Saturday, December 31, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/31/2011

Howard Pyle (1853-1911) and his daughter Phoebe. Photographer: Frances Benjamin Johnston

Daily Thoughts 12/31/2011

I spent some time looking at different versions of E-reader software on my desktop computer.  I have the Kindle, Kobo, Sony, and Nook reader software on my computer.  They are not that different.  There are some  differences in font faces, but the navigation is very similar.  Most of them have a variety of sample books.  Some are only short excerpts of the whole book like This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman which is a 24 page excerpt from the book.  It is not hard to download books.  I downloaded The True Benjamin Franklin by Sydney George Fisher onto the Kindle software.  None of it is particularly difficult.  I also spent a little bit of time reading The Prince by Machiavelli on the Nook. Most of it is very similar.

I put the book This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement by Sarah Roth Van Gelder as an electronic hold.  I also downloaded Overdrive Media Console to my home computer so I could read ebooks on my computer at home.  It is practice for an upcoming project.

Web Bits

Occupy Vancouver Library, The People's Lovely Library

Occupy Your Sidewalk with a Micro Library
A little odd. Not quite librarianish.

Take This Book: The People's Library at Occupy Wall Street
$40 for a personal copy.  A bit expensive for my tastes.

Another Kickstarter Book Project
Saving Our Public Libraries: Why We Should: How We Can

Friday, December 30, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/30/2011

Gottfried Hensel: Europa Polyglotta. Multilingual Europe, showing the genealogy of the languages, together with the alphabets and modes of writing of all peoples. 1730.

Daily Thoughts 12/30/2011

I have been reading some more of The Filter Bubble.  Eli Pariser is describing how personalization can end up damaging a person by stereotyping them.  Internet tracking cookies are used to profile a person and a person can be misinterpreted easily.  There are also some rather scary things which he is saying like personalization can attempt to predict a persons politics, whether or not they own a gun, and their ethnicity.  It is the exact opposite of anonymity.

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook pages for the library and checked the displays.  I also took some time to print some flyers for programs.  I try and do this at the beginning of the month for the months programs.

I also spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to translate my schedule into Google Calendar.  I put in two months worth of programs. It probably needs some editing and clean up.  It is my first time doing this.  I like the layout of the calendar.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/29/2011

Susan Brownell Anthony, 1820-1906 Seated portrait, reading. 

Daily Thoughts 12/29/2011

I read some more of The Filter Bubble this morning.  The author is writing about the danger of receiving news that only reflects your own opinion.  Filtered news would reinforce what you already believe and limit decision making by cutting off differences of opinion.  This is one of the reasons I look at more than one news source on occasion.  I like to see the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) news, Yahoo news, and CNN (Cable News Network).  None of them are completely believable to me, but they sometimes are different.

There was another Special Board of Estimate Meeting this morning.  At this point, it is more of a decision to be observed as the Board of Estimates discusses things.  They met this morning at 8:30 a.m.

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook account.  I also checked the displays and the gift books.  A book on Microsoft Excel 2003 and Microsoft Access 2003 was added to the collection.  People still use this kind of material.  Often when the stores stop selling the older computer books, the library is the only place to get them.  We call this legacy computing.

We are discussing one on one training for downloading ebooks.  It should be quite interesting.

I spent some time this afternoon looking at Purchase Alerts to see what people are placing holds on for the library.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/28/2011

 "Adversity is not without comforts & hopes" Illustrated Francis Bacon quotation. 1915

Daily Thoughts 12/28/2011

I went to Board of Estimate and Contract Special Meeting on Decmber 28, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.  The meeting started at 10:05 a.m.  There was no final decision on the 2012 Budget Estimate for the City of Mount Vernon.  There were disagreements between the interested parties.  I was there to listen and observe the meeting.  At around 10:20 a.m. the meeting went into executive session ending the period of public discussion.

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook accounts.  The library opened the Computer Lab for Academic Use between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.  An adolescent pregnancy prevention group stopped in to use the lab for research.  Today has been fairly quiet.

We also had the Graphic Novels Club from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.  We discussed a number of titles including V for Vendetta by Alan Moore.  I also learned that the manga magazine Shonen Jump was moving to online only.  We have several copies which will be giveaways at the Anime Club.  We are planning to discuss graphic novel movie tie ins which should be interesting for the next Graphic Novels club.

The book, World On The Edge How To Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse by Lester R. Brown came in for me to read.  It should be quite interesting.  People need to receive suggestions for solutions even if they do not agree with them always.

I checked the displays this evening and updated the current events display with some books on what is in the news.  I can hear the drums for the Kwanzaa event downstairs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/27/2011

Gerard Ter Borch The Younger, 1675, Portrait of a Man Reading

Daily Thoughts 12/27/2011

This morning, I looked through the gift books.  There were a number of classics as well as several books on religion and mysticism like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and The Essential Rumi.  I also checked the displays and updated the Twitter and Facebook accounts.

We also some time discussing the logo for the library and the Jr. Trustees program for the library.  We also discussed the library newsletter which is here.

I am looking at the From Earth to the Solar System Exhibit available from NASA.  It is very interesting.

The computer classes are tonight.  The teacher is working on opening a computer training center in Yonkers which is kind of interesting.

The book, The Filter Bubble What The Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser has come in for me to read. This book writes about how companies like Google and Facebook are personalizing their services to match individual users.  While this helps block out unwanted information, it also can be excessive.  One thing that occurs to me is that a person who has their web address and personal information filtered by a web company will have a more difficult time conducting research that is unbiased because the results are alredy filtered.

