Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/30/2009

Dicţionarul ortografic, ortoepic şi morfologic al limbii române (DOOM).
L. Kenzel, March 8, 2009, Gnu Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

Daily Thoughts 9/30/2009

Today has been another quiet day. I spent time removing the older books from the new arrivals section this morning, did some weeding in the 800s, and had a bookmark printed up.

It was nice, quiet and relaxed. We also printed some tear sheets from Westlaw Patron Access. Tomorrow, I will hand in the monthly report. It is going smoothly.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And Then There's This How Stories Live And Die In A Viral Culture by Bill Wasik

Bill Wasik

And Then There's This How Stories Live And Die In A Viral Culture

This book is by the inventor of internet "flash mobs" or groups of people who spontaneously formed when suggested to by internet messages. Bill Wasik is what might be called a memetic engineer or a person who creates quickly spreading ideas. This book is pure infotainment at its best.

Some of the different categories of idea he writes about are in politics, advertising, corporate culture, and indie rock. The writing is both critical and ironic in content.

There is a very hip, left wing slant to the politics in the book. It is genuine reminder that we don't have to buy into advertising or spin, we have the right to choose what we view on the internet.

Bill Wasik visits some of the "digerati"-- the digital elite to look at how they create spin with new media. He mentions The Huffington Post, Bzzagent, KEXP Online Radio, Youtube, and many other internet sites.

In his view we have started surveiling ourselves to create a kind of giant popularity contest where the most views win. People are absorbed into the public consumption of blogs and other social networks.

This is a fun book to read by a very erudite and funny author. It is a mix of geeky avant garde, new media and social engineering. Bill Wasik is a senior editor at Harper's and has written for Salon magazine. This shows with very smooth prose that sounds like he is talking to you personally.

Daily Thoughts 9/29/2009

This is an advertising image from 1916 for Brentano's books. There used to be a Brentano's Bookstore near Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, New York.

Daily Thoughts 9/29/2009

Today has been kind of interesting. We moved some furniture. We have an octagonal display table which we moved near the "new arrivals" section this morning. This adds to two small display tables which are there now. We now have a lot of display area.

I did some more weeding of the 800s. It is moving along slowly.

We also had a salesperson from Sentry Technology Corporation come to visit us. He demonstrated a self-checkout machine for libraries. The design was kind of interesting. It was based on automatic teller machine technology. You could see the words up close, but not from very far away. It also did renewals for books and if we wanted returns. I would imagine having automatically generated fines would be interesting for us. The system is called QuickChek Kiosk. A number of local libraries already have the system. Most only use it for checkout and renewing books. They had three handouts which they gave away.

Another book came in for me to read, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Sometimes, I like to just browse through images in books. If you want to look at gadgets, Design Revolution 100 Products that Empower People by Emily Pilloton is kind of interesting. It includes images of things like a one handed tourniquet, a mobile water purification truck, spider boots for anti-mining, and zipcars. It is rather interesting.

Web Bits

This is a very interesting article from The Guardian in the UK. It is a plan for a national library card which links all libraries in the United Kingdom together. This is a major step forward for them. In the United States, it is hard to even get interlibrary loan from outside our county. We have a countywide library system. In Manhattan, New York there are three library systems, New York Public Library, Queens Library, and Brooklyn Public Library. Imagine if you could go to any library in the United States and check out a book using your library card. It would be a tremendous step forward. It would open up learning a lot.

A new term from John Clute for fantasy and science fiction. A little turgid but interesting. I have a signed copy of the Science Fiction The Illustrated Encyclopedia by John Clute at home. I like looking through it for the signatures of many different authors as well as pictures of book covers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/28/2009

Herman Wouk in Jerusalem, 1955

Daily Thoughts 9/28/2009

This morning I started reading The Cost of Bad Behavior How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What To Do About It by Chris Pearson and Christine Porath. So far the book is about how being civil reduces performance, lowers concentration, and decreases employee retention. It even gives statistics on the specific effect that incivility has on work performance. Want to lose 12% of your workforce due to attrition, create an uncivil workplace.

I started writing my monthly report today. It is due in a few days. It is mainly about creating displays, putting in the new cd racks, adding display tables, updating bookmarks and marketing materials, and similar things. Displays have a large impact on circulation in my opinion. They are very important. This is also true of patron requests. This makes a lot of difference to people. We are ordering a lot more books that patrons request.

Today, I printed out a flyer that lets people know that requests to order material are available. It is on the circulation desk and near the "new arrivals" section. Hopefully, it will be noticed.

I also did some more weeding in the 800s which is moving along every single day. It is an incremental process. I try to do it every single day for an hour. It is like me spending time every day on making sure the displays are up to date as well.

