Thursday, May 31, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/31/2012

"Study of a Girl Reading," oil on panel, by the British artist Valentine Cameron Prinsep. 34¾ in. x 18½ in. (88.3 cm. x 46.9 cm.) Courtesy of Christie's.

Daily Thoughts 05/31/2012

I finished reading Legions of Rome The Definitive History of Every Imperial Legion By Stephen Dando-Collins.  This is the story of the long slow decline of the Roman imperial legion.  It describes both Rome at its height and its final fall to the visigoths.  It is a story of the slow decline of discipline, constant civil war, and the adoption of Roman tactics by Rome's enemies.  It is also a story of how a country slowly stripped its military of fighting ability by removing the requirement that its senators serve in the military, limiting the ability of legions to gather in one place, and encouraging its citizens to serve as auxiliaries instead of as part of the main legion.  There are lessons in history from this book.

This morning, I checked the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library.  I also checked the gifts and the displays.  I also took a look at some of my flyers.  I always keep my older work.  It is hard to know when it will be useful again.

We have the computer lab open today from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I am also prepping for Book Expo America.  I am going to NY Cultural Tech tonight which is an event at METRO, or more properly, the New York Metropolitan Library Council.  They asked us to talk about a project which we are working on.  I am going to talk about my experiences with Codecademy,, General Assembly, and Skillshare, many of which share features of educational startups. Each person is supposed to talk about something which they are doing currently.

Book Expo America hosts a number of free concurrent events at New York Book Week which is also the week of June 2-8, 2012

I am looking at the Books at BEA list which shows a number of the titles that will be available at Book Expo America

There is also an interesting session which focuses on New York Public Library's Lab which does a lot of interesting things with Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook.


10:30-11:20 a.m.

Building a Social Library (Rm. 1E09)
Take a look deep inside the New York Public Library (NYPL) to find out how it has built its extensive community and serves its readers--with a focus on the secrets of NYPL's social media success. Panelists include Angela Montefinise, director of public relations & marketing; Ben Vershbow, manager of NYPL Labs; and Michael Lascarides, senior manager of web initiatives.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/30/2012

A Study for Paradise Lost, Mihaly Munkacsy, 1899

Daily Thoughts 05/30/2012

This morning, I read a little more of The Legions of Rome.  I am reading about the Dacian campaigns.  The story is one of intrigue, treachery, guerrilla warfare, and dawn attacks.  I am surprised at the amount of ambushes, dawn attacks, and sieges which the legions were involved in.  The accounts of the legionnaires fighting in thick forests, desert, near rivers, during thunderstorms, and on marshy ground give a different picture of ancient warfare.

I updated the Facebook and Twitter account for the library.  I also checked the displays and the gift books.  There are some flyers and bookmarks being printed up for an event today.  There is also the computer lab from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m..

I watched a little bit more of the online video on Javascript at  I also spent a little more time learning  A few more people asked me about the Digital Media Catalog from Westchester Library System.

Web Bits

Overdrive Introduces Browser Based E-book Reader

A Digital Dilemma: Ebooks and Users' Rights

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/29/2012

A Man Reading, Thomas Sword Good, 1827

Daily Thoughts 05/29/2012

On the way in I read some more of the Legions of Rome.  This book reveals how incredible cruel the Roman governance could be.  Many of the revolts happened because of what we would consider today to be excessively cruel treatment.  I also learned about the hard discipline in the legion.  The legions were at their strongest when they demanded the most from their men.

This morning, I checked the libraries Twitter and Facebook account.  I also checked the displays.  We have our computer classes today in the evening, one intermediate class from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and one beginning class from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. in the computer lab.

I started on Javascript on  It is much more challenging than CSS or HTML.  Pieces of it look like gibberish to me.  But, if I do enough exercises, it will start to make sense.

The latest Publishers Weekly came in.  Sometimes, it can be very ordinary to read.

Web Bits

Libraries Grapple with the Downside of E-books

Monday, May 28, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/28/2012

Painting by Jean-Joseph Taillasson: Virgil reading the Aeneid to Augustus and Octavia.

Daily Thoughts 05/28/2012

This morning, I checked the Facebook and Twitter page for the library.  I also read a little bit more of the Visual Quickstart Guide to Javascript and watched a little bit more of the Javascript training video on  It is much harder to understand.  Pretty soon I'll be starting the Javascript section of Codecademy.  I finished all the exercises with CSS in them.

I have been reading more of  Legions of Rome I have finished reading the individual histories of many of the legions.  At this point, I am reading about the different battles that were fought by the legions.  There are quite a few slave revolts and attempts to break away from the empire.  In addition, the Romans legions would often fight against each other to determine who would become emperor.  Reading about the conquest of England and the Germanic tribes driving the Romans out of Germany tells a story of both expansion and decline.

I learned that there will be a library pavilion with library oriented publishers and groups next to the librarians lounge at Book Expo America.  I like to sit in the librarians lounge, drink coffee and sort through what I have picked up on the show floor.  The show is next week, which is quite soon.  I am looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/27/2012

Emile Zola by Felix Nadar, Circa 1895, from the Public Domain Review

Daily Thoughts 05/27/2012

I spent some time updating the Twitter and Facebook page for the library.  I also watched some more of the Javascript training video on

The Legions of Rome is proving to be intriguing.  I am learning some interesting things about Roman life.  Often Romans would try and avoid conscription into the legions sometimes hiding as slaves. I also learned that young men would serve as tribunes in the legions as a first step to becoming Roman senators.  Right now, I am reading the individual histories of each legion.  It is a story of constant battle some of which is focused on imperial succession in Rome.

I was at the mall today at Barnes and Nobles.  I had a chance to look around for a little bit.  I looked at Dr. Seuss who is one of my favorite children's authors.  I especially like the book, Oh The Places You'll Go!   I also spotted The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi which is a young adult book.  There was another book which I didn't get to read.  Blown Covers New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See by Francis Mouly.  The one thing that I like in the New Yorker is the cartoons.  I can't say much else about the magazine.

