Thursday, November 29, 2007

I know I've been ignoring you all

I'm in the final week of my MLS and I have a really huge amount of work to do. On top of that I am the primary caregiver for our 19 month old son. I'll be back at you next week once I have my last project submitted. In the mean time, take some time to read some Derrick Jensen. It's making me reevaluate everything...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's everywhere!

Click to enlarge the cartoon. I recently watched Sicko by Michael Moore and was very impressed. I think it's time for this country to allow it's citizens to enjoy the kind of living standards that are enjoyed by most of Western Europe. Health care and quality public education should be considered a basic human right in the wealthiest nation in the world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A silly service that really knows it's stuff

I would have thought that the content would have "put off" this test, but apparently they think this is a pretty smart blog.

cash advance

Hat tip to the effing librarian for this bit of humor. I'm also going to mention that the effing librarian's results can only be described as a glaring anomaly. The evaluating website must have been in a terrible funk that day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I couldn't have said it better myself

This post just in from the Library 2.0, 3Rs conference in New York. It could be argued that as public librarians, we serve a population that has even less interest in Web 2.0 applications than the average academic librarian assists.

The writer of the blog From the Reference Desk points out that Mr. Abrams probably doesn't spend much actual "face time" with the Millenials that he claims to know so well. Library 2.0 advocates seem terribly quick to put labels on "types" of patrons and to generalize about those suggested types. They seem to want us to allocate 80% of our resources to tech savvy patrons when they only comprise about 5% of the people coming in the front door.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Olbermann calls out Bush in the most explicit and vehement way imaginable. It's possible that an editorial of this kind actually puts him in danger. Kudos to Mr. Olbermann. "Good night and good luck" indeed.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Reader's Advisory

I like to try to maintain a balance in what I discuss here at The Proletarian Librarian. Sometimes I get into a rut of politics and neglect the librarian side of my life. Here is an instance in which the two aspects can be served simultaneously.

This movie is open source from Internet Archive. I'm currently reading this book and find it to be fascinating. So that's my first installment of "reader's advisory".

Saturday, November 3, 2007

October 27th protest

Bring them homeOn October 27th a protest took place in major cities nationwide against the ongoing illegal occupation of Iraq. This photo in particular illustrates my feelings precisely. Bring them home now and help them to recover from the back-door economic draft by providing them with reasonable wages in stable jobs. Keep it local, keep it real, and take care of our obligations to those who we had do our misguided dirty work. And if it wasn't so late, I'd turn this into a "Marxist moment", but I just don't have the energy right now for more than a "hit and run" post.

Friday, November 2, 2007

All things in moderation

I thought that this post by Michael Casey and Laura Savastinuk on Library 2.0 was an interesting evaluation of where things in libraries are going. I'm going to voice my decidedly unsolicited opinion about the four points that these authors make about Library 2.0.

Library 2.0 is user-centric. It is a shift in our focus from having libraries decide what is best for users to letting users decide what they want, how they want to get it, and how we can best serve them. Are we doing enough to find out what our users want? It is imperative that we do the research before we throw programs and initiatives at them. Otherwise, we’re the one deciding what our users want and need – a concept that is decidedly not Library 2.0.
I'm all for finding out what our users want and how they want to get it. I'm also for attempting to guide our users towards quality materials and services and I'm afraid that often Library 2.0 chastises librarians who hold this belief.
Library 2.0 is constant change and evaluation. Once we’ve decided to implement a new service or program, we must continually revisit and evaluate it. Are we asking our users not only if they like it, but also how it can be improved to better serve them? Are we involving staff at all levels in the creation and evaluation process?
I wholeheartedly embrace this. I don't think that the library that I work in is doing nearly enough surveying of our patron's opinions.
Library 2.0 is not just about technology. No matter how much this is said, technology continues to be a leading topic of discussion. We should all be grateful for the doors to our users opened by new technologies. However, we must remember that while technology can be a tool to better serve our users, it is not the final answer to all of our problems.
Thank you for saying this. I'm a self confessed techno-geek, but I see on a daily basis that very few of our patrons are really ready for this. We can, and should work with them towards improving their technology skills, but if you don't know how to use email you really don't need to learn about Digg.
Library 2.0 is political. Politics tends to be a dirty word, but we absolutely must consider it. Politics, within both our organizations and communities, plays an unavoidable and undeniably important role in our path to better serving our users. We have to get not only our staff and administration on board – we also have to get our library boards, community leaders, and users on board as well. And the best way to do that is to talk to them – let them know that we all share a common goal of providing access to all kinds of information.
I'm wondering what the best way to talk to them is? What kind of forum would be best? How do we reach the widest spectrum of library users with this talk? Does anyone have ideas?