Even Famous Authors Self-Publish

Lawrence Block is an award-winning best-selling author of several book series and short stories. Block is most famous for his Burglar mysteries. Block’s Burglar books feature Bernie Rhodenbarr. Bernie is a bookseller by day and high-class thief by night.

This series of ten books began in 1977 with Burglars Can’t be Choosers, and seemed to end in 2004 with Burglar on the Prowl.

Then nearly ten years later, in 2013, The Burglar Who Counted Spoons came out as a self-published book by Block.


Mobile Libraries on Four Legs

In What’s Going On at the Library, I noted that some librarians are making space for new kinds education within library walls while others are taking their expertise outside the library and on to the Internet.

The movement to go outside library walls isn’t exactly a new trend, though. In early California librarians used to ride out all over the state on horses all to deliver books. This WPA photo below shows one of these “pack horse librarians” delivering books to her patrons.

In Northeastern Kenya librarians are using camels to deliver books to children


Building Libraries for African Children

Last December I published a post about an inspiring documentary featuring librarians In Northeastern Kenya who walk hundreds of miles with camels to deliver books to children. This year, along with part of that post below, I’m including ways you can help build African libraries.

In the US the African Library Project coordinates book drives here and partners with African schools and villages to start small libraries.

In Africa, some of the African Library Project’s partners include Peace Corps volunteers and school administrations.

Former Peace Corps members and others request books that are organized into libraries serving local African communities. One such Peace Corps volunteer was my sister-in-law Ginnie Humphreys who served in Lesotho about a decade ago.


What is Metadata?

Working both as a librarian and as a computer network manager, one of the most annoying things in my job(s) was learning a second vocabulary for computing.

Every field of study has its jargon. So, at the end of this post, I’ll tell you how I think librarians and computer programmers came to use such different words for such similar things. But first, a look at library metadata.

Library science is the study of all existing fields of knowledge. For lack of a word, let’s call that the study of “meta-knowledge”. Metadata is a way of describing the meta-knowledge that librarians work with.

Librarians who create metadata

Catalogers are technical services librarians who work with the print materials, digital files, and media that come into a library. Catalogers create metadata for “documents” provided directly to patrons or for public services librarians to use in answering questions from their library patrons.


What’s Going On at the Library?

“Know your customers” is an old adage in marketing. Yet, how much do you know about librarians or library markets? Do you still think libraries are just building filled with nothing but dusty books, magazines and newspapers? Well, here’s some news for you. This year’s 29th Computers in Libraries Conference, will be held April 7-9, 2014 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC. The theme of this year’s conference is “Hack the Library”. You might never think librarians would be wannabe hackers. But from wearing tight black leather skirts to body piercings and tattoos and long hair on men, librarians have always had a bit of an unconventional side. It shouldn’t be a surprise that there is a site by and for library students called “Hack Library School”. The mission of these students begins thusly, “This is an invitation to participate in the redefinitions of library school using the web as a collaborative space outside of any specific university or organization.” Hack Library School was based on a 2011 presentation on HackLibSchool, given virtually by Micah Vandegrift to the New York Metropolitan Library Council.  You can see his video here. Workshops about hacking Computers in Libraries workshops on hacking caught my eye immediately: “Hacking Google: Learn about the new and little-known search features that enable you to out-Google anyone…even your clients.” Other sessions include “Hacking the Deep Web [also called the ‘invisible’ web],” and “Hacking the Social Web“. Lastly, as the library school students at Hack Library School hoped, librarians are leaving the library space altogether in a concerted move to get online for what one workshop at the conference calls a “Slam-a-thon! Slam the Boards”. “Slam the Boards” is a concerted effort among reference desk librarians  – “to provide answers on popular ‘Answer Board’ sites like Yahoo Answers, WikiAnswers, AskVille, etc. We also make it clear that the questions have been answered by librarians. This gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our question-answering skills to users who may not realize that librarians provide reference services”. Librarians also have a playful side. Fun library workshops On Sunday evening, the conference features a free welcome and networking event,  “Games, Gadgets and Makerspaces”. OK, I didn’t know what a makerspace was either… “…makerspaces are community centers with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible...

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