Friday, January 30, 2009

Feedburner to Google

Logging into my Feedburner account for this blog earlier today I was prompted with a cheery message to move my existing account to Google's Feedburner:

Hey! We are moving FeedBurner accounts to Google. Learn more or Move your account now.

Since Google bought Feedburner in 2007, this was not that big a shock. Actually, the only real surprise is it took this long to put feedburner under the Google aegis. Everyone will be migrated under the big umbrella, so I went ahead and followed the steps to migrate.

The first step is signing into - or creating - a Google account for your feed. Again, no big surprise there, but my feeburner account for this blog is associated with a different existing gmail account, I had to determine which one to use. Complicating matters are the other Feedburner Accounts I have for work blogs that are related to one of my gmail accounts. It's always something with technology. So, fine. On we go ...

Mostly the process was painless; it did all the work and I whittled away a bit of time. There is a bit of annoyance as some of the statistics are "missing" as later reported by the Feeburner Status Blog: Subscriber Statistics in Will Be Delayed. Not only were my subscriber statistics obliterated, the site stats (visitors, pages, incoming, and outgoing) are also awol.

This is something that will keep me from migrating "official" library feeds over to blogger. My boss frequently asks for statistics regarding our news blog feed, users, and basic site information. Hopefully time and intrepid Google analysts will work out the existing bugs. A quick check of my new feed shows site visitors are still missing, as are the related site statistics.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reflecting on another first

The current economic climate has made the job search more of a job hunt. In academics, often a thriving business during economic downturns as people return to college for re-training and degrees, there have been wide-spread reports of layoffs, hiring freezes, and salary reduction. Some institutions of higher education are growing, my college alma mater newsletter announced it had the highest enrollment increase in their history this past year. And, the Boston Globe reports today that Despite Crunch, Some Colleges Going on Hiring Binges.

Last week I reflected on the increasing role email and phone interviews were playing in my personal career; technology is allowing hiring entities to cut down on costs evaluating and filling openings within their ranks. Earlier this week I received a letter from an institution; I had a phone interview with them prior to the holidays. They kindly apologized for extended lag time between my interview and subsequent contact (something I am used to when working in academics). I was thanked for my time and informed the decision had been made to disband the search committee and place the opening on hold. I was invited to resumit my application materials when the position was re-advertised. While they stopped short of saying the money was not available for a new hire, someone is currently filling the job in an interim capacity, it was certainly implied.

If the search is disbanded once for possible fiscal reasons, how secure is the position at a later time? Is the pool of applicants sufficiently large that a re-posting of the job may not be noticed and the question not asked? It's a bit of a conundrum.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Steeler Coca-Cola Ads

The "new" Coke Zero commercial with Troy Polamalu ...

The one-and-only Mean Joe Greene, should they mess with a classic?

"Mean Troy" behind the scenes in the Coke Zero Ad.

Pittsburgh's goin' to the Super Bowl

Weather Break: A View from my window

The radio just played "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and is now playing "Who Says You Can't Go Home?" ... huh, who says D.J.'s don't have a sense of humor?

After fighting my way through the frozen tundra and arriving at work on time this morning, classes were cancelled fifteen minutes later. This announcement was followed by notification of campus offices closing (a message received 30 minutes after the closing was an accomplished fact). Alas, we remain open with a skeleton crew.

The picture above is the main street outside the library. Yes, there is a road there; it's behind the second row of trees, before the white house. I am hoping someone clears it in the next few hours before I clean off my car and fight my way home again. I love winter.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Caldecott , Newbery & more

Falling under the category of better late than never, here are the Caldecott and Newbery Medal announcements from ALA:

John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature. Neil Gaiman, author of “The Graveyard Book,” illustrated by Dave McKean and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, is the 2009 Newbery Medal winner.

Four Newbery Honor Books were named: “The Underneath” by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; “The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom” by Margarita Engle and published by Henry Holt and Company LLC; “Savvy” by Ingrid Law and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group in partnership with Walden Media, LLC; “After Tupac & D Foster” by Jacqueline Woodson and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Books for Young Readers.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. Beth Krommes, illustrator of “The House in the Night,” written by Susan Marie Swanson and published by Houghton Mifflin Company, is the 2009 Caldecott Medal Winner.

