Sunday, May 31, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/31/2009

Argosy All-Story Weekly cover A. Merrit, The Metal Monster (1920) A. Merritt wrote a number of classic fantasy novels, The Moon Pool, The Ship of Ishtar, and The Metal Monster pictured here.

I finished reading Robots Have No Tails by Henry Kuttner. Itis a collection of five short stories with two introductory essays, one by C.L. Moore, and one by F. Paul Wilson. The stories are about Galloway Gallagher, a drunken scientist and inventor. They are "gadget stories", or stories based around creating a new device. In each story, the scientist gets in trouble with the law and some shady business and has to figure out how a device he invented while drunk works so he can solve his problem. The stories are melodramatic and funny. If you want some light humorous reading these stories are entertaining. The cover art of the book very much reflects the content of the stories. Unfortunately, this book is not listed on Amazon. This is a link to the book,

I spent a little time reading at the laundromat while my clothes were in the washer first, then the dryer. I am currently reading The Toyota Way 14 Management Principles From the World's Greatest Manufacturer by Jeffrey K. Liker. The book seems quite biased in favor of the Toyota Production System. The author has taught many different companies about the methods of lean production and continuous improvement as practiced by Toyota. What I found interesting was that Sakichi Toyoda who was one of Japan's most prominent inventors was very influenced by Samuel Smiles 1859 book, Self- Help. This is a link to the project Gutenberg e-text. . I am finding The Toyota Way quite interesting. The beginning is as much a book about industrial history as it is about management.

Web Bits

A link to an article about Book Expo America's Day of Dialog between librarians and publishers.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/30/2009

The Adventures of Tarzan Starring Elmo Lincoln. This film is based on The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Edgar Rice Burroughs is considered the creator of the planet story with his Martian tales.

Paizo Press is reprinting many of the original Planet Stories from the original pulp magazine. I picked up a copy of Henry Kuttner's short story book, Robots Have No Tails about a drunken amoral inventor. The stories have a mix of sarcasm and dark humor.

The Planet Stories series includes books by Leigh Brackett, C.L. Moore, Michael Moorcock, and Henry Kuttner some of the better pulp science fiction writers. Many science fiction writers consider Henry Kuttner to be one of the best science fiction writers of his time period.

I am also reading The Toyota Way 14 Management Principles From The Worlds Greatest Manufacturer by Jeffrey K. Liker. It is about the principles behind Toyota's management practices including kaizen and lean manufacturing.

This afternoon, I read The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein on . I enjoyed reading the book, the one issue I have with Net Galley is that you cannot adjust the font size in their online reader. The book itself was a very quick read. It was nicely illustrated with easy to read text and explanations.

Netgalley currently has 176 titles in their database of galleys. Most of these are for forthcoming items. This may be a good place to look for featured forthcoming books for libraries.

After looking at Libdrone's blog, I noticed that there was a search box on his blog . I decided to add my own. My blog is now searchable.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Expo America 5/29/2009

Charlotte Bronte 1854 Photograph. I just like the photograph.

Book Expo America 5/29/2009

Today I am going to Book Expo America. I look forward to being there for a day. A lot of it will just be walking around and looking at the different exhibitors and collecting catalogs. There should be a lot of galleys to get as well as some unique things to look at that are just coming out in print. I really enjoyed it two years ago, I am hoping this year will be even better.

I got to the convention and registered. It was a positively gigantic, the Jacob Javits Center is huge. I registered and started my wandering around to the different booths. I did not go to any sessions I just checked all the exhibitors. I walked and walked for six hours. I did stop for a little bit to go to the librarians lounge where I picked up two cups of coffee and some snack mix. I also picked up the latest Library Journal and the latest Publishers Weekly. Baker and Taylor was sponsoring the librarians lounge. They sponsored it the last I was there as well. It was a nice chance to rest my feet. I did not eat at the show, I had a big breakfast before I went there.

By the end of the day, I had 35 pounds of books and catalogs which I had gotten for free. I decided not to take them on the subway and had them shipped using the shipping service which the conventions offers. I carried them home last time and it was not easy. Plus they had the usual knick knacks and freebies, a variety of fancy pens, a cup from Cambridge University Press, some earbuds from Audible-- which is an electronic audiobook producer, a brain squeeze toy, cloth carry bags, plus lots of little candies in bowls.

I was surprised that I did not see Del Rey, Baen, or most of the large science fiction publishers. There was Pyre, Tor, and Orbit. Also most of the comic book publishers did not come. I saw Fantagraphics, Marvel, NBM, Oni and a few others. There were no manga publishers. I guess most of them are going to the New York Comic Con. Still, I got a few nice samples that were not galleys that I plan to add to the collection like Scott Pilgrim Volume 1 which is a Canadian manga. Scott Pilgrim is going to be made into a movie. If you like classic high quality reprints of comic books, Hermes Press has an excellent reprint edition of Buck Rogers.

There were two really interesting contemporary art books which are coming out. One is Ron English Abraham Obama which is about the different art centered around the Obama campaign. Another is Banksy's Bristol Home Sweet Home by Stephen Wright illustrated by Banksy.

I also got a few catalogs for forthcoming books including the Fall 2009 Nolo Catalog for law, and the Fall 2009 Jist Catalog for career books. I got lots of catalogs. I also started writing down a few websites once I realized it might be easier to just take down the name of the website instead of carrying a catalog home. Moon Books has a nice website for their travel books . Also Early Word lists many of the forthcoming book catalogs on their website.

I noticed that some of the books being sold also include a subscription to a website. The new MLA Handbook, 7th Edition includes access to a website with the full text of the book that is searchable in addition to the print book.;jsessionid=4B84C5DED670CE0648C38482B8A9A184

You also learn about different things. Netgalley was hosting bloggers at their booth. I got to meet Natasha Maw, the person behind Maw Books for a few minutes . I also registered for the and requested to look at a galley which I saw at the O'Reilly Media booth, The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein.

Most of the material which I picked up was nonfiction books. They were not giving away as many advanced uncorrected proofs as before. Many they were only showing during the show. I think this will help Netgalley considerably. Paper is becoming more expensive.

I was surprised at the number of audiobook people at the show. They comprised many more booths than the last time I was there. Overdrive had a very big display announcing their ability to sell books for the Iphone. Overdrive seems to be the partner of choice for public libraries.

If you want to see some of the titles which I saw you can to the New Title Show Case which is a website which will show many of the titles being exhibited at Book Expo. Many of these titles are in the exhibitors booths.