I did a little bit more on Codecademy.  I think I will finish the CSS section tomorrow and start on Javasscript the next day. I need a bit more time reading and watching to get the basics of Javascript straightened out.

Web Bits

Can 'Big Data' Fix Book Marketing
There is a New York City Business Data Meetup which has been very successful.  I have wanted to go to it for a while.   The Book Industry Study Group runs a conference called Making Information Pay.  The last conference was on May 3, 2012.
Because it is information oriented I am quite interested in this.  I just have not had a chance to go yet.  Librarians often use circulation statistics and statistics on patrons to report on how libraries are performing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/26/2012

This is an illustration from The Works of J.W. Van Goethe 6. It is captioned '"Ottilie's favourite walk . . . was along a pleasant foot-path" / Photogravure from a painting by J. Schevrenberg', 1900

Daily Thoughts 05/26/2012

I udpated the Facebook page for the library.  I also watched a little bit of the Javascript training video on  After watching the video I downloaded Aptana which is a free text editor and Firebug which is a way to look at Javascript on different web pages.

I am reading Stephen Dando-Collins Legions of Rome.  I find Roman history very interesting.  I especially like Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars.   There is a harsh discipline to Roman life.  I am learning a few new things about the legion.  For example, foreign auxiliary troops would serve to gain citizenship which was presented to them as a small bronze plaque.

I also read some more of the Visual Quickstart Guide to Javascript.  It presents many of its lessons in a visual way.  Computers tend to be very visual.  There is another series which a lot of people like which has a lot of images, the Teach Yourself Visually series.  In addition to computers, the Teach Yourself Visually series has a lot of books about musical instruments.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/25/2012


Peder Severin Krayer, Marie In A Deck Chair Reading, 1891

Daily Thoughts 05/25/2012

I finished reading Railsea by China Mieville last night.  It was the kind of book which you cannot put down.  The setting is unique and imaginative.  China Mieville also illustrates the book.  I think I might write a review of this.  The book is written for young adults.

This morning, I checked the displays.  I also picked out some fliers and bookmarks for the Friends of the Library.  They are going to the Fleetwood Neighborhood Association street fair.  I also did a bit of inventory in the mezzanine.

I watched a bit of the Javascript movie and the Dreamweaver movie on  One of the nice things about is that the video training segments are broken into very short segments of anywhere from a couple minutes to a quarter of an hour.  This makes it easy to take a subject over a long time period in half an hour a day.  Every now and then I get a request to show people how e-readers work.  I have gotten a few for the Nook in the last week which was a new experience.

I spent some time reading the New York Book Review and put the book, America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah on hold.  Also the book, Legions of Rome the Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion by Stephen Dando-Collins came in for me to read.  Th book has pictures of the different shields of the legions.  The latest Kirkus Reviews is also here.

My schedule is starting to fill up for Book Expo America.  I am probably going to be doing a lot of networking.  I am invited to a librarian dinner, the AAP/Library Journal Dinner at the Yale club on June 4, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.  I am also going to the librarian lunch  sponsored on June 5, 2012 sponsored by AAP (American Association of Publishers) and Earlyword which is a review source for librarians.  I also got invited to visit a number of the different booths already.  There is also a librarian Book and Author Breakfast sponsored by Random House and Library Journal at Random House on June 5, 2012 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. which is a bit early, but it should be interesting.  So there will be breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  There is also usually a librarians lounge at Book Expo America.

Web Bits

Navigating the Ebook Revolution

To Remain Relevant Librarians Should Help Patrons To Create
This is an idea that is interesting in the sense of supporting local authors and poets in the community.  I think of a library as a more media oriented place than a place to create objects.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/24/2012

Mihail Simonidi (1870 - 1933) - Le Figaro. circa 1900

Daily Thoughts 05/24/2012

Last night, I did a little bit more on Codecademy.  I mostly relaxed this morning on the train.

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook account for the library. I also checked the displays.
The book Railsea by China Mieville came in for me to read.  This is a young adult fantasy.  I rather liked his other young adult fantasy Un Lun Dun.  His books have a unique character to them.

The book Visual Quickstart Guide Javascript came in by Tom Negrino and Dori Smith.  It is a brand new book with a 2012 copyright.  I am going to switch to reading this.  I also found out that offers Javascript video tutorials.

We have the computer lab open today from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m..

I was looking at my email today and I noticed that the system was offering Ipad training.  I bought an e-reader to learn about e-books.  I am a little wary of buying a tablet yet.  I know that eventually, it might catch up.  An Ipad is expensive.  I have been thinking about buying a new computer for a while.  The December 2011 issue of Consumer Reports magazine covers computers. 

There is the question of buying a laptop versus a desktop.  Increasingly, if I want to take some computer classes or go to a computerized meeting, you may be expected to bring a laptop as part of the training process.

I spent some time looking through our Collection Management sheet where we write down patron requests and the weekly Purchase Alerts which tell us what has been recently placed on hold.  Most of the purchase alerts are for dvds.  The books on the Purchase Alerts are mostly for bestselling authors.  The Collection Management sheet is mainly books which we might not have on a wide variety of subjects.

Web Bits

Why Rich People Are Investing in Newspapers Again

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/23/2012

Woman With A Child In A Boat, Berthe Morisot, 1892, Oil on Canvas

Daily Thoughts 05/23/2012

I read some more of Ulysses on the Kindle Touch.  I am at the point where Ulysses contends with Circe the sorceress who turns men into swine.  There is a certain truth to this when you read this story.  It comes across as allegorical.  I also read a little more of Javascript: The Missing Manual.

This morning, I checked the displays and updated the Twitter and Facebook accounts.  The library has the computer lab open between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.  I spent some time talking about how to download library e-books with the Nook.  It is a little bit different than the Kindle.

