California Trumps Blogging

I'll be in Oakland tomorrow for the NDIIPP Web-at-Risk Curators' Meeting, then spending the rest of the week (through Sunday) in the Bay Area for pleasure.

Enjoy your week, comrades!


UNT-L Awarded $397,552 by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress

Isn't this incredibly exciting? We were in a GovDocs department meeting when Cathy Hartman broke in to tell us the news, and Dreanna dropped by my office later to bounce up and down with (completely appropriate) joy.
"The University of North Texas Libraries has been selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress for the National Digital Newspaper Program, "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers." The Award of $397,552 will fund digitization of Texas Historical Newspapers, and for the grant UNT serves as lead institution with partners at the Center for American History at the University of Texas, and Texas Tech University. Only one lead institution will be selected in each U.S. state, and the University of North Texas Libraries has been selected to head the project in Texas. The award of $397,552 will fund the first two years of this twenty year initiative."

~ Dreanna Belden, Librarian for Project Development, UNT

Zombie Attack Thwarted by Library Staff!


This is why I love librarians. (And zombie movies.)

(Apologies for cross-posting. It was utterly relevant to both of my blogs.)


Thought-Provoking Conversation

Today, my student assistant* (who will be a senior next Fall), came in to talk to me today about librarianship. (And about Life, the Universe, and Everything, but that's another story.)

It's a neat, new thing for me to do this. Heck, I've talked plenty of people's ears off about librarianship, but they tend to be my peers; this quasi-mentor/boss thing is a different role for me.

It was an interesting conversation, and I didn't expect that it would cause me to reflect on how much the past eleven months in this profession have changed me. Granted, many of those changes weren't specific to librarianship--they were more of the first-full-time-job variety, and a little of the "oh my gosh, I've just graduated and now I have to start my real life" type. But hearing CRS-wiz* talk about her desires and changes and frustrations brought it all back to me. I found myself telling her about finding myself a senior in Fine Art and English who didn't want to paint, write, or teach for a living--and escaped to grad school. I told her about then nearing the end of my Art History MA and realizing that I didn't want to teach, and my furious hunt for a career I'd love. I suddenly remembered that upon getting my dream job here, after graduation with my MLS, that I felt suddenly trapped and scared that my whole life would be the same from here on out. I told her that after about three months, I realized how mistaken I had been--that my life, and my job, would never be a boring "same-old, same-old" routine. That I had grown and changed so much not just professionally, but personally over the past year that I felt like a different, better person.

Then I remembered that she mostly wanted to know about librarianship and good schools and possible career paths, and I settled down. She had great, great questions, ones that resound all over our profession:
I didn't have even close to all the answers, but I offered my own experience, some places to look, and any contacts she was interested it. I don't want her to choose librarianship just because it was right for me, but I'm glad and honored that she's interested in it--and just for the record, I think she'd make a bang-up librarian.

*I'll call her "CRS-wiz" to protect the innocent.


To Amuse You During Your Lunch Break...

Been wondering what libraries are doing in Second Life? Would you like to get a preview before downloading the bloated SL software? Check out the 7-minute intro video over at the FGI blog.

Oh, they've also linked to a great video about copyright and fair use, created using Disney characters' dialogue. Great, great fun.


Putting the "Social" in Social Software

I would be remiss if I didn't give a hearty "Thanks!" to Libraryman for graciously gifting my Pro Flickr Account. Now I'm all afire to borrow our Digital Project Lab's Canon Rebel to take more photos for the 365 Library Days Project!

Things to Do in Denver When You're... a Docs Librarian

Well, I finally uploaded those photos from the FDLP conference in Denver last month. Oh, and also photos from TLA in San Antonio, which was the weekend before that. Enjoy!

Sunset From Tavern Window
Sunset From Tavern Window (FDLP)

Sunlit Patterns
Sunlit Patterns (TLA)


"You Saucy Minx"

This is a crossover post between my professional and personal blogs.... I just got the ARC of The Plain Janes graphic novel (thank you, BookMooch!), which I thought I'd mention was a recent Book Club pick by the Unshelved guys.

And it's one of the first Minx publications, DC Comics' new line for girls. Now, I'm a girl, and I read traditional (read: "non-girl-y") comics, but I'm very interested in this idea. And from the first four pages of this book that I read... I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be fantastic.

Okay, All You Documents Geeks...

You know who you are.
And you know you want to subscribe to UNT's RSS Feed of most recently-added CRS Reports!


(Thanks, Mark!)

Portal to Texas History -- on YouTube!

Dreanna Belden's been up to some creative, interesting things lately; take a look at this promotional video she created! Aren't my colleagues in our Digital Projects Lab talented?


Travel Aid

Thank you, thank you, thank you, whoever put HopStop on today's ALA newsletter. Finally, a tool that provides directional help for any location in NYC, Boston, DC, Chicago, and San Fran--not just transit information, but walking directions, too. Finally, a guide for those of us who are making our way around these big cities for the first time!

Clever use of a mashup, eh?

Speaking of Podcasts...

...A week after our meeting to order recording equipment for UNT Libraries podcasts, Daniel Cornwall announces FGI podcasts. Yes, that's right--documents librarians podcasting.

Isn't the world a great place?



I've completed my first professional book review, for the Journal of Web Librarianship.

Now I can get back to that long list of to-do items... like organizing my office so that I can find those to-do items.

Odd Title of the Day

Stuck Rubber Baby, by Howard Cruse.


