Showing posts from July, 2013

You know it's going to be a long night when...

You cannot tell if the patron at the nearby table is upset with his laptop or talking dirty to it.

Link Smorgasbord, July 22 - 28

The Human Body as Touchscreen Replacement Interesting read 30 Things Librarians Love Hehehe... yeah... Keep Cool this National Ice Cream Month with Book-Inspired Flavors! I would totally eat these. Next Two Congressional Hearings On Copyright Reform Show The Exact Wrong Approach Because copyright issues are not just a fight between technology innovation and content creation, it's WAY more than that. Libraries & Privacy in the Internet Age This is something I work with every day. That’s Not Very Feminist of You, Bella: Feminism and YA Romance Novels 25 Signs You’re Addicted To Books #8, 10, 13, & 15 describe me rather well.  My insomnia however is legitimate most of the time. SEXTadvice Think of this as an online reference desk for sex questions, which is fantastic since some questions can get awkward to ask at the reference desk (especially when a family comes up to borrow a museum pass).  Alternatively any good adult toy store should be knowledgeable

'Herland' and gender expression

Reading a book that is considered an "important feminist work" and finding myself largely disgusted with the vision of women was not something I expected.  That is what I got when I read Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  The idea of an intellectual and physical utopia grown out of a society of women is great, I just have problems with how the women are very strictly written in their gender roles.  While the men visiting Herland have issues with the "lack of femininity" largely the only drastic diversion from gender roles by these women are that they are all independent of men and possess physical strength.  They are even ruled by "mothers."  It's like reading women written by Heinlein who are always brilliant and savvy, but for whom babies are a universal ingredient to their life's happiness. Herland celebrates women, but only women of a very narrow, cisgendered scope that ignores the complexities of gender.  The women all possess the

One of these things is not like the other...

...One of these things just isn't the same Sometimes it is the little things that make me smile, in this case it is a floppy disk labeled 'RESEARCH (?), PORN, WAR MOVE BOOKS."  A mix of ethics and self-preservation prevent me from actually investigating the contents of this disk that has lived in our disk lost and found basket for the past year and a half.  I already know more than I want to know about some of our patron's porn tastes, I really don't want to know more. I can't deny curiosity at exactly how much they were able to store on a 1.44MB disk, they are not the most spacious when it comes to saving photos.

Link Smorgasbord, July 15 - 21

How DRM Won This is a really great article, if you're wondering why anyone would ever have reason to be uncomfortable with cloud or streaming services, it's worth reading. Broad coalition sues feds to halt electronic surveillance by National Security Agency Several groups that often have little to do with each other banding together on privacy issues. Letters to the Editor: Forbes Library needs some help Letter to the Editor of the Springfield Republican by Jane Yolen about Northampton's Forbes Library's fund drive to improve accessibility.  Books-A-Million to Install ESPRESSO BOOK MACHINE Print-on-Demand in a bookstore. Declaration on Digital Freedom A statement of rights by PEN International. unintended consequences: Wiley price hike post-Kirtsaeng Because text-books apparently weren't costing us enough no matter the format. Emily’s Friends: Beer Tasting on a Summer Evening Easthampton's Em

[Book Review] The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic / Emily Croy Barker ( Author website , Powell's ) Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true. Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora mus

Invisible Man, The Invisible Man

I took a risk this past week for my essay.  After reading H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man I got to thinking about the similarities between that text and Ellison's Invisible Man .  300 words is a tight squeeze to discuss the parallels, but I had fun writing this essay.  Based on the feedback, this risk didn't hurt me, but it also didn't pay off.  I still hold that there are some very interesting parallels between these two books, beyond the tendency for people to confuse their titles.  I am also not quite sure how to respond to feedback that my writing is "too sophisticated." Invisible Man, The Invisible Man Visibility is the result of layered social equations, and often our actions become the framework through which our whole being is encapsulated, regardless of the conditions forcing our behavior.  H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man is artificially invisible, and Ellison's Invisible Man is culturally invisible, but both are judged by per

Words No Librarian Wants to Hear

"Most of the text will be boilerplate information that we get from Wikipedia" *cringe*

