Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Now this is a marketing effort that may well result in a new batch of library professionals... Noah Wiley playing a librarian in a new movie for TNT.

Or maybe his female sidekick will make the job more attractive. She gets to collect overdue materials in a new way...

What's new here? The boss is retiring tomorrow. I will miss her!

I am privileged to announce that the Butler Community decided, as a gift to honor Linda on her retirement, to get together to purchase books for the L.W. Nixon Library that reflect the Linda Billingsley we know and love. These represent but a few titles of those we’ll be adding:

Linda, we are well aware that we are fortunate you moved here over 20 years ago, leaving behind “A Hole in Texas”. You were able to create your daycare center, thus becoming one of the “Founding Mothers: The women who raised our nation”(and the kids of El Dorado). And then you were “The Master Quilter”, with your wonderful shop.

But there was more for you, because you had discovered “The Fred Factor: How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary” long ago. And you came on board at Butler.

The First 90 Days: might have been tough, but you found Critical Success Strategies for new Leaders at All Levels.” Oh, yeah, we know: “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: with those 101 unconscious mistakes women make that sabotage their careers;” but we think you skipped those mistakes!

Maybe it’s just that “Women Make the Best Salesmen: Isn’t it time you started using their secrets?”

At any rate, you must have done something right, because “When the Buck Stops With You,” you found “Words of Wisdom for Women” and for all of us – staff, students, and faculty. In fact, you “Inspire! Which is What Great Leaders Can Do.”

Linda, have a lovely retirement. The rest of you, come check out these books.

Singing off,

Micaela

Monday, June 28, 2004

Changing for the better

Bloglines made the list of the 50 Coolest websites over at Time magazine's Tech Time website.

The complete list:
http://www.time.com/time/techtime/200406/list.html.

I've really enjoyed the fact I can use Bloglines to compile the blogs I read regularly onto one page. And as I explore ways to make this blog relevant to my library and to the Butler Community College world, please know that I'd be happy to share both how to create a blog and how to manage reading your choices. All thanks to the course I took on same last month.

In the physical world, parallel to the virtual, changes are coming. The board may approve new carpeting for the library in August; a coffeebar here is seen by many as a needed addition to the library or at least the 600 building. One of the area's well known decorators, Billee Douglass, 316-321-3336 (I used to spell it Billie Douglas ), will be visiting me today to initiate some design work. And I'm hoping to contact an architect locally about some re-arrangement of the main floor of the library after the carpet gets installed... it seems a shame that the view out the east windows is so blocked by the tall stacks.

Singing off,

Micaela

PS. Watched "The Blues Brothers" for the first time this weekend when Bethany, my 18-year-old, brought it home from Blockbuster. I don't know how I ever missed this iconic work. This one goes into the 'must purchase' list. I particularly enjoyed the Cab Calloway number; it has a lovely scene with Ray Charles; and Carrie Fisher gets... some good shots in, you might say.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Ahead of Time (Magazine)

I must say I'm thrilled to have been in the know about blogs before Time Magazine, thanks to the online course I took with Steven Cohen.

It's a good article, and I like the concept of so many people writing. And also:

"What makes blogs so effective? They're free. They catch people at work, at their desks, when they're alert and thinking and making decisions. Blogs are fresh and often seem to be miles ahead of the mainstream news. Bloggers put up new stuff every day, all day, and there are thousands of them. How are you going to keep anything secret from a thousand Russ Kicks? Blogs have voice and personality. They're human. They come to us not from some mediagenic anchorbot on an air-conditioned sound stage, but from an individual. They represent — no, they are — the voice of the little guy."

This reminded me of the newspapers in Kansas in the early part of the civil war until about the 1930's. Every town had two or ten locally published papers, and they were often vitrolic or outrageous, concerned with the national news and the neighbors.

Here's a sample from El Dorado, Kansas 1903:
"Sidney W. Clark 10 years ago was a country lad and school teacher near Potwin. His hand and will wer all his capital. Now he is vice-president of the First National Bank of Raton, New Mexico, and dwells on Easy Street."

Ok, well, not very controversial... but not the kind of thing you see in print every day. The column for 1888 that I had in mind -- well, they have yet to deliver that paper here, although I got it Saturday at home just fine. So this will be a two-part post. Too bad the Times doesn't put their "Remember When" column on their website.

Later.


Ok, here's the stuff from 1881 (I didn't quite remember that date)...

Mrs. Chas. Selig seems to take the cake on flower gardening.

