Friday, December 26, 2008

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

The United States Congress has an easy way for you to obtain historical and biographical information on the men and women who serve in Congress.

The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
can help students and historical researchers get information quickly and without a lot of trouble.

United States Congress Biographical Directory
The Biographic Directory can be searched by the name of the congress member, the party, state or year of service.

Shirley Chisholm
You will see a photo or illustration of the congressperson and a historical record of their education, prior employment held before becoming a member of Congress, party affiliations and notable achievements.

The database contains records from 1774 to the present time so you should be able to find anyone who has served in the House or the Senate.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Marian Library at the University of Dayton

The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute focuses research and collections concerning Mary, mother of the Christ Jesus. The library is hosted at the University of Dayton, in Ohio. This is an example of a specialized library; one with a religious focus.

The mission of the library is to provide information about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to collect literature and art that focuses on Mary and to maintain connections with the Marian community.

The Marian LibraryFrom the library website:
  • over 100,000 books and pamphlets in some fifty languages, ranging from the invention of printing in the fifteenth century to the present
  • more than 63,000 clippings from newspapers and magazines
  • nearly 100,000 cards depicting Mary in the art of all ages and numerous Marian shrines. (i.e., if we count the postcards, Christmas cards, holy cards, and prints of various sizes).
You can search for the library holdings via a Marian specific Google Search. This will reflect those holdings that have a connection to Marian research.

On-Line Collection of Marian Art and Research

The library maintains a collection of art with Mary as the primary focus. There are traditional and contemporary paintings of Mary in a variety of styles and interpretations.

Marian Poetry Collections

There is a huge collection of Mary inspired poetry at the site. There are seasonal poetry, poetry of praise, assistance and poetry by John Donne, Pier Paolo Pasolini, in Italian, and Thomas Merton.

This is an opportunity to explore a topic or a collection you may not have been aware of it existence. It is also a great reason to check out the art gallery.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Legal Glossaries And Dictionaries

With all the financial, legal and political mischief that is occurring in the news I thought that this might be a good time to provide resources to legal terms and expressions.

These are on-line glossaries and dictionaries that can help make sense of some of the legal concepts that will be introduced in the coming year. For those of you of a tactile nature and have access to PCC's Shatford Library the following items are on the shelves:
  • Black's Law Dictionary REF 340.03 B 1-3 1999 This is also available on-line if you have access to Westlaw.
  • A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage REF 340.03 G 1 1995
  • Real Life Dictionary of the Law REF 340.03 H 2
For our non-library students readers the format is: the name of the book, the type of material, in this case it is a reference (REF) book that cannot be removed from the library, the Dewey Decimal Number and general location in the library.

Many libraries will have at least one or all of these dictionaries in their reference stacks but the Dewey number or Library of Congress number may be different. When in doubt ask at the Reference desk.

Glossaries of Legal Words, Terms and Expressions
  • Lawyer' Glossary - You can select the most frequently used terms or enter your word or phrase in the search box. Very handy when you need to know what Fraud in the factum means.
  • Nolo's Law Glossary - What does lex loci mean? What is the exact meaning of the McNaghten Rule? A good resource for accessible meanings to legal terms.
Law Dictionaries
  • Dictionary at - You can search a term, a definition or choose your favorite legal letter of the alphabet to find your legal meaning or concept.
  • Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law at Google Book Search - This is a limited preview version of the dictionary but the section that is available maybe all that you need to locate the legal term of your choice.
  • - If you need to research Canadian legal terminology this dictionary is maintained by Barrister and Solicitor Lloyd Duhaime. Not only can you search by letter or by the newest additions you can also check out Canadian legal history and Canadian laws.
So when you need to know what habeas corpus really means (provided you don't watch CSI or Law and Order) I hope you will access these legal resources.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Shopping at Your Local Library

Looking for great bargains on books and other items? Then look no further than your local library! Many have a little bookstore run by the Friends of the Library for that particular library. You'd be amazed at what finds you can stumble upon. I have found many very gently used or practically new books at these various bookstores right in the library for simply amazing rock-bottom prices. Granted, most people think of going to the library to borrow books. But if you're looking for books for people on your holiday shopping list or even for yourself, this can be an excellent place to start.

One place I venture a lot lately is at Pasadena Central Library since I volunteer there weekly. After doing my volunteer hours, I have been heading to their bookstore to check out what is new in their stock. Before they were only open on Saturdays, but they have recently been able to be open during the week as well for limited hours. Upon speaking with one of the volunteers, she said the best day to come in if you can is on Thursdays (which is when I volunteer!) since they re-stock the bookstore with new donations on Wednesday nights. Next week due to the holidays, the newest donations will be put out on Tuesday night and the store will be open on Wednesday, Dec. 24 which is Christmas Eve. The library will be closing at 1pm though so that doesn't leave much time. The bookstore should be open for about 2-3 hours if interested in stopping by.

