Friday, April 27, 2012

People Wonder Why . . . Thoughts on The Books for Walls Project: End Wars, Fund Libraries

People often wonder why most librarians are more socially liberal, even if, personally, they tend to be conservative.  I believe in fiscal responsibility, but I also believe that libraries need support so that they can be the learning and community centers that keep American civilization equalized and thriving.  I don't personally support abortion as a form of birth control, but I do believe in making an effort to keep communities educated so that their members can have the resources and capacity to make well-thought-out decisions.  This is why I tend to be more socially liberal.  I believe in bringing things to light, instead of letting them fester in the dark (Freedom of Information Act, yes).  I believe in a person's right to expression, thought and privacy (Patriot Act, no).  I believe in a young person's right to have information so that they can make wise decisions (book banning, no; sex education, yes).  There is rarely a case where anyone was actually helped because they were kept ignorant of something.

This is also why, though sometimes I think Michael Moore is a bit extreme, I applaud him for his political stances.  The Books for Walls Project posted an article this morning speaking about how Michael helped and supported his own hometown library and is making a push to help libraries throughout the country.  This is why I'm a "liberal"--or at least why the Democratic Party gets my support more often than the GOP.  I've seen pictures of President Obama in his university library.  George W. made fun of them (though Laura was a librarian!).  Just those two images make me favor one party over the other.  Perhaps if President Bush had used his library more, he would have made wiser decisions--but maybe not.

So, so thank you, Michael Moore for strengthening libraries, and at the same time, your country--End Wars, Fund Libraries!

Find the article here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Education Access is in Peril--This is Why Libraries are So Important

I saw an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today that stated that 2-year colleges are having to limit access to education for some because of lack of resources.  Here is just a bit of the article:

Education for All? 2-Year Colleges Struggle to Preserve Their Mission

It's become harder for some students to enroll in English-as-a-second-language courses at San Joaquin Delta College. The institution has eliminated its lower-level ESL courses because of budget cuts.
The open-door policy at community colleges is unique in American higher education. It allows all comers—a retired grandmother, an Army veteran, a laid-off machinist—to learn a skill or get a credential. That broad access—the bedrock of the community-college system—has prepared hundreds of millions of people for transfer to four-year colleges or entry into the work force.
But these days, the sector finds itself in a fight to save that signature trademark.


If this is true, then isn't the role of libraries, especially public libraries, even more important?   People will need to teach themselves what colleges are compelled to restrict access to.  We are needed!

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's National Library Legislative Day! Tell your Legislators How Important Libraries are to You.

This is the short letter I penned to my federal and state legislators for National Library Legislative day.  Will you join your own letter with mine?

As I am sure you are aware today is National Library Legislative Day.  Libraries are important for so many reasons.  They help students and community members of every age and socioeconomic status to stay on the progressive side of the digital divide.  Public libraries educate those who have difficulty paying for education, or help students who are taking online classes and may be nowhere near their official campus.  Libraries often become the hearts of their communities.  They are not just places for a quiet reading corner or storytime for youngsters in the middle of the day.  Often they become the creative voice of that community, and a forum for it's members to become educated about important issues.  They are information centers and teach us how to evaluate, write and learn information, whether they be public, academic or another type of library.  They open our world and let us come in contact with new places, experiences and possibilities.  They help us understand things we thought were beyond our comprehension (in my case, statistics) and bring delight and joy to the community with things like game nights, reading challenges, mystery nights and language and technology classes.  Library doors are open to everyone.  I've seen my library become a central employment center, where patrons can fill out job applications online and get help with studying for certification exams--or simply with composing that very important resume and cover letter.  At library summer reading programs, kids can keep up with the literacy progress they made the year before.  As a reading program volunteer, this is very important to me, as Utah's literacy rate seems to be dropping.  At libraries it is possible to learn skills that will prepare one for a lifetime of learning in this technology driven world.  Sometimes, rural public libraries are the only access available for education beyond the secondary level.  Libraries are "America's great equalizer, providing everyone with the same access to information and opportunities for success."  What could be more supportive of American values than that?


Laura Faatz

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby

I first heard of this book at the ULA Conference in Layton UT about a year ago.  Mr. Kirby spoke to us about character development and the steps he went through to have his first book published.  He also talked a bit about his book, and I admit that it intrigued me.  Sadly, it has taken me a long time to finally pick up the book and read it, simply because there are so many books and so little time!
The book is set in a turn-of-the-century fictional city.  We meet three children under the age of fifteen who have come face-to-face with difficulty and hardship.  They all have hardship of a different nature—Giuseppe is a boy who was sold to a patrone and can trust no one; Hannah’s father has suffered a stroke and she must take responsibility for her family; and Frederick is an orphan who is saved by a kindly clockmaker but is still plagued by the disappearance of his mother.  In spite of all of this darkness, the children are able to cling to hope that someday life will improve—the book is about perseverance through difficulty.  It also shows the importance of study, intelligence and hard work.  The book is riddled with ups and downs, but I loved the ending of this book.  I was delightfully surprised by how unpredictable it was.  I thought I had it all figured out, and turned out to be totally wrong.  I loved the way that Kirby took two mythologically-charged ideas (the automaton and the golem) and found a way to bring them together to form a sort of childhood steam-punk fantasy.  He was also adept at creating a turn-of-the-century world that was historically influenced, but that he could still manipulate.  I was completely satisfied.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Libraries for Sustainability

Libraries for Sustainability Webinar Series 2012 - Exploring Sustainability Practices in Libraries April 24th 2012.