I went to the African American Pavilion, the Graphic Novels Pavilion, wandered through the childrens book area and even went to look at some of the meeting rooms. Rodale was not showing on the floor, they had put aside a meeting room for business, also Saint Martins, Tor Books, and a few other publishers were in separate meeting rooms, not on the main floor. It looked like some of the publishers were there strictly for rights, signing authors, and other business. There was a very large area set aside for Arabic publishers this year.

As I was wandering, I recognized a few people from Brooklyn Public Library and other places. I also recognized some of the dealers in the comics section. Maybe I will see them again when I go to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival on June 6, 2009 in Manhattan, New York.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Daily Thought 5/28/2009

Portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Daily Thoughts 5/28/2009

Tomorrow I am going to Book Expo America. I have already charted out which booths I would like to go to based on booth number in order. I also have two sessions which I am interested in attending. It is best to plan going to both the booths and the conference sessions. The conference sessions give you a chance to rest your feet. There are also two pavilions I am specifically interested in seeing, the African American pavilion and the Graphic Novels pavilion.

Web Bits

Digital Content Providers Expand Distribution
Platforms, iPod Compatibility

Ready, Set, Galley Grab!: Our Guide to BEA 2009's

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fool's Gold Why The Internet Is No Substitute for a Library by Mark Y. Herring, McFarland and Company, North Carolina, c2007

Fool's Gold Why The Internet Is No Substitute for a Library by Mark Y. Herring, McFarland and Company, North Carolina, c2007

This book provides clear arguments to why the internet and also ebooks are no substitute for a physical library.

He argues against the uncluttered, unauthoritative, often inaccurate nature of the information made available on the internet. Mark Y. Herring abhors internet pornography, spam, the presence of hate sites, and plagiarism rampant on the web.

There are reminders that internet sites disappear quickly; a phenomenon called link rot and are not cited or footnoted like in books. There is an excellent set of footnotes at the back of the book with extensive, often ironic commentary.

Some of the most striking ideas were that Wikipedia is a secondary source; copyright has not been sorted by Google and the best electronic information is still in propietary databases.

I do not agree with some of his points,especially the ones on book, this book was written in 2007, so it was just before the advent of the Kindle and the expansion of many of the archives of free information on the web like wikimedia.

Also, his statements about the pure decline of reading because of the internet are starting to change. People have become much more aware of the decline in reading. This may be in part because of books like this. This is a link to the latest National Endowment for the Arts study

This book was ironic and coherent; a strong statement against web evangelism. It gives solid arguments on why we should keep a physical library and not just turn everything over to the internet.

Mark Y. Herring, the author, is the Dean of Library Services at the Dacus Library, Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He has written extensively for Library Journal and other academic publications.

Daily Thoughts 5/27/2009

Mark Twain's Joan of Arc, 1894

Daily Thoughts 5/27/2009

Web Bits

Kirkus Reviews is now on Twitter.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/26/2009

Victor Hugo, by Rodin, 1890

Daily Thoughts 5/26/2009

Today was a quiet day to rest.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/25/2009

Daguerrotype of Emily Dickinson.

Daily Thoughts 5/25/2009

I just finished reading Escape From Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It is a sequel to Inferno. After finding the exit to hell in the last novel, Inferno, Allen Carpenter, a science fiction writer returns to hell to try and help some people escape. He believes that some people are redeemable.

This hell is the hell of Dante's Inferno. The whole novel is one of poetic justice. The authors, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle throw various modern day villains into hell, including Kenneth Lay, the people who watched the levees in hurricane Katrina, Anna Nicole Smith, and other sundry characters. I especially like the motorcycle riding preacher, Aimee in this story.

The novel is not scatological or prurient. It is primarily philosophical, ironic, and sometimes darkly funny. Allen Carpenter visits the different places in Dante's Inferno and attempts to rescue people. The best part of the novel is when he rescues Sylvia Plath from her eternal state as a tree. Sylvia Plath travels with him through the whole novel. There may be some philosophical points of contention, the novel will not be agreeable with everyone. I did enjoy reading it very much. It is clearly a fantasy novel. I hope they write another sequel featuring Allen Carpenter, Dante did write Purgatorio.

Happy Memorial Day. Today is Memorial Day in the United States. I watched the parade go by my house. They had the usual groups, the veterans associations, the fire, police, ambulance, boy scouts, girl scouts, the sports leagues, the mayor, and the local car club. The car club had a number of old Chevrolet Impala's, Fords, a few army trucks, and some sports cars. Remember those who fought for your country.

I read some more of Fool's Gold by Mark Y. Herring. In the last chapter, he was railing against the Paperless Society. I don't think paper will ever completely disappear. What I think is happening is that people are getting much greater control over what they will put on paper. It is very easy with all the reviews of books all over the web and in print magazines to get reviews of books. There is also another phenomenon that is happening; the ability to look inside the book or sample a book. Many publishers are giving away the first set of chapters for a book. Amazon has their look inside the book program, and Baen gives away the first several of their science fiction books.

I think this selectivity is fueling print on demand which is the fastest growing segment of the book publishing industry. This is an article from Library Journal on On Demand Books.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/24/2009

Richard Wright photographed by Carl von Vechten. Richard Wright wrote a book of Haiku called Haiku This Other World. As the restrictions on this collection expired in 1986, the Library of Congress believes this image is in the public domain However, the Carl Van Vechten estate has asked that use of Van Vechten's photographs "preserve the integrity" of his work, i.e, that photographs not be colorized or cropped, and that proper credit is given to the photographer.

Daily Thoughts 5/24/2009

I have been reading more of Fool's Gold by Mark Y. Herring. It is an entertaining book. I rather like some of his arguments. You pick up some of the common arguments against using the internet as a pure research tool. He reminds us that Google has a separate search engine for more scholarly articles . Most pages with databases or deep repositories of knowledge are hidden from standard search engines. They reside in a place called the deep or invisible web. Complete Planet has a search engine specifically designed to find pages with databases built into them Incy Wincy is another search engine which can reach into the invisible web .

As I read this book I am learning many arguments that will be useful in why we should keep a library and not just have everything put on the internet. There are many secondary uses that are not just about resisting change. Libraries are in an environment of budget cuts and have to be able to justify their existence.

Right now, I am reading the section on Google and digitization. Mark Y. Herring correctly states that the main benefit of digitization is increased access. The moment an item is put on a website in digital format it instantly becomes available to anyone who has a web connection. This will become a tremendous boon for all the classics of literature and all the works in the public domain. Suddenly they will become available all over the world. This is the real advantage of scanning, much more so than preservation. Because the information is public domain it also is public property to manipulate and build on. I look forward to seeing the creative use of this material.

