reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, and revolution

People have been making alternative READ posters, and I made one too. If you’re in a hurry, you can use this nifty Flickr toy.

I took the somewhat longer route, which I’m detailing just in case it’s useful to anyone (I’m always curious about how people did stuff). I used iPhoto to crop an old picture that I’d scanned from a photo album. I exported it in order to save it as a smaller size file–about 800 by 600 pixels. Then I cut and pasted the exported photo into an Appleworks Paint document, used that to put the text in, saved the whole thing as a .jpg, and uploaded it to Flickr. Not as snazzy as Photoshop, no doubt, but hey, it was free.

You can read the original call for submissions at

wyoming librarianship: a sample

This is one of those day-in-the-life posts. I don’t know if it’s a typical day, since I haven’t been here long enough to get a sense of what typical amounts to, but it’s one day in the life of a librarian in Meeteetse, Wyoming, population 351. Our library serves both the school (about 70 students in kindergarten through 12th grade) and the town. Aside from me, there’s one other full-time person, a part time page, and two people who work occasionally and fill in when someone’s sick or out of town.

5 am: Get up (yes, I know, I’m crazy), eat breakfast, listen to Morning Edition on one of the two public radio stations I can get here, do some offline writing, e-mail Jessamyn to ask for some advice on the digital photography class I’m planning for the library.

7:30ish: Arrive at library. We open at 7:45, fifteen minutes before the school day starts. Open doors, turn on lights, fire up our four public access computers and two staff computers. Check the circulation statistics for Tuesday: 98 circs–not too bad, though not as good as Thursday (when everyone gets their movies for the weekend), when we had 158. Not too shabby for such a small place, eh? Print out overdue slips to distribute to teachers, who in turn give them to students. My coworker, who does most of the youth services and school stuff at the library, gives me advice on what to do with the adult overdues: some people’s books we renew, some will be coming in today, so we wait to see what they want.

8ish: A few sixth-graders come in, and I check in some books, check out others, and renew a few more. Check e-mail and find extremely helpful message from Jessamyn, complete with handout attachments. Drop a line to my boss, the county library director, to remind her to check if there are any holds or rotating books (or DVDs, CDs, etc.) to bring down to us when she comes. She writes back to say sure and that she’s running a little late because her garage door was stuck and she didn’t want to drive her husband’s ’72 pickup the 32 miles to Meeteetse, especially in the snow. The yearbook adviser stops in to ask if she can have the yearbook staff meet in the library in the afternoon because their classroom is being used for testing. We say sure.

10 am: Friends of the Library quarterly meeting. About eight members show up. I get to meet the ones I haven’t met already, and we discuss Craig Johnson’s planned visit in May. He was here last year on tour for his last book, and the event was a big success. The owner of The Spoke Cafe (a Friend!) says they’ll be happy to host the event again, and another Friend volunteers to put up Craig, his wife, and their dogs again. I agree to do some publicity, and my boss (who arrived safely from Cody) says the county system can pitch in. I mention that I’ve been in touch with Craig and that he may do some programs at the other county libraries, but that we’re thinking the big, all-county event ought to be in Meeteetse, which people seem pretty happy about.

My boss updates us on the county commissioner’s meeting about the plans for the new Cody library, and we get to look at some drawings. Then we talk about the Cap Tax II campaign, which will, if passed by the voters, fund the new Cody library, a new swimming pool in Powell, and a refurbished swimming pool in Meeteetse (ours is currently unusable). Since taxes are never popular, no matter how small, short-term, or important, we talk about some ways to explain to people that this is really necessary. Get a quick overview of plans for the Cody library centennial celebration, which will kick off on May 9 (the 90th anniversary of Mabel Wilkinson opening the first Carnegie library in Cody; the library had been in another building for ten years before that).