Saving the World and Other Games

This past weekend, despite harsh conditions and overwhelming odds, we not only stopped the Machine Collective from demolishing Earth for materials in building a Dyson Sphere, but we made a huge step towards the regrowth of life on the surface and the eventual re-emergence of civilization out of underground bunkers.  OK, so maybe I wasn't fighting against real cybernetic hordes intent on the final doom of humanity, but I was having a good time with a handful of friends and about 30 other players running around in character as we played make-believe.  It was disgustingly hot though, and the wet field made our socks very very squishy.  Also there was the risk of ticks, which are creatures of my nightmares. Send in the D-Team LARPing (or Live Action Role-Playing) has a bit of a bad reputation.  It is connected with the much aligned world of Role (or Roll) Playing Games, historically accused of debauchery and Satanic rites (and while I find Mountain Dew repulsive, it certainly

Hawthorne & Beauty

In this essay I give up any faith in spell and grammar checkers.  So many errors made it into the submission.  I hope I caught them this time around.  Rather than one book or collection of short stories we read a collection of stories by both Hawthorne and Poe, I decided to just write about the readings by Hawthorne, though I ultimately connected the stories to previously assigned readings in this class. Each of Hawthorne's tales assigned this week is connected by beauty.  Be it a gorgeous woman with countenance flawed by a birthmark, a lady both lovely and poisonous, the beauty of youth past, or simply the creation of living beauty itself.  So often in literature beauty is utilized as a visual representation of inner nature.  In Dracula, Mina and Lucy are considered lovely and good until the vampiric transition overwhelms Lucy's beauty.  In Frankenstein the monster is beheld as beautiful in his innocent state of inanimation, it is not until the creature is brought t

Link Smorgasbord, July 8 - 14

Better Book Titles If this image doesn't say it all, I don't know what does.  Some of the titles are more clever than others, but that is to be expected.  See the archive of covers here .    The Ultimate, Mega, Essential Website Design Guide – 115 Tools and Resources A great collection of resources for those interested in web design. The Weekly Number: Libraries pay up to 550% more for e-book bestsellers than consumers  Featuring the July update from Douglas County Library System on price comparisons of ebooks and print books for consumers and libraries. How Young Adult Literature Challenges Gender Norms Reminds me of my own reading history, except I picked Mists of Avalon off my mom's bookshelf when I was in 3rd grade. Imagine Amherst Without Food For Thought Books  Food For Thought Books is one of those bookstores you can't imagine it's community without.  They're the bookstore that you can find the small press titles, the radical ideas, the

Frankenstein, or, the Folly of Man

I should have read this book and not just listened to the audio book, but audio books allow listening while cooking dinner or otherwise multitasking.  But for this book my engagement and retention of the story suffered as various long self-bemoaning passages faded into white noise.  For all of that Frankenstein contains some beautiful prose. The feedback on my essay was generally inconclusive, though overall more positive than negative.  Some reviewers felt that my thesis and essay were clear and concise, that my writing showed "keen element of understanding of the plot weaved by Mary Shelley" and was thought provoking.  Others felt my writing was too simplistic and in need of focus.  Considering my lack of focus while reading/listening to the text, I think such criticisms are more than fair. Frankenstein is a story about the folly of man, in the dangers of technological innovation without thought for repercussions.  Frankenstein's monster is the result of technol

NF Display July 2013

Finally, a new NF display! The space I use for displays was otherwise occupied for the past two months, so the May and June ideas will be used at another time. I knew I wanted something outdoors, but I needed to avoid the overlap of topics with our summer reading themes.  I've had a concept for a theme based on Obstacle Course Racing and other such events (I blame Heather , but I can't be mad because she's so awesome).  One huge problem, while we have James Villepigue's Obstacle race training bible , that's really our main title that looks at OCR and other non-traditional/creative race events.  And it is always out (now that we can order books again we will need to look at expanding our coverage on this).  I'm also not much of a sports fan. Regardless of my knowledge of sports (really, I can't tell you without checking what sports go with what seasons), I wanted to do something related to the seed idea tumbling about in my head.  So rather than focus

