Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/31/2011 (Poetry, Adult Summer Reading)

"Le premier livre des cachets, marques et monogrammes" (inside title page, p. vi)by George Auriol (Paris: Librairie centrale des beaux-arts, 1901)

Daily Thoughts 3/31/2011

This morning, I spent a little more time reading The Wise Man's Fear. 

Today, I checked the displays, updated the Twitter account, and spent a little bit of time making sure that the display for old photographs of the library was in order.  I also put up a display for National Poetry Month which is in April.  On April 14, 2011 we are doing a Writers Networking event from 6:30-8:00 p.m. focused on poetry.  I also picked out a few poems for the Poem In Your Pocket event on April 14, 2011.

We had a meeting this afternoon focusing on summer programming.  We are going to have an Adult Summer Reading program.  I am thinking about two events for the program, a Scrabble hour, and a Lunch Hour Book Chat where we talk about books which we are reading.  This is part of a program where we sign up people to read books.  At the end we have a celebration where we raffle off a gift basket and some books for people who participated in the program.  Last year The Friends of the Library helped us with this.

This afternoon, I printed up some more flyers for a few programs in the library.  I also spent some time typing the paper surveys into the computer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/30/2011 (The Wise Man's Fear)

[Main Reading Room under construction in the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building]
Shows circular central desk and reading room desks.  Date Created/Published: [between ca. 1880 and 1896]

Daily Thoughts 3/30/2011

I finished watching Star Wars yesterday and started watching The Empire Strikes Back.  They have a very different feel to them than when I first saw them. The story is very basic.

I also have been reading more of The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  It has a beautiful quality to it.  The fantasy has elements of intrigue, romance, games, music, and poetry.  It is not swords and sorcery.  The story is quite sophisticated.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/28/2011 (library photographs, The Wise Man's Fear)

Book jacket with engraving of E. T. A. Hoffmann, Lebens-Ansichten des Katers Murr, third edition, Berlin 1855, volume 2. The title is nearly identical to that of the 1st edition; the jackets of both volumes are identical besides the caption “Erster Band.” and “Zweiter Band.” The engraving showing the learned tom cat Murr is based on an original design from Hoffmann. Hoffmann also gives a description of exactly this picture in his preface to the 1st volume.

Daily Thoughts 3/28/2011

I read some more of The Wise Man's Fear this morning.  I like that the main character was a student at a university for magic.  It adds a nice touch of intrigue.

This morning, I put up some photographs of the library from the local history room in the rotunda.  We house different exhibits in the rotunda.  I also put in a few banners which explain what the photographs are.  We have scanned in a number of the photographs and the senior clerk who works with computers is captioning them right now on Flickr.  It is very interesting to look at.

I also updated the Twitter account, entered some surveys and checked the displays this morning.  This afternoon, I checked on the gift books.  There was one I added.

I placed a hold on the novella, The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi; it is part of a book with another novella, The Executioness by Tobias Buckell.  I also placed a hold on a short story collection, Metatropolis edited by John Scalzi.  The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones also looks execellent.  It is a story set in the 8th century middle east.

The graphic novel, Richard Stark's Parker The Outfit adapted by Darwyn Cooke came in for me to read.  Richard Stark was a pseudonym for Donald Westlake when he was writing his hard boiled crime novels.  The previous Richard Stark graphic novel, The Hunter won the Eisner Award in 2008.

I took a few minutes to look through the Mount Vernon Public Library Anniversary Calendar 1896-1946 which has a number of captions describing photographs we are planning on showing on Flickr.  The calendar was produced for the fiftieth anniversary charter of the Mount Vernon Public Library by the University of the State of New York, March 18, 1896.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/27/2011 (The Wise Man's Fear)

Ishiyakushi  Print shows an elderly traveler or monk reading banners hanging above a watering trough; his hat is on the ground behind him. Date Created/Published: 1804.

