08 June, 2007

Hit the road and I'm gone.

I'm running away from work and from this blog for seven weeks.
I'll be in India and the UK and I'll be loving it.
I'll post again when (and if) I get back.

02 June, 2007

In which I reply to Scott Adams

"Recently a friend joked about going to the library to help with his son’s school project. He said it felt like going back in time, to pre-Internet days. I wonder if libraries have an expiration date on them. I’m guessing yes."

Said Adams in part of a post he wrote a couple of days ago. I as is my want replied as such...

now you've put the librarians off side.
boo hiss booo hiss

Oh yeah my my
the library ain't gunna die
yeah yeah my my.

I'm wondering if the library will die (given my vocation I'm hoping not).
But the reason I think not is to do with your mistaken idea of what a library is.
You see a library is not a building for books, it is a place for retrieving information, most people think books because that is how the information has been stored for so long, but we (librarians - or at least the good ones) are early adopters of technology. So libraries have gone from tablets to scrolls then books. We've used microfilm and microfiche, we subscribe to the online databases you can't afford. We have our content online so you can access it from home. A lot of libraries will let you search their catalogue online and then mail you the book you want or email you the information you need.
We have audiobooks in mp3 for you to download, we have books in electronic format for you to read online or on your PDA/phone/camera/internet fridge...

But the real reason the library won't die is that it is a place to store librarians and Librarians (as someone has already commented) are the people who can track down the bit of information you need in amongst the mess of a mass of meaningless crap. Sure, computers can make some of this easier for you to do yourself, but it can make some things harder by hiding the facts you need in the sheer volume of content, and there is no computer yet (or looking like there will be any time soon) which can translate your query from induvidual into a correctly truncated search.

Plus, information needs aside, despite all predictions to the contrary people still like reading real books and the world has more than enough people who don't want to (or can't) buy all the books they want.

Then, there is the social side...
Storytime for preschoolers,
Old men playing chess or reading the newspapers (paper ones or online),
Literacy programs.
Collections of CDs, DVDs, Graphic novels that your mum won't let you buy because of the Japanese proclivity for schoolgirls knickers.
Access to computers for those who don't want/can't afford their own. This is a vital service now as so much of what people need is online, job applications, tax forms, government information all no longer a pamphlet but you need to ensure that there is equity of access to the information.

blah blah my my
this librarian ain't gunna die
I'm gunna burn out
not fade away
librarians way hey

(it will be interesting to hear what he says when he speaks at the Special Libraries Association's annual conference in Denver next week)

we lefties aren't the only ones restoring the balance

I just found this pile of steaming crap online, apparently the book publishing world is trying to force all our children to become dirty liberals.

A California businessman says he is publishing books for young readers to offer a balance to left-leaning tomes on the shelves.
His "Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed," cartoon book about two boys trying to set up a lemonade stand but bail after encountering red tape and taxes, sold nearly 30,000 copies, said Eric Jackson. His independent World Ahead Publishing staked its claim on the conservative market under the imprint Kids Ahead, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Two other cartoon books took on Hollywood and activist judges.
"You don't hear a lot of umbrage out there about conservative books being foisted onto kids," Jackson said in his Torrence, Calif., office. "There's a need in the market for books that show the other side of the equation."

You're right, no one is concerned that the world is becoming some sort of conservative lead mindless big-brother like international war starting bullshit you tried to kill my daddy Saddam and Obama masterminded the world trade centre bombing Fox news is well thought out and unbiased by Grud I better take a smegging breath Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhgh.
So let me scream it now umbrage umbrage umbrage umbrage umbrage umbrage. There, now you hear a lot of it. What he means is that none of his right wing friends ever complain about his right wing bias, well, that's a surprise. None of my Christian friends ever complain that I believe in God. None of my librarian friends ever complain that I believe in equity of access to information, none of my rugby friends ever complain that I don't like cricket.

He's preparing to take on a big gun in the children's publishing world: Scholastic. This fall both publishers will peddle books about global warming -- or in Jackson's case, debunking global warming.
If "The Sky's Not Falling! Why It's OK to Chill About Global Warming!" succeeds, Jackson said he hopes to launch a line of non-fiction children's books presenting a conservative viewpoint on other topics.
This man isn't a conservative, he's a moron. There are almost no scientists left who think that global warming needs debunking. Even the most conservative lobby group funded 'tobacco is harmless' 'have another helping of asbestos' type scientists are only arguing about how much impact humans are having on the process. Even John Howard (last of the dirty rotten stopouts) has pulled a backflip and is going for emission reduction targets.

If it wasn't for the fact that I'm anti-censorship I'd be putting World Ahead Publishing on my blacklist. As it is with luck I'll be able to ignore them because they'll be a flash in the pan in the US and never make it to Oz at all.

To quote from the author of one of this publishing house's tomes, Katharine DeBrecht, former co-captain of Security Moms for Bush (whatever the hell that is).
Liberals have been foisting their ideological agenda on our kids for years, and now they’re beside themselves that someone would stand up to them. Evidently books about socialist fish and gay kings are OK, but a story about hard work and self-reliance is too extreme. Evidently liberals oppose parents who believe in traditional values having a book that will help them teach those values to their children, But, then again, liberals oppose anything that supports religion, traditional families, and the free market. Those institutions are obstacles to their goals of eliminating personal responsibility and establishing a welfare state.
Yes, the Rainbow Fish is a story to brainwash your children into socialist thinking (don't share kids, keep it for yourself, hoard your stuff it is yours, given by God because he loves you more than poor kids). Next time a librarian tries to read your children the Rainbow Fish at storytime, slap them, they want your kids on the dole and probably smoking pot.