Showing posts from December, 2009

Adieu 2009

This past year, I wrote (at least) 256 poems. Not all of them, of course, were any good at all. Some, I fervently hope, were worth preserving. Writing a good poem, even one, still strikes me as a worthwhile life goal. Below are two poems written on this final day of 2009. Both follow the traditional haiku conventions of 5/7/5 syllables per line. Both are based on and are informed by a seasonal/natural reference.

Happy New Year!

last day of the year
sunshine clears the mountain road
snow in the shadows

Wisdom of seasons:
blossom to green leaf to fall
to bare branch. Repeat.

Internet Explorer for Linux

As I've noted several times on this blog, I have been using Linux for several years now. Both at work and at home, I run it on machines that are now about 5 years old, and they perform beautifully. But lately, I'm finding more applications in use by the library community (payroll and web conferencing for instance) that simply don't work with Firefox on Ubuntu.

While I very much like the idea of Open Source software, like the idea of updating my operating system and applications for many years now at no cost, like the fact that I haven't had a single virus in all that time, and like the idea of not having my business assets be part of somebody ELSE'S business plan, it's not a religious issue for me. But Linux remains at 1% of the market, and people are clearly designing important applications so they DON'T work with it.

So I thought I should report a nice find: IEs4Linux allows you to set up a program that thinks it's Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6…

The difference between marketing, pr, advertising, and branding

These terms get tossed around in a lot of ways. After you see this graphic (click the entry to see it) you might find it easier to keep the distinctions clear.

A friend of mine in the PR/Marketing business says she thinks the last line should be "You are a great lover."

Sony Ebook Reader PRS-600 - first impressions

A month or so I bought Suzanne a Kindle. Setting it up was simplicity itself. Turn it on, follow on-screen instructions, pull books from the air (via 3G), and voila. The manual for the device was one of the built-in books. Really, a piece of cake.

But I was a little troubled by the proprietary format, and the rather high-handed way content can suddenly disappear from your device if Amazon gets notions.

So I asked for, and got for Christmas, a Sony. This is the little touch screen. Suzanne also bought a cover for it, with a built-in light. That'll be handy as a bedside device.

Over the next few days or weeks, I'd like to blog about how it is to use. It's interesting to have two librarians, and two ereaders in the same house. We're comparing notes.


I had to plug it in to a USB port on my PC to charge it up. That didn't take long (maybe an hour, I guess) but I couldn't use it while it charged. (I could the Kindle.)

Now we come to the p…

Haiku for archivists

Click this link, then click on "collection" to get a nicely designed gathering of rather discursive haiku about life in the archives. Thanks to Shaun Boyd!

The Fun Theory

I just love this. It seems to have implications not only for the design of public spaces, but for a whole approach to management and leadership.

A morbid little story

After my talk at Henrico County Public Library, I was chatting with Barbara Weedman, Public Services Administrator for the library. She mentioned a story from her childhood. Later, she emailed me this:

"Below you will find the morbid little story I begged my Southern Great-grandmother to tell me over and over again as a child."

The Little Bird

Once there was a little bird who lived outside the door.
He wanted to come INside and hop upon the floor.
"Oh! No! NO!" said the Mama bird,
"You must stay here with ME,
for little birds are safest up in a tree."
"I don't care!" said Robin, and gave his tail a fling,
"I don't think old folks know quite everything."
So dowwwwwwwwn he flew,
and Kittie seized him.
"Oh!" he cried, "I'm sorry, but I didn't think."

This reminds me of my daughter, who after I read her a Grimm Brothers fairy tale said it was "Gruesome! But good."

Poudre River Public Library District - Platinum LEED

I saw this from Studiotrope:

The Council Tree Library, which sDC (Studiotrope) recently completed for the Poudre River Public Library District, has been awarded the first Platinum Level Certification in LEED for a Commercial Interiors program in the country! It is one of only two LEED Platinum libraries.

The Library is the first to feature the Supple Collection of sustainable furnishings which were designed in concert with library staff. The LEED certification specialist on the project, Kelly Karmel, credited the interior furnishings and finishes as a significant contributor towards exceeding the Gold Level mandate by the City of Fort Collins.

"We don't normally get to see such exuberance and style in recycled content furnishings. The displays and shelving units are very cool, by the way. The quality of this project is very high indeed." _K. Karmel

Join us in congratulating the Poudre River Public Library District for having the dedication and awareness to reach for such …

Library speaking

I'm back from another speaking engagement, this one for the Henrico County Public Library in Virginia. I am reminded, as I am so often, of how wonderful librarians are. The group at Henrico came together for a two-day staff day (half the staff for half a day on December 8, and the other half on December 9). They laughed a lot -- the sign of a healthy culture. I also got to see, thanks to the gracious guidance of Public Services Administrator Barbara Weedman, the quite beautiful Tuckahoe Area Library.

Like most libraries, Henrico is trying to figure out what's next? They have done many, many things right. But getting to the next level of service in today's challenging economic environment takes real thought. My presentation to them was an attempt to call out what the best research of our times is telling us. The second day, in particular, generated a lot of lively discussion, which is fun.

If I had to boil down what I believe the Douglas County Libraries has to focus on over…

Maddy's blog

Maddy, my daughter, completed her undergraduate education this year (a year and a half at Jacob's University in Bremen, Germany, and a year and a half at the American University of Paris). After another brief study in Prague, she emerged with a Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate. Since then, she got a job teaching at the Shane English Schools in Taipei, Taiwan.

Her new blog is a joint effort with her longtime friend Lauren Greyson. Lauren is now in London, England. So this is a joint blog by two very bright, observant, and versatile ex-patriates.


More finger-tapping guitar

According to the decription, "This is a video of the amazing acoustic finger tapping guitarist, T-cophony," from Japan.

Andy McKee - Guitar - Drifting -

My daughter writes me that one of her colleagues (teaching English in Taipei, Taiwan) played guitar the other night and stunned them. This was the piece (although this isn't her colleague). It is a pretty darn cool way to play guitar. Obviously some kind of open tuning. But great percussive effects and rhythmic drive. I've played it about six times in a row now.

Seven Arguments for Building New Libraries

Recently a friend of mine, now a director in the midwest, told me that he's hearing more and more often the refrain that building libraries just isn't necessary. Not in the 21st century. Not in the age of the Internet. I think we need some talking points about that. Here are 7 that occur to me. But I don't see why we have to stop at 7. Feel free to add to the list.

Argument #1 - The library is an anchor store and traffic generator. Libraries pull a cross-section of the public, all ages, all day long, through our doors. We are the business that (at least in most communities) never goes out of business. In fact, in a down economy, library use goes UP. You want your business to be by a library. If you're planning a development, you want the liveliness of a public building in the heart of it.

Argument #2 - Library construction is a powerful economic stimulus, esp. in a recession. People often overlook that a public construction project employs architects, general contractors…