Three Caldecott Honor Books were named: “A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever,” written and illustrated by Marla Frazee and published by Harcourt, Inc.; “How I Learned Geography,” written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz and published by Farrar Straus Giroux; “A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams,” illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

- American Library Association Announces Literary Award Winners, 1/26/09

A quick look at the library catalog from home reveals we have the Newbery award winner and all but one of the honor books (After Tupac and D Foster); all are currently checked out and three of them have had holds placed on them. It never takes long for word to get out and requests to appear in the catalog. I've seen the Neil Gaiman title but not had the opportunity to read it.

We have the Caldecott winner and all but one of the honor books (River of Words). I have to admit though we have The House in the Night, I do not remember even seeing it come through technical services and cataloging. I will be interested to see it tomorrow (unless the person who checked out the book was not the cataloger).

YALSA announced their Alex Award winners as well and I will be ordering those tomorrow. Alex award winners are a bit harder to add into the collection as they fall in to several purchasing/budget categories, recreational, literature, and juvenile, some of which overlap. With general money I have opportunity to look at books for older young adults and starred reviews for recreational, but some lines within the purchasing hierarchy are not to be crossed. We do have Just After Sunset and Over and Under in the recreational collection. I have a bit of general funds remaining and will be able to purchase the other Alex winners.

Lastly, I will need to verify which of the Coretta Scott King winners need to be added to reserves, the author or the illustrator award titles. My best guess is the illustrator title, but it will take time as The Blacker The Berry was ordered just this morning. All of these titles were checked out today; if they are not being held for course reserves, the instructor made a quick trip to the library and checked out the books for her class today. Either way works as then she will be able to make the determination what gets added to her course reserve collection.

Not having read any of the above, at this point I can only report the winners. I guess those months of library web site work exacted it's toll in regard to my reading habits. Tomorrow I will post the results on the resource center and library blogs with links to our catalog.

Wonder what the children's literature blogosphere will have to say?

Live from Denver via Twitter

Had I been twittering all along, I would have had information in real time with the web cast. ALA has a Youth Media Award site, ALAyma Twitter, and the number of readers/followers (myself included) on the site jumped from 780 to 895 in the last five minutes. At this point things appear to have stalled a bit with an almost 20 minute lag with no information beyond the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award - congratulations Ashley Bryan.

I don't know about the other 900, oops 910, followers, but the twitter excitement has worn a bit thin for me. You can see the awards announced up to this point, including the Alex Awards and the Coretta Scott King Awards, on the ALAyma Twitter page.

ALA Live Webcast

I succumbed to the inevitable siren's call and visited the ALA web site at 9:45 am this morning. Prominently displayed on the main page was their live webcast for the Youth Media Awards; however the dial-up dinosaur kept me from viewing the actual announcement. I am now lurking between the ALA News & Press Center and the ALA home page for the web announcement to be posted ...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Followed by, It's my Sunday

The ALA Youth Media Award will be announced tomorrow morning @ 7:45 Mountain Time from Denver, Colorado and the 2009 midwinter meetings. I always envision the announcement in Groundhog Day terms when the members of the Groundhog Club grab Punxsutawney Phil from his warm dark home to pronounce six more weeks of winter (I think he's a bit spiteful). The committee will emerge from it's dark cave, er meetings, announce the winners, and set off a buying frenzy. Librarians who have not already purchased the titles will be logging in to their book seller of choice placing frantic orders.

Even though the announcement time translates roughly to 9:45 ET, tomorrow is my day off and I am not sure where I'll be. Curiosity will compel me to see if we have any of the winners at some point during the day. I do have a contingency plan in place, I've asked the technical services librarian to monitor the announcements. If we have the Caldecott winner she will pull it from the shelves so it may be placed on reserve for our children's literature class. I do not have any strong feelings about a particular children's book this year, or a prediction of any kind (though I did like three of our recent purchases Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken, Sour Puss and Sweetie Pie, and Too Many Toys) but two different SLJ articles predicted winners in March of 2008 and again in June 2008.

