Friday, March 29, 2013


I'm a bit of a geek.  And by "bit of a geek" I mean for years my main hangout was in a gaming store, I play RPGs, I LARP, I play card and board games, I play World of Warcraft, and was proposed to through Team Fortress 2 and thought it was awesome (once I stopped laughing).  I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and yes, I am still upset that Firefly was canceled after one season.

I've actually got reason to be grateful to Wil Wheaton, and that's because he started doing this awesome little web series called TableTop on Geek and Sundry in which he and some awesome people play games.  This little web series got my other half interested in the games they were playing (a bunch of which I already owned), and now we're regularly having friends over to play games.  In conjunction they're putting together a thing called International Table Top Day to encourage people to have an awesome time.

Did you know your library might have some really awesome games available for ciruclation?  Like Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne.  Also, we may have some RPG handbooks (D&D 3.5 or World of Darkness anyone?  Also, don't forget Dungeon Mastering for Dummies).  If you didn't know, it's worth checking out.  If your library doesn't have games that you'd like to borrow that you think would work well, we do take suggestions.  We might not always implement them, but we do try to meet demand in what we lend.

In a similar trend, there is also such a thing as International Games Day @ your library.  This occurs in November, but I've been badgering staff about this event for the past few years.  We had some involvement this past year, but it overlapped with a big event we had going on.  This year, I'm already steering us towards the event, and will be making contact with some local gaming stores to see if perhaps we can get some events going on in conjunction with local gamers (maybe a Munchkin or Magic the Gathering tournament).  In house we have some board games and video games, but there will be more on what we'll be plotting as the date approaches.

Onwards to fun times!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Always continuing my education

And this time I mean in a literal "I'm taking classes" sense.  I've made a few dabbles into trying the MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) model, and neither went so well.  The material started with concepts I was grasping at and then quickly went beyond my ken.  One was in Networking and the other was in Programming, both subjects that I really do need a more local support for.  Fortunately the worst thing that happens generally with a MOOC is that you just don't get a 'certificate of completion' and in fact can likely take the class again at a future time.

I found two courses that start a week apart that I'm pretty excited to be taking part in.  Lets just hope that I didn't bite off more than I can chew in terms of time requirements.

The one that just started is Surviving Disruptive Technologies.  While I haven't found anything mentioning libraries in the course syllabus, it is about meeting and adapting changes.  A library may not be a business like Kodak or Blockbuster, but in its own way, a library does operate on its own business model.  Libraries have to reinvent themselves, and I've already noticed a good handful of librarians in the class.

The other course I'm taking is because I'm interested in the subject matter, and unlike the other MOOCs I've been in, does require the purchase of materials (though I'm borrowing some from the library and via ILL).  Gender Through Comic Books is the type of course I'm more than happy to purchase materials for, and to be honest a few of the comics that I am borrowing are ones that I've considered buying in the past (such as Strangers in Paradise).  Probably the only downside to me is I'm ambivalent about buying digital comics, though I have yet to explore the DRM to see if they're locked to account access only.  My comic tastes do tend to veer to the side of standard superhero comic books, but the overall cost is still under that of a textbook and it should be an engaging class.

Hopefully I can balance taking two at the same time, I tend to have way too much going on in my life so time does require consideration.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

[Book Review] American Gods

 American Gods / Neil Gaiman (American Gods)
"Is nothing sacred?
Days before his release from prison, Shadow's wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You'll be surprised by what - and who - it finds there..."
This is one of my all time favorite books.  I re-read it every few years, though I have discovered that I must keep the readings of American Gods and Anansi Boys spaced out as I have found that reading them too close together sours my enjoyment of the other.  It is a book about America but not really about anyone's life in America, rather it is about what lives have created.  The writing is clever and thought-provoking, and has kept me re-reading this title for over 10 years.

