Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Daily Thoughts 3/2/2010

Thomas Mann [1875 - 1955], Deutscher Schriftsteller, 1904

Daily Thoughts 3/2/2010

On the way to work, I read some of The Mindful Path to Self Compassion. There is a little bit of neuroscience and psychology in the book. There is a place in the brain called the "default network" which is a state of the mind being at rest. It is supposed to be more active in those people who meditate. I also like that it covers the concept of the "hedonic treadmill." This is the idea that when you reach a goal you will most likely want more continuously. The book includes short summaries of different ideas from psychology that can impact us directly.

Today, I did some more weeding in the 800s as well as weeding in the storage section. I also checked on how shifting is going. It is moving along. I also checked the displays to see that they are in order.

We are going to be ordering books on Thursday. I am also gathering information for the bimonthly report. I also had a few minutes to read the bulletin boards from the online class Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. Most of the libraries in the class do an annual usage survey for collection development.

I took some time and went through the Purchase Alerts which we get a list of titles which are requested for holds, our patron request sheet which we keep at the reference desk, and a request sheet for items which we send to the book mobile once a month. We got a request for music that was only available online in the mp3 format, it was jazz by Stephen Ehret.

On the train home, I read some more of The Mindful Path to Self Compassion. A lot of the book is specific meditation techniques that are focused on emotions and how to accept them. I rather liked the description of walking meditation. Appendix A can be found online, http://www.derose.net/steve/resources/emotionwords/ewords.html It is a list of some 800 different words for emotions.

There is something which I do not discuss that often. There is separation between church and state and the public library is very much a public institution. This means we are not supposed to promote a specific religion or a specific political cause like a political party at the library. This makes it rather interesting writing about a book which has it roots in buddhist meditation practices.

However, we are at the same time, supposed to buy books on religion, politics, and philosophy. This means in practice we are inclusive in our selection of materials, trying not to exclude different viewpoints. It can be very interesting. How does one judge the quality of one of these types of books without judging the particular viewpoint. Do we rely on the quality of the writing? Are we supposed to focus on members of the religion or philosophy writing about it from their own viewpoint? Do we look for someone who writes in a neutral purely factual tone?

For a while I worked in the central division of a large public library ordering a lot of material on non western religion and mysticism. I don't read it as much as I used to. You settle into your own ideas after a while.

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