This is why I think it is often important to use more than one search engine to see different results and sometimes use desktop search applications like Webferret or Copernic which are not personalized.
I have been reading Forecast from Baker and Taylor.  Two books which are coming out in February which look interesting are The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers-- and the Coming Cashless Society by David Wolfman and Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell. 

Board of Estimate and Contract Special Meeting Notice for Decmber 28, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
The meeting on December 29, 2011 is canceled.

Web Bits

Occupy Wall Street Organizer to Speak at Larchmont Library
There are stronger ties than people may realize.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/26/2011

Daily Thoughts 12/26/2011

I checked the Facebook account for the library.  I listed a few events.  I also updated the Twitter account.  I am still thinking about the budget meeting on December 29, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.  I am going to try and go.

I finished reading The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg. I placed the book World on the edge : how to prevent environmental and economic collapse by Lester R. Brown on hold.  I enjoyed reading The End to Growth.  I agree to the premise that the world will become much more local, but I think it will become much more local in a different way.

I think additive manufacturing or 3D Printing Technology which will change the world  soon.  There is a desktop manufacturing boom coming soon.  Already, the basic machines are starting to be produced.  I especially find things like Makerbot Industries fascinating.   This is the tip of the iceberg.  Desktop manufacturing will become systematically cheaper much like computers did.  DIY Desktop CNC Machine

There is tremendous promise in this kind of technology.  It could lead to things like the Urbee becoming real  This is the first model for a 3D printed car.  This type of technology by nature is local.

This kind of thinking is tied in with the Maker movement.  I think it has a wonderful almost science fiction feel to it.  Cory Doctorow even wrote a science fiction book called Makers which is available to read as a Creative Commons book.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/25/2011

New Year's Day postcard mailed in 1909. It reads: "A New Year's Resolution / Jan. 1st / Good Resolution / Each resolution that I make / My conscience surely troubles / Because I find they always break / As easy as Soap bubbles" 1909

Daily Thoughts 12/25/2011

Happy Holidays!, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Years and all that.  I hope you all have a wonderful new year with plenty of time for relaxation, family and friends.

I read a bit more of The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg.  The author is writing about the different financial crises; the housing crisis, the financial crisis, and the near global meltdown of 2008.  He also writes about different potential peaks; peak oil, peak food production, and peak mineral production.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/24/2011

Daily Thoughts 12/24/2011

I have been steadily reading The End of Growth.  Another idea is that we are running out of resources and because of this there can be no economic growth.  The depletion of oil, mineral wealth, forests, and fisheries has caused a permanent downturn in the economy. 

There is a missing element to this which is not being discussed.  I wanted to take a break and just amuse myself a bit with the idea that there will be massive land reclamation projects in the near future.  It will be a different type of growth with a different economic and political philosophy.  I do not think growth will end.  It will change.

Reclamation Economics

There will be a point in the near future where it will become viable to reclaim large areas of land for food production, biofuel production, and as a return to natural habitats.

There is another step in green economics which I have not seen explored very well.  The economics of large scale land reclamation, pollution abatement, and using urban farming to reclaim abandoned buildings.  This is just an idea.

There is an idea called ecological engineering which is focused on reclaiming land and water.  Eventually this will be a growth industry.  Using things like Seawater Greenhouses
there will be large land reclamation projects.  There are other systems like living machines which are used for water treatment    Eventually there will be many more systems like this. 

As land becomes more valuable, industrial lands will increasingly be reclaimed.  Polluted areas will be remediated with cheaper forms of phytoremediation.  Investors have faith in Mustard Seed Farming for Biofuel Brownfield Cleanup.

Landfills will be gasified and reprocessed for their content.  Less will be wasted.  Maybe in the near future we will see large scale reclamation projects to turn desert back into farmland. 

Another thing which is happening is that urban farming is growing.  It often takes over and reclaims abandoned buildings.  This is another area where cities will slowly be reclaimed. The Rise of Urban Aquaponics Farm Fresh In Wisconsin.

The next city budget hearing is on December 29, 2011.  Hopefully, the library will do well.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Turbine and The Battery (A Blue Sky Thinking Exercise)

A little Blue Sky Thinking – The Turbine and the Battery.

I am not an engineer. I just like thinking about these things sometimes. It is a way to daydream, relieve a little pressure and let my mind wander.  I was reading The End to Growth and the book mentioned Peak Oil.  There are definite solutions, the future is not fixed.  This actually is a bit of thinking along the lines of an earlier post I wrote, A Turbine Powered Future.  Blue sky thinking is an exercise in thinking without limits where you don't tell yourself something is impossible.

Peak Oil may not be as much of a problem as people think. A transition to more alternative energy is already starting It is fundamentally about hybrid technologies. As lithium ion batteries started they first appeared in cell phones, then they appeared in computers, then in appliances, then the batteries transitioned into cars, now they are scaling to power plant size batteries. A123 Systems is already producing electric grid scale batteries.

At the same time as battery technology is advancing, newer turbine engines and hybrid car engines are being developed. This is scaling to the level of power plants. GE has a new power plant which combines energy grid scale batteries and a turbine engine for burning natural gas. Turbine engines are capable of burning almost any fuel including biofuels.  They are very flexible in this regard.