I took a short break from reading serious material and tried out one of the previews on the Baen previews, In The Stormy Red Sky by David Drake. It is military space opera, part of the RCN (Royal Cinnabar Navy) series featuring Captain Leary and Adele Mundy. The story reminds me a little bit of the Master and Commander series of naval fiction written by Patrick O' Brian. There are seven free chapters.

Web Bits

If you go to Stanza the most popular free ereader produced by Lexcycle with over a million downloads for the Iphone, one of the main highlights is places to get ebooks. Many of these books are public domain or free.

This is also interesting. It is in its early stages. You should be able to get many public domain books available as print on demand.

There is a corollary idea that goes with giving away free books on ereaders. This cannot be proven yet. If you give away an ebook by an author, you are likely to increase demand for their books that are in print. I might even say that if you give away a free ebook, the reader is going to look for more print books for free. Libraries are places with a lot of free material. I think the increase in the availability of free material in the public domain through the internet will increase library use.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/23/2009

Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894) was a British poet. She is known for her poem Goblin Market.

Daily Thoughts 5/23/2009

Harvey Pekar has a new graphic novel called The Beats A Graphic History. It is on the New York Times bestseller for graphic novels. I am looking forward to reading it soon.

I picked up two books I had on hold, Mind Over Ship by David Marusek a science fiction novel and Fool's Gold Why The Internet Is No Substitute for a Library by Mark Y. Herring.

I did a little bit of entering orders this morning in Baker and Taylor and filed some law looseleafs. It has been a fairly quiet day.

I also had some carrots and apple sauce instead of food from the snack machine. It is a first step.

I have started reading Fool's Gold by Mark Y. Herring. Mark Y. Herring is famous for writing the article, Ten Reasons The Internet Is No Substitute for a Library. I find his contrarian view quite refreshing.

I got my confirmation today for going to the Book Expo America next Friday, May 29. I also almost missed that the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art Festival was on June 6 and June 7. This is very affordable, $10 for the day. It is almost entirely independent and small press comics. The show usually has some very interesting and offbeat work. Top Shelf, Fantagraphic, DC Vertigo, Oni Press, NBM, and other independents usually are there. The feeling is more arts oriented than than fandom. It feels like crafting for comics. There are usually people selling rubber stamps, t-shirts, small toys, mini-comics and similar things.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Quality Library A Guide to Staff Driven Improvement, Better Efficiency, and Happier Customers by Sara Laughlin and Ray W. Wilson

The Quality Library A Guide to Staff Driven Improvement, Better Efficiency, and Happier Customers by Sara Laughlin and Ray W. Wilson

This book is about library processes and how to analyze them using numbers and charts. There is a focus on changing the process before criticizing the person which I find to be an interesting philosophy.

This book was hard for me to follow because it is focused on numbers and charts more than qualitative processes. At times it seems very bureaucratic. However, even if you do not get the numbers, it does show you how to track a process from beginning to end in a library. There are some simple diagrams like the quality circle in the book which is a circle of study, act, plan, do.

The back of the book has two appendixes. One of these is a list of common library processes. The other is a list of common measurements used to track library activities. I found the list of common measurements to be quite interesting. It includes qualitative measures like customer satisfaction, new ideas implemented, community skills developed in addition to the pure numerical measures like circulation of books, head count, and number of reference questions answered.

The most useful part of the book was the opening chapter. It included a way to map a library as a system. This map included mission, vision, values, measurements, inputs, outputs, and feedback loops. This book will help you understand a different way of looking at a library; the viewpoint of the library as an efficient system.

Daily Thoughts 5/22/2009

The Society of Illustration Digital ID: 1259037. New York Public Library

Society of Illustrators Poster, 1913

Daily Thoughts 5/22/2009

I have been reading reviews from the internet. I took some time to look at Powell's bookstore and The Strand Bookstore online. The Strand was showing Burn This Book Pen Writers Speak Out On The Power of the Word, Edited by Toni Morrison. The book looks very interesting. style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold">

I also spent some time going over the patron request sheet for new titles and wrote down some suggested titles for ordering.

Today was another quiet day. I filed some law looseleafs, made a few business calls, and entered some orders into Baker and Taylor. I also reviewed the process of ordering phone books for the library with a part-time librarian. Phone books are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. I usually use Worldpages online to look up phone numbers. Also many of the directories like the Thomas Register of manufacturers have moved online and are easier to use in the online form.

I have been keeping a diary for the week on what I am eating on the recommendation of the book Emotional Eating. Something I noticed was that I was spending too much time near the snack machine. I started bringing my own snacks to work to replace eating peanuts and chips from the vending machine. I'll have finished tracking my diet for a week by tomorrow. I tend to eat when I get bored or worried.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/21/2009

N.C. Wyeth in his Studio, ca. 1903-04, He was a student of Howard Pyle and illustrated Boys King Arthur. I like the style of illustration he uses.

Daily Thoughts 5/21/2009

I may actually have a use for Twitter. A while ago I was discussing web sites for collection development on Twitter. Some of the twitterers mentioned a number of young adult web sites for collection development.

The Harris Poll:

Bulletin For the Center of the Childrens Book YALSA book awards

Today has been a quiet day. I am having someone replace plastic book covers on the book. They get old, wear out, and have things spilled on them. Also, they need to be cleaned sometimes. I am doing little mundane things like this today.

I also spent some time ordering a few titles from the Indiebound bestseller lists which are designed for independent bookstores. I rather like them, they are put together by the American Booksellers Association.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/20/2009

Howard Pyle. Illustrator and writer of many books. I like his Book of Pirates.

Daily Thoughts 5/20/2009

A copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill came in. This is one of my favorite graphic novel series. The main characters are Mina Harker and Alan Quatermain with other classic characters from early adventure, science fiction, and fantasy novels. The drawing is superb and the writing is very entertaining. It is also a graphic novel for adults. The story is quite violent and dark with occult elements in it.

I finished shifting the 700s. I created quite a bit of space for the library aides and other staff to move the 600s. They are relocating some of the shelving currently which is a very big project. I'm going to start working on weeding the 780s soon. I also have to work on the oversize 700s which will be a big project for weeding.

Today was also the collection development meeting. We sat around and discussed what we planned on ordering. I put my 300s, 800s, and fiction suggestions. The ordering process is starting to smooth out very nicely. Hopefully, we will soon have some better analysis for the purchase alerts and holds soon.

