Paper and Thought

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you are well and had a lovely week. We have finished up final exam week here on campus and it is just about time for quarter break and summer session. I love summer as it is a time to reflect, catch up, and generally get things done without being pulled a million different ways. Today I wanted to share some interesting articles on paper and thought, which may sound a bit odd since this is a blog, but I love paper and handwriting, as well as interesting studies, so I thought it may be of interest to some of you, too.

I thought this was an interesting summary on Lifehacker of some research about how we might consider taking notes by hand to remember information longer. This is something to keep in mind as people keep lugging laptops, phones, and tablets along to meetings to take notes instead of a notepad and pen. I seem to remember things I’ve handwritten better than those I’ve typed, so this works for me. I wonder what your experience is with paper versus digital notetaking.

In a similar vein, Wired has an article on reading on screen versus paper. This is especially relevant to teachers and librarians as many of us have mandates to buy more ebooks and etextbooks at our libraries, which may be a boon for some students, but not for others. I think it will be very interesting to see where we go with paper books versus digital books in the coming years. Do you have a preference for reading on screen versus on paper? I love the convenience of ebooks, especially when traveling, but prefer paper when I’m using a book for research or am curled up reading at home.

Finally, for fun, check out this lovely flowchart by Derangement and Description, “Will Digitization Solve My Problem?”. I think all archivists, librarians, and others involved in digitization projects can relate to this. I think about this a lot when I’m trying to explain