Sunday, January 27, 2008

Science Podcasts - The Questions You Want To Ask

There comes a time in every parents life when the little darlings ask "the question" Questions like:
Some parents will bring the little darlings to the library. Now there are specialized books for kids that answer questions like "Why is the sky blue?" or "Is there monkey in the monkey bread?" But it never hurts to have access to places that might have a quick answer for you.

BASF Chemical Reporter is a fun way to bone up on science questions and answers. The delivery is accurate and humorous and no explanation last longer than 4 minutes.

Along the same lines is Science Update produced by the The American Association for the Advancement of Science. The online podcasts are 60 seconds of science trivia and fun facts like how a certain type of butterfly gets ants to raise their young, animal grandparents and listener questions like "How far away do you have to live to have an accent change?" I found that diving into the archives expanded the number of podcasts subjects and you could spend a good hour catching up on science news. Bonus points for providing transcripts of audio podcasts!

There is also Science Magazine Podcasts that vary between 15 - 60 minutes in length. These are drawn from the magazine and you will hear news and science stories that you are not going to encounter on the radio or PBS. Stories like the New Horizon probe, research on chronic itch and stereotyping of minorities in science education. Transcripts are available via an Adobe PDF download.

Science Update lead me to Slacker Astronomy. Nothing slacker about this. This is hard core love of astronomy, cosmology, star stuff and they do sling the lingo in the podcasts. This is way beyond Astronomy 101 but if you just relax and listen you are going to pick up the enthusiasm the speakers have about the topic. If you want to know what Dark Matter is this is your place.

So there you have it. Listen live or download to your media player of choice.

Business Librarians - An Overview & Resources

Just as a medical librarian is experienced in locating information on health related topics a business librarian is able to located data on topics such as quarterly earnings in the pet food industry, which database is best for corporate intelligence and just what are "Derivatives"?

Business librarians can be found in academic, public and corporate libraries or as independent contractors.

They will know how to locate information on entrepreneurship, financial literacy; they can dig deep into finding the historical performance of a stock or help you navigate the huge amount of statistical information that the United States produces in a given year.

Even if you have no plans of becoming a librarian the following resources might help you to direct patrons to the people and resources that can be of assistance.

American Library Association Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) is a section of the References and Users Services Association. The articles and newsletters that I found online talk about issues that specifically relate to this aspect of librarianship. One of the articles that was helpful was the Best of the Business Web Sites which covers web resources such as Accounting and Taxation, Electronic Commerce, Hospitality and International Business.

BRINT - Don't let the amount of information presented on the first page scare you away, it is overwhelming. Think of BRINT as a portal. You locate the term you are researching, say CRM (Customer Relations Management). This will lead you to links on books, articles, research, blogs and other resources.

BRINT helps to narrow down business related search topics. It basically constructs the search term for you and then leads you to the results. Caution: some of the search engines listed at the bottom of the pages have been discontinued, i.e. Teoma was acquired by

Business Librarians Social Networking at Ning. Laurie Bridges created this social network for academic, public and other folks who work with this specialized knowledge set.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Circ and Serve - A Blog About Circulation

There is a blog for just about everything. Mary Carmen Chimato's Circ and Serve has a great one that talks about issues relating to circulation, Interlibrary Loan and anything to do with providing services to her patrons at North Carolina State University Libraries.

There are posts that talk about the continuing importance of Interlibrary loans, teamwork issues with co-workers and staff, and customer service techniques. The simplest one to master seems to be smile and acknowledge the other person be they patron or staff member.

I have to work on that one because I get focused on what I am thinking about. I sometimes forget there are other people around who don't know I'm not upset, I'm just thinking semi-shallow thoughts. Definitely a good blog to visit on a regular basis.

Circulation Crime At Ohio Library

It has been a while since I posted a library crime story. I stumbled into this one on Zan's It's All Mishegosh blog. She cites a news story from the Akon Beacon Journal on how a mother used her children to steal books, DVDs and other library materials.

The short version is that the alleged perpetrator created false library id cards for herself, her real and imaginary children to snag items from various libraries. $15,000 dollars worth of materials.

The woman was spotted by an alert circulation worker who remembered her from prior visits.

PT Circulation Job at Shatford Library

If you are a PCC LibTech student or recent grad you might be interested in this part-time job opening at the circulation desk.

Customer service skills are a must
. Student workers/college assistants work with students to find and check out reserve items. They also check out circulation items and answer general questions that students may have.

Other Duties Include:
  • shelf-reading, clearing the outside book drops, keeping the circulation desk stocked with supplies,
  • preparing due-date cards, shelving audio-visual materials, organizing the circulation area,
  • maintaining the copy machines in working order, and other simple tasks upon request.
We are looking for people who are accurate, detail-oriented, hard-working, can follow- through on verbal and written instructions, responsible, dependable, honest and mature. We need people who can work together as a team. People with library experience and/or customer service experience will receive strong consideration.

If interested, please contact Librarian Eric Hanson at ext. x3309 Applications for student workers/college assistants to work at the Shatford Library Circulation Desk will be accepted now through February 1st. The interviews will be held February 5th and 7th. You will be contacted if you are eligible for a job interview.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Court of Appeal Law Library Externships

The Court of Appeal Law Library in downtown Los Angeles is seeking one or two library externs for the Spring term. These positions may roll over into the summer.

