Monday, December 14, 2009

Library Routes Project Wiki

The Library Routes project (http://libraryroutesproject.wikkii.com) was created by three Information Professionals: jennie law, thewikiman and Woodsiegirl. It launched at the start of October, 2009, and is aimed at all types of Information Professionals and library workers. This wiki exists to document and link to all those who have blogged or otherwise written about their library roots (how they got into the profession) and their library routes (the jobs they've had and how their career has been shaped). NOTE: many of the librarians are in the UK.

The idea is to document either or both of your library roots
- how you got into the profession in the first place and what made you decide to do so
- and your library routes - the career path which has taken you to wherever you are today.

As well as being interesting of itself, it will also provide much needed information and context for those just entering the profession or wishing to do so.
(From Library and Information Science News http://www.lisnews.org/)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Next Step - First Days II

I started this post awhile back but it got put on hold as my homework seemed to pile up over the course of the semester. Even though I had an inkling of how much work I'd have with grad school, the reality of just how much sank in later.

Networking was the concept that was thrown out a lot during the weekend the UNT/CSUN program started. While getting classroom knowledge is beneficial, networking is what will take you where you want to go. Who you know really can make a difference sometimes.

So how does one go about networking? The first place to start is your classmates. Even when you leave the Library Technology Program, stay in contact with your former classmates. Hopefully, during the program, you've made some great friendships which you make the effort to continue. Sometimes the way I've found out about jobs is through word of mouth. In addition, stay in touch with your former teachers who are in an area of librarianship that you are interested in. Staying in contact with former teachers can be good when you need letters of recommendations or a reference for a job application.


But you don't want to stop there. Join ALA (American Library Association) and CLA (California Library Association). There are student memberships that don't cost a lot so take advantage of those. If you wonder what your memberships can and will do for you, I'll be covering this topic soon.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

School Days - Book Repairs

Working in an elementary school library is a constant challenging and growing experience indeed! Most recently, I finally tried my hand at repairing the forever growing pile of books that desperately needed to be repaired. A quick fix of some tape isn't so bad. But trying to rescue a book that is barely hanging from its spine is another story. You may wonder why I didn't just toss the book then in the discards pile. Well, if it's a very sought after and/or expensive book that students keep clamoring after, then you may find it in your heart to take the extra time to try to put the book back together. That was the case for this one origami book.

I have to say I was truly doubtful that glue and tape would really do the job but I tried to remember what Jitka Hora had taught us in her short session about book repairs in Library 104. I have to say I was fearful of tackling these projects on my own without a guide showing me what to do.

With limited supplies of white glue, tape, and a paintbrush, I accessed each book and decided which was the best route to take. Some books just needed some tape. Others needed massive amounts of glue and tape to even warrant a hope of holding together. Then I secured the books as tightly as I could with multiple rubber bands. I used the heaviest books I could find in my collection (2 Art History books that no one ever looks at) and sat them on top of a pile of paperbacks and other small books. For the larger books, I just piled them on top of one another and hoped for the best. I let all the books sit for almost a week.

Today, I decided the books had enough time to let the glue do its job. I was really curious if glue could indeed put that origami book back into circulation. I have to say I'm truly amazed to see this book held together so well. Mission accomplished! My students will surely be psyched to see this book has made its return. Question is: how long will this book withstand its recent repairs? I'm hoping for awhile at least. But if it does come to that again, I am now confident I can do my best to put that book back together just like they put Humpty Dumpty back together when he fell down.

Friday, November 27, 2009

This We Know - Viewing Statistics from Data.gov

There is a tremendous amount of information provided to American citizens. For all of the questions being asked about governmental data the answers are not always easy to find.

Gateway to Data.gov databases.
This We Know is not a government site but is does display governmental data. The website collects information from www.data.gov and presents it in a format that is accessible.

For example, by typing in the zip code of 91106 I quickly found out that:
  • How much pollutants were release in the air and by which companies within the zip code.
  • How many people are unemployed in Pasadena, CA.
  • How many factories are in the area.
The information is drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau, Data.gov and other statistic data bases. It seems to be in the early stages so what you see is what you get. I imagine as time goes on users would be able to ask questions via the website to draw answers form Data.gov.

At least, I hope so.

But if you like your data raw, massive and plum overwhelming there is nothing like going to the source, in this case the Data.gov Tools page:

Tools Catalog via Data.govOn the Tools page is a gateway catalog of the hundreds of governmental websites providing statistical information, information resources and government resources.

You can search by category or by governmental agency. There is a lot of data here. Use what you can, it is for the taking.

Monday, November 02, 2009

CLA Conference 2009 Exhibit Hall - BookScanner

I got a chance to visit the exhibit floor of the California Library Association Conference. With the economy and the rapid changes in the industry I was surprised to see as many vendors as I did.

However, I didn't see e-book device vendors. I did see examples of e-book readers so I was able to view some of the well know devices like the Kindle and the one from Sony.

This is a short video that I recorded on a scanner system that could make a lot of sense to an academic library. This is just for demonstration purposes only, no endorsement is intended or implied.



Maybe this is the sign of the times. I was shocked to learn that the bad apple kind of students have been tearing pages out of reference books and flat out stealing materials.

Maybe a device like this could be set up so that those less than ethical students would not have access to the actual reference book but could acquire the readings that they need for class via a .pdf document.

Now knowing bad apples they way I do I wouldn't necessarily expect that they would pay for their readings. These are the kind of folks that would talk a friend into paying for them with the promise of paying them back later. (Cough!)

Another idea was that this could replace the photocopy machine. Since many students have access to e-mail, USB devices and other recordable media the student or staff member could scan the material and load it into the USB device or save as a .pdf

This could be the same amount of money used to charge for a copy but you wouldn't have the paper and the repair costs associated with the copy machines. Now don't think that the copy machine folks haven't thought about this because there are copy machines that can scan to .pdf and have the document e-mailed to the user.

Well, it is a though. But if you were looking to buy the library a holiday gift I'm thinking this would not be necessarily turned down.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Awful Library Books - In Praise of Weeding

There are times when a book has got to go. When it needs to be pulled from the shelf and placed on the 25 cent table of re-circulation or disapear.

Awful Library Books is a blog devoted to those titles that have seen better days.

Awful Library Books
There are many reasons to weed collections but this is a very visual and humorous guide that really helps to make clear that some books really are past there time.

For example:
Holly and Mary are actual librarians working at a public library. There is also a Why We Weed Page where folks can share their reasons for weeding a collection.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Social Networking - Twibes

It's been over a month since I first tried to join Twibes. Joining Twibes itself didn't seem all that difficult. But joining an individual twibe, I have to say it wasn't as easy to do as adding people to my Twitter account for technical reasons it appears. Every time I'd go to my page, I'd see I still wasn't in the Librarians Twibe that I tried joining multiple times. I have to say I was getting mighty frustrated. Here I was trying to venture out and be more bold in joining online groups and not getting very far in doing so.

Today I decided to check my page once again and expected not to see myself a part of the Librarians Twibe. Much to my surprise and delight, I finally succeeded! One of the reasons I like this twibe is its members come from different areas of librarianship. So come and check out this group and see what they are sharing.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Search Engine Tips - InTitle Search Video

I am finding that what I thought I would be doing with my library skills and what has come to pass are way different. I thought by this time I would be doing this in a library situation. I am reminded that the library has expanded a thousand fold.

I am certainly applying reference and ready reference skills in my writing. I have been working on a few new projects. One of those projects is to learn how to better present information using video.



This is a short videos showing how to use the InTitle search operator to find websites that have a specific word in the title.

Audio Transcript

Are you searching for a web page that has a specific title?
Save yourself some grief, here's how.

Click in the Search box and type intitle:(don't use the spacebar)and now type the search term, in this case libguides.