I read the latest Publishers Weekly magazine.  There was an article called Disintermediating Amazon which I enjoyed.  You often can pull up the articles from the magazine online.

I also read the latest Booklist and finished reading the Baker and Taylor Forecast.  I like to check the catalog to see who is also ordering copies of different books and how many holds there are.  The Westchester Library System functions cooperatively.  Each library has a separate budget and administration.

I also spent some time and updated my thought experiment, Inflatable Space, some new ideas have come along.  For example, Space X has successfully launched a rocket for NASA.  They also have teamed up with Bigelow Aerospace to promote the Genesis Inflatable Space Station.  In addition, a new company called Stratolaunch has formed to launch rockets from high altitude airplanes.  Pieces of the original thought experiment are startting to happen.    This of course is more about creativity than books, but I do it sometimes to stretch my thinking.

Web Bits

More Than Just Text

A Model for the New Bookstore

American Libraries Econtent Supplement May/June

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/22/20122

Fairy Garden in Ludwigsberg Germany

Daily Thoughts 05/22/2012

On the way to work, I read a little bit of Javascript The Missing ManualIt has the feel of learning a new way of thinking about the world that is very precise.

I updated the Twitter and Facebook for the library this morning and checked the displays.  I also talked to the career counselor today about her program.  She comes every Tuesday.

I spent some time this morning talking to a colleague about the Summer Reading Program.  I am focusing on adults. The Adult Summer Reading Program name is Between the Covers and the theme this year is Dream Big.  We were going over Evanced which is the content management system for the summer reading program put together by New York state.

I have a copy of Baker and Taylor Forecast and Publishers Weekly to read through as well as Booklist.

I put the book, Legions of Rome: the Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion by Stephen Dando Collins on hold.  It is supposed to be the only complete history of the roman legions and it is illustrated.I also put the book, The Living Dead: the Beginning by George A.  Romero on hold.  George A. Romero directed the horror movie, Night of the Living Dead.

I finished doing a little bit more on CSS on Codecademy.  On the way home, I read some more of Javascript the Missing Manual.  I think I will be soon be able to restart the Codecademy section on Javascript.

I also read some more of Alexander Pope's version of Ulysses.  I am at the point that Ulysses deceives the cyclops and escapes.

I have an e-reader and I read books.  The advantage of the e-reader is that it is very light and much easier to read on the subway.  A book is often big and gets in the way.  I find that I read the e-reader much more when I am on publiic transportation than at home.  The content is the same for the most part.  The only real difference is in short form content, the Kindle Singles like Jeff Jarvis, Gutenberg the Geek are not available in print.  The e-reader is actually ideal for short form works like novellas or fifty page articles.  These make sense.  There are not that many short books produced.

I prefer to read books when I am at home or inside a building somewhere.  They are touchable and easier to read.  I also like the feel of books.  One of the biggest factors of course is whether or not I can get it for free.  I borrow lots of library books.  A lot of people just want the content.  They are willing to take it either as a book or an e-reader if it is free or cheap.  There is of course the new strategy of E & P, where there is an electronic edition first and if you want the book, it gets printed on demand. For me, the book is often a container much like the e-reader is a container for the content which I'm interested in.

I also prefer large art books, graphic novels, and heavily illustrated books to be in book form.  I rather like idea of the book as an accessory where big coffee table books both make the home more welcome and are forms of art.  I think there will always be large decorated and photographic books.  I also think as e-books are more prominent to stay competitive the quality of art books and illustrated books will improve.  You will see things like metalwork, excellent slipcases, signed interior prints, improved typography, acid free paper, and better quality cover illustration more often.

I believe that 3D printing and print on demand for books will eventually integrate allowing for the creation of some very unique media items.  This is an excample from Shapeways   This is another example, a bookmark. 
Another example, a bookend.
Shapeways allows people to create customized 3D printed objects.

Web Bits

ACRL Urges Librarians to Sign Research Access Petition

Monday, May 21, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/21/2012

Palmer Cox's "The Brownies" reading a book, from "The Palmer Cox Brownie Primer", 1906
Daily Thoughts 05/21/2012

I read some more of the Odyssey translated by Alexander Pope on the subway to work.  Today, May 21, 2012 is Alexander Pope's birthday. Pope as Hedgehog and Monkey.

I updated the Twitter and Facebook account for the library this morning, checked the gifts, and the displays.  I also started doing a little more inventory in the mezzanine.  I am in the poetry section right now.  Sometimes you find interesting older titles like Poems of American Patriotism Chosen by Brander Matthews and Illustrated by N.C.Wyeth.

Part of this is keeping steady track of how things are going.

The shifting project in the oversize books is slowly moving forward.

I spent a little bit of time going over Evanced which is the system used for Summer Reading.  I will be working with Adult Summer Reading.  I also spent a bit of time looking at Bookletters which we use to generate our bestseller lists for the website.  It has a number of different bestseller lists on it including the New York Times Bestseller list.

I am looking at Library Journal Books Most Borrowed for May 15, 2012.  I also checked April and February for this.

I spent a little bit more time on Codecademy learning CSS, I am totally stuck on Javascript.  It might as well be ancient Aramaic.  I have had a little bit of background with HTML and CSS.  What I might do is read a book on Javascript, finish the lessons on CSS then go back and do the exercises on Javascript.  I also spent a little more time on learning more about Dreamweaver.  The exercises are even easier to follow with some CSS background.

I checked out the book, JavaScript The Missing Manual by David Sawyer McFarland.  Scripting languages are different than markup languages like HTML and CSS from my understanding.  I am going to find out the difference in a while.  The book is from Pogue Press which is an O'Reilly imprint.

Web Bits

Connecting The Dots: Linking Broadband Adoption to Job Creation and Job Competitiveness
This has a lot to say about job creation mainly focused on African Americans, however, a lot of it is applicable in general.  The report is written by Time Warner Cable and the National Urban League.  I think there will be a role for libraries in this kind of program.