Hybrid power plants would allow a combination of both liquid fuels and electrically generated power sources to join in a single place allowing for both natural gas or biofuels and solar or wind power to be run out of the same plant. There is no reason if they are on coastlines or rivers that they would not be attached to wave power plants like the Pelamis or hydroelectric power. 

Another aspect of hybridization is the use of both and wind and solar power in the same plant or systems that combine wind and solar together with battery systems. This is going to happen more often. This is an example of a combined solar and wind power system.

Hybridization also affects coal power plants.  Many coal plants are burning biomass with  coal to generate power.  This reduces the amount of emissions.  It is a transitional technology away from coal.  Eventually, the plants could use biomass to generate steam and heat for power without coal.

As battery technology advances, batteries may eventually be powerful enough to power electric jets. The same advances used in creating the hybrid battery turbine power plant could be carried over to create hybrid biofuel electric jet engines. . This is another article, NASA and Boeing Look to Hybrid Jets for Possible Fuel Savings.

The future is not as bad as many people think it will be. Part of my thinking comes from the ideas of Lewis Mumford. During the 1960s Lewis Mumford proposed that civilization could be powered by wind and wave power.  I especially like Lewis Mumford's book Technics and Civilization.  The basis of both wind and wave power is the turbine. He thought this way of powering the world would be quieter, cleaner, and more civilized.  There is both a greater efficiency and elegrance in turbine engines than in internal combustion engines.

More Blue Sky Thinking-- Inflatable Space.

A while ago, I did a little blue sky thinking about how to use inflatables in space. One idea is that roccoons could be used to launch inflatable habitat modules into space.

While this is not a roccoon, this a link to an article about the proposed Stratolaunch aircraft for launching satellites thought it was quite interesting. It might be a way to launch inflatable habitat modules into space like the Bigelow Aerospace inflatable habitat modules.  It looks like it might be a way to build an affordable space program.

Daily Thoughts 12/23/2011

"Occupy Toronto" Library Yurt in St James Park, November 9, 2011 Photo taken by Anonymous00, Creative Commons 1.0, Universal Public Domain Designation

Daily Thoughts 12/23/2011

I have been reading more of The Life and Legend of Jay Gould.  Murray Klein is writing about Jay Gould's financial takeover of the elevated train lines in Manhattan.  There are still elevated tracks for the subway in Queens and Brooklyn.  I sometimes like looking out the windows on the way back from work at the rooftops and trees while I am riding the subway.

This morning I updated the Twitter and Facebook page for the library.  There will be as Special City Council meeting in Mount Vernon City Hall at 6:00 p.m on the budget. .  I am not going because of family obligations.  I am hoping that other people do go.

I spent some watching the Chinese Archives of World Heritage Series Confucius, Confucianism, and Confucian Temple today.  It was interesting learning about Master Kong.  Confucius taught all classes of people.

I also started reading The End of Growth Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard Heinberg.  The author is arguing that the standard models of economic growth no longer work because of the cost of resource extraction and environmental damage.  His argument is one of limits to growth.

Of course if you are future oriented like I am, you might see that in another fifty or sixty years from now when people start mining asteroids and bringing back helium-3 from the moon, the limits might change.  But then, most likely I won't be around to see these things happen if they do happen.

Web Bits

Check an Ebook Out from the Library

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/22/2011

Illustration de la couverture de la revue Les Soirées littéraires du 25 avril 1880 Paris

Daily Thoughts 12/22/2011

This morning I went to the Board of Estimates Meeting in Mount Vernon, New York for the budget.  It was at 10:00 a.m..  I was the only person there from the public.  I stayed for about ten minutes. Then the Board of Estimate went into executive session.  It was an interesting experience.

There is another Budget Meeting tomorrow, December 23 at 6:00 p.m. at Mount Vernon City Hall.
 Please go.

The night before, I was at the Mount Vernon Public Library Board of Trustees Meeting.  There was a lot being discussed.  The Amnesty has started out well.  We have gotten $500 worth of lost material back so far.  If you know anybody who has lost library material encourage them to come in and bring in their books.

There was a lot to hear about.  We are planning a number of events including the Kenneth C. Davis talk on January 12, 2012 and other events.  We spent some time discussing the Central Library District allocations as the central branch.

I will be working on Saturday,, January 7, 2012 as part of the process of opening the first Saturday of the month.  There are also a number of programs in the works coming up.

The Trustees meeting room was packed with people.  It was nice seeing some of my colleagues who had left.  

This morning, I was originally planning to go to the dentists.  I had just stopped by work because it was near the dentists office.  I didn't originally plan on going to the Board of Estimates meeting.  I also spent some time talking to people, checked the displays, and looked over the gift books.  I bought a book, Man Made UFOs 1944-1994 by Renato Vasco and David Hatcher Childress.  I find UFO books to be an entertaining mix of goofiness and speculation.  I rather like the pictures of foo fighters, early German ramjet planes, flying wings, and strange disc shaped craft.

I also finished reading The Shock Doctrine.  The writing is very interesting.  Naomi Klein manages to express fascinating ideas like plutonomy, corporatism, and disaster capitalism.  Often the book has kind of extreme praise for the left.  I am not that fond of South American politics.  However, she also describes how corporations are increasingly becoming intertwined with government.  The reader gets to learn about private contractors like Blackwater, Bechtel, and Halliburton and how they have changed our government for the worse in Iraq and places like New Orleans in the United States.

