Author Archives: Margie McCandless

Heard it through the (Library) Grapevine

BlogWhile deciding on a topic for the annual Library Professional Growth Day, I needed some inspiration, so I decided to read a few library blogs, listen to some library podcasts, and just generally poke around in some library related websites. I found more than I bargained for!  It turns out there are many great library websites out there connecting librarians, passing information along, and generally getting the word out – in other words a virtual library grapevine. I had found my topic!

Of the many sites I came across, I concentrated on those with applications to the academic library from a variety of perspectives, hoping to find something for everyone.  I eventually settled on these seven grapes on the grapevine:

Annoyed Librarian. This anonymous columnist for the online edition of Library Journal is not annoyed with co-workers or patrons, but rather with the many controversies, big and small, affecting the library world. Readers submit library news articles of a controversial nature to her which she then discusses, usually challenging the popular view. No one knows who she is, and some are offended by what they see as insults in her blogs, but no one can deny that she has an opinion about everything and doesn’t hesitate to express it. She is entertaining while being annoyed and brings newsworthy library topics to the attention of readers who otherwise might not know about them.

Mr. Library Dude aka Joe Hardenbrook is a reference librarian in Wisconsin. He is a prolific blogger, posting under 17 categories who got his moniker when a student who had forgotten his name, tried to get his attention by calling out, ”Hey, Mr. Library Dude.” It is obvious he loves all aspects of his job and the broader library world, but high on his list of current interests are social media, 3D printing, user experience, and space assessment. Don’t miss his popular Lego Librarian blogs, where he features a whole library world he has built out of Legos!

Awful Library Books. This site has some fun with a serious purpose – weeding and collection development. Its creators, public librarians in Michigan, remind us in the most visual way that “hoarding is not collection development” and sometimes you just have to let go!  Librarians eagerly submit books from their own library’s weeding pile, of which there seems to be an endless supply, demonstrating why we weed. Many books are just hilariously out of date, while others are of dubious value at any time. The commentary and images will make you laugh, but beyond the awful books that are featured is sound advice about the importance of weeding. These two experts also share slides from their many presentations here.

Disruptive Librarian Jester and Library Technology Launchpad are two sites that focus on technology issues and trends in the library.  The Jester, whose tagline is “We’re Disrupted. We’re Librarians. And We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore” is all about change, the small ones and the more radical, disruptive ones. “The Launchpad offers “library technology for every librarian” including blog posts and podcasts.

Library History Buff Blog features blogs about libraries from times gone by that preserve our library heritage by providing glimpses into the past. Posts are richly illustrated with historical photos and library memorabilia, giving it the feel of a library archive.  Whether it be a collection of old library cards, bookplates, stamps, postcards, or conference programs or tales of long ago library services and events    you are sure to find many items of interest here.

In the Library with a Lead Pipe is heavier reading for the serious librarian!  Though it started as an award winning peer reviewed blog in 2008, it transformed itself into an officially recognized online peer reviewed open access journal in 2012.  The impetus behind this is a team of librarians of all types from around the world. Some articles have been published as open access elsewhere but they also take original submissions.  These will be reviewed by a panel before being accepted for publication. They publish one to two articles a month representing all kinds of libraries and topics.

I will revisit the grapevine often and surely find a topic there for next year’s Professional Growth Day!

A few other grapes on the vine:

Trevor Owens – Archiving                                               Stephen’s Lighthouse – Trends Innovation, Information

David Lee King – Social media, emerging trends       The Travelin’ Librarian – Michael Sauers

Free Range Librarian – K. G. Schneider                        10 Mysterious Libraries Around the World – video

Ready, Set, Grow!

Ntl Garden MonthThe weather has been unpredictable all across the country this year, but nothing says Spring like April!  Fittingly, April is National Garden Month – a perfect time to get back out to the soil and get things growing again. National Garden Month is a fairly new celebration. It began as a mere week in 1987 after the National Garden Bureau and 23 other national horticultural organizations worked together to designate a week in April as National Garden Week.  However, as any gardener will tell you, a week is simply not enough! So in 2003, The National Gardening Association took up the cause to extend that week to last the whole month of April.  Each year since, they have sponsored the month, encouraging everyone to get outside and grow something. Continue reading

Genealogy LibGuide Review

Genealogy LibGuideWho do you think you are? People have always been interested in tracing their roots and building family trees, but with the Internet at our fingertips and the digitalization of so many types of records, this has become more popular and easier to accomplish. Now from the comfort of your own home, you can be an armchair genealogist. Even so, it is a fascinating but complex undertaking, where pieces of the puzzle may stubbornly elude you or take you down the wrong path, or turn up completely unexpected results! Continue reading

February is National Women Inventors Month

Women InventorsDo you use windshield wipers, coffee filters, and square bottomed paper bags?  How about a dishwasher, liquid paper, or a circular saw? All of these items were invented by women. Useful though they are, women inventors have improved our lives far beyond these everyday items. February is National Women Inventors Month, and a good time to honor these women and take a look at a few of their inventions. Continue reading

Gingerbread Houses – A Delicious History

gingerbread-houseGingerbread!  The very word makes you smile.  And who doesn’t love a gingerbread house?  Of all the traditions of the season, perhaps none captures the imagination more than this one.  Gingerbread houses originated hundreds of years ago in medieval Germany, but gingerbread itself has actually been around for thousands of years.   Continue reading

Super Statistics with Statista

StatistaFinding statistics can be tedious and frustrating, but Statista, a new library database, takes the pain out  of it. With 1,000,000 continuously updated statistics from over 600 areas, you are sure to find what you need. Statista draws from all manner of sources, including public, private, and government, and delivers all types of data. Continue reading

Appreciating Nebraska Artists

SculptureAugust is American Artist Appreciation Month and what better time to appreciate our own Nebraska artists! Most people can name at least a few famous American artists; maybe Jackson Pollack, Georgia O’Keefe, Andy Warhol, or Norman Rockwell come to mind, but how many Nebraska artists can you name? Continue reading

Fire the Pretty Girl, Book Review

Fire the Pretty Girl

The title alone should tell you that “Fire the Pretty Girl” is no ordinary dry business success story. Entertaining, engaging, and thoroughly readable from the first sentence, where John Morton laments, “If she wasn’t so pretty, I wouldn’t have fired her,” it follows his nontraditional and ultimately successful journey through the business world. Continue reading