Funding Free Book Distribution Protests Proposed for NYPL Cuts
Urban Librarians Unite is supporting these protests.  It is an interesting group.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/20/2012

Johannes Vermeer, A Lady Writing, circa 1665

Daily Thoughts 05/20/2012

I have been thinking a little bit about which systems I should learn.  Publishers often use either or Drupal for their content management system.  Drupal is much harder to learn than  I have an idea how the free, online works, but don't think it is powerful enough to build a large complex website.

I spent some time watching the update to Social Media Marketing with Facebook and Twitter on  Facebook redesigned their interface.  It was helpful to understand the new timeline and analytics for Facebook.  I still have to take the tour of the new Facebook.  I also started learning a bit of Javascript on Codecademy.  I am finding Javascript much harder than CSS.

Web Bits

The Man Who Took On Amazon and Saved a Bookstore
There are some interesting insights in this article about how to modernize a bookstore.

Writer's Cramp: In the E-reader Era a Book a Year is Slacking

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/19/2012

15th century classroom, 1915, Pre-Reformation Scholars in Scotland in the XVIth Centur, W. Forbes-Leith
Daily Thoughts 05/19/2012

I spent a little bit of time checking my social media accounts and email.  People are starting to post about Book Expo America which I am looking forward to.  It will be a chance to talk to people and network.  It will be interesting seeing what new things are coming out at Book Expo America.  I always like walking the event floor.

I spent some more time learning CSS on Codecademy.  It is one of those things where the more you practice the easier it gets.  Right now, I am learning about borders and padding and the box model.  EPUB documents which is a standard put out by the International Digital Publishing Forum use XML extensible markup language which is a variation of HTML.  There is soon going to be a new release of EPUB called EPUB-3 which will allow a greater variety of formatting and content for standard e-books.  It will also be use HTML5 which can be used to build apps for both personal computers and smart phones.  This should make apps much more open than they currently are.

I learned that although you don't have to do Codecademy in sequence, in order to finish the sections, you do need to follow from the beginning.  Some of the parts of the section on CSS towards the end have bits on Javascript which I have not learned yet.

I have also been spending more time thinking about what I am doing, thinking, and saying as well as relaxing lately.  I have not been reading quite as much.

I have been thinking a little bit about the startup environment that I found most interesting.  I find Codecademy , Skillshare  and General Assembly all very interesting because they are all acknowledging themselves as educational startups focused on new ways to learn and teach things.  I have also noticed that New Work City has hosted some Skillshare classes.  Meetup in a way often focuses in similar way.  You meet with other people to discuss things.  Also, My Metro has been very focused on helping individual professional development.  It is a new function in the New York Metropolitan Library Council.

One of the interesting thngs about General Assembly is that exists to generate entrepreneurship and has a number of companies in residence that can stay for approximately one year then move on from the office space and training space.

Web Bits

E-book Consumers Read More Books Says Pew Report

Friday, May 18, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/18/2012

Alexander Kanoldt: Stilleben II (Still Life II), 1922
Daily Thoughts 05/18/2012

This morning, I read some more of Alexander Pope's version of the Odyssey on the train to work.

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook account.  I also checked the gifts and the displays.  I spent a little more time in the mezzanine checking books to make sure they are in the catalog.

I spent a little more time on Codecademy learning CSS.  One of our library patrons has been practicing on the Javascript portion of Codecademy.  I also helped a staff member with setting up a account and spent some time looking through the bestselling computer books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Web Bits

Are Libraries Doomed?

Trade Must Help Bookshops Compete In the E-World

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/17/2012

Several antique books of alphabets all open in a pile:
1. Manfredi from 1564, with the medieval music used as a cover;
2. Ornamental Alphabets by Freeman Gage Delamotte, 1879 (with the green letters);
3. The Art of Illuminating by W. R. Symms (1860), with red and brown letters showing;
4. Paragraphs on Printing by Bruce Rogers, 1943 – in the background, with the large constructed “R”;
5. Alphabets & Numbers of the Middle Ages by Henry Shaw, at top right.
From: Liam R.E. Quin Pictures of Old Books (2003)
Daily Thoughts 05/17/2012

This morning, I checked the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library.  I also checked the displays and the gift books.  The Women's Enterprise Development Center offered to come in August. 

The library has the Computer Lab open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m..

I read the latest Library Journal for May 15, 2012 and am reading the May 20, 2012 New York Times Book Review.  Libraries often subscribe to The New York Times Book Review before it is released with the Sunday paper.

I spent a little bit of time on learning more of Dreamweaver CS5.  The Codecademy class is making the video on easier to understand.  One thing I have learned from the Codecademy class is that code has to be100% right or it does not work.  The person doing the practice code has to follow the instructions exactly or it does not work. This can be challenging.

I spent some time thinking about which displays which I might do during the coming year.  In addition to the current events and current biography book display, I try and do a new book display each month.

On the way home, I started reading Alexander Pope's translation of Ulysses.  It is an 18th century  translation which makes it a very different experience to read.  I downloaded it for free on my Kindle Touch.  It is a bit odd reading this version of Ulysses.  It has some rather anachronistic touches in it with some of the descriptions.  I remember my father reading me Ulysses when I was six.  There is an essay at the beginning of the book about the life of Homer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/16/2012

Engraving of a Reader, 18th Century, Octave Uzanne, Le Livre, Paris, A. Quantin, 1880.

Daily Thoughts 05/16/2012

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook pages for the library.  I also checked the displays and gift books.  Everything appears to be in order.

I also updated one of the displays with books on illustration.

We have the computer lab open between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. today.  The Mount Vernon Public Library Board of Trustees Meeting is also happening today at 6:30 p.m. in the Trustees room.

I spent some more time on Codecademy.  I am slowly getting CSS.  I think I can look at a web page and understand most of what is happening with style sheets.

