quite hard. However, providing premiums for donations like a giving tree, plaques, or personalized bricks might work. We currently have bookplates in many of our books with patrons names on them. Also, some of our rooms are named after people with small plaques.
The section on corporate giving reminded me to look up the major employers in our city and identify the foundations attached to them. We have a brochure with all the major employers in the county. Corporations often do matching gifts. The Gannett Foundation is a local foundation.
We are working on a family literacy grant. However, right now, I am more interested in things like individual donors.
I did not realize that the American Library Association had a Fundraising and Financial Development Section
This book was quite comprehensive with lots of suggestions. It could have used some more illustrations. There is an index and a bibliography. The information on creating donation buttons on websites is a bit dated. It gave me a number of ideas worth looking at.
Rembrandt (1606-1669) "Rembrandt Drawing at a Window" Etching Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Daily Thoughts 2/26/2009
This is a really interesting article. http://kotaku.com/5160610/librarians-investigated-for-playing-rock-band . I am rather surprised that the librarians in Nebraska got in trouble for this. I think the Benny Hill theme song might have done it more than the Rock Band video game. A lot of libraries have video games as part of their collections these days. Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Dance Dance Revolution are some of the most popular video games to use in teenage programs. It gets teenagers to come into the library. We want them to come in and read and use books. Music video games are a lot better than most violent videogames. We have a video game machine, a Nintendo Wii which we use in some of our teenage programming. It looks like the librarians are testing the machinery to see if it works.
Right now, I have a day off. I am reading the Caryatids by Bruce Sterling. The writing is very dense for science fiction. It is saying a lot more than most science fiction novels which I read. The story is in a near future setting in a world torn apart by global warming and pollution. Much of what is being described is very relevant to some of the things which are happening today.
Today has been a quiet peaceful day. I had a chance to walk up to my library and drop off a few books, as well as do my exercises in the morning. I spent some time relaxing, reading on the computer. I read some more of David Drake's Starliner on the Baen free library. I am on chapter 3 of Starliner now. So right now, I am reading an ebook and a regular book at the same time.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Nuyorican is a hybrid word which combines New York and Puerto Rican. This anthology contains a wide a variety of different authorial voices from many different backgrounds Filipino, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Jewish, gay, straight, and other. The editors call it a multicultural anthology. A few of the poems are in Spanish and some are in a mix of Spanish and English. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe is a place in New York where they hold poetry slams. All of the poetry in this anthology was performed live on stage to an audience. It has a very different feel than most poetry anthologies.
A lot of the poetry draws from life on the street. There are many adult themes, AIDS, sex, drugs, rape, relationships, and music (jazz, hip hop, and rock and roll). The poetry is spoken word, meaning that it includes rap, hip hop, scat, and other nonconventional modern forms in the book. The writing is not tame. It does not necessarily follow traditional rhyme schemes.
Some of the poets in the anthology include Regie Cabico, Jennifer Blowdryer, Sapphire, Greg Masters and many others. There are biographical summaries of the writers at the end of the book. In the beginning of the book is a bit on the history of the poetry slam and the performance space, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
It was refreshing reading this book. If you want to read a book of poetry meant to be performed, this is a very good example. The book won the American Book Award in 1994.
Pietro Magni The Reading Girl, Statue
Daily Thoughts 2/25/2009
This afternoon, I spent some more time talking to our Westlaw representatives about our contract to purchase books and online material. They are going to come to visit to look at our current collection of material. I need to evaluate the law collection a bit more.
I am reading Fundraising For Libraries 25 Proven Ways To Get More Money For Your Library by James Swan. The book has started out fairly well.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I am looking at Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing Creating Newsletters, Magazines, & Websites People Will Read by Cheryl Woodard and Lucia Wang. I am rather disappointed with this book. I thought it was a do it yourself kind of book. How to design your own newsletters, websites, and magazines. It is not. It is how to choose other people to make your newsletter, or how to hire a person who will do it for you. There is only a small amount on how to do it yourself. I think I am going to try another book on how to do these things. It is not what I expected.
Now for a little technological euphoria before I even get a new smart phone.
The revolution will not be televised
It has already happened.
Turn off your television and wake up.
Pick up your telephone.
Listen carefully within the decade.
Your phone will change.
The revolution will not be televised
Information should be free.
Your cell phone will be as powerful as
The desktop you are reading.
Smart phones will become cheaply cloned
In China, In India, all over.
Anyone, anywhere who had a cell phone
Will hold their own computer.
The revolution has already happened
In every single place on earth.
One billion people are free of poverty
A pool for information revolution.
More knowledge will be created on phones.
Than in previous human history.
The revolution has already happened.
You hold it in your hand.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Salomon De Bray (1597-1664)
Book and Picture Shop
Pen and ink, 1628
29 7/8 x 29 7/8 inches (76 x 76 cm)
Daily Thoughts 2/23/3009
I was on vacation this last week. I go back to work today. I am looking forward to it. I like what I am doing. Hopefully everything is going well. As I came back to work today, I realized that there were many more people coming into the library than usual. The economy may be down, but library usage seems to be going up considerably.
There was a stack magazines waiting for me on my desk; Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Searcher. I found two articles from my reading to be particularly interesting. The first was Is That A Computer In Your Pocket The Incredible Shrinking Computer by Robert Oppenheim, Searcher The Magazine For Database Professions, February 2009, P.12. This was about smartphones and how information professionals might use them. Apparently the Hoovers Database is available via smartphones. We just started a new subscription to Hoovers online. The second article I found particularly interesting was Step Into The Digital Future by Judith Rosen, Publishers Weekly, February 16, 2009 Pp. 17-19. This article was about the different new ereaders; Plastic Logic, Kindle, and the Stanza software for the Iphone.