Daily Thoughts 3/27/2011

I am taking a little break this weekend.  Right now, I am reading The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  I am also watching the original Star Wars trilogy on video.  I am enjoying reading The Wise Man's Fear.  The book is on the Locus Bestseller list as well as the New York Times Bestseller list.  It is fantasy. Most fantasy books do not make it there.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/25/2011 (The Wise Man's Fear)

Lesende im Scherenstuhl. Um 1900. Aquarell und Kohlezeichnung. 69 x 57,5 cm, by Max Hendricke.

Daily Thoughts 3/25/2011

Today, I started reading Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man's Fear.  I rather like that the main character studies both alchemy and music at the university where he is learning magic.

This morning, I checked the displays, updated the Twitter account, and did some more tabulating for the survey.  We have 147 surveys that were brought in directly by the library and 44 that were sent in via the website so far.

We are working on putting together an annotated Flickr! gallery of historical photographs of our library.  I already printed up a few color pictures to put in one of the display cases.

Today has been slow and steady.  I took some time to clean my desk and update my phone book.  I also checked out the book, Getting More How To Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals In The Real World by Stuart Diamond.

The March 17, 2011 New York Times Book Review has a review of The Information by James Gleick.  I liked reading the book.  It was information as the underpinning of how the universe works from the positive and negative spin of electrons, the code in dna, to the zeros and ones in computers.

Hopefully, I will get a chance to go to a Meetup to tour The Swann Galleries in Manhattan with the New York Library Club and the New York Librarians Meetup on April 5, 2011.  It would be a nice break and a chance to see something interesting.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/24/2011 (webinar, library photographs)

Wonder Book For Girls & Boys by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1892,  Illustrated by Walter Crane

Daily Thoughts 3/24/2011

I finished reading The Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku.  It has a very positive feel to it.  The author reminds us to not let go of the ability to constantly invent new technology and research new science, it is extremely important for our future.
We had a webinar this morning in the computer lab, AARP's Living Well in Westchester Webinar Series. It was focusing on affordable housing and assisted living for seniors.

Today has been steady.  I made some calls to schedule workshops on different subjects during the next several months including wills, foreclosure, and energy efficiency, all subjects which I think there might be some interest in.

I also spent some more time looking at different photographs of the library.  In the early 1900s we had a fireplace in the childrens room which is a bit different.  There is even an advertisement to buy a brick for the fireplace to support the library.  We also have pictures of a doll case display from 1970 which is intriguing.

Web Bits

Your “Library” Doesn’t Participate in Social Media, But Your People Do – A TTW Guest Post by Dr. Troy Swanson“library”-doesn’t-participate-in-social-media-but-your-people-do-a-ttw-guest-post-by-dr-troy-swanson/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TameTheWeb+(Tame+The+Web)

The Voices of Librarians and the DPLA (Digital Public Library of America)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/23/2011 (Books)

Young and old visit the library on the parkway Poster promoting libraries, showing a family going to the library.  Date Created/Published: Pennsylvania : WPA Federal Art Project, [1936 or 1937]

Daily Thoughts 3/23/2011

This morning, I checked the Twitter feed and tabulated some more surveys.  The surveys are interesting to read.  We also opened the computer lab in the rotunda so people could search for jobs.  It went quite well.  There are two handouts we created for internet job search.

I also spent some time looking at identified pictures from the libraries history.  We have many pictures from 1938 as well as some pictures from the childrens' room in 1909.  I especially like a picture of the old bookmobile from 1940.

Esmeralda Santiago has a novel coming out in July called Conquistadora which is about plantation life in Puerto Rico.  I very much enjoyed her autobiography, When I was a Puerto Rican.  Also John Scalzi is coming out with an authorized version of a book called Fuzzy Nation which is based on H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy books.  Another novel which looks interesting is Embassytown by China Mieville which is about alien contact and language.

Sometimes you see things which are a little funny.  There is a new children's picture book which features surfing called Dude: Fun With Dude and Betty by Lisa Pliscou, illustrated by Tom Dunne.  The title caught my attention along with the review in the March 21, 2011 Publishers Weekly.  It is supposed to be a spoof of the Dick and Jane books.  Another title which caught my attention is Pink Boots and a Machete:  My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer by Mireya Mayor in the March 15, 2011 Booklist.  These are both wonderful examples of how a title can catch a readers attention.  There is a third title which caught my attention as well, this is something I might read; Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, and the American Story by Howard Means.