Here are a few of the awards to be announced tomorrow:

I need to email the technical services librarian and ask if she'll get the Coretta Scott King Award winner to place on reserve for the same children's literature class.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's my Saturday

I'm tempted to add "and I'll cry if I want to," but there really is no reason since only two hours remain at the conclusion of my lunch break. It has been a normal Saturday for early in the "spring" semester; a few students, a chat question or two, and an abnormal amount of time working on a technology glitch, our style sheets are overpowering an outside vendor's sheets creating a visually unappealing mess. In short order I was able to assist students in person and in cyberspace. Naturally the technology glitch was another matter and took most of the morning to solve. I'm happy to report a compromise was reached, I used print screen to create an image header, and at this point all is well (though I am whiney the site css could not be used).

I have had a new first in my library job search/employment history. Most of the positions I applied for in recent years were initially located via the Internet; it's the convenient norm. I still look at professional journals and peruse while at conferences, but postings through ALA & ACRL's Joblist, Higher ED Jobs, and The Chronicles email list, have streamlined the process significantly. That said, it follows I have sent application materials (resume, CV, etc.) and set up phone interviews via email correspondance. Yesterday, however, I received a politely worded "rejection" letter via email (it followed a phone interview conducted before the holiday break). I'm not sure why it bothered me; after all, it means the same in an email as it does on official letterhead.

I wonder email notification is the new norm? It is as fiscally responsible as phone interviews, why not? Time will tell.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chain win's O'Dell Award

Over at Read Roger,this year's Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction winner has been announced; Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Horn Book Magazine reviewed Chains in their 2008 November/December issue:

"Despite protests that her former owner’s will had freed them, Isabel Finch and her five-year-old sister Ruth are sold and shipped from Newport, Rhode Island, to New York City in May 1776. Their new owners are fierce Loyalists, and one young African American rebel sees Isabel as a potential spy: “You are a slave, not a person. They’ll say things in front of you they won’t say in front of the white servants. ’Cause you don’t count.” At first, Isabel isn’t keen to help: “I’m just fighting for me and Ruth. You can keep your rebellion.” But when she overhears her master’s scheme to kill George Washington, Isabel reports it to a Patriot colonel. The rebels foil the plot; Isabel, however, is forgotten. Finally, Isabel realizes that it’s up to her—and her alone—to find freedom. Anderson’s novel is remarkable for its strong sense of time and place and for its nuanced portrait of slavery and of New York City during the Revolutionary War. A detailed author’s note separates fact from historical fiction." - TANYA D. AUGER

For more information:

I haven't read Chains, I did read and enjoy Andersons previous novel Twisted, but am pleased to report it is part of the library's juvenile collection. It's nice this was announced before the mother ship awards on Monday (it's not lost in the hoopla).

Announcements of ALA's Youth Media Awards are pending this weekend's midwinter meetings in Denver.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running Hot

Running Hot, by Jayne Ann Krentz . After narrowly escaping an attempt on her life, Grace Renquist's new job as a librarian for the Arcane Society allows her to shield both her identity and level of psychic ability by hiding in plain sight. Things have certainly changed in a year; she is traveling to Maui on an undercover consultation for the Society's private investigative agency Jones & Jones. Ex-cop, and current bartender and part time employee of J & J, Luther Malone is her partner/bodyguard assigned to help Grace identify a murderer. What started as simple reconnaissance becomes increasingly complicated as Grace and Luther identify key members of a drug cabal with dangerous talents and incomplete auras. Truth is shaded by lies, abilities are concealed, and time is running out; members of the cabal are turning on each other. Working with a partner is challenging for both Grace and Luther; tempers clash and sparks fly, soon it's not just their senses running hot.

Running Hot is the latest entry in the Arcane Society series. Readers will be effortlessly drawn to Grace and Luther, a challenging pair with secrets and hidden agendas of their own. This is Krentz at her finest, fast paced with witty dialogue, steamy sex, and a good dose of mystery. Fans will be entranced by a closer inspection of series regular Fallon Jones and Grace's ties to the Eclipse Bay trilogy and eternal conspiracy theorist Arizona Snow. A well-crafted stand-alone title, it is not necessary to be familiar with the Arcane Society. Krentz's web site has information about Running Hot and all of the other Arcane Society novels.

Monday, January 12, 2009

And so it begins

Busy, busy, busy ...