I did a little bit of inventory in the mezzanine or storage in the 800s.  I'll probably doing a little bit each day.  Right now, I am in the poetry section looking at poets like Longfellow and Langston Hughes.

I read through the May 13, 2012 New York Times Book Review and put the book, Lives of the Novelists A History of Fiction in 294 Lives by John Sutherland on hold.

Web Bits

Stories in your pocket: how to write flash fiction.
It's national flash fiction day.  Write a three sentence story, maybe a paragraph, and post it on Twitter.

Salmagundi Art Club Library Benefit Dinner, May 9, 2012 6:00 p.m.

N.C. Wyeth, Side Pose, Unknown Photographer, 1920, From Wikimedia

Salmagundi Art Club Library Benefit Dinner, May 9, 2012 6:00 p.m.

On May 9, 2012, I went to the Salmagundi Club Library Benefit.   The event was to support the library.  The Salmagundi library was founded in 1899.  The club itself started in 1871.  It is located on 47 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

The even started with registration followed by a cash bar.  There was also an exhibit in the billiard room from the Society of Illustrators and the Art Students League.  Some of the art was quite interesting.  Among the illustrations there was a portrait drawing by Norman Rockwell, a small painting by N.C. Wyeth, and two drawings by Charles Dana Gibson, one of which was of Uncle Sam pulling battleships into a harbor.

One of the reasons I am so interested in the Society of Illustrators is that some members are cartoonists, comic artists, and fantasy artists.  I recognized this when I was at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival, a yearly event focused on mainly independent and alternative comics.  I collect “ground level” or early independent comics.  Titles like Star Reach, Alien Worlds, Parsifal, The First Kingdom, reprints of Flash Gordon,  and artists like Bernie Wrightson, Wendy Pini, Jeff Jones, and Vaughn Bode.

I also have been fascinated with the idea of the origins of fantasy art and the first modern fantasy novels.  The Story of the Glittering Plain and The Well at Worlds End which are the considered the first modern fantasy novels are by William Morris one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts Movement.  I also like The Arabian Nights illustrations of Edmund Dulac, the fairytale illustrations of Arthur Rackham who also illustrated the Ring of the Nibelung, as well as Kay Nielsen.  As an aside, P. Craig Russell who has illustrated for Neil Gaiman, illustrated a complete line of graphic novels based on operas.

Howard Pyle who was N.C. Wyeth's teacher illustrated and wrote stories based on Arthurian romance.  I remember reading Howard Pyle as a teenager and enjoying the stories.  Howard Pyle in a sense reminds me of the modern fantasy artist Charles Vess.  There is a certain magic and legendary quality to his paintings and drawings.

At the dinner I had a chance to indulge one of my passions which is science fiction and fantasy art.  When I can afford it or find a bargain I collect Fantasy and Science Fiction art books.  One of the dinner guests was from the Society of Illustrators.  I had a chance to talk about people like Richard Powers, Vincent Di Fate, and Virgil Finlay.  The gentleman mentioned the book, Infinite Worlds The Fantastic Vision of Science Fiction Art by Vincent Di Fate which I have looked through many times.

The dinner itself was excellent, Salmagundi stew, wine, coffee, cake, and a salad.  It was quite filling.  Barbara Genco who is a consultant for Library Journal and retired from being the Head of Collection Development for Brooklyn Public Library arranged the dinner.

The lecture following was upstairs in the art gallery.  Douglas Allen Jr. was showing slides from his book N.C. Wyeth.  He had been collecting N.C. Wyeth's work for 65 years.  The lecture started with an overview of Howard Pyle.  There was a photograph of N.C. Wyeth dressed as Robinhood in Howard Pyles studio which was striking. 

N.C. Wyeth's main focus was on Western paintings.  N.C. Wyeth spent four weeks living in the west as a cowboy.  He came from a farm family background.  I liked the photograph of N.C. Wyeth in his woolly chaps and cowboy gear. He was an illustrator for Scribners and other magazines. Doug Allen Jr. showed many of his western illustrations including one of Wild Bill Hickock; his gun drawn playing cards.

N.C. Wyeth also illustrated over 150 books.  I was not so much fascinated with the western paintings and illustration, but with the pictures of pirates, knights, outlaws, and other more fantastic art.  Pictures from such books as The Black Arrow and Robinhood,

N.C. Wyeth illustrated Kidnapped and Treasure Island.  Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth’s teacher was also known for his pirate pictures.  I especially liked the fantastic picture of the book cover for Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini.  The pirate pictures and the wstern pictures reminded me a bit of Kelly Freas’s art who won the Hugo award ten times for his art.

One piece of fantasy art among the illustrations was a book cover by N.C. Wyeth for The Return of Tarzan.  N.C. Wyeth illustrated a number of Tarzan covers.  They remind me a bit of the artwork of Roy G. Krenkel.

I found the murals rather interesting.  It surprised me that N.C. Wyeth was not satisfied that he was not a fine artist, but a commercial artist.  In my personal view, I have always enjoyed illustration; especially people like Hokusai, Maxfield Parrish, and Mucha.  I like Toulouse Lautrec’s illustration and printmaking better than his paintings.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/15/2012

Sketch of the interior of Mudie's Lending Library , 509, 510 & 511 New Oxford Street, circa 1880

Daily Thoughts 05/15/2012

This morning, I updated the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library.  I also checked the displays and the book sale.  I also had a chance to read through the latest issue of Publishers Weekly and prepare some order lists for the future.

I addition, I spent a little time on Codecademy, I am currently working on advanced CSS which is confusing at best.

Teach Yourself Code is a resource site for learning Ruby on Rails.

I am planning on going to the Digital Show and Tell that is part of Book Expo America on June 7, 2012.

There is also a Librarian Dinner and a Librarian Luncheon presented by the American Association of Publishers.  It will be a nice place to network.  It is part of a series of events focused on librarians and publishers.