The March 15, 2011 Booklist is a graphic novels issue.  I put the the graphic book, Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke on hold.  It looks to be a noire graphic novel.

Web Bits

Masterpiece Theater Book and Film Guide

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/22/2011 (The Physics of the Future, Budgets)

Sproatt and Rolph was a firm of architects based in Toronto; the bookplate (Ex Libris) is dated 1915. It shows a woman kneeling with a blueprint or plan of a building which is being constructed behind her, in the Gothic Revival style.

Daily Thoughts 3/22/2011

I read some more of The Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku on the train.  He is writing about advances in medicine which will extend life expectancy.  He describes things like nanomedicine, restricted diets for reducing aging, regrowing organs using stem cells, and genetic medicine.  It is very much a survey of different technologies that are being developed broken into sections.  There are sections on computers, artificial intelligence, health, nanotechnology, energy, and other subjects.  Right now, I am reading about nanotechnology.

This morning, I updated the Twitter account, checked the displays, and tabulated some more of the surveys.  I also reformatted the author lists for African American Novelists and African American Mystery writers.

I was reading Library Journal today.  They are writing about budget cuts.  It looks like there will be both federal cuts to libraries as well as New York state cuts to libraries.  I imagine there will also be cuts at the county level as well.  There are more proposed cuts to libraries in the five boroughs of New York city.  It seems that there are endless cuts.

I did some more weeding in the mezzanine today.  I plan on possibly scanning some old photographs of the library from the local history room to help create a Flickr gallery of the libraries history.

Web Bits

Plan to eliminate Statistical Abstracts of the United States and County and City Data book in US in 2012

Monday, March 21, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/21/2011 (Poetry, Sony Reader Program)

Edmund Körner "In der Klosterbibliothek". Öl auf Leinwand. Signiert "E. Körner. Dresden" 110 x 89 cm c1910

Daily Thoughts 3/21/2011

This morning, I checked the displays and am working on the marketing material for the Sony Reader program for libraries. I already put out a couple tent cards that are available on the website. We are currently putting together a poster to go above the sample reader station.

I also spent some time on the surveys and updated the Twitter account this afternoon.  The book, The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss came in for me to read.  It is a fantasy novel.

I did some more weeding in the storage area or mezzanine today in the 800s.  It is a slow, steady process.

For April, I think I might print out some of the Poem In Your Pocket poems for a monthly poetry display.

I talked to a local poet with a book, Camouflaged Drama Finding Wholeness Through Poetic Transformations  by Mary Jones.  She is doing a Camouflaged Drama Soiree on March 28, 2011 Afterwork from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Sweet Potatoes, 393 North Avenue, New Rochelle, New York.

Web Bits

No Ebooks Without Authors

Today is World Poetry Day

Transforming Libraries At C2E2 With Greg Baldino

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/20/2011 (The Physics of the Future)

Extension of library of Harvard College, Iron details. Ware and Van Brunt architects
Print shows architectural renderings of new book shelf construction at the Harvard University library.  Date Created/Published: Boston : Heliotype Printing Co., 1878.

Daily Thoughts 3/20/2011

I filled out a survey of our collection. I also wrote a short report on what was being done in the library.

This evening, I read some more of Michio Kaku, The Physics of the Future.  Michio Kaku is writing about robots and artificial intelligence.  One of the topics he touches on is the singularity where robots become smarter than humans.  He also describes how people are working on robots that are designed to fit in with human society in a benevolent way.  It is all very utopian.

Web Bits

41 Reasons to Plant A Tree For Your Book

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/19/2011 (the information)

John Hancock, 1765, John Singleton Copley

Daily Thoughts 3/19/2011

I finished reading The Information today.  Otherwise it has been a very quiet day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/18/2011 (Libraries, The Information, Advocacy)

Ink stick, brush and mill stone for sumi-e painting.