I find myself thinking that there are different answers to our problems than the left is describing.  There has been almost no attempt recently to break up business monopolies and trusts by the United States government. We do not see the commerce department going after giant corporations like Amazon, Google, Halliburton, or Chevron to get them to be broken up into smaller entities.  These giant entities are becoming increasingly intertwined with the United States government.  There is a kind of symbiosis between oversize corporations and oversize government.

Poverty has become an industry where people can get rent to own furniture, layaway items for the holidays, money orders, go to the pawn shop, get credit card counseling and personal bankruptcy, get a pay day loan, buy their clothes from a thrift shop, and live on cheap fast food.

I read this as part of the Occupy Education book list.  I have noticed that almost all of the books they are suggesting are negative.  The books like Griftopia are about how terrible things are.  It is clear to me that Occupy Wall Street is more about protest than actively seeking solutions. There needs to be a little more focus on problem solving.  More focus on reform.

Web Bits

O-Bits Blog: Occupy Wall Street Library

The Struggle For Occupy Wall Street Archives

Police Arrest Protesters at sit-in at Detroit Library Branch
There may be more of a connection than many people think between Occupy Wall Street and libraries.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/21/2011

Therese Schwartze, The Artists Husband, by 1918

Daily Thoughts 12/21/2011

I updated the Twitter and Facebook pages for the library.  I also am planning to go to the Board Meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m.  It should be interesting.

I have been reading more of The Shock Doctrine.  There is a profound irony in Gorbachev trying to turn Russia into a "socialist" beacon based on the Scandinavian model.  Part of the irony stems from the majority of the Scandinavian countries professing neutrality in world affairs.  Neutrality means that there would be no help from the Scandinavian countries to adapt their economic model.  Scandinavia as a region does invest in foreign countries, but they do it quietly without fanfare to make money.

I am finding the book to be quite interesting.  There are a lot of claims about how terrible the IMF and the World Bank are.  The author is claiming that they take much of their philosophy from conservative institutions like the Chicago School of Economics, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and people like George Soros. I think this is a bit biased.  The think tanks on the left also influence the World Bank and the IMF.

I put the book, The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser on hold.

Web Bits

Drawn and Quarterly Teams up With Kobo to Release Digital Graphic Novels
Drawn and Quarterly is known for producing comics lit-- high quality stories.  This is a little different.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/20/2011

Desk in the library at Zutphen, 1894

Daily Thoughts 12/20/2011

I have been reading more of The Shock Doctrine.  A lot of it so far is about economic manipulation of South American countries by the Chicago school of economics and large multinational companies in the 1970s.  Some of it is very strange and hard to follow.  I don't buy into either socialism or free market economics that much so a lot of the assertions in this section of the book seem irrational.

What does make sense is the author, Naomi Klein's assertion that in democracies that the lower and middle classes opt to vote for programs that improve education, support social services, and protect jobs and industries.  This makes  pure free market capitalism unworkable in democratic countries.  It also leads to large scale protests and social unrest when there are economic downturns.

Another argument that Naomi Klein is bringing forward is that it is possible to have market reform without civil rights and freedoms.  China has reformed its markets and so has Russia, but they they have not increased civil liberties.

I had a chance to watch several movies that I wanted to see; Cars 2, Megamind, Stargate Universe, and The King's Speech.  The King's Speech was an excellent film.  It is well worth watching.  It was a nice way to relax.  It was a nice break from reading.

Web Bits

How Much Should an Ebook Cost?
I find Seth Godin interesting.

Kruthof's "Installation of 4000 Books."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/19/2011

German school of the XVI century Book Oil on wood, 70.2 x 65 Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Daily Thoughts 12/19/2011

I spent a little bit of time this morning updating the library Facebook and Twitter account.  I got a call this morning to see if I wanted to purchase School Library Journal.  It circulates at my job.  I have been quoted in School Library Journal once. However, I have never been quoted in Library Journal.  You would think it would be the opposite because I work with adults mostly.  I also sometimes work with teenagers though.

I have been reading more of The Shock Doctrine.  Something that bothers me about these kind of books is the often distorted language.  Until I started reading some of the more leftists books, I had never heard the term neoliberal.  Apparently Milton Friedman is considered neoliberal..  It is the kind of political language which creates words like proledic and neoconservative.  Political words of extreme opposition and utopian ideology.

I am also realizing that trying to force utopian ideals into existing structures often causes terrible things to happen.  Pure ideologies have a tendency towards "creative destruction".  Oddly enough, when pure ideologies are applied to new economic structures they can be very beneficial.

Paypal was the result of libertarian ideals being applied to small financial transactions and Ebay was an attempt to create a "perfect market". These of course were divorced from existing political institutions which is a major plus.Of course if you are like I am and are into science fiction you hope one day people will be able to go off and start their own countries with little interference.  I am going off on a tangent.  A bit on sea steading.

 I watched the short class on Pitching Ideas and Products to Executives.  Being convincing is always helpful.

Web Bits

World Book Night April 23, 2012

I, Curator

Library Advocacy Store on Facebook

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/18/20111

Marguerite Gerard, Lady Reading In An Interior between 1795 and 1800
Daily Thoughts 12/18/2011

I have been reading The Shock Doctrine.  It starts with Latin American leftism versus exported Chicago School style capitalism.  Part of this argument is a statement against laissez faire capitalism as embraced by Milton Friedman which tends to concentrate wealth upward and create a large pool of lower class people.  It also tries to equate torture; electroshock and sensory deprivation with laissez faire capitalism. As part of this comparison it describes in very left terms how business is exported to dictatorships from the United States. I am not completely convinced about some of the arguments. The book tends to preach rather than convince.  It seems written for people who already agree with the authors viewpoint.