In addition to stacks of magazines, I had a few books which I had put on hold waiting at the circulation desk, Regenesis by C.J. Cherryh and The Caryattids by Bruce Sterling. I returned all the books and videos I had checked out for my vacation.
When I got back I checked my phone as well. I will be going to The White Plains Supreme Court Law Library on Monday with two of my colleagues to take a tour of their library. They have a special office there called The Office of the Self Represented.
Everything seemed to be in order when I got back. Both of the Sunday Matinees for family films were shown and the workshop on using computers for business on Wednesday went well. I also had a chance to call and arrange for a poetry workshop on April 29m 2009 for National Poetry Month. As part of my focus on poetry, I checked out another book, Aloud! Voices From The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, edited by Miguel Algarin and Bob Holman. The book won the 1994 American Book Award. I started reading it on the train home. The book has a kind of smooth flavor to it; much more intense than beat peotry.
During my vacation, I tested out some of my old skills. For a while, I was doing human resources sourcing for a new defunct internet service provider during the dot com boom. I looked for philanthropists in our county, corporate donors who gave to libraries, and local library foundations. I searched the internet, newsgroups, blog search engines, and magazine and newspaper databases to find people. It was like peeling the rust from a door hinge.
Tomorrow, I am going to go through the city paper and one of the county papers to look for the same thing. The online city paper is only for two months and we have the complete run for a couple years in our periodicals department. I put another book on hold related to this kind of activity, Fundraising for Libraries: 25 Proven Ways to Get More Money For Your Library by James Swan.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Suzette Haden Elgin, Ph.D. is a linguist. She is writing about how to diffuse potential conflicts and disagreements. The book mainly focuses on disagreements between close family and disagreements at the job. Her first point is that almost all physical violence is preceded by violent language. If we reduce violent language we will improve the general atmosphere which people live in.
I don't agree with some of her philosophy. I don't think people should avoid conflict at all costs. I think of conflict as a natural part of being human. I just think that aggression should be channeled into constructive acts like climbing mountains, sports, and racing cars.
However, her methodologies seem to be quite well done. They are easy to follow. She reminds us to actively listen. Most people don't pay enough attention. She also gives two simple methodologies to help eliminate the effects of bad language. Write it down or make I statements.
We use metaphors and ideas when we speak. Understanding presuppositions people make allows us to counter nasty statements in a non-hostile manner. We learn about common verbal attack patterns and how to counter them. There are several different ways suggested including being rational, addressing the subject not the insult, objecting to bad language, and bringing the argument to a common level.
The book seems to have a fairly strong feminist philosophy to it. There is quite a bit about how men and women talk to each other during verbal conflicts. She uses a lot of different examples in the book. Each chapter has a number of written out dialogues illustrating her points. She covers nine points in the book; staying detached, listening, choosing your metaphor, choosing your satir mode, controlling your presuppositions, avoiding and defusing verbal attack patterns, and reducing tension and building arpport.
The book is short, 170 pages, references and bibliography, and index. It is a fairly quick read. This book will have strong reactions for and against it.
William Michael Harnett (1848-1892)
Still Life Writing Table
Oil on canvas, 1877
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
Good morning, I am drinking my morning coffee right now. I am thinking about the post I made yesterday about magazines. I especially like The Indie Next List which is a list of bestsellers from Independent Bookstores. http://www.bookweb.org/indiebound/nextlist.html . I often think that librarians don't look outside their field enough for recommendations of books to buy or read.
Right now, I am reading The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. I decided to put it down after the first 100 pages. While I liked some pieces of it; I found it to be very dark and often gratuitously violent. It also seemed to have a bit too much of the gamer audience in mind.
I am reading Starliner by David Drake. It is part of the Baen Free Library.
http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0671721216/0671721216.htm . David Drake is one of my favorite authors of military science fiction. He is a reliably good author with plenty of entertaining writing.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This is a photograph of renowned Egyptian novelist,Naguib Mahfouz. I find his writing to be exceptionally beautiful. It is poignant and well worth reading.
I put The Claws That Catch by Travis S. Taylor and John Ringo on hold at my local library.
I took a short walk up to my local library. It takes me about fifteen minutes walking uphill to get there. My doctor has asked me to do some mildly aerobic exercise two to three times a week, so I kind of count this as such. This is in addition to the 25 minutes of floor exercises I do each night from Yoga RX. I picked up a copy of How To Disagree Without Being Disagreeable by Suzette Haden Elgin, Ph.D.. She is the author of The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. Hopefully this will be of some use.
This article from Information Week which interviews Tim O'Reilly, may give you a better sense of the changes in the publishing world which are coming very quickly. Most libraries are not ready for this. Many are not even aware that it is happening. http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2009/02/tim_oreilly_unp.html
I am on a routing list at work for magazines. Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and Searcher are routed to me every single month. On occassion, I will also read The New York Review of Books because of the quality reviews it gives.
When I have time, I will read Wired Magazine online http://www.wired.com/ . I also read Locus Magazine online http://www.locusmag.com/ , Bookselling This Week http://www.bookweb.org/ , I like the reviews section of the online version of http://www.libraryjournal.com/ . Mostly, I read magazines that give reviews of books and other material. I actually prefer reading magazines online.
I think in some ways, blogs are replacing many magazines. I still like the feel of paper. I don't like tearing up or marking magazines that much. Although, occassionally, I will mark a review which I like a lot.
This is a military science fiction story. The United States navy with the help of he Adar an allied alien race convert a nuclear submarine into a warp drive spaceship. It is the classic subs in space theme from science fiction. Man the torpedos.
