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1) This whole LeBron James thing is ridiculous. Who the hell sets up a primetime event to announce a job change? That’s insane. I read someone justify it because it was somehow benefiting the Boys and Girls Club. Couldn’t he just donate them some more money instead of putting the kids on national TV while he breaks their hearts? Ultimately though, for me, I think this is the best thing he could do, because I no longer give a crap about where he goes, and I already hate Florida – so it works. Thanks for the classless display Bron Bron. The only good thing about him staying in Cleveland would be that we could avoid headlines like this:

As a lifelong Cleveland sports fan, I am so over seeing that Cleveland sports failures package that they play during EVERY playoff game.

I can't wait to hear what two-word name they give this incident

2) I have about four zygotic blog posts that I will get to eventually, I promise. Especially since I’ve yet to say anything about ALA.

3) Oliver isn’t feeling well. He hasn’t eaten much today, and we’re heading to the vet soon.

4) And! Today is probably the most important day of my career so far. I’m speaking to ELEVEN HUNDRED first-year-orientation counselors tonight (in eight back-to-back sessions), and I really need to be enthusiastic and composed.

Wish me luck, folks.



If phase one is planning, then phase two is doing. That’s where I am now. I spent a good chunk of the spring semester planning and pitching things and good news, they’re happening. Although, that means I’M happening. I distinctly told myself that I wouldn’t overcommit to things, but geez, things are busy around here.

I’m looking forward to phase three – assessing, phase four – self back patting, phase five – frequent napping, but not so much phase six which is writing about phases 1 – 4 and then going back to phase one again.

It’s the circle of academic life, y’all.

Isn’t The Lion King the best Disney movie EVER?!

The aforementioned Book Cart Drill Team has made it past the YouTube copyright folks.

This is great because you can actually hear the fun and clever lyrics, but you miss out on the crowd noise. There was a lot of it. Good job, ladies!



My attempt at the Baby Got Books lyrics:

*parody of Sir-Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back*

Oh my god, Becki,
look at her books
they are so big
she looks like one of those librarians
who understands those librarians anyway
I mean, her books, they're just so they're so big they're just like out there
she's just so smart

I like big books and I cannot lie
you other brothas' can't deny
that when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
and a big book in your face
you check out
that's what it's all about
paying my overdues
I'm looking at the nonfiction
so I can improve my diction
oh baby wanna tell you my preference
meet me in reference
so don't be such a bummer
just give me your – call number!

ooh Dewey Decimals
you say you don't like LC?
well read me, read me
catalog and discard me

*Low Rider by War interlude*

so welcome to the school library
ya got a big dictionary
we don't want books unless you got good looks
you can sleep or read a magazine
if books just ain't your scene
I just can't help myself I like 'em in order
sit and read – don't loiter!
admin thinks it's funny
the budget ain't got no money
so ladies?
do you wanna support libraries?
scan it, scan it
scan them barcodes
baby got books

*Reading Rainbow Theme sung by Tina Fabrique interlude*

*Single Ladies by Beyoncé Knowles parody*

if you like it then you shoulda put a hold on it (x4)

Okay, really it’s been 8 days, but it feels like forever.

I’ve been busy librarianing and puppy training. Oliver is now an obedience school graduate. He has a little bandanna to prove it. So cute.

Anyway, I’ll be librarianing 24/7 starting tomorrow because it’s CONFERENCE TIME!

Get ready for enthusiastic posts about new and cool stuff I’m learning.

(subject from Ani DiFranco’s Superhero)

I’m not sure if everyone feels the need, at some point, to justify their career. Not their career choice, but their career. Not – “Why on Earth did you want to be a DOCTOR?!” but more “Why on Earth do we even HAVE doctors?!” or “Hospitals are obsolete, everyone can just use WebMD and their 24-hour CVS.” Yeah, you don’t really hear much of that, but what I DO hear is “libraries are obsolete,” and once during an instruction session I was conducting and from the instructor that had requested the session – AND in front of a room full of his/her students. Gee, thanks. Just wait until the day I pop into the back of your classroom and tell your students that literary criticism is USELESS in real life.*

I have read so many of these – “Why librarians are important” pieces – and it makes me frustrated that there are people that think we aren’t. I matter, darn it!

Here’s one from the L.A. Times written by a school librarian whose job has been eliminated.

Go ahead. Read it, then we can discuss in the comments.