One of the displays that we do is a current events display. I try and find books about topics that are in the news. I generally go to Yahoo news, pick out the headlines and search for a few of the subjects in the headlines. I do this regularly to refresh the display. My main aim is to display newer books that are in the news as well. It is more than books, I also try to display audio and video with the current events display. I have to create a sign for the current events display. This is something I will do tomorrow. A little self reflection sometimes gives you new ideas.

Today went pretty well.

Tomorrow is the day the Banned Books Week displays go up. All of my displays are going to be cleared out and we are going to put in displays of banned books. Think hard of what it would be like to live in a society where books were banned. Imagine if the world of Fahrenheit 451 were real. There is so much which is said in that book which is so close to what is happening now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/27/09 Resting

I am taking a break. Maybe I will daydream of Ceylon.

Daily Thoughts 9/27/2009

I was going to write a bad review of The Whuffie Factor Using The Power of Social Networks To Build Your Business by Tara Hunt. I thought it was mediocre. There are better books to read on this subject, but I decided to rest instead. Find another book to read on the subject. There are plenty of books on social media.

I also finished reading And Then There's This How Stories Live and Die In A Viral Culture by Bill Wasik. This was a very entertaining and interesting book. He made a few comments on the philosophy of Epicureanism versus Stoicism at the end of the book which caught my attention.

Anyways back to resting.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/26/2009

The economist James K. Galbraith who has written many books.

Daily Thoughts 9/26/2009

Here I am today. I have The Cost of Bad Behavior, How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What To Do About It by Christine Pearson and Christine Porath in front of me. There is an introduction by Warren Bennis. I also put another book on hold, The Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. It is the first book in a trilogy.

Today is rather quiet. I ordered some promotional material from Westlaw Patron Access yesterday so we can market the database as well as had some bookmarks which we designed printed. The display on graphic novels is doing quite well. A lot of books are being taken out.

I am looking at a novel by Maggie Estep, Alice Fantastic. I usually think of Maggie Estep as a slam poet, but there it was. A novel set in Queens, New York.

I read some more of And Then There's This at lunch time. I had a greek omelette for lunch and my usual two cups of coffee. I am on the third chapter. The author is writing about memes. He writes that one of the common factors that determine if a meme is successfully viral is if it is social in nature and people can relate to to it on a personal level. I was talking to one of our patrons about the book and he commented that this may be due to people being lonely and a bit disconnected.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/25/2009

Engraving of Captain Nemo viewing a giant squid from a porthole of the Nautilus submarine, from 20000 Lieues Sous les Mers by Jules Verne.

Daily Thoughts 9/25/2009

Right now, I am sitting at my local library. I have the day off and am working tomorrow. I am using their computer to type away. I found one book that looks very interesting; And Then There's This How Stories Live And Die In A Viral Culture by Bill Wasik. I am fascinated with social networking and the internet. I am reading a lot about it lately. It is relaxing to be anonymous sometimes.

Bill Wasik is the inventor of flash mobs, creating instantaneous crowds using the internet. It makes the book quite interesting. The book is quite eclectic. Right now, I am reading about the indie rock music scene on the internet.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/24/2009

Calligramme de Guillaume Apollinaire

Daily Thoughts 9/24/2009

Today I had a visit from a slam poet. We were discussing how slam poetry was set up. He told me some interesting things. They usually serve tea, coffee, water, and cookies at the libraries where he does the slam poetry. They also don't use a podium, just a microphone on a stand or a wireless microphone. As a prize, they usually give a book and a coffee mug to the winner. The prize is more of a token than anything else. His slams run three hours, first there is an open microphone, then a featured poet, and then a slam. They usually do it once a month in the libraries where he does slams. He often contacts the local schools to get the teenagers to come in.

We also have some new display tables out in front of the "new arrivals". I put out some books for the tables.

Someone also donated some books today. There were two worth adding. We usually try and get more donations closer to when the Friends of the Library hold their book sales. The next one is in November.

I read some more of The Whuffie Factor on the train in to work this morning. I finished reading it on the way home this evening.

Next week is banned book week which runs from September 26 through October 3, 2009. I took some time to look up banned comics on the Comic Book Legal Defense fund. We really don't have any them. A few of them looked interesting like The Salon by Nick Bertozzi which was about Picasso. It had a few nude scenes in it and was part of a court case. There was also a case about the graphic novel Jonah Hex, Riders of the Worm which was interesting to read about. There is also Aaron Magruder's comic, The Boondocks which a number of newspapers in the United States refused to carry.

What Learning Leaves by Taylor Mali was very enjoyable to read. The book is very different thatn most poetry books. Taylor Mali is both a junior high school teacher and a performance poet. He won the National Poetry Slam competition four times in the United States. The poems are meant to be performed from memory. They have a lot of visual imagery in them which can be very arresting.