The first part of the book is about training and selecting the crew for the ship, The Vorpal Blade. It goes over the specifications of the ship as well as the combat suits which the space marines wear called Wyverns. There are also a few other tropes from science fiction thrown in, the teenage genius girl with the alien pet, and the brilliant linguist. If you like military hardware it is kind of interesting.
The second part of the book is space exploration. The crew learns how to use the warp drive, they make some observations about astronomy, and they refuel water and oxygen from a gas giant. There is some science in this book. Travis S. Taylor, one of the writers, has several degrees including a Ph.D. in Optical Science and Engineering and a masters in Physics. The first half of the book is not that combat oriented
In the final part of the book, the space marines fight the tentacle crabs, then they save the bipedal space hamsters from the evil demons. The space hamsters, or as the author says, space chinchillas, need a lot of help. It is up to the marines to fight various beasties like armored insects, laser firing dragonflies, and dragon beasties. Of course the marines save the day, but not without some casualties. John Ringo who has written a lot of military science fiction novels does excellent combat descriptions.
This is a fun book to read. It is not particularly realistic, the space marines don't use any rocket launchers, flamethrowers or other very heavy ordinance in fights; it would end the battles too quickly. Just bullets, combat suites, grenades, and knives. It is a sequel to the book, The Looking Glass, but only references the Dreen, there are no actual evil alien Dreen in this book. The book already has a sequel which I plan on reading called The Claws That Catch.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Everybody can simply lend or swap books or help filling this weather-proof outdoor bookcase any time - since November 2005 five such open library cupboards were installed in Hanover by Werkstatt-Treff Mecklenheide e.V.. The idea seems to origin from the artists Clegg & Guttmann, who realized their first "Open Public Library" in 1991 in Graz (AT). Taken by Norbert Luckhardt, Hannover, DE with a Cannon EOS 5D. This image is licensed under Creative Commons.
I have read Extraordinary Engines The Definitive Steampunk Anthology Edited by Nick Gevers. I do not like this anthology. I did not like most of the stories in this anthology. There were only three which I liked; Steampunch by James Lovegrove, Speed, Speed the Cable by Kage Baker, and Fixing Hanover by Jeff Vandermeer. There was one story which was interesting to read, but I had mixed feelings about it. The title was Machine Maid by Margo Lanagan. There were a total of twelve stories
I wish they had the selection of stories less literary in nature and focused on more popular stories. I did not find James Morrow's story, Lady Witherspoon's Solution to be steampunk, it was more Victorian fantasy. It was not a bad story, it just was not steampunk in my mind. I think a better anthology to read would be Steampunk Edited by Ann Vandermeer and Jeff Vandermeer, I enjoyed this anthology a lot more.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
This book describes the concepts behind doing a poetry slam. It tells you that most poets perform from memory during poetry slams. Because of this many of the contributions in this book are short raps, poems by singers like Jewel or DMX, and contemporary material.
This book is written for young adults. However, the writing feels like it would be accessible to all ages. The book is clearly written to appear cool and happening. The publisher of the book has a web site, http://alloy.com It is designed as a cool site for teen girls. I didn't expect them to write a book on slam poetry.
There is an interesting mix of poetry by teenage girls; performance poets like Felice Bell, Beth Lisick, or Jerry Quickly; quality literary poets like Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath and others.
The layout is slightly avant garde. It uses three colors, black, blue, and white. There are a variety of fonts and layouts for the poems. Most of the pages have black and white photographs in the backgrounds.
The back of the book has a mix of one paragraph biographical snapshots and lots of credits for the poems. The book is quite well thumbed by library patrons.
There are quite a few poems from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. I think I want to read more poems from this group.
Some people may not like this book because it is not very traditional. It mixes different skill levels of writing. It would be a very good book for early teens. They would find it cool.
Other people might not like the style of the poetry. Many poems are meant to be read aloud or don't follow traditional rhyme schemes. I liked it because I need to better understand this kind of poetry if I am going to do better in getting people to read poetry in the library setting.
Effective Fundraising For Nonprofits Real World Strategies That Work, 2nd Edition, by Ilona Bray, J.D.
This is a practical hands on book on how to raise money money for nonprofits. There is no theory. Every section is focused on ways to increase funding; donation letters, bequests, selling merchandise, producing brochures and websites, approaching individual donors, and many other subjects are covered.
The books opens with a statement that you should clarify the reason you are asking for money. This includes having a clear mission and goals. Some of the reasons I can think of which people might give money to our library are; we have a nice job information center collection, a law collection, provide free access to computers for the public, provide community space for events, are a historical Carnegie building, have many displays and have a small space to display local art.
There are several chapters on how to write donor solicitation letters and followup with donors once they have given money. The book suggests that you leave telephone solicitation alone because of problems with telemarketing and email solicitation alone because of spam. There are also descriptions of annual renewal letters and holiday appeal letters. There is a reminder that letter writing campaigns are for donations of $250 or less.
For more money in the $500 or more range, nonprofits should turn to personal appeals. This is done through prospect research. I find this kind of interesting. This is currently being done by our library foundation. In our area, the Westchester County Business Journal writes about many local philanthropists. There are a variety of sources for prospect research. One of the free ones which the book lists is the Forbes magazines People Tracker database for high net worth individuals.
The persoanl appeals section segues into the process of generating bequests or donations from last wills and testaments. People over the age of 45 write wills and many of them include donations. Bequests tend to specify exactly how donated money will be spent. Individual donations to nonprofits account for 75% of fundraising money.