As you can see, there is a list of other suggested searches that may or may not have anything to do with what you are looking for; if these are bothersome you can turn them off.

When you are ready, click the Search button or hit the Enter key on your keyboard.

Ask.com will show you a list of all of the web pages that use the term "libguides" in the title. This is a pretty effective way of targeting those websites that specifically talk about, in this case library guides.

You can perform the same operator search in Bing, for example
intitle:libguides

This is the listings of websites that have "libguides" in the title.

And yes, you can use the intitle: search on Google as well.

The Journey So Far


This is both exciting and terrifying to start down a blind alley. One of the things I am constantly telling people is the need for flexibility and the ability to scope out new opportunities.

I've seen a lot of bad tutorials. I also see a need for tutorials in areas that are not being serviced. As the world moves from a paper based communication system to an electronic one there still needs to be sources of credible information. Those of us at the nexus point have to be involved in this process.

Anyway, there will be a few more videos and my continuing resolve to find a captioning program that works and doesn't make me feel stupid in the process. If you have time I would love feedback or topic suggestions.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ProQuest Example Video from Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson is an Assistant Librarian at Bloomquest College in New Jersey. He created an easy to understand demonstration video on using ProQuest to find a specific topic in a specific journal article.



Mike is using a free online program called ScreenToaster. One of the features of that service is that it makes it easier to add subtitles and captions to videos.

Anyway, this is a really clear, quick instruction on how to get the most of ProQuest.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dispatches From A Public Librarian At McSweeney's

McSweeney's is a literary publisher. Kinda. McSweeney's is a seeker of crafted literary voices. Sort of. McSweeney's is a word lovers warm fuzzy blanket with threads that can take you anywhere. Ok, McSweeney's is very hard to describe. It is a wonderful place for people who love language.

In this case you should check out Scott Douglass and Dispatches from A Public Library. Real librarian with a literary twist. In his dispatches sometimes Scott uses a Twitter format to report the doings in the library.

Here is an example from Dispatch #32
Patron wants to know why our computer won't let him log into e-mail. Ask what his e-mail address is. He can't remember.
Sometimes it is a narrative on the Patron on the Week:
Some patrons you can just tell are going to be crazy. Clemens, a homeless man in drag who came into the library this week, saved me from guessing and told me right when he walked in: "My name's Clemens. I'm crazy and want to use a computer." To seal the deal, he extended his hand to shake.
It is the stories, the challenges and how he sees his patrons as a source of never ending material defining the human experience. He doesn't necessarily make fun of these folks but the humor of the situations he faces is amazing.

For me there is Ms. Haskell. I can think of several older patrons I get a kick out of, but I knew Ms. Haskell was special the first day I met her; she asked for the dictionary ... on audiotape. Not an abridged version, or a "500 Power Words Everyone Should Know"—not even a collegiate dictionary would do. She had it all scribbled out on a stained napkin, which she proudly dangled in front of my eyes: "OED Dictionary on audiotape." When I said no, we did not have that, she said, "Well, compact disc will have to do then." That was my first encounter with her, and all the encounters that followed were also about audiotapes.
When you finish with Scott make a little time to visit the rest of McSweeney's.

Reminder - Flex Day next Tuesday

This is a reminder that next Tuesday, September 29, 2009 the entire PCC campus will be closed including student services and the library for Flex Day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bringing Shakespeare to Life

Check out the front page of this week's edition of the PCC Courier (Thursday, September 24, 2009) for the "Shakespeare in the street" article. Currently, this article is not online so you'll have to pick up an actual copy of the Courier to read it. I'm still including a link in case it is put online at a later date. While it may not be library related, I was told it is literary and PCC related. And as a current student at PCC and participant in this performance, I should share my experience.

While my main focus of study is library science at the moment, I've been indulging in my love of theatre arts since last spring. It was hard to pass up the chance to be involved in this unique performance of Shakespeare short scenes done in the intersection of Raymond Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Old Town Pasadena last Saturday evening. (This was in conjunction with the Armory Center for the Arts' 20th Anniversary Celebration-Installations Inside/Out (Jane Mulfinger: Autonomony is No Longer Possible or Interesting.) In the middle of the street, I'm sure you asking yourself. Yes, in the middle of the street! Though we rehearsed for a few weeks at PCC in the Little Theater and the parking structures, nothing could really prepare us for performing in the crosswalk as we never rehearsed there. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. One of the reasons I was excited about doing this is I was able to incorporate American Sign Language while saying my lines as well most of the time. Being a part of an innovative theater performance doing Shakespeare was definitely a chance of a lifetime. Originally, I figured it was great that it was just a one time deal since it wouldn't take up a lot of time but after our performance was done, I was saddened that we probably wouldn't be doing it again. Keeping fingers crossed since there may be a chance that we do it again in the future as our main organizer is hoping we will.

We did two runs (a full one and a shortened version) of our program which consisted of 21 shorts from short scenes of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer's Night Dream along with sililoquies and phone monologues. It was fun getting to play different parts from Adriana of The Comedy of Errors, a witch from Macbeth, Gwendolyn from Hamlet and more all in one evening.

Any chance to bring literature to life is wonderful. I think that may be why I'm so drawn to the possibility of becoming a children's librarian. One has a perfect excuse to read or quote outloud and bring wonderful stories to life however you can.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Next Step - First Days Part I

Three weeks into the UNT/CSUN MLIS program, I'm feeling more positive. I think a lot of what I was feeling was nervousness and anticipation about how everything would go those first days at the institute when we were in class sessions 8 hours for four days straight. As many predicted, we were all exhausted by the end of that long weekend but one well worth it. I looked at this weekend similar to my first ALA conference last year: jam-packed with information and great experiences.

We started out with an optional pre-institute dinner on Thursday night so we could begin to get acquainted with our fellow classmates or co-horts as the term they use in this program. Friday through Monday, they squeezed in orientation and a semester of lectures which obviously is impossible but nonetheless they tried their best. We did experirence some hands-on as we had homework to complete during that time as well. This semester our two courses are Introduction to Information Professionals which is a bit similar to LIB 101 and Introduction to Information Access and Retrieval which is like a refresher of LIB 102 Reference and more.

I did my best to become acquainted with as many of my classmates as possible over this long weekend. But with 50 people in our class, it was not an easy thing to do. I could probably have made more of a point to be more sociable Thursday night but I find dark, noisy restaurants not an easy situation for having conversations. I did meet at least three people that first night though I didn't really see them the rest of the weekend. I made a point of talking to as many different people every day we were there. Saturday night, there was a dessert social which I did attend and got more of a chance to talk with our professors along with classmates. Over the course of the weekend, I discovered that there are four of us that are alumni of the PCC Library Technology Program. In addition, there's another classmate whose taken a few courses and was debating whether finishing the certificate program or not since she's in this MLIS program now.

I know a lot of students wonder if they could really get through graduate school. I will admit since I'm just beginning I can't really say for sure but I believe if you can get through the Library Technology program at PCC, you can do this. I am amazed at the huge diversity in my class from ethnic, education, work experience and more. For those of you who English is not your first language, a handful of students like you are making their way through this program as well. In addition, one of the professors for our first classes is not a native English user which shows that if one wants to, one can truly achieve great things.

While I will admit that online learning is not my first choice, the reason I like this program is that it gives you a little bit of that face-to-face in addition. It's nice being in a relatively small class where most of your classmates don't live too far from you so it's possible to form study or support groups as needed. It's also nice not having to go to class every week but there is what seems like more homework to make up for that. An example of that are the weekly discussions that go on in both classes which makes sense. One thing that makes this program more personal is we have a class roster where we had to post our picture along with a brief biography about ourselves. One can always look at this roster or use a web tool called SNAP which allows you to view someone's picture simply by clicking on the person's name link while participating in the discussions.