Daily Thoughts 3/18/2011

This morning, I read some more of The Information.  The author is discussing the mathematics of randomness as well as how all mathematical numbers can be reduced to zeros and ones.  Part of the discussion is about how to shorten strings of numbers by making them into algorithms.  I am learning about mathematicians like Alan Turing, Claude Shannon, and Andrey Nikolaevich Kolomogorov.

This morning, I spent some time entering a few more surveys, updated the Twitter account, and did some weeding in the storage area.  Things are very quiet today.  I'll probably spend a little time planning for the next month or two.

I am interested in going to the May 13, 2011 Westchester Library Association conference because Seth Godin is going to be the keynote speaker.  He is featuring his book, Poke The Box.

Next month, April, is national poetry month, so we should probably be doing something for it.  We also have the adult summer reading program.  By the end of the month we should have the library survey tallied so we can get a better idea of the type of programs which we might do.

I did some small tasks today; printed up some flyers for events, printed up some bookmarks from cardstock, and checked the email reference.

Web Bits

Strong Libraries Are Needed Now More Than Ever

(Reuters) - The rapid rise of e-books could lead to a "reading divide" as those unable to afford the new technology are left behind, even as U.S. reading and writing skills decline still further.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/17/2011 (Advocacy, The Information, Books)

Einen Brief lesender alter Mann mit seiner Katze. Öl auf Leinwand. 59 x 42,5 cm., Man With Cat,
Christoph Paudiss, 17th Century

Daily Thoughts 3/17/2011

Today is relatively quiet.  I put together a brief list of groups that I think are often associated with advocacy for libraries around New York.

Advocacy Links:

ALTAFF - "Citizens for Libraries"

Empire Friends of New York State Roundtable (Friends Groups)

Funding History For Libraries

Geek The Library

I Love Libraries

Library Advocates Handbook

Library Grants

Library Renewal

Library Trustees Association of New York State

Marketing The Library (Training Module)

New York Library Association Advocacy

New Poll Shows Continued Public Support For Increase in State Aid for Libraries

New York State Library Library Development

New Yorkers For Better Libraries

PLA Advocacy Section

Save Libraries

Save NYC Libraries

Telling The Library Story Toolkit

10 Faq's About New York Libraries

Turning The Page Online 2.0 Advocacy (Training Module)

Small Groups

New York Librarians Meetup

Urban Librarians Unite

I also put in some more surveys, checked the displays, and updated the Twitter account.

I had some time to read Kirkus Reviews and the New York Times Book Review.  We are not ordering anything right now.  I did put several more books on hold;  The Quantum Thief by Rajaniemi Hannu which is a science fiction novel, Powering The Dream The History of Green Technology by Alexis Madrigal, and The Forgotten Founding Father Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture by Joshua Kendall.  Noah Webster created The American Dictionary in 1828.

I am also considering getting a Vook which is an ebooks with video.  The title is Unleashing The Super Idea Virus by Seth Godin.  The price is $6.99 which is very affordable.

On the way home, I read some more of The Information by James Gleick.  James Gleick is writing about genes as information.  One of the people he writes about is Richard Dawkins who wrote the famous book, The Selfish Gene.  Richard Dawkins is also responsible for the concept of the meme.  I find the idea of a meme somewhat questionable.  A meme is an idea that spreads socially.  I also started reading The Phsyics of the Future by Michio Kaku.  I like Michio Kaku's message because he tells about a positive future through scientific invention and technology.  He likes to say his hero was Professor Zarkov from Flash Gordon.

Web Bits

Converting an Old Card Catalog Case into an eReader Cabinet

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/16/2011 (Advocacy, Holds)

"In order to have more, it is necessary to produce more. In order to produce more, it is necessary to know more.", 1921

Daily Thoughts 3/16/2011

I tabulated some more of the surveys today.  People are asking for more educational programming, more new books, and a quieter place to read among other things.  I am hoping this will give us a better idea of what our patrons.  Also people are interested in ereading devices and want some instruction on ebooks.

I also spent some time checking the displays this morning.
Two books came in for me to read, Michio Kaku, Physics of the Future How Science Will Shape Human Destiny And Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100.  This is a popular science table.    Also, The Book of Bunk A Fairytale of the Federal Writers' Project by Glen Hirshberg came in for me to read.