11ish: Meet with my boss to get some details on things like county-wide book ordering. Learn that, in addition to a new telephone (the one at the front desk doesn’t work) and answering machine (we don’t currently have one at all), we’re going to be getting some new computers. Talk briefly about redesigning the library web site. We have a domain; now we’re looking for a host, because the county doesn’t want to do a lot of the stuff we might like to do. I heartily recommend LIShost. (No promises, Blake, but I’ll do my best!)

12 noon: Realize I’m going to have to wait till 1 pm, when the post office reopens, to get the mail. Eat lunch and read a few articles in Public Libraries and chat with my coworker about various stuff.

1 pm: Head down to the post office in the snow (!) to mail off a couple of ILL requests and fetch the day’s newspapers and mail.

afternoon: The yearbook adviser says they got their classroom back and won’t need to use the library. The second grade shows up to get books and movies and return others. Our library page finishes integrating the YA Accelerated Reader books in with the rest of the YA collection. (I’m all for separating collections to make for easier patron browsing, but not when doing so might mean engaging in prejudicial labeling.) Have an entertaining talk with staff and library patrons about Wyoming’s open container laws (or lack thereof–the legislature just failed once again to restrict open containers in cars–you can’t have one if you’re the driver, but everyone else is fine).

4 pm: Start to wind down for the day. We close at 4:15, though on Wednesdays we open again from 6-8 pm.

4:30: Head home, have a snack, work a little on this post, listen to the news, feed the cat.

6 pm: Go back to the school for the potluck supper/meeting of the Meeteetse Wellness Board. As part of my effort to put a librarian at every table (or at least at as many tables as possible), I’ve been going to various town meetings. This past weekend I joined the water committee of the BVCA Community Improvement District. I’ll be helping them do some research on finding ways to fund getting better water out here where we live (I live in an unincorporated area a little outside of town, and our well water isn’t potable). The Meeteetse Wellness Board does regular blood pressure and cholesterol tests for people in town, and this Saturday they’re having a fair. There will be people there to help you learn to put kids’ carseats in correctly, people from the hospital in Cody, local fitness guru types, and so on. I suggested that next year we could have a library table to help people learn about health reference sources, and they thought that would be cool.

7ish: Stop in to chat with the person staffing the library this evening. Head home. And here I am, finishing up this post. It was a pretty good day.

in wyoming

I’m in Wyoming, I finally have my computer back, and, as of yesterday afternoon, I have home internet access! Expect more bloggery in the future about Wyoming librarianship, what it’s like to go from library school student to branch manager, what my job hunt was like, why I’m still a member of ALA, and other such scintillating topics.

In the meantime, if you wish, you can see a few pictures from the trip over at my mom’s new Flickr account, some pictures of the town and my digs (and quite a few of my cat) on mine, and some pictures from my new workplace over on the Flickr account I created for the library this morning. If you’re a library with a Flickr account, do make us a contact, and we’ll do the same for you! (Everyone else is welcome, too, of course–I just want particularly to demonstrate to the folks here what a nifty tool Flickr can be for libraries.)

in-transit updates

In no particular order. . .

Remember how my computer died last month? Well, yesterday it did it again. Thanks to some words of advice and encouragement from Jessamyn, who I know has had similar problems, I was able to speak calmly but firmly to the nice people at Apple and explain that I was not going to drive to the Apple Store in West Des Moines, and they agreed to send a box to my new digs in Wyoming, and I will send the computer to them, and they will send it back to me all fixed and happy. . . at least for another month and a half.

Right now I’m in Iowa City, IA, gathering the rest of my belongings and seeing some friends before I head out west for the new job. I left La Grange, IL on Tuesday. Tomorrow morning I pick up the truck in Cedar Rapids, and bright and early Monday morning my mother and I light out for the territory. We should arrive in Meeteetse sometime Tuesday night. If you want a postcard from the road, or from when I get there, drop a line to lauracrossett at hailmail dot net with your snail mail address sometime in the next couple of days, and I’ll be happy to oblige.

