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Sunday, August 3, 2014

One More River to Cross*

A college classmate and fraternity brother shared this with me recently. I had taken a buzzfeed quiz as to which Warner Brothers character I was and got Wile E. Coyote. My friend had an interesting take on it that seemed to fit in our current struggles to find meaningful employment in our field:

"Wile E. Coyote and Winston Churchill had a lot in common. He said that success was the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. I guess you are in great company with Winston and Wile."
*--Traditional, via "Spirituals", by William Stiickles, coll. 1948.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All By Myself*

I'm taking a MOOC through Coursera on copyright law that is offered by Duke University. Started last week, and find it to be as thorny and complex as it was when we covered it at Clarion (I've forgotten which class).  One of the discussion board posts had to do with the student's school or employer policy on personal work and copyright.  As I wasn't aware if we had one, I inquired first of my library director (no response) and then the director of the main library of our county system--who referred me to the executive director, who informed me that the county didn't have a policy, but that I would have to check with my employer, who either would or wouldn't have a policy. I'll take that as a no.

I have to wonder about the viability of such a "system", where it's clear that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing--or otherwise doesn't care. That and $8.50 an hour might get you a cup of coffee. Onward.

*--Eric Carmen, Eric Carmen, 1975

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Esprit de Corps*

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this strong leadership business.  Fruit doesn't always come the first day or week, or month or year.  But it comes, and we can celebrate it for the wonderful things it brings.

Last Monday I was informed by my older daughter that she was seriously considering signing up for the National Guard when she turned 17.  Where did this come from, I asked?  She told me in serious tones that she had listened to one of the speakers during business camp and that he had said, "work for a cause, not for applause"--and for her, I guess that meant military service.  Her grandfather De Kok would be proud.

Last night my younger daughter made the decision to attend our local high school for all four years rather than the charter school she had attended for the last five. She wants the opportunities in the arts she's seen her brother take advantage of over the last two years.  The Music teachers at our high school are chomping at the bit to get her.  They even asked us if DJ had any younger siblings and looked crestfallen when I told them last spring that there would be no more De Koks coming through.

So I lied.

Interview for tech position at Slippery Rock tomorrow at two. Onward.

*--Robert Jager, Marks/Leonard Publishers, 1983.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


What's it all about, Alfie?
Why did I do this?
Why did I spend two years busting a hump to finish a second masters at Clarion?
I'm not sure it was worth it.

I have a feeling that there's two kinds of librarian candidates out there.

The first is more knowledgeable in librarianship than technology.
The second is more knowledgeable in technology than librarianship.
I have a sinking feeling that I should have become the second kind by going to Rutgers, taking their preset list of 12 classes, get the MLIS (and better chances at jobs).

105 applications out there, and I haven't had a college interview in six weeks.  The fall is getting larger in the window every minute, and there's nothing I can do to stop it. Maybe it's like K-12 teaching, and everyone waits to the last minute. But I don't think so.

I'm good at what I do. I know it. Why am I not communicating that to people?  What is wrong with me? What is wrong with what I have to offer?

Can someone give me a heads up as to what I'm doing wrong? I don't honestly have a clue.


St. Jerome, pray for me!

*--Burt Bacharach and Hal David, 1967

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day in the life*, opus 6

Day one of the new Spring City Library is about to take place.  There's still a ton of little things to do/find/put away/clean, but we're as ready as we can be.
10 am: we're open!
1130 am: first chance to breathe. I've been nonstop activity since the doors opened. Fifteen preschoolers for story time; the computers have been a flurry of activity; people genuinely glad to be here (including me); processed five new library cards (there were weeks that went by that I didn't do that many at the old location) and updated a sixth. Whew!
1255 pm: just finishing up lunch.  I hate ordering out ($$$) but we never know how busy we'll be. Currently two kids in the reference section filling in library card apps.
415 pm: I spent much of the afternoon working on a draft of a presentation I hope to give this fall at the Music Library Association Atlantic Chapter Fall meeting in Philadelphia.  Lots of oohs and aahs from patrons who are walking in here for the first time, but not much else foot traffic.  One of our computer regulars, Mr. M., has been in three times, along with one of our hearing-impaired patrons, also a Mr. M.

I have to confess, I've enjoyed today.

*--John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Everything Old Is New Again*

I haven't seen the inside of the newly constructed Spring City Public Library yet.  New furniture and furnishings, light, bright and clean--or so I'm told. Same books/CDs/DVDs/magazines as before. I hope it's nice.  I know that being busy (for a change) will be nice.  I'll see it for the first time Monday, and I'll be the first employee there on the first day it's open. More later.

*--Peter Allen and Carole Bayer Sager, 1974,

PS: Welcome to my new visitor from Lithuania! 29 countries and counting!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Impossible Dream*: the quest for the perfect library collection

One of my favorite books is Chaim Potok's The Gift of Asher Lev. Halfway through the book, the titular character, a world-famous artist, has an imaginary encounter with Pablo Picasso, who derides every aspect of the man's work and philosophy on art.  He says, in part: "You know what a painter is, Lev? A painter is a collector who wants to create a collection for himself, and he does this by painting himself the pictures he loves by other artists."

Is it just me or do some librarians approach collection development in a similar way?  Do we collect for our community, or for ourselves?  To what extent do we check our egos/feelings/opinions at the library door?  Inquiring minds want to know.

*--from Man of La Mancha; music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion, libretto by Dale Wasserman. Based on Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, which was also the basis for a 1959 "straight" play by Wasserman. 1965.

PS: Happy 100th blog post!