Cali the Librarian

Mar 03

Cali the Librarian turned 3 on Saturday!
Wow, I’ve been on tumblr a lot longer than I remembered. :-) I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting it lately (I hope to resume regular posts soon, but I won’t make any promises lest I end up breaking them!).

Cali the Librarian turned 3 on Saturday!

Wow, I’ve been on tumblr a lot longer than I remembered. :-) I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting it lately (I hope to resume regular posts soon, but I won’t make any promises lest I end up breaking them!).

(Source: assets)

Dec 27

Know My App -

For consumers, CTIA-The Wireless Association®, along with its members and the app developer community, created so you know how the most popular apps use data. With Intertek Testing Services North America, we offer data usage estimates on some of the most popular apps in the Apple and Google stores.

What a great idea! The number of apps they’ve tested so far is a little slim (some of their categories don’t have any apps in them yet), but this could be an excellent resource. :)


Dec 25

And now for a non-library Christmas greeting… from my two cats. ;-)

And now for a non-library Christmas greeting… from my two cats. ;-)


Book tree! :-)
(Borrowed from my library’s facebook page—I tried but couldn’t link it directly.)

Reblogging because Christmas. :-)
(For the record, all of those books are the result of my summer weeding in the reference section. Hooray for “recycling” books!)


Book tree! :-)

(Borrowed from my library’s facebook page—I tried but couldn’t link it directly.)

Reblogging because Christmas. :-)

(For the record, all of those books are the result of my summer weeding in the reference section. Hooray for “recycling” books!)

Dec 17

Excited and Overwhelmed: First Year Students in the Library | Inside Higher Ed -

This new report, Learning the Ropes, confirms what we already know (but sometimes forget). For most first year students, even small college libraries are many times larger than the school library they may have used previously. It’s hard for first year students to come up with keywords to search for information on topics they don’t know much about. Sorting through the multitude of results is difficult, and making sense of articles in scholarly journals (which they have never seen before) is a challenge. The strategies that have worked before don’t work as well with college-level research. Many students in the study stepped up to the challenge of using library databases for their work, but some continued to rely primarily on Google.

Dec 10

Book tree! :-)
(Borrowed from my library’s facebook page—I tried but couldn’t link it directly.)

Book tree! :-)

(Borrowed from my library’s facebook page—I tried but couldn’t link it directly.)

Dec 06

Need suggestions for digital image hosting/organizing software

Our art department is looking to create an online collection of art works that includes various bits of department-defined information (like the artist’s statement) and wants suggestions of software they could use. In the end they want the collection to be searchable and to have control over which parts of the record are publicly viewable, but for now I’m focusing on locating feasible software and leaving the evaluation for later.

So far I have these on my list:

Is there anything obvious that I’m missing? I took a digital libraries class in grad school and I know I worked with CONTENTdm (though of course I couldn’t think of the name when the art people were in my office!), but other than that I’d have to consult my notes. ;-) I suspect we’ll be leaning toward open source, but at this point I want to provide all of the possible options.

Dec 04

Barbara Fister, "From Conversations to Things," Inside Higher Ed -


Pull quote: “In an era when libraries acquired materials important to their communities, negotiating rights and paying for access was not a major hindrance to conversation. But as libraries become merely bill payers and publishers the owners and curators of knowledge, we’ve seen the value of public knowledge retreat in the face of private property and individual productivity.”

Dec 03

Find the Deadlines to Ship Packages for the Holidays - Blog - United States Government Blog -

Not library-related, but potentially helpful for those sending things far and wide for the holidays. :-)

Nov 26

Winter Weather Driving Tips

I’m sure there are other lists out there, but these are the things that really piss me off about other drivers, so I’m making my own list. This only pertains to actual driving; there are plenty of other lists about what you should have in your car in the event you get stuck somewhere.

1. Visibility is Key. In other words: clean off your damn car. You may think that one clear patch on the windshield is sufficient, but do yourself (and everyone else on the road) a favor and clean off ALL the windows so you can see properly. And if you can reach, brush any loose snow off the top of your car or else you’re creating your own mini-blizzard as you go down the road. Also remember that your bumper will accumulate snow that obscures your headlights, so clean that off, too. (And yes, if it’s precipitating, your headlights should be on. I can’t believe how many people like to drive stealth-mode in bad weather.)

2. Slow Down. If the road is wet or snowy, take at least 5-10 mph off your usual speed because you cannot guarantee you will always have traction. If there’s any form of water on the pavement, there can be ice so adjust your speed accordingly. (Only exception: when it’s sunny and the water on the road is due to the snow melting.)

