Category Archives: library stuff

Born Librarian

Background: I worked as a coordinator in casting for reality television before coming to libraries.

friend still in the business asked me what hotel we used in Boston. In
under 4 minutes I had the name of the hotel, our rates and our contact
person for the last show I worked on. Which was in 2004.</brag>

Granted, I was in the same room as my data cds, but still…


Posted by on June 3, 2008 in library stuff


Tales from the reference desk

I don’t really share much about my job here since I try to keep work and play marginally separated, but I’ve had two gems recently that I’m just dying to share. I feel particularly ethically safe sharing them because they’re both really about me and not at all making fun of patrons.

#1. I was helping a student who was doing a paper on whether or not addiction is a disease. She needed scholarly articles on both sides of the debate. She had plenty saying that it was, but wasn’t finding any for the other side. Oooo! I thought. Bill Nye the Science Guy did an Eyes of Nye on addiction (episode 3 – unfortunately I can’t directly link to it)! I told her I was pretty sure Nye said it did end up having a chemical effect on your decision making skills, so it wasn’t all about will power, plus if Nye was saying it he was probably representing the scientific mainstream, but said let’s check out the show site and see what it has. People. Let me tell you. Bill Nye is my hero! On the site for that episode he had a section called the flip side where he mentioned an article from a Yale professor arguing the opposite viewpoint. I was sad that it wasn’t a full citation until I realized it was a link to the actual pdf. Later that night I saw that there was going to be a speaker discussing addiction at the Library of Congress in March. I printed it out in case I ran into the student again since I figured the speaker’s name would be another good search term. Plus the Library of Congress frequently podcasts that kind of thing. She did end up coming back the next day – she was following up the bibliography from the Nye article and had found something online, but it wanted her to pay and she knew she could get it free from the library (be still my little librarian heart!), she just didn’t know how. Turns out the article she was looking for  (which we did find) was written by the guy who was going to speak at the Library of Congress. And, since it’s a semester long paper, if they do podcast it she can use that as a source. She has to do an interview as part of the paper too, so we looked up his contact info. What a satisfying little series of transactions!

#2 – Another repeat customer. She had to do a paper on something that has a current policy dispute. She wanted to do smoking bans and had come back to me to let me know the teacher had approved limiting it to Texas. (It would normally have to be a national issue for that class, but there’s no national smoking ban in current policy dispute.) So we’re in Academic Search Complete and I’m teaching her about keywords and booleans since just "smoking ban and Texas" hadn’t gotten us very much. We’re all set up with (smok* OR tobacco) AND Texas AND (ban OR regulation OR law) and getting pretty good results when she goes, oo, look, this one says Austin. I look to see "An evaluation of the indoor air quality in bars before and after a smoking ban in Austin, Texas" and before I can even think "That sounds familiar," there is my ex’s name staring at me. I had to chuckle, so of course I had to explain myself to the confused student. Thankfully she found it equally amusing.  I told her if she ended up wanting the article I knew that the ban had a huge effect on the air quality. We had gone to six bars before and after the ban and hung around for an hour surreptitiously collecting air quality data out of a backpack loaded with equipment hoping not to get caught. If you know me at all IRL you probably also know my utter hatred both for bars and for breaking rules/lying (I know Morgan can speak for me here) and for smoke for that matter, well then you will also that I am nothing if not ridiculously supportive of all those close to me. I’ll do just about anything for a friend. With the exception of outright lying in a printed document – um… regardless of triviality (again, Morgan can vouch for me here – sorry Morgan!) This was another fun one because then we got to talk about what lines of argument the other side might use since the scientific data on health was going to be pretty conclusive. So we talked about what kind of sources she might go to for studies for effects on businesses and for arguments about personal rights.

Have I mentioned lately that I love being a librarian?

p.s. – I miss you Morgan!


Posted by on February 6, 2008 in library stuff


The Omnipresence of Lewis Carroll

I don’t know how often it is that I literally gasp, but goodness Imbrium!


Shawn can vouch for me. I gasped. Time slowed. I was in awe. The yarn is of course lovely and I’m totally going to use it to make myself a pair of socks. I hear wonderful things about Cascade Fixation and the colorway is perfect, but do you see that book? I was so mesmerized I couldn’t be bothered to take a decent yarn photo at all. This book is stunning! So Lewis Carroll #1 – O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! This has absolutely moved to the #1 spot on my reading list.

B loves her toy too!


I have 2 other celebratory things to share.