I liked some of the points made in the section on special events. Nonprofits won't make money from selling food. For the most part, they will break even. Selling food is often a goodwill gesture and it generates good public relations. I think of our library booksales with books and baked goods as a goodwill gesture. They do generate enough cash to help us with some library programming. The only other events I have participated in for libraries are street fairs. Mainly this is to increase the membership of the Friends of the Library and hand out materials about the library.
I might try to go to one of our future fundraising events to get a better sense of what is happening. Some of the events I have seen advertised in local libraries are literary teas, honorary luncheons, photography exhibitions, art exhibits, and crafts fairs.
Some nonprofits run social enterprises. These are businesses. I have been to the New York Public Library book and gift shop as well as the Brooklyn Public Library coffee shop. This is a lot of work to do. We really don't sell merchandise.
The next section in this book is on grant writing. My colleague works on writing grants. It is a tremendous amount of work. There is a lot of research involved. There are a number of tips on grant writing in this book: the more reproducible your project is, the more likely it is to get funding, make your grant easy to read, send it in early, and be prepared to have people visit your site.
With grants comes support materials like brochures and newsletters. My colleague and I recently designed a services brochure for our library. I think this will improve our outreach considerably. We do not currently have a lirbary newsletter. I am hoping that the library will start a new blog soon so I can work on it. What I am doing now is partially preparation for this.
Our library already has a fairly complex website which is in the process of being upgraded. While wandering through the internet, I noticed several of the local libraries had a paypal donation button on their site. Along with this I am hoping that they rewrite the Friends of the Library section and include a section on the Library Foundation.
The last section in this book is on contacting and talking to the media. It is important to list all fundraising events as well as programs with media. We have been sending out a lot more press releases to the media lately. This is because we recently redesigned our calendar of events and are doing more programming. There is a reminder that news is about new and "content is king".
This book is a comprehensive overview of the fundraising process for nonprofits. It helped me grasps some of the concepts a little better. I can recommend it without hesitation. The book itself is very clearly written. It includes an index and a set of worksheets to help clarify your decisions at the end of the book. There are sample documents, black and white photographs, and tips throughout the book.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This book is about the process of becoming a successful CEO. The book is international in scope. It gets stories and anecdotes from CEOs from all over the world; Steve Reinemunde of Pepsico, Lucas Chow of MediaCorp Group, Nadia Zaal of Al Barari, Javier Gutierrez of Ecopetrol, and many other international CEOs.
The book takes the view that we live in an international world. It is necessary for a CEO to travel and live in the countries which they operate in. Mr. Ramakrishnan calls the search for talent, worldsourcing.
Unlike most books on CEOs, there are very nice sections on family, interests, and health. It is suggested that regular sleep, exercise, and strong family support are necessary to run a company. It is very easy to burnout in the position as chief. People should have at least two outside interests. This can be as simple as reading and golf.
There are a lot of tips on networking and advancing ones career. The point of networking in this book is not to advance ones career but to get more done on the job. People who network to be more effective on their current job are more likely to have their contacts help them. It is not good to be too comfortable in a job. It is as important to make lateral moves inside a company as it is to move upward. Manage up, down, and sideways or you will never move up inside a company.
There are also ideas on how to succeed as CEO. You are not #1, the company is. When you reach the top, you cannot rest, your job is to improve the place you work for.
On a personal level, this book made me realize that there are always sacrifices in time, family, and committments when you move up in position in any job. More responsibility brings more stress and requires you to pay closer attention to your health and family. At the same time, this book gave me some ideas on how to better manage my own career. I found the book both useful and entertaining.
Umesh Ramakrishnan is the Vice Chairman of CT Partners, a global executive recruitment firm that recruits CEOs, directors, and senior management positions. This book has a website at http://noelevatortothetop.com/
I finished reading There's No Elevator to the Top this morning. I have started reading Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits Real-World Strategies That Work, 2nd Edition by Ilona Bray, J.D. It is a very long complex text. I think it will help me understand some more things about how nonprofits work.
I placed another book on hold, Every Nonprofits Guide to Publishing by Cheryl Woodard. Hopefully, this will be quite interesting. I am very very interested in the publishing world.
This company looks very interesting. It is a new type of presentation format for books on the web. http://www.scribd.com/about
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monster, the main character in the novel, is a cryptobiological hunter. He is one of the few humans who can see and interact with magic. Most people in the book block it out; when they see a yeti for example, they think big bear or monkey, then they remember seeing a big bear or monkey.
Monster gets entangled with a human, Judy, after she calls in animal control to deal with yetis in her freezer. As the novel progresses, we learn Judy is the key to saving the universe.
Thus ensues a metaphysical, humorous, sometimes ridiculous story about saving the universe. There are numerous encounters with odd critters; trolls, a pegasus, gnomes, a firebreathing cat, a sphinx, a walrus dog, and other things.
Monster's personal life is a bit messy. His girlfriend is a demon who leaves around devil dolls. She is wicked, but not as wicked as I would have liked. Judy, the other central character, also is not going anywhere with her life.
My favorite character was the villainness. I found her much more sympathetic than the main characters. She is polite, ladylike, keeps a garden, has lots of cats, and is almost unstoppable.
This is a light romp. It is set in the modern day. I have read most of the authors works. He writes humorous fantasy. I can recommend Gil's All Fright Diner which is his best book so far. I have been following the author closely. He has a website at http://www.aleemartinez.com
I got this book from the New York Comic Con on February 6. The book is due out in May of 2009. The copy I am reading is an Advanced Reading Copy.
Engraving of Noah Webster, from the frontispiece of Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, Revised and Enlarged
Daily Thoughts for 2/17/2009
I am going to start including the date in my daily thoughts post. This will make it more distinguishable from previous posts.
