Thursday, June 28, 2007

Still Closed

Well, it looks like we are going to be closed until Saturday morning. This whole thing with the fumes in the building has really given the staff here an odd week. In fact it was so odd that I took a day off instead of going to the Carolina Room. I did learn one thing this week after working at the Carolina Room on Monday night: archival libraries are pretty boring and slow at night unless you have some side work you can focus on. Know that.

I do hope that library users that can't get into the building this week are not too upset over the inconvenience. I know it's a terrible inconvenience for some users. There are people out there that not only use us as a source for their leisure reading but also to search for jobs. Closing down the building is not just an inconvenience for some. For them it can actually hamper their search for a new career.

The building was not closed without a lot of thought on the part of those that made the call. They chose to consider the safety of the staff and library users. For that I applaud them. Like I said, closing down has inconvenienced many but where health is concerned I think it is right to err on the side of caution.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Closed again

You may have noticed if you drove to the library today, we are closed until Thursday morning. I am sorry for the inconvenience. There is still some work being done to the roof of the library. The sealant they are using is being sucked in by the A/C which then distributes the fumes throughout the building. The fumes were especially bad downstairs and members of the circulation staff were reporting headaches and sore throats. I applaud those that were in charge that made the tough decision to close the branch after having been closed for an extended period before.


You may not be aware of this but the librarian profession is in a constant state of change. This excerpt of a good story on technology in libraries sums it up well: "“The librarian as information priest is as dead as Elvis,” Needham said. The whole “gestalt” of the academic library has been set up like a church, he said, with various parts of a reading room acting like “the stations of the cross,” all leading up to the “altar of the reference desk,” where “you make supplication and if you are found worthy, you will be helped.”"

I find this to very much be the case at the Morrison library. People don't come to the desk right off anymore. They tend to come to us when they get stuck. It is necessary to not only direct people to online resources and web sites but you have to know how to walk them through these resources and sites.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Michael Chabon

Last night I finished what will most likely be the most unique book I will read this year. I finished Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union. The novel is a murder mystery set in an alternate universe in which a temporary Jewish homeland has been set up in Alaska in 1948. It is set in present day and a down on his luck detective is attempting to solve the murder before the land reverts back to American control. Not only is it all that, it's also noir. And it's got gangsters. Real gangsters, tough gangsters. The kind of gangster that would kill ya just for lookin' at 'im cross eyed. Old school gangsters that have no fear of law enforcement or governments. Those are the kind of gangsters I like. Those that wield true power and don't have to concern themselves with the authorities. Those were the days.

To me as an overall novel this one held up much better that The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. That Pulitzer Prize winning novel seemed to lag at the end. This book didn't. It really held my attention to the very last page. This book is going to appear on a lot of year end lists and will be seriously considered for a lot of awards.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Our doors our open

In case you were checking for information on the building, like West Virginia we are now open for business. For a couple of days there the new A/C unit wasn't working properly. Well, I guess the unit itself was working just fine but it wasn't hooked up to our ducts properly and then the building's thermometers were not feeding the right data into the contraption so it had to be manually turned on and off. Everything seems to be fine now except for a slight chemical odor that is permeating the building due to sone final work being done to the air ducts. No one has experienced a headache yet so I guess everything is fine.

Downstairs at the circulation desk there has been installed the self checkout stations. Our patient circulation staff is standing by at the terminals to help walk you through the self checkout process. I haven't tried it myself yet but I hear that it is pretty easy. The future of libraries is at your library today!