3. Try to Avoid Stopping. Stopping at stop signs especially can be problematic because those roads often aren’t the ones salted/plowed right away, so go ahead and roll the stop if there’s no one else at/near the intersection. This helps you avoid sliding while you brake and while you try to resume speed. [Note: I’m not sure about the legality of this advice, but I would assume that the police have more pressing concerns than ticketing you during a snowstorm.] Stopping in other scenarios (e.g. stop lights) is often unavoidable, however, so…

4. When Stopping, Leave Plenty of Room. My personal rule of thumb is to stop at least one car length behind where I ordinarily would (whether it’s behind the stop line or another car) to allow space to slide a bit without causing an accident. This will also give you space if the car in front of you slips while starting to move again. Related: start braking way earlier than you think you need to so that if you do slide at any point, you have less momentum driving you into the next car/the intersection/whatever.

5. Allow Extra Space for EVERYTHING. Don’t tailgate. Don’t attempt a turn across/into traffic until you have enough time/space to react if you slide. Assume you’re going to slide when stopping, starting, and turning and plan accordingly.

6. Minimize Distractions. Turn off the radio unless you really need it for the weather/traffic report. Don’t even think about talking on the phone. Drinking hot beverages also isn’t wise. Your focus needs to be on the road and the other cars on it. You may be confident in your winter driving abilities but that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of someone else sliding into you.

7. BE PATIENT. I like to think that snow (and especially ice) are nature’s way of telling us to slow the f—- down. Leave extra time to get where you need to be. Winter is not the time to be rushing anywhere. Stay at home if possible while it’s precipitating, or at least combine any errands so you only have to go out once (your car will be warmer that way, too).

Nov 07

“It’s hard for me to even remember the last time I was in a library.

[I]t’s impossible to see a world where we keep libraries open simply to pretend they still serve a purpose for which they no longer serve.” —

The End Of The Library | TechCrunch

Well, white dude with I’m guessing considerable stock in Google, is the library just there for your needs or purposes?

Maybe you enjoyed your exercise in wordplay and making points already made. But what was your point again? Books make libraries so without books libraries aren’t libraries? Books look different so libraries can’t be libraries? Libraries look different so libraries can’t be libraries? You don’t need libraries for books so we don’t need libraries? I’m sorry, what?

Oh but wait, we’re pretending? Pretending what? Pretending there’s an access divide? Pretending there’s a digital divide? Pretending information illiteracy? Pretending folks lack job skills? Pretending college students need help with citation (BAHA HAHAHAHAHHA)? Did I get a Masters in Pretending? I MEAN I DO HAVE A GREAT IMAGINATION SO I PROBS GOT STRAIGHT A’S. OR P’S FOR PRETENDING. I’m sorry, what?

(via yellowdecorations)

Also read this from BeerBrarian - The End of “The End of Libraries”

On Sunday, October 14th, yet another “End of Libraries” piece appeared. Per usual, it was written by a white male with no use for libraries, because every single time this trope appears, that’s part of the author’s demographic background. Beyond that, it’s a crucial part of the author’s background. It is overwhelmingly affluent white men who argue that because they do not use something, it has no value for anyone. Libraries. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Affordable health care. It’s the same argument.

(via thedanaash)

"The internet has replaced the importance of libraries as a repository for knowledge." Ah, yes, because you can trust everything you read on the internet.

Republicans play this game all the time. “I don’t need it, therefore it’s not important and we should get rid of it.” I can vividly remember the last time I was in a library. It was three weeks ago. I needed to do research and the material I needed was not online. Not every book is completely indexed in Google Books. And yes, an ebook is cheaper and faster than buying a physical copy of a book - but it’s harder to skim through an ebook quickly, and the physical copy at the library costs you nothing (up front; tax dollars etc etc).

Like I said, I was at the library three weeks ago. It was around 4 pm on a Tuesday. And you know what? It was CROWDED. There was a packed sign-up sheet for the computers. Kids and parents abounded in the children’s section. Older people and teenagers read at the tables in the main area. I had to wait in line to check out my book.

Before that, I had spent a lot of quality time on my library’s website. I like to read both physical books and ebooks. My library does Kindle loans. OK, their website is a crappy government website, and it can be a little difficult to navigate, but it’s doable. I read books I probably couldn’t or wouldn’t pay full price for, AKA a big part of the purpose of a library.

Libraries are not useless in the digital age, and even more importantly, they aren’t all empty. Just because YOU, PERSONALLY do not need or use something doesn’t make it a charming  but impractical relic of a long-forgotten age.

(via thebicker)

(via mostlysignssomeportents)

Oct 28


I’m sitting in work with actual tears forming in my eyes while I’m trying to laugh silently, oh help

If you’re having a bad Monday, here’s a laugh for you. :-D


I’m sitting in work with actual tears forming in my eyes while I’m trying to laugh silently, oh help

If you’re having a bad Monday, here’s a laugh for you. :-D

(Source: cineraria, via itakeupspace)

Oct 24

Open access: six myths to put to rest -

Oct 22


To all those “librarians” who hate their patrons…







To all those “librarians” who hate their patrons, hide from them, and lie to them to get them out of their hair…

I would gladly take your job off of your hands. I’ve been trying to for over a year now. Would you like my resume?