The book also defines corporatism as the combination of a police state with corporations and trade unions to form a kind of totalitarian rule. This is the darker side of capitalism.

One of the things which the book does do successfully is acknowledge there is more than one type of capitalism.  I find John Maynard Keynes much more appealing than Milton Friedman.  There are a lot of different forms of capitalism. 

I also read some more of The Life and Legend of Jay Gould.  I am reading about how Jay Gould broke away from the Union Pacific and started to form his own railroad group.  The book successfully shows how industrialists often are interested in controlling companies as much as making money.  It becomes a kind of chess game where the pieces are different stocks and corporations.

Updated Press Release for Signifcant Changes at the Mount Vernon Public Library

Web Bits

Read in at Occupy 2.0
Another Library Journal article.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/17/2011

Alexander Kanoldt: Stilleben mit Büchern und Krügen, Öl auf Leinwand, 85 x 65.5 cm, 1920

Daily Thoughts 12/17/2011

I updated the Twitter and Facebook for the library.  There are still negotiations going on over the budget.  Hopefully things will go well for us. Please support libraries.

I read some more of The Life and Legend of Jay Gould.  The book discusses the ties between the railroads and the telegraph.  At one point Jay Gould worked with Thomas Edison.  He also had a rivalry with Cornelius Vanderbilt.

I plan on going to the board meeting on December 21, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. for the library.

I started reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.  I am finding it rather odd. It comes across as muckraking progressivism versus a kind of rampant free market fundamentalism which the author, Naomi Klein is opposed to.  The writing is quite bombastic with strong statements. There is very little that seems factually neutral.  It is very much a right wing versus left wing book.  Her main target initially seems to be Milton Friedman who I am not a fan of.   Because I think of myself as independent thinker in many ways, some of the statements by Naomi Klein are puzzling to me.

Web Bits

Austerity's Attack on Knowledge Assaulting Libraries
A British view on libraries.

Take This Book: The People's Library At Occupy Wall Street
This is a Kickstarter Project designed to crowd fund a book.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/16/2011

Bibliotheksinterieur mit lesender Magd. Öl auf Hartfaseroplatte, signiert, 23 x 18,5 cm, 1915

Daily Thoughts 12/16/2011

This morning I read some more of the Life and Legend of Jay Gould.  Quite a bit of the book is about railroads.  Jay Gould invested heavily in the Union Pacific and the Erie railroads.  It makes for a ruthless story of board room intrigue, union busting, legal chicanery, political lobbying, price manipulation, and business excess.  It is very much about the roots of American capitalism.

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook account.  I also checked the displays and gift books.  I also spent some time reading the latest Forecast from Baker and Taylor, the BWI Titletalk catalog, and the latest copy of the New York Times Bestseller list.  One of our patrons challenged me to read Suicide of A Superpower by Patrick J. Buchanan who I am not fond of.  I plan on doing this.

I also plan on reading Never Would have Made It the Rise of Tyler Perry by Melvin Child.  It is coming out in January.

I showed one of my colleagues the service today.  I also spent some time clearing my desk off because I am going to be off next week from work.

I decided to read the books on the Occupy Educated primer reading list.  I already have read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan which is about eating organic, unprocessed, locally produced food as well as eating less meat.
I checked out The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein.

On the way home, I read some more of The Life and Legend of Jay Gould.  It has become clear at this point in the biography that Jay Gould's speculations are about more than money.  He is clearly trying to build a lasting business empire which will carry on after he is gone. 

Web Bits

Best Independent Bookstores on Twitter

Special Merchandise: When Is a Bookstore Not a Bookstore?

Occupy UCONN Takes the Library During Finals

HackLibSchool On Occupy Wall Street: Part II

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/15/2011

Interior with poppies and reading woman (Lizzy Hohlenberg), 1905
Daily Thoughts 12/15/2011

On the way to work, I read some of The Life and Legend of Jay Gould by Maury Klein.  It is a book about ruthless ambition.  Jay Gould was considered the wickedest of the 19th century robber barons by many.  His financial transactions and business dealings are legendary for their double dealing and trickery.  The book describes a man driven by greed, absolutely loyal to his family, and continuously driven to self- improvement.  I am reading this book for the biography book club.

Today has been a quiet, steady day.  I updated the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library.  I also checked the displays.  We got our desk calendar for the new year yesterday.  I printed up some flyers for events that are coming up.  I am also working on the January, February schedule for programs.

Web Bits

The 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries In The World

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/14/2011

Depiction of Joseph reading to the Pharaoh. Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1878 Ebers, From the book, "Egypt: Descriptive, Historical, and Picturesque." Volume 1. Cassell & Company, Limited: New York, 1878. p 096b.

Daily Thoughts 12/14/2011

This morning, I updated the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library.  I also checked the displays, checked the gift books, looked over the flyers, and printed some more bookmarks. 

We spent some time discussing the computers. Techsoup has some very good deals on software for libraries , especially for Microsoft products.

The computer lab is going to be open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for academic use.  More people are coming in for the lab lately.  A lot of them are from the computer classes on Tuesday nights.  We are installing Open Office in addition to Microsoft Office.

I am reading The Life and Legend of Jay Gould by Maury Kleint.  Jay Gould was known for being a robber baron and industrialist on the railroads in the 19th century.  We are going to read biographies of people who worked with the railroads as part of the biography book club for next month.