365 Library Days

Libraryman just invited me to join the 365 Library Days group on Flickr! It's a neat project:
Let's get as many libraries as we can to sign up for a customized, library friendly version of the 365 project. That would mean that if you decide to participate, you would commit to downloading at least 365 pictures from in, around or about the library you work in, for and/or with. Uploading a picture every day for 365 days in this case wouldn't be practical, but committing to 365 images in a year could be done fairly easily. It could also have HUGE value for your library.
This afternoon, I posted 24 photos--primarily that I had taken of our newly-renovated library mall... of course, it hits me now that I haven't paid $25 for the premium Flickr membership that allows you to add more than 200 photos, so that may be a problem in the future... I'd like to add some Denton Reads photos, as well.


It's a Great Sign...

...when you come back from a meeting and your face hurts from all the laughing. Yay for a fun group of librarians interested in podcasting!

We're discussing our initial test for when the ordered equipment comes in, and we're pondering a library tour (just in time for new students in the fall!). Since I'll probably be the designated "expert" talking on the podcast for the GovDocs area, I'm pondering what items to highlight in the brief time alloted during the tour. Here are my initial thoughts:
  • maps (specifically, geology students)
  • data
  • lots of historic data, sources
  • much of the information is public-domain
  • online resources
  • covers all subject areas
I don't want to overwhelm new students with information, but specifically want to point out how relevant and interesting Docs are. Any other great ideas?

Unrelated Banter:

A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette says:

Graphic novels, Embracing

Every library has at least one librarian who is a graphic novel enthusiast. This person will argue vehemently for a new graphic novel collection for your library. Give him a paltry budget to spend each year just to shut him up. It will be money well spent.
Hee, hee. So there are others out there.


Making Progress

We've now got five complete volumes of the FCC Record online!


Making a Fool of Myself

I recently found out that late last month, when Dreanna was filming me for an ALA recruitment video (as part of the ALA Emerging Leaders project) in the new Library Mall area, I was noticed by coworkers.

It's probably not that surprising, given that I was standing on the edge of a fountain, my arms spread wide, shouting:
I protect democracy... and I read comic books!
I'm a librarian!
Yes, whenever in the following months the edited video hits YouTube, you may be assured that I will post my humiliation here.

The Library Mall and Other News

I promised a few pals that I'd take photographs of the newly-renovated Library Mall, so here they are. The improved space and addition of many benches has encouraged greater numbers of students to use the space--I see them eating lunch, reading, and talking in the area all the time now. The main changes were the addition of two long fountains and the front fountain with the waterfall, the replacement of much of the old concrete with brick walkways, the addition of the tan stone, and the addition and more trees and benches. (See more photos.)

I had to record our great environmental display tie-in (for the Denton Reads program in April) in the GovDocs department. One of our staff members and several of our students gathered documents and colored printouts of animal masks (from some Texas documents) and really spruced up our area (see more photos)!

A new albino squirrel has arrived!! K.T. Shiue, who took all the photographs of "Baby" the albino squirrel for the calendar we've mounted in the Albino Squirrel Memorial area of our Cyber Cafe, recently caught sight of a new baby albino squirrel at Maple Hall, very close to the library (see more of his albino squirrel photos).

Today was the wrap-up lunch for Denton Reads, graciously hosted and catered by the TWU Library (see more photos). We're quite pleased with our success, and will get together in a couple of weeks to begin organizing the 2008 program (which will be held in October of 2008). With 18 months to plan, compared to the 6 months we had this year (and how well it came off despite that), we think 2008 can be spectacular!

Lincoln's Blood

It poured yesterday.

Despite that, my colleague Clarice and I drove down to Corsicana for the North Texas Documents group meeting (NORDOCs) at Navarro College. We had a really good meeting, and it was nice to not be the newest docs librarian there.

Susan showed us around their gorgeous new library (windows everywhere!), and then took us to Navarro College's amazing Pearce Collection of Civil War artifacts. It is an amazingly, gorgeously put-together exhibit (the lights that lead you through it get redder as the chronology of the war got bloodier). I loved the introductory film, which was not only interesting and quality-produced, but uniquely displayed. There was a normal rectangular screen for the film itself, and below it were two shaped screens: one an oval, and the other in the shape of the eastern half of the United States. The oval screen displayed photographs of individuals and the names, dates, and places of letters written as they were talked about in the film, and the map screen starred locations as battles and letters were mentioned.

The collection, which consists of over 15,000 documents, is primarily letters by ordinary soldiers. They're funny, heart-rending, and touchingly human. I read an account by a young surgeon who told of his first two "maiden surgeries" on the field--amputating an arm and a leg.

There were several official government documents, including a typed eyewitness account of Lincoln's death, and a letter written by Lincoln on "Executive Mansion" stationary. And there next to it was a towel with two dark brown spots--blood from his mortal wound.

There's something about being that close to a historical relic--being one sheet of glass and two inches of air from a piece of something important more than a hundred years old. It reminds me, and don't laugh, of a scene from First Contact.
Picard: It's a boyhood fantasy... I must have seen this ship hundreds of times in the Smithsonian but I was never able to touch it.
Data: Sir, does tactile contact alter your perception of The Phoenix?
Picard: Oh, yes! For humans, touch can connect you to an object in a very personal way, make it seem more real.
On a lighter note, we stopped by the famous Collin Street Bakery on our way back--you may have heard of their DeLuxe Fruitcake. Clarice, whose grandmother lived in Corsicana, showed me through the quaint downtown area--I loved those brick streets.