Other recommended places are Glendale Central Library, Burbank Central Library, and South Pasadena Public Library. I've seen rare books for truly wonderfuly prices as well as cool coffee table books at all of these places. I have to say I've never walked out without finding something of interest in all of these places. If you have a library bookstore that you can recommend, drop a comment and let us know! I'd love to discover more worthwhile places to find wonderful books while also supporting our local libraries.

Now if you're one of those that prefer to shop online, then head to PCC's Shatford Library website and click on the Amazon link. If you use this link, a small portion of any purchase you make will be donated to the Library - at no additional cost to you!

So remember these great sources for gifts at this time of the year or any other gift giving times.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quote of the Week

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do without thought of fame. If it comes at all it will come because it is deserved, not because it is sought after. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I got a card this week with part of this quote on it and felt it fit at this time for this week's quote of the week. With finals week upon us and a number of us graduating from the Library Technology Program, being successful is something that is weighing on our minds whether in our classes, job search, current jobs, and etc.

I truly believe that if you do the best you can in whatever you're doing in your path wherever the library world may take you, you will be a success whether you remain a library technician or head on to grad school and become a librarian.

One thing I will always remember from Mrs. Kim was not to stress so much on grades but on learning. I believe that if you realize that you need to always strive to keep learning no matter how much you think you already know, you will truly succeed. The why of what you're doing is so much important than being known for what you're doing in my opinion. It is what will keep you going when the tough gets going. At least, it has for me especially this semester which will be over in just two days for me. For those of you that is it over, congratulations and pat yourselves on the back!

Today someone told me that we need to give ourselves credit for all we do even more so than hearing it from others. I shall take this advice from this wise soul and hope you will do so as well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

City of Sierra Madre - Library Technician, Part Time

There is hope and one of you folks might be the person the City of Sierra Madre is searching for; there is a need for a part-time Library Technician.

  • Performs circulation duties by communicating clearly with library patrons to: create new and update existing accounts, check out and receive books and other items, answer questions regarding library fines and fees, calculates fines and fees, collects money, and completes required documentation;
  • Performs opening and closing procedures;
  • Assists patrons in use of computers, microfiche, reader-printer, etc.; retrieves requested reading and research materials; acts as an information source about library events and programs and other general information;
  • Assists in implementing public programs for adults, teens and children;

The ideal candidate will have a Library Technology Certificate with one-year of public library experience or any equivalent combination of training and experience which provides the required skills, knowledge, and abilities.

Application deadline: Monday, December 29, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.

Candidates should send a completed application and current resume to Miguel Hernandez, Personnel Analyst, Sierra Madre City Hall, 232 West Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre CA 91024. Applications can also be faxed to (626) 355-2251.

You can fill out an application on-line or download an Adobe.pdf application.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Library Science (Chemistry) Humor Video

You need to relax. Put your feet up. Take some time to smell the roses. Or check out this video on yet another way to find love in the stacks.

The video is silent with a brief musical accompaniment near the end, but it will not affect your understand and vibrate the Dewey in your soul.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Quote of the Week

The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history. - Carl T. Rowan

Considering that it seems most of my life has been beleaguered by our country being at war with someone, this quote reached out to me from the many quotes I pondered upon. In addition, the concept of intellectual freedom is one that has been explored in basically every course I've had in the PCC Library Technology Program. Without fail, from Circulation to Cataloging, it comes up again and again. One can try to run from such a concept but when our country whose democratic values have been founded upon the idea of having an informed society then it cannot be ignored.

Once again, the PCC Courier printed an editorial opinion lamenting over the noisiness found in the PCC Shatford Library. I felt once again they have misunderstood what the mission of the library strives for. Sure, there are some students who need quiet study areas. But others are learning through noisy group study. And if the library is indeed a temple of learning, who is to say it must be a quiet place all the time? I don't know of any actual church/temple that is always quiet. There is a time for quiet and a time for noise.

That is not to suggest that I don't believe that noise is not an issue at all in the PCC library at this time. But I do believe the PCC Courier failed to properly investigate what the Shatford Library is doing in coming up with solutions for this issue. One thing for sure is there is no easy answer. One may wonder why is there such a problem. Speaking with Mary Ann Laun, our Library Director, I found out there are a couple reasons why the library is so heavily populated and noisy at times. She stated that one reason is the library serves as an only open student lab for drop in use. Secondly, we are also a temporary "campus center" since there is no venue at this time until construction of the new one is finished. What was astonishing to find out from her is this: "This Fall semester, this library with 950 seats was serving 8500 students!"