I managed to get American Gods as a library book club pick for this Spring. I'd be lying if I said I was not nervous about presenting one of my long-standing favorite books to a book club, particularly one that is known for having literary tastes at times quite divergent from my own.  Also, anyone else notice that you're never quite so aware of how much and how graphic the sex is in a book until after you decide to share it with people?  Part of my preparation for this discussion was to re-read American Gods with conversation in mind.  I can easily carry on a discussion about this book without guidance, but in this case I'm looking to draw other people into their own discussion and merely act as a moderator rather than a lecturer.  With that in mind, and through a few discussions of my fellow book-discussion leader, I generated a list of questions to spark debate.

Discussion Questions:
  • What genre would you classify this book as?  It has won the Hugo Award for Best SF/Fantasy Novel, the Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel, the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and has been classified as Fantasy, Novel, Fiction, Children's literature, Horror, Science Fiction, Speculative fiction.
  • What do you think of this novel as a story of discovering America? 
  • Who is your favorite character?  Who is your favorite god?  What draws you to them? 
  • What do you think Laura means when she tells Shadow that he is not alive?  What do you think about the idea of someone living but not alive?
  • Is Mr. Town and company are human?  Were they ever human?
  • Did Laura dedicating Loki's death to Shadow affected anything?
  • Is a limit/capstone on belief?
  • Is Shadow still human (was he ever fully human) at the end of the story?
  • What do you think of the idea of new gods?  Of the idea of cultural and personal elevation of concepts/events to something equivalent to holy or scared?
  • Are some locations are innately powerful, or are they created (can they be created)?  What is the effect of ignoring a place's power, or lack there of?  What makes a place of power, and why are some places important to multiple cultures and religions?
One of the really neat things (to me) about American Gods is that the really odd things are based on truth (or at least on significant research into the myths and beliefs of various cultures).  Gaiman didn't make up gods, and he didn't make up the locations.  The House on the Rock and Rock City are real places.  If you're curious about all the gods/avatars/beings that are in American Gods someone has put together this pretty awesome resource listing them all and a little about them.  It isn't perfect, but updates are made, and at the very least is a great starting point for further research.

I knew going in that at least one participant gave up early on, reportedly at the "talking vagina" scene.  I'm guessing that she means the scene where Bilquis envelops her John.  That scene is admittedly a bit bizarre, and while there isn't any vocal genitals the other sex scenes seem like even less of a match.  I found out after the discussion that one of the participants summarized the book to one of my co-workers as all "sex and (non-sexual) secretions."  I knew this book was going to be a bit of a stretch for some of the participants, it is not always a comfortable book to read, and in my experience it is rare for every single person in a book club/discussion to like the pick.

We had a really awesome book discussion, and perhaps my favorite part of it was that some of the participants who did not like the book were engaged and wanted to finish the story.  We also had new people who showed up specifically because the book was American Gods which is something we are looking for.

Some comments from the group:
This was literature... This was really a thinker!

How would you define 'partially human'

Gods that immigrants brought had human attributes, the gods we worship are things... We always want another trick.

What are our sacrifices costing us?  Giving up life so alive but not living.

I can't imagine criticizing this book... Need to reread because there are just so many layers... You see it one way, then he gives you five ways of looking at it.

Is there just people playing both sides?

He [Gaiman] manages to make comments about society without being judgmental.

I can't believe he's not American, he got everything.

Sacred places exist without any human intervention.
Can places be created though?  What about ground zero, is that sacred or did the 'sacrifice' make it sacred?
What about the differences between holy places and powerful places?

For a weird hard book... I didn't expect to like it... Should reread... Like reading a classic...

Not a book I'd want on my bedside table, too hard to sleep, too much to think about.