Describing a whole weekend of everything I experienced and learned is impossible in one post so I'll continue later this week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Son of Citation Machine - Cite Your Sources

I know I used to have rivers of red ink when I created reports in high school. A dropped comma, underline one source but not the other. Mistyping the proper citation format has cost me a grade or two.

Son of Citation Machine
Unfortunately, I have no excuse anymore. Son of Citation Machine has been help folks out of the pain of constructing MLA, APA, Turabian and Chicago styles of proper citation since 2000.

Caution - always check your schools or publication preferred citation format. You might have to make adjustments or adapt what your school requires as the proper format.

Now this might not help you on a pop quiz or the final. You are still responsible for knowing how to cite a newspaper, book, recording or web page. But if it is 3 a.m. and your paper is due at 8 a.m. you are gonna needs a little help.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

111th Annual CLA Conference & Exhibition
www.cla-net.org/events/confexhibition.php
It's Time to Register for the 2009 Annual Conference!
The 2009 Annual Conference will be held in Pasadena from October 30 to November 2. As the premiere continuing education event of the year, the 2009 conference will offer dozens of workshops. Notable speakers at this year's conference include Paula Poundstone, Emmy-award winning comedian and spokesperson for Friends of Libraries U.S.A., and Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, authors of the Unshelved News comic strip.

To see the current list of Exhibitors, click here.

Monday, September 07, 2009

School Library Without Books - A Commentary

First, here is the news story from Boston.com on the Cushing Academy decision. The school gave away the existing library They are planning to replace the traditional paper books with electronic book readers by Amazon and Sony.

Many people have strong opinions about this transition. At the time of this writing there were 440 comments about this news story on the website. There is also a CNN write up about the transition from paper to electronic books. The tech community is also little buzzed about this decision. Check out the comments from the tech blog, Engadget.

The librarian and book bloggers communities are extremely concerned over this switch in book media.

Brian's Book Blog:
Okay, I feel better now. I just don’t understand how they feel that this is a good idea. A print book won’t shut down if it looses battery power. A print book doesn’t get recalled from your shelf like an eBook might from your Kindle.
The Luscious Librarian:
Now, I'm all for technology, especially when you're referring to information that is updated on a daily basis like reference information found in encyclopedias, but that kind of information is not free and requires a subscription. It's also easily controlled or changed depending on who is reviewing and posting the information, the interest groups the information supports or denounces.
Lisa Gold:

This is stupid on so many levels that I forced myself to wait a full day before blogging about it so I wouldn’t rant incoherently. Let me just pose a few questions:

  • Did the librarians of Cushing Academy try to explain to their headmaster that only a small percentage of works are available in digital form, and that most of those aren’t free?
  • Before discarding their 20,000 printed books, did they consider checking to see which ones aren’t available in digital form and keeping those? (In my experience many of the best reference works only exist in print form.)
  • Did they think about the fact that even if the library pays to subscribe to subscription databases and encourages the use of free public domain works (Google Books, Project Gutenberg, etc.), that still means students won’t have access to the vast majority of works published after 1922 and still under copyright?

My Thoughts But More Feelings

I love books. I love the smell of them. I love to hold them and goodness knows I have a few in my bed waiting for me to catch up.

So hearing about a school voluntarily dismantling the library has me at near tears. I don't care if they are rich kids. Every child and teenager needs access to books. I want them to have access to Judy Blume, Malcolm X, and any science fiction book. I'd even put up a scuffle for the sports books and I don't care about sports.

Why? Because books saved my life as a kid. Seriously. Everything from Go Dog Go to Encyclopedia Brown to why do people hate each other? I know how powerful the right book can be in the hands of a person in need.

I would walk the stacks just looking for that book that would call out to me. And if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about then why are you in the library program or reading this post?

This is personal! (and my opinion does not reflect upon PCC or Shatford Library.)

Yes, I like tech and gadgets. Always have and always will. But books are my home. Paper books. When I need to escape and I have no money where do I turn to? A book. When I am searching a past that I have no information on where do I look? I can find an out of print book that has what I need. That out of print book is not going to be in a Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader.

My connection to the pulp is similar to BookishGal on her post about keeping books. I can't throw them out. I pick up stray books if I think they are at risk for disposal.

So to read of someone who is a so-called educator who is proud that they discarded 20,000 books for a $12,000 coffee machine I get teary. And angry. And sad.

Look, I knew the transition was coming. I tried to tell people. But is should be a transition, not a dad gummed purge. This is not the last of it. The state of California is planning to use e-textbooks and will phase them in over time. Textbook publishers are getting read to produce custom content textbooks in electronic form.

Textbooks in electronic form have a places in schools. There is no stopping that process. But literature, philosophy and boatloads of history books cannot effectively be transferred to electronic devices at this time.

This is a loss when even one school library does it. It must not become a trend. If this summer has taught us anything it is that there is no pride in being willfully stupid. It is not a badge of honor.

We can do better than this. We must be informed and, when given the opportunity, speak up.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fall Semester 2009 Updates and Reminders

Just received a Breaking News e-mail from the Courier that parking on campus is free through this Saturday, September 5, 2009. For more information, check here.

The campus will be closed this coming Monday, September 7, 2009 for Labor Day.

The last day to add classes will be next Saturday, September 12, 2009. In addition, it's the last day to drop classes without receiving a "W". Applications for refunds need to be done by Friday, September 25, 2009. The latest you can drop a class with a "W" is Friday, November 13, 2009.

Good luck to all of you taking classes this semester from LIB 1 to LIB 105A.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Next Step

"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." Helen Keller,The Open Door,1957

This isn't my usual "Quote of the Week" post that I've done in the past. I started out with this quote because recently I've been feeling rather discouraged about starting graduate school. I have to say there have been numerous times I've felt like just throwing in the towel even though classes hadn't even started yet. So why the frustration? While I won't go into all the ins and outs now, it's been everything from the application process to financial aid.

While I'm still not feeling all that excited even today, this quote got me thinking. I found this quote by Helen Keller while working on one of September's book displays for the Shatford Library yesterday. I will admit I've thought about postponing or avoiding graduate school altogether during all the ups and downs these past few months. While thinking about Helen Keller's quote, it has made me realize that I should look on this experience as another adventure in my life and not worry so much about everything. Before everything finally came together, people around me kept telling me that it would all work out. How they were so sure when I was so doubtful is beyond me. But I'm thankful for the wonderful support group I do have that has helped me get through this preliminary time.

In a few days, I will be officially starting the next step as Mrs. Kim always referred to it in Library 104 as I begin classes in the brand-new University of North Texas/California State University, Northridge cohort program as one of fifty students.

Many have asked me to blog about my grad school experiences. You can follow my adventures as a graduate student in this library and information studies program by continuing to read this series, "The Next Step".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Social Networking - Twitter

Recently, I was enjoying lunch with a writers group when the topic turned to social networking. The evil necessity of being visible online as writers-published or not. As one writer proclaimed her love for Twitter, it made me realize I felt the same way once I started using my account on a regular basis. Why? Because it's simple and easy to use. The pure fact that I can send and receive tweets from my mobile phone without having to log online is amazing to me. Unlike MySpace or Facebook, there's very little maintenance, no updating or adding more photos, etc. once you've set-up your account.

Basically, Twitter asks you "What are you doing?". In 140 characters or less, you can inform those interested in keeping updated about what's going on with you. You can do this via text messaging, instant messaging or from online. In addition, you can use a widget on your MySpace or Facebook account so you can put your Twitter updates there as well. Personally, I think that's a little redundant since MySpace and Facebook already has a place where you can post updates. It states you could also put a widget on your blog page, so that could be a nice addition. You can find this information on their home page under Goodies.