Wow! That would definitely explain the incredible number of students served at the Circulation desk during the first few weeks of the semester. I remember days when it seemed you were lucky to catch a breath in between helping students at the desk. And all the shushing we would do as people would walk in. As things have calmed down, I find we still have to remind students to lower their voices but not as much.

Upon talking with fellow co-workers at the Circulation Desk, we were in agreement that the noisier patrons tend to be younger or older people. It didn't surprise me at all that the younger students would tend to be noisier due to my experience working at elemntary and high school libraries. Normally, when the school library is occupied by students it is indeed not quiet. As for older people, perhaps it could be due to talking louder due to hearing loss. I know I can relate to that myself as I sometimes talk louder than I realize due to my hearing loss.

Solutions in Motion
  • Announcements (which the students didn't like)
  • Campus cadets
  • New signage
  • Personal intervention service (if students come to the desk and complain)
  • Roving technicians

As one can see, it's been a trial and error process in trying to come up with resolutions that makes the majority of people satisfied. Please note that I said, the majority of people. In a perfect world, we'd be able to satisfy everyone but there are some that no matter what you do, you can't satisfy them.

On a good note though.....

Yesterday in LIB 103 Circulation class, our teacher and Access Librarian, Eric Hanson talked about this issue briefly. He talked about how there was one student who had e-mailed the library from his blackberry several times about the noise issue. What was gratifying to hear is that more recently the student e-mailed the library once again to say that he noticed the efforts the library has taken to make it an easier place to study quietly. So the efforts have not gone unnoticed at least by some!

Yes, we could tell someone to just come at a different time to study when the library is quieter like in the evening or on a Saturday. But perhaps that is not a viable solution for that student. I have to admit that I hear quite a few people asking if the library is open on Sunday but alas we aren't. I'm sure if we were open on Sunday, it would indeed be quiet then as well.

Mary Ann Laun also said that in planning the new building for the library based on what we know now, they would definitely have added way more study rooms. Hopefully, none of them would be right next to the lecture room in the library though. There's been many a lecture when the teacher has had to tell a noisy study group in the room right next door to keep it down. Even though we have study rooms, another issue is they aren't sound-proof. So that's another concern as well. It seems it never ends, doesn't it? But I believe that's part of what makes library work stay challenging.

The message I wished the PCC Courier could have relayed is this: We should all try to respect each other within the limited space in the PCC Shatford Library during this time as we reach our learning goals at hand.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

On-Line Language Translation Websites

You are all alone at the desk. You have snuggled up with a book and there is a word in another language. You can't guess at the meaning and you don't feel like browsing through the stacks.

There is help for the linguistically needy. There are free translation websites that will help you translate a word, a paragraph or an entire website.

There are a few cautions before you embrace you new translation tools. These are machines based translations, not human. They will do a good job but language is far more that matching word for word translations. There are concepts and meanings that may not exactly fit from one language to another.

I have used these on-line applications to converse with a friend in France. His English is a lot better than my French, which does not exist. Sometimes I need to explain a concept and I want to sent a letter to him in both English and French to make sure he understands.

He sends me newsletters in French that I have to translate into English. I get the general concept and meaning but there are conceptual errors that can be funny or insulting.

I've used this on the job when I couldn't find an staff interpreter. I always inform the recipient that I am using a translation program. So, let's start our run to the tower with Babel Fish.

Yahoo Babelfish
Altavista Babelfish now known as Yahoo Babel Fish is an oldie but a goodie. Bablefish will translate a passage or an entire website. Babel Fish can translate certain forms of Chinese as well as the Roman languages.

Reverso Translator
Reverso will not only translate a passage but if you are skilled in the 2nd language you can add the proper punctuation marks if necessary. There is also a dictionary and if you are a student of languages and need to know how to conjugate a verb this could be of great help.

Google Language Tools
Google Translate - yes they do have a translation application. You can type in a search term in English and then select the language to find the equivalent term in another language with search results. It will also allow you to enter more than 150 characters of text and it will translate web pages for you. What will blow you away is the number of languages it can translate.

I hope these language tools will be a help to you inside and outside of the library. Just remember they are not a replacement for human interpreters or translators. But they might help out in a pinch if you have a patron that needs written assistance in another language.

Library Assistants and Workers Express Themselves via Blogs

When the PCC library Technology blog started in 2006 there were at least six other library assistant/worker blogs. By the end of 2006 most of those blogs had disappeared. There was good reasons, burn-out, overloaded with the day job or not being sure that what they had to say was of interest.

I'd check from time to time but outside of the Library United for the Library Media Technicians Community (and the post seem to have stopped in 2007) it was hard to find folks or blogs that consistently talked about working in libraries that were not librarian or librarian students.

Well, Catherine kind of gave me a good kick in the pants to see if I could find contemporary examples of folks working in libraries and how they felt about it. This is just a quick look and I'm expanding this to people who blog who are not necessarily writing about being library workers but include it as part of their life experience.