A recently minted and horribly underemployed MLIS graduate who just wants to be a librarian already, damnit. (And to better serve your poor patron base)

At the same time, working in a library is like working anywhere. Not every day is rainbows and unicorns, and sometimes that person you just don’t get along with is a patron instead of a coworker. The point of librarian shaming is that the librarian is anonymous, so this gives them a chance to vent.

I love love love my library job, and I’m a million times happier than when I was a secretary, but I get frustrated at things occasionally too. We’re all human.

But is “Librarian Shaming” the appropriate place for that venting? That particular Tumblr is getting some attention from outside the library community, and I think it’s dangerous that this could be the public face of libraries. Librarians and libraries already have to work very hard to justify their importance. If people see all of the venting and negativity, they may not want to support us.

I think it’s important that our patrons see us as people. Any patron can tell you horror stories about other patrons - they already know the people we mean when we say we hate patrons. I don’t hate patrons, personally, but I definitely feel like anyone who works with the public and has for at least a few years will understand the sentiment, even if they don’t share it. Trying to frame it as “well, if you don’t love everything about working in a public library you don’t deserve to be there!” is incredibly naive. Librarian shaming is a forum for librarians to talk to each other and share their secrets, and the response it has gotten means that a lot of librarians really identify with the things that are submitted. Are we just supposed to do that behind closed doors? We’re not allowed to complain, ever?

But the material point is this: it is a public forum. Anyone can see what we’re saying and doing. I don’t know about where you work, but if I publicly said similarly-toned things about where I worked, and my employers found out, there’d be hell to pay. And if I were lucky, I wouldn’t get fired.

There are issues in the profession that should be aired: safety in the library, issues facing the profession from censorship brought on by patrons, doing outreach to get folks in the library… all of these things have to do with patrons, but it’s not hating on them or “shaming” them. Even if they’re the minority.

Of course there is no profession that is absolutely perfect all the time. There will be problems, there will be patrons we don’t like. But you don’t talk about that in a public place, where people who want to look for problems in the library in order to argue against their higher taxes or tuition (“Why should our taxes go up to pay librarians? They don’t even LIKE patrons!”). 

I can see the appeal of having a place to vent. I really can. But we are already battling against so many prejudices, many unfounded. What a platform like this is doing is further prejudicing the prejudiced and creating more ill will towards our profession. I could see how a confessions blog could help to show our human side, but I would much rather see it as “Librarian Confessions” or “Librarian Secrets” with space for a balance of positive, negative or relatively neutral submissions.

I feel like our outspoken Tumblarians must be in the minority. In relation to Librarian Shaming: I’ve seen plenty of concerned posts from the librarian and future-librarian blogs I follow, with relatively few posts defending or supporting it. However, when sslibrarianship and I set up a positive blog to counteract the negativity, we got lots of followers and only four submissions in two weeks. It could be that the people submitting shaming secrets are not part of the Tumblarian community, or that they are using the blog as a place to show a side they feel they cannot on their main blogs. Fine. This is their prerogative. Some of the submissions are amusing. But the negative posts, the ones which show librarians as people-hating, lazy complainers, while possibly cleansing for the submitters, are damaging for many others in our community. Since the blog was launched, I have received links to its posts from various non-Tumblr acquaintances - via email, facebook message and facebook posts on my wall. It has been brought up on nights out, with people criticising the profession with sweeping statements, using the blog as a source.

On balance, I can see how it’s a helpful outlet for some people. I understand that librarianship is a challenging profession with lots of room for difficulty. I see regular posts every day from people I follow, with tales of long hours, difficulties with patrons, budgetary restrictions and general frustration. But these people also post about their fabulous displays, or their career-affirming interactions with patrons, or their excitement about some aspect of their job. They’re not harming the profession when they complain. They are showing that librarians are human. Anonymous, complaint-heavy blogs are not doing this. They would be appropriate in a librarian-only forum, or even if they Librarian Shaming blog posted (and actively solicited) positive confessions too. Even if they just picked one day of the week for positive secrets.

Sorry, this ended up rather long. I feel quite strongly about this. We have (on average) about one paid library job advertised per week in this country (Ireland). Libraries are being criticised for building improvements and investments in technology. Non-qualified library staff are being sought in order to reduce salaries. Most of last year’s MLIS class is unemployed or in unpaid internships. I’m worried I’ll have to emigrate to find any kind of library job. So when people complain about how much they hate their patrons, I seethe.

This string of comments nicely summarizes my ambivalence toward Librarian Shaming. Also, there is already an anonymous way to complain about library problems:

This forum has the added benefit that people contributing can choose to limit their post’s visibility so only members of that community can see it (which helps address the problem of the public seeing what librarians are complaining about).