Even though you can use their general Help Page to learn how to use Twitter, I really liked how the help page geared for businesses was set-up much better. So I'd suggest checking out both.

If you have any questions or problems with Twitter, check out their Support Page. One thing I noticed is that I didn't always get the updates sent to my mobile phone which I wasn't too happy about. Their answer for this was: "Missing Twitter text updates is fairly common. If the Twitter text queue is too overloaded with text updates, some will be dropped." Should I have expected that technology is never perfect in the first place? I suppose so.

Upon further investigation, I came across this: "Twitter sends and receives an extremely high volume of tweets each day. We're now sending and receiving so many that we're occasionally exceeding carrier limits. When this happens, we're unable to deliver more text messages to that carrier or phone for a short period of time. If you're not receiving all tweets via text, this is most likely why." They do give solutions though if there seems more to the problem than that. In addition, they do mention that they're working with mobile phone carriers to fix that problem though in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed that they do.

If you're interested, Twitter has their own blog. Their most recent post talks about a new book, Twitter Wit, that features the funniest tweets.

Speaking of books, in the Resources area geared toward businesses, there are two books listed, "The Twitter Book" and "Twitter Tips, Tricks, and Tweets". I haven't gotten a chance to see any of these books but do plan to. There are also articles and blog posts on Twitter and using it effectively.

And for more on Twitter, check out Gena's post from last year.

So far, I'm not following that many people but I do have Library Journal, RefWorks, and the Shatford Library so far along with some friends and acquaintances. In a step beyond Twitter, there now is Twibes which are Twitter groups. More on that next time!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Collecta - Real Time Search of Blogs, Tweets and Videos

Collecta searches in real time for your topic. It includes Blogs and Twitter text into your search.

Collecta Real Time Search Engine
Collecta will continue to look for your topic until you tell it to stop by deselecting the search box. I didn't understand why it kept updating the search after I finished it or went on to another topic. It was like the little engine that could.

Collecta Search Results Panels
The Preview panel allows you to see the content and you can click to visit the source. Here is the neat part; under search options you see the following:

Search options listSearching for comments is interesting because I have found good links and resources that way. I also like the video search aspect but I would like to choose different video distribution sources like Daily Motion, Blip.tv and other similar sites.

This Is A Keeper


Collecta is still in Beta so when I performed a search on "library classification systems" I got results from programing languages, game players terminology and other not obvious classification connections, in addition to library blogs.

Currently there is no way that I could find to restrict the search area; for example I can't tell Collecta to search only Wordpress blogs or only blogs that have "library" in the title.

At this point I think this is a good alternative for Google Blog Search and it can be used as a supplement to other search engines.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Book Repair and Repair Video Tutorials

One of the regrets most of us have is that there isn't time to learn all you need to in class. I have plenty of book at home that need TLC but I have sense to know not to use tape or home based glues.

For every question there is almost an answer. Or a video. Which requires an explanation. There is a niche market for the suppliers of book repair materials. Those that are smart will make videos that demonstrate how to use their product.

The first video is a demonstration from Joyce Godsley at SICPress.com on how to remove an old faceplate from a book. (Please note that there there is no implied or intended endorsement of the products or her company.)



There are other book repair videos. The Health Science Library at the University of Chapel Hill has one on how to make a four flap enclosure. Master Bookbinder Peter Goodwin gives a historical explanation of bookmaking in the 1800s, the reason for brittle book paper and the fate of all acid based books.



I want to give a hat tip to Acquired Books blog to point me to a free online Preservation 101 tutorial you can take to enhance your books repair skills.

Just took a look at the offering and wow, there is info on collection management, collection care and what to do when a disaster (fire, flood or earthquakes) happens to your materials. You can download .pdf copies of the instructions to build your own personal repair tool kit.

This is really good stuff. If you think you might want a little more information about library preservation check out Kevin Driedger's blog, Library Preservation.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Social Networking - Part I

About 10 years ago, I was having a discussion with a friend who doubted that online social networking would ever catch on. And actually, I didn't realize myself just how huge this phenomenon would later become as I had tried to convince him that people would change their tune later. Who would have thought he'd belong to Facebook before me?

Anyone who knows me has had the experience of dealing with some resistance from me through the new waves of technology over the years. The first time I came in contact with a computer was ironically at the library at CSULA when I was a student in 1984. They started out with one or two catalog terminals back then. If you were to walk in there now, it seems as if the computers have taken over the library. Who would have thought?

Shortly after my first introduction to computers, I found out that the small company I was working for then was taking that forward step into technology as we all got our own computers. No more tedious work on an electric typewriter for me!

For 15 years, my viewpoint was that computers were about making work more efficient. Not about meeting and connecting with people online. The whole idea of going online just seemed bizarre to me when a boyfriend tried to explain how it worked. Time and time again over a year's period, he tried to convince me to just try it. The only thing I was willing to do on his home computer was play solitaire. Finally, one day I decided to take that next first step in the land of technology- the Internet.

My first experience involved going into an online chat room which for a hard-of-hearing person was a dream come true. I could understand what every single person said in my open and private conversations in that online room without having to ask anyone to repeat themselves. If I had known what a life-altering experience it would be, I would have tried it out much sooner. I will admit I did become quite addicted to going online to chat to people all over the world. I do still have some cherished friendships from that time even though I no longer have gone to chat rooms for quite some years now.

Back then, if you admitted that you had met someone from online in person, people would often look at you like you were crazy. What sane person would do that? Was it even safe? That was the the just tip of the iceberg. Online dating sites were fairly new but starting to become popular slowly in the late 90s. I have taken that route before and have met some interesting people but never found love there as some have.

For me, it seems technology has taken me full circle as I once viewed it as a way to achieve your work more efficiently. Social networking now has become a visible and viable way to live your life. From myspace to Facebook, Twitter and so much more, it can include every facet of your life- from school to work to hobbies and more. It still astounds me the explosion of technology in what seems a rather short time in history.

My next installments are going to cover various social networking sites as I attempt to familiarize myself with more of them. I've had quite a few myspace accounts that I've opened and deleted until I stuck with the current one I have. In the last year, I've had countless requests to open a Facebook account. I just roll my eyes as I say, "I don't need something else to worry about online." I already have multiple e-mail addresses, a myspace page and a Twitter account I had opened up back in December and forgotten about till I was recently reminded of when a couple of friends added me. That doesn't even include the message boards and blogs I hardly visit any more due to a lack of time or forgetfulness. So whether you're a seasoned social networker or a newbie, follow my journey in becoming more knowledgeable.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ohio University Libraries - The Business Blog

I do try to keep my other interests and avocations off of the PCC Libtech blog but sometimes my life has other plans. While looking for video blogs I discovered another librarian who uses video in his site, Library Voice.com.

Chad Boeninger and writes about how technology in libraries can and should be of service to the patrons.

Chad at Ohio University Libraries
Chad is also in charge at the Ohio University Library Business blog where he locates content and material to help students and faculty make sense of these financially constraining times.

One of the challenges that Chad has to face is working with reduced acquisition fund budget. He has to cut books and subscriptions in order to slash $85,000+ out of the budget.



For those of you who have taken Library 101, Library 103 and Library 104 this is the working example of not only weeding materials but also facing the fact that you no longer own a current copy of the information; it is online in a subscription based system.

That may work when the library system can pay the vendor subscription fees but if money get tight you not only loose current information but access to past history and materials as well.

It is a tough balance. In a prior video, Chad goes step by step on the reasons for canceling certain materials and invites the faculty for input.

This is a good opportunity to get insight on an academic library and real world decisions that have to be be made. As I go deeper into the blog there are screencasts that explain research skills, consumer trends, the current marketplace and those things that would support the goals of the library.