Call to Action and Collaboration Webinar Recording; Slides are available here

This webinar is coming up next week, and there are also links to access older webinars in the series.  I've also added information to my Resources page.

Here is the original post on LinkedIn:

Libraries for Sustainability Webinar Series 2012 - Exploring Sustainability Practices in Libraries

Libraries for Sustainability Webinar Series 2012 presents:

Exploring Sustainability Practices in Libraries

April 24, 2012, 2:00-3:00 (EST)

Please join us for the second webinar in this four-part series.

There are different types of sustainability practices in libraries (e.g. buildings, collection development, instruction, events, collaboration) and many of us are working, educating, and practicing in these areas. This webinar will be similar to a lightning round-up as librarians engaged in different types of sustainability efforts share their experiences and provide time for questions. Academic, public and school libraries will be represented. The session will be recorded so you can view it later.


Webinar series facilitators: Madeleine Charney (UMass Amherst Libraries), Beth Filar Williams (UNC Greenboro), and Bonnie Smith (University of Florida Libraries).

Questions? Contact Madeleine Charney at or Beth FilarWilliams at

If you missed attending the first in our Webinar series - Call to Action and Collaboration - here is the webinar recording:

and the slides are available here:


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Library Legislative Day

Next week on April 23 and 24, hundreds of library supporters from all across the country will convene in Washington DC for National Library Legislative Day. They will be briefed on legislative issues affecting libraries and will meet with their Members of Congress to discuss them.
Even if you can’t make it to DC, you can still advocate for libraries by calling or emailing Congress as part of Virtual Library Legislative Day. All week long (April 23-27), library supporters can let their legislators know just how important our nation’s libraries are to the communities they serve.
This is an especially important time to speak up for libraries as Congress continues to make cuts that impact libraries. Here’s how to participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day:
Call Congress
To call your Members of Congress, view this alert at the Legislative Action Center. Read over the asks and then enter your zip code into the “CALL NOW” box to find phone numbers for your legislators.
Email Congress
2.)    Enter your zip code into the “Find Your Officials” box
3.)    Click on your senator’s or representative’s name
4.)    You will see their bio page appear, click the “Contact” tab
5.)    Select the option to contact your legislator via “Web Form”
6.)    Select "Compose Your Own Letter"
7.)    Use the talking points from the Call Alert or the Issue Briefs to craft your message and send it off!
To find a full listing of the issue briefs written specifically for National and Virtual Library Legislative Day, visit the NLLD home page.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

To Celebrate National Library Week:Words from Ralph Waldo Emerson

”Be a little careful about your library. 
Do you foresee what you will do with it? 
Very little to be sure. 
But the real question is, 
'What will it do with you?' 
You will come here 
and get books that will 
open your eyes, 
and your ears, 
and your curiosity, 
and turn you inside out 
or outside in.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, find works by him at your library!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Inspiration . . .

I'm reading Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History. From this book: " . . .[H]istory is more than an engaging enterprise. It is a primary way of creating meaning. The meaning I found . . . had something to do with my own life experience, but perhaps a lot more to do with the collective experiences of a generation of Americans coping with dramatic changes in their own lives." What are you reading?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

At first sight, Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters looks like a book for bibliophiles--people who love books.  It is beautifully written and carries with it a sort of humorous melancholy.  Any student of literature will love it, because its parallels to the original realms of Shakespeare are intriguing.  It is for those who love words and for those who love images, but it is for a much broader audience, too.  Alongside the frequent references to the Bard and his plays are the everyday activities of very human, ordinary and flawed people who are trying to overcome their weaknesses to live better lives.  At this point in my life, I could relate to this story.  Each of the three sisters seems to represent some facet of my own personality.  Rose and I share a desire to be in control, and to want to stay close to home and what is known. (That said, if I had an amazing fiancée wanting me to move to London with him, I wouldn’t have to think much about it.  I’d be on the next available flight!).  Bean and I share a sense of inadequacy that sometimes leads us to misinterpret a situation.  Though I have never made the types of mistakes she makes, I am every bit as human and my pride has led me to be—impolitic.  Cordy and I share the status of the youngest child.  I will forever be thirteen in my parents‘ eyes, no matter how responsible I may be. 
This story hit very close to home, because through no fault of my own, I find myself needing to live with my parents once more, and returning home has often felt like a failure.  Sometimes, not even responsibility, a dedicated work-ethic, competence and a dedication to serve the needs of your population can save you from the bottom-line or the perceptions of the uninformed that dwell above you.  In this story, the girls often make their own circumstances.  Sometimes, however, circumstances are thrust upon ‘em.  This is where I find myself now, and so, this book, more than anything, gives me hope that I can overcome the flaws in myself and my circumstances.  I can be the heroine in my own story and change to meet the needs of my situation—or change my situation to meet my needs.  This book, like so many others, has let me know that I am not alone, and that greatness can come by small means, and in small ways.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rise in E-Book Readership Is Good News for Reading Over All, Report Says