Belief is not limited, but our attention is.
It felt like a great book discussion to me, though the highlights were more about the concepts of the book than the book itself (which I find does to happen when discussing American Gods).  I did spend a bit of time helping fill in knowledge gaps concerning the book - in particular the parallels between Shadow holding Odin's Vigil and the Crucifixion of Christ, the implications of the choice of "Mr. Wednesday" as a name, and about Mr. Wednesday's missing eye.  I've gotten too used to discussing American Gods with people who have at least an active interest in mythology & folklore if not a background in Comparative Religion.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Some more on Kirtsaeng v. Wiley

I wanted to touch some more on Kirtsaeng v. Wiley than I did in my previous post because I didn't really write anything of substance and I wanted to put out more on the subject than snippets of the court opinion.

Often my first thought in regards to many cases like this is library application, since that is what I deal with daily.  In this case even the prosecution admitted that a decision in their favor could be used against any sort of reselling of goods manufactured outside the US, including goods purchased wholesale to be resold in stores.  I side with Justice Breyer in that I don't believe that exploitation of a favorable ruling against First Sale is a baseless fear.  If there was nothing to fear then copyright trolling would not be nearly so lucrative.

Largely any books, DVDs, CDs, etc that we purchase for the library are published in the US, so in this case the threat against the First Sale Doctrine would not affect a large portion of our collections.  We don't just circulate media, and we do not just circulate media that we have purchased.  In our collection of "non-traditional library materials" for in-house and for full circulation we have: e-readers, a tablet (used to be two but that was short lived), art work, and laptops.  We have a well developed Russian collection.  We supplement our collections with donations, and our Friends of the Library group's biggest fundraiser is an annual book sale.  Any of these areas have the high potential to involve items that may have been printed/manufactured outside the US.  If the software and hardware in a car would run afoul of a ruling against First Sale in this case, then I can guarantee an e-reader, tablet, or laptop would cause just as much if not more trouble.  After all, the car might have more components manufactured inside the US than the personal device.

I'm not convinced that a ruling that would require additional permission from a copyright holder to display an image would be used to go after an individual's choice in bumper stickers.  That would be so trivial and seems mind-numbingly pointless.  On a larger scale, such as art galleries, museums, and even art on the walls in a restaurant, it is not quite so funny.  And it would also create a huge opening for which legal action could be brought against someone because it was convenient for whatever reason.  If you pay attention to legal proceedings and lawsuits related to copyright and patents you will likely have seen quite how ridiculous the cases can be (Apple vs. Samsung anyone?).

Libraries rely on First Sale to operate.  Every one of us, if we realize it or not, regularly take part in transactions that rely on First Sale.  Craigslist, eBay, tag sales, used book stores, second-hand clothing stores, movie rentals, video game rentals, a poster on your wall, even big name retail stores rely on it.

The other part that really gets me about almost any copyright case against an individual is the damages asked for.  The purpose of fines for violating copyright is to compensate for revenue lost and market damages.  "The publisher was awarded damages of $600,000, more than 15 times the amount that Kirtsaeng made from the sale of the books." (Source: Citizens for Ownership Rights).  I've heard other numbers bandied about, though compared to the amount the RIAA asks for that's  low ($1.5 million for 24 songs?).

When the United States ratified copyright law the purpose was "to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."  I do believe in that as a valid concept, and that creators deserve protection for their content.  What we have these days is a rather convoluted code with many grey areas that does not always protect the content creator (see Jonathan Coulton vs Glee) and coverage that has been extended drastically largely in response to pressure from a company that is founded on remixing:

Here's my favorite example, here: 1928, my hero, Walt Disney, created this extraordinary work, the birth of Mickey Mouse in the form of Steamboat Willie. But what you probably don't recognize about Steamboat Willie and his emergence into Mickey Mouse is that in 1928, Walt Disney, to use the language of the Disney Corporation today, "stole" Willie from Buster Keaton's "Steamboat Bill."