Tomorrow we are having the Baker and Taylor representative come to train us for Title Source 3. One of our staff said it was the best way to order video games from Baker and Taylor. We are also going to have some workflow training for ordering which I think will be very interesting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Got Game How The Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade

Got Game How The Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade

This book identifies the strengths which computer gamers have to help business. Through surveys they identify the attitudes which gamers have which will help them succeed in business; an urge to win, a willingness to fail then move on, the ability to try again, the urge to be on top, and immersion in a computerized environment.

The authors tend to mention, but gloss over some of the less desirable traits which many gamers exhibit, a tendency to not read manuals, be a little sloppy, be very egocentric, and demand high compensation. There is very little which talks about how to solve these problems. The surveys given to gamers also seem to be very simplistic at times.

Instead of focusing on problems, the book looks to aim at bringing out leadership traits. It points out the strategy involved in many computer games as well as the focus on team work and exploration in some of the larger virtual worlds.

I found quite a bit in common with what many of the surveys which they did asked. I could identified many of my own personal characteristics in this book. I think Got Game would be particularly useful for business people to read who work in computer or high technology industries. It is aimed at managing gamers.

Some people will have a hard time with this book. Many people do not see any value in playing computer games. They find them counterproductive. There is quite a bit on the value of playing games.

Daily Thoughts 5/19/2009

Edward Lear, illustrator for A Book of Nonsense

Daily Thoughts 5/19/2009

I walked up to my local library. I am very glad it is still open. I picked up a few books to read, Escape From Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. This story is a sequel to Inferno about a man who escapes from Dante's version of The Inferno. It is a bestseller in the science fiction and fantasy category. The second book which I picked up was The Quality Library A Guide To Staff Driven Improvement, Better Efficiency, and Happier Customers by Sara Laughlin and Ray W. Wilson.

I have started reading Escape From Hell. Quite frankly, I am not finding the setting to my taste. It is interesting, but not quite what I want to read about. The initial meeting between Sylvia Plath and the main character in hell is surprising.

I have also had the chance to read the first chapter of The Quality Library. This book is very eye opening. It has a lot of things in it about library processes which I have not spent much time thinking about. There is worksheet which includes mission, vision, values, measures, inputs, outputs, suppliers, customers, processes and feedback mechanisms for a library. It is very interesting looking at the single filled out sheet for the Pace University Library from April 2004.

I am on my third day of keeping a food diary. I am supposed to write everything down for a week before I can use it to make any analysis of what I am eating with the book Emotional Eating. Writing everything down changes what you are doing. I ate a half a package of salted cashews instead of a whole one.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/18/2009

Portrait of English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (August 21, 1872 – March 16, 1898) by photographer Frederick Hollyer

Daily Thoughts 5/18/2009

I was reading through Pop Goes The Library and came across a section on using PDAs for roaming reference. It adds one more reason for me to get an Iphone. Every day, there seems to be another reason to get an Iphone for library work.

Pop Goes The Library also mentioned ICV2 which is a website about popular culture. It includes many articles on graphic novels, films, manga, and toys. Quite a few of the reviewers are librarians. I have seen their magazine at both New York Comic Con and Book Expo America. They may be a good source for purchasing teen graphic novels and manga. I am adding them to my sidebar.

I enjoyed reading this book. It is the kind of book where parts of it are useful because it has lots of tips and suggestions and parts of it don't match with what you are doing. If you are looking for new ideas to try out this book is very good. It gives lots of suggestions of new things to try. This is the main thing which seemed helpful about this book. There are also a lot of links to interesting websites as well.

I also added the Powells Review A Day Archive which is a very nice list of reviews.

I have a new computer at work. It is a nice feeling.

Web Bits

Books are being born digital more and more. An article from Library Journal.

Linked Data is blooming, an article and speech about Tim Berners Lee's idea.

Some Self Referential Marketing

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/17/2009

Stage adaptation of It Can't Happen Here a novel by Sinclair Lewis. WPA-- Works Project Administration

Daily Thoughts 5/17/2009

I've started reading Pop Goes the Library Using Pop Culture to Connect With Your Whole Community by Sophie Brookover and Elizabeth Burns. The book starts with the distinction between popular culture and high culture. I like to think of high culture as a source of philanthropy and prestige, and popular culture as a source of circulation and government money. Public libraries need both of them to survive in equal measure. Sometimes they meet in unusual ways. Oprah's Book Club is an example of how high culture and popular culture can intersect. Some of the selections; East of Eden by John Steinbeck, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez represent high culture.

I spent some more time reading Pop Goes The Library by Sophie Brookover and Elizabeth Burns at the laundromat. I usually sit and drink coffee while the laundry spins. I got up to the section on technology. My favorite part of the book are the quotes from practicing librarians at the ends of the chapters.

China Mieville has a new book coming out The City and The City. He is a very popular author for fantasy novels. I liked Un Lun Dun his young adult novels. I didn't like some of his other novels despite their popularity. I found some of the philosophy annoying. Allan Steele also has a new novel in his Coyote series, Coyote Horizon. I have enjoyed the series about colonization of an alien world.

I put the book, The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker on hold. I am interested in the idea when I was reading The Kaizen Way, that there is a logical way to integrate discontinuous innovation with continuous improvement.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

One Small Step Can Change Your Life The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.

This book is a self help book that focuses on the notion of Kaizen or taking continuous small steps to create lasting sucess. Kaizen draws from the management technique of Dr. Edward Deming called continuous improvement.

Robert Maurer contends that Kaizen short circuits fear by using small steps that are not overwhelming to reach your goals. He describes simple steps to start dieting, stop smoking, be more nurturing, and enjoy life more.

Some of the ways he suggests to use Kaizen are; ask small questions, think small thoughts, take small actions, solve small problems, bestow small rewards, and identify small moments. These are also chapter headings in the book.

Robert Maurer, Ph.D. is a psychologist. He uses Kaizen in his practice to improve peoples lives. There are examples of how he has used it to help a man stop becoming enraged on the road, help a person find a mate, and start a successful diet. If you want to understand a working process of how to create incremental change in your life this book is a solid introduction. It is not about innovation which is a separate, but complementary approach to change.

Daily Thoughts 5/16/2009

The son of the wolf. Digital ID: 1543436. New York Public Library

The Sons of the Wolf, Jack London

Daily Thoughts 5/16/2009

I walked to the library this morning. It was very nice and cool out. I returned some books and picked up three new books, One Small Step Can Change Your Life The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, Ph.D., The Six Secrets of Change by Michael Fullan, and Pop Goes The Library by Sophie Brookover and Elizabeth Burns.