I put together the beginnings of a book display on trains, subways, and trolleys.  There is some information on old railroad lines in Westchester that have since stopped operating in the Local History Room which I hope to look at.

Significant Changes at the Mount Vernon Public Library

Web Bits

Ebooks Shmee Books; Readers Return to the Stores

For Amazon Lashes and Backlashes
Is it alright to be ambivalent?

A "New" Digital Divide
I like to think there are a number of divides:
1) Access to computers and computer training.
2) Access to smart devices-- smart phones, tablets, digital cameras
3) Access to broadband internet and wifi
4) Access to electronic content-- databases, ebooks, and other electronic content like music and film.

Each of these divides adds to the ability to interact in the increasingly digital world.  I keep on trying to convince myself to buy a smart phone and a tablet.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/13/2011

The Lithographer, by Louis Prang, 1874.

Daily Thoughts 12/13/2011

This morning, I updated the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library.  I like to put all the weekly events up on Sunday or Monday.

On the way to work, I finished reading Louis Prang: Color Lithographer Giant of a Man by Dr. Larry Freeman.  Louis Prang created popular prints for the home during the 19th century.  He used a process called chromolithography which is a multi-color system of lithography.  He is best known as the father of the American greeting card industry.  There was quite a bit on both Christmas cards and Valentines Day cards.  I was reading this book for the Biography Book Club which is today, Tuesday, December 13, 2011 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I also read some of The Sixth Gun which is a graphic novel set in the old west with supernatural elements.  I rather like the depictions of gunfights against the walking dead.  The graphic novel has some excellent color artistry by Bill Crabtree.  I read both the first and second volume of the graphic novel.  The second volume, The Sixth Gun: Crossroads was even better than the first.  The setting in 19th century New Orleans was terrific. There were gunfights against evil spirits from the swamps.  It had a voodoo element to it with giant snakes, alligators, zombies, cat people, and loas.

We had a staff meeting this morning which went very well.

The Biography Book Club met today from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  We talked about a number of different people including Louis Prang, Charlie Chaplin, Irving Berlin, and Maulana Karenga.  It was a fairly interesting meeting.

I also opened the lab today for the Intermediate Computer Classes this evening and made sure the computers were ready.

There was a press release this afternoon letting people know that the library is searching for a new director, we are open on the first Saturday of the month in January through June, and there is an amnesty for lost items.

On the way home, I read some more of The Doctor and the Kid A Weird Western by Mike Resnick.  It creates a mythical past, with Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Thomas Edison, Geronimo, and other larger than life characters.  The magic and steampunk make the story interesting, the characters drive the story.

Web Bits

Carnegie Libraries in the United States

Monday, December 12, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/12/2011

Yushima shōkintei Print shows women serving tea to men in a tearoom, drinking tea, reading, and writing; view of Edo through opening in rear. Date Created/Published: [between 1835 and 1837]
Daily Thoughts 12/12/2011

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library.  Two graphic novels came in for me to read, The Sixth Gun Book 1: Cold Dead Fingers and The Sixth Gun Book 2: Crossroads.  The graphic novel is a weird western with zombies and evil dead things.

I put the book Who's in charge? : free will and the science of the brain by Michael S. Gazzinga.  It was reviewed in the latest Library Journal.  I am waiting for funds to order material.

I checked the gift books and the current events display this afternoon.  I usually look through Yahoo News to see what are the latest topics to pick out books for the current events display.

I am reading Louis Prang: Color Lithographer Giant of a Man by Dr. Larry Freeman.  Louis Prang is considered the father of the American holiday card.  We have our Biography Book Club tomorrow and we are reading about someone associate with the holidays.  I rather like greeting cards, paper, bookmarks, stamps, and other ephemera.  I find them interesting.

Web Bits

Occupy Wall Street Library Hopes to Rebuild in Duarte Square

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/11/2011

[Bertram Goodman], ca. 1939 / Sidney M. Friend, photographer. Photographic print : 1 item : b&w ; 26 x 21 cm. Photographic Division collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942.
Archives of American Art, Federal Art Project, Part of WPA (Works Progress Administration) Public Domain.

Daily Thoughts 12/11/2011

Today feels like a quiet day before a storm.  I spent a little time updating the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library.  I don't use the Bookcalendar account for twitter as much as I used to because of the library account.

I also finished reading Back To Work by Bill Clinton.  The second half of the book is a prescription for how to get people back to work.  A lot of it is focused on energy efficiency and alternative energy.  There are some very interesting ideas sprinkled about.  One of them is that the United States has to start manufacturing and exporting a lot more products.  It is not enough to be a service economy.  I agree with this strongly. 

I did not get a whole lot of reading done until tonight.  I did the laundry, went shopping, and did a variety of every day chores instead.

I spent some more time on watching Email Essentials. There is six hours of training in the video class.

I also started reading The Doctor and the Kid by Mike Resnick.   It is a weird western with steampunk flourishes and slightly inexplicable magic.  There is some light humor and a bit of irony to make the story entertaining.  It is the kind of book which lets you relax and not think too much and enjoy the story.  There are numerous references to dime novels throughout the book.

Web Bits

12 Dozen Places to Educate Yoursefl Online For Free

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/10/2011

Master prints. Brooklyn Public Library (Ingersoll Memorial), Prospect Park Plaza, New York, entrance detail  Date Created/Published: photographed 1941 Jan. 13. Part of: Gottscho-Schleisner Collection (Library of Congress) Gottscho-Schleisner Collection (Library of Congress) Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-4858 (color film copy slide)

Daily Thoughts 12/10/2011

This morning I updated the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library.