Today is the first day of the spring 2009 academic term; it arrived with a little less enthusiasm than its predecessor, but there is also less confusion and more understanding of various technological quirks accompanying a new term. For the first time in a long time, many students have forgotten their passwords for the network as it requires students to change password at regular intervals (the last instance was prior to finals). We can help with ID numbers and usernames in the library, but only the IT department can assist with passwords. Hence the angst and lonely treks to IT.

I am once again working as an adjunct for the college of education teaching two classes, a lab class and an online educational/instructional technology course. I have several resource center class tours and introductory lab sessions scheduled for this week and an upcoming Mock Caldecott panel in early February which, in reality, is only three weeks from tomorrow (I'm ready!).

This week I need to register for ACRL! I've been emailing with my roommate and we have to make a few final decisions and register before the early-bird designation expires. Friday I'm meeting with my poster session buddies and we will be deciding on our poster for ACRL. It might seem early, but there will need to be lead time for the poster to go to the print shop - and - we are also presenting at a local conference the week before ACRL. We really should have looked at the calendar a bit more closely before submitting.

It's all very exciting, exhilarating, and even a bit overwhelming. But oddly enough, I keep thinking of that song from Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Put one foot in front of the other.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

SLJ Best Books 2008

After a day devoted to finishing technology related holiday library backlog of email, blog feeds, blog posts, web site updates, course updates, and another focused upon scheduling student workers and preparing the resource center for the upcoming influx better known as the new spring term, this afternoon I have finally had opportunity for professional journals. Only one remains in my "to read" pile, the December 2008 edition of School Library Journal.

Generally I browse the articles, then move straight to the book reviews for collection development. However, this issue will take significantly longer as it includes School Library Journals Best Books of 2008. The list features sixty-seven books that "stood out as having distinctive voices, singular vision, and/or innovative approaches." Included are picture books, fiction, and non-fiction titles reviewed in SLJ during 2008. As with many review-based journals, chances are if you purchased their "starred review" books you will have their best books list. I am not as diligent a purchaser of SLJ stars and was curious to see how my collection fared.

I have already checked the picture books and am able to report that of the nineteen selected, we currently own (ie: have been processed) sixteen and have two back ordered. I was pleased to see Wave, by Suzy Lee, on the list. A stunning wordless picture book, I can't count the number of times I grabbed this book from the shelf wanting to add it to my Mock Caldecott collection (it's not eligible). Another of my favorites, Lincoln Shot: A President's Life Remembered, is one of the non-fiction entries.

I have not been through the YA titles yet, but a quick glance reveals Waiting for Normal, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, and Paper Towns are on the list. To my thoughts, YA book are trickier to select as you never know what aspect of a book will strike a cord with teens. At ALA annual, The Adoration of Jenna Fox was discussed at the Alex Award sessions with much passion (enough so that I read it upon my return).

The Newbery and Caldecott, among other awards, will be presented at the ALA Midwinter meetings in Denver in a few weeks, January 26th I believe. It will be interesting to see how these best books stack up. Regardless, lunch is over.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Not quite a blogthing

I did take a Blogthings quiz this morning while catching up with my Bloglines account; it was a New Year's, or more aptly old year themed, titled How Much Do You Remember 2008? I finished with a relatively passable 80%, but was ultimately more interested in the "blogchain" posted on Walt at Random (via Ruminations and several other blogs of note) at the end of December. Posts I also found going through my 1300+ blog updates. Here goes.

The 99 Things Meme

Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.
This blog is my first personal blog, I started with a work blog and moved along. Currently I own and/or contribute to eight different blogs.

2. Slept under the stars.
We had a trailer and camped through my childhood. Sleeping under the stars near a campfire has much to offer.

3. Played in a band.
Hmm, where to start? I was in marching bands and concert bands from the fourth grade through college. Yep, a big ole band geek I started with the flute, then piccolo, french horn, oboe, and mellophone.

4. Visited Hawaii.
Would love to do this, if only I could convince myself to be on an airplane that long.

5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
I've given, but honestly it has never been more than I could afford.