S.M. Spencer, formerly of Plum Grove, now of Wicked newton, called and gave us more than $2 worth of "sass" and once cent on subscription. Fine man. Come sass us again.

Fran Gord started for his home at Paul;s Valley, Indian Nation, but the threatened outbreak of the Indians detained him. He met his family on their way to Butler Coundy and returned with them.

And so on. Except for the quaintness, it really reminds me of what I want to see in weblogs: interesing, lively events.

By the way, I should mention here that the library has over a dozen newspapers for your use... from "U.S.A. Today" to the "Andover Courier-Journal." Our newest is to the "Kansas Traveler," another home-grown effort which reports on local travel spots. Hmmm. Quaint again. Gotta love that about Kansas.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Safari on trial

At the retirement dinner for my boss yesterday, I met Ying, our new Systems IT person. She mentioned how nice it was to nap in our comfy library chairs, to which I replied, "That's what they're for." Then I asked her over to the computer to show her Safari.

Safari is ProQuest's new product, designed to rival Books24/7. The full name is "Safari Tech Books Online" and Rob Grindstaff, who I once knew as the local salesman here in Kansas but who is now some high mucky-muck with ProQuest in Michigan asked me to trial it. Too bad there were technical difficulties before the semester was over: summer is really not a good time to test it out.

Ying had fun, though. She wanted "Oracle Certificate" which I searched, then had to knock off "certificate" to get good results. Come to find out this morning after reading the Quick Demo that there's an entire "Certification category" we could have searched on.

She noted that the first results included the best work on Oracle, then we went on to search "Cold Fusion". She was thrilled, and decided to print out an entire book... to which I explained I'd be happy to buy books for the library instead. But you know, books on my shelves are not what she wants... books in her office are.

We've got another faculty member, Skyler, who teaches animation and graphic computer arts and such, and I think this database would solve her problem of students running off with her personal library of tech books.

And a student came in looking for "Flash" books, and I showed him the site, with the addendum of a quick overview of Amazon's reviews, the fastest way I know of getting to the plusses and minuses of any book around.

Finally, I spoke to Pam, the salewoman handling my account now. When Books24/7 first came out, we had it for about $500 that year. Perfectly acceptable price for my small school of 900 FTE. The few users were mostly the tech guys running our network. But the second year, they wanted $5,000. No way could I give them 1/3rd of my book budget!

Here in Butler, with a 5000 FTE, I could afford a little more, but I don't think I would find anymore than a proportional increase in users... and I still don't want it priced at $5,000, which would be the equivalent of 1/6th of my book budget. I really hope I got my point across.

Anyway, go sample it if you are at Butler, right off the library home page.

...And please let me know what you think. I've got a 5 page PDF demo/tutorial I'll send you if you ask for it, although why it's not loaded in the web site is another question I asked Pam.

Singing off,

Micaela

PS. Spent the budget. Wedding, birthday, girls night out, band practice and performance. Finally, the garden. Lost the password. Lost the username. Subconscious found 'em for me. And that's why I've not been posting... and why I'm back.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Hello, again

Dang, it's been a long week.

First was being tired and needing to catch up on sleep and housework on Sunday.

Then the family thing on Monday. Put the flag out, cooperated with the dear husband to put the pork on the grill and the food on the picnic table. A rare day in Kansas of about 80 degrees, light breeze instead of the steady wind, and clear...we fed the 18 year-old daughter, mom and dad, and niece and new (30 days) husband with food and conversation and raspberry lemonade. Somehow a fudge pie showed up, enabling us to finish the meal with a fine flourish.

Tuesday began the laborious project of selecting a new Dean at my school - actually my new boss. We concluded efforts today. My number 2 pick was selected, and it should work out fine. But I will truly miss my old boss, and haven't done grieving for that yet... she is just retiring! But it's still a loss. It would be hard for anyone to turn my job into a nightmare, it's so perfect right now. I expect all will be well, but it makes me a tad nervous.

And now I have to spend hours trying to figure out just exactly how much money I have left to spend in the next week or so, using very non-sophisticated reporting tools, matching with my figures and record of expenses, with the aim of spending every penny or maybe a few dollars over. Humph. I don't like to be pressed at the end like this. There's gotta be a better way to track expenses for my purposes. Trouble is I don't have the experience with other systems. In fact this one is better than my last institution, and the personnel are much more helpful. I need to do a bit of research with my peers next month to see how the tracking they do day to day helps with the final spending.

Finally, got my tetunus shot today, as well as Hepetitus A, in preparation for my trip to Mexico (Tecate) next month. Anyone been to that area? Any recommendations?

Singing...