Emotional Eating A Practical Guide to Taking Control by Edward Abramson is a hard book to judge. Quite a few of the activities are long term. They include charting how you felt when you ate different things during a week long period. This requires you to put some effort into analyzing what you are doing. I can't know if this will be effective until I try it. It did remind me of a few things. I should not eat when I'm bored and you really can't abstain from food. I think I am going to buy a scale. Also it reminded that when I was most in control of my weight was when I was on a strict vegetarian diet. Cheese, butter, cream, and ice cream are hard for me not to eat.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/15/2009

The world almanac. Digital ID: 1543483. New York Public Library

I like the idea that it cost 25 cents for the World Almanac in 1903.

Daily Thoughts 5/15/2009

Today is one of those oddly memorable days. The Friends of the Library are having a book sale. Every single time I go in to the book sale, I run into a book dealer I recognize. I am hoping that one of them will be able to help me get me the contact information on someone I lost track of. I used to spend time pricing science fiction titles at a now defunct bookstore.

Before I got married, I used to go out to the flea markets on the weekends to look for old comic books, science fiction books, and collectible paperbacks. I would buy them and trade them in for comic books. A lot of this kind of thing is dead in Manhattan now. I still stop by Rogers Time Tunnel sometimes to look at their collection. It is a very old fashioned comic book store. . It is one of those hidden gems in New York if you know where to look.

It feels like a long tail end to the death of many of the smaller independent bookstores. Unless a bookstore becomes very focused and trains their staff very well, they cease to exist. It has gotten to the point where many of them are training their staff better at selecting material and customer service than the big chain bookstores in order to survive. I heard that some of the dealers would come in three times today to see what was being put out for sale at different points in the day, in the morning, at noon, and at the end of the day.

There is no generalist bookstore in the city where I work. There is a small christian bookstore. The library is effectively the local source for books. I think this is increasingly becoming true in many cities across the United States. You either travel to a large mall or superstore, buy through the internet, or go to your local library.

The cooperative system was putting in new computers in our computer center today. They are also expanding the wireless access points by September to handle up to 25 people. A lot more people are using Iphones in addition to laptops in the library. Once again, this is an indicator I should probably get an Iphone or a smart phone. It is a matter of spending money to do it. I don't like spending money.

I spent some time also distributing phone books to the staff. A lot of people have stopped using phone books and now use the online yellow pages. I know I do, but some patrons still ask for local phone books in paper. The providers of yellow pages have gotten much tighter about what they will give out. It costs money for us to get phone books outside of the county. Verizon now has a special subsidiary, Idearc to handle the marketing of telephone books. We also have an extra supply of local phone books which we leave out for patrons to take.

I did my usual small tasks, reading the New York Times Book Review, filing law looseleafs, checking the displays to see that they were in order, and took some time to look at the slat walls. We are almost done ordering accessories for the slat walls. They look very nice. A whole set of new books are being processed to go out.

The large print standing order is being gone over by our representative. I reminded them to look at the Essence bestseller list for African American titles to see what was available in large print.

I read some of Emotional Eating A Practical Guide to Taking Control by Edward Abramson. I don't like the idea of dieting. My doctor told me I must lose weight and eat less sugar if I want to maintain my health. I initially tried to change the way I am eating, I have cut out most sweets, soda, and extremely fatty food. I am also trying food substitution, eating low fat foods like low fat milk, low fat cottage cheese, and low fat mayonnaise as well as eating more fruits and vegetables. I am also exercising. Quite frankly, I don't like moving quickly. I am doing floor exercises and walking but don't want to run or swim. I am trying to find ways around the cardiovascular exercise by trying a pedometer to see how I can move during the day.

The next obvious step is trying to find out why I eat too much emotionally. I have always thought diets were useless, but I have to lose weight. This means I have to change my habits and how I think about food.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/14/2009

Ahoy! [...] The sea wolf. Digital ID: 1543422. New York Public Library

Jack London The Sea Wolf

Daily Thoughts 5/14/2009

Part of this morning was spent shifting books in the 700s, specifically the art books. I still have quite a bit of shifting to do. I also did some roaming reference where I am assigned to seek people out on the floor who are looking for answers. I also weeded some fiction titles with very low circulation. There were a few other miscellaneous tasks to complete throughout the day, starting to file some looseleafs for the law collection.

This afternoon, I spent some time talking to our representative about large print books. We need them to provide us with more African American titles as well as more of the New York Times Bestsellers in large print. I sent them some lists of suggested authors to see if they could customize the standing order to better meet our needs.

Tomorrow, I think I am going to go in the technical service area and check to see if we can order new copies of some books instead of sending them to the bindery. There are quite a few titles that need to be rebound. New copies may be cheaper than rebinding in some cases.

There are a couple of new benches in front of the new books area. They add a nice touch to the area.

Web Bits

Amazon is selling ebooks as a loss leader on Kindle.

A few profiles on independent bookstores in New York from the Bookweb blog.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/13/2009

Family reading. Digital ID: 1501684. New York Public Library

Family Reading, Ehon, c1830

Daily Thoughts 5/13/2009

It is confirmed I am going to Book Expo America on May 29, 2009. I really look forward to it. Yes, really really.

We discussed reference resources today. I also started shifting the 700s to create space. I had the young adult library aide help with the shifting of books. Today was another busy day.

I am reading Got Game How The Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade, Harvard Business School Press. This book is a reminder that people in their twenties and thirties grew up in a world where there were video games their whole lives. More people have video game consoles in their homes than computers. I like to think of social networks as a kind of business simulation game for adults. If you go to ALA Connect, the largest public group in their website is Gamers. I sometimes think teenagers are spending more time playing video games than reading.

Many video games in Japan are what are called "visual novels", a kind of choose your own adventure style game with text, anime style graphics, music, puzzles, and other content. This is an example from Hanako Games called Fatal Hearts .

Web Bits

I enjoy reading Cory Doctorow's columns from Locus Magazine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/12/2009

Promotional poster for Baum's "Popular Books For Children", 1901

Daily Thoughts 5/12/2009

I tried to start reading two different novels on the train. The first was an advanced reading copy of How To Rob An Armored Car by iain Levinson. It bored me. The premise was a group of potheads in dead end jobs turn to crime. I could not find much sympathy with the characters. The second book I tried to read was Daemon by Daniel Suarez. This is a near future thriller. I got through the first chapter then I got distracted by the characters. There were too many plot threads to make the writing very coherent and they did not mesh very well, so I put it down. I was hoping I would have something to read on the train in the morning but, I guess, I will have to pick up the New York Times instead and read it on the way to work tomorrow.