There is very little introversion in these poems as well. Although they are stories about love, grief, and teaching, they are not overly self reflective. He seems to be making a declaration about the world to his audience in clear terms. There is a little bit of strong language, but it is not overused.

Many of them poems are making statements about the value of teaching and bringing intellectual value to the world in a concrete way. It is a refreshing contrast to whiny intellectualism. Dogs, sex, death, and love also have a place among these poems. Concrete things, important things which speak to everyday life. This book brings a poetry which is easy to relate to because you can close your eyes and imagine hearing the word, "declare!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/23/2009

The cartoonist Rube Goldberg. If you look at his drawings closely you can see they had an influence on Dr. Seuss. At least I think so.<p>

Daily Thoughts 9/23/2009

I have been weeding in the 800s in the humor section. There are a few early books by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors and cartoonists. There were also a few books by Milt Gross who was an early cartoonist who looks stylistically similar to Dr. Seuss in some ways. Dr. Seuss's early works were very commercial in nature. He also did war and political cartoons.

I am still reading The Whuffie Factor. This book is definitely written with the "Digerati" in mind. There are many references to Dell and Chris Vaynerchuck. This may be new to some people, but it is told repeatedly in many other books. There is a definite whiff of the dot com days in this book. Remember to pick up your glow in the dark pen and your squeeze brain toy from the convention floor. The term whuffie is starting to remind me of the old song, "Woof, Woof, Who Let The Dogs Out." This book definitely has that fluffy, lighthearted feel to it.

Inbetween the fluff and the dot com babble there are some useful insights. Tara Hunt quotes Google saying "The simplest design is the right design." Then throws in a few statements like create feedback loops to keep your customers.

The book runs between digerati and consultant talk like the 80/20 rule and useful insights. I am about half way through it.

While reading Publishers Weekly this morning, I found an article entitled Freemium Free E-books Spur Sales At Kensington. This was on P.11 of the September 21, 2009 Publishers Weekly. Kensington gives away quite a few galleys on the I think they are using the Ning Bookblogs social networking group as a platform to spread reviews for their books.

I picked up a copy of Taylor Mali's What Learning Leaves. It is a book of poetry by the four time National Poetry Slam winner. I liked watching him in the film Slam Nation.

Today has been another steady day. I have two books on hold right now. The first is The Other Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi which is a science fiction novel. He also wrote an excellent short storie called The Calorie Man. This is his first full length novel. The second book is The Cost of Bad Behavior How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business And What You Can Do About It by Christine Pearson and Christine Poroth. This was reviewed on the blog, The Thin Red Line. The review made me want to get the book.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/22/2009

Wasserkriche als Stadtbibliothek; Zeichnung von Franz Hegi, 1845

Daily Thoughts 9/22/2009

Today, I have been working on various things which are designed to boost circulation. We have been putting up more displays lately. We currently have a display of graphic novels, a display of current events, a display of books on Africa and Egypt from our storage section, and a display of oversize art books. This is in addition to the "new arrivals" section. It is something which we have to keep up every day and make sure there are fresh materials added. Displays seem to work best when people can take the materials directly. I spent some time this afternoon moving the Playaways to the "new arrivals" section. Playaways are a form of preloaded electronic audiobook. They are very easy to use.

I also spent some time going through the purchase alerts list which is what our patrons have been putting on hold. The more requests there are for an item, the higher it is on the list. It has been changing considerably since we put in the new arrivals section and started ordering more books for the job information center and many new books. Some of the sections of books which are doing well are graphic novels and manga , urban fiction, job information center books, young adult series novels like the Vampire Diaries, cookbooks, diet books, and martial arts.

I also have been copying down requests from our patron request sheet where we track what we don't have that our patrons ask for. This makes our library a little more responsive to what people need. I have been thinking about how to better advertise that patrons can request what they are interested in having us purchase for all formats of materials.

This afternoon I spent some time filling requests for different books to go to the book mobile; books about Maine, toy trains, and Norman Rockwell. The book mobile serves a lot of people in nursing homes and the material we send out is often very nostalgic. I also sometimes pick out large print books, mysteries, and biographies for them as well.

I finished reading The United States Constitution A Graphic Adaptation. It is a flawed, but interesting graphic novel. I found the artwork to be rather bland. The colors were in rough earth tones which I did not like. Also, I found the drawing to be not that well defined. It was a little better than what you might find in a comic like Classics Illustrated. There were some interesting gimmicks in the art though, like having a supermajority in Congress represented as a superhero with an American flag on its chest and the head being the congressional building. Every page had a different visual gimmick on it..

The text was far better than the drawing. It was well done. The story was presented in a chronological order from the first constitutional convention, bill of rights, and each of the amendments. This covered a complete history of the United States as seen through the constitution. Numerous prominent Supreme Court cases were briefly described including Brown Vs. Board of Education, Miners School District V. Gobitis (1940), and many others . There was also coverage of the Emancipation Proclamation and many more important events in American history. I have to say the writing was better than the pictures. Read it for the history. I think I learned a few things.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/21/2009

The playwright Sophocles.