Yesterday, I went out and bought a copy of I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. I had been listening to the tape for several weeks and decided it would be better to have my own copy than the library copy.
I listen to the CD for about half an hour every night. It is working. I have lost nine pounds since I read the book and started listening to the cd. The cd is also very relaxing to listen to.
I also put Regenesis by C.J. Cherryh on hold after seeing it at the bookstore. It is part of the Cyteen series.
I am on vacation this week. I am not planning on going anywhere, just relaxing. I took a walk to my local library near my house. The library was packed with people. All the tables were full. There was a two hour wait on the signup list for the computers. This makes sense to me. Libraries are a free source of entertainment and education in a very tight economy.
I picked up some material to read, Extraordinary Engines The Definitive Steampunk Anthology, Edited by Nick Gevers. It is c2008, published by Solaris Books which is a new publisher. Vorpal Blade by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor. John Ringo was on the New York Times Bestseller list for his science fiction. This book is a military science fiction novel published by Baen Books, it is a paperback, the paperback came out in October of 2008 so it is fairly new. Finally, I picked up a copy of Slam with a foreword by Tori Amos, edited by Cecily Von Ziegesar. It is a young adult title about poetry slams. I think it might help me better understand the concept of spoken word.
In addition to books, I got a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on dvd. It is a three day loan. I rarely go to the theatres these days because it is so expensive and it takes so much time. I prefer to sit and watch my movies at home.
If you are on Twitter I really like the New York Times Books http://www.twitter.com/nytimesbooks It has excellent coverage of evrything book related.
I am definitely going to the Open Access and Libraries 2009 Conference
Monday, February 16, 2009
So far, the header has been changed, the font for the blog, some of the background colors, and a number of typos fixed. I am looking to do a little bit more. I have also identified a problem with Mozilla Firefox not reading the html line spacing commands for blogger. I am still not sure what to do about this. I contacted blogger help about this. Now, it seems to be working a tiny bit better. I also changed the number of posts visible on the page to five at a time. I had ten at a time. This should reduce the amount of time it takes to load my page considerably.
Mugshot http://www.blogcatalog.com/user/mugshot was nice enough to donate a new header. I have started a second conversation about redesigning my blog on blogcatalog. http://www.blogcatalog.com/discuss/entry/criticise-my-blog-dont-be-nice
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I picked up a copy of Hope's Folly on February 6, 2009 at New York Comic Con. They were displaying The Down Home Zombie Blues at the Bantam booth for science fiction and I asked them if they had a new book by Linnea Sinclair. They gave me the Advanced Reading Copy of Hope's Folly. It is due out on February 24, 2009.
It is deeply satisfying to be able to read a good book before anyone else does. There are a few minor elements that probably will be changed, but with an Advanced Reading Copy, it is very close to the finished product most of the time. Linnea Sinclair has written many award winning romance books. She has won the RITA, The Sapphire, and the Prism awards for romance novels. Her website is at http://www.linneasinclair.com/ .
There is a playlist of music in the front of the book which she listens to. She even lists a website for the recordings. http://www.blacktigerrecordings.com/ .
This book is what Star Trek might be like if it included hot sex, and more violent political intrigue. Including this adds spice where most space operas don't have it. This is the major reason I like her stories so much.
The dynamic of older man and younger woman is done very well. The older man is the commanding Admiral Philip Guthrie and the younger woman is his security officer, Rya Bennton.
What also makes this story so good is the political intrigue added to the typical shootouts and space battles. There are saboteurs on board the ship the Hope's Folly and Rya Bennton must find them. Also there is an assassination and a kidnapping attempt against the Admiral Guthrie. This makes for a fast paced story with excitement at every turn.
The setting is the classic rebel ship fighting an empire torn asunder space opera setting. The rebel ship of course is outnumbered and outgunned.
The book is printed by Bantam books. I don't think this book is purely formulaic. If you like science fiction and a little romance you will really like this book.
I am on vacation this week. I plan on wrapping up a few things. Finishing my description of the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing and writing a few book reviews of three books which I have read would be a nice start.
But first because I am on vacation, I need a little bit of nostalgic relaxation. I watched Scooby Doo Meets Batman this morning. I know it is not particularly serious. I rather liked the idea that Scooby liked bat cookies. Also seeing batman and robin driving around in the Mystey Machine was kind of fun.The cartoon was from the 1972, so the cartoon was like the old Adam West television show, not very serious and not very violent. It was very relaxing. I got it from the library at work.
I am drinking my morning coffee right now.
I have two books I am reading right now. The first is There's No Elevator To The Top by Umesh Ramakrishnan. The second is Effective Fundraising For Nonprofits Real-World Strategies That Work, 2nd Edition by Ilona Bray, J.D. This is is Nolo press book. Nolo is known for the clear precise language in its books as well as legal books for the layperson.
The stimulus bill has passed. $200 million of that money could potentially be for computers in libraries. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6637647.html
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentines Day. It is the time of the year for roses and chocolate and cards. Also, a time to spend with ones love. Hope you are having a sweet valentines.
This is an article from Library Journal again. A Compendium of Sexy Librarianness. Just in time for Valentine's day. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6633560.html?desc=topstory
I have been reading through The Best of Chris Brogan to see if there are ways to improve my blog. The tips seem interesting. However, some of them I won't follow. I have to stick to my principles of cheapness. I will not buy a domain name because it costs money, nor will I buy hosting. I promised not to spend money when I started blogging. http://www.chrisbrogan.com/best-of/
This morning, I filed some more looseleafs. I also took a few minutes to look at the donor lists from some of the local library foundations. It was kind of interesting to look at. I noticed that three libraries in our area had donation buttons on their websites from paypal. I am not sure that this would be a good idea. There is more than one donation button system. There is also the Amazon honor system.