*This is not really what I think, it's just a fitting parallel. Plus, I would never do this. We educators need to support each other. Woo nerd solidarity!

Saving the Google students: For the Google generation, closing school libraries could be disastrous. Not teaching kids how to sift through sources is like sending them into the world without knowing how to read.

Opinion | March 21, 2010 | By Sara Scribner

(excerpt below – full article available here)

The current generation of kindergartners to 12th graders — those born between 1991 and 2004 — has no memory of a time before Google. But although these students are far more tech savvy than their parents and are perpetually connected to the Internet, they know a lot less than they think. And worse, they don’t know what they don’t know.

As a librarian in the Pasadena Unified School District, I teach students research skills. But I’ve just been pink-slipped, along with five other middle school and high school librarians, and only a parcel tax on the city’s May ballot can save the district’s libraries. Closing libraries is always a bad idea, but for the Google generation, it could be disastrous. In a time when information literacy is increasingly crucial to life and work, not teaching kids how to search for information is like sending them out into the world without knowing how to read.

I’ve been thinking about audiobooks a lot lately. Probably because I’ve been listening to audiobooks a lot lately.

Now that I’m working full time and have cable again for the first time in almost ten years, I find I have less time for reading. I think the three years of graduate school, with two of those years spent reading everything I could find on gender and technology, wore out my eyes and whatever sends the happy waves from book page to my brain. I’ve also found it to be very difficult to read with a puppy face between your face and the book. I also just really like having people read to me. As much as I love David Sedaris’ and Sarah Vowell’s writing, I always get their books in audiobook format because they are so entertaining, and I love it when authors read their own books.

My first audiobook experience was about ten years ago – The Fountainhead on 26 cassettes. I had tried four times to read The Fountainhead prior to getting it on audiobook. I just could NOT get past Toohey’s first 15-page speech. (Note, if my high school psychology teacher happens to be reading this, I’m sorry, I tried, I read some of it, and wrote a good paper (and I’m pretty sure I got an A on it). Plus, I’ve read it five times since then, so thanks for planting those seeds of learning!) I was hooked on the audiobook after the first side of the first tape. I listened to it on the drive to work, on lunch breaks, and when I got home. I would sit in my room next to my stereo ignoring my roommates. I couldn’t stop listening to it. It was like my very own soap opera, or “my story” as Granny would say.

I’ve continued this trend, I often use audiobooks to help me get through books that I have to read, but can’t force myself through in text form. I recently listened to Freakonomics, I didn’t really WANT to read Freakonomics, but the students I work with are all reading it and choosing research topics based on issues discussed in the book. I figured that as I am supposed to teach them how to use library resources to find information for these projects, then it would be helpful for me to know what they’ve been learning. I didn’t feel like I needed to read the entire book cover to cover and take notes, instead I just wanted to scan it – my solution – distracted audiobooking. By committing to distracted audiobooking I was able to listen to the book while cleaning, walking my dog, eating, driving and surfing the Internet. I don’t know if you’ve tried recently, but it’s really hard to surf the Internet and answer emails while reading a book. Please, don’t try reading and driving! This was a great way for me to get a basic understanding of the students’ work without a lot of effort on my part. Now when a student says they want to write a paper on ‘drug dealers living at home,’ I know what they are talking about and am able to help them tease out the issues that make up this discussion and help them find one to write about.

I don’t listen to all of my audiobooks while distracted. I do often clean or walk the dog, but during the really good parts, I find myself sitting down and holding my breath. Last week I was walking Oliver when a guy with an adorable puppy started talking to me. He was nice and we talked about raising puppies and how great the park is. However, all I kept thinking was “OH MY GOD WE ARE FINALLY LEARNING WHY WILLOUGHBY WAS SUCH A JERK TO MARIANNE! CAN YOU CURB THE PUPPY CHAT, PLEASE?!” Now, I know most of you probably read Sense and Sensibility 15 years ago, but I am new to Jane Austen. I forced myself to read Emma last year, and on the 5th try I actually made it through. This time, I committed to reading it for book club and checked out both the audiobook and the paperback determined to get through. I could not put this down/press pause. Having both formats was amazing. I would read it on the bus in the morning, listen to it on my iPod while walking to my office or to lunch, read on the bus on the way home, then listening while making dinner and dog walking. I was able to engage with the story for hours each day. Fantastic.

