Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

a library newsletter, a compendium of interesting tidbits, a communication tool....from Bailey Library @ Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. (Site Feed)

Friday, June 30, 2006

On New Orleans and the American Library Association...

A note from Library Director Phil Tramdack:

"On Wednesday, June 28th we got back from the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans. This was the Crescent City’s first big convention since the catastrophe of Katrina and the event was memorable on a number of points.
The citizens, and I am speaking about ordinary citizens on the street, were deeply grateful that the librarians had stuck with New Orleans for the convention. This was a tough decision that had to be made before it was clear that the city would be fully capable of hosting a large convention. As early as September 14, 2005, barely two weeks after the storm, ALA President Michael Gorman sent a letter to the membership vowing to do everything possible to fulfill ALA’s commitment to hold the convention in the city. Several people stopped me on the street to thank me, an anonymous librarian, for supporting New Orleans by coming, notwithstanding the problems. Over 16,000 exhibitors and librarians registered for the conference and many I spoke with told me about receiving similar heartfelt expressions of thanks from ordinary people.
The conference went exceptionally smoothly and I did not hear about any problems. I was helping with a new ALA award for interior design excellence, and our event was spectacularly presented by the Renaissance Arts Hotel. Everything was absolutely first class.
Perhaps the warm reception we received from the citizens was all the more remarkable in view of the staggering destruction the city endures even today. I wish that all 16,000 of my fellow conference attendees could have visited the Lower Ninth Ward, as I did, to witness first-hand the extent of the devastation and the apparent absence of any organized effort to clean things up. Imagine a city several miles square where every single house is ruined by flood waters that reached to the second story. Here and there a person was drilling or sweeping up. All along the streets there were immense piles of rubble: splintered boards, appliances, furniture, and personal effects, lying where they had been pushed months ago in the first stages of the clean up. Unfortunately, that is where the hand of the government rested: nothing else seems to have been done.
My tour was conducted by my nephew Ben, who owns a bar in the Garden District, which, along with the storied French Quarter, was not affected by the flood waters, even though many buildings, including my nephew’s house, were damaged by Katrina’s wind. Ben reflects the attitude and fortitude of the relatively few business owners who have remained in New Orleans and who are trying to stage a come-back. Even though the roof was pulled off of Ben’s own house, and everything in it was destroyed, he mentions his own misfortune as an afterthought, and considers himself very lucky in comparison to the thousands whose houses are uninhabitable, and who lack the means to make them so. As we drove through the Ninth Ward Ben pointed to the macabre code spray painted on houses by the National Guard, indicating the presence of one or more cadavers in the building. Many houses have holes in the roofs where inhabitants hacked their way out to be rescued. Ben told me of an acquaintance who lived in the Ninth Ward, who exited his house via a hole in the roof, and then spent five days on the roof waiting for help.
I left Louisiana thinking: this is the United States of America. Here we are, about to celebrate our national day of independence from tyranny, declared 230 years ago. This is a country that tens of thousands risk their lives to get into every year, to escape from desperate circumstances in the Third World, so, obviously we are doing something right. Yet, I can say that I saw the Third World in New Orleans this week. Third World seems an appropriate qualification to apply to the level of misery and hopelessness that I saw there. Cynically, I wonder if the catastrophe had occurred in Jupiter Beach, Florida, or Hilton Head, or Palm Beach, would the organized response of government be the same? More sobering, if this catastrophe had befallen a city in the Netherlands, or France, or Italy, would the response of government be the same? This trip was moving and meaningful to me, as it has left me with troubling questions of this order."
P. J. Tramdack
June 30, 2006

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Word to Wyclef...

Just watched Dave Chappelle's Block Party last week and loved a scene with Wyclef Jean... He is addressing high school marching band members who performed Jesus Walks with Kanye West...

“Don’t blame the white man for nothing…. I came to this country—I didn’t know how to speak English, I made something of myself. I went to the library…. They got libraries in the ’hood. And if they don’t got libraries, tell your mayor, your governor, whoever in your county, put some more f***in’ libraries in the ’hood.” —as quoted in Library Journal

I loved Wyclef before for his music, but his support for libraries has raised him even higher in my esteem. The movie is wonderful fun if you like hip-hop, want to see a rockin' Fugees reunion, and aren't expecting the Chappelle show.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Breaking the Silence for Oprah?

Harper Lee, the reclusive author of To Kill a Mockingbird, published an open letter on her childhood reading in the latest issue of O Magazine. By the way, did you see Capote? Very good and Lee, Truman Capote's longtime friend, is depicted in the film as assisting him with his research on In Cold Blood. I knew about the friendship, but didn't realize she accompanied him on his trip to Kansas. Also on Harper Lee, a new biography.... Next, Oprah talks with J.D. Salinger about his favorite recipes.

It's a LibraryThing....

Note: I continue to battle the Internet Explorer runtime error and can't get an answer anywhere. Some seem to suspect an overabundance of pictures on the blog. My suggestion: Switch to Firefox or Flock!