I went to the board meeting of the library and stayed until eleven at night.  A lot of it was union negotiations and discussion of grants and advocacy for the library.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/15/2011 (The Accidental Taxonomist, The Information)

Reading room, view toward the delivery room, Carnegie Library and Music Hall, Allegheny City, Pennsylvania

Daily Thoughts 3/15/2011

I finished reading The Accidental Taxonomist this morning.  It describes the options for becoming a professional taxonomist.  The general consensus is that it is a growing profession, but, most of the jobs will still be part of a larger position like being a librarian or computer programmer.  I also read some more of The Information by James Gleick.

I am relaxing today and staying home.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/14/2011 (The Accidental Taxonomist, The Information)

Lady Ingram and Her Two Sons Martin and Steven). Oil on Panel. 38 x 33 in (96.5 x 83.8 cm)., 1557

Daily Thoughts 3/14/2011

Today has been another steady day.  I spent some time compiling statistics from the childrens room for the survey.  I also updated the library Twitter account.  I also checked the displays and did a little more weeding in the mezzanine. 

I am doing a tour of the library for a group on Wednesday.  There are a few art pieces in the library.  We have our ceiling painted with a mural based on the Unicorn Tapestry in the Cluny museum in Paris, there is also a large Tiffany glass installation at the top of the stairs.

I have been taking some time to review the zero circulation books that are part of the inventory project in the mezzanine or storage area.  It is kind of interesting.  We have started fairly recently and right now are going through the books on librarianship and book selection.  There is quite a bit on the history of old libraries in the United States.

On the way home, I read some more of The Accidental Taxonomist.  Heather Hedden is describing taxonomy structure which can get fairly complicated.  I get the idea of mind mapping, related terms, and understand the different software programs.  Node labels, faceted categories, and hierarchical organization are new concepts for me.  I also read a little bit more of The Information by James Gleick.  He is currently writing about Dell Shannon who is the father of information theory.  Dell Shannon is describing how to program the first chess program.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/13/2011 (The Accidental Taxonomist)

Building of the printing & publishing house of František Šimáček (1834 - 1885) with the offices of Světozor magazine in Jeruzalemská Street, Prague. Published as a part of celebrations of the 1000th issue of the named magazine, 10 September 1886, Josef Mukarovsky

Daily Thoughts 3/13/2011

I have been reading more of The Accidental Taxonomist.  It is an excellent reminder that automatic indexing progras and automatic taxonomy generators don't work by themselves.  People still need to check all the data to make sure it is clean and appropriate.  The book also reminds me that people still often start their taxonomies using microsoft excel and access and draw their category maps using mind mapping, not necessarily complex programs to start.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/12/2011 (the secret of kells, the information, the accidental taxonomist)

Detail from Folio 124 recto of the Book of Kells

Daily Thoughts 3/12/2011

This morning, I watched some of The Secret of Kells.  It is an animated fantasy movie loosely based on the creation of The Book of Kells.  The movie is beautiful to watch.  The animation has an otherworldly quality to it.  The style seems to pull a little bit from the style of medieval illuminated manuscripts which is quite refreshing.  The colors are vibrant, and the sense of magic and mysticism are quite beautiful.
There is the magic of the enchanted forest with its Celtic mythology,  the sense of wonder of the monastery, its saints, and priests, and the fearsome presence of the raiding North men.  This makes for a complete story filled with dread and wonder.  The movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It is worth watching.

I finished watching it this evening.  There is a lot of symbolism in the movie; represented by celtic knotwork and illuminated writing. 

I read some more of The Accidental Taxonomist. The author is describing how taxonomies are about the relationships between words; broader terms, narrower terms, and related terms are some of the ways to think of relationships between words.  The author describes semantic terms as terms which have more complex relationships like father to son, or corporation to product. This is surprisingly useful as a way to think of how to search for things on the internet.  The more you understand taxonomies and indexes the easier it is to find things in search engines or site maps.

