Showing posts from October, 2009

Aspen Walker at Internet Librarian

My executive assistant, Aspen Walker, is a recent MLIS grad. Before she came to work directly with me, she was in our Community Relations Department. Recently (Oct. 28, 2009), she presented at the Internet Librarian conference. The title was "We're All Marketers Now." Aspen is a rising librarian, focused on the Right Stuff.

Aspen blogs, and tweets (as AspenWalker)-- both worth following.

Here is her intriguing presentation.

Zombies and the library

I don't know which I like best about this -- the clear animated description, so helpful to the earnest student, or the fact that well, zombies are just everywhere, and hardly deserve comment. This is true for so many of us these days.

Halloween book burning

You can't make this stuff up. To get the UK-based report about this upcoming North Carolina event, click the title of this entry.

To get the list of books to be burned, and why, go right to the Amazing Grace Baptist Church site (in Canton, North Carolina) here.

Does the Brain Like E-books?

Click the title of this entry to go to the fascinating compilation of short essays in the New York Times.

The question: is reading an electronic text (or video book, called "vook") qualitatively different from reading ink on paper? My two favorite quotes:

"I have no doubt that the digital immersion of our children will provide a rich life of entertainment and information and knowledge. My concern is that they will not learn, with their passive immersion, the joy and the effort of the third life, of thinking one’s own thoughts and going beyond what is given. Let us bring our best thought and research to preserving what is most precious about the present reading brain as we add the new capacities of its next iteration." Maryanne Wolf, author of "Proust and the Squid."

"Reading online is thus not just about reading text in isolation. When you read news, or blogs or fiction, you are reading one document in a networked maze of an unfathomable amount of infor…

Speaking to libraries

I've just come back from giving three talks to librarians in as many weeks: Burley, Idaho, Elko, Nevada, and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

All were fascinating. I like librarians and library people. And although there are some regional differences, I think we have far more similarities. (Well, OK, Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans, dealt with two hurricanes. That's kind of unique. I hope.)

My talks to these groups have centered around three themes:

* brain research. Science has learned a lot about how and why we think, how we learn to read, and why that's so important for humanity.

* models for library development and market penetration. Some librarian pioneers from around the country (and beyond) have done some useful experiments that point the way for the rest of us. Those models and trends need to be shared -- they'll save us time and money.

* combining all of these things into a new story that will work on building not just library use, but library support. T…

So do you want to be happy, or what?

Thanks to Hank Long for this one, although I don't know where he found it. It does seem to size things up.

Invest in Early Education Now, Spend Less on Prison Later

Click on the entry title to get a wonderful report from the state of Washington. This is what I mean by "community outcomes:" the demonstrated value of a program.

A quote of note: "At-risk children randomly excluded from the Perry Preschool Program were 85% more likely to have been sentenced to prison or jail by age 40."

Another: "Program participants were 47 percent more likely to attend a 4-year college than those left out of the program. Kids who were left out of the program were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime before their 18th birthday. By the time they were 24, the high-risk individuals who had not participated in the program were 24 percent more likely to have been incarcerated than the participants. When the 100,000 participants have all turned 18, the Child-Parent Centers will have prevented an estimated 33,000 crimes in that city."

I hope it goes without saying (not that I intent to let it stay that way) that an investment…

Two library stories

I'm in Elko, Nevada, for a gathering of Nevada Library Association folks. Tomorrow, I'm speaking on library advocacy. It happens that I got two emails today, one about a library in Illinois (where I come from), and one about the library I now direct in Douglas County, Colorado. The timing couldn't be better.

Here's the first article, with a snippet from the beginning, then the link:
Telling her mother that she wanted to come to the aid of a library under attack, 11-year-old Sydney Sabbagha stood at the podium before the Oak Brook village board.

"I used to go to the library knowing there were people there to help me find a book. Now there is no one to help me," Sydney said solemnly. "It will never be the same without the people you fired."

Sydney nestled back into her seat, but that didn't stop 69-year-old criminal attorney Constantine "Connie" Xinos from boldly putting her in her place.

"Those who come up here with tears in their eyes …

"A History of God," by Karen Armstrong

After returning from a speaking engagement for the Idaho Library Association (wonderful people!), I came down with what might be, but I hope isn't, H1N1. (Back from the doctor. Yeah. Probably is. Got it from my son, who got it from school, which seems to be the main vector this time of year.) It's flu-like. I've spent about 30 hours in bed, sweating, shaking, coughing, and napping. In between, I picked up a book I've been wanting to read for years, "A History of God," by Karen Armstrong. Together, the experience is kind of shamanistic. I emerge from time to time for ritual soup, then back into a swelter of holy words, delirium, and dreams.

I've read a lot of Armstrong's works now, and find them consistently insightful. But she's subtle, too. She doesn't lay out her conclusions in a "first I'll tell you what I'm going to tell you, then I'll tell you, then I'll tell you what I told you" manner.

The subtitle is "the 4…