Wow.  There have been lots of visitors to my humble little blog, thanks to Michael posting about my dilemma at work the other day.  One of the comments to his blog post indicated that many libraries have the same policy that my library does.  Other comments indicated that all people should be allowed access, even without a card.  So, why do libraries make these policies?  Ours is odd to me in other ways as well since anyone from our state must have a library card to use the computer, but out-of-staters can just show ID.  Huh?  I feel like I must be missing something that management understands, but I don’t.  I think I’ll ask tomorrow at work and report back.

 I suspect that if I suggested something like charging a fee for a temporary card, the powers that be might entertain that idea, and it would solve most of the problems.  I have issues with that too though, because I fundamentally believe that people should be able to walk into any public library and access information for free.  What if they can’t pay?  It just widens that gap between the haves and have nots.

In the summer we vacation near Manotowish Waters, WI and they have a great public library where anyone can walk in and use the computers, no questions asked.  The icing on the cake is that even people vacationing up there can check out books.  Talk about customer service!  That is the kind of library that makes me proud.


May 1, 2007 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

So, I was at work today, once again enforcing rules that I don’t agree with.  Three people are working in a conference room on their laptop.  They need to print.  They ask if they can use one of our patron computers and attach their thumb drive.  No problem so far.  Turns out that they don’t have a library card and we have a strictly enforced rule that you cannot, no way, no how use our computers without one.  I try to use mental telepathy to encourage them to tell me they are from out of state, but they tell me they are from another suburb.  Sigh.  I try to morse code my own library card number to them (okay, not really) but nothing is working.  There is nothing I can do.  I want to tell them I think it’s a dumb rule and if there was any way that I could help them and not get in trouble, I would.  I can’t say that though…because I’d get in trouble.  I’m not a fan of trouble, especially when it involves me. 

 So, these poor people cannot print what they have been working on all morning.  It’s okay, says my co-worker.  They aren’t from our library district.  She tells me not to feel bad.  I do though.  Really bad.  Not just for them, but for what it does for peoples’ perceptions of libraries.  Aren’t we supposed to help people??  There were empty computers.  It wouldn’t have hurt anything.  Will those people go back into a library if it doesn’t meet their needs?  I think that libraries are at such a critical juncture in terms of perception.  Why are we pushing people away?

April 26, 2007 at 12:56 am 1 comment


I haven’t been posting much lately.  It gives me great appreciation for all of those who continue to post even when life gets busy.  

Over spring break we traveled to different colleges/universities for the benefit of my son, who is a junior in high school.  We saw Macalester and Carleton and the University of Chicago.  I was especially interested in their libraries.  It was interesting to me that although the University of Chicago’s library is known to be one of the best in the world, the tour didn’t take us inside.  At the other, much smaller schools, they took us in and showed us around.  Very proud, they were. 

 Our hotel Internet was down in St. Paul so it was wonderful to walk into the library at Macalester and be able to sit down and log on.  Very friendly people there.  The libraries were busy, happy places. 

My online Collection Development course is almost over.  Can’t say I liked the online format.  At all.  Kinda feeling like I missed out and wish I could retake it in person.  Not that I didn’t learn anything…it just isn’t the same.  I guess I’m too much of a people person.  I wish there was a way to incorporate technology so that Blackboard could be more student-community oriented.  Enough whining.  I know the online option is a fabulous direction for Dominican to be taking.  I know that Karen Brown is a phenomenal professor.  I’m just crabby because I didn’t sign up to witness the phenomenalness in person. 

April 24, 2007 at 12:39 am Leave a comment

just a bit of pondering

I am not-so-patiently waiting for Dominican’s summer schedule to be posted.  I’m a planner.  I need to know.  ‘Nuf said about that.

 On a different note, in the public library where I work (which I love) there is a big push right now to enforce the cell phone rule of only using the cell phones in the lobby.  The new objective is to make sure this rule is being enforced uniformly – i.e.  telling the adults as well as the teenagers.  That’s all fine and good and all people should be treated equally, but I have such a problem with enforcing it at all.  I personally think that people should be able to carry on a cell phone conversation at a respectful volume, just like they carry on conversations with each other at a respectful volume.  If they are disturbing others while on or off the phone, THAT is the issue.  So, as an employee, what am I to do?  I have a responsibility to enforce the rules, and yet I cringe at telling a quietly speaking person that they have to turn off their cell phone or move to the lobby.