Right now, I am reading The Information.  James Gleick is writng about the famous Turing Test.  The proper way to describe it is The Turing Imitation Game.  This is an entry on it from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy  I have found that there are a lot of references to this both in philosophy and science fiction.  It really is where philosophy and sciecne fiction meet.  However, it is becoming less and less science fictional.

I decided it was time to renew my American Library Association membership and my Westchester Library Association membership.  I am hoping they have something to offer this year that will stand out.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/11/2011 (the social network)

Free neighborhood classes for adults Enroll now : Classes in reading - writing - arithmetic - also art - music - psychology - language - social studies. Poster from the Adult Education Program of the Chicago Board of Education announcing free education classes for adults, showing a man, wearing a suit, reading.  Date Created/Published: Ill. : Federal Art Project, WPA, [1937] 

Daily Thoughts 3/11/2011

I requested The Atlas of New Librarianship by David R.Lankes  through interlibrary loan.  I also read a little more of The Accidental Taxonomist.  I am learning about the process of creating terms in taxonomies.

This morning I did some tabulation for the survey.  I am starting to compile what people are saying.  It is quite interesting.  I also checked on the Twitter account, did some more weeding in the mezzanine and checked the displays. 

I made calls for next week for our poetry networking event on March 17, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. as well as pulled graphic novels for the graphic novels club on March 16, 2011.

Two items came in for me.  The first is the movie, The Social Network which I have been looking forward to seeing for a little while.  The other item is murach's HTML, XHTML, and CSS by Anne Boehm.  I have to learn some XHTML if I am going understand taxonomy and content strategy better.

After reading the New York Times Book Review, I put the book, Moonwalking With Einstein The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer on hold.  I have always been fascinated with the idea of memory castles and eidetic memory. 

I also am looking at the February 15, 2011 Kirkus Reviews slowly because it is on interactive e-books.  I am probably going to read this slowly.

We have our demonstration station set up for the Sony Reader Library program.  I am looking forward to the library get ereading devices.

This evening, I watched the Social Network on dvd.  It is a very interesting film.  It is very believable.  I liked the excess in the film.  The characters were very well done.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/10/2011 (The Accidental Taxonomist, The Information)

De zachte uren, Richard Roland Holst, Oil on Eternit, 1911-1912

Daily Thoughts 3/11/2011

I read a little bit of The Information by James Gleick on the way to work.  I also read a bit more of The Accidental Taxonomist.  I am thinking about the idea of ontology which is not something which I have thought about much before.

I updated the Twitter account this morning, did a bit more weeding, picked up a few surveys, and checked the displays.

On the way home, I read some more of The Accidental Taxonomist.  The author was talking about who became a taxonomist.  Almost half of taxonomists come from a library science background.  Others seem to come from programming, publishing, or database backgrounds.  The story seems very similar to the story of content strategy or information architecture where there is a close link to library science.  The list of titles which would include taxonomy includes words like information, information architecture, content, analyst, taxonomist, content strategist, and similar words.

Web Bits

Filter or Be Flooded: Publisher As Curator

Is It Time to Rebuild & Retool Public Libraries and Make “TechShops”?

I think it would be very interesting for a library to have ties to a coworking space, tech shop, or fab lab.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/9/2011 (The Information, The Accidental Taxonomist)

Portrait of Prime Minister Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin. Oil on canvas. 116 × 76 cm. The State Radischev Art Museum, Saratov., 1910

Daily Thoughts 3/9/2011

I read some more of The Information by James Gleick this morning.  I am enjoying reading about the birth of computing and the creation of the electric telegraph.  This book is very much a book about the history of technology.  There are a lot of entertaining anecdotes which make the writing very readable.

The book, The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden came in for me to read.  Hopefully, I will learn something new from reading this.

Today, I checked the displays and did some weeding in the storage area.  I also took some time to look over the surveys.  There are more print surveys coming in than online surveys.  I also checked on the twitter account.  Things have slowed down a little bit.  Our budget is very tight so that there is not much money for ordering.  It would be nice if people brought in more donations.