Awkward Request of the Week

I know, I know.  It is only Tuesday so it may be a little early to announce a winner for the Awkward Request of the Week.  But really, when the patron comes in and hands you a piece of paper because they are too embarrassed to say what they are looking for information on, even if the information is for someone else, the awkward potential is high. Today's request for information was on "retention enemas." I had no idea this was a thing. Thanks to Dracula, Dead and Loving It! (and likely my mom for explaining the joke), I've at least known the basic idea of an enema since early teens, but it is not a topic I have gone out of my way to stay on top of.  This gentleman's education about enemas coincided with receiving a note with the topic, and the lengths of time one should retain various substances (garlic, lemon juice, and coffee grounds).  Awkward pre-teen conversations with mom at home verses awkward conversation with noticeably younger woman at the public

Update: BYODesktop

So last week I encountered a patron plugged into a port for a public computer on his home desktop .  Queue various techie security paranoia reactions about desktops of unknown security status plugged into ports that use for computers loading profiles off our server.  Fortunately after explaining why wireless was OK and the ethernet use was not he packed up for the day.  Turns out this was not to be a one time occurrence as he returned the next day when I was out but with a wireless card installed.  This resulted in a slight altercation with staff as he went to the same location in order to use our peripherals, and wireless card or no, they had no good way to be sure the port wasn't being used. The good news is things have been resolved.  The patron brings in his own peripherals, sets up at a regular table, and can play Steam games to his heart's content.  He's quiet and I see no reason that we can be the only internet access for people with laptops exclusively.  This me

Link Smorgasbord, July 1 - 7

First glimpse of the cover of Neil Gaiman's new Sandman comic Time again to use that 'Gaiman' tag.  I am very excited about the new Sandman comics, I may have to set up a comic pull again for this.  The Sandman is what got me into comic books years ago (and then I discovered comics by Warren Ellis and Allen Moore). Miracles of miracles! WIPO passes the treaty for the blind! "By all accounts, however, when the treaty goes into effect, nations with exceptions for the disabled will be able to share accessible content across borders.  Libraries will be considered “authorized agencies” that can make accessible copies without the prior permission of the rights holder." Also: Miracle In Marrakesh: “Historic” Treaty For Visually Impaired Agreed  Humble eBook Bundle 2 Some awesome books (that I happen to own across a variety of formats already) are up at Humble Bundle.  The ebooks are DRM free, you pay what you want, the money is split between the aut

Dracula and Carnal Women

I have a confession to make.  I have never been a fan of Bram Stoker's Dracula .   Regardless I voluntarily signed up for a course knowing the required reading and assignments.  So I slogged through it, though at least this time I realized that the whole bloody story is told through journal entries and letters, rather than thinking the letter at the start is a foreword and then trying to find where the story started... I believe my essay shows that I was less than enthused about the text, however my peers rated my essay higher than I expected.  My second challenge in even selecting a topic is that I find it very hard to read Dracula separate from its life as a cultural meme.  In reading Dracula the text I had to "forget" everything it has inspired, be the result literary, theatrical, or something else all together.  Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Leslie Nielesen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen , Dracula 3000 , etc...  For the purpose of this class these had to exist

Link Smorgasbord, June 24 - 30

Magic Rights Management for eBooks I made mention of SiDiM last week in my collection of links, as well as it as an example of one of the reasons I distinctly prefer paper over ebooks.  Eric Hellman goes beyond my feeling of disquiet and actually discusses SiDiM on a broader scale. B&N To Keep Selling Nook Tablets This Year While It Transitions To Licensing Its Ebook Brand So this could get interesting. Download me—Saying “yes” to the Web’s most dangerous search terms Amusing and revealing experiment in downloading free programs. Computer Desktop Encyclopedia   Useful resource, clunky page. Promises broken, promises kept, and Faustian bargains On ebooks, not just in regards to libraries. Ouya launches for $99; already sold out on Amazon, GameStop I'm intrigued by this little console, but I'm also not really in the market for any console at this moment.  Either way I will be keeping an eye on it, could be an interesting option for in house video-gamin