Saturday, November 27, 2010

I've Moved!

In an effort to consolidate websites I have moved this blog over to Eventually it will include my bio, CV and other work related things to go along with a more much frequent posting schedule (It shouldn't be hard to surpass my current 2 posts a year).

So head over there, check it out. Tell me what you like and/or hate about it. I admit it is a work in progress so expect to see sporadic changes in both content and appearance.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A new post?! Unbelievable!

Well it's been nearly a year since I updated this blog which is too damn long. I am however hesitant (too lazy) to jump back in. So I will wade in and see how it goes.

There are two websites I wanted to point out that deserve a bit of attention. The first is bookshelfporn a website devoted to books on bookshelves. Some of the images are amazing, some artistic and others a bit of each. It's a thing of beauty.

The second website is The Paris Review. The venerable lit journal has recently made it's entire interview archive available for free. Now we can hear (with our eyes) the likes of Faulkner, Capote, Hemingway, Borges and Parker as they converse with The Paris Review interviewers.

What else could you ask for?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reflecting on 2009 (in books)

One of the main reasons I detested 2009, being unemployed (months 7-14), was also the reason I was able to read a lot. Early in the year I managed to read Anna Karenina and Infinite Jest, two rather large books that I may not have read had I been working. One of these books, Infinite Jest, found it's rightful place in my mental list of favorite books of all time (FBOAT!).

In recent years I had been reading fiction almost exclusively and felt that I needed to break this habit. So when I started reading in 2009 I was determined to read more non-fiction. As the year drew to a close I found I had read 14 non-fiction titles (or approx. 23% of what I read). This was a major improvement of a previous ratio of 1 in 50. I have recently been writing down book titles and author names while listening to the magnificent Radio Lab and expect a stronger non-fiction showing in 2010.

My only reading regret is that I may have been too numbers focused and fear that I have read many of the books too quickly. I can only recall bits and pieces of plots and characters for many of the books I have read this year. 2010 will be the year I slow down and try to read more closely. At the same time I plan to read some of the larger novels I have skipped or have started and stopped numerous times (Yeah, I am talking about you Joyce).

So here is a list of books I read in 2009 with some of my favorites in bold:

**Birds of America: Stories – Lorrie Moore **
Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
Adland: Searching for the Meaning of Life on a Branded Planet – James P. Othmer
Zeitoun – Dave Eggers
Fables – Aesop
** The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery **
A Confederate General from Big Sur – Richard Brautigan
Dreaming of Babylon – Richard Brautigan
** The Hawkline Monster – Richard Brautigan **
Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto
** The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson **
The Code of the Woosters – P.G. Wodehouse
Ubik – Philip K. Dick
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
** Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov **
** Let the Great World Spin – Colum McCann **
Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
How to Be Good – Nick Hornby
The Death of Ahasuerus – Pär Lagerkvist
Pilgrim at Sea – Pär Lagerkvist
The Holy Land – Pär Lagerkvist
The Unlikely Disciple – Kevin Roose
Born on a Blue Day – Daniel Tammet
Homer and Langley: A Novel – E.L. Doctorow
Thousand Cranes – Yasunari Kawabata
The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
Thomas Jefferson: Author of America – Christopher Hitchens
Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living – Doug Fine
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto – Michael Pollan
Sappho: Poems and Fragments – Stanley Lombardo
Sixty-Nine – Ryu Murakami
In the Miso Soup – Ryu Murakami
Trout Fishing in America – Richard Brautigan
The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster – Richard Brautigan
In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan
An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey – Richard Brautigan
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick
The Easter Parade – Richard Yates
The Sportswriter – Richard Ford
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
** Infinite Jest: A Novel – David Foster Wallace **
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
The Art of Teaching – Jay Parini
Gourmet Rhapsody – Muriel Barbery
The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
Tree of Smoke: A Novel – Denis Johnson
How Proust Can Change Your Life: Not a Novel – Alain de Botton
Eats, Shoots & Leaves – Lynne Truss
This One Is Mine: A Novel – Maria Semple
How to Be Alone: Essays – Jonathan Franzen
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami
Piercing – Ryu Murakami
Armageddon in Retrospect – Kurt Vonnegut
The Game-Players of Titan – Philip K. Dick
Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut
Jailbird – Kurt Vonnegut
Invitation to a Beheading – Vladimir Nabokov
The Dharma Bums – Jack Kerouac
Wittgenstein's Mistress – David Markson

If you have made it this far and are interested in reading my poorly written reviews you can jump on over to my Goodreads profile.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Changing the library space.

