only connect. . .

According to yesterday’s newsflash, the Dominican web site is Webby worthy. The Webby Awards are, as you might imagine, kind of like the Tonys, but for web sites. This year, in addition to the winning nominees, the judges picked about 20% of the over 4000 entries as “Webby Worthy.”

According to the judging criteria,

The Academy evaluates Web sites based on six criteria: content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall experience.

One can only assume that they were awed by the little rotating pictures of happy Dominican students and grads and that their monitors were large enough (unlike, say, most of the monitors at Dominican) that the menus all fit on to the screen. And, for that matter, one assumes they did not happen upon the infamous GSLIS Information Center.

If you have a high-speed connection and plenty of plug-ins, the Webby winners can make for some good browsing. In February 2004, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that

  • 34% of all adult Americans have access to high-speed Internet connections either at home or on the job
  • 24% of all adult Americans have high-speed access at home

That means that 66% of Americans don’t have high-speed access at home. The study further notes that “[o]nly 10% of rural Americans go online from home with high-speed connections, about one-third the rate for non-rural Americans.” [Here’s the full report from the Pew people.]

(And remember, none of those statistics indicate the number of Americans who don’t have internet access at all. Interestingly, the only report I’ve been able to pull up about that so far–with, I must admit, only a modicum of searching–is six years old.)

scheduling and grumbling

I just registered for fall classes at Dominican, or at least I sort of registered. I’m registered for

  • LIS 763 Readers Advisory Services with Roberta Johnson
  • LIS 722 Library Materials for Young Adults with Jeanne Triner

I’m waitlisted for

  • LIS 745 Searching Electronic Databases with Marilyn Lester
  • LIS 748 Collection Management with Karen Brown

Course descriptions are here. I need to end up with three courses, for financial and health insurance reasons. (Oddly enough, I’d also like to take 743, Reference Sources in Business and Economics, but that woud entail dropping one of the other evening classes and driving to Schaumburg. . . anyone want to tell me it’s worth it?)

If this schedule seems a bit schizophrenic, there’s a reason: I’m trying to strike a balance between things that I think would be useful (e.g. Searching Electronic Databases, which I’d just like to know how to do better) and things that I think might be good to have on my transcript (e.g. Library Materials for Young Adults, since I’m considering the whole teen librarianship thing as well as the reference librarian thing).

I wandered over to the LISSA [Library and Information Science Student Association] Blackboard, where a few people have posted requests for information about classes and professors, and one astute reader of the schedule has noted that there are only 5 morning classes (as opposed to 41 evening classes, 8 afternoon classes, and 7 weekend/all day classes) and that two of these are core classes and the other three meet on the same day at the same time. As the writer points out, evening and weekend classes are great for those who work 9-5, but those of us who work evenings and weekends are kind of screwed. I’m lucky in that I only work a few nights a week and that my place of work is understanding and flexible about my schedule. Not everyone, I assume, has that luxury.

Also of note on the LISSA Blackboard is the “LISSA and GSLIS Request and Suggestion Forum”:

LISSA and the GSLIS administration want your suggestions and questions. Please help us make our school better. We can’t do everything you may want, but we would sure like to try, or at least help you make a difference. Students, faculty and administration are welcome to read and post.

Not surprisingly, there are no messages in said forum. LISSA is supposed to be a student forum and an advocate for students: by opening their forums to faculty and administration, they’ve pretty much guaranteed that students aren’t going to feel welcome. It’s often hard to make honest criticisms and suggestions when you know that the people in charge of evaluating you are, or could be, reading.

books they don’t want on display in Hillsborough County, FL

If you haven’t been following the news, here’s the latest on the gay-themed books brouhaha in Florida. And here, courtesy of Martin Sicard, is a list of those extremely dangerous “teen-friendly books that were on display at the West Gate Library that spurred the Hillsborough County Commission to bar county agencies from acknowledging, promoting, and participating in Gay Pride recognition and events.” Protests against the county’s action have included a Read-In and something more like a Read-Out, featuring a librarian with a bullhorn. [Stories via LISnews.com]