Packing is always a pain, but it may be even more so when, after three semesters of library school, you approach everything as a classification problem. Should the Peets French Roast (from EFF!), which I’ve been saving for a special occasion, go in the kitchen box, or should there be a special box for groceries? Does this box contain enough poetry to mark it “poetry,” or should it just be “books?” This way lies madness, I tell you.

But what would packing be without procrastination? I just had to make myself a Simpsons alter ego. And speaking of Flickr, I’ve now gotten my mom on board. Here’s the quilt that will be silent-auctioned tomorrow at our church’s annual booksale. This year the proceeds go to Shelter House. The booksale presents classification problems of its own: because this is a community of many, many English majors, in addition to separating out genres of fiction, the sorters also separate fiction from literature, so there’s always a certain amount of horsetrading going on (“Okay, fine, you can put Faulkner in literature, but I’m putting Hemingway in fiction”). I do not recommend this as a sorting scheme for libraries.

Due to the aforementioned computer problems, after Sunday posting will be even sparser than usual, but eventually there will be library stories here, updates of other kinds over on my other blog, and, thanks to a congratulations on getting a job present of a digital camera (!) from my mom, pictures of the journey and my new digs on Flickr.

four things

I don’t do 43 Things, but I’m happy to do four things–I was, in fact, going to consider myself tagged by Mark, but then I got tagged by Heidi–such riches! I have adapted the categories to some extent and excluded video games, which I do not play (I know–I dare to conisder myself a teen librarian and I don’t play video games. I suck.)

  • security guard (four years with Vassar College Campus Patrol, three days at the Coral Ridge Mall before it opened, right after I finished college)
  • graduate instructor (three years at the University of Iowa; two in Rhetoric and one in English)
  • dog walker
  • youth services assistant at a public library (for another three days)


  • Pump Up the Volume
  • The World of Henry Orient
  • Casablanca
  • Ladyhawke

places I’ve lived:

  • Iowa City, Iowa (my hometown, though I lived till age four in Mount Vernon, about half an hour north of IC)
  • Indianapolis, Indiana (during junior high; a dire mistake which we soon corrected by moving back to Iowa)
  • Poughkeepsie, New York (during college–I lived off-campus the last year and a half and thus saw perhaps a bit more of the town than some at Vassar)
  • La Grange, Illinois

TV shows I’ve loved:

  • The Tomorrow People (my favorite show when I was six, when it was shown in reruns on Nickelodeon. It’s quite possible I would no longer find it quite so entrancing.)
  • Wall Street Week, during the years it was hosted by Louis Rukeyser, who wore the best ties and did wonderful opening monologues about the past week. An odd choice for someone of my political leanings, I grant you, but we all have our peculiarities.
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show (the only thing, aside from Washington Week, that I watch on a regular basis these days)

places I’ve gone on vacation (the first three with my mother; the last on my own):

  • Colorado, to Grand Junction from Chicago and back by train, with a stop in Denver
  • Acadia National Park
  • Peru
  • New York City


  • any kind of fruit pie except cherry
  • pesto
  • guacamole
  • flourless chocolate cake

sites I visit daily:

places I would rather be:

  • any watering hole, anywhere, with my friends
  • anywhere I’ve never been
  • Wyoming (yeah, I know, I’m moving there in three weeks, but I’d still like to be there now)
  • Wohelo (where I went to camp for many, many years)


  • Goodbye Without Leaving, Laurie Colwin
  • Walden, Thoreau
  • The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley
  • Openings, Wendell Berry


  • “When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky,” Bob Dylan (the Bootleg series version, not the one from Empire Burlesque)
  • “Tougher Than the Rest,” Bruce Springsteen
  • “The Iowa Waltz,” Greg Brown
  • “The Brownbird,” as sung to me by my mother when I was young. She learned it from her mother, who learned it from a Maxine Sullivan record belonging to her college roommate.

cars I’ve owned:

  • 1984 Chevy Cavalier (“The Octopus”), the car I drove in high school, inherited from my mother. I always meant to paint it purple, but I never did.
  • 1986 Volvo 740 GLE station wagon (“The Sphinx”), overrated, but useful for hauling large quantities of crap and/or people when I was in college. I totalled it about a year later. Yes, it is possible to total a Volvo station wagon by bumping into the back of a pickup truck. The pickup (and its driver, and I) emerged unscathed.
  • 1987 Chevy Nova “Maximus,” inherited from my grandmother and named for the Maximus Poems by Charles Olson, not the movie. This pile of rust carried me to Georgia and back, to DC and back, and on various trips around the midwest. I ended up passing it on to a friend when I was told I could no longer drive “that rusty tin can on wheels” around the country on long trips. Last I heard, it’s still running.
  • 1992 Toyota Tercel “Sally,” purchased to replace Maximus. Sally held on till about a year ago, when she finally pooped out at 205,000 miles. She was replaced by Viktor, an innocuous green 1998 Honda Civic which I can only find in the Dominican parking lot thanks to its Iowa plates.

bloggers I am tagging:

technical difficulties and technostalgia

There are a few kinks still to work out with this move to WordPress. (Part of me wonders if this is not just What I Get for trying to implement a content management system the inner workings of which I do not really understand. . . .) Anyway, as one astute commenter noted earlier, the RSS link to the left below reads “feed:” and thus, I gather, does not work properly for some who have tried to subscribe to the blog.

My technical adviser has spent some time trying to figure out how to get rid of that first “feed:” but has had no luck. If any of my more technically inclined readers has an idea, please let me know–you can leave a comment or e-mail lauracrossett at hailmail dot net.

Technology is an odd thing: like “middle class,” “tech literate” covers a very wide terrain. To some of the people I work with, I’m amazingly technologically literate because I know how to set margins on Word, find and copy images from the Web [for reasons unbeknownst to me, the right-click mechanism is disabled on most of our public access computers, so if you want to cut and paste from most the Web (menus are also disabled on Internet Explorer), you have to know the keyboard shortcuts], use Google Maps, etc. But compared to others, I’m an ignoramus: I know a little markup but no coding; I can use a networked computer but don’t know how to set up such a network; I can use RSS but I don’t know how to fix a problem with my feed.

I was reading a Talk of the Town piece in the New Yorker today which noted that “When [Alan Greenspan] took office, the Politburo still occupied the Kremlin, the Dow was under 3,000, and few people outside the Pentagon and university science departments had heard of the Internet.” And it struck me that, actually, at that time I had heard of the Internet, though I’m not sure knew it by that name. In 1986, the year before Greenspan became Fed chair, my mother acquired our first computer, a Mac Plus. The site I just linked to (the first Google link for mac plus) notes that this was Apple’s longest lived Mac, and indeed, we had ours until 1994, when I left for college and my mother got a newer Mac, the specs of which I have since forgotten, as it was only around for a few years. My mother, who was finishing her residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, got the computer because she was planning to do a research project that would involve using what I now know as the Internet. Essentially, she explained to me, she would get this computer and something called a modem, which would allow our computer to talk to other computers all over the world through a telephone line.

As it turned out, she didn’t do that research project, and we didn’t get a modem until 1994, with the new computer. I spent many happy after school hours on the Mac Plus, though, moving fonts around on floppy disks, drawing pictures using MacPaint, and, very occasionally, attempting the typing game my mother had gotten in an effort to get me to learn to type. (I took a mandatory typing class–on computer–in junior high–but I still maintain that I really learned to type by using Broadcast, a sort of campus-wide IM system, in college.) I made graphs for science lab papers on that computer and typed college application essays on it. But I never used it to get online. I didn’t have e-mail until 1994; I didn’t surf the Web until I learned about Netscape in 1995. I am not what you would call an early-adopter. But once upon a time, I did know about the Internet, even if I had no idea what a large role it would come to play in my life.

westward ho!