One of the things that really struck me is how different the two experiences were. Reading was more slow and less dramatic. I would also get hung up on words or phrases while reading which rarely happened while listening. For example, while listening to the audiobook, this sentence came up in Chapter 38: “And for my part, I was all in a fright for fear your sister should ask us for the huswifes she had given us a day or two before; but, however, nothing was said about them, and I took care to keep mine out of sight.” I had no idea what “huswives” meant, but I didn’t have the text so I didn’t have the footnotes, and I wasn’t near my desk OED or the Internet version I have thanks to my university affiliation. (Seriously, the OED online is reason enough to consider a career in academia.) Since I had no way to look it up, and because the voice actor does not slow down or stop when she reads a word I don’t know, I had to keep going. All I knew is that it was something that they were given as a gift that they didn’t want to give back, and that was enough to understand the meaning, and I don’t feel like I lost anything. Later, I went to my paper copy, located the sentence and saw the word was tagged with an endnote. I flipped through the back of the book and found it after a bit of difficulty, I then learned that a huswive is a needle book. When I stop to read an endnote or a footnote I feel like I am being ripped from the story. This is the primary reason I haven’t been able to read Garrison Kellior’s footnote-laden Lake Wobegon Days. So, for someone like me who gets distracted by footnotes and sees them as a chance to do more research and learn more things RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT – audiobooks are a great way to keep me focused and involved with the story while exercising my ability to decipher meaning from context clues.

(One notable exception is The Annotated Alice, which is amazing and wonderful. Yes, you will go down many many footnotes side roads, but if you like Alice in Wonderland, I bet you’re the type that likes to take the scenic route.)

Works mentioned in this post:

Carroll, L., & Gardner, M. (1960). The annotated Alice: Alice’s adventures in Wonderland & Through the looking glass. New York: C.N. Potter.

Keillor, G. (1985). Lake Wobegon days. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking.

Rand, A., & Reading, K. The Fountainhead. New York, NY: Random House.

Recent “Reads”:

Austen, J., & Badel, S. (1986). Sense and sensibility. Auburn, CA: Audio Partners.

Levitt, S. D., & Dubner, S. J. (2005). Freakonomics A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything. New York: HarperAudio.

Next up:

Bazell, J., & Petkoff, R. (2009). Beat the reaper A novel. New York: Hachette Audio. (Recommendation from NPR Reads)

Castle, R., & Heller, J. (2009). Heat wave. [Old Saybrook, Conn.]: Tantor Audio. (A fake book by a fake author played by an adorable actor? Yes, please!)

Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink [the power of thinking without thinking]. New York, NY: Time Warner AudioBooks. (For book club)

Saw this font made of stacked books on Boing Boing when I was doing a search for the blog “Stacked Books“.


by Amandine Alessandra

I love the suggested links in GMail, although I also find them a bit terrifying.

I love the suggested links in GMail, although I also find them a bit terrifying.

I prefer to let singer/songwriters apologize for me.

Sorry songs:

1) Sorry I Am – Ani DiFranco

  • I guess I never loved you quite as well as the way you loved me I guess I’ll never really be able to tell you how sorry I am.

See, now that doesn’t seem like a NICE apology.  It’s an apology that makes the apologizee hurt just a bit more.  Hey, so yeah I’m sorry that I didn’t really ever love you enough, even though you were TOTALLY into me, my bad.

There are TONS of Ani songs about apologies.  How many can YOU name?

2) We’re Both So Sorry – Mirah

Here is another one that is not REALLY an apology

  • And hey I’m sorry ’bout so much baby but I know you’ll understand
    I’m sorry ’bout so much baby but I know you’ll understand

    So, yeah, I’m sorry and all, but really, you get it, so I’m justifying my actions WITHIN THE APOLOGY.  Nice, Mirah!  That takes chutzpah.

  • How can I ever apologize? I meant you no such harm I never knew I could possess that fatal kind of charm. This one is soooo good.  It’s in the same vein as the Ani one.  Whoa, I’m so sorry that you are so into me, I don’t know what to do about it, I mean how can I contain this awesomeness?

3) All Apologies – Nirvana

I can’t ignore this one; it would be traitorous to my alternateen soul.

  • I wish I was like you, Easily amused
  • Ok, that’s not nice.