Daily Thoughts 9/21/2009

I needed a break on Sunday from writing and reading. Somtimes, it just happens that way. I slowed down a bit last week. I'll start picking up again this week.

I read some more of The Whuffie Factor. This book very much ties in with the ideas of Chris Anderson in his book Free. It is about social capital or the amount of ties you can build with other people specifically through things like Facebook, Myspace, and other internet resources.

Social capital is more than just the internet; the book describes how social capital moves from the internet to the real world like workspaces listed on internet sites, and concerts promted through the web. There is a description of how a musician or other person who produces digital material might make money not from the original music online which would mostly be free, but from concerts, t shirts, appearances, and related merchandise. It is quite interesting.

Today has been interesting. I took some time to update the display of graphic novels and make sure the "new arrivals" section was in order. I also tried to find some books on military medals, patches, and insignia. These books are quite expensive. One of our regular patrons asked for them.

There is a graphic novel I am intersted in reading, The United States Constitution A Graphic Adaptation written by Jonathan Hennessey, art by Aaaron McConnell. This graphic novel is by the publishing imprint Hill and Wang. Hill and Wang is an imprint of Farrar, Strauss, and Giraux recently published the official graphic novel adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. It looks like they may be publishing some very good literary comics.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/19/2009

This image of Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0. This picture was taken in 1975 by Elsa Dorfman.

Daily Thoughts 9/19/2009

While I was walking to get some spinach pies at the local deli, I came across a garage sale. They were selling hardcover books. Among the books was Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg with an Introduction by William Carlos Williams. It cost me $1. This book was very interesting. It is beat poetry dedicated to Jack Kerouac. It was the source of a major obscenity trial. Quite, frankly, I did not find it to be that obscene. It was more interesting than anything else. I found the poetry might be offensive to someone with conservative moral values.

I also walked up to the library today and checked out two books. The first was Dean Koontz's Frankenstein Prodigal Son, the graphic novel. I liked the color artwork. The story was horror in the grotesque sense. Victor Helios's creations are stalking New Orleans killing people. The Frankenstein monster is the hero in this story.

The artwork is in full color.It looks like it was done with a digital palette. The use of panels is very interesting. They are in a variety of different shapes and sizes with very few gutters. This makes the graphic novel arresting to look at. The coloring is excellent, especially the use of shading which brings out light and darkness in the panels and highlights the actions of the villains.

I also read Frankenstein Prodigal Son in paperback. It is very close to the story in the novel. It only makes the novel much clearer. It is escapist reading telling a different twist on the original story of Frankenstein.

I also picked up another book, The Whuffie Factor Using The Power of Social Networks To Build Your Business by Tara Hunt. Whuffie is a term invented in the science fiction book, Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow. Whuffie is a form of social currency which increases ones standing. You might call it, ones ranking in social networks. I rather like the idea that Whuffie is taking on a real world use.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/18/2009

I like Wikipedia. This is a Creative Commons Share Alike Attribution 2.0 image from Wikimedia.

Daily Thoughts 9/18/2009

I enjoy using Wikipeda a huge amount. I like the photographs, the images, the content. I also realize that it is not always accurate. This seems to be most true around politics where different politicians try to rewrite each others content. I think of it as primarily a secondary source. You look at it to get a general outline of a subject but don't assume it is authoritative or even completely accurate.

Generally, I will read the articles, then go to the places which the Wikipedia article sited and check those to see if they are a more primary source. Quite often the documents point to a government website like NASA, or a depository of primary source material like Project Gutenberg with original works. This is one of the reasons I like Wikipedia so much. Not for the content, but for the materials cited.

Today I took some more time to relax. No reading today, except for the news on the internet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/17/2009

Rudyard Kipling "With The Daily Mail", 1905

Daily Thoughts 9/17/2009

Google is going to sell the public domain books which it has on google booksearch for $8 each. They are doing this in part with the Espresso Book Machine which is a print on demand device which can print a trade paperback in five minutes. I have seen this more than once at conferences. It can print in full color and the paperback is for the most part indistinguishable from a paperback you might buy in a bookstore. It is kind of fun watching the book being printed. The only waste is a few tiny scraps of paper. The machine at the convention I saw had a clear plastic case so you could look inside while the book was being printed. Google is going to give away the proceeds to charity. Still, they will make money on people using the search engine indirectly through advertising.