I walked around a bit today and looked at the shelves.  The shifting project in the oversize books is well on its way to getting finished.  I also followed up with some of the publicity which came out for the author event with Ellen Datlow, John Langan, and Laird Barron.

I also checked on the computer classes today.  They are going well.  Most of today has been about making sure details are taken care of.

Web Bits

Are Publishers Waking Up from their Dream About Apps?

Apps are interesting.  Very few libraries have tablet computers right now.  There are far more e-books and e-readers than tablets in libraries. 

Many Libraries: As the world’s books go online, we must resist centralization” Technology Review, published by MIT.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/14/2012

"Science": Minerva, goddess of wisdom and the arts of civilization, with helmet and spear, points to an electric generator creating power stored in batteries, next to a printing press, while inventors Benjamin Franklin, Samuel F. B. Morse, and Robert Fulton watch. At the left, a teacher demonstrates the use of dividers.

Daily Thoughts 05/14/2012

This morning I checked the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library.  I also checked the displays and the gift books.  The latest Booklist came in for me to read.

I finished reading the latest copy of Booklist.  Two titles that caught my attention are A Rich Spot of Earth: Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch and American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of the Nation by Eric Rutkow.   I have seen quite a few of this style of book lately.  There is a genteel quality to this style of book.  I am not quite sure to call them.  American political horticulture?  It is a way of thinking about the history of a nation focused on agriculture, horticulture, gardens, and the ideal of the gentleman farmer.

I spent a little bit more time on Codecademy learning CSS.  It is getting much harder.  I am thinking about doing some inventory in the mezzanine as well as working on ordering tomorrow.  I am also thinking about the Adult Summer Reading Program which I should work on a bit more.

Web Bits

Daunt: Library E-lending Disruptive to High Street

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/13/2012

Reading to Grandma, Arm Chair Stories, Cassell & Company, 1886

Daily Thoughts 05/13/2012

First of all happy Mothers Day.

I finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  The last part includes quite a bit about his cancer and his liver transplant.  Even when Steve Jobs had cancer, he continued working at Apple computers.  He was an incredibly driven person.  Towards the end of the book there is a lot about the differences between closed end products represented by Steve Jobs and more open products represented by Microsoft.  There were quite a few insites about business in the book.  Steve Jobs was more driven by design than monetary concerns in many situations.  I liked reading about the yacht he planned and the new campus that Steve Jobs worked on.  He was very much a perfectionist.  This is an excellent book to read.  It is worth reading especially if you are interested in design, art, or computers.

I also finished taking Project Fundamentals on which was quite interesting to me.  It showed an outline of how project managers organized, financed, and timed projects.

I also watched a bit of the history of Warner Brothers films which was a nice way to relax.

Web Bits

Wave of 'Bad' E-book News Dark Cloud or Blip?
I hope things are slowing down a bit.  It will give some time for libraries and bookstores to catch up more and formulate better plans.  I still got a lot of questions about e-books, but, it is more oriented towards how they work, rather than can I learn about this new thing.

Momentum Builds for Douglas County Library System Ebook Model

If you go to the Douglas County Library System you see that they have Overdrive, Freegal, and 3M, but they also have their own system where they can buy ebooks directly from the publishers which separates them from a lot of other library systems.  It also opens up some hope that there may be a better way to buy ebooks eventually for libraries.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/12/2012

Theo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926), A Reading by Emile Verhaeren (1901)
Daily Thoughts 05/12/2012

I read some more of Steve Jobs this morning.  There is a little bit about the agency model for Ibooks.  The basic rule is that Apple gets 30% of whatever the publisher chooses to charge for a book.  The publisher determines the price not Apple.  It was interesting reading about how Apple worked with the New York Times and the different newspapers to put their material on the Ipad.

I also checked my Facebook account and spent some time watching a video on Project Management on  Some of the CSS exercises have gotten very difficult on Codecademy.  I am going to try and figure out some more tomorrow.

Web Bits

The second part that approximately 60% of graduating library school students find a job is challenging.

Maurice Sendak An Appreciation

Friday, May 11, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/11/2012

This print depicts a fairly typical poetry reading-except that sparrows are substituted for humans. A distinguished poet, seated before a folding screen, recites his poems for a private audience. His wife and children are seated near him. While most members are attentive, a mother turns to hush adolescents in the back row. In the upper left corner there are twelve "haiku" poems by different writers. These poets were probably members of a poetry club that commissioned Zeshin to design this print for a humorous New Year's greeting.  Shibata Zeshin, Meiji circa 1873 to 1891
Daily Thoughts 05/11/2012

I read some more of Steve Jobs.  The book is describing how Steve Jobs moved towards a new way of thinking about computers where the computer became attached to a number of peripheral devices starting with the Ipod.  It was interesting reading about his music choices.  Steve Jobs loved Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Bach.  Part of his philosophy was to focus on design before engineering to make a beautiful product.

This morning, I checked the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library.  They waxed the floors in the work room last night.  This meant that I took some time to organize my things a little better.  I also checked the gift books and the displays.  Because I check these things every day, it does not take a huge amount of time.

I also took some time to walk around a bit in the shelving.  The library aides are shifting the oversize books to make things a little bit more orderly.  There also was a bit of rearrangement in the paperback fiction collection which makes it easier to find things.  Things are looking a bit more orderly in the stacks.  Also, a colleague has been inventorying the mezzanine to make sure that all the books are in the computer system.

I did a little bit more time studying CSS on Codecademy.  I am learning more about how CSS interacts with HTML.  After I finish all the CSS, I am going to give a shot at Javascript.  I also spent a little time on learning about Project Management.

I am still thinking about learning some more computer skills.  There is the Stanford School of Engineering Open Courseware system
There is also the MIT Open Courseware system

I found these by looking the information up on Quora.  In addition there is Google Code,   and P2PU  Peer to Peer University  and Code Avengers if you want to learn Javascript

I took some time to look through the My Metro activities and saw a group called   New York Cultural Tech "Show and Tell" at Metro.  It looks like something which would be worth going to where I could learn something.

