Friday, December 15, 2006

Eye Candy

True story:
I was wrapping up a reader's advisory session with a patron who remarked, "I've never seen a male librarian before." In a nonchalant manner I replied, "Yeah, we make up roughly 20% of the profession." She seemed fascinated by my presence in the library. I was a curiosity, a novelty. The reference interaction ended and she made her way up to the circulation desk to check-out her books. I overheard her say to the circulation assistant, "I see you have a male librarian working here now. It's nice to have some eye candy around here." The circulation assistant said nothing.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kathy Sierra is Smart

It's been a while since I've posted about Kathy and the blog she is a part of: Creating Passionate Users. The blog is mostly geared towards software development and making products that people are passionate about instead of just users of (i.e., the iPod).

Toady Kathy makes a great point:
Things I learned from my horse trainers #42: practice saying, "Hmmmm... how interesting." Say it when you're frustrated. Say it when you're mad. Most importantly, say it before you say or do anything else (including hit the "send" or "post" button).

It should be the first thing out of your mouth when things go wrong--or don't meet your expectations--because:

1) It inserts a pause and gives you a moment to think before you react.

2) It keeps you from taking things too personally
Think about it, this might be a way to deal with a difficult patron, or when you run up against library policy that you don't agree with but need to enforce.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

censors in civilization

Senator Robert Byrd makes no secret of the fact that he walks around with a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket. I suppose it serves as a constant reminder of the ideology that governs our Legislature.
At times, I consider carrying around a copy of the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights" (and its Rule Interpretations) with me. Say what you like about the ALA, I am a proud member and fully support the organization. As corny as it may sound, the text of the "Library Bill of Rights" inspires me.
I've always been a bit of an ideologue, a trait which can sometime be a liability if you habitually let it cloud your ability to render practical solutions. However, there are times when my tendency for the abstract is steadfast, like when library materials are met with challenges from the censors.
We've all heard: "I don't want my tax dollars to be used towards the purchase of materials that I (or anyone in my family) might find objectionable." This is the argument that the censors make and it's a troubling one because that logic does not hold up when you extend it to other areas. For instance: "I don't want my tax dollars to be used to fund the school system because I don't have children so why should I pay to educate someone else's child according to a curriculum that I didn't write (or even approve) in the first place."
If you don't want your tax dollars to be used in a manner that you do not deem appropriate then your best option is to move to a part of the planet where a taxpayer-funded government does not exist. This will likely be a very remote location where other human beings do not currently reside and will thereby accomplish the secondary objective of never having to be offended again since you will be in a position to avoid human contact entirely. Those of us that remain in civilization will feel pretty good about the arrangement too.