I may have mentioned LibraryThing previously, but have had an opportunity to check it out a little (pun intended). LibraryThing is a social networking application for bookworms, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. You register (easy,) put in your personal books (very easy,) catalog (or tag) and review them as you see fit, take a look at your graphic bookshelf (cool,) and see who matches your reading tastes. There's loads more to it... you can get recommendations, make connections, check out the Zeitgeist to see what is most and least popular, etc. The point is more books, not necessarily an eharmony hookup. LibraryThing seems to see the absence of controlled vocabulary and authority control as a good thing, providing more flexibility and more responsive keywords for its user-created community.

I visited LibraryThing, by the way, because of a mention of radio show The Book Guys on their blog.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

(Updated) Friday Fluff... digitizes ALL U.S. Census records... and makes you pay for them. ResourceShelf also links to a Wall Street Journal overview of genealogy databases....

Find a local Farmer's Market...courtesy of the USDA...

Get a free pdf copy of 55 Ways to Have Fun with Google...

Be a Scrabble or Crossword wiz with More Words... amaze your friends...

The California Summer Reading program has "pawedcast" suggestions for summer reading with an animal theme... thus the gratuitous cute little animal photo...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Irony #1: While crowing about our 500th post, I somehow linked up something that caused a runtime error in Internet Explorer, so I had to remove the post.
Irony #2: Spending some time this summer "weeding" the juvenile collection (for non-librarians, this means I am having books withdrawn that are outdated, in poor condition, say only little boys can grow up to be doctors, have you heard we might go to the moon? etc.) and getting some amusement from titles like What Is A Chicken? and Let's Visit a Cement Factory. My favorite so far:

Discovering What Puppies Do by Seymour Simon, totally gnawed on....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Your Morning Serial... or Lime Liftoff!

Dateline: 6/15/06, Serials Dept.,Bailey Library...In a continuing effort to ensure that Bailey Library patrons, student workers, staff, and faculty, can more easily navigate around the Library, and clearly understand where certain materials are located, and should be returned to, Serials Student Assistant (and Signage expert) Kerri Schlicht, has constructed an array of distinctive lime green announcements, clearly visible to all, to assist individuals entering the Magazine/Journal/Newspaper/Microfilm area. The Serials Dept. would like to invite staff and faculty to stroll through our area, assess the readability and ease of understanding associated with the signs, and perhaps consider contacting Miss Schlicht, for advice on similar signage in their areas. A clearly written sign, like a picture, is truly worth a thousand words.

From Joe Drobney, Serials Assistant

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New Trial Database...

InfoSci-Online (5/34/06 - 6/26/06)
This is a full text database of all the publications from the Idea Group Inc. These include book chapters, journal articles, case studies, and conference proceedings related to information science, technology, and management. Check out Trial Databases here...

Friday, June 09, 2006

This and That....

Want some good summer reading suggestions from NPR?
Does Yahoo! have the answer?
Are you going to the World EBook Fair, July 4-August 4?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Dishes: A Photo Story...

from Archives Technician Kevin McLatchy, documenting our recent satellite dish removal... Cool photos, huh? Looks like I missed another opportunity to get out on the roof, one of my pre-retirement ambitions.

Monday, June 05, 2006

More on Cooking...

Feeding America is the name of a collection of digital cookbooks from Michigan State University. You can search by author, title, recipe, or ingredient. Searching for barbecue, for example, finds instructions for lamb, squirrel, rabbit, and pig middling, whatever that might be.

Welcome Laurel Elementary!

Fifth graders from Laurel Elementary School are touring campus today, with a stop in the library where we will be demonstrating the online catalog and taking a peek at the blog. Librarians Cathy Rudowsky and Melba Tomeo enjoyed the visitors...come back soon!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Recently Read...

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal. I believe this book was being considered for Freshman One Book and would certainly serve to provide some interesting discussion. The first half of the book recounts Simon Wiesenthal's surreal encounter with a dying Nazi who, after describing an atrocity in which he participated, asks Simon to forgive him on behalf of the Jewish people. Wiesenthal does not. Later, when he locates the German's mother, he does not tell her of her son's acts and keeps silent. Both of these silences caused him to question himself and should be considered in light of his later career as the "Nazi Hunter," who brought many German war criminals to justice. The second half of the book consists of short essays by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Albert Speer, Primo Levi, and others with experience of tragedy. Some argue for forgiveness, some argue against it. A few advocate smothering the Nazi in his hospital bed. Some apparently believed Wiesenthal's story was apocryphal. Very thought provoking book... what do you think?

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. One of the student workers in the IMC recommended this book to me. Dave Eggers is currently the editor of McSweeney's... a delight for another day. When Eggers' parents died of cancer within five months of each other, Eggers and his older siblings reshaped their lives to care for their youngest brother, Toph. Eggers describes himself as a "single mother" and provides a devastatingly tragic, cynically humorous look (I can abuse an adjective or two myself!) at his life in San Francisco, including an attempt to get on MTV's Real World and the birth of Might magazine. I think it is difficult to describe this work because it is many things -- you should read it yourself. To me, it is fresh, frank, self-conscious, raw, honest. The scenes of his mother's illness and death are meticulously truthful and moving. The long and winding worrying that Eggers experiences every time he leaves his brother with a babysitter resonated with me... in fact, all of his dire inner predictions and planning for eventual disaster struck a real chord. Reviewers seem divided, but I really enjoyed this book.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday Fun for Everyone....