Monday, April 27, 2009

Library ethics

"I’m a librarian. A regular patron, a man in his late 40s or early 50s and virtually technologically illiterate, asked me to print a few e-mail attachments for him — photos of a young and attractive Russian woman. Many of the messages were titled “I Love You” or the like and included explicit requests for money. I believe he is being scammed. May I intervene, or does that violate his privacy and my professional boundaries? N.P., LAWRENCE, KAN."


Suzie Gilbert-Flyaway

Suzie Gilbert, author of "Flyaway: How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings," and Melanie Pearson, Director of Animal Care at the New Canaan Nature Center, with Topper and Socrates. New Canaan Library, Sunday, April 26, 2009.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Got Spell-check?

Patron asked for title "Origin," author "Malouf." After coming up empty a few times, I did what I usually do, which is go to Amazon. The author's name is actually Maalouf, and the title is "Origins." When are our proprietary ILSs going to incorporate a feature that's been available on other web sites for years?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

#6 Flickr

New Friends School, Dallas, TX 1961

Dallas TX, 1961: That young fella in the striped shirt in the center of the front row is Stevie Ray Vaughan, future electric blues guitarist extraordinaire. Also on the front row, third from the left, is my sister, and to her immediate right is her best friend who is still her best friend today.

Austin, TX, 2005

Stevie Ray died far too young. Decades later I visited this memorial to him in Austin, TX, where he made his name as one of the finest blues guitarists of all time.

Click on either photo to see the full-size original.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Library websites that use WordPress

WordPress is a blogging application similar to Blogger, and you can set up a free, hosted account at But it's different from Blogger in that the source code is free and can be downloaded and installed on your own web host.

Here are some libraries that are using WordPress to build their websites. No FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Contribute, or other applications to buy and learn. Just "type in the box and publish."

Library Sites That Use WordPress

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

#4 RSS Feeds

Here's a link to my Bloglines public subscriptions:

I've been using an RSS reader for about 3 years now, ever since I got my first Gmail account. RSS is the only sane way to keep up with the amount of information coming from the "biblioblogosphere"—the legions of librarian bloggers: Jessamyn West, the Librarian in Black, Michael Stephens, Jennie Levine, and Meredith Farkas, just to name a handful of the many who write about Library 2.0, Web 2.0, and other technology issues. Then there are all the libraries that are blogging: Danbury Public Library, New Canaan Library, Cheshire Public Library, just to mention three that are of particular interest to me. If it weren't for RSS, I would have to visit a dozen websites each morning, besides the New York Times, to find out everything that's happening.

Libraries that have blogs, like New Canaan, already have RSS feeds for their blogs—that's usually built into the blogging platform. Blogs like Events of the Week are a great way to publicize events at little or no cost. One of the challenges is making patrons in that intermediate level—the ones who are comfortable with email and using a browser—aware of RSS feeds and showing them how to use them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

New England Carnegies

Derby Neck Library

A website that documents the Carnegie-funded libraries in New England—maintained by a librarian, of course—has been updated to include academic libraries. Of the 95 public and academic libraries that Carnegie money helped to build in New England, all but 3 are still standing. If we add in the Carnegie-era libraries that have preserved the original building even as they have been added on to—like New Canaan, Ridgefield, and many others—the number would be even higher. That says something about the enduring value of libraries. Think about it the next time you see a 20-year-old strip mall being torn down to build a new strip mall.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

#3 Hello New Canaan Library!

This is my first blog post for the Learning 2.0 program. Thank you Alice, for initiating this, and thank you, Maura, for being our guide.