Amanda at the Bell Jar
Amanda at The Blog Jar has one of the coolest looking blogs I've seen in a while, from a book junkie standpoint. I love her graphics and her sidebar challenges. This woman reads and reads a lot. Much goodness here.

Pink Roses and Chocolate has a gratitude list and one of the things she is grateful for is the opportunity to work in a library:
"Working here has been the best possible job for me. I am so grateful for the kind coworkers who genuinely care for one another, for the faculty and students that I am able to develop friendships with, for the work that I do that is not only interesting but also fulfilling."
I also like her sidebar where she had a list of quotes from famous people that end with a graphic of "Proud Bookworm".

Over at Live Journal's Library_grrls: Queer Library Staff there is gratitude for getting a Library Associate job and a bit of a fashion dilemma over what to wear if you are (her description, not mine) a "chubby queer."
"i'm wondering what is the most appropriate thing to wear? my interview clothes are a little more feminine than my average taste and are certainly too dressy for a first day, but i am worried about a false presentation."
The comments section was really supportive and offered her a variety of tips to handle being honest with her clothing preferences and balancing the dress code of the library. The work Kakis seem to come up a lot.

Speaking of clothing, there seems to be an issue of uniforms for library workers. NottGirl at Nottingham Is Crap (UK) writes about a situation of library assistants being forced to wear uniforms. You can read the news story/interview that explains the point of view of Barbara, who has been a library worker for five years. This is an extract from the article:
"...It means we can't use our initiative as much and it makes us feel like clogs in a machine. And the ultimate of this is that they want us to wear uniforms. Which means we will be just part of a machine and there will be no individuality left at all. And I think the informal, individual atmosphere of the libraries is one of the good things about them. It also means that people who are excluded from a lot of other places feel more comfortable in them. Teenage boys, asylum seekers, people like that who really don't want to be in places where there are uniformed staff. [...] They feel comfortable now but not anymore if we are uniformed."
In the article, Barbara goes into detail about her job, the patrons that visit and some of the changes that is occurring in the UK library system.

Well that is what I have come up with and it took 1.5 hours to find these folks. It is still a challenge to find library worker/assistant specific blogs but that doesn't mean they don't exist. If you know of a library assistant/worker blog that specifically talks about their working world drop a link in the comments.

Monday, December 01, 2008

National Treasures, Local Treasures Coming To LAPL

Attention library junkies, bibliophiles and bookaholics; clear your schedules for December 12, 2008 between 10am - 12noon. The Library of Congress is having an event at the Los Angeles Public Library. This is a portion of the planned festivities that was received via e-mail to Krista Goguen.

Interim City Librarian Kristina Morita will accept, on behalf of the Los Angeles Public Library, a facsimile of a 1937 "map of the stars" from the collections of the Library of Congress.

DVD Cover National Treasure 2: Book of SecretsOn the program from the Library of Congress are John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book, Guy Lamolinara, the center's communications officer, and Gail Petri, educational outreach specialist from the Office of Strategic Initiatives. The program will include the screening of a special feature available with the DVD for "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets," filmed in part in the Library's extraordinary Thomas Jefferson Building.

During this event, a student from Upland in the Letters About Literature contest will read her winning letter to an author. Novelist Nina Revoyr will also speak, about how research at LAPL has helped her succeed as an author.

The "National Treasures" program will include demonstrations by Library of Congress educational specialists on how to bring California history alive with rare primary-source materials available on the Library's Web site at

There will also be an online demonstration of the interactive Library of Congress Experience which brings unique historic and cultural treasures to attendees through cutting-edge interactive technology. The Experience comprises a series of new exhibitions and a continuing online educational experience on this personalized Web site.

These include:

"The Art and Architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building," a tour through this exuberant 1897 masterpiece of American craftsmanship.

"Creating the United States," which tells the story of how our Founding Fathers used creativity, collaboration and compromise to form our nation, with a focus on the words and phrases that created the republic.

"Thomas Jefferson's Library," which features thousands of original volumes that provided the foundation for the Library of Congress and its universal collections.

"Exploring the Early Americas," which tells the story of the Americas before the time of Columbus, as well as the periods of contact, conquest and their aftermath. Jay I. Kislak's extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, historic documents, maps and art of the Americas comprises the major portion of this exhibition, which also features Martin Waldseemüller's 1507 Map of the World, the first document to use the word "America.

The event is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Los Angeles Public Library and the California Center for the Book.

The Library of Congress Center for the Book was established by Congress in 1977 "to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries."

The address of the Los Angeles Public Library - Central branch is 630 W. 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles. So if you have the time and the inclination hop the Gold Line and then transfer to the Red Line to Pershing Square station. The library is a block and a half from the station.