Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Unshelved is a daily comic strip that takes a humorous look at daily life in a suburban library. Last week's story line touched on the library-vs.-internet debate and featured a series of exchanges between Dewey (the main character, a kind of hip teen librarian who's also a bit of a slacker) and Merv (a 12-year-old for whom the world revolves around video games and the internet, yet spends a lot of time at the library). In one strip, Merv was extolling all of the stuff that could be found online--podcasts, videos, news and how it was so much more interesting than the novel Dewey was reading. Dewey (who's reasonably tech-savvy himself) wasn't rising to the bait, even when Merv offered, "Want to see hamsters playing bagpipes?"--a poke at some of the zanier videos on YouTube.

You can check out Unshelved at, and sign up for a daily online installment of the comic strip.

This week's story is when the Mallville Library is a designated cooling center during a heatwave, only the library's A/C has quit...I think we've been there ourselves a time or two.

There are published collections of Unshelved, but SPL only owns 2 of them. (Consider for replacement lists, someone??)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The end of the trail...or the beginning

The end of the trail?

It's been a very interesting journey down the 27 Things path. I've accomplished some things that I'd never really given much thought about previously, like creating and maintaining a blog; explored online services that I'd heard about but never investigated, like Bloglines, LibraryThing, and Flickr and checked out others I'd never heard of (Zoho and Rollyo); and in general expanded my knowledge and confidence in using online tools. It's been a fascinating and educational trip.

A few random observations along the way:

I've got several online accounts for various services like Flickr, Zoho, etc., and I suspect I've forgotten the passwords to some of them. Thankfully there's always a "Forgot password?" link.

Some of the online services are interesting but I doubt I'd use much, at least now, like Flickr or Zoho, or are just a cute gadget (Wordle and the map from Big Huge Labs).

Some are useful but I would probably put aside for another time, like Rollyo or LibraryThing.

I need to add more content to my Bloglines account. Right now all I've got is Daily Dilbert and a couple of weather reports. I've located several fantasy & science fiction review sites I would like to include.

Twitter seems pretty ephemeral. For keeping in touch with others, I like Facebook better. I didn't even have a Facebook page until a week ago, and I now have added my three nieces in Pennsylvania as friends and am a fan of SPL.

Downloadable audiobooks: A definite yes!! I'm going to check out downloadable music from SPL as well.

YouTube: Fun to watch, but it has the potential to be a big time-waster. I don't own the necessary camera equipment to record and post videos, and probably wouldn't post them anyway.

Something I still need to figure out is how to upload digital photos from my home computer to this blog or to Facebook. Hey, I'd be content with just transferring them from the computer to a DVD to share with family. The wolf picture is actually from Microsoft clip art's files, as is the image of the knight's helmet on the Facebook badge.

Web 2.0 is all about collaboration and sharing. It's evident in sites like YouTube, Facebook, and You can experience it when online retailers solicit product reviews from customers, movie ratings on Internet Movie Database, book reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and subscriber comments on newspaper and media sites (though sometimes those comments get nasty--I got so fed up with people trashing California on that I now post occasionally in defense of the state). Web 2.0 is interactivity. It used to be that websites used to be "Here's our online presence" with little opportunity for two-way interaction. Now it's "Here's our online presence. Like it? Share it/blog it/tweet it/post it/bookmark it/Facebook it/MySpace it/ it/tell us what you think!"

As for the name "Arizonawolf"'s a mashup of sorts, a combination of a favorite state to visit and a favorite animal. I have a photo of a pair of Mexican gray wolves taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, but the wolves kind of blend into their surroundings and I can't yet figure out how to upload it to this blog (I like the clip art photo better anyway). Then I started thinking that wolves are actually collaborative creatures: all members of the pack cooperate in hunting and in raising their cubs. Indeed, the pack's success depends upon that collaboration.

So where to from here?

I intend to keep up this blog for library-related stuff, and I hope others maintain theirs as well. I'll throw out a few tweets from time to time about some new title or a bit of news from CMS (not in any official capacity, of course!). I'd like to see branches start their own blogs, and perhaps there might be some place on SPL@ where all staff and branch blogs can be brought together in one list.