I don't know why this is. Sometimes when you feel the most dry, is when you seem to have the most to say. Cory Doctorow has another article on selling books online. It is a little bit of history of his writing and how he was one of the first people to release books as creative commons. Plus he is one of my favorite writers. I am in an odd mood. This is a link from Locus Magazine. I did something unusual today. I did not read any books at all. It is a first in a while. I also did not read any books yesterday. This is a long dry spell for me. I am a bit information obsessed. Anyways here is a link to the article.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/16/2009

Samuel R. Delany, African American Science Fiction Writer and Essayist. His writing can be quite controversial.

Daily Thoughts 9/16/2009

Today has been a quiet day. We did a reference meeting discussing different reference books. I discussed the 2008 New York State Statistical Yearbook which gives a lot of useful information including information on many of the agencies in New York as well as county crime statistics.

I also discussed our meeting with a local publisher with one of the technical services people. Hopefully, we should be getting some very interesting books.

On the way to work, I finished reading Free The Future of A Radical Price by Chris Anderson. It has quite a bit of relevance to libraries. As books start out in the digital form, they become increasingly sought after as ebooks, they also become pirated and available as torrent downloads. People prefer to have books in digital format for free and it is very easy to get them this way; or at very low prices. Many people would like to pay $4.99 for an ebook.

I have read a variety of books in the digital format for free, many of the from the Baen Free Library, Creative Commons, or through Project Gutenberg. There is a lot of material out of copyright which you can get very easily.

Today books start out as ebooks, maybe they are not sold initially as ebooks, but the editing and manuscripts are usually done and stored on a computer. This file is what is sent to the publisher to turn it into a variety of formats, pdf, ebook, audiobook, physical book, and other formats. A physical hardcopy has become a value added service. People still prefer to read their books in paper. I am not sure how long this will last as digital readers become better.

A lot of authors are giving away their books for free in a digital form, following the idea that giving away a free ebook drives the sales of the print book. Many people find reading a print book preferable to ebooks. Two very prominent authors who do this are Paulo Coelho and Cory Doctorow. I enjoy reading Cory Doctorow quite a bit.

Chris Anderson gives a reason to why this works in his book and why it is going to grow and continue happening. If you want to understand why companies bundle free products with pay products, this book does a good job. It is also very entertaining.

I was a bit under the weather the last couple of days, so I spent some times updating the book displays, and making sure the new arrivals section was in order. I think tomorrow I will get back to my weeding.

I really should get back to reading the Egalley of The Case for Books Past, Present, and Future. There is an article on it in Publishers Weekly. I have been distracted.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/15/2009

Daily Thoughts 9/15/2009

I am still reading Free The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson. It has some pretty interesting ideas in it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/14/2009

Geoffrey Chaucer. 19th century image. From The Illustrated Magazine of Art. 1:1 (ca. 1853)

Daily Thoughts 9/14/2009

Today was a slow day. I read some of Free The Future of A Radical Price by Chris Anderson. The book went into why digital material is becoming cheaper and cheaper. It describes how bits are becoming cheaper to store and create constantly, while atoms; things in the real world tend to maintain their expense. The world of ideas tends to build on itself where older ideas become free and newer ideas start out expensive but decrease in value over time. This reminds me a little bit of the idea of copyright. Chris Anderson also explains Moore's Law which says the power of computers doubles every year. It is well worth reading this book just for these ideas.

I also watched some of Monty Python and The Holy Grail today. It is nice seeing something to lighten up my evening. I especially like Monty Python's singing routines. I did not do that much today except for rest and relax.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/13/2009

Epictetus Ancient Greek Stoic Philosopher

Daily Thoughts 9/13/2009

Today has been quiet. I read some more in the Free by Chris Anderson. He gave me a new word, freemium or a premium service attached to a free service. For example to host Youtube videos on a Wordpress blog which is free, you have to pay extra for the service. This is why I don't use Wordpress. There are many internet services which do this. For example if you want to look at the archives of the Westchester Journal News online, you have to pay for older articles, but not new articles.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/12/2009

Adonias Filho , Jorge Amado, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, found on Wikimedia listed as public domain.

Daily Thoughts 9/12/2009

I am looking forward to the new Cory Doctorow science fiction novel called Makers coming out in October. Sometimes, I don't list everything which I am reading.

Today was a slow day. I did some more weeding. I also started reading Free, The Future of A Radical Price by Chris Andersen. Chris Andersen is the editor in chief of Wired magazine which I find enjoyable to read sometimes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/11/2009

Idealporträt des Johann Faust (oil on canvas, 117 x 88 cm), Anonymous German Painter

Daily Thoughts 9/11/2009

This morning, I finished reading Graphic Novels Now Building, Managing, and Marketing A Dynamic Collection by Francisca Goldsmith. Francisca Goldsmith is a young adult librarian at Berkeley Public Library in California. It was an enjoyable quick read. The summaries of concepts on graphic novels were well done. I also liked the internet site lists for graphic novels. I rather like Artbomb, and Grovel .