I hope that by visiting these sites it will give context to the impact that budget cuts have on libraries and patrons. It is also a good place to get an insight on how to be of technological service to staff and patron.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Out In the Stacks - Library Assistant Stories

What is like in there real world of library service? Well, you are dealing with real people. Not always on good behavior. Sometimes acting as if the have divine rights that are higher than yours and otherwise can be a pill.

There are those library paraprofessional that have gone before you. Have they got stories! The hard part is for these folks to have the time to write them. Our challenge here at the blog is to find the rascals.

For your reading pleasure or for those that like tales of terror, here you go.

At Once Upon A Time T. Kim Nguyen spins a lament about access, patrons and plumbing.

In crime news, a Las Vegas Library Assistant was arrested after being caught being orally fixated on a 17 year old.

Folks, I don't talk about social media and software just because I'm a tech junkie. The television station pulled the woman's photo from Facebook. Do not have sex with people under 17 years and 364 days. And as an added tip, do nothing in the vicinity of a high school. This is not debatable.

Clover is making a mental note to focus on job and not blog. This ties in with a recent post on when patrons ask for things you can't pronounce and don't have a clue as to what they are talking about.

Well this is scary. Not all library assistants are going to be human. I just found out about DiLiA. Forgive me, but I hope it never gets out of Alpha.

That all for now. Remember don't break the spine if you can't do the time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bob Ducket on Using Your Wits

I subscribe to a lot of blogs and websites, both within and outside of the library community. Some times it happens that a non-library resource leads me back to a topic that was covered in the program.

This is one of those times. Bob Duckett was a Reference Librarian of Bradford City Libraries in the United Kingdom. In the post entitled "Reference Desk: Tips on Using Your Wits" he writes about how do you effectively find information for library patrons, no matter when you started learning how to do so.

UK vs US Terminology

This is a guess on my part but when Bob talks about the Enquiry Desk I think that is the same as our Reference Desk. This is a sample:
I exaggerate, and lucky you if you know your clientele and know what their likely demands will be: the course that students will be doing perhaps, or the job descriptions of users of a firm's library. But on a public library counter the next enquirer is likely to be unknown to you. You are at the mercy of the World and his Significant Other.
Yes, my years of watching Dr. Who has come in handy. Which is another point in the article, you want a broad based of knowledge. It is not just the academics, it is the connection with the various worlds we occupy. Your hobbies, past careers and eccentricities are a bonus to be embraced. You will be surprised on how helpful they can be in a pinch.

Take Away Points

Much of what he has to same is common sense but since that is not so common you should be on the safe side and read this anyway. The three main take away point I got were:
  • Never talk down to a patron
  • Use the interview format to properly understand your patrons needs
  • Know your sources and resources. Not everything can be found on the Internet so be open to cracking a book open once in a while. If the microfilm/fiche reader is functional give it a go and discover the past.
This was a good article and I do recommend that those of you who may find themselves at the reference desk read and review the concepts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

BibliOdyssey - Time Travel for Book Lovers

I admit that I can be seduced by software, hardware and all manner of contraptions. I can't go near a camera store without coming out with something. By my true love is books. Old, new it does not matter to me. So when I found the BibliOdyssey blog that really demonstrates the craftsmanship of older books I was amazed at the artwork and typography being displayed.

Illustrations from BibliOdyssey

We forget that a book had to do many things at one time. Certainly it had to have content and text was the easiest and most affordable content to produce. But for those that could afford it, books with images were highly desirable. The woodcut and other techniques used to illustrate in ancient books can be breathtaking.

If you have an interest in typography, book art, illustration or need a dose of inspiration this is a great blog to visit.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First Days - Part III

A friend told me that my second installment in this series was a woeful little tale which made me laugh but hey, it was all true! I will admit that I do actually miss my days at the elementary school. I was planning to go in this week to accomplish some work on my own time until a fellow co-worker told me I should just wait till September comes before going in. I have to agree with her that the work isn't going to go anywhere and I should just enjoy this time off.

With the very likely possibility of not having a position here at the circulation desk at PCC come this fall, I've been looking around some. I am not keen on job hunting once again. It seems it was just yesterday I was doing that. But alas, one must do what one must do. A co-worker/friend informed me of a full-time position at a high school library yesterday with the deadline to apply for earlier this afternoon. I decided to go ahead and apply. Who knows what will happen? So far, the last two applications I sent out, I got the "Thank you but no thank you response." Earlier this year, I interviewed for two positions and got the "Thank you but you're over-qualified." response. Can't win, can you sometimes?

That brings me pondering if I do find another job and have to quit the elementary school job. Yes, I will miss it in spite of the cons. Even though it's a very demanding job with minimal hours and pay, the rewards have been immense. It's been wonderful getting the experience of running this library primarily on my own and being able to make the majority of the decisions. I have loved the opportunity getting to know this collection well as it's not huge. I enjoy working with the wonderful teachers and staff as well as trying to encourage kids to enjoy reading different subjects. The smiles on those kids make my day as well. I have gotten reacquainted with old favorites and discovered new favorites. If you'd told me years ago, I'd be now always on the look-out for cool kids' books when I am out shopping, I'd never have believed it unless I had become a grandmother. Granted, if I were to get a full-time school library postion, there will be still a lot of the same advantages and similarities without the overwhelming demands of being the singular person there.

I'm still deciding what kind of library I want to work at once I become a librarian. Luckily for me, that won't be for another couple of years. Part of me is still debating becoming a school librarian as I'm already working in the system. But I have to come to love working in an academic library as well. I also wonder if special libraries are the way to go perhaps since there may not be the same funding problems as with public, school and community college libraries.

It may seem I'm off-track here but one of the things about volunteering and working in a school district that I experienced these past couple of years was seeing first- hand the reality of librarians and library technicians either being laid off or having their hours cut. For example, this last school year, a good friend went from being a 12 month to a 10 month position. I'm sure a lot of people didn't like this but he figured it was better than losing his position completely. I'd have to agree. In a time when people have been losing their jobs, I actually got an increase in my hours for the following school year. Whether that will still be the case come September remains to be seen and I'm prepared for anything. As they always say, it usually gets worse before getting better. And that's exactly what I'm seeing now.

No matter what happens though, I can say that going through the application and interview process (if I get to that point), is good practice for when I'm applying for a to-die-for position in the future.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

At Your Local Library

It's that time of year again, folks! If you're looking for a way to cool off and enjoy a baseball related event, come on down to the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at the Pasadena Central Library on Sunday, July 19, 2009. The doors will open at 1:30 pm, the festivities begin at 2:00 pm, and admission is open to the public and free of charge. The inductees will be Steve Dalkowski, Roger Maris, and Jim Eisenreich. Terry Cannon, founder and Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary (and graduate of the PCC Library Technology program) said it's always a standing-room-only event. So it's my recommendation that one arrive early to get good seating and the chance to mingle. I went last year for my first time and I have to say it was quite a treat even for someone who is not quite a die-hard baseball fan.

In addition, one can view the Cardboard Fetish exhibit which consists of intriguing baseball card collections past and present all month long throughout Pasadena Central Library.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cuesta College Online Library/Information Technology Certificate Program

Cuesta offers an Associate degree and Certificate in Library/Information Technology, and collaborates on a Certificate in Web Development Technologies.

All of the Library/Information Technology courses in the program are online, and can be completed from anywhere. (One Fall course requires an on-site orientation meeting in San Luis Obispo.) The cost--$20 per unit for California residents--is still one of the great bargains in higher education.

Registration is now open; Fall classes start August 17, 2009. Links to online application information and forms are included in the attachment.

For more program information please visit our program website http://library.cuesta.edu/libt/index.htm or call Kathy DeCou (805)546-3190.

University of Arizona Digital Information Management Certificate Program

June 2009 - For immediate release

The University of Arizona Digital Information Management (DigIn) Certificate program is currently accepting applications for Fall '09. IMLS scholarships are available.

