wordpress weirdness

In the spirit of living in beta, I’ve been playing around live a bit with my WordPress themes in the past few days. Currently I’m using Toni, which until just this evening was shoving the sidebar down to the bottom of the page in every browser I tried. It’s not at the moment, but it might again soon.

I’ve been playing around a little with Green Track, which is a lovely theme, except that when I activated my modified version, it added an e to the end of every post title, as you can see in this screenshot. Weird.

[Update: Thanks to Sadish for the explanation of this phenomenon in the comments below. Truly, the collective wisdom of the web is a wonderful thing.]
Of course, this is undoubtedly a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing–I know enough HTML to code my own low-tech web site, and I have grand ambitions of learning some CSS. . . but in the meantime, if you aren’t reading this through an aggregator (or if you are and start getting extraneous Es), please bear with me.

Someday I also promise to finish categorizing all my posts (and fooling around with the categories) and update my about page. . . but don’t hold your breath.

reference work

I have been following with great interest the comment thread on Steven M. Cohen’s post on librarian searching skills. and the resulting brouhaha.

Searching Electronic Databases was by far the most useful class I took in library school (or, err, that I have taken so far in library school–the problem with having a Real Job 1400 miles away from one’s school is that you tend to forget that you’re still in school). But there are some kinds of questions that no electronic database can answer. In fact, not even your favorite search engine can answer them.

We don’t get a lot of reference questions at my library, although I’m trying to encourage them. I’m a librarian–ask me questions! Your tax dollars at work! Partly, of course, we’re still struggling to get people to know that we are a public library, not just a library for the school.

The other day, though, we did get a reference question. A patron who is supervising some 4-H stuff came by to ask about the price of hogs. Now there are, I suppose, numerous sources of information about hog prices in northwestern Wyoming. As I have mentioned before, there is no such thing as a good source of information–there are only good sources of information for particular topics. But in this particular instance, the most expeditious and most useful source was my co-worker, who had been in charge of a similar 4-H event last year. Some day I hope to be able to do as well for our patrons as she can.

carnivals and congratulations

Carnival of the Infoscienes #30 is up at Open Stacks, with much coverage of conferences and some good fun. Go check it out.

Next week the Carnival moves to Tinfoil + Raccoon, where barker Rochelle is gearing up to move to Wisconsin to start her new job as Information Services Manager. Congratulations and best wishes to her. To celebrate, why not submit something to the Carnival? Rochelle suggests cheese as a theme. . . .

keeping up with the ala election and conference coverage

The presidential election of 2004 was the first time in my life that I voted for a major party presidential candidate, and, given how things turned out, it may well be the last. (If you’re really curious about my voting patterns and reasons, you can read a little bit about them.)

That said, I still love voting. I have not made up my mind fully about whom to vote for in the ALA election, and I probably won’t post a list when I do, but I have been following and saving other people’s recommendations under the clever tag alaelection06. I’m not necessarily endorsing any of these platforms, but I thought, in my civic-minded, public service-oriented kind of way, that I’d share the tag. I’m sure I’ve missed many people’s lists; if you know of one and you’re a user of del.icio.us, please do tag it.

On a final, more or less unrelated note: I’ve enjoyed (when not feeling envious) following the coverage of Computers in Libraries and the Public Library Association conference. I was going to go to PLA this year, but since I started a new job three weeks ago, it just wasn’t feasible. It certainly sounds like a good time, though. I don’t know that there is any award given out for conference blogging, but if there is, I’d like to give on to Sarah Houghton. Her coverage of PLA sessions, both on the PLA blog and on Librarian in Black was stellar: informative, interesting, well-written, and inspiring. I want to go out and serve some teenagers now!

catching up with the carnival

Neither rain, nor hail, nor sleet, nor snow (which we had in some quantity here in northwestern Wyoming, just in time for the first day of spring) shall keep the Carnival of the Infosciences down, and, despite a brief snow delay, Steve Lawson of See Also. . . brings us Carnival of the Infosciences #29. Learn about sucky OPACs, librarians in China, services to immigrants, and a non-librarian’s view of a summit that included some notable library people.

You’ve undoubtedly seen the last few Carnivals that took place while I was moving, settling, and waiting for home internet access, but I like to give out the link love, so here they are:

And finally, my apologies if my last post popped up in your aggregator twice. I’m not trying to bludgeon you over the head; I was just trying to fix a few typos.

wyoming librarianship: a sample

This is one of those day-in-the-life posts. I don’t know if it’s a typical day, since I haven’t been here long enough to get a sense of what typical amounts to, but it’s one day in the life of a librarian in Meeteetse, Wyoming, population 351. Our library serves both the school (about 70 students in kindergarten through 12th grade) and the town. Aside from me, there’s one other full-time person, a part time page, and two people who work occasionally and fill in when someone’s sick or out of town.

5 am: Get up (yes, I know, I’m crazy), eat breakfast, listen to Morning Edition on one of the two public radio stations I can get here, do some offline writing, e-mail Jessamyn to ask for some advice on the digital photography class I’m planning for the library.