I have been reading more of Back to Work by Bill Clinton.  There is a quote which is very important, "the chances of earning more than your parents are greater in Finland, Sweden,  and Norway than the United States."  (P.105) If you read the figures on our standing in the world in this book you see how Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, and the other Scandinavian countries are eclipsing the United States economically.  If you include other northern countries like Canada you see an emerging pattern of economic hegemony.  Brazil, Russia, India, and China are not the economic forces that are doing better than the United States.  There is another quote that is equally important, "On overall competitiveness, the latest World Economic Forum ranks the United States fifth, highest of any large economy, behind Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, and Finland, just ahead of Germany, followed by the Netherlands and Denmark." (P.109).  The United States needs to be competitive with the top countries, our education system and economic system need to improve.

I spent some time this afternoon on watching the video Effective Email.  The teacher was talking about HTML email.  I also learned about the bcc function-- blind carbon copy, something I have not used before.

There is a recent article in the Mount Vernon Inquirer about the library director leaving.  The article is on 12/10/2011.

I put two books on hold, The Vultures Picnic A Greg Palast Investigation which is about ties between oil companies and financial companies and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which is a fantasy novel.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/9/2011

John White Alexander: The Printing Press [showing Johannes Gutenberg] (from the cycle "The Evolution of the Book") Library of Congress (Jefferson Building), Washington, D.C., Public Domain

Daily Thoughts 12/9/2011

This morning, I am thinking of the cities proposed budget.  The key here is that it is proposed and there is still time to negotiate, debate, and advocate.  The city has a public hearing on the budget today, Friday, December 9, at 7:00 p.m. in Mount Vernon City Hall, Council Chambers.  I will definitely be at the hearing.  In the budget there is a $300,000 cut proposed for the library this year.  Last year there was a $500,000 cut.  The proposed budget is $3.2 million.

It is another late night.  Last night, we had the Mount Vernon Writers Network at the library.  There is now a website  .  There are images of three of our members books on the site.  We spent some time discussing a logo for the group.  We also had a new person come to the meeting, Robert Briggs who wrote 

We also have been working a little more on our website.  The logo has been updated and the library is planning a complete site redesign soon.  This was part of the Technology Committee meeting on Tuesday night. 

I have been having a lot of late nights at the library lately.  Tonight is another late night.  I worked late on Wednesday as well.  It has been a challenging, but rewarding week.

This morning, I finished reading Free Ride How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business, and How The Culture Business Can Fight Back.  The thing which bothered me about this book is that culture is viewed purely as a business in this book.  There is little or nothing about culture as education, or culture in libraries, or culture in government.  It is also completely focused on mass culture or mass media and has practically nothing on alternative culture.  If you are looking for a business book, this is worth reading.  It is not as concerned with the arts.

I also started the book, Back to Work by Bill Clinton which is basically a book on how to restart the economy.  He is focusing on how to use both government and business together to help the United States recover from the recession.

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook account.  I also watched a bit of a video on called Writing Effective Email.  In addition, I looked at a couple of websites in Drupal by other libraries to see how they compared with our website.

I made some calls to local radio stations for Kenneth C. Davis to see if he could be interviewed.  Kenneth C. Davis is going to be at the library on January 12, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

I am looking at the website of Leonard Marcus who is an author who was born and educated in Mount Vernon, New York.  There is a picture of The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer annotated by Leonard Marcus.

City Council Meeting

I was at the city council meeting for the budget hearing.  The meeting started at 7:00 p.m.. Some people mentioned that having a budget hearing on a Friday night was a bit unusual.  Six people spoke for the library including our union president, two of the board of trustees, and several of our regular library patrons.  The trustees warned that the cut of $300,000 could shut the library down at the beginning of the year.

Our union president talked about how we needed Saturday hours and more coverage of the building.  Patrons wanted to come to the library on the weekends.

People talked about a variety of different issues on the library.  There was a nice reminder that libraries improve property values and not having one would lower property values considerably.

I talked about how the trustees were visiting much more often and showing more dedication than before.   They often come by and spend time in the library.

I also spoke about how we needed to modernize the library; there was a need for more than just computers, people also needed E-readers, tablet computers, an excellent website, wireless access, and computer training.  There is more than just a digital divide there is a device divide and an access divide to modern technology.  We needed to have funds to have a modern library.

The meeting ran for a little over an hour.  One of our patrons who is also a friend of the library talked about how important it was for culture, it was like her second home.

There was also quite a bit about the importance of the youth bureau.

Other people had various issues with the city budget.  There were questions about the accountability of the city and increases in taxes.

Web Bits

Occupy Textbooks:  Dropout and Try Something New

A People's Digital Library and Prefigurative Politics Part 2

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/8/2011

"Dame mit Buch" (Priesterin mit Buch?). Um 1900. Öl auf Karton. 49,5 x 63 cm

Daily Thoughts 12/8/2011

This morning, I checked the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library.  We are slowly getting better control over the library website.  The logo was changed this morning and few adjustments were made  to the site.

On the way to work, I read some more of Free Ride.  Robert Levine is writing about why many newspapers with pay wall sites are doing far better than newspapers who have completely free content on the internet.  He is making a case for paying for the news online.  He derides the Huffington Post and praises the Wall Street Journal online.