-------------------------

The University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science is pleased to announce that openings are available in the school's graduate certificate program in Digital Information Management (DigIn), and that scholarships are available for students entering the program in Fall 2009.

DigIn combines intensive, hands-on technology learning and a strong grounding in the theoretical principles needed to manage large-scale digital collections in a fast-changing environment. The program supports a wide range of professional careers involving digital collections, including but not limited to libraries, archives, and museums.

Graduate certificates are increasingly being recognized as a means for information professionals with advanced degrees to enhance their knowledge and technology skills. DigIn is also open to professionals who are new to the field and who may be considering a masters-level education in the future.

The program is delivered 100% online and has no residency requirements.
Students generally complete the certificate in four or six semesters (15 months or 27 months).

DigIn now accepts applications before the start of the Summer, Fall, or Spring semesters. The application deadline for Fall '09 is July 1. Late applications will be accepted, although we cannot guarantee admission for the fall semester.

DigIn was developed in cooperation with the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records and the University of Arizona Outreach College. Major funding for the program comes from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which has also provided scholarship funding.

Additional details on the program including course descriptions, admissions requirements and application forms may be found on the program website:

digin.arizona.edu

Applicants may also contact the DigIn staff at:

digin@email.arizona.edu.
-------------------------

Sunday, June 28, 2009

English Short Title Catalogue at the British Library

At this section of the British Library website you can locate titles for books published between 1473 and 1800. If the material was published in the UK or its possessions, Colonial America or any place else on the planet, and it was printed in English, it very well might be listed in this database.

English Short Title CatalogueNow short title does not refer to the length of the actual name of the book. As you can see from the example below, titles could be quiet descriptive:


My understanding is that it refers to limited or special publications produced quickly. I'm thinking like pamphlets, broadsheets and the early equivalents of instant publishing.

As you can see, you can view the records in a variety of formats such as a three line summary listing, full MARC tags, or which institution has the actual document.

This is a good resource if you are researching ephemeral publications that give a sense of time and place.

It is also valuable if you want to brush up on your MARC skills if it has been long time since you have sweated a MARC code. Check it out.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Days - Part II

I did not foresee that I would face frustrating days the last two weeks at my library aide job at the elementary school following my last post. I thought my last two weeks which is now stretching to yet another week would be a much smoother ride. Unfortunately, that has not been the case and has made it rather difficult for me to post further on this series. Overall, I still love my job even though it has its moments.

I had wondered before if I should post first about the pros or the cons of this job. While I do want to encourage people to consider working in elementary school libraries as a potential first library job, I realize it may not be a good fit for all. One thing I've come to realize is that you really need to have a passion about your work to get through the tough times. But one could say that about any job.

I figured I'd just be dealing with collecting books and lost book fines along with getting the library in order for the following school year during this last month. In addition to all that, I've been dealing with finding out our school district was getting the brand-new Alexandria automated system to replace the supposedly outdated and soon-to-be obsolete Athena system. I found out about our training days the morning it had begun as I arrived to work. Due to not being kept in the loop, I missed most of the training even though I attended the second day. Everyone from the high school libraries were in attendance but most of the elementary school library aides were not in attendance either day.

It made me wonder about how important they regard their elementary school library aides. We are expected to single-handedly run these libraries on little hours and funds in retrospect to the high schools. We are the stepping stones as we serve the K-8th grades. Shouldn't we be regarded with more importance?

I later found out that the principal of our school had been informed at least two weeks in advance but he failed to let my immediate boss or me know. What happened to direct communication, I wondered. Even at the elementary school, the communication process seems to fail time and time again. My immediate boss asked the office to let her know when the new Alexandria system arrived so she could put it together. Since they didn't let her know and I assumed she knew it had arrived, our new library system has sat in the library in unopened boxes for at least a week now. Not that I have time to familiarize myself with this new system amidst all the piles of unshelved books!

So that brings me going in next week at least two days to finish my work up on my own time. I've tried my best to get as much done in just the ten hours a week they gave me this year. But it's not been an easy task and usually I end up putting in more hours unpaid. It's virtually impossible to do all I need in that short stretch of time. They realize that but still that doesn't solve the problems at hand. I realized going in most of what my job would entail of me. It's what you don't foresee that can throw you for a loop. Remaining as calm as possible is not always an easy feat though I've done my best to do so these past couple of weeks.

This isn't quite the next post I had in mind when I started this series. But perhaps this will give you a honest glimpse into the reality of being a school library aide. This isn't the last of the series so stay tuned for the pros and more cons. Hopefully, that won't deter you away from these much needed libraries.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Morning Reflections

I'm avoiding doing the list of things I swore I was going to do today. They will get done but I wanted to put down a few thoughts about life, and the library program.

I've received my certificate months ago. My idea was to start working in a library as I continue other adventures. I didn't think that was going to be a problem. I did not anticipate the mortgage and related financial crises putting a serious crimp in my plans.

I also didn't anticipate a series of life events to knock the stuffing out of me. If this should happen to you I'd tell you honestly to do the best you can and quit worrying.

This is why they call it life, you take what you are giving, using the skills you have and find a way of dealing with the dreary and the impossible.

I am optimistic.

I've heard through the various grapevines that I am involved with that there are cities around the country that are closing libraries for two weeks cold. Not even the libraries web sites will be active.

Other libraries are having mandatory furlough days for their employees. In California, who knows how the hammer is gonna come down on state and certain local libraries but make no mistake there will be an impact.

Because there is still a need for what librarians, paraprofessionals, librarian assistants and technicians. It might be we will need to look at opportunities in the private sector.

Large law firms certain have librarians and library assistants but with the (hopeful) changes in health care there should be more options for our services.

I can tell you the software programmers and entrepreneurs definitely need our services but they don't know it. For those that have an interest in cataloging, open source development, taxonomy or programming you could make hand over fist money. You might have to convince folks of your value but I'm telling you the computing industry needs us.

That is one of the keys - having more than one skill set. I am doing a lot of writing these days. I will tell you that everything I learned in the program is being used on a daily basis.

Sometimes I use those skills to help colleagues find or verify information. I can use my writing as a way to point to credible or alternative information sources using the guidelines on how to evaluate a source.

Many times I'm researching topics I have little or no information about and I want to understand both sides. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to find what I need to prove a point with factual information by following the processes we learned in class.

You know, let me be straight with folks.

I know some of you are or were in the program because your job required it. All you want to do is keep your job, shelve books and do what you are told. You aren't interested in technology or the next new thing. You want the paycheck, health care and two weeks in July.

That is cool. I understand and respect that point of view.

There are others of you that want to be librarians in physical buildings assisting patrons, sniffing book dust and being of service, even if it means chasing the pervs out of computer room.

That is cool too. If I get the financials in place I hope to be one of Tsk-Tskers myself someday.

No matter how you see your life/work path keep learning. I don't care if you are 18 or 80 you have to keep informed. For your financial safety you have to have more than one body of knowledge or set of skills that you can call upon.

What do you know that another person might value?

I'm not necessarily talking about academic knowledge, thought that is certainly important. Knitting. Fishing. Knowing the difference between the Red Skull and the Red Claw.

Knowing the differences in BBQ styles in the country from mustard, vinegar or those that apply the magic rub. Whatever you know that is special, even if it is your family history, adds value to what you bring to any so-call job or employment.

This is a time of social networking. Well, networking has always been social but instead of face to face it is now includes keystroke to keystroke. You now have the opportunity to make connections beyond your immediate physical area.

The point I am taking way too long to make is to implore you to engage in some form of networking or electronic social networking. You should also continue to add to your personal knowledge base and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Oh and have some fun too. Very important.

So I will be still posting on the blog from time to time. Not as much as I would like. I feel bad when I don't post a gem that I think the LT community would be interested in or you should know about.