It was a parody, a take-off; it was built upon Steamboat Bill. Steamboat Bill was produced in 1928, no [waiting] 14 years--just take it, rip, mix, and burn, as he did [laughter] to produce the Disney empire. This was his character. Walt always parroted feature-length mainstream films to produce the Disney empire, and we see the product of this. This is the Disney Corporation: taking works in the public domain, and not even in the public domain, and turning them into vastly greater, new creativity. They took the works of this guy, these guys, the Brothers Grimm, who you think are probably great authors on their own. They produce these horrible stories, these fairy tales, which anybody should keep their children far from because they're utterly bloody and moralistic stories, and are not the sort of thing that children should see, but they were retold for us by the Disney Corporation. Now the Disney Corporation could do this because that culture lived in a commons, an intellectual commons, a cultural commons, where people could freely take and build (Free Culture, Lawrence Lessig, Keynote from OSCON 2002).
These days heaven forbid you remix content in a way that can be linked to Disney (especially in raunchy parody).

Further reading on copyright:
Free Culture / Lawrence Lessig (free to read online, print copies are available for purchase)
Copyright and other fairy tales : Hans Christian Andersen and the commodification of creativity / Helle Porsdam (trying to find a copy of this book at an affordable price is heart-wrenching).
Berry, John N., III. "The Real Purpose of Copyright." Library Journal — Library News, Reviews, and Views. 1 July 2000

Further reading on Kirtsaeng v. Wiley:
Some background on the case here.
An article on the decision (that isn't a court opinion) here.
Corey Doctorow posting on BoingBoing.
Association of American Publisher's position against the case here.
Supreme Court history & proceedings on Kirtsaeng v. Wiley here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kirtsaeng v. Wiley Decision

I mentioned this case in an earlier post about First Sale Doctrine, and today came across the court decision in the case of Kirtsaeng v. Wiley.  In a 6-3 vote, the court decided in favor of Kirtsaeng (see full court opinion).  From Justice Stephen Breyer:
In our view, the answers to these questions are, yes.  We hold that the "first sale" doctrine applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.

 Some more detail on application and coverage:
The act does not instantly protect an American copyright holder from unauthorized piracy taking place abroad.  But that fact does not mean the Act is inapplicable to copies made abroad. As a matter of ordinary English, one can say that a statute imposing, say, a tariff upon "any rhododendron grown in Nepal" applies to all Nepalese rhododendrons.  And, similarly, one can say that the American Copyright Act is applicable to all pirated copies including those printed overseas.  Indeed, the Act itself makes clear that (in the Solicitor General's language) foreign-printed copies are "subject to" the Act §602(a)(2) (2006 ed., Supp. V) (referring to importation of copies "the making of which eitehr constituted an infringement of copyright or which would have constituted an infringement of copyright if this title had been applicable"); Brief for United States 5.  See also post, at 6 (suggesting that "made under" may be read as "subject to"). 
The appropriateness of this linguistic usage is underscored by the fact that §104 of the Act itself says that works "subject to protection under this title" include unpublished works "without regard to the nationality or domicile of the author," and works "first published" in any one of the nearly 180 nations that have signed a copyright treaty with the United States.  §§104(a), (b) (2006 ed.) (emphasis added); §101 (2006 ed., Supp. V) (defining "treaty party"); U.S. Copyright Office, Circular NO. 38A, International Copyright Relations of the United States Act "applies" to an Irish manuscript lying in its author's Dublic desk drawer as well as to an original recording of a ballet performance first made in Japan and now on display in a Kyoto art gallery.
A big part of the decision seems to hinge on the qualifying terms of the Copyright code refering to copies "lawfully made under this title."  In fact the court acknowledges that technically someone can try and prohibit the resale of imported copies, but that reading the law one way over the other raises more problems than it solves.
We see now ay, however, to reconcile this half geographical/half-non-geographical interpretation with the language of the phrase, "lawfully made under this title."  As a matter of English, it would seem that those five words either do cover copies made abroad or they do not.
In sum, we believe that geographical interpretations create more linguistic problems than they resolve.  And considerations of simplicity and coherence tip the purely linguistic balance in Kirtsaeng's, nongeographical, favor.
Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds copyright law often vague and confusing...  There is further argument besides just linguistic, but finding the language of the law in support is strong.