I put the book Railsea by China Mieville on hold.  It is a fantasy book.  I also put the graphic novel, Flex Mentallo Man of Muscle Mystery on hold. 

  I took some time to look at the New York Times Bestseller list for Graphic Novels   I also took some time to look at the Top 100 Graphic Novels for April from Diamond Comic Distributors which is the largest distributor of comic books and graphic novels in the United States.

On the way home, I read some more of Steve Jobs.  Right now, I am reading about the creation of the different electronic devices that Apple makes;  the Ipod, the Iphone, and the Ipad.  There is a picture of an Ipad like device from 2005 in the book.  I am also learning about how Steve Jobs continually worked to make the devices appear simpler and have less parts.  His design focus was not just on the outside of the devices that Apple built, but also on the insides.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/10/2012

Kuniyoshi Utagawa 1797-1861, Women

Daily Thoughts 05/12/2012

I have been steadily reading more of Steve Jobs.  The corporate politics are very ruthless.  The story of how Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple is quite interesting.  It shows a callousness, perfectionism, and absolute determination to have one persons vision lead the company.  There is a lot of betrayal, backroom deals, and alliances in this biography.  The office politics being described at Apple computers are truly partisan.

This morning, I checked the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library.  We had a shipment of boxes sent out to Better World Books yesterday.  Hopefully, it will do well.  I also checked the displays and gift books this morning and spent a little time talking to the Friends of the Library.

I spent some time in the Computer Lab helping people with filling out job applications and some basic computer skills from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I also spent some more time on Codecademy.  I am learning how HTML and CSS work together to create styles in web pages.  It is kind of difficult for me.

Right now, maintenance is cleaning the floors in the work area so I cleared my desk and moved some things out of the way.  It should look nice tomorrow.

Web Bits

Speculations on the Future of the book at MIT Conference

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/09/2012

Gabriel Bernard de Rieux (1687–1745), president of the second Court of Inquiry in the Parliament of Paris, president of the Court of Finances, by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, c1739-1741

Daily Thoughts 05/09/2012

This morning I read a little bit more of Steve Jobs.  Steve Jobs was very much interested in typography and design. He liked the Bauhaus style   Walter Isaacson describes many instances of how Steve Jobs focused on creating a special look and feel for Apple products.

Last night was very enjoyable.  There was not a huge crowd, but the people who were there asked lots of questions.  Ellen Datlow talked about how she chose material for anthologies and the process of getting authors to submit work.  It was quite interesting.

This morning, I checked the gifts, updated the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library, and checked the displays.  I have to spend a little time preparing for orders in Titletales.  I also am charging the E-readers right now because a patron wanted to learn a little bit about e-readers in the computer lab this afternoon.  The Computer Lab is open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. today.

I am going to the Salmagundi Club Library dinner.  The person arranging for the dinner has helped me out before.  It should be very interesting.

I spent some time showing a patron how to use the Kindle touch today.  I also am looking at a class called How to Teach Yourself to Code at General Assembly on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 from 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. as part of Internet Week New York.  I tried to get notes for this class on key resources but could not get all of them yet.

I finished some more exercises on CSS in Codecademy.  It is getting even harder as it goes along.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/08/2012

Etching for Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" by Édouard Manet. Published by Richard Lesclide, together with a French translation of the poem by Stéphane Mallarmé, Paris, 1875.

Etching for Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" by Édouard Manet. Published by Richard Lesclide, together with a French translation of the poem by Stéphane Mallarmé, Paris, 1875.
Etching for Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" by Édouard Manet. Published by Richard Lesclide, together with a French translation of the poem by Stéphane Mallarmé, Paris, 1875.
Etching for Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" by Édouard Manet. Published by Richard Lesclide, together with a French translation of the poem by Stéphane Mallarmé, Paris, 1875

Daily Thoughts 05/08/2012

This morning, I relaxed a bit on the train.  Sometimes I just like sit and relax.  Last night I read some more of Steve Jobs.  Steve Jobs was supposed to have been able to distort peoples sense of self and get them to do things which they thought were not possible.  He also was incredibly demanding and a perfectionist when it came to the appearance of his products.  There was a real sense that he appreciated beautiful design in machinery.  His sense of design was so intense that he had trouble buying furniture.

This morning, I got some boxes ready to ship to Better World Books.  There is some material left over from the Friends of the Mount Vernon Public Library book and bake sale.  I also checked the displays, updated the Twitter and Facebook account, and checked the gift books.

I am getting ready for tonight, I have the microphone ready, made sure the room layout was written up, and checked in with Ellen Datlow.  I think things will go well tonight.  I am looking forward to hearing the authors read from Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/07/2012

A copy photograph of the portrait painted by Oscar Halling in the late 1860's of Edgar Allan Poe Halling used the "Thompson" daguerreotype, one of the last portraits taken of Poe in 1849, as a model for this painting.

Daily Thoughts 05/07/2012

This morning I read some more of Steve Jobs.  There is a real counter culture element to Steve Jobs.  He was vegetarian, practiced zen, traveled to India, and was very much what the author calls cyberdelic.  There is a real sense that he was deeply connected with places the Whole Earth Catalog .  At the same time there is a creative side to Steve Jobs.  His favorite book was Moby Dick and he listened to bootleg Bob Dylan tapes.  The story is entertaining, surprising, and a bit different.

This morning, I checked the gift books, updated the Twitter and Facebook account, and checked the displays.  I also wrote down the room setup for tomorrow, May 8, 2012 for the event Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

I am going to the Salmagundi Club Library Dinner and Talk on Wednesday at 6 p.m.  Doug Allen will be talking about his book N.C.  Wyeth The Collected Paintings Illustrations and Murals. It will be a chance for me to talk to some people.

I spent some time talking to Better World Books Today.  I also spent a little bit more time on Codecademy learning more CSS.  It is getting a bit harder to understand.