I get some time off this week, a little vacation. I watched Philip Pullman the Golden Compass. I never read the book and don't think I ever will. The movie was light escapist entertainment. The speial effects were interesting. Some books are just never meant to be read.
I did not realize it until I checked the list of blogs covering the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference. I think I have a byline. My blog appears a couple of times next to Publishers Weekly and other very prominent sites. http://www.toccon.com/toc2009/public/content/news-coverage
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
O'Reilly Tools of Change For Publishing (Part 2)
The second part of the conference I attended was a talk by Francois Gossieaux called Building Community Around Content The Tribalization of Business. The title of the conference session reminded me of Cory Doctorow's Eastern Standard Tribe. Cory Doctorow was at the session sitting not far from me which was rather interesting and in a way perplexing.
This session was about getting people involved in content. It was essentially about creating community online. We were told to break up into different groups, five groups of publishers, one group of magazine publishers, and one group of other people. I guess I am an other person belonging to a unique tribe. The group I was with was very interesting, there was a writer from Galleycat, a person from Writer's Mama, an Australian writer, a newspaper person from the Boston Globe, someone from Moody's Analytics, R.R. Bowker, and a Technology Editor from School Library Journal.
The session was about monetizing communities, but I don't think I really learned much about making money from online communities. The focus was that you should focus on the social aspects of community and the money would follow.
Francois Gossieaux delivered a variety of maxims in his French accent. It had a pleasant ring to it. The more content you have the more users you will have. The more users you will have the more content you will have. The better you match content and members together, the more users you will get. If it is easy to do more transactions you will get more people. Get people seems to be the mantra of the day.
Of course because this was a business oriented session everything had to be broken down into numbers. You should have metrics to check how many people are using your site, how many people are viewing your site, and where they are coming from. I use Sitemeter on my blog to do this.
The numbers also showed people were not spending much money on blogs. 58% of companies spent less than $50,000 per year on their blogs. I spend nothing on building this site except my time. Still this was rather surprising.
For the majority of companies, they have 34% (a single parti-timer) or 17% 1 person working on a blog. This means 51% of companies only have one person working on their blog. Not too promising if you are seeking a job as a blogger. I am not.
There were wonderful promises about what would happen if you started a blog for your business. I did not find it that fascinating. I did find the idea that 50% of people want to be able to use their cell phone to find information interesting. I am not that fond of cell phones, however the Iphone looks intriguing because of Brightkite and the Stanza reader software. The prospect of tiny text is intriguing.
More than anything they reminded us that content is what matters, not technology. "Content Is King!" A beautiful site does not matter that much either. Having gripping content and interesting people is what people want when they visit a social networking site.
We spent some time discussing online communities in our group. I learned of a bunch of different social networking sites for literature, Authonomy, Arxiv, litminds, booksprouts and others. This was pretty interesting. I find literature social networking sites very interesting.
The most interesting reminder I got was from Cory Doctorow, social networks grow and die. There is a life cycle for social networks. Of course I am in denial and this blog will be immortal. If your site dies as a small independent site it is gone forever. However, if you are part of a giant site like blogspot, facebook, or blogcatalog, you can just start it over and try again.
The session was interesting and informative. I got to perplex one of my favorite writers so it must have been good. Cory Doctorow makes me think.
Today, February 12, 2009, is a very important day, it is the bicentennial of Lincoln's Birthday as well as the bicentennial of Darwin's birthday. Both are towering figures in history. Both helped in the process of ending slavery. Darwin had very strong views against slavery and Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Take a few moments to think about both of these important figures in history.
Today was pretty low key. I had to complete a description of all my various duties for the director. It was four pages of the details of the different things which I do at work. I wrote the list twice, once in longhand on the train and once on the computer at work. I tried to be very detailed.
We are getting two new librarians and an assistant director soon. It should be very interesting. I have met both of the new librarians. One worked nights at our library, and the other volunteered from the United Nations.
I am hoping this will take a little bit of pressure off of me, so I can do more focused work. I am hoping I can give some of the more mundane tasks like filing looseleafs, ordering phone books, and ordering annual reports to another librarian.
While I was doing the poetry open microphone on Wednesday, a spoken word poet gave me a tape to listen to. It is spoken word poetry set to music. The music was mellow, there was no cursing, and the words had a nice rhythm to them. It had a slight rastafarian flavor to it. The gentleman had a business card for his press, Poetic Emanciverse; he wanted to offer to teach a free poetry class. I think I will set a date in April for national poetry month. He also suggested I change the open microphones name to Spoken Word so I could include rap, and other forms of spoken word performance.
Things are starting to get a little more interesting where I am working. They finished moving the periodicals desk to a new location.
I also finished writing the summary of the second part of O'Reilly Tools of Change For Publishing day one. I had a short interview today from School Library Journal; so I might appear in the back of School Library Journal. It should be very interesting.
I also got permission to go to a one day conference, Open Access and Libraries on March 17 at Columbia University. I am already looking forward to it. I like doing these things.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I got a little extra sleep today in anticipation of my split day. I am going to be reading some poetry at 4:00 p.m. at my library. Hopefully, it will be a good turnout. It is not too cold like last time. It was 18 degree outside at the last open microphone. I think more people will show up this time.