I am also hoping that people join our friends group  or donate to the foundation  .  I know times are financially difficult all over for libraries.  This is true not just in the United States but also in the United Kingdom. 

We also opened the computer lab for an hour so people could search for jobs.

On the way home, I read some more of The Information.  I also started reading The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedding.  She has a website tied in with the book:

Web Bits

ROI: The $200 Tablet Computer

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/8/2011 (The Information)

Robert Wilhelm Ekman, Reading woman. 1838

Daily Thoughts 3/8/2011

This morning, I read some more of James Gleick, The Information.  The author is writing about Charles Babbage who designed a mechanical computer that was never produced.  It was a design before its time.

Today has been a quiet day.  I did some weeding in the storage area, checked the displays, updated the Twitter account, and collected some more surveys.  I also checked on the inventorying for items that needed to be discarded.  Things went very smoothly today.  I also did a little preparation for opening the computer lab to help people search for jobs on the internet for an hour.

I read some more of The Information on the way home, James Gleick is writing about Ada Lovelace who is considered the first programmer.  She created programs based on a machine that was not yet even created.  It adds a layer of abstraction to the history of computing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/7/2011 (The Information)

Frontispiece of a book by the Austrian mathematician Anton Felkel showing the author reading a book by the mathematician Lambert. Leaning to the table is a set of calculating rulers (used in the "stencil method"). The books in the shelf to the left are general literature, shown disordered; to the rigth are books on mathematics, orderly arranged.

Daily Thoughts 3/7/2011

On the way to work, I read some more of Information.  It is quite entertaining.  The author describes how it is possible to have memorized literature without writing.  The Odyssey by Homer is an example of this.  I also like James Gleick's descriptions of Babylonian mathematics.

This morning, I did some weeding, checked the displays, checked on the status of an art book donation from Distribution to Underserved Communities Libraries Program  We should be getting some books in a short while from them.

I also am working on a flyer for networking organizations and career fairs in Westchester.

On the train home, I read some more of The Information.  James Gleick is wriitng about the first attempts at alphabetization and the first dictionaries.  I am especially fond of the Oxford English Dictionary even though we don't use it that much.

Web Bits

A conversation between Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler on the BBC.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

This novel is about artificial intelligence.  The author likes the idea of the Turing test and is describing the process of raising artificial intelligences in this novel.  The story touches on many different issues in artificial intelligence; raising artificial beings, designing different thinking patterns than our own, the rights of intelligent beings, artificial worlds, and the emotional life of machines are some of the topics. 

Some of the content is mature in nature. The author writes about sex with machines and intentional harm to robotic entities.  It is done in a non-sensationalistic way.

The story is very humanistic. The robots are not super intelligent.  They start as humanities pets, toys, and hobbies.  Later as the story develops some take on the role of customer service and simple assembly.

The setting is the homes and labs of the researchers as well as artificial online worlds. The people in the story are working in startups and research institutions.

The novel is illustrated by Christian Pearce and Jacob MacMurray.  These are a few images from Christian Pearce's website:

The story is very character driven.  It is a thoughtful novel, not an action novel.  I like that the main human character, Ana joins a startup after her job as an animal raiser at a zoo.  This makes the story intriguing.

If you want a character driven story about artificial intelligence this novel is worth reading.  The feeling of the settings seems very real to me, more so than most science fiction novels I have read. The world is well built.  This is near future science fiction done right.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/5/2011 (Green Jobs)

Walter Crane, by George Frederic Watts (died 1904), given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1915

Daily Thoughts 3/5/2011

I have been a bit distracted today.  Instead of reading books, I have been reading about some things which are happening in the town where the library is.  Eliot Engel who is a local politician is asking for $2,000,000 for a green technology incubator in Mount Vernon. They already have an incubator space.  Also, Kirsten Gillibrand is asking for $1,000,000 to train 115 young people for green collar jobs as part of a training program at city hall.

There has also been some expansion in the green building industry as well.  Werecycle has expanded its ewaste operations for collecting computers and other high technology equipment for recycling.  It looks like there will be a major push for green jobs in Mount Vernon, New York.

