Monthly Archives: December 2011

If the library was Atlassian

If the library was Atlassian (a software company based in Sydney, Australia) we wouldn’t need a retreat on becoming a Learning Organization, because we would already be one.  Below is a video from Atlassian talking about the core values of the company.  I found it via Read, Write, Web and I was inspired.

At the risk of being redundant, customer service is customer service. If we had as much fun doing our jobs as these guys do, that is a win-win scenario. It doesn’t matter who you are dealing with, whether it is the library user or a coleague.

btw, this is NSFW (Aussies are like that).  If you watch it at work, use headphones.

Atlassian goal and core values:

Create useful products people lust after

  • open company, no bullsh*t
  • Build with heart and balance
  • Don’t f*ck the customer
  • Play as a team
  • Be the change you seek

data visualization

Sometimes a blog is useful to disseminate other people’s creativeness (particularly when I am not feeling real creative myself.

Below is a video posted by the Lone Wolf Librarian dealing wit data visualization…I find this blog fascinating because the Wolf is documenting creating his job/library from scratch.

College does not equal preparedness

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education bemoans the fact that an education from a four year institution does not prepare the incoming labor pool for a job.  Well, duh!!!!

Lacey Johnson, reporting from Washington, says:

Many employers believe colleges aren’t adequately preparing students for jobs, according to findings of a study presented here on Monday by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

The group surveyed more than 1,000 employers in various industries last month about whether job applicants possess the skills to thrive in the workplace. More than half of employers said finding qualified applicants is difficult, and just under half thought students should receive specific workplace training rather than a more broad-based education.

As a Liberal Arts major (class of 1977) I don’t think this  is exactly a new phenomenon.

Employers are expecting too much if they expect perfection from applicants fresh out of undergrad with shiny Batchelor of Arts degrees.  Employers should expect to provide training in the reality of life outside academia.  However, they should expect employees to have basic skills. Being able to write a clear sentence legibly, being able to follow directions, having the gumption to do more than the minimum reuired and the responibilty to show up on time and as expected–all of these things should be learned in grade school and they aren’t even being addressed in college.

I truly believe that there are a lot of people attending universities who would definitely be better off doing apprenticeships or attending trade schools. They shouldn’t spend the time and money to pursue an additional four years of adolescence. That is not to say that the population shouldn’t be encouraged to pursue art or literature, music or history.(every day I am made aware that the adage “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” is very true.)

I’m not sure how to address the problem and obviously neither is the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Maybe scrapping the entire system and providing a decent education that begins in elementary school would work (probably not though…


tweet of the day


 … libraries are flexible because our best resource is our staff. materials change, but library staff keep libraries relevant.

What I wish I had learned in library school

This post by the effing librarian makes a good point. Can you answer his initial question.

What did I learn in library school? Whatever fit into my schedule that got me the credits to get my degree. I have no complaints…You use the degree to get hired. Then you observe what’s going on and how your new position relates to those around you. You apply new knowledge to old. You fuck up. But not enough to get fired. And you learn. And you succeed. And you backstab and kiss ass to get promoted. There’s no fucking mystery to it.

If I wrote alternate history

John Edgar Hoover was born in Washington, D.C. on New Year’s Day, 1895. He received an LL.B. from George Washington University in 1916 and a master’s degree in law in 1917. While he was attending night school at George Washington University, J. Edgar Hoover worked at the Library of Congress for a period of five years. He began as a messenger and rose to cataloguer and finally, clerk. Biographer Curt Gentry notes that a coworker of Hoover estimated that Hoover was destined to become chief librarian had he stayed there. Hoover was destined to become chief librarian had he stayed there. [emphasis mine]

Instead of pursuing a career at the Library of Congress, Hoover began working for the Department of Justice. He served from 1919 to 1921 as special assistant to the Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer. In this position, Hoover directed the so-called Palmer Raids against suspected radical communist aliens. In 1924, Hoover was named the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was not yet thirty years old at the time he was named Director. He held the appointment through eight presidents until his death in 1972.–The Dark Side of the Force: J. Edgar Hoover and information Science.  Created by Rachel Kirk, last revised on December 13, 2000

I saw the movie “J. Edgar” last night. DiCaprio gave an amazing performance. He is definitely in the running for Best Actor come Oscar time. I saw the movie “J. Edgar” last night. DiCaprio gave an amazing performance. He is definitely in the running for Best Actor come Oscar time. I have to admit that I am not very knowledgable when it comes to American History from the beginning of the 20th Century though the early 70’s but if I knew more and could write science fiction/alternate history this is a great place to start.

S.M. Sterling could write it, but he still needs to finish the Emberverse series.  Harry Turtledove is more  in earlier periods of history.  I’m not sure who else I could suggest, but the thought of the Library of Congress being run like the FBI is certainly an intriguing one.