Besides having one of the best blog titles EVAR, In the Library with a Lead Pipe also has some of the most thought-provoking, long-form blog posts out there. In the post made on Wednesday the 20th, What Are Libraries For?, guest author Hugh McGuire says:
I’d like to propose a loose definition of what libraries are for, which comes out of something of a trope: that the central problem for big institutions when the environment around them is changing (as it is for libraries with the arrival of ebooks) is that they falsely assume that how they do things defines why they exist. In fact, the inverse relationship should dominate what they do: why they exist should define how they do things. Put another way, institutions must understand what they are for in order to properly understand how they should be, especially when the foundations upon which they were built are changing.
The rest of the post discusses the eventual overtaking of adult casual reading by ebooks and the difficulties libraries, at least those that define themselves as “the place to get books” will face when that happens. This made me look over at my wall where I’ve posted a large-print version of my library’s mission statement. It is as follows:
The mission of the Missouri River Regional Library is to make available to the residents of Cole and Osage Counties a diverse collection of human wisdom, experience, and ideas. The library makes accessible and promotes the use of informative and creative resources and cultural programs by which people of all ages, abilities, and circumstances can pursue their educational, professional and recreational interests.
(the red color is my addition; I wanted to highlight the verbs – the stuff I need to remember when I’m posting new information on the blog and other social sites)
I’d like to point out that this mission statement never uses the words book or magazine. The point of my library is to provide information in whatever format or style happens to be available. If ebooks are the dominant form, we’ll provide access to ebooks – however we can do it. If holographic lectures overtake journal articles as a way to provide information to our patrons, we’ll make it happen. The message that libraries will be irrelevant when print becomes a less dominant format is just wrong. Libraries will adjust, adapt and come out swinging – mostly because the people that make up libraries (the librarians, staff and those dedicated patrons who support us) will continue to provide access to information. Period.
Blake Carver, that collector of domain names, has found a use for yet another LIS domain – LISEvents.com. This site features Libraryland conferences and other events – and has a section for people who organize conferences to find speakers (yours truly included, of course). If you want to find an event or a speaker for your event, this is the place to look! If you want to follow all the added events, you can follow the LISEvents twitter feed, too.
I’ve begun to try the writing every morning thing again. Last time I did this, I ended up getting sick and giving up – my immune system needs it’s sleep, apparently. This time, though, I’m going to be less crazy (getting up at 5:30, instead of 5am) and more vitamin-y (vitamin D is my friend). The point of this is to have a specified time every day where I just write. I can work on emails that need to be sent, article proposals or articles, presentation materials, diary entries – whatever comes up that needs to be written, edited, revised or reviewed.
The idea comes from the book “How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing” by Paul J. Silvia. I don’t have a lot of academic writing to do, nor do I have the kind of job that I can just carve out the 8 – 10am hours as “writing time” (though I do have 2 hours a week carved out as writing time for getting board reports, work blogging, grant writing and such done) as he does. Other than that, the main idea behind the book is to schedule time to write, then sit your butt down and do it as scheduled every day.
He has other suggestions, such as how to keep track of your writing output and setting writing goals and such, but the main theme of the book is to sit down and write at a scheduled time on a regular basis and to treat that scheduled time as a hard-and-fast meeting with yourself that you can’t break.
I’ve been sticking to this schedule for a week now and it’s pretty amazing what you can get done in about a half hour a day (from 5:45 to 6:15am). It’s also amazing how much pressure it takes off of your day to know that you have already done your writing and you don’t have to stress about when it will get done – because it’s scheduled and taken care of. The other benefit that Paul mentioned in the book but that I was a bit skeptical of was the fact that just by writing regularly you will come up with more ideas for your writing – and will write much more than if you do it sporadically. This is true – I’m coming up with all kinds of ideas for articles and maybe even another book (we’ll see if a publisher agrees with me…).
The goal then is to grab some more time from my day, not get sick, produce some written stuff (much like I’ve just done here!) and get paid for it. I’ll keep you all posted on how that goes…
When I started looking for a new phone, my son was quite clear – I didn’t need a fancy new (read, expensive) phone because I had an iPad. He’s concerned that if I spend all my money on me, I won’t have any left over for him. That’s a valid concern, but that’s a whole other post.
This post is all about my compromise phone. I really wanted the HTC EVO – all those fancy features and all that cool Android powered goodness appealed to me. The price tag didn’t. Even after my substantial phone upgrade discount, it’s not a cheap phone. Fortunately, a smaller, slightly less fancy (but with a real keyboard) model came out to save the day. The EVO Shift was a bit cheaper and it had a real, slide-out keyboard. I’m not a fan of software keyboards on tiny screens, so this was a big selling point.
I’ve had the phone now for almost a week and I have to say I LOVE it. I’m in the process of searching for my next car and having Evernote (snap a pic, enter the details of a potential new Robin-mobile, save to the cloud – priceless!), the Kelly Blue Book application (check the suggested retail price and reviews of any car I look at while standing on the lot – priceless!) and a beautifully designed connection to all my Google-y information (contacts and such, especially, for saving the numbers of all those car salesmen) is priceless.
I’m still in the process of learning the phone – my Dad called me the other day and I promptly hung up on him because it was the first call I’d gotten and I automatically swiped up to answer it. That was the action needed on my Pre. That, however, dismisses the call on my EVO. Oops! Other than the small learning curve ahead of me as I shift (pun completely intended) from my Pre to my EVO, I forsee no problems with this phone. It feels well made, its battery lasts longer than 5 hours at a time and it is FAST compared to my Pre. I’m definitely in like…
The book on Library Mashups, to which I contributed a chapter on the LibraryThing API, is available on the Kindle – for .26 cents less than the paperback. If those .26 cents have been holding you back from picking up a copy of this book (or if you are like me and a couple of my co-workers and have grown to prefer books in electronic formats), head over to Amazon and get yourself a nice clean e-edition!
That’s sort of a misleading headline. The glow still hasn’t really worn off for me, nor has it for this group of iPad users that have provided “one year after” roundup. The general consensus of that article is that they don’t regret their purchase – and I concur wholeheartedly. I, like some of them, find doing a lot of content creation on the iPad isn’t a huge burden. Of course – I have one of those fancy bluetooth keyboard cases, so I am sort of cheating, but I’ve done a lot of writing on my iPad. I won’t say that it’s as easy as using a full-featured desktop + a full size keyboard, but for quickly popping out blog posts, emails, meeting notes or even articles, it’s worked well for me.
The other thing I’ve noticed during my time using my iPad is the interest it gets in the older (than me) crowd. My mother and my significant other’s mother both told me – within a week of each other – that they want to get an iPad soon. My mom has decided to wait until I upgrade and buy mine (a year or better, but that’s ok with her), but my SO’s mom is actively looking for one now. None of us are Apple fangirls. I haven’t owned an Apple computing device since I was in 8th grade and, as far as I know, neither mother has ever used one. The iPad has been just that interesting and just that useful!
I thought the idea of a “one year after” look at the iPad was neat (plus the article has ALL KINDS of excellent app suggestions), so I wanted to post this – even though I haven’t had mine for a year yet. For those of you who are still on the fence, I’m still happy with mine and use it *every single day*.