Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Atomic Super Babies

I was working on my homework and one of my housemates came over and commented on the topic headings for the week:

Lecture 1: What is Normalization?
Lecture 2: Dependencies and Determination
Lecture 3: Design Tips

At which point I realized that it sounded like we were creating a fascist breed of atomic superbabies rather than studying some of the more mundane points of database design.

Yes. This is all I have that qualifies as intellectual discourse at the moment. It is THAT point in the semester.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


We were sitting in one of my classes the other day, wondering what it would be like to be librarians during the early days of Wisconsin librarianship. We had been reading about that century's library commission and the circuit librarians, traveling from township to township, delivering books via horse and carriage. However, even in this age of precision bombs and satellite television, not every library runs on oracle and xml, and not every librarian has a computer:


I still secretly wish that there were more burros in my job description. And as my pedagogy teacher so aptly reminded us in class last night, it all comes down to engaging with and caring about your students and giving them the tools they need to learn.

And thanks to The Lost Albatross for sharing the link.

Monday, October 20, 2008

RIP Celeste West

I encountered Celeste again and again in the print world of my universe, from Synergy magazine to the book 'Revolting Librarians'. And perhaps the most powerful thing I could say for her is that she made me feel more welcome and more involved in the world and in libraries, without ever having the opportunity to meet her. I probably would never have considered library school if I had never stumbled upon 'Revolting Librarians' in the stacks one day. So it was no surprise to read this call:


Co-editors Toni Samek and KR Roberto are seeking articles, stories, poems, photographs, letters, thought pieces and other individual and collective memories of Celeste West, lesbian, feminist librarian, publisher, and activist, for a festschrift to be published by Library Juice Press in 2009. Celeste passed away in San Francisco on January 3, 2008 at the age of 65. She was a pioneering progressive librarian and one of the founders of the Bay Area Reference Center (BARC), Booklegger Press, Synergy [Magazine], and Booklegger Magazine. She was also co-editor of the now classic title Revolting Librarians. From 1989 until 2006, Celeste worked as the library director at the San Francisco Zen Center. She was a radical library worker whose practice challenged established library traditions by encouraging librarians to speak up about the need for systematic change. West initiated questions and challenged assumptions (such as library neutrality) that continue to be central issues examined in critical librarianship today. However, while Celeste released a lot of work to the world as author and editor, not much was ever shared about her as subject.

Thus, we are seeking your contributions to a Celeste West festschrift book project.

For an historical snapshot of some of Celeste´s key contributions via Booklegger Press, please see: Toni Samek. 2006. “Unbossed and Unbought: Booklegger Press the First Women-Owned American Library Publisher” in Women In Print: Essays on the Print Culture of American Women from the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Edited by James P. Danky and Wayne A. Wiegand. Foreword by Elizabeth Long. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press in collaboration with the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Pages 126-155. Available in print and as an online book.

For a more contemporary introduction to Celeste´s way of thinking, see: Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out by K.R. Roberto and Jessamyn West.

Please direct your ideas and queries to the FESTSCHRIFT Editorial Assistant and Project Manager Moyra Lang (moyra @ ualberta.ca). The final deadline for all contributions is December 10, 2008.

If you have not encountered the name Celeste West until now, please see here: http://libraryjuicepress.com/blog/?p=361 and here: http://newpagesblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/in-memoriam-celeste-west.html

THANK YOU! Toni Samek, KR Roberto, and Moyra Lang.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Link of the Week: Stories for Change

People have been telling stories for as long as we have had memories to remember them. History itself is just stories upon stories stiched into a patchwork of a larger picture.

Well, one of the latest iterations of storytelling is via digital technologies. Thus it is no surprise to find an organization dedicated to teaching folks to share their stories with a wider audience. Stories for Change offers stories you might not otherwise hear in a sleek interface that pairs usability and design with a solid metadata schema.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Dream Jobs

Whenever I get bored or dissatisfied in my classes I start looking for jobs. Over the years I've enjoyed looking for jobs on:


And after working in a number of different library departments, I decided that this is pretty close to my dream job:


It includes teaching, interacting with folks, getting to travel, getting to be geeky about technology, helping people be more efficient with their use of technology, and so on.