Another twelve inches of snow fell last night. It is hard to capture what that much snow looks like. After awhile it is just white on white. We have mountains of snow. You could ski on some of our drifts. But the picture for today is not so much about the quantity of snow that we have received, as it is about the indomitable spirit of this intrepid cyclist. I took this picture this morning, on my walk in to work. When I walked home tonight, the bike was gone. That’s hard core.
As part of our month-long promotion of the Academy’s participation in the Green Cup Challenge, we are sponsoring a series of contests designed to raise awareness of environmental concerns. And also designed to build our Facebook fan base, and increase our traffic. But really, one of the most important results of the initiative is the team-building that comes from total staff participation in the creation and execution of the various activities. The power of collective intelligence is formidable. And the power of fun can’t be overstated.
The digital age has transformed both the way libraries select, acquire, and provide access to our materials collections and the ways in which we instruct our millennial students in how to think critically about information in multiple formats. Libraries have historically been associated with books. But these days it isn’t even easy to know what a book IS. For example:
Cory Doctorow’s Makers was originally published online in 81 installments.
A very addictive electronic tile game was created from the original “book” illustrations. The the “real” book was published, and we added it to our collection. But we didn’t stop there. Some people would rather listen to books, so we also provide access to the downloadable audio version. And then there are those who swear by their Kindles, or nooks, or Sony Readers, and so we also want to be able to meet their needs. The Kindle edition is only $9.99, less than we paid for the printed book. But then, the original serial publication was (and is still) free. And neither the printed book nor the full-text electronic versions have the cool illustrations that accompanied the original publication. So what does this all mean for libraries? For the OWHL it means: redundant collection for the foreseeable future. It means active discovery of electronic alternatives to printed books, and the preparation of finding aids to connect our readers to those materials. I also opens up the possibility of purchase-on-demand, so that scarce resources can be allocated only to those materials that will definitely be used.
In this picture, one of the librarians on our staff, who happens to have a PhD in addition to her MLS, is painstakingly counting out four pounds of green M&Ms for a contest that we are running in conjunction with the Green Cup Challenge. Librarians are one of the few groups of professionals that offer an essential service, at no cost, and still have to spend a great deal of time marketing. Go figure.
Today I took 18 kids to Loomis Chaffee for a multi-school debate tournament. It being winter, with unpredictable weather and early dark, I elected to hire a bus rather than drive. The kids planned to put the final polish on their cases (“Resolved that the US Government should limit the production and consumption of meat”) on the bus. However, teenagers don’t wake up quickly on Sunday mornings, and after a brief flurry of enthusiasm it was a very quiet bus ride. We left before the awards were announced, so I don’t know how we did, but I consider it a successful educational experience because when we stopped at our favorite rest area for fast food on the way home, only a few people chose McDonalds. Two weeks ago almost everyone did. I think that they learned something by researching the advantages of limiting meat consumption.
I am deep into a major project, intended as a third birthday gift for my grand daughter. It involves a good deal of machine embroidery, and many, many colors of thread. I love to pull the colors out and look at them in the light. I compare shades and create sequences to see how the colors will look together. The thread is polyester, and has a beautiful sheen. It is my palette, and for a little while, I can be an artist.
It has been an extremely difficult winter, and it is still January. Last week I fell on an icy sidewalk walking home from work. Not to put too fine a point on it, I broke my butt. I have been in constant discomfort since, and still have to brave the miserable conditions every day as a pedestrian commuter. Trying to help, Dean bought me YakTrax. They strap to the bottom of any boots (I have them on Uggs) and provide some traction–as long as there is something to grab into. They are not good on ice, and not on tile floors. Sigh.