The book includes places to find sample collection development policies, an index, a short selection list, and some excellent simple descriptions on the basics of what a graphic novels are. It is a nice introduction for librarians who are starting to add graphic novels to their collections. It is also short, being 114 pages in total.

Today has been a solid predictable day. I did more weeding in the 800s, selected some fiction to order, and had a meeting with a publisher this morning. It was rather interesting. They published political books on the left of the spectrum. There were some books on Africa, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and other places which I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else. We try not to endorse a particular political viewpoint.

There is something almost stoic in having to include a variety of different viewpoints which you may not agree with in fact which you can be in direct opposition with. Epictetus is very good for understanding phhilosophical detachment. It is almost fundamental to understand the idea of understand your opponent so you can overcome them. I sometimes take a minute to read philosophy when it gets to be a little bit much. Marcus Aurelius seems to be good for this, so do things like the Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu, or Rumi. It distracts you and takes you away from things.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/10/2009

Cartoonist Will Eisnerat the Inkpt Awards ceremony at the 1982 San Diego Comic Con (today called Comic-Con International).Photo taken by Alan Light from Wikipedia. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Daily Thoughts 9/10/2009

Right now, I am reading Graphic Novels Now Building, Managing, and Marketing A Dynamic Collection by Francisca Goldsmith. This book is about graphic novels in libraries. It is short and easy to read. The book is 114 pages long and is very direct. I am in the second chapter now. It has already mentioned Art Spiegelman's Maus and Will Eisner's A Contract With God.

I walked to my local library after I got a haircut. It is nice outside. The public internet computers were not working, but I did pick up a book. It was something that I had also ordered for my library Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 The Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton. This is the graphic novel version of Fahrenheit 451. It is sitting in front of me. I just read the introduction to the graphic novel by Ray Bradbury. Think of why you would want to save books and what they mean to you.

I enjoyed reading the graphic novel. It is very different than reading the book. It changes the way you see the novel, because there are visuals that go with the words. You see the television rooms, the bibles, the mechanical dog, the books being burned with kerosene, and the hunted fireman. It clarifies the story and makes it very different.

The message is even more relevant today. Physical books are becoming a niche product. More people read on computers and look at computers than read books. Is this the same as looking at books? Are books cultural objects made of paper with a specific design that is different than what is on a computer screen? What is interesting is that firemen who burned the books had manuals on how to burn the books. I liked the detail from a picture on page 34 that Benjamin Franklin was a book burner in graphic novel of Fahrenheit 451. It shows how distorted things can get

The graphics are in muted colors, blue greys, reds, greens, whites, and blacks. The colors add a very dark edge to the graphic novel which is completely appropriate. There are numerous captions on the panels with descriptions that come directly from the original novel. Also there is a lot of dialogue. What is truly interesting is that there are very few thought balloons, the written content is mainly captions and people talking to each other.

There is also a much greater sense that it is the future than the original novel because there are pictures of some futuristic things. It is not a bright future. It is a very dark future. The firemens job is to burn books. It is the idea that people will willingly turn to entertainment instead of the written word because it brings "happiness". This is a world of engineers where people learn how to do things the societies way rather than why the world works. There is only debate among the book burners, the "firemen". There are also some themes I missed when I read the printed novel, pedestrians in Fahrenheit 451 are considered strange. You are supposed to drive everywhere. I rather like being a pedestrian.

I also like in the introduction to the graphic novel, Ray Bradbury asks us to find a book which we would like to memorize. This adds to the ending of the novel where people who live on the edges of society memorize books so they will be preserved for when they can begin printing them again. If they are caught with a book it will be destroyed. This is an excellent adaptation of the book to graphic form. I think it is well worth reading.

Something to remember is that graphic novels are more than just words, they exist in two places, text and visuals. It is interesting that Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 says people still read comics, they are not considered books. They are, just in a different sense.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/9/2009

Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, seen from the Campanile Time, Place: April 2005 Florence (Medici Library)

Daily Thoughts 9/9/2009

Most genres of fiction like mystery have a professional association attached to them, like Mystery Writers of America, , a set of awards, The Edgars , and a bestseller list . This is also true of science fiction and fantasy, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Locus Bestseller List, the Hugo Awards and the Nebula Awards There are many genres of fiction.

Today, I spent some time weeding the literary criticism section. Mainly, I was looking for criticism of authors with little significant work, or obscure criticism on unusual topics. Authors like Hemingway, Hawthorne, Doris Lessing, and Shirley Jackson have considerable bodies of work with literary merit so I leave them be.

Two books came in for me to read, Graphic Novels Now Building, Managing and Marketing A Dynamic Collection by Francisca Goldsmith and Free The Future of A Radical Price by Chris Andersen.