March 10, 2007 at 8:55 pm 2 comments

I was held captive by Boondoggles

Boondoggles.  Now that’s a great word that I don’t get to use often enough, even though I experience them more than I’d like.  Sometimes life is just like that.  Now back to more meaningful pursuits…

I’m embarrassed that I’ve been gone so long.  We’ve had a lot of stuff going on at Casa Library Yarns, culminating with a rather traumatic incident this evening.   My daughter made the cutest snowman ever.  Seriously.  She worked so, so hard on it, and put a hat on it that she and my son had worn when they were tiny.  Precious stuff.  You know where this is going, don’t you??  Some wicked snowman killer came into our yard, beheaded the snowman, broke it’s arms and stole the hat.  Who would do that to a little kid’s snowman???  My daughter was devastated on multiple levels.  She couldn’t believe someone would be that mean and she mourns the hat.  All I could think of to tell her was that in memory of the snowman we must make it our mission to spread goodness in the world  so that the snowman killers and the evil that lurks in their icy hearts don’t have the last say.  She said she wants to bake cookies tomorrow and give them to somebody who needs to be happier.  So, we’ll start there.

Alrighty.  Now here’s something I thought was interesting.  In the March 2007 issue of Muse magazine, there is an article about Internet pictures and how their labels are often inaccurate.  A guy named Luis von Ahn came up with a way to give these Internet pictures more accurate names…using a rather addictive game.  It’s called the ESP Game.  Here’s a quote from Muse:  “To play von Ahn’s game, you sign in at his Web site and get paired with another visitor.  The two of you see the same image.  Each of you then types in a word or phrase that describes the image.  If the words match, both of you earn points.  If the words don’t agree, you can keep on trying or switch to a new image.  Your score is based on how many matches you get in 90 seconds.”  Google liked the idea and has their own version of the game.  The popularity of these is incredible and the games are helpful to the Internet community.   What a great idea!

March 5, 2007 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Some libraries just need our help

When I was at the Peggy Sharp workshop the other day, she was talking about how some books are *great* books, but for whatever reason (cover looks weird, etc) they don’t get checked out.  She said that these books need our help and it’s important to book talk them, put them on display, etc, so that these books are checked out.  Her putting it this way seemed to personify the books…made me feel a bit sorry for them…like I need to be their champion.  Those thoughts sat in my brain and mixed around with thoughts about libraries and out came a revelation to myself that some libraries are like these books. 

Some libraries are so off the radar that the majority of people in the community don’t see their value or have very limited knowledge of what libraries have to offer.  These libraries need our help.  Somehow we need to talk about them, generate buzz, help people recognize the gem in their town.  For the younger people, I believe that involves using technology like IM reference and fun videos on YouTube about what the library has to offer.  Yes, it takes extra effort and yes, it sometimes feels awkward to those of us who technology doesn’t come easily to, but it’s worth it. 

I think libraries are really at a crossroads.  They can continue along the same path in a changing world or they can change along with the world.  Old rotary dial phones are charming, but I’d be lost without my cellphone.  I don’t want to look back at libraries with nostalgia.  I want to help them be something that the community can’t imagine being without.

February 5, 2007 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Blogging and Books

 Today I was at a Peggy Sharp seminar listening to her book talk her favorite books for children from the last year.  As I expected, I left with a lot of good ideas for readers advisory.  Peggy geared much of her program towards school librarians.  One of her ideas which caught my attention was to have kids imagine themselves as the character in a book they are reading and then blog in character about what is happening to them in the book.  I thought that was such a creative idea that could connect kids with books in a way that is relevant to them.  I suppose that students could take that one step further and comment on each other’s character blogs while still staying in character.  For example, what would Hester Prin have to say to one of the characters from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?  Could be interesting.

February 1, 2007 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

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