Since starting at Potsdam I have been consumed with making the library a better environment for users to work in. Luckily for me I quickly found a like minded co-worker in Keith that would entertain most of my crazy ideas and even provide some crazy ideas of his own.

Most recently in an effort to both spruce up and increase traffic to our basement study area Keith suggested we hold an event that allows students to Graffiti the walls in our stairwells. It seemed like a crazy idea, but what was the worst that could happen? We could simply repaint the stairwell in the event of disaster.

The pieces soon fell into place, our director got on-board, and we found a latex based spray-paint that met the campus' safety requirements and the fire marshal's fire spread requirement.

The project was a success, one participant mentioned that it was the coolest thing the college had done in his three plus years as a student. The project also created a buzz on campus, generated attention for the library and made the stairwell more attractive.

A radical idea with a measured risk can have tremendous results.




Graffiti the Library 2009!

Graffiti the Library 2009!

Graffiti the Library 2009!


Graffiti the Library 2009!

Graffiti the Library 2009!

Graffiti the Library 2009!

Graffiti the Library 2009!

Check out more pics of the stairwell on our library's Flickr page

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finals week

So today was day one of finals week. I am only working three days this week, but I am blessed to have 7.5 hours on the reference desk, which is not busy, at all. In fact I will go ahead and say it: It's boring sitting there hoping to be asked a question. Despite this the library was packed with students today. There was not an empty table in site on any of the three floors. The computers were constantly in use, whether it was someone quickly printing a paper or rushing to finish their final papers and projects. In fact, it was so busy that a student set up shop on the floor near my office to use an outlet. She was using a step stool for a laptop table. There was also a group of about 5 students gathered around one of the lab computers doing group work. It was somewhat bewildering.

This week won't have high circulation statistics, database use might not even be high, but the gate counts will be through the roof. What is clear is that the library is the most popular place to go to get work done and that bodes well for the library, it's employees, and the campus community at large.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Things I have recently learned

My word! It has been awhile since my last blog post. I guess I have been dragging my feet a bit with this blog. For that I apologize, to no one in particular. The weather has begun to turn wintery here. There is snow on the ground and nip to the air. I might even need to put on my boots to walk to work soon.

The fact that it is cold and snowy can mean only one thing: The fall semester is nearly over. In fact next week is finals week. This semester has gone incredibly fast and I believe it was only a bit less stressful than it was when I was a student. I am guessing this is due to my newness to the profession. In the last 15 weeks I taught 20 information literacy classes, placed my first book orders for the English and Communication, History, and Business departments, and spent a fair amount of time at the reference desk.

Some of the realities of librarianship I learned while at the reference desk: There simply aren't as many true reference queries as I wished there to be. I also learned that due to proximity of the reference desk to the computers we are the frontline computer help desk and also the refillers of staplers. All of these things I seem to be able to do adequately, though I must say I excel in refilling the stapler.

One phenomenon that I have noticed since the weather has cooled is the dragging of feet. The reference desk, in a way, is sandwiched (maybe hot-dogged is a better term) between the computers and the printers. As a result there tends to be a good deal of foot traffic passing before the reference desk. Overall, most foot-draggers happen to be female and usually the culprits are wearing some form of boot. This leads me to believe that either these girls are so out of shape they cannot properly lift their booted foot or that the boots are purposely weighted down in order to build tone up and build muscle. At this point I cannot be certain as to which it is; this investigation remains open.

Once this mystery is solved perhaps I will devise a way to harness the static electricity from the foot-dragging to power a printer or two.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Happily borrowed from: everyday marvels