Tag Archives: librarians

Real Live Librarian Interview!!!

It’s time for…a real live librarian interview!!!!  Where I do a brief interview with a real live librarian doing interesting stuff!  Yaaaaay!

This interview is with Holly Hibner, Adult Services Coordinator at the Plymouth District Library in Plymouth, Michigan.  Holly is co-author of the blog Awful Library Books (with the very awesome Mary Kelly), has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and is the co-author of a collection development book due out this summer (with Mary Kelly!).  She’s also been a library unconference coordinator with yours truly and is a big fan of all things beer.

The Best…answers by Holly Hibner…

Best…blog/publication related to the profession (other than your own…)

I love Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web blog.  http://tametheweb.com It combines everything I love about libraries and technology in a very practical delivery.

Best…conference to attend if you can only afford to go to one this year…
I went to the PLA conference for the first time ever this year.  Wow – it was awesome!  Everything was so relevant, and the speakers were dynamic.

Best…awful library book…

I have to be loyal to my boyfriend Dee Snider, so I’ll go with Dee Snider’s Teenage Survival Guide.  Just kidding, I’ve never actually met Dee Snider.  It’s always fun to show the world that librarians are far from boring people, though, and I do listen to some heavy metal music.  If we could upgrade to “David Draiman’s Teenage Survival Guide,” I’d buy it. (Until Disturbed becomes outdated, and then we upgrade again.  You get the idea.)

Best…beer (okay, you can name more than one…)
Thank goodness!  I mean, to name just one?  I have a favorite style: Belgian.  Well, that’s really a combination of styles.  Triples, for example.  My favorite triple is La Fin Du Monde.  I love a good amber ale, too.  Bell’s Amber is excellent.  Arbor Brewing Company, a local favorite, makes a fantastic altbier called Olde Number 22.

Best…project you’re currently working on (or completed recently)

I made a very impressive, if I do say so myself, Adult Services training manual.  I went to a PLA session about retaining institutional knowledge, so I’m on a mission to formalize some of the things that long-time employees “just know” – but many of us don’t.  We need to track why things are the way they are and how they got that way so that we can continue to expand and improve on them – without repeating mistakes of the past.  It worries me when only one staff person knows how to do something.  You need a “firey crash scenario!”  That’s a morbid way to put it, but if they leave the institution for any reason, what knowledge will leave with them?  The manual will eventually end up in wiki format (probably) so it can be updated and used freely and easily by all staff members.

Tell A Story In 30 Slides

Slideshare wants you to tell a story in thirty – that’s 30 – slides.

C’mon librarians – cowboy up – let’s do what we do best.

You could even do a teen program about this – or a computer class with this as the final project!

Learn more here: http://tinyurl.com/tellastory

Use those creative brains of yours…

I’m working on a great volunteer project called MyInfoquest.  It is a six month pilot project to get a librarian-staffed text message reference service off the ground.  People text a question, a MyInfoquest staff member responds!

The team thinks that “MyInfoQuest” is a great name, but it may require a bit of explanation.  To do that, we need to create a “tag line”  and would like your help. Here are some examples from other web-based help services:

Name:              Tag line:
AskAway:         Illinois Librarians Online
AskAway:         Reliable Answers Anytime/A Cooperative Service of Wisconsin Libraries
AskUs 24/7:     Chat with a Librarian
Know it Now    Answering your questions online, anytime

So, post your ideas as a comment by Noon on May 16!  The winner gets…my undying gratitude and that of the Infoquest Team!  Yay!

Twitter is the new Google

That is, according to this new article I found via Delicious –


One more reason librarians need to be on Twitter. 

These two quotes caught my eye:

 “Not only is it a way to connect and interact with others, but it also represent a huge pool of information based on everyday human life that’s ready to be mined to extract real value.” 

“With millions of new web pages springing up every day on the Internet, who has the time or attention span to read through it all? We need filters, and that’s what Twitter provides in 140 characters or less. “

So here’s a question – will there be a day soon in which librarians are not only teaching people how to search Google and Yahoo more effectively, but also are teaching folks how to Tweet more effectively?  What would such a session look like?

The article also makes additional (and repeated) mention of how Twitter allows people to search from human experience and people they trust.  This is good if you’re looking for a restaurant – bad for more factual stuff.  I’d like to say I don’t see a future in which people pick up their phones to get information about, say, the War of 1812, but we’re on the cusp of that and I don’t want to be pulling my foot from my mouth in 20 years (or 10 or 5 years).  Anyone know what the APA or MLA citation for a Tweet looks like?

Plus, I can’t help but wonder if it has any future effect on ChaCha which is on a roll in the text message answers department.

Love this blog post!

Found this great blog post about “acting like the boss just left”:


Check it out.  Librarians and circulation clerks…I am telling you…ACT LIKE THE BOSS JUST LEFT!

Naughty Librarian

NaughtyI once was talking to a librarian friend of mine about putting a librarian bumper sticker on our cars.  She snubbed the idea and said “I don’t self-identify as a librarian”.  And I’m kinda like, why not?

Hey, if you don’t want to tell the world what you do for a living, that’s cool.  But I like to think that it helps the profession and libraries when we pop up in seemingly unlikely places and announce ourselves.