For a while we have been buying books on green industry.  Now, it looks like we may have to get quite a bit more material along these lines.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/4/2011 (The Information)

Alice Sheldon, James Tiptree, Jr., Racoona Sheldon signature

Daily Thoughts 3/4/2011

Today has been another quiet day.  I checked the displays, did some weeding in storage area, checked up on the Twitter account, and made sure people were reminded about the survey.

I am looking forward to A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin coming out on July 12, 2011.  I liked the earlier books.

I started reading The Information by James Gleick.  The first chapter is on African talking drums which are the first large scale long distance signal systems.  It is interesting thinking of musical instruments as carrying language over distance.

Web Bits

Cory Doctorow, Explaining Creativity to a Martian,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/3/2011 (The Information, Online Learning)

Invention of printing - Gutenberg taking the first proof Gutenberg with 3 other people and printing press.   Date Created/Published: c1869.

Daily Thoughts 3/3/2011

Today has been another quiet, steady day.  I read some of The Experience Economy this morning on the train to work.  I like how they describe the difference between providing a service and providing a complete experience.  For example, a birthday party, a trip down the grand canyon, a game of laser tag, a workshop is an experience.  This was quite different.

This morning, I checked on the survey, checked the displays, and did a little more updating on the Twitter account.  I also spent some time thinking about inexpensive places to take classes for librarians; Webjunction, American Library Association Online Courses, Metro New York, and various Meetups like the New York Librarians Meetup

The book, The Information A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick came in for me to read.  James Gleick is the author of Chaos which is a book about chaos theory in physics.  I enjoyed reading Chaos because it reminded me a bit of when I went to the University of California Santa Cruz.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/2/2011 (Citizen Journalism, Birth of Fire, the experience economy)

First reading-room, Public Library, Melbourne, 1862, Melbourne : The Commissioners, 1873.

Daily Thoughts 3/2/2011

On the way to work, I read Birth of Fire by Jerry Pournelle.  It is a classic military science fiction book on a revolution on mars.  The cover is by Kelly Freas.  The book was an old paperback that was falling apart in my hands.  I like the classic science fiction writers.

Today has been a quiet, steady day.  I checked the displays and pulled some material for the current events display on Libya, Egypt, and Iraq.  We are starting a display for Women's History Month which is this March.

I also spent some more time this morning printing up surveys for the library survey.  People are taking them and filling them out quickly.  I am also starting to get some online surveys sent to us.  We also reached over a hundred twitter users for our library.

Two more books came in for me to read, Losing The News The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy by Alex S. Jones and We're All Journalists Now The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age by Scott Gant.  These books are on public journalism or citizen journalism which is a subject which I find quite interesting.

Today is Dr. Seuss's Birthday.  He is my favorite children's author.  I especially like The Butter Battle Book, The Foot Book, Hop On Pop, and The Cat In The Hat.  My favorite book as a child was One Fish Two Red Fish Blue Fish.

On the way home, I started reading The Experience Economy Work Is Theatre and Every Business a Stage by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore.  This book is about how to create a satisfying complete experience.  Some of the companies the authors are writing about are Marriott, Disney, Crayola, and the National Basketball Association.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Daily Thoughts 3/1/2011 (1812, Twitter, Survey)

Unpleasant News, 1896, Rosalvo Ribeiro

Daily Thoughts 3/1/2011

Today has been a quiet, steady day.  We put out the Public Library Service Survey at the circulation desk.  It is also going to be distributed to a few other places.  Hopefully, it will help us get some more feedback about the library.  The survey is now on the front page of the library as well.

I read some more of 1812 this morning.  The conflict has an edge of cruelty in it more than fear.  The vampires are more violent and loathesome than fearsome.  It makes the style different than most vampire novels.

I also did a little bit more weeding in the storage area and spent some time checking the inventory.  Things are moving along steadily.  The new Twitter account hit 100 people today.

Three books came in for me to look at, Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and james H. Gilmore, and The Lifecycle of Software Objects.

On the way home, I finished reading 1812 by Jasper Kent.  There is a nice element of self deception in the novel which makes it quite interesting.