Don't forget to dive into the archives - there might be something that answers a question from long ago that pops up again and again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

First Days - Part I

My first year as a library aide at an elementary school (K-8) has felt like a series of first days. I have learned more than I ever expected to in these nine months that have flown by.

It's hard to believe that the school year is quickly coming to an end. But alas, it is. Next week is the last week of check-outs. After that, it's the challenge of getting all the books returned, lost book fees paid, and all those books re-shelved and organized better before I close the doors for the summer.

When I first was given the keys to the library back in September, I'll never forget my initial reaction as I walked into the library since there was no signage. "How is everything being organized? What system are they using?" I will admit there still is no signage but I have attempted to start reorganizing the library during the limited time I have the few days a week I'm there. I have put in extra hours on my own time as well in what seems a never-ending project. Coming on board to a library that has been primarily run by people who knew not much about libraries hasn't helped this dear little library which I've come quite attached to and call mine. I'm determined to get it in better shape in order to function as a more effective library and information center.

I will admit there are pros and cons to working in an elementary school library but one thing I have come to learn is the real need for its existence. Most kids at the school I work at don't have parents who take them to the public library. Outside of their classrooms, this tiny modest library is a primary means of serving their needs whatever they may be-anything from reading for pleasure, getting information for a research paper, and discovering new ideas or interests.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts in this series as I reveal more details about everyday life in an elementary school as a library aide.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Science.Gov Portal To U.S. Science Information

I found out about this via the ALA Federal Library and Armed Forces Library Roundtable ListServ. Science.gov is a portal to various governmental databases and technical information sites. It might make it a little easier to locate governmental authoritative sources.

Portal to Science.govI looked under the category of Science Education. There are links to sources from the Library of Congress, National Science Foundations, NASA and so many more agencies that have science data.

You can enter a search term or you can use the advanced search to find by keyword, title or to select just the area you want to discover.

Science.gov is a great help in finding data but I do want to mention a concern. I followed a group of links about chemistry clip art from the Food and Drug Administration. Many of the links were dead or long gone.

Not blaming the FDA for this, external websites change all the time. Part of the responsibility is trying to maintain quality links so you do have to go back and see if a source listed in 1999 is still viable in 2009.

Science.gov is a cool resource that can help you locate governmental science related materials. I'll spend a little more time checking it out.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Example Interview Questions for Library Technician Positions

Example Interview Questions for Library Technician Positions

Warm up questions:
  • Tell us how your background and experience have prepared you for this position.
  • Highlight your education and experience and describe how you are qualified for this position.
  • What made you apply for this position?
  • Briefly summarize your work history and education

Work History:

  • Can you describe one or two of your most important accomplishments?
  • Why are you leaving your present job? or Why did you leave your last job?
  • What is important to you in a company? or What do you look for in an organization?
  • What library automation systems(s) have you used? Describe your experience using the system. (Also known as an Integrated Library System (ILS) or Integrated Library Management System (ILMS)
  • Describe your experience using Office computer software.
  • What experience do you have working in a multicultural environment?

Job Performance:

  • Everyone has strengths and weaknesses as workers. What traits or qualities do you feel could be strengthened or improved? Or In what areas would you like to improve?
  • There can be a great deal of pressure working at a public service desk. Describe a situation with a problem customer and how you handled it. You may give an example that is not related to a library position.
  • What experience have you had working in groups or as a team?
  • Describe your experience in creating or revising documents such as policies, procedures, or any other form of written copy.
  • Please describe any supervisory experience you have.

Summary Statements:

  • Is there anything you would like to add about yourself?
  • Do you have any questions about the position?
  • Would you like to make a summary statement? (You should always be prepared for this question)

Interview Advice:

  • Dress appropriately and arrive 15 minutes before your interview appointment time.
  • There may be more than one person interviewing you. Try to maintain eye contact with the interviewers.
  • Do some research about the library before you have your interview. You can show that you have a real interest in working for that organization if you are able to work into your answers what you know about their library. This may also help you ask relevant questions at the end of the interview.
  • Some ways to research the library:
    o Look at the library’s website to see what services they provide and explore the library automation system they use.
    o If the library is open to the public, visit the library a day or two before your interview to observe or ask a question at the Reference Desk. Observe how you are treated as an anonymous patron. This also helps you decide if you want to be part of the organization.
  • Resume Tips (may require PCC login for access):
    YOUR MONEY; CHOOSE ME; How to craft a resume in the modern age. Even in these hard times, our tips will help you stand out from the crowd.
    Tiffany Hsu. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Mar 29, 2009. p. B.1

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Microsoft Encarta Is No More - My Thoughts

Microsoft has decided to stop publishing the Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia. This includes the software that accompanied certain Microsoft software packages as well as the Encarta web site. You can get more information about the announcement at the Encarta FAQ page.

The Encarta website will be discontinued on October 31, 2009. Those that have the Student Edition and Premium software will be supported for the next three years.

The New York Times thinks that Wikipedia put the shank in Encarta. Well, maybe but I think it was more that the users made a decision on how they wanted to access information. Encarta became a tree in the forest that no one could see except those that knew that path. It was a question of did you have time or was it worth your effort to get what you needed.

I will be honest, there were times that I actually used Encarta on my computer but I had to think about it or just glance at the icon. The times that I did use it the information that I wanted was hit or miss, generally miss.

For static information it was ok. But very little in our modern world is static. I could connect to the Encarta web site for more information but having gone through the program it was easier for me to conduct my our search strategy with a variety of search engines, ProQuest and other online resources.

But something about this bothers me. The constriction of verified resources that are now locked behind paid walls of access. There is no need to have a paper encyclopedia anymore - a good one cost a good chunk of change. When a fairly inexpensive software encyclopedia (to purchase, not produce) goes away then how does the average person or parent get access to information?

Yes, some folks do pay for online subscriptions but there are still folks on dial-up connections or schools that need CD/DVD access. As much as we want them to some folks will not come to the library. Let's not forget those students that wait until the last possible moment to write their papers.

I guess I hate to see a loss of affordable resources.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

CSUN Library Assistant Job Filled

It appears that the Library Assistant position that was open at CSUN has been filled. The position is no longer posted on the website. According to the office of Human Resources, an available job is open only as long as it is posted on the website.

The position had originally been posted in January of this year. Unfortunately, we did not notice the posting until April. It is likely that the interview process had already begun by the time Evelyn posted about its availability on the PCC Library Technology Blog.

While this may be disappointing to those of you who were going to apply, keep your heads up! There will be more jobs to come!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baseball Reliquary Exhibit at the Library Closing today

Reception Today 4/29, 4:30.
Meet the curator, Terry Cannon, PCC Library Technology Program Alumni

One of baseball's greatest barnstorming teams, the House of David from Benton Harbor, Michigan, is featured in the Baseball Reliquary exhibition, Lost to Time: Bygone Baseball Teams, at the ShatfordLibrary, Pasadena City College, from April 1-April 29, 2009, and thePomona Public Library, from May 4-May 29, 2009.
Sporting their signature long hair and beards, the House of Davidballplayers crisscrossed the country playing against a variety ofcompetition, including formidable Negro League teams such as thePittsburgh Crawfords, Newark Eagles, and Kansas City Monarchs.
A fascinating exhibit with historical documents and memorabilia ofhistorical baseball teams. Don't miss it! It is only here until April 29.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Job Opportunity: Interlibrary Loan Assistant - Cal State Northridge

Job Title: Interlibrary Loan Assistant
Job ID: 983 Library Assistant II Interlibrary Loan-8327
Full-Time Regular Job Code: 2905
Salary From: $3060 to $4590

Major Duties
Under general direction of the Interlibrary Loan Supervisor, shares responsibility for lending and borrowing activities. Uses an automated database (OCLC/Illiad) to locate potential sources and process requests; searches other online databases to verify citations; uses specialized Library software to search bibliographic, full-text, and online databases; and processes lending requests. Assists in training, supervising, and advising student employees in lending and borrowing activities. Maintains departmental Accounts Receivable including daily hand checking, keeping daily log of incoming checks, preparing payments for deposit, and maintaining associated files. Prepares statistical reports; consults with patrons regarding document delivery and online databases; identifies and solves problems that may require investigation via telephone and correspondence; interacts with other library and campus departments as needed. Suggests changes, and assists in developing and improving policies and procedures. Works on special projects and performs other duties as assigned.