The end of the trail? Nope. It's just the start.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mango Language Learning

Since I catalog all of the Spanish-language media I've managed to develop enough familiarity with the language that I can read short descriptive passages in Spanish and glean a reasonable idea as to what it means. I can also, with the help of the Spanish language subject heading thesaurus Bilindex, add subject and genre headings to a title--like "peliculas cinematograficas populares" for feature films. My knowledge of Spanish has really been getting a workout recently, as I've tackled some of the Spanish-language books that've been awaiting cataloging here in CMS. So, if I decided to take Mango Language Learning for Spanish, that would be kind of cheating because I already know some of the language.

Instead, I decided to try Japanese. Since my knowledge of Japanese is limited to "konnichiwa" for "hello," "arigato" for "thank you", and the Anglicized forms of anime production companies like Nintendo Kabushiki Kaisha and Shogakkan Purodakushon, I'm starting from scratch.

Mango takes you step-by-step through a basic conversation in a series of slides. Each slide builds upon the previous one, with lots of review ("do you remember how to say...?"), literal English translations, the words in printed Japanese, and cues about using Japanese in formal settings, all accompanied by narration. Mango offers a full 100-lesson course for Japanese, and the first lesson alone was 99 slides. The lessons aren't indexed that I could tell, so if you wanted to review a conversation on ordering a meal at a restaurant, it appears that you'd have to go through each lesson individually to find the one you want. Still, for someone interested in learning a new language and wanting to take it step-by-step, Mango seems a reasonable alternative to other commercial language-learning courses.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Thought I'd take a look at SPL's Facebook page. In order to view the page, one needs to be a member of Facebook, so I created a Facebook account for myself (see the widget in the right hand column). It's listed under my real name, so you can find me on Facebook that way instead of searching for "Arizonawolf".

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An extra 2 weeks

Having an extra two weeks to finish up 27 Things is a welcome reprieve...I spent the last few days of July racing to complete the last items on the list and trying to figure out how I'd fit in a couple of language lessons on Mango.

The extra time enables me to go back and revisit a few things I'd briefly touched on before, like actually listening to the podcasts I'd subscribed to and to add some twitterers to follow on my Twitter account.

Speaking of Twitter, is there a list of SPL twitterers, either individuals or branches?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day in the life...

Almost immediately a couple lines from the Beatles tune start going through my mind...I heard the news today, oh boy...

Several posters have reported some problems with Thingfo (#26) and opted for Librarian Day in the Life instead, so that's what I'm doing. I connected with Day in the Life through Chris Freeman's blog, The Civil Librarian, since he's a participant.

Remember those "Day in the Life" coffee-table-size books? They were a compilation of pictures taken by a whole army of photographers who snapped pictures about a place or event, all on one day. Check out A Day in the Life of California as an example. Day in the Life of a Librarian is similar, except that its done in diary format. There are dozens of contributors in many different types of libraries around the world, all writing about a typical day in their work lives. While the majority of the contributors are professionals or supervisors, there are also quite a few library assistants and library technicians also involved. The main page of Librarian Day in the Life lists contributors by name, job title, and a link to his or her blog. SPL has at least 3 participants, Civil Librarian, BiblioMass, and Annot8ations.

What's also interesting is reading about those who work in smaller library systems who perform both public services and technical services duties over the course of one day. It would, of course, be very easy to spend hours reading each particpant's entries, so I started with picking the entries by a library technician/MLIS graduate (like me) who works in an academic library somewhere in northern Minnesota.

The music in my head returns...

I heard the news today, oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire...

or is it

I heard the news today, oh boy
Four thousand books waiting to be shelved


Podcasts are another one of those elements of the online environment that I've never explored or paid much attention to. My brother downloads podcasts to his iPod to listen to when he travels, and he usually goes for the political stuff which I have no interest in.

So following the instructions in #21, I picked a couple of book review podcasts--Nancy Pearl's book reviews and the Dragon Page for fantasy & SF, and posted them to my Bloglines account to listen to at my desk.

I guess this means that I'll have to check my Bloglines account more often than every 3-4 weeks!