Your Virtual Brand

February 4, 2010

I recently started teaching another great group of future librarians at San José State University about Web 2.0 technologies. I’m always in awe of their enthusiasm for the subject matter and for their chosen field. This year, I also feel a little sad, knowing that some of them will likely struggle to find work after … Continue reading Your Virtual Brand

Stirring Up Inspiration

February 4, 2010

It’s been one of those winters when I’ve wondered if one really feeds a cold (achoo!) and starves a fever, experimenting with soups that require no further icy treks to the grocery store (achoo!). Coincidentally I had already made arrangements for my history students to see titles that include the 1964 Seventeen Cookbook in the … Continue reading Stirring Up Inspiration

I Blog, Therefore I Matter

January 29, 2010

I find it fascinating that so many people try to put a sad face on retirement. Just think of the common terms we use for retirement: "over the hill," "being sent to the glue factory," "hanging up the spikes," "riding into the sunset," "being put on the shelf" (presumably intended for librarians), and "being put … Continue reading I Blog, Therefore I Matter

Gilded Age

January 27, 2010

The phase “Gilded Age” may conjure up visions of Newport mansions, but the era was a formative time for libraries. Librarianship in Gilded Age America: An Anthology of Writings, 1868–1901 compiles articles, letters, and other documents from familiar names in library history, among them Charles Ammi Cutter,  Melvil Dewey, and John Cotton Dana. Also here are … Continue reading Gilded Age

Change at American University

January 25, 2010

Bill Mayer imagines a library without librarians. The way he sees it, his campus is filled with activity and he wants his librarians to be a part of the action. “Their role isn’t to simply go out and generate more visibility” he explains, “but to become more involved with everything that is going on around … Continue reading Change at American University

Resolutions and Rollouts

December 30, 2009

Coping with change–especially shrinking budgets and growing demands–is the focus of several pieces in American Libraries' January-February issue, and just the act of reading them has inspired me to approach 2010 with new resolve. All of us who work for the advancement of library services in this country are going to need what James LaRue … Continue reading Resolutions and Rollouts

Inspiration, Seattle-style

December 30, 2009

What makes a library inspiring to its users? The key component is the relationship it builds with the people it serves. Seattle Public Library is a showcase for this attribute. In 2008, just in time to face what has become a global financial crisis, the library completed the 10-year "Libraries for All" campaign, which resulted … Continue reading Inspiration, Seattle-style


The Faces of Circulation

December 29, 2009

What is the recipe for creating a circulation worker? You add three or four able-bodied individuals, one tablespoon of a circulation study guide, bake for about one month of trial-by-fire on-the-desk  experience, and you have what is called the circulation worker. As a former circulation worker who ultimately became a reference librarian (in other words, … Continue reading The Faces of Circulation

Some of My Favorite Reads

December 29, 2009

What’s your favorite book? If you’re like me, that’s a tough question. There’s the one that captures the mood you’re in, the one that pulls you out of the mood you’ve been in, the one with those charming turns of phrase, the one with the cunning plot turns, the one with the better-than-you’d-hoped-for ending, and … Continue reading Some of My Favorite Reads

Joseph Janes

Info the Woods

December 29, 2009

As anyone who knows me well will testify, I am not by inclination the outdoorsy type. I mean, it’s fine for those who like that sort of thing, but I’ve always maintained that civilization is here for a reason, and I see no reason to go back to a time before grocery stores and flush … Continue reading Info the Woods

That’s News to Me

December 29, 2009

Maybe I should quit writing this column and start a blog. How about “Crazy Melvil” as a nom de plume?  Think of the advantages I’d gain from an intellectual freedom standpoint. I wouldn’t have to adhere to standards of accuracy, etiquette, or even self-respect. I wouldn’t have to hold anything back, and would be free … Continue reading That’s News to Me

Digital Renewal

December 17, 2009

Before the current wave of mass digitization ventures were even a gleam in the eye of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, many libraries were already engaged in their own endeavors. These early projects often involved digitization of historical images, maps, and documents centered on a place or historical period. The projects were innovative at the time and … Continue reading Digital Renewal