I had a typical day today. I spent some time in the morning weeding the 700s. I also plan to shift the books in the 700s around to create some space tomorrow. We put in a whole new set of baskets for the new book display area. We are waiting for two more slat wall panels. Then we will be finished redoing the new books display area. It looks a lot nicer than before.

We had Westlaw come over to do some training on the new interface for Westlaw Patron Access. The training was kind of interesting. Westlaw has designed a new set of drop down menus and directories that is more user friendly for the public to find law material. The search engine reminds me of Google now. The training took about an hour and a half.

I also spent time this morning going over the Purchase Alerts from the central system. Most of the holds are for dvds and music cds with a few bestselling titles. There were a few social science titles mixed in along with a few self help titles. What surprised me is that a lot of the dvds were for nonfiction subjects like the great depression and exercise. Sometimes when you look at holds reports they can be a little bit counterintuitive.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/11/2009

The octopus. Digital ID: 1543395. New York Public Library

Frank Norris The Octopuss. American Book Poster.

Daily Thoughts 5/11/2009

I read Learn Library Management by Bob Pymm and Damon D. Hickey. Every chapter ends with a series of questions about a library manager that covers the material in the chapter. This follows the contents exactly. You have to read the whole chapter to answer the questions at the end. There is also a case study to work on at the end of each chapter related exactly to what is in the chapter. This is followed by a short bibliography. The chapters make you think hard about what you have just read.

The book was a bit mind expanding. It covered a lot of topics which I don't normally think of security, building maintenance, information privacy, planning, strategic planning, and many other things. The exercises made you think about these things in new ways. There are hypothetical answers to all of the questions at the back of the book. These are very clear, concise one or two sentence answers.

It took quite a bit of concentration to read through this book. The descriptions are quite plain with little room for interpretation. They had excellent short descriptions of matrix management, functional design, and product design. I could understand exactly what the authors were describing.

If you want to get a solid overview of all the different things a library manager does this book is right on target. Both of the authors are library managers.

Today was another very busy day. I weeded some more of the 700s. As part of weeding, I noted a few areas for improvement, flower arranging, coins, books on antique glass, photography, modern print making, and animation.

There were other miscellaneous small activities that needed to be done. I printed up my new bookmark for the graphic novels. Some of the new baskets for the slat walls came in as well. I am finished looking through the Public Library Nonfiction Core Catalog 13th Edition for the 800s and the 300s. I have to look through the Public Library Fiction Catalog next for fiction.

Tomorrow we are having Westlaw training. Westlaw updated their system with a new search engine which is supposed to be more user friendly. Next week we are having Baker and Taylor come in to do some training and workflow assessment.

On Wednesday, we are having another poetry open microphone, and on Sunday there is going to be a childrens film shown. We pick out the films with a committee to see which films will be shown.

I watched a few more Fleischer studio Superman cartoons. I find them to be relaxing escapism. This is another of the ones that really stood out for me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/10/2009

Advertisement for the De Hollandsche Revue, c1899

Daily Thoughts 5/10/2009

I read through Streamlining Library Services What We Do, How Much Time It Takes, What It Costs, and How We Can Do It Better by Richard M. Dougherty. I did not understand a lot of this book. It was complex material on how to organize work flow diagrams, block diagrams, analyze processes and make things work smoother.

A lot of the material in this book is for someone with a better grasp of management language and statistics than I currently have. There is a lot of talk and descriptions that did not make a lot of sense to me. I recognized a number of the forms like the reference center statistics forms and the floor plan layouts. There was a lot of other material in here as well.

We partially do some of the things in this book. We have a weekly and a monthly report which we hand in, but we do not have anything as complete as a daily work diary. Nor do we spend a lot of time asking about how to make things work much more smoothly. We don't often ask how can we make it easier to do our work? How can we make it turn out better? Who is the best person to do the job?

The book has a number of lists of questions you can ask to make a procedure easier to do. I think this book has a lot of good ideas, but many of them are very complex. They also appear easy to abuse. Time motion studies are often criticized as being a way to make people do a lot more work in a lot less time.

Streamlining Library Services is not just focused on efficiency, there is also some material on ergonomics, how to make a library more comfortable and safer, as well as how to measure cost effectiveness.

This book is written for an experienced library manager with an understanding of administrative procedure. It is a fairly complex book to read. There are lots of charts, graphs, formulas, diagrams, and examples of forms. The book has a number of black and white photographs. Each chapter has notes, and there is an index in the back.

I took a break from library management textbooks and watched some Max Fleischer Superman cartoons. Many of them are on Youtube for free. I like the original cartoon version of Lois Lane much better than the new version. She has a lot more spunk and daring in the old cartoons. The Bulleteers is one of my favorites.

Anyways, I am back to reading. I am reading Learn Library Management by Bob Pymm and Damon D. Hickey. This book is very straightforward, it is designed for the line manager in libraries. Each chapter gives an outline of a management idea set in a library setting, then it gives an exercise set in a library or information center based on the idea discussed in the chapter. This could be public, law, special, or academic library. It is very hands on. The exercises require you to write at least five or six paragraphs.

Have a happy Mothers Day.

Web Bits

Take a visit to , the first thing that comes up is $57 million budget cuts.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/9/2009

A World War I vintage poster by John E Sheridan drawn for an American Library Association book drive. January 1, 1918. This came from Wikimedia. I really like Wikimedia.

Daily Thoughts 5/9/2009

I enjoyed reading an article from the May 1, 2009 Library Journal, Publishers and Librarians, Two Cultures One Goal, on Pp. 22-25. It is a short article comparing a day in the life of an editor and a librarian. There is a link at the end of the article on marketing book to libraries. .

I went through my typical reading this morning, Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. I have to read fast because I have so much to read and look at. I also looked through the Public Library Core Collection, Nonfiction, Thirteenth Edition for books to possibly purchase in the 800 dewey number.

Web bits

A book of inspirational quotes by bloggers. It is kind of pretty.

Indiebound for the Iphone. It makes me want to go out and buy an Iphone. First Stanza ereader by Lexcycle, now Indiebound for Iphone. It just looks very cool.