7:30ish: Arrive at library. We open at 7:45, fifteen minutes before the school day starts. Open doors, turn on lights, fire up our four public access computers and two staff computers. Check the circulation statistics for Tuesday: 98 circs–not too bad, though not as good as Thursday (when everyone gets their movies for the weekend), when we had 158. Not too shabby for such a small place, eh? Print out overdue slips to distribute to teachers, who in turn give them to students. My coworker, who does most of the youth services and school stuff at the library, gives me advice on what to do with the adult overdues: some people’s books we renew, some will be coming in today, so we wait to see what they want.

8ish: A few sixth-graders come in, and I check in some books, check out others, and renew a few more. Check e-mail and find extremely helpful message from Jessamyn, complete with handout attachments. Drop a line to my boss, the county library director, to remind her to check if there are any holds or rotating books (or DVDs, CDs, etc.) to bring down to us when she comes. She writes back to say sure and that she’s running a little late because her garage door was stuck and she didn’t want to drive her husband’s ’72 pickup the 32 miles to Meeteetse, especially in the snow. The yearbook adviser stops in to ask if she can have the yearbook staff meet in the library in the afternoon because their classroom is being used for testing. We say sure.

10 am: Friends of the Library quarterly meeting. About eight members show up. I get to meet the ones I haven’t met already, and we discuss Craig Johnson’s planned visit in May. He was here last year on tour for his last book, and the event was a big success. The owner of The Spoke Cafe (a Friend!) says they’ll be happy to host the event again, and another Friend volunteers to put up Craig, his wife, and their dogs again. I agree to do some publicity, and my boss (who arrived safely from Cody) says the county system can pitch in. I mention that I’ve been in touch with Craig and that he may do some programs at the other county libraries, but that we’re thinking the big, all-county event ought to be in Meeteetse, which people seem pretty happy about.

My boss updates us on the county commissioner’s meeting about the plans for the new Cody library, and we get to look at some drawings. Then we talk about the Cap Tax II campaign, which will, if passed by the voters, fund the new Cody library, a new swimming pool in Powell, and a refurbished swimming pool in Meeteetse (ours is currently unusable). Since taxes are never popular, no matter how small, short-term, or important, we talk about some ways to explain to people that this is really necessary. Get a quick overview of plans for the Cody library centennial celebration, which will kick off on May 9 (the 90th anniversary of Mabel Wilkinson opening the first Carnegie library in Cody; the library had been in another building for ten years before that).

11ish: Meet with my boss to get some details on things like county-wide book ordering. Learn that, in addition to a new telephone (the one at the front desk doesn’t work) and answering machine (we don’t currently have one at all), we’re going to be getting some new computers. Talk briefly about redesigning the library web site. We have a domain; now we’re looking for a host, because the county doesn’t want to do a lot of the stuff we might like to do. I heartily recommend LIShost. (No promises, Blake, but I’ll do my best!)

12 noon: Realize I’m going to have to wait till 1 pm, when the post office reopens, to get the mail. Eat lunch and read a few articles in Public Libraries and chat with my coworker about various stuff.

1 pm: Head down to the post office in the snow (!) to mail off a couple of ILL requests and fetch the day’s newspapers and mail.

afternoon: The yearbook adviser says they got their classroom back and won’t need to use the library. The second grade shows up to get books and movies and return others. Our library page finishes integrating the YA Accelerated Reader books in with the rest of the YA collection. (I’m all for separating collections to make for easier patron browsing, but not when doing so might mean engaging in prejudicial labeling.) Have an entertaining talk with staff and library patrons about Wyoming’s open container laws (or lack thereof–the legislature just failed once again to restrict open containers in cars–you can’t have one if you’re the driver, but everyone else is fine).

4 pm: Start to wind down for the day. We close at 4:15, though on Wednesdays we open again from 6-8 pm.

4:30: Head home, have a snack, work a little on this post, listen to the news, feed the cat.

6 pm: Go back to the school for the potluck supper/meeting of the Meeteetse Wellness Board. As part of my effort to put a librarian at every table (or at least at as many tables as possible), I’ve been going to various town meetings. This past weekend I joined the water committee of the BVCA Community Improvement District. I’ll be helping them do some research on finding ways to fund getting better water out here where we live (I live in an unincorporated area a little outside of town, and our well water isn’t potable). The Meeteetse Wellness Board does regular blood pressure and cholesterol tests for people in town, and this Saturday they’re having a fair. There will be people there to help you learn to put kids’ carseats in correctly, people from the hospital in Cody, local fitness guru types, and so on. I suggested that next year we could have a library table to help people learn about health reference sources, and they thought that would be cool.

7ish: Stop in to chat with the person staffing the library this evening. Head home. And here I am, finishing up this post. It was a pretty good day.

in wyoming

I’m in Wyoming, I finally have my computer back, and, as of yesterday afternoon, I have home internet access! Expect more bloggery in the future about Wyoming librarianship, what it’s like to go from library school student to branch manager, what my job hunt was like, why I’m still a member of ALA, and other such scintillating topics.

In the meantime, if you wish, you can see a few pictures from the trip over at my mom’s new Flickr account, some pictures of the town and my digs (and quite a few of my cat) on mine, and some pictures from my new workplace over on the Flickr account I created for the library this morning. If you’re a library with a Flickr account, do make us a contact, and we’ll do the same for you! (Everyone else is welcome, too, of course–I just want particularly to demonstrate to the folks here what a nifty tool Flickr can be for libraries.)