I took a look at the Michael Z. Williamson book Contact With Chaos on the Baen books site. It is a novel of alien first contact.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/8/2009

Auguste Renoir La Liseuse

Daily Thoughts 9/8/2009

I just finished reading Shutter Island on the train to work this morning. It is a novel of psychological suspense set in a prison for the criminally insane. Is the prison really a place for secret government experiments on inmates or is the visiting United States Marshall really a mad man? It has an entertaining plot. The copy I read was a paperback.

This morning I put my orders in palce. I am also helping someone do an order for math books. There is a meeting to discuss our ordering this afternoon. I have a lot of thoughts about this right now.

Something I am thinking about is the categories of fiction that we order. We order inspirational fiction which is mainly christian but can include other religions, African American fiction, urban fiction, mystery and suspense, romance, science fiction and fantasy (horror is an orphan it can appear either in fantasy or general fiction), general fiction, and short stories. In general fiction it covers a wide variety of subjects including award winning fiction, small press fiction, world literature (we get requests for fiction from India, China, the Caribbean, Brazil, South America, and Africa), chick lit, and other material.

Generally each genre of fiction has a way of tracking bestsellers and award winning books. For example, in African American fiction, there is the Ebony bestseller list and the BCALA -- Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award and the African American Literary Awards. In science fiction, there is the Locus Magazine bestseller list and the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Every fiction genre usually has a bestseller list and some awards attached to it.

Hopefully, I should get a general set of statistics from the system soon. I am hoping I can dismantle this into something which we can use. It might take me a little while to do this. I like to know which authors, call numbers, genres, and formats generate which amount of circulation. In other words, I want to know what people want. This make it more likely we will get the right material.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/7/2009

Sherlock Holmes in "The Adventure of the Dying Detective"

Better to Beg Forgiveness by Michael Z. Williamson


This is a military science fiction novel. An executive protection service has to protect an interim president during a planetary civil war. This is an action novel with lots of explosions, shooting, and narrow escapes. The point of the novel is the action.

Every other page, the mercenary bodyguards have to stop the president of Celadon from being killed. The locals attempt to shoot, blowup, ram, or dismember acting president Bishwanath. It eventually deteriorates to the point where the mercenaries have to get the president off planet.

Thus follows a series of daring escapes, hijackings, and intrigue. The good guys do not win in the end, but they do save their man.

The setting is the near future where earth has just begun colonizing the outer planets. The weapons are recognizable as things which we have today, machine guns, mortars, bombs, and explosives. The locals are decidedly low tech, coming from a back water world. The United Nations is still in existence and has sent peacekeepers and bureaucrats to keep things under control.

Plenty of action and lots of things get blown up. Plus, if you have a libertarian bent and don't like bureaucracy, you might like the politics in the novel. I read it for the action.

I have started reading a book called Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. It is a thriller featuring two U.S. Marshalls who are visiting a prison for the criminally insane on an island. One of the inmates has escaped. The book is being turned into a movie starring Leonardo Di Caprio coming out in 2010.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/6/2009

Boston Public Library Main Staircase

Daily Thoughts 9/6/2009

The Language of Bees Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King

This is Sherlock Holmes in his later years living in the country tending his bees with a younger companion Mary Russell. It is very different than most Sherlock Holmes pastiches which I have read. Watson is only mentioned briefly in passing.

In this novel we learn that Sherlock Holmes had a son who he barely knows and a granddaughter. The son is a bohemian artist who is mixed up with a diabolical occultist. The main villain does not seem like a master criminal.

The novel does not read much like a mystery novel at all. It is more of a suspense novel with elements of the chase than detection. This makes it not what I expected. There is some detection involved which includes Mary Russell visiting a number of interesting settings including an occult meeting, breaking into different houses, and visiting art galleries and cafes.

Also, Sherlock Holmes brother, Mycroft Holmes plays a much more significant role in this novel than most Sherlock Holmes novels. I enjoyed reading this book, but it is not like the typical Sherlock Holmes pastiche. The descriptions are very well done. I like the descriptions of Sherlock Holmes's sons surrealist paintings as well as when Mary Russell is investigating Sherlock Holmes's bee hives. It is worth reading if you want a different viewpoint on the great detective.

Today was a day where I relaxed quite a bit and read. I also went to Barnes and Noble and bought a book, Better to Beg Forgiveness by Michael Z. Williamson. This book is published by Baen books. It is libertarian military science fiction. The viewpoints can be a mix of harshly anti-authoritarian and anti-corporate.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/5/2009

James Thurber, American Writer

Daily Thoughts 9/5/2009

Today is Labor Day weekend both my work library and my local library are closed. It is nice to have a holiday in honor of labor plus it gives me a chance to relax and unwind free from library time for a while. I sometimes think "library time" has a different character to it like "bookstore time" where things flow a little differently from the rest of the world.