April 4, 2012, 10:01 pm

Words from the Dictionary of American Regional English

After half a century of studying jib-jabbing, linguists have just finished the nation's most ambitious dictionary of regional dialects

  • By Abigail Tucker
  • Smithsonian magazine, March 2012

Read more:

This is a great article!  I would love to own this book.

BiblioBrainStorm Updates

Just a note that I have made some updates to the blog by consolidating some pages and adding some links to relevant resources and articles.

Check out the Resources page to find information about:
The Atlas of New Librarianship companion site
  ipl2: Information You Can Trust
Foundations of Libraries: So You Want to be an Academic Librarian
Crowdsourced Book-Review Project Puts Critiques Online
ALA's General Guidelines for Collection Development
Utah State Library Workshops
50 Ways Librarians Can Make A Living Without a Job
Library Nightmares--The New Reality Show
For Librarians, Buy Librarians
Expand Your Career Potential: Increase Your Expertise, Compensation and Career Satisfaction
Online Learning with RUSA (Reference and User Services Association 

The new Statements page gives access to my:
Personal Mission Statement
Statement of Leadership Philosophy
Statement of Information Technology Training and Support

Finally, the new LIS Articles page currently gives access to these articles:
Why Community College Students Need Great Books
LinkedIn--Librarians In the Job Market: Postings for Library Assistants Doing Professional Tasks  Interesting comments here.  What does it say about the profession?
Foundations: So You Want to be an Academic Librarian
Crowdsourced Book-Review Project Puts Critiques Online  This would be a good resource for collection development, and possibly readers' advisory.
Hiring Librarians Why are we here?
Freshman Composition Is Not Teaching Key Skills in Analysis, Researchers Argue This is why librarians are needed now, more than ever!
How Educators Are Using Pinterest for Showcasing, Curation  Interesting possibilities; possible drawbacks as well.
 14 Global Projects that could Make You the World’s Next Billionaire  Interesting possible implications for the library realm.
The Higher Education Learning Crisis Another reason why librarians are needed and relevant. 

I'll be adding new material from time to time, so make sure to keep an eye out for new and interesting information.  I'll include everything from academy to the literarily whimsical.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Does anyone have advice about interview essay preperation?

I have an interview set up for a public library position later this month. In their confirmation email there was this: "We expect the interview to begin with a 15 minute set of 2 essay questions, followed by a 45-60 minute verbal interview. You will have time to ask questions of the Hiring Committee after the interview."

I don't think I've ever been asked to answer written essay questions for an interview before. I'll be taking a closer look at the job description for some clues has to how to prepare for this, but I admit I'm surprised and a little flummoxed by it. Have I missed something here, or is this as unusual as it seems to me?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What do you think of funding free courses through sites like Kickstarter?

I think something like this has potential, but what are the risks?

Read this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education for more information

Book Review: The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

I just finished reading this book and the one it follows (Guilty Pleasures)--and I will read more about Anita Blake's adventures.  This is a book I'm glad to borrow from the library, or borrow.  I am not enthusiastic enough to buy them for myself--yet.  I like Anita Blake.  I like her hard-as-nails-but-admits-she's-afraid attitude.  Her comments are continually and consistently funny.  And, Jean-Claude?  A charmer.  I do have to say that I enjoy the Southern Vampire mysteries more.  Not only are the "main" characters intriguing, but the town is interesting too (besides, who can compete with a thousand year old Viking vampire?  So far, Erik's way ahead of Jean-Claude in the mysterious intrigue department).  Perhaps I just haven't read these long enough, but there seems to be a greater sense of community in Harris' books that is somewhat lacking here.  I don't know why that should be important in a genre like this, but it is.

In this book, I enjoyed the exchanges with the Master Vampire more than in the first book. I guess his character was more filled out here. For all of his vampiric danger, the fact that Anita amuses Jean-Claude and makes him laugh (when he least expects it) endears him to me.  I've resisted reading these for a long time.  I haven't wanted to admit that I like "vampire" books, but who am I kidding?!  They are a "guilty pleasure" (ha ha), as long as there is some humor with the gore. I'm still a bit baffled that I can find this genre such a treat, but even a Gaskell purist can't read British social novels all the time!