Further on we have discussion of how an interpretation deciding against Kirtsaeng would have repercussions for other copyright exemptions, including sections 106, 109, and 110.  There are several examples, but I believe that the first one demonstrates some of the absurdity that would result with a decision against Kirtsaeng based on language.
(1)Section 109(c) says that, despite the copyright owner's exclusive right "to display" a copyrighted work (provided in §106(5)), the owner of a particular copy "lawfully made under this title" may publicly display it without further authorization.  To interpret these words geographically would mean that one who buys a copyrighted work of art, a poster, or even a bumper sticker, in Canada, in Europe, in Asia, could not display it in America without the copyright owner's further authorization.
There is also several pages going into detail about all the issues that would arise from a decision against Kirtsaeng in regards to libraries, the resale of purchased items including cars and other hardware, museums, or even sale of items in stores due to the initial purchase overseas and importation to resell as commercial goods to consumers.

Obviously it was not unanimous in favor of Kirtsaeng, but still a 6-3 decision that strongly addresses many of the fears about erosion of First Sale protection.  In many ways reading the opinions in favor of Kirtsaeng was unsettling to see some of the areas that would potentially be affected beyond the initial scope I had considered.  Court decisions are not exactly "light reading" but I found this one worth reading, and recommend reading it if you are at all interested in copyright law.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thank you, enthusiastic library patron.

Sometimes feedback is just awesome:

The blur is the patron name, the visible name is the book's author.
Regardless of how much some of us may complain about things patrons may do (why is there peanut butter on the DVD, and do we really want the answer?), the frustrations are not the whole of the job.  Librarians work in a public service occupation, we largely like helping people and providing our various services.  We get verbal praise and feedback and that's always awesome.  Stuff like this note that you find on your desk or in your inbox are just amazing.  Perhaps its something about the effort, the deliberate thought, and the sheer tangibility of it.  It even beats the emails that are sent to the director by a patron in praise of a job well done (also, less embarrassing because I don't first read it on the staff mailing list).  I've acquired a small collection of thank you cards since I started at my library, this is joining the pile.

Also, in my mind the title of this blog post is sung like the Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" commercials.

NF Display March 2013

First off, BLARGH!  I already wrote this, even posted it.  Then I noticed a major formatting issue, tried to fix it (which utterly failed), and had CTRL+Z delete everything instead of functioning as "undo" and things just went downhill from there.  I make no promises to the accuracy of the reconstruction of the preexisting post with the exception of the book list, that I can guarantee is the same list of books (though possibly in a different order).

So, March non-fiction book display.  I'm going to take it as a good sign when many of the books that I wanted to include are actively circulating and were checked out when I put this out.  As the theme this month is Pages to the Screen I suppose this means either patrons are actively seeking out titles that movies have been made of, or the studios sometimes have really good taste.

My first choice for a March display was brewing, possibly paired with cheese making.  For some reason we have a LOT of books on cheese, I probably could dedicate a whole display to cheese alone.  Brewing for March should be pretty self-explanatory.  I had other considerations for the display this month.  We have a "From the Page to the Screen" film series going on through the Spring at my library, and I wanted to have a display nodding to that.  Any later and the series would have been half over or more, so I'll do brewing another month.