  • Find my nest of salt
    Everything is my fault
    I’ll take all the blame
    Aqua seafoam shame
    Sunburn with freezeburn
    Choking on the ashes of her enemy

Ok, so that has a hint of sincerity I guess but more hyperbole and Oh (poor) Me ness.  Then it says some stuff that must be all poetic cause I don’t get it.  This is why I focused on the Pumpkins and not Nirvana.

Speaking of . . .

4) Transformer – The Smashing Pumpkins

  • she’s not sorry she’s happy

Oh, hey, maybe GMail is right about me, cause I don’t know if you noticed, but none of those were really apologies . . .

I guess I just live a clean life free of regrets.  🙂

“Human devastation as mass entertainment” – Ani DiFranco

It’s almost noon, I’m watching the local news, and they keep running a teaser for a story on a controversial art exhibit at a public library in Texas.  I’m not sure if it’s the ALA Annual buzz running through my Facebook minifeed, or that I’ve been really using my public library a lot since graduation, but I’ve been feeling extra library-y lately. 

I have been waiting about a half hour for this story, and finally decided to consult the Internet.  I just read an article on Sculptures reflect violent life on the border — and death that presented the case in a completely different tone than my local news. The news story was about 2 -3 minutes long, and was in the last “newsy” slot of the broadcast. In the teasers they didn’t ever mention or hint at context, it was just images of disembodied heads peppered with bullet holes and brilliant splatters of red paint. I understand that they wanted to keep us watching, and it’s more enticing and inflammatory to let our imaginations figure out the meaning behind these images on our own. I know my imagination went to the worst possible option for me.

I think that all library people have these locations where the personal clashes with the policy. I think at times most of us caveat our stance on intellectual freedom. Yes, you should be able to access any information you want, and I will help you and won’t judge, but I’m a feminist, and I’m a subset of feminists that finds pornography troubling. What do I do with that when I’m working at the reference desk?

Also, I’m a person whose life has been altered by suicide, and I see images of heads with bullet holes, and my stomach lurches and I want to grab all the children and “wrap them in a blue cloud cloth away from the too rough fingers of the world” (shout out to L. Hughes). So I was prepared. My stomach was steeled. I was ready to become indignant. But, when I read the article, and finally saw the entire news piece, my opinion immediately changed. “Oh,” I thought, “that’s about Juarez. So, it’s poignant.”

Other people’s tragedy is apparently ok. I do understand that talking about things that aren’t talked about, or expressing one’s feelings through art are incredibly important. I have a gender studies degree, a field born out of consciousness-raising sessions, I understand the power of thinking, feeling, sharing, and speaking.

I can’t help but think about a show I heard on public radio – I think it was This American Life, but I’m not sure. There was a woman whose family had been devastated by murder, talking about all of the cop/crime shows – Law and Order, CSI, Homicide, The Wire, The Shield – and how we as a culture seem to find murder one of our favorite forms of entertainment. For her, these shows made light of the tragedy her family went through. I don’t think she expected everyone to watch their words around her for the rest of their lives, or for all pop culture to change to reflect her tragedy, but she was just sickened by how common, accepted, and routine murder was.

I get this. When my stressed out friends and colleagues put their fake finger gun to their head my stomach bubbles with acid, and I feel the lurch from my intestines to my throat. “You just don’t know,” I think, “if you knew. You couldn’t do that. You would never be able to do that, say that, or make light of that if you knew.”

We all have our tragedies, we all have those “button issues” that chip away at our hearts. Who are we to think that ours should be the only protected category? And what would happen to us if we were unable to discuss ANY button issues? I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that I steer clear of Law and Order: Rape as Entertainment (aka SVU), don’t like things that are inflammatory for inflammatory’s sake, and will always always always be keenly aware of any reference to my personal list of tragedies.

People who want to help

Ok, I don’t mean to be a hater. I LOVE the weather. I love checking the forecast, watching the news to hear a recap of the weather, calling my parents to compare their weather to my weather. Yes, I am an old man that sits and talks about the weather. I own a solar-powered weather band radio. I was in the meteorology club in junior high. (Thanks Mr. Molina!) But, how did this BREAKING NEWS end up in my Google News? It was in my national news section. National. News. Plus, I love that this guy is the face of Green Bay’s weather and gas prices, especially since he’s in Baton Rouge. I should call him, crap, I can’t, I spent my money right on down to my last dime.

big news!

**See! I am a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll**

*tweet tweet*