Job duties include:
  • shelving, shifting of the collection,
  • loose-leaf filing,
  • receiving and delivering new materials to judicial chambers,
  • checking-in materials,
  • labeling,
  • inserting pocket parts, and other duties as assigned, which may include preparation for the new Innovative Interfaces Millennium library automation system.
The rate of pay is $13 per hour. Parking and/or bus pass costs will be reimbursed. There is a more detailed description of the position over on the Library Technology Jobs blog.

If you are interested in applying contact Mary Crosby or Carol Ebbinghouse Resumes and other documents may be emailed, faxed to Carol Ebbinghouse at (213) 897-2429 or mailed to the address below.

Court of Appeal Law Library
Ronald Reagan Building, 3rd Floor, South Tower
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Proposal of National Library Support Staff Certification

The American Library Association and the Western Counsil of State Libraries have received a grant to evaluate and develop a national certification for library support staff workers.

The reasons for developing a national certification:
  1. Standardize expectations for library support staff
  2. Master job competencies
  3. Provide educators with guidance in developing curriculums
  4. Help employers articulate job requirements.
The basic eligibility for the certification is that you are a high school graduate, have worked in a public library one year out of five years and wishes to obtain or validate a specific level of library support competencies.

As usual I have questions. Questions like:

Is my learning obsolete? Will I have to return to class if the certification ask for knowledge that was not part of my curriculum at the time I got my PCC library certification?

Will this certification program be used as a weeding out process for those current library support staff that can't pass the new certification?

Will the certification actually mean anything? For example, there is a basic level certification test known as the A+ for computer repair. In the past this certification was easy to obtain.

You could buy a book with a CD simulation of the test and cram for it without having to perform the actual skills. So you have a lot of folks that passed the A+ certification but couldn't really fix your computer. They had no real training. The test has since been redesigned.

Is this a way to control how much or how little information a library support person should have to perform their jobs? Maybe certain libraries don't want library support staff to have Ready-Reference skills. Or you want staff to have better customer service skills as opposed to knowing how to find information from LC or Dewey.

Is this a way to reduce the role of Librarians? Many cities and school districts are not hiring as many librarians as they should. If library paraprofessionals are acting in place of a librarian what does that person really need to know?

If you would like more information on the proposed national certification program please visit the ALA - Allied Professional Association at

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Part-Time Employment At Shatford Library

This is a re-posting of an e-mail from Mrs. Kim:

Pasadena City College Shatford Library has one position open for twenty hours per week. This job mainly involves maintaining the book stacks in the Library: shelving, re-shelving books in the general collection as well as in the reference collection. Students work independently with specific job expectations and standards.

The supervisor will train the new employee and she is looking for people who are accurate, detail-oriented, hard-working, responsible, dependable, honest, and mature. Also this employee is expected to follow-through on verbal and written instructions and can work with other employees as a team.

Applications will be available and accepted from today through January 18th, and the interviews will be scheduled for Jan. 22 & 23. If you are interested in pursuing this position, please contact Jo Ann Ohanesian, Supervisor at Shatford Library. Phone Number: (626) 585-7837

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Associates Electronic Library Support Staff Journal

Part of the challenge of writing about library support staff, technicians and paraprofessionals is finding those folks who have the time to write about what they do. Let me tell you, it is not as easy as it should be.

One of the problems is being able to write honestly about what happens at work. For many bloggers this is a big no-no, particularly in employment and professions where personal privacy and confidentiality are held close to our hearts as a mantra.

There are LT blogs but I haven't yet found a blog that writes consistently about the profession that is currently being kept up to day.

The other problem is burnout. If you are holding down a family, a day job and other life experiences in addition to updating a daily or weekly blog you will be one crispy critter very quickly. There are many paraprofessional library blogs that have stopped cold for good reasons.

That doesn't help our need to know about real library work and expectations. Associates Electronic Library Support Staff Journal is published three times a year. The newsletter has a new design and is transitioning from its old one. It is a comfortable read on and off the screen.

Features you might be interested in include interviews with practicing library support workers such as Kerrie Blythe from Tasmania or Carol Borzyskowski's column about having a voice in supporting the library website without a MLS behind her name.

You can't go wrong by diving into the archives. I found an excellent article by Frank Exner Little Bear on Investing in Your Future. He talks about recognizing the paths and taking a good look at possible directions you can consider.

Mighty good reading all the way around.

Save The Date - COLT Annual Conference in 2008

I know this is a long way off but I want to put this in folks minds as something to plan to attend.

The Council of Library/Media Technicians (COLT) will have there 41st annual conference June 27-28 2008 in Anaheim, CA.

It is still in the planning stages but some of the topics include Blogs and Instant Messaging (and I'm thinking by extension Twitter and mobile content delivery), Dealing with Difficult People, Training volunteers and other topics to be added.

This might be a great opportunity to network with folks in the field or future employers. If you are a COLT member the cost of early bird registration is $160 which is $22 a month for seven months or $245 which breaks out to$35 for seven months.

Anyway for more information visit COLT for continuous up to date information