In a little over a week I've had to add titles to the display several times, and am still waiting for a few titles to come back long enough to go on display.  So I can say with some comfort there are some good books on this display, and with that and in no particular order, the book list:
  • Catch me if you can : the amazing true story of the youngest and most daring con man in the history of fun and profit / Frank W. Abagnale
  • The informant : a true story / Kurt Eichenwald
  • Argo : how the CIA and Hollywood pulled off the most audacious rescue in history / Antonio J. Mendez and Matt Baglio
  • Touching the void : the true story of one man's miraculous survival / Joe Simpson
  • Between a rock and a hard place / Aron Ralston
  • My left foot / Christy Brown
  • The accidental billionaires : the founding of Facebook : a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal / Ben Mezrich
  • A beautiful mind : a biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, 1994 / Nasar, Sylvia Nasar
  • Black Hawk Down : a story of modern war / Mark Bowden 
  • Fair game : how a top spy was betrayed by her own government / Valerie Plame Wilson
  • An ordinary man : an autobiography / Paul Rusesabagina with Tom Zoellner
  • Hero : the life and legend of Lawrence of Arabia / Michael Korda
  • Seven years in Tibet / Heinrich Harrer
  • The blind side : evolution of a game / Michael Lewis
  • Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair game / Michael Lewis
  • Julie & Julia : 365 days, 534 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen / Julie Powell
  • The autobiography of Malcolm X / Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  • Zodiac unmasked : the identity of America's most elusive serial killer revealed / Robert Graysmith
  • Girl, Interrupted / Susanna Kaysen
  • Seabiscuit : An American Legend / Lauren Hillenbrand
  • Friday night lights : a town, a team, and a dream / H. G. Bissinger
  • Jarhead : a Marine's chronicle of the Gulf War and other battles / Anthony Swofford
  • Marley & me : life and love with the world's worst dog / John Grogan
  • See no evil : the true story of a ground soldier in the CIA's war on terrorism / Robert Baer
  • Flags of our fathers / James Bradley and Ron Powers
  • Into the wild / Jon Krakauer
  • We bought a zoo : the amazing true story of a young family, a broken down zoo, and the 200 wild animals that change their lives forever / Benjamin Mee
  • Running with scissors / Augusten Burroughs
  • The mayor of Castro Street : the life and times of Harvey Milk
Most of the books share at least in part their title with the movie(s) they inspired.  An ordinary man was made into a movie called Hotel Rwanda, so a few require familiarity with the subject to make the connection.  A few trends I noticed when searching for films with non-fiction counter-parts are in the types of stories that become movies.  One of which was the sheer number of true-story films that revolve around missing limbs (I admit this is not represented in the selection of titles above, but that is limited by what we have on the shelves here).

It was interesting to go through the reviews, both of books and movies, in building this display.  Some of these stories have engendered very strong reactions.  Between a rock and a hard place for example has an extremely high number of negative responses describing the author as highly who is at fault for what happened (many of those doing so also cite their own rock climbing experience as part of the impetus for this reaction), such as this review:

"I have read a few Mountaineering books, and as a climber/surfer/diver/backpacker/paddler/all around wilderness junkie, I was quite unsettled by this book. In the book, Aron Ralston is plagued by one-upmanship syndrome. The book should be a guide to avoiding wedging your arm between stones in desolate wilderness. Rather it is a distasteful brag-fest of Ralston's overzealous adventure practices. Events such as these lead to the closure of recreation areas every year in suit-happy America. I would further critique Ralston's wilderness appreciation by the fact he had headphones on while hiking. He should have carried a locator-beacon instead of and auditory inhibitor. On the contrary, I have yet to speak with Ralston about the book or events.
In place of this book, please read any of the tasteful works by Ed Viesturs, who sets an excellent example of the way in which people should behave in extreme wilderness settings."
Actually, that was one of the kinder critiques regardless of the reviewer's one star rating.  Other people loved to book, and I do have to agree that regardless of unsafe actions cutting off one's hand is by no means an easy feat.