Qualifications
Equivalent to three years of full-time, Library Assistant experience including public contact OR two years of full-time Library Assistant experience and two years/60 semester units; OR one year of full-time, Library Assistant experience and four years/120 semester units of college. Advanced knowledge of Library of Congress cataloging practices and Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2 Revised, with thorough knowledge of OCLC searching techniques and cataloging procedures is preferred. One year experience in a higher education library setting, preferably in public service, is desired.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Working knowledge of practices and procedures applicable to the academic library setting, and library classification systems. Ability and specialized skills to work independently in delivering vital library services; apply judgment in a variety of situations within established standards; interpret, modify, verify, and correct library records within established rules and procedures; understand and operate library computer systems and use the resulting output; understand and interpret library rules and standards, and apply and explain them with accuracy; search library online catalogs and databases; work effectively with the public; establish and maintain effective working relationships with others; schedule, train, and evaluate the work of student assistants; and operate standard office machines and computers.

Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule
Salary is commensurate with knowledge, skills, and experience. The university offers an excellent benefit package. Hiring Maximum for this position is $3600 per month.

How To Apply
Please complete the on-line application/resume upload submission process in order to be considered for any open position within the university and its auxiliaries. The hiring department will contact the best qualified candidates and invite them to participate in the interview process.

Initial review begins January 29, 2009 and will continue until position is filled.

For more detailed information on the application and hiring process, please view the link below:
http://www-admn.csun.edu/ohrs/employment

Equal Employment Opportunity
The university is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against persons on the basis of age, disability, disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran status, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

National Library Workers Day



Today is National Library Workers Day. This is basically a day to recognize all that library staff do. So pat yourself on the back if no one else has done so for all your hard work in the library you work in. What is neat is that you can nominate co-workers, supervisors, a library school student or even yourself at this webpage on ALA! So what are you waiting for? One can read nominations already submitted to get an idea of what people are recognizing others for.

Monday, April 13, 2009

We Interrupt This Announcement...

Sorry folks, I kinda jumped the gun and the event I previously mentioned is only for students of the library technology program. It is that impetuous nature that gets me into trouble each and every time. Anyway, no sense letting a post go to waste, I present to you a personal library that will cause some of you to drool and others to cringe.



I'm not sure they have enough books but it is a start. I'd bet the VHS are lining the steps.

Lili's Book Binding Blog- The Craft of Book Rehabilitation

I remember my visit to The Huntington Library. One of the most memorable parts of the visit was the book restoration area. It was a combination of technology, history and respect for the material to be restored.

http://lilbookbinder.wordpress.com/Lili's Bookbinder Blog is an opportunity to get a better understanding of the process of restoring a book. Some of the technology is centuries old and some of it is new but the purpose is to make the book aesthetically and functionally whole.

On the blog Lili really does go into the process of how she restores and rehabilitates books and antiquities. There are lots of photographs and clear explanations of the craft. This is a lot more detailed than what we learned to do in our technical services classes.

I hope you will take time to visit and get inspired.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Missing in Action

It didn't seem that much time had passed since I last posted. But lo and behold, it's been over a month. For those of you that haven't seen me around, I've been busy with my other 2 part-time jobs, 3 classes, starting up two new programs at a local library, tackling grad school applications and more.

For the first month of this semester, I've been working extra shifts here at the PCC Library. In the past due to my schedule, I wasn't able to work extra shifts especially during the first two weeks of the semester. Since I was finally available, I felt I should help out as needed. I've also put in extra time at the elementary school library as well this past month or so due to our bi-yearly Scholastic Book Fair and Open House.

Even though I'm taking "fun" classes this semester, they've still been taking up a certain amount of my time. Two of my classes, Art in Childhood Education and Beginning Acting, are directly related to library programs/activities I'm getting involved in now. One of the new programs I'm starting up is an ASL (American Sign Language) storytime at one of the Pasadena Public branches. Right now, I'm teamed up with a library tech that does a family storytime on Thursday afternoons to get some on-the-job training as a volunteer. Eventually, I'll move into my own spot which will be an actual ASL storytime in the near future hopefully. It is also my hope to go to a couple of other local libraries and start up similar programs in whatever free time I still have.

In addition, I have been developing a Deaf Book Club program which will meet for the very first time next Saturday morning at the same Pasadena Public branch I'm doing storytime at. It's been a bit more work than I anticipated but I'm very excited about this new program and am enjoying the work thoroughly. Unlike the storytime which is a weekly event, this will only be a monthly event.

Last Sunday, I was able to participate in a One City, One Story event for the first time ever as I arranged to get a sign language interpreter for the finale program at the newly opened Pasadena Convention Center. I will confess that it was no easy feat getting this to happen. In the end, it was one of my friends who is studying to be an interpreter who volunteered to do the honor. I am hoping that all these things are just the beginning of what I hope for the future for the deaf/HOH and disabled within the library community. One has to start small even for big dreams.

Last but certainly not least, I've been tackling library graduate school applications as well. Between taking the MAT test, writing essays, gathering up recommendations, studying up for the GRE, it's been a whirlwind of activity to say the least. God willing, I get in at least one school. But as one of my former instructors said to me recently, "So many doors are opening up for you right now. Even if you don't get in right now, it would be a disappointment but not detrimental. And you can always apply again." So true! One thing I've learned so far is if you really want this, you can't give up that easily. This may not be an easy road but it's been one of my most enjoyable journeys so far which I don't anticipate ending anytime soon.

Stay tuned for more regular postings in the next week and an upcoming blog event to get more interaction happening here!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter Speaking at PCC

The Author of the City of Pasadena’s One City, One Story selection this year, The Hummingbird’s Daughter, will be speaking on campus in Harbeson Hall on Friday, April 3rd, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Please come and welcome Luis Alberto Urrea to the campus.

Free tickets available at the Shatford Library Reference Desk or at the door.

Luis Alberto Urrea
Here is a summary that I “borrowed” from Pasadena Now:

The Hummingbird’s Daughter is the story of Teresita, a distant relative of Urrea, who comes to terms with her destiny with the power of faith. It is the tale of a father discovering what true love is and a daughter recognizing that sometimes true love requires true sacrifice. It is full of cowboys and outlaws, Indian warriors, cantina beauties, silly men who drink too much and desert women who in their dreams travel to the seashore. Urrea completed two decades of research and writing for this fictional history.

Original cover of The Hummingbird's Daughter

Urrea was a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and is member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. He is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore themes of love, loss and triumph. The critically acclaimed author of 11 books, Urrea is an award-winning poet and essayist who has published extensively in all the major genres.

Born in Tijuana, Mexico, to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea attended the University of California at San Diego, earning an undergraduate degree in writing, and did his graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. A professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago, he lives in Naperville, Ill., with his family

Tell you friends and the fiscally despondent that this is a good opportunity to reconnect with the literature world.

If they can't make the morning session there is another discussion about the religious aspects of the book at Fuller Theological later that afternoon and for those have a 9 t0 5 you can check Mr. Urrea at the Pasadena Convention Center Ballroom. From 3 to 5pm on Saturday, April 5th.