In addition, I charged my Kindle Touch someone is interested in learning about e-books so I am hoping to talk to them on Wednesday during the computer lab hours.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/05/2012

A reading lady. Signed and dated Leo Gestel 13, oil on board, 37 x 31 cm, 1913
Daily Thoughts 05/05/2012

I read some more of Straphanger this morning.  Taras Grescoe is writing about Vancouver, Canada and Portland, Oregon both of which have excellent public transportation networks.

The Friends of the Library are having their book and bake sale today.  They are also serving tea, coffee, and have an excellent selection of cake and cookies as well as all kinds of books.  

I checked the displays this morning and updated the Twitter and Facebook for the library today.  I also spent some time looking at Black Expressions Book Club which is quite interesting to look at.  They have a very large selection of titles.

It is almost the end of the Friends of the Library Book and Bake Sale.  They are having an end of sale special where you can buy a bag of books.

I practiced a little more on Codecademy.  I think I am getting a grasp of HTML and have a better idea of exactly what CSS does.

I am thinking a bit about the author event for Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

On the way home, I finished reading Taras Grescoe, Straphanger Saving Our Cities and Ourselves From the Automobile.  I found this to be a very modern view focused on using trolleys, subways, and trains in an urban setting.  The authot is focusing on trains, trolleys, and subways in major metropolises where it is easier to use trains a lot and not drive as much.  It reminds me very much of the kind of people who use coworking  spaces or work from home and don't need to commute that much because they telecommute. Maybe, they only use their car on weekends, or possibly use a car sharing service when they need a car like Zipcar.

There is quite a bit of pondering on the environment.  He prefers trains that are electric, sleek, and fast. Taras Grescoe even hates buses. Part of the message is about the environment and how it is better to live in a dense urban environment with walkable cities and plenty of bicycle paths.  There is a kind of leftist utopian view in the book with a few anti-libertarian diatribes.  There is a quirky feel to the book which make it entertaining if not a little eccentric.

I also started reading the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  Walter Isaacson also wrote biographies of Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin two very creative and innovative people.  From the beginning the author focuses on the creative side of Steve Jobs as well as his drive to innovate.  One of the nice things about this book is that Steve Jobs basically tells Walter Isaacson to include everything about his life, both the good and the bad.  There is nothing sugarcoated about this story.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/04/2012

Pariser Büchermarkt (Bouquinistes), 1911, Fritz Westendorp

Daily Thoughts 05/04/2012

This morning, I read some more of Straphanger.  The author is describing how people use bicycles a lot in Copenhagen and even ride their bikes to the train stations.  One thing that caught my interest is the idea of  transportation networks linking bicycles, pedestrian walkways, trains, and buses.  

I also updated the Facebook and Twitter pages for the library, checked the displays, and went to the book sale.  The Mount Vernon Public Library is having its Book and Bake sale today from the Friends of the Library.  It was pleasant walking around the sale.  I recognized a few booksellers who were picking out books to sell on the internet as well as many of the Friends of the Library who were there.  I bought two books, a hardcover and a paperback and had a piece of cake.  People were coming and looking at the books from the community.  I always enjoy book sales.  They have a very comfortable atmosphere to them.  The sale runs today, May 4 and Saturday, May 5, 2012.  I will also be here on Saturday.

I spent a little more time at the book sale and listened while one of the Friends of the Library played the piano.  I also had some coffee it was quite pleasant.  It gave me a chance to mention the May 8, 2012 panel on Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe where we have Ellen Datlow, edior, John Langan, author, and Laird Barron author .

I read the latest New York Times Book Review.

I just finished the section on HTML at Codecademy.  Next up is CSS.

On the way home, I read some more of Straphanger.  The author is describing the incredible efficiency and density of the Tokyo train systems.  One of the reasons they are so successful is that so many people prefer riding trains over cars in Japan.  Taras Grescoe also describes something called a BRT or (Bus Rapid Transit).  These are buses with station stops, dedicated walled off lanes designed for fairly fast transport of large numbers of passengers.

I am still thinking about the difference between and  I am thinking about what it would take to build a self hosted site with a dedicated host.  I would probably need a more up to date computer to do it though.  I don't see that much difference between and blogger in draft.  It is the self hosted site that seems to offer the msot difference.  There are even some libraries using as a content management system.

Web Bits

Can Barnes & Noble Balance Physical and Online Sales Without Killing Itself

This is one of those questions that affects the whole book industry.  You could ask the same question to booksellers who sell books both in store and online.  You could even ask the same question about libraries.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Daily Thoughts 05/03/2012

Mary Cassatt, The Letter, 1890-1891

Daily Thoughts 05/03/2012

This morning, I checked the displays, updated the Twitter and Facebook accounts, checked the gift books, and did the email reference.  I also got a call from Centerpoint Large Print.  We have a number of homes for the aged in our community.  One of the things older people ask for a lot is art books.  It would be nice to see some biographies of popular artists like Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso in large print.

I spent a little bit of time on Codecademy learning a bit more CSS.  CSS is a challenge for me.

There was a meeting today to discuss programming.  I often do adult programs.  It was interesting.  I spent a little time thinking about programming.

We are having The Friends of the Library Book and Bake Sale is on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5, 2012.  It is always nice to see the book and bake sale because we have some of our retired staff in the Friends of the Library.  It creates a continuity for people who worked at the library.  The Friends of the Library are getting the book and bake sale ready right now.

We have the Computer Lab for Academic Use from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m..  People often look for jobs or do research during this time period.

On the way home today, I spent some time reading Straphanger.  Taras Grescoe is writing about the Paris metro.  They are planning on having automated trains in the near future.  It reminds me how far the Untied States is behind Europe when it comes to trains.  I read a bit more and learned that bullet trains in Germany run up to 150 mile per hour which is quite fast.  I am rather enjoying his stridently rhetoric against cars.  I find it amusing if a bit impractical.