I took The Dude to seeing Flogging Molly as a late Christmas present.  When I was trying to figure out what to wear, he said “Why don’t you wear your Naughty Librarian shirt?  It’s hilarious”.  So on went the shirt.  A couple people came up to me at the concert, people were constantly reading it and I heard a couple mutters of “That’s awesome”.

You, too, can but aside the shushy bunhead stereotypes and show people that librarians aren’t just sitting behind their desks knitting!  C’mon…make a punk kid smile today!

Solidarity, friends. Solidarity.

It seems contrary to the way in which librarians want to think…but I’m going to say it…

Team up with local booksellers – the small guys with the corner shops.  Have them send traffic to you, send traffic to them.   See if you can buy from them to build your library collection.  Develop events with them. 

Why do I say this?  Because I’ve posted about it in the past around the time of the American Bookseller Association annual conference – trends with booksellers eventually become library trends.  And then I got this:


from the Wayne State University listserv.  The Shaman Drum Bookstore is struggling.  It is an institution in Ann Arbor and in Michigan.  The sun will shine, the snow will fall, the Shaman Drum will sell useful, unique, hip and countercultural media.  And the letter is a call for help and sounds very familiar to the ears of librarian.

It’s worth reading…

Don’t be rude or I’ll flash my librarian badge.

alternate title:  Why Didn’t I fly Southwest like I always do?

I had to fly an airline I normally wouldn’t take.  Starts with a U.  Ends in a D.  #$&*@ in the middle.

When I was in O’Hare waiting for my flight, I went to double check my departure gate and couldn’t find the flight number on the screen.  So I go up to what I previously knew my gate to be (C1) and I inquired.  The snotty gate agent looked at me and said “Um, it’s right over THERE. (pointing) At C4 – it says that on the BIG SIGN.”  Thanks, sweet cheeks.  Bitchiness duly noted.

And I had had it.  I was tired, I was grumpy.  And I shot back “I guess all those years as a librarian haven’t paid off because I CLEARLY CAN’T READ!  THANKS!”  (oooo…good one Chris.  You really got her.  why don’t you really be nasty and give her a free bookmark too?)  Well, it sounded a lot more bitter in real life.  Don’t make me use my librarian badge, I swear I will.

So, then I went to the store when I got to Indy and bought the Dude a bottle of wine for Valentine’s.  (I don’t dig the holiday myself, but he is very good about such things, and so I’m working on my pro-Valentine Day’s attitude, plus, he’s worth it.  </sappiness>)  I got back to my room and realized that a) I can’t pack it in my carry on (how many ounces are in a wine bottle?) and b) IF I CHECK MY BAG IT’S 15 BUCKS!  I’ve been living in a world of free baggage since I mostly fly Southwest.

Oh cruel world!  How I will get this awesome Cabernet Savignon back home is a mystery.  I might end up mailing it.

Well, that’s all for now, friends.  No startling or amazing library thoughts…my mind is focused on wine and airlines.

Agnotology problem? I think I know a remedy…

I’m a little behind in reading this month’s edition of Wired Magazine.  But now I’m wide awake at 2 AM EST (Midnight in Denver) and restless and reading.  And I find an article entitled Manufacturing Confusion (subtitle: How more information leads to less knowledge).

As the article says, the historian Robert Proctor has come up with a new word for our language:

“He has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.”

The idea is that in this world in which we are awash with information, special interest groups (for example) are easily able to stir up the proverbial sand and make the factual water very murky.  We are becoming an increasingly ignorant society according to Proctor because we don’t seek out truths – we wait for them to fed to us via that information pipeline called the web.  What’s that quote…We’re drowning in information but starving for knowledge.  Oh yes, we are.

The author of the article wraps up by saying this:

“Can we fight off these attempts to foster ignorance? Despite his fears about the Internet’s combative culture, Proctor is optimistic. During last year’s election, campaign-trail lies were quickly exposed via YouTube and transcripts. The Web makes secrets harder to keep.

We need to fashion information tools that are designed to combat agnotological rot. Like Wikipedia: It encourages users to build real knowledge through consensus, and the result manages to (mostly) satisfy even people who hate each other’s guts. Because the most important thing these days might just be knowing what we know.”

Huh, we need to fashion information tools huh?  Gee, where, oh where, would we get these tools?  Who will guide us through this information?  Hmmm.  I dunno, maybe a potential remedy to this situation is…a world wide network of damn good librarians.  Let’s step up to the plate, before Wikipedia becomes the answer for everything.  And if it must be the answer for many things, if it is the place that people go to for answers, then let’s make sure that we’re the ones editing it.  Because information is our business and we can’t be bit players.

Just something to think about.

I’m going to try to go to bed.  Again.

Stop Thief! I’m a LIBRARIAN!

Josie is a past president of the Michigan Library Association.  I’ve always had a lot of respect for her, but this elevates her to superhero status!  Step back Wonder Woman!  There’s a new crime fighter in town!

I think it’s awesome!  Way to go Josie!  I hope your leg feels better soon.

To all others: Librarians are nice people, but don’t even try to test us.  We keep cans of whup a$$ under out desks.