Of course one of the big things that came up in the lists of movies based on true stories, is how different the books are from the movies.  Largely we all expect movies and books to have differences, some things don't translate well, other things sell better, or maybe the director just likes to blow things up.  So just like with The Hobbit, facets of the story are likely going to be tweaked in the translation when non-fiction is brought to film.  Jarhead leaves out quite a bit of Swofford's introspection as well as some of his less than legal activities.  A beautiful mind keeps Sylvia and John wedded throughout the film (read more in this Slate article).  Girl, interrupted has Angelena Jolie starring in a supporting role that is only briefly in the book, as well as morphing a series of vignettes into something with an cohesive plot.  So on and so forth.  Without arguing about whether or not this detracts from the story, I'd like to at least put out there that if the story was this compelling in the first place that the differences add value to reading the original.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Coolest Profession Ever

For me, ultimately pursuing both a degree and career in Library Science was something of an inevitability.  I came to continuing my education by repeatedly coming up short when finding library jobs that looked awesome, but required a degree that I did not possess.  Enough of that led me to decide that maybe I should remedy that lack, and off I went with the end result of where I am today.

I believe it is a distinctly good sign that you are in the right field of study when you enjoy the homework and assignments given (stress and confusion aside).  But that wasn't what really clued me into that I had found the perfect occupation to pursue.  No, that moment came when I found a posting on the GSLIS West Office Job Board for what amounted to a Star Wars Librarian for LucasFilm.  As this was my first semester in library school and the job was on the other side of the country, there were a few road blocks in pursuing the position.  Regardless, it stands out as one of the coolest jobs I've encountered.

Last week, I came across another job to add to my list of favorites.  Blizzard is hiring an Associate Librarian & Archivist:
We’re seeking an eager new librarian to join the Blizzard Vault team. Reporting to the manager of the Blizzard Vault, the associate librarian and archivist will work with the existing librarian to handle much of the day-to-day responsibilities of the Blizzard Entertainment library, as well as basic tasks in the Blizzard Entertainment archives. The ideal candidate will have experience in a library or archive, and will be passionate and knowledgeable about Blizzard Entertainment games.

  • Manage day-to-day circulation of the on-site library at the Irvine Campus.
  • Perform basic cataloging, storage, and retrieval of physical and digital items in the library and archives.
  • Provide in-person and email reference services to Blizzard Vault users.
  • Assist the existing librarian and archivist to perform collections planning and deaccessioning.
  • Follow established Blizzard Entertainment processes for effective library and archive management.
  • Give outstanding customer service to Blizzard Vault users.
  • Perform other duties for the Blizzard Vault team as required.
  • A Master’s Degree in Library Science or Archives management, or equivalent experience
  • Desire to build a career outside of the traditional academic or library track
  • Experience working in a library or archive
  • Absolute passion for Blizzard Entertainment games
  • Experience working with a digital asset management system such as Canto Cumulus
  • Technical experience, such as scripting, programming, or database work
Downsides: the job is in California and the applicant pool for this position will be HUGE.  I also have no idea what the employment package includes and if there would be any chance of a relocation stipend.

I cannot imagine not applying for this job.  Moving across the country would not be a simple relocation as I am in a long-term relationship.  However not taking the chance to at least see what could happen would be foolish.  Just the experience of going through Blizzard's interviewing and screening process has the potential to be fascinating and educational.  The responsibilities in a different setting fall directly into my experience and skills set, and I'm solid on the requirements.  My MLS is with an Archives concentration and I spend way to much of my free time immersed in Blizzard's products.  Working in a specialized library collection that directly aligns with my interests would be a dream job.

This is just one job.  There are library jobs all across the spectrum:
You can even work abroad as a Foreign Service Information Resource Officer for the Department of State.

I'm just scratching the surface here.  When it comes down to it, if there is a concentrated area of interest there very well may be a librarian-related job.  Large corporations need records managers.  Hospitals, research institutions, defense companies often have libraries.  An archivist may end up a curator, a librarian may end up classifying and organizing internet data, being a librarian by no means limits you to lending best-sellers even in a traditional library.  Libraries and librarians are about preservation, discovery, and distribution of information, which to me makes for a pretty cool profession.