7. Been to Disneyland/World.
My family visited Walt Disney World in Florida during it's inaugural season, camping with close friends. I've been lucky enough to visit a second time as a that band geek in senior high school, and a third time during a family trip about ten years ago. Though I didn't have Mickey Mouse Ears, I did get a Donald Duck hat (the beak squeaked). As with many librarians at ALA in Anaheim last summer, I was on the Disney property during the conference. I was able to see fireworks from my hotel room at night.

8. Climbed a mountain.

9. Held a praying mantis.
Picked up a lot of critters when I was a kid.

10. Sang a solo.

11. Bungee jumped. (So not going to happen)

12. Visited Paris.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.

20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight.
I have two sisters, we camped every summer when I was a kid, do the math.

22. Hitch hiked.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
I prefer to think of it as more like a mental health day ...

24. Built a snow fort.
I'm originally from PA, we got lots if snow when I was a child.

25. Held a lamb.

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon.

28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.

29. Seen a total eclipse.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
It's hard to decide which is more beautiful. I was able to see a sunset from the window during my plane ride back to Columbus last summer; we were high enough the world was curved around the sun. Fabulous.

31. Hit a home run.

32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
People argue that one side is better than the other. If you have seen the falls it does not matter which border you are viewing from, it's a fantastic sight. I recommend riding the Maid of the Mist and seeing them up close.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.

35. Seen an Amish Community.
I live in north-central Ohio and see Amish at the Walmart. As a child, we did visit Amish villages (more camping trips).

36. Taught yourself a new language.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.

39. Gone rock climbing.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.

41. Sung Karaoke.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
A long time ago I lived in South Carolina, about an hour from Myrtle Beach. It was common for several of us to visit during the off season. Walking on the beach in the winter is quite invigorating.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.
While working in Spencer Gifts (another lifetime) we were building displays and I dropped a partition on my foot. It was broken and required a trip to the nearby hosptial.

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistene chapel in person.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.

52. Kissed in the rain.
I'm not going to kiss and tell ...

53. Played in the mud.
Hasn't everyone?

54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
The family trailer was pulled by a station wagon which was perfect for drive-in movie night. We would wear our pajamas, grab blankets, and put the seats down to see movies. It was great!

55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.

57. Started a business.

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia.

60. Served at a soup kitchen.

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
Both a brownie and a girl scout, I sold my share of cookies. One year our house was the cookie box house, everyone came to get their orders. I have never seen so many cookie boxes in my life.

62. Gone whale watching.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
Each year we get a group of doctoral students to mentor at the library. I once got flowers from one of my mentees as a thank you.

64. Donated blood.

65. Gone sky diving.

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.

67. Bounced a cheque.
Well, it was a "check," but still an annoying occurance. As anyone who's done it knows soon the penalties for the bouncing amount to more than the check.

68. Flown in a helicopter.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
I had, actually still have, not only several of my Barbie dolls and comic books, but also a doll named Velvet. She was Crissy's cousin. If you pushed her belly-button you could "grow" (actually pull) her hair longer. A knob on her back turned to return her hair inside. She came with a purple velvet dress and my grandmother used to make her clothes.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
Those family camping trips again, as well as the requisite seventh grade class trip to Washington, DC.

71. Eaten Caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.

75. Been fired from a job.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.

77. Broken a bone.
On more than one occassion (as noted above on the ambulance trip). For me the first time was when I was five year's old and we were playing between the houses on a spring-like February afternoon. I slipped and the rest is history.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book.

81. Visited the Vatican.

82. Bought a brand new car.
The first car I ever bought was a Ford Mustang. I drove it until the engine fell out (literally, it was awful) at over 100,000 miles. Couldn't afford to replace or repair and had to let it go.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House.
Actually, I remember touring the White House back when you were allowed to be inside some of the public rooms.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (so not going to happen).

88. Had chickenpox.
I had it, my two sisters had it, what joy.

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury.

91. Met someone famous.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips signed my book at ALA last summer. She's famous as far as I'm concerned.

92. Joined a book club.

93. Lost a loved one.
My mom, not quite a year ago.

94. Had a baby.

95. Seen the Alamo in person.
I made a point to visit the Alamo when at ALA mid-winter two years ago. It was my first ALA conference.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a law suit.

98. Owned a cell phone.
Yes, yes, I have a cell phone and even sometimes remember to turn it on!

99. Been stung by a bee.