The book, Back to Work by Bill Clinton has come in for me to read.  It should be interesting.

This afternoon, we are having the Mount Vernon Writers Network in Aisle 7 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  On the way to work, I stopped by to get some snacks for the event.  They are discussing a new logo for the Mount Vernon Writers Network as well as bylaws for the organization.  There should be more local authors coming tonight. 

I have been thinking a little bit more about what I will say tomorrow at the budget hearing.  Some of it will definitely be focused on computers as well as electronic devices like tablets, ebooks, and smart phones.  There is not just a digital divide between those who have little access to computers, there is also a device divide where many people have even less access to devices like E-readers and tablet computers.  It is not just access to computers that is important, there also issues surrounding training for computers.

Web Bits

Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries?

ALA Marginalia-- Blog Archive-- Happy Mutants -- rejoice-- ALA Boing Boing is coming

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/7/2011

Grossmutter beim Bibel lesen. Aquarell auf Papier. 33,5 x 23,5 cm., Albert Anker by 1910

Daily Thoughts 12/7/2011

This morning, I spent some time updating the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library.

This is a link to the proposed 2012 Mount Vernon city budget.  There is some information on the library in the budget.  Please support the Mount Vernon Public Library.  Public hearing regarding budget Friday, Dec. 9th at 7pm in City Council Chambers at City Hall.  I plan on going and speaking.

I read some more of Free Ride on the train to work.  The author has been writing about many of the important figures in the recent copyright wars.  Robert Levine has written bits on Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow two people who I find very interesting.  He also some coverage of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Creative Commons which are also very relevant topics.

I put the book, The Doctor and the Kid: A Weird Western by Mike Resnick on hold.  I am quite partial to weird westerns and steampunk westerns.  It was in the latest issue of Booklist.

I spent some time looking through Munsey's  to see if there are any free ebooks worth adding, there are a few Robert E. Howard and Agatha Christie titles that look good.

I spent some time working on the January/February program schedule.  I am trying to make it work.

I spent some time on the way home thinking about what I was going to say at the budget hearing.  I am thinking that I will focus on how it will affect the patrons who come to the library.

Web Bits

Students 'reclaim' UCSD Library
I guess it is impolitic to use the word occupy.

#Occupyeducated Primer Reading List

Beyond The Bullet Points: Political Not Partisan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/6/2011

Franz Nolken, Max Reger, 1913

Daily Thoughts 12/6/2011

I spent some time updating the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library this morning.

The flyer for the Kenneth C. Davis author event on January 12, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. is in the Mount Vernon Inquirer.  It is always good to see positive publicity.

On the way to work, I read some more of Free Ride.  The book does an excellent job of explaining how the Digital Millenium Copyright Act basically did not take into account what the public wanted.  The copyright act was basically a debate between different industries like the music and electronic industries.  

I also spent some time discussing technology with a colleague in preparation for the Technology Committee tonight.  We discussed things like the website, flash drives for patrons, software, and wireless access.  I also spent some time talking with another colleague from the Westchester Library System about contacts for programming focused on the computer lab.

I am thinking about the budget hearing on Friday which should be very interesting.  There is a proposed budget given to us on 12/6/2011.  However, it is not finalized.  It is something to think about.  Maybe things will change at the hearing.

I read some more of Free Ride on the way home.  It reveals how ideologically divided people are about copyright.  It is clear that a lot of very large companies would like to weaken copyright for their own purposes.

Web Bits 

Library As Incubator Project

Monday, December 5, 2011

Daily Thoughts 12/5/2011

Raja Ravi Varma, A Student, Painting of a member of a royal family in his study room.

Daily Thoughts 12/5/2011

This morning, I finished reading Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil.  He includes an 8 week program focused on creating positive mental health.  Towards the end of the book, he also describes how having a strong social network, gratitude, and charity help create better mental health.
I also read some more of Zahra's Paradise which at times can be quite brutal.  It is definitely a mature story.  It tells a lot about repression and fear in Iran.

This morning, I updated the libraries Twitter and Facebook account.  I also checked the gift books to make sure they were in order.  In addition, I spent some time looking at programming.  We are going to have someone talking about foreclosure in January. 

We are meeting tomorrow for the Technology Committee.

On the way home, I finished reading Zahra's Paradise.  It was a very interesting graphic novel.  There was a glossary, afterword, and a bit on the 2009 Iranian presidential elections.  A lot of the book was about protest and dealing with corrupt government bureaucracy.  This story would be very much tied in with the Arab Spring or the series of revolts around the arab world in Syria, Libya, and Egypt.  There are some note on how computers and cell phones very much change things.  I found this to be a very different graphic novel.  There is a website at

I also started reading Free Ride How Digital Parasites Are Destroying The Culture Business, And How The Culture Business Can Fight Back by Robert Levine.   Robert Levine starts out bemoaning the loss of mainstream television like Seinfeld, Friends, and Cheers which I feel no great loss for.  If bands like KISS are what he considers culture, then there is no great loss if some of the white elephants and doddering old fashioned television programming go away.  Robert Levine successfully reminds me that the long tail of greater variety on the internet with the greater ability to choose what I want to listen to and view is better than the walled gardens of 1980s and 1990s television. 

Web Bits

The New Digital Divide

Statement by Jeffrey W. Cannell, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education and Acting State Librarian, New York State Education Department

This is important because of the focus on the internet.   Libraries are increasingly the only place which poorer people can get internet access.  Many people come in to apply for jobs and learn basic computing at public libraries.