Welcome Salon.com readers!

I was pleasantly shocked to notice a huge uptick in my stats, thanks to this Salon.com article:

“This Book Is Overdue!”: Hot for librarian

Thanks for the mention, Marilyn!


Library Reference: Seeking Dante

From the Library Ninja, for my brother-in-law:

Patron walks into the library, which happens fairly often and comes over to the reference desk.
“I’m looking for Divine Comedy.” She asks.
“The world’s full of it, I suggest a newspaper or Fox News.” I reply.
“Hehe, I’m looking for the one by Dante.” She laughed, okay, she cool.
“Heaven, Hell or somewhere in between?” I ask.
“All three.”
“Not a problem.” I reply prodding the catalog into action.
“In Italian.” She says. Is that a challenge? Why’s it got to be like that?
“Le parla L’Taliano Senorina?” LN knows Italian. Among a litany of skills from basket weaving to skeet shooting, LN is down with Italiano.
“What?” She says. If you’re going to ask for a copy in Italian, you should know Italian. Don’t try to be pretentious, I mastered pretentiousness as an art form years ago.
“Hrm? Nothing. I’ll spare you jokes of having Beatrice show you to the shelf, or having to traverse the 9 levels of the library, it’s up one flight on the right.”

Bagdad’s Brave Librarian (Christian Science Monitor)

Loud talkers, lost books … and the occasional sniper fire, rocket attacks, and death threats are what Saad Eskander is up against in rebuilding the National Library and Archive.

By Tom A. Peter | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Like most librarians, Saad Eskander, director of the Iraq National Library and Archive in Baghdad, has to deal with a number of disturbances: people speaking loudly in the study area, lost books, and the occasional sniper fire or Katyusha rocket attack.

“Our building was rocketed a few times,” says Dr. Eskander, in the same level tone he might use to describe a trip to the grocery store. “It was mortared and part of our fence was destroyed…. Stray bullets and sometimes snipers’ bullets smashed some windows as well, including my office.”

Though none of Eskander’s staff have been injured in these attacks, five have been killed in sectarian violence, and death threats have displaced dozens of his 300-plus staffers.

Eskander hardly seemed the Jack Bauer of librarianship as – during a recent tour of the US – he recounted his experiences in the Cambridge apartment of his colleague, an archivist at Harvard University. A slight man, Eskander is soft-spoken and not easily excitable. His wire-rimmed glasses and slick sports coat belie the stereotype of librarians committing 30-year-old fashion faux pas. But then again, Eskander is not your typical librarian. (more. . . )

A Hipper Crowd of Shushers

. . .Librarians? Aren’t they supposed to be bespectacled women with a love of classic books and a perpetual annoyance with talkative patrons — the ultimate humorless shushers?

Not any more. With so much of the job involving technology and with a focus now on finding and sharing information beyond just what is available in books, a new type of librarian is emerging — the kind that, according to the Web site Librarian Avengers, is “looking to put the ‘hep cat’ in cataloguing.”

When the cult film “Party Girl” appeared in 1995, with Parker Posey as a night life impresario who finds happiness in the stacks, the idea that a librarian could be cool was a joke.

Now, there is a public librarian who writes dispatches for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a favored magazine of the young literati. “Unshelved,” a comic about librarians — yes, there is a comic about librarians — features a hipster librarian character. And, in real life, there are an increasing number of librarians who are notable not just for their pink-streaked hair but also for their passion for pop culture, activism and technology.

“We’re not the typical librarians anymore,” said Rick Block, an adjunct professor at the Long Island University Palmer School and at the Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science, both graduate schools for librarians, in New York City.

“When I was in library school in the early ’80s, the students weren’t as interesting,” Mr. Block said. (more. . . )

LexisNexis survey: Librarians and Web 2.0

From the LexisNexis press release:

Information professionals are savvy when it comes to leveraging technology to make information more valuable, relevant, and accessible, with 93% of librarians saying they currently use intranets for managing and distributing information, and seeing collaborative workspaces (57%), wireless (44%), and portals (51%) as very important for the future.

The survey revealed an interesting breakdown and frequency of information sources accessed. With Web 2.0 it’s no surprise that information professionals are very in-tune; nearly four in ten access Weblogs at least weekly (39%), and more than a third access wikis (34%).

[via Library Stuff]

Stop me if you’ve heard this one (Dojo of the Library Ninja)

Library Ninja relates this interesting reference interview:

A young priest walks into the library.

It’s not the beginning of a joke, well it is kind of.

“Can I help you Father?” I ask.

“I’m looking for religion.” He replied.

I choke down a nervous giggle.

“I thought you would have found it by now.”

“It’s my first time in the library, I’m not sure where to find the Religion section?”

“Religion is BS.”

“It’s BS.”

“WHAT?” He turns a darker shade of red.

“It’s BS, up two flights on the right, B…S.”

“Oh, thank you.”

Keeping Current Can Be Hard to Do for Law Librarians (Law.com)

…So, keeping current has two parts: awareness of new or changing resources/activities and appreciation of possible uses or impact in your institution. Or, there may not be a use in your library. Mash-ups look to be a fun technology, but I do not see a need for it at my institution at this time. Law firm librarians may find it more interesting.

Keeping current is not just for technology advances, although technology does drive much of the change and activity. My “Hats” series is an attempt to describe how the Internet and electronics have impacted and continue to impact our profession. Our traditional hats as modified by technology means current awareness crosses more lines and covers more topics than ever.
(more. . .)