Ekaterina Sedia, one of my favorite new authors has an excerpt of an interview on Locus online. Her fantasy novels are very interesting.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/8/2009

The Owl Digital ID: 1258774. New York Public Library

The Owl 1896

Daily Thoughts 5/8/2009

Hello, I went to the Westchester Library Association
conference today. I had a great time. During the first
part, I spent quite a bit of time talking to Baker and
Taylor about some of the different things which we
needed to do. I took away a few interesting ideas.
Baker and Taylor has a leasing program for books and
dvds where you can get a number of items for a brief
period, keep a few of them and return the rest. I think
this may be good for our bestsellers and other high
demand items.

This is a link for a slideshow on the first program I
attended, Programming on a Shoestring presented by Janie Hernan.

There were some comments that were not part of the
slideshow. If you base your programs on highly
circulating items in a collection you are more likely to
get a crowd of people. You need to tie in your programs
with books. It is not just about numbers, it is about
audience satisfaction as well.

At least once a month you should spend money on a large
program that will definitely draw a crowd. Don't give
up. We plan programs six months in advance.

She highlighted a number of programs including video and
photo contests, gaming nights, podcasting events that
have already happened. She mentioned poetry as a nice
draw. There are always of local poets. Poetry readings
work well.

You need to do an adult summer reading club. You need
to tell the adults who are coming for the teenage and
childrens summer reading program that there is also an
adult summer reading program.

The objective is to become the communities living room
where there are a lot of activities all over the library
for people. The library showed worldcup soccer on the big
screen in the community room. Her library showed Obama's
inauguratiion at the library.

Her library has not had an official survey, be they do spot
surveys after each program to see what people want.
They fill out a short sheet for feedback.

This is what I got from my first session at the

I also attended a session on Library Advocacy For Tough
Economic Times presented by Michael J. Borges. This was interesting. I
wasn't sure what to make of it. The presenter basically outlined
what you needed to do as an advocate for libraries.

He emphasized a number of different things; start at the
top where the money is, before you ask for money build
lots of friendships in your community, libraries have a
built in constituency, their patrons. This constituency
includes a friends group and your

You should have a newsletter and an email newsletter
which you can send to people. Try and get other
libraries to help you. Libraries are too fragmented,
they should help each other more.

One surprising statement was that you cannot target
twitter and many social tools. Your message should be

This is a brief of summary of what I heard. It is not
everything, it is just what I thought was

I had a chance to talk with many different people and
collect a lot of business cards. There are some useful
changes which may be coming as a result of the
conference. I am still pondering a few ideas right now.

The lunch was not bad. I had the vegetarian lunch. Lee
Child was there to give a speech about his thrillers as
a key note speaker. I thought his speech was
entertaining. My favorite part was his statement about
writers block. He asked the audience if they ever got
librarians block. He would put his mortgage, his bills,
and his contract in front of him and start

The last session which I attended was on Your Role In
Achieving Positive Change presented by Ma' lis Wendt. The speaker gave
of tools which helps people react to change in a more positive way.

Appreciate Inquiry is supposed to help people identify the positive aspects of change and focus on how to build on past successes. I still have to take a closer look at the website and read it more. It was a very upbeat session.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/7/2009

Benjamin Franklin. Digital ID: 465978. New York Public Library

Martin, David, 1737-1797 -- Artist, Benjamin Franklin Reading

Daily Thoughts 5/7/2009

I enjoyed reading Information Tomorrow Reflections on Technology and the Future of Public and Academic Libraries, edited by Rachel Singer Gordon. There is a lot to read in this book. Each chapter is on a different subject by a different librarian. There are twenty different authors in this book. I found some of the chapters very useful and others completely unrelated what I am doing.

I even learned a new word, "Amazoogle." created by Alane Wilson. As part of reading this book, I also put another book on hold, Got Game, How The Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever by John Beck.

This book is very forward looking. There are a few themes which come across, the user is the center of the library whether the library is online, or in the library building. Librarians need to go where the users are. The technology is always secondary to what the user wants.

The second theme is that technology changes constantly, we need to be up to date with what people want or people will go to search engines and corporations to find the information they need.

This is a practical book, different people will get different things from it. I read it to learn what may be happening in the future. I learned about gaming in libraries, more about open source, and about how mobile computing will eventually overtake and replace desktop computing.

I walked up to my local library today. I like visiting libraries, most librarians do. I returned a book and looked around. I picked up three books, Streamlining Library Services What We Do, How Much Time It Takes, How Much It Costs, And How We Can Do It Better by Richard M. Dougherty, Thinking Outside The Book Edited by Carol Smallwood Introduction by Joy M. Gainer, and Learn Library Management by Bob Pymm and Damon D. Hickey.

When I was at the desk checking out books, I noticed a petition to save our libraries and signed it. There was also a postcard to the mayor. New York Public, Queens Public Library, and Brooklyn Public Library face very large cuts. This is despite increases in circulation and use.

Queens Public Library is supposed to have the highest circulation in the nation. I am not sure an argument purely based on use or circulation will work for public libraries right now. I think that other arguments have to be brought to the fore; we provide information on how to find jobs, we provide assignments for school children, we are a cultural institution that provides higher aspirations for people, having a unique high quality collection brings prestige to the community, and other strategies might work better.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/6/2009

A bookstore romance. Digital ID: 816571. New York Public Library

A Bookstore Romance 1902, From New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

Daily Thoughts 5/6/2009

Today started in an interesting way. I spent some time working with a colleague doing the monthly report. I also did some more weeding in the 700s.

I also took some time to go through The Public Library Catalog Core Collection: Nonfiction 13th edition to get some core titles for the social sciences. I will be going through the catalog later for poetry and literature titles as well.

We have a free Foreclosure Prevention Seminar running in the community room right now. It is going to be a very long program, 6-9 p.m.. Channel 12 news is there to cover the speaker. I think there should be a very nice crowd. They have snacks which helps quite a bit.

Last week someone asked me about open source systems for libraries. While I was reading Information Tomorrow, edited by Rachel Singer Gordon, Information Today, Inc., c2007, Daniel Chudnow, The Future of FLOSS in Libraries, Pp. 22-23, I found a couple of web links to information on open source systems for libraries.

Code 4 Libraries,

Open Source Systems For Libraries .

The chapter lists two systems: Koha

WEBLIS-- Based on Isis .

Web Bits

Libraries and Librarians Group on Flickr

Libraries Using Twitter

Twellow Directory of Librarians

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/5/2009

Elias P. van Bommel boekbinder 1898

Daily Thoughts

Today was another busy day. I spent more time examining the 700s. I finished making my first bookmark for the library. It is a bookmark on graphic novels. I am going to work on another bookmark on writing later in the week.

