Ideology and ‘Information Hunters’

When I first heard of the new book Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe by Kathy Peiss, I thought it was so far up my alley it should have just moved in. The book tells two primary, interweaving stories: how the information-collecting missions of the Library of … Continue reading Ideology and ‘Information Hunters’

Survey says: Library visits rule

Gallup: In U.S., Library Visits Outpaced Trips to Movies in 2019 Some takeaways from this survey: Yay for libraries, duh. Every other activity included in the survey—including movies, sporting events, zoos, national parks, and museums—charges admission fees. If all of them were free to access, would there be a different #1? Maybe not, because another … Continue reading Survey says: Library visits rule

How to help someone use a [insert frustrating digital device]

Thanks to Jessamyn West for republishing Phil Agre's advice from 1996 on how to help someone use a computer. Swap out computer for "smartphone" or "e-reader" and it's still quite relevant. Some favorites: Nobody is born knowing this stuff. You’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a beginner. If it’s not obvious to them, it’s not obvious. … Continue reading How to help someone use a [insert frustrating digital device]

Refer Madness: Librarian as Point Guard

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. On Tuesday I hosted a discussion at the library on the films of 2018. It was an informal time to swap favorites (or least favorites) from the year, and discuss the Oscar nominations that had just been announced. Opinions abounded, of … Continue reading Refer Madness: Librarian as Point Guard

Refer Madness: Always on call

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. You know how doctors are always on call? Someone has a heart attack on an airplane or chokes at a restaurant, and doctors, nurses, or other care providers jump to the rescue, even if they are off the clock. Even medical … Continue reading Refer Madness: Always on call

Refer Madness: Hate the change, love the library

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. A while back, my department’s email received this message: "What happened to the CLASSIC CATALOG? I am old, I hate change, but love my library. Thanks." I had to laugh. Funny but dead serious, succinct and self-aware, this missive captures a very real conundrum: … Continue reading Refer Madness: Hate the change, love the library