Thursday, March 13, 2008

How is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?

I know how a raven is like a writing desk: Neither one of them subsidize your lack of office supplies.

I'm going to quickly list things that I shouldn't have to do for you. Trust me, it's better if I don't.

I should not have to find you a passage to read for your church service, change the text size so you can read it, and delete the source it came from so you can hand it out without that web address.

I should not provide you with staples, paper, tape, scissors, or any other office or school supply that you forgot to bring with you today (and no, the library does not have poster board you can use!).

I should not find you a book of extremely detailed instructions on how to start and operate your specialized (obscure) small business.

I should not have to tell you that you will not get a free X box for clicking on the link.

I should not have to tell you what your password is.
I should not have to tell you how to make a fire, or do anything else on Runescape.

I should not have to proofread your resume, college scholarship essay, homework, grant application or divorce forms (or type them up for you) and make sure the formatting is correct.

I should not have to design your business/event flyer.

I should not have to teach your child math or help him with his homework.

I should not have to tell you what tax forms you need.

I should not have to tell you what divorce forms you need.

There are several other things I am borderline on. These include: show you how to change the layout of your myspace profile. Show you how to upload photos to myspace. Show you how to download music. Show you how to buy something on Ebay. Show you how to sell something on Ebay. Show you how to use Craig's List. Show you how to apply for a job online. And many more.
The reason I am borderline on these is that I know you probably need them and there is no immediate harm in them, but it's the future needs that scare me. If you need an e-mail address to apply for the job, it's pretty certain they're going to expect you to know how to check it. If you are going to sell something on Ebay, are you going to need a paypal account? Then what happens if you can't access that again? Do you see a trend.

What I can do is get you resources to show you how to do these things. They will require learning and time on your part. But then you won't ever have to ask anyone again.

Monday, March 10, 2008


So, yesterday I mowed the yard for the first time on '08. Of course this made me sad that the recent snows were the end of winter. Really, though, it made me sad thinking of how many more time's I'll have to mow again before the grass resumes its hibernation.
It's not that I mind tending to the yard work... well, it's not that I mind tending to the yard work nearly as much as I used to. Something about when the grass you're trimming is your own, you don't mind the sweat so much. Is this just me? The mowing isn't what gets me anyway; it's the weed eating. I've purchased 3 weed eaters in 3 years and I haven't liked any of them. Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and go with gas: environment be damned.

Anyway, this was just to signal that spring has sprung and now things will be different again at work. We're getting a thousand calls a day about help in filing taxes (more than half of which seem to come from really old people wondering about the new rebates. "I haven't filed taxes since 1979," they say, "but I want that $300!"

We're gearing up for summer reading program, which will soon invade everything we do to one level or another. I'll just say right here that I don't get summer reading programs. I just don't. From what I can tell, these programs save money in education by keeping up reading levels during the summer months. Ok, let the ISD pay for it! I'm not a teacher!

Sorry, enough on that. A coworker of mine told me that she saw an article on social networking sites that benefit librarians, but that I probably knew all of them already. I didn't know all of them. Some I had recently discovered, like ning. However, one really caught my eye with a high level of interest. I've got a public page HERE, but it's the private page that really intrigues me. It's like a homepage from yahoo, only better. I can get what i want when I want it, and then share it if I want to with the world! They even call it my universe so I can feel really special. I have a feeling Warren Ellis needs to know about this! He probably already does.

How does this work for libraries? What if small libraries could use this Ginger application as their website? Delivering information on all topics without having to host anything or have any web guru on staff. What could be next?

Ok, so maybe that won't work for most places. But how about THIS vision of the library of the future: Everything is labeled with rfid tags and stored in no particular order. The stacks are open for browsing, but most browsing is done via virtual 3d model. In fact, when a book is searched for, instead of giving a Dewey call number the computer screen pops up a read blip on the 3D library projection, with directions of exactly where to find this book on the shelf. No more missing books. No more need for accurate shelving. Digital browsing (perhaps even mechanical pickers that grab books from their locations and deliver them to you), all from your hand held device! Now, the downside (?) is that when it's overdue they can track the book's tag to that spot under your bed where you lost it and send the pickers on a black ops mission to your house for timely recovery.

You might want to arm yourself in defense. These pickers can get pretty mean.