I am reading Laurie R. King, The Language of Bees. It is a novel featuring Sherlock Holmes in his later years. It is very different from Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes is semi-retired and tends to his bees, he also has a younger companion Mary Russell. Apparently, he also has a son, Damian who is an eccentric artist. It is quite odd to think of Sherlock Holmes with a son.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/4/2009

Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961)

Daily Thoughts 9/4/2009

I finished reading Inherent Vice on the train to work this morning. It was quite enjoyable if a little bit strange. I can recommend it.

An article from the New York Times on Subway Reading.
This morning I designed a poster for the graphic novels display. We can print on 11" x 17" paper in color. I also took a few minutes to update a couple of my old bookmarks with our new logo which looks very nice. We should have new business cards for the staff soon with the logo.

This afternoon I spent some time weeding in the plays section. Most of the plays have literary merit so they are not that easy to deaccession. I am looking to replace some of them, move some of them to storage, and mend a few as well.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/3/2009

Ken Kesey statue, "The Storyteller", at Broadway and Willamette streets in downtown Eugene, Oregon

Daily Thoughts 9/3/2009

I read some more of Inherent Vice on the way to work. Doc Sportello the main character does not have a whole lot of redeeming qualities. The most interesting quality about him is his love of popular music and his ability to describe things he sees in an incredibly poetic manner. He also likes what he does which is being a detective and smoking a lot. The plot seems almost secondary to the free form descriptions in the novel. The author weaves in a lot of hippie and surfer myths and legends from Los Angeles throughout the story. I was looking at the New York Times Bestsller List, Inherent Vice is currently #8 on the list.

This morning, I put in a display of books from storage. I brought up some books on Egypt and Africa. Many of them were precolonial history of the African Kingdoms.

I have also had a chance to do more weeding. I finished going through the poetry and have started going through the plays. I am finding that some of the books need to be replaced. Right now, I am going to replace a few plays by Lorraine Hansberry and Eugene O'Neill.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/2/2009

Harvard University's Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library.
From :

Daily Thoughts 9/2/2009

I have started reading The Case For Books Past, Present, and Future by Robert Darnton who is the head of the Harvard University libraries. This book is a collection of essays many of them originally published in the New York Review of Books. The book opens with a section entitled Google and the History of Books. Harvard University is part of the Google digitization project for books. The form I am reading the book in is that of an egalley from Netgalley. The book is already quite interesting. The first section after the introduction is Google and The Future of Books.

I picked up two more books to read. The first is Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. It is a mystery with fantasy elements in it. For some reason it is on the Locus Magazine science fiction bestseller list. I think it is because of the author. The other book which I picked up to read is Knight of Knives A Novel of the Malazan Empire by Ian C. Esslement. This book is a standalone book that is related to a long running epic fantasy series.

Today has been a solid day. I did some weeding in the 800s, updated the graphic novels display, made sure the books in the "New Arrivals" were still new and did some ordering. We are getting a lot of requests on our purchase alerts for urban fiction and romance books. I picked out two biography books for the large print section. Biographies are very popular at the book mobile.

On the train home, I read some of Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. This book is going to create strong reactions against and for it. On the one hand it is sordid, full of drug references, and disorientingly psychedelic at times. On the other hand it has a beat style with riffs of flowing sentences, interesting dialogue, and wildly eccentric characters. At the same time it is a novel of the 1960s it is also a detective novel. I have never read anything like this. The book is quite strange.

The book can be utterly fascinating at some times and completely disorienting at times. Doc, the main character is a detective who is perpetually stoned and sorts of drifts through the novel creating atmosphere. The atmosphere is the dark side of the hippie era where all the nastiness happens. Some people will love it, others will hate it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/1/2009

Allegorical Portrait of Dante, 1530

Daily Thoughts 9/1/2009

Today is another day. I am back from vacation. I weeded some of the 800s today mainly in the poetry section. I also worked on updating some of the displays with more current material. I am starting a graphic novel display and a display of oversize art books. I also plan on taking some of our books on Egypt and Africa in the storage area and putting them on display as well. I have a few bookmarks which needed to be updated done. One for graphic novels and the other for inspirational fiction.

I have to catch up on reading some catalogs as well as making sure my orders are together. I am thinking about how to do a graphic novels club as well as pick out some noire films for Sundays. There are the classics; The Thin Man, The Post Man Always Rings Twice, The Maltese Falcon as well as a few others to consider, Stage Fright, Touch of Evil, and The Third Man.

I did not read anything on the way home. Instead I made a to do list of things that need to be done. I have to do some analysis on our current circulation statistics to see which call numbers and authors are going out. I also have to take stock of what I am doing to see if there is any way which I can improve what is being done. I am thinking of the quality cycle of think, then act, then plan on what you have acted on, then do the improvements that need to be done.