  • My Father’s Scar by Michael Cart
  • Hello, I Lied by M.E. Kerr
  • Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
  • Girl Goddess, #9 by Francesca Lia Block
  • Talk To Me: Stories and a Novella by Carol Dines
  • Tomorrow Wendy: A Love Story by Shelley Stoehr
  • Breaking Boxes by A.M. Jenkins
  • My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  • Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
  • Ironman by Chris Crutcher
  • Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  • The Shell House by Linda Newberry
  • A Face in Every Window by Han Nolan
  • Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence by Marion Diane Bauer
  • Alice on the Outside by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • True Believer by Virginia Euewer Wolff
  • The Car by Gary Paulsen
  • Postcards from No Man’s Land by Aiden Chambers
  • Razzle by Ellen Wittlinger
  • Box Girl by Sarah Withrow
  • Eight Seconds by Jean Ferris

The County keeps saying that they are not banning books, they are banning the endorsement of books, or, as one Tampa resident put it in the Tampa Tribune a few weeks ago

It’s not the job of librarians to highlight collections of books, argued Patrick McDowell, a Tampa resident who frequents the West Gate library branch, where one pride display was removed. “I would defend their right to have the books in the library, but it’s not their job to promote books.” [full article]

Next thing you know they’ll be telling us we’re not supposed to promote literacy.

Finally, if you’re looking for more gay-friendly teen lit to add to your collection, Martin also recommends Geography Club by Brent Hartinger, Luna by Julie Ann Peters, and Misfits by James Howe. I’d remind you not to forget the wonderful and frequently challenged Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. Don’t forget to check out the Lambda Literary Awards for books for all ages, and ALA’s GLBT Round Table for some further resources.

do you Dewey?

My new favorite blog (aside, of course, from the wonderfulness that is Overheard in New York [thanks to sivacracy.net for pointing that one out–and note to enterprising Chicago area folk–I think there’d be a market for an Overheard in Chicago]) is the Dewey Blog.

Where else could you read about the proper cataloging of muggles (and the lack of a suitable catagory for quidditch?) or where to book books on flirting? Of course, you can also weigh in on more serious matters, such as the cataloging of graphic novels or cultural objects. But it’s things like learning that catalogers have favorite Dewey numbers that makes me a happy reader. (I myself must admit that I don’t have a favorite Dewey number, but my favorite section of the DDC is the Table of Last Resort. It’s almost as good as the Greek verb construction know as the optative of unfulfilled desire.)

The Dewey Blog does what all good blogs should: it gives a human face to something that used to seem like a monolithic block. And if, like me, you’re still trying to get a good handle on your Dewey, reading the blog is one nice way to do so.

librarians–we’re everywhere

PopMatters now has a column called “Bad Librarian,” written by a library paraprofessional (a bibliotechnician, in his words, or a librarian in all but respect and pay, in others). Here’s his take on Section 215 of everybody’s favorite act:

Mr. Fed: Gimmee that.
Librarian 1: Sir, this is private information! You’ve no warrant!
Mr. Fed: I said gimmee.
Librarian 1: Okay, here.
Librarian 1 hands over the records and sits down to weep fitfully. Librarian 2 walks over to chat.]
Librarian 2: What was that all about?
Librarian 1 (sniffs): What?
Librarian 2: The guy with the Oakleys.
Librarian 1 (wipes nose): I really can’t say.

Enjoy!

change

One way I’ve changed, after a year of library school and a few months of working in a library, is that I am much more demanding of my sources of information. I’m not quite sure how this happened, but now when I’m looking for something on a web site or in a library and I can’t find it, I ask. If I have an idea about how information could be made more accessible or more helpful, I suggest it. Sometimes that suggestion goes nowhere, but sometimes the results are faster and better than I could have imagined.

For instance, the other day I was reading the PLA Blog. They have these great round-ups of public library news from all over the country, but it was often hard to tell where exactly the different articles were from (there are, after all, a great many Springfields in this nation). So I wrote in to ask if maybe they could include the city and state of the library in question. They wrote back saying, hey, good idea, and the next day, lo and behold:

We had a request to add the city and state of the library being discussed in each article. I will also add links to the library’s web site as well. I hope this enhances your PLA Blog reading pleasure.

Thanks, Steve, and thanks PLA Blog!

librarian pixels

The Curmudgeonly Librarian points us to two new photo pools on Flickr: Librarians in Glasses (started by Rochelle) and Modified Librarians.
If you’ve never played around with Flickr, it’s great fun–and, as Aaron Schmidt points out in the little technology pull-out section of the latest Library Journal, it’s a great way to get photos into a blog–or a library. The La Grange Park Library has a set of photos of their renovation project.

Me, I just like to look at pictures of Utah.