The sky burned red
A Poisoned wind blew
From the eastern oceans
The wind blew cold
Taking away summer
Freezing hard cold earth
Plants wilted brown died
Animals littered the plains
The earth took them
They are black dust
The earth is poisoned
Blackened with ruin
A man treks across
Plains, mountains, cities
Searching empty ruins
He travels northward
No hot sun shines
In the perpetual grey
He finally reaches the
The equator where the
Poison did not fall
Light comes through clouds
This is an attempt at a poem about nuclear winter.
Shatter your preconceptions
March forward ever onward
In the open world
I should be going to the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference in a few minutes. I think that I'll be a little more ready this time. I still have the second part of the first day of the conference to write up. I got some extra sleep last night.
I spent the morning listening to the keynote speakers at the conference. Then I wandered through the exhibitor floor, checking each exhibitor and seeing what was there. There were things there which I heard about and saw which were astounding. The New York Times is developing a customizable newspaper kiosk where you can have a customized newspaper printed for you on the spot. There is a turnkey machine for printing completed books which they are planning on leasing or selling to large libraries.
I saw the future written large. It was clearly more change than most people can imagine coming within the next year or two. Stanza, the most people ereader for the iphone in their presentation said they had their software for reading ebooks on iphones downloaded over 1.3 million times. They were planning to also provide software for other platforms as well.
I held the Plastic Logic ebook reader which is a half inch deep, 8 1/2 x 11 inch book reader. It runs on electronic ink and is almost completely made of polymers. It appears to be very light and very readable. It is as readable as newsprint.
I am beginning to think electronic ink very well could be a Gutenberg moment in the written word. There may be a more immediate world where every bit of information is on demand and right there in front of your face. It is coming faster than you might imagine.
The conference was eye opening. I am just starting to process everything which I have learned in the last few days. It is not easy. I have a lot to think and write about.
I had to run to work to get things going on time. The first thing I did was make sure the open microphone poetry reading was going to be set up on time. It was a little late. We had the AARP tax people finishing up their free tax preparation. Still, the reading went well. A local poet volunteered to do a workshop on poetry writing in April. There were eleven people and a bunch of kids who came over from the children rooms who wanted cookies and soda from the refreshments.
After the poetry reading, we have a business workshop for starting a small business in the community room right now. There are ten people downstairs listening to a presentation on entrepreneurship. I am hoping that it will go well.
Everything seems to be happening at once.
I finished reading Hope's Folly by Linnea Sinclair on the way home from work. This may take me a little bit to write a proper review for it.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Today was fairly quiet after the collection development meeting. I still have to design some flyers for a Sunday family film program and think about putting together a survey for patron use of the library.
On the way home on the train, I started reading Linnea Sinclair, Hope's Folly. It is romantic science fiction. The setting is on a military ship. One of the things I like about her writing is that there is a lot of intrigue in it. They have already tried to assassinate one of the main characters twice. It reminds me of Star Trek a bit except for with sex and violent intrigue. I reviewed Linnea Sinclair's Down Home Zombie Blues earlier. I like her writing a lot.
I am not reviewing anything tonight because I think it would be a bit too much. I relaxed did a bit of yoga and listened to the hypnosis tape from I Can Make You Thin.
I am planning on going to the conference early tomorrow, spending half a day, then going to work. It would be a split day. So I am turning in early to catch some extra sleep.
Collection Development Meeting
I did not get a chance to go to the conference today because we had a special visit from a Rutgers University Professor, Kay Cassell who is an Assistant Professor at SCILS. She gave a three hour talk called Developing A Public Library Collection in the Electronic Age.
A lot of people came to hear her speak from all over the library system. She spoke for three hours. We had coffee and cake. She gave a simple two page handout for us to go over. Most of the things suggested were practical in nature.
Some of the subjects which people were interested in were free electronic resources, providing good free reference service, how to deal with old books by popular authors, and what is a good core collection.
There was a brief mention that Library Journal now had reviews for electronic resources online for free. Also, we should not just look to libraries to learn how to find things, we should look outside. The Book Expo America was mentioned as a good place for Collection Development Librarians to go to. Book Expo America is on May 29-31 at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, New York.
There were a few things that were discussed which I found interesting. There were a variety of databases mentioned which we did not own, Chilton's Car Repair Manuals online, JStore, and Tell Me More (A language learning program.) She reminded us that we should not have a lot of databases, but a few strong useful databases. A favorite ebook resource was the Gale Biographical databases. We are currently looking at Hoover's.
There was a small amount of talk about ebooks. Mostly people talked about Overdrive which is the ebook package which is ordered through our library system. We mainly purchase audiobooks through Overdrive. She mentioned that travel books and computer books make excellent ebook purchases. There was a reminder in New York Public Library, they only bought books as individual titles for ebooks because they did not like the bundles which included too much older material.
There was a reminder that less reference books are being produced in print. People are turning to online resources because they provide quick short answers that are often as good as book sources.
Another big problem is that magazines and newspapers are increasingly becoming electronic. The Christian Science Monitor is moving to a daily online format and PC Magazine is becoming an online only publication. Many people are reading most of their magazines and newspapers online. The old fashioned sitting with the newspaper is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
In addition to buying ebooks we should be looking at a variety of formats. We learned at one library the kids were not using boxes like Xbox, they were using DS handheld games. Also, the average age of a gamer is 33 years old, close to middle aged.
An idea which we may consider is creating a "virtual library" of all our online resources in a single place on a web page. This makes it easier to manage online resources. One person mentioned that they used Shelfari, the social networking tool as part of their library home page.
She reminded us that we should survey our patrons to find out what they want. They should not just be surveyed; people also should be invited to do small focus groups on what they wanted to see in their neighborhood library.
She told us her copy machine makes PDFs of documents. This kind of blew me away. We have nothing like this at our libraries. Academic libraries are way ahead of public libraries in terms of electronic resources. They require people to do their homework using electronic databases unlike public libraries.