I also spent some time clearing off extra paperwork on my desk. I read the latest Kirkus Reviews and New York Times book review. I also did some minor cleanup with the displays. We have more shelving for the slat walls coming. I also checked the gift books for donated items that are worth adding and found a new calculus book and a current automotive repair book.

I am talking to the Baker and Taylor representative tomorrow. It was a nice predictable day.

I am reading Library 2.0 A Guide to Participatory Library Service by Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk. While the ideas are interesting in this book, I don't agree with many of them. I still have some very traditional ideas about libraries in some cases. I also picked up Information Tomorrow Reflections on Technology and the Future of Public and Academic Libraries, Edited by Rachel Singer Gordon witha Foreword by Stephen Abram.

I managed to get ALA (American Library Association) Connect which is the site for social networking on ALA working. I joined a few groups. I noticed that the main groups on the bulletin board with posts are the Social Media, Gaming, and Second Life groups which is kind of interesting. There is a very large following in Second Life by librarians.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/4/2009

A new book by Rudyard Kipling.... Digital ID: 1543350. New York Public Library

Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book. This was one of my favorite books as a child.

Daily Thoughts 5/4/2009
Last night, I read Volumetrics. This morning on the train I started reading The Volumetrics Eating Plan by Barbara Rolls, Ph.D.. I am reading it not to create a specific meal plan, but to get a better idea on how to eat. It says some interesting things. If you eat a light salad before a meal, you tend to eat less calories during a meal. Also, soup tends to create more satiety when you eat it than other foods. Some of the ideas in the book are quite interesting.

There is a focus on low energy density foods, things like fat free milk, fat free yogurt, salad, soup, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. It also suggests regular exercise. I just got a pedometer which measures the amount of steps you take each day. The book describes a process of weight loss of one to two pounds of weight a week over a long period of time, followed by a focus on weight maintenance. The book is fully illustrated with color photos of different foods and how to cook them with less fat, more vegetables, and leaner meats and cheeses. Hopefully, it will give me a better idea of how to choose foods which have less calories and maintain the same volume or weight of food.

I spent some time weeding the 700s today, put the current events display in order. I am putting books on display on disease and medicine right now. I also am working on the final touches for a graphic novels book mark. I put a couple public domain images from Wikimedia on the bookmark as well as our logo. I am starting to get the hang of Microsoft Publisher.

I also spent some more time on Linked In today. Some of the people on my twitter account are joining me on Linked In which is kind of interesting. I have 15 people who are linked to me right now. Apparently, the average executive has 29.

I am reading The Elements of Visual Style The Basics of Print Design For Every PC and Mac User by Robert W. Harris . This book reads like a practical textbook. It is not that exciting to read. The book is very basic. I have not learned a whole lot from reading this book. It is not worth reviewing.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Disappearance Diary Hideo Azumi (Manga Mature)

Disappearance Diary by Hideo Azumi (Manga Mature)

This is a black and white Japanese manga translated into english. It is a three part "slice of life" story. The content is mature, but not salacious.

The author, Hideo Azuma went through three dark periods in his life. The drawings are very unrealistic because they give an upbeat mood to some very dark situations. This creates a deep contrast between the actual content and the situations being described.

In the first set of stories the author loses his ability to draw and wanders off into the woods becoming homeless. It describes him scrounging for blankets, searching for food in garbage cans, and setting up shelters with plastic sheets and avoiding people.

The drawings are free hand and very detailed, but not photorealistic. Scenes show him scrounging for money in vending machines, going through bottles for wine and saki, hanging out at the library and sitting around in the park. Some of the scenes in the library are quite interesting. Eventually, he gets picked up by the police and returned home. He has been listed as a missing person.

The second part is him wandering off from home again and eventually becoming a laborer and then advancing to becoming a pipefitter. He meets a variety of obnoxious hard drinking and womanizing working class men. Many of the characters in this manga are eccentric or very unpleasant. The characters create a lot of conflict which makes the stories gripping. It is clear at this point Hideo Azuma is an alcoholic. Parts of the manga story remind of the classic novel On The Road by Jack Kerouac.

There are moments where he describes his career as a manga artist. He becomes very successful. So successful, that he has too much work and does not know how to say no. This drives him to drink more. His editors pay his tab at the bar. This segways into the third and final part of the story, where he is in the hospital as an alchoholic. The story is very exacting; it describes his alcholic anonymous meetings, medication, and his hospital stay.

This is an excellent and interesting manga. It won the grand prize at the 9th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2005. The book was translated into english in 2008.

Good To Great By Jim Collins

Good To Great Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't By Jim Collins

This book is about how companies go from being good companies to companies that create long term sustained great performance. The book identifies eleven publicly traded companies from the Fortune 500 that went from barely beating the market to having continuous returns of at least twice the market for stockholders. I am not sure how this applies to libraries, but the book attempts to define a set of principles on making a company great.

The message in this book was easy to identify with. There are no complex strategies, flashy leadership secrets, or special financial techniques. This book is about how to inspire discipline, find a consistent simple purpose, create continuous incremental change, choose the right technologies, and bring very focused leadership on board.

One of the first things that Jim Collins writes is that it is impossible to implement any sustainable strategy without first bringing the right people on board. He also writes that it is as important to choose what not to do as what to do.

The book has a number of metaphors sprinkled throughout. One of them is the Stockdale Paradox: be brutally honest and at the same time know you will prevail. For discipline, there is the metaphor of rinsing your cottage to remove all the extra fat. This was done by a champion triathlete.

Most of the examples in this book are very concrete. Philip Morris introduced flip top boxes for cigarettes, Nucor introduced continuous slab casting, and Kroger was the first to experiment with scanners in supermarkets. These are all examples of introducing the right products and technology to gain market advantage.

My favorite metaphor in the book is the flywheel metaphor. Change happens not because of big fantasy initiatives, but because of continuous pressure. A flywheel speeds up because of continous sustained momentum. I like to think of the same idea with pushing an iceberg where it is very slow to move, but becomes very hard to stop once it is in motion.

The book contains no photographs. There are a few black and white charts that are easy to understand. Also, there is an index, bibliographic notes, and a detailed set of appendices explaining how the research on the companies being written about was done.

I read the companion monograph, Good to Great and the Social Sectors Why Business Thinking Is Not the Answer as well. The monograph is very short, 35 pages and distills the essence of the larger book focusing on nonprofits and government agencies. A few of the organizations covered are the New York Police Department, the Girl Scouts, and the Cleveland Orchestra. There are a number of metrics on how to measure greatness in social sector companies. This is worth reading before you read the larger book.