Shawn and I passed our Wing Tsun test into Student Grade 1 today! Go Team!

Lastly, I am particularly proud of myself for figuring out how to have the RSS feeds from my various tags display properly in the wiki at work, despite the wiki trying to thwart me by not allowing my javascript or supporting RSS 1.0 (which is what uses). Yahoo! Pipes saved the day.

Now if I could just share that bit of joy with someone who wouldn’t look at me like I’m reciting bits from Jabberwocky


Posted by on November 27, 2007 in deep sea, general geekdom, library stuff


This week in history…

Was a pretty awesome one!

We remember the births of:

Enrico Fermi (born 29 September 1901), awarded the 1938 Nobel prize for physics for “for his demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons”. Fermi also was part of the team that developed the atomic pile and the first controlled nuclear chain reaction,


Hans Geiger (born 30 September 1882), who together with Walther Muller invented the Geiger-Muller counter for detecting radiation.

I love being a librarian and the fact that this reminder was read perfectly legitimately at work in my librarian section of my RSS feeds as part of my normal day. I have a special love for Fermi because of Fermilab, which is frequently shown in very awesome documentaries.

Which reminds me – Wired Science on PBS – can’t wait! I’ve watched half the pilot so far and love it. I hope it’s enormously successful. Also, I need TiVo. and G4. Shawn, let’s get on that. 😉

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Posted by on September 25, 2007 in general geekdom, library stuff


Librarian humor.

A series of Mac v. PC style videos about IT professionals and librarians from iAPCL


I especially like #3. Face it. We’re all nerds here.


Posted by on April 20, 2007 in library stuff


My so called “red” scarf.

I finished weaving in the ends of my red scarf project scarf. I also printed up one of these handy labels (pdf file) to go with it.

Yarn: Banana Silk

Needles: Size 11s from my Denise kit

Pattern: My So Called Scarf

Notes: This is really a great pattern. It makes a nice scarf, it’s easy to remember, and it’s fun. The banana silk has a wonderful heft to it. All the breaks were annoying, but I think it turned out fantastic.

So in the library world – I was helping a patron today – a somewhat middle aged to older gentleman – and while I was turned to the computer looking up something for him, he blurted out, “You’re gorgeous.” I smiled and thanked him and finished helping him, which (thankfully) involved making a phone call over to another campus. He was perfectly nice, and while I thought that was a little weird, he wasn’t creepy and didn’t say anything else so it was fine. But the weird kind of stuck with me and I wondered whether we had any procedure written up somewhere about how I was supposed to behave in that kind of situation. (Figuring probably not.) While I was talking to my supervisor about it I had a realization. The issue is that I have no experience politely turning away attention. I’m a fairly well adjusted and good enough looking person today, but in high school and as an undergrad I was unpopular, weird looking, and pretty icy and unapproachable to boot. I can only think of a handful of instances where I had to deflect a conversation away from the direction it was heading. If my best friend pops by to read this, she can attest to having to explain to poor Jason that when I blurted “I can’t date you, you’re Jason!” all I really meant was I only saw him as a friend rather than as some kind of abomination. So yeah, public service. There’s something new every day.


Posted by on January 23, 2007 in knitting, library stuff, other bits of life


Horse hooves:1, Ellie:0

Life is coming at me fast and hard these days. Nothing dire, but very little picture taking, craft, or posting time. But I wanted to stop in quickly and share a couple of things. First off, using Diet Kojel as a replacement in that marshmallow recipe … it doesn’t work. I made a batch with a friend and she made hers with real gelatin. I’ll post the pictures when she sends them to me, but friends – do not try this at home. Unless you want a kind of yellow grainy puddle of goo. If I recover from the trauma I may try one of these other vegan marshmallow recipes – ones that are made to be vegan, not just me trying to substitute and hope it works. If you don’t care about gelatin, go for it, my friend’s marshmallows came out beautifully! And they were super easy to make.

Plus I had to share this hilarious and genius story – there’s a teen librarian who offers a DDR dance off to forgive your fines.

I have some more crafts I’m working on and an almost finished “red” scarf, but those will have to wait. I’m going in baby steps on the crafting, too much running around, not enough sitting still. I spent the nice ice break getting organized, but since then I haven’t been able to find the time to act on my plans. Deep breaths. It will calm down. I will make it. 🙂 Ooo, that reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

Good fortune does not find me. I hunt good fortune down, grab it by the throat, throw it to the ground, step on its chest, and scream in its face, “Give me all your money.”

My friend Mitch said that.