The appropriate pieces of paper have arrived, the Is dotted and Ts crossed, and thus I can now announce my big and very exciting news:

Starting March 6, I will be the Branch Manager of the Meeteetse Library in the Park County Library System in Wyoming.

I was out west the weekend before last for an interview, and I fell in love with the place. There are a few low-quality pictures from the trip over on Flickr, which give you only a dim idea of how beautiful it is out there. Meeteetse is a town of about 350 people about half an hour south of Cody (a metropolis by Wyoming standards with around 9000 residents) and an hour and a half east of Yellowstone. The library serves both the town and the local K-12 school, so I’ll get to do a little bit of everything, which is just what I like.
Dominican is going to start offering online classes this summer, so I’ll be finishing up my degree (I’m 3/4 of the way through now) remotely over the next few terms. It’s a bit odd to be starting my first “real” job before I’ve finished school, and I may have more to say on that and on the whole job hunting process in the near future, but for now, I’m just celebrating–and, of course, working on the details of packing, finding housing, renting a truck, and heading out west. Visitors will be welcome and encouraged just as soon as I get settled. Stay tuned.

Unfortunately, this means I won’t be going to PLA or to the Library Education Forum in NYC, but I’m still planning to make it to ALA in New Orleans.

In the meantime, yippeeeeee!!!

on the move: lis.dom, carnivals, and possibly me

Lots of things are happening, and these are just a few of them:

First (though not exactly foremost), I’m happy to announce that lis.dom is bidding farewell to Blogger and moving to my web site and to WordPress! With some much-appreciated help from my friend Mitchell, lis.dom will henceforth be residing at [Feeds: RSS, atom] There are still a few bugs in the system–I’m working on categorizing all the old posts (and at some point I may even do the Technorati-meme, CW!) and at picking out, modifying as necessary, and installling a new theme–but, in the meantime, in the spirit of living in beta, I’m just going to move the main posting over there. I will leave these Blogger posts up, though, so old permalinks will still go somewhere.

The Carnival of the Infosciences has made a couple of stops in the past two weeks. Check them out (if you haven’t already): Carnival #20 at TangognaT and Carnival #21 at Infomancy.

And finally, as for the “possibly me”–well, that’s just one of those awful blogging teasers. More will be revealed, soon.

privacy: a preface

I have a long, thoughtful post that’s still mostly in my head about online presence and privacy, and someday I’ll get it all down in print (or pixels, or what have you)–probably about the same time I catch up on reading Cites & Insights (Walt, it’s not even 2006 yet! Slow down! :-)). In the meantime, though, I offer these prefatory remarks.

I just added some old pictures to Flickr. The quality is not that great–many of them were originally Polaroids, and then I scanned them–but they have a certain sentimental value, and it’s kind of neat to be able to see them out on the web. When I was uploading them, though, it occurred to me that being around and available online is not for everyone. Not everyone wants to put themselves out there, and I feel some responsibility for not forcing them on to a stage they didn’t want to be on.

It’s true that almost no one can avoid being online somewhere–if not through Google, then through ZabaSearch or one of the other online white pages. But there’s a difference between that and having snapshots of yourself with bad hair out in the world. Maybe that will change–but for some of my friends and family, it hasn’t changed yet.

So while I have no problem letting you see one of my poor ’80s fashion choices or letting you know who I voted for in 2000, or explaining how I got arrested, or even telling you about the time they couldn’t find my cervix, I know that’s not for everyone.

All this, really, is by way of explaining why, if you’re one of my Flickr contacts, you’ve been upgraded from “contact” to “friend.” Everyone can see pictures of me; I’ve made the ones with other people in them friend only, which lets my online community see them but keeps them at least a little bit private. If you’re not listed as a friend or contact, it’s not because I don’t like you; it’s just because I haven’t gotten around to it (or I don’t know who you are). But feel free to add me, and I’ll reciprocate–and then you too can see poor-quality photos of my friends and family in front of my tree. Oh, the excitement!