She suggested that we look at the Wharton Grove Public Library collection development policy. She told us that Wharton Grove breaks down their weeding policy by dewey number. We should also have an electronic resources policy to make sure there are rules around the use of computers.
There was a little bit about weeding. Some people mentioned that they sent some of their discards to Better World Books which sells discarded library books and sends a percentage of the money back to the library which gave them the books. Also, it is not a bad idea to give some of your discards to local agencies. When I was in Brooklyn Public Library, they often sent some of their discards or gift books to the prison libraries to help them.
Towards the end of the conversation, Sony Ereader and Kindle were mentioned. It was reminded to us that there are some libraries that are lending out Kindle ereaders to the public. We badly need to catch up with technology. Things like blogs provide excellent two way communications between patrons and the library.
The room was packed with librarians. It was well worth going to the meeting.
Monday, February 9, 2009
O'Reilly Tools of Change For Publishing
Good morning. I am sitting at my computer at 5 a.m. typing away. I am ready to go to the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference. It starts with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. . This is the conference with the earliest start I have ever been to. I will be taking the train in a few moments. I am very much looking forward to going.
I read a bit more of Monster A Novel on the way to the conference. The train was not very full in the early morning hours. It was nice light entertainment.
I got to the conference at 7:00 a.m. at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on 1545 Avenue of the Americas. The continental breakfast was quite pleasant. I talked to a lady from New Zealand who was there to learn about what was happening with the web. The breakfast was pleasant and the coffee was good.
I went to the first panel by Chris Brogan who has a blog at http://www.chrisbrogan.com/ . The title of the panel was Blogging and Social Media. His blog looks very well put together.
His presentation reminded me of someone who had very deep web knowledge like http://www.searchlores.org/ (Fravia) or Shally Steckerl http://jobmachine.net/shally/ (Recruitment), or David Carpe, http://clewllc.com/ (Business Research). I realize these are research oriented people with a different focus, but the knowledge is there.
The panel started at 8:30 a.m. in the North Ball Room. Apparently, Chris Brogan likes libraries, bookstores, and comic books something I can very much relate to. He chatted with me for a few moments before the panel started.
He had a very open ended discussion that was not in a particular order. It was spoken extemporaneously with lots of questions from the audience. I am rearranging what I think I learned from his talk to the audience. It was quite enlightening. This is more an arrangement of thoughts than anything else. Everyone sees the world differently, so what I remember may not exactly mirror the words of the speaker, but they should be somewhat similar.
I took notes in long hand on a pad of paper. I like writing and taking notes in long hand because the physical act of writing helps me remember what I am writing. I also rearranged what I heard so I could make sense of it.
More than one person should work on a blog in a company. The primary purpose of blogging is communication. The first thing that a person should see on the top of a blog is how to communicate with the author. The purpose of social media is to have presence and communicate with people. Social media is two way communication.
The currency of blogging and social media is trust and attention. This means not just using things like twitter, but combining them with older methods like email marketing. If you want a successful blog you should make things easily accessible and help people. Also, you should give a reason for people to visit your blog. Part of that reason it to point to places where people can find useful information.
Most blog and web tools are free and cheap. It is more important to invest in educating yourself in how the tools work than buying very expensive technology. Most of the tools he demonstrated on the screen like http://www.twitterfall.com/ and http://www.wordpress.org/ are free.
He mentioned a software application for annotating different locations in the world called Bright Kite using an Iphone. You can say things about specific locations when you visit them. He compared this to William Gibson's science fiction novel Spook Country where the main character used virtual reality to annotate different physical locations. He called this ARG (Alternate Reality Games). It sounds like one of those classic techie things where you can do unusual things with the internet.
Another idea he expressed was that publishers were becoming information brokers. A book is a package or bundle of information. He said that if he buys a book, he should be able to read the physical copy, listen to it in the car, and read it on his iphone on the way into the office. It should be a complete experience. I rather liked this idea. I can see this happening easily in the not too distant future.
Twitter was a large part of the conversation and tools built around Twitter. He compared Twitter to the phone of the future. I rather like Twitter, I was very impressed with his over 30,000 followers on his Twitter feed. I intend to read his tips for blogging on his blog to figure out how to improve what I am currently doing.
Part of this conversation which was all over the place was about authors. One of the authors he mentioned was Neil Gaiman who has a blog at http://www.neilgaiman.com/ and a twitter feed at neilhimself. Although, he did not mention it, the author who I most think of in connection with Neil Gaiman is Jonathan Carroll http://www.jonathancarroll.com/
I asked him about social networks. He pulled out a few suggestions, Shelfari, Librarything, and http://blog.bookoven.com/ An audience member mentioned a site called Red Room. I have Shelfari on my website. I have never heard of Red Room or Book Oven. I also learned about another social networking site for books later in the day, Authonomy. There is also http://www.aalbc.com/ African American Literarature Book Club, http://www.litminds.org/ Lit Minds.
There was the classic mention that people are no longer just consumers of content, they are now producers. A Flip Mino for the price of $100-120 can produce cheap web video. You can buy a domain and very easily redirect content to it through one of the many different sites: ustream.tv, blogtv.com, blogtalkradio.com, blip tv, and viddler.com.
Another theme was something he called, "Cafe Shaped Conversations," or small focused discussiions that relate directly to the reader.
The talk was very open ended, but I can remember large amounts of it still because the speaker was quite vivid. There were other things being discussed, but these are the things which I remember the most from the talk.
I will continue describing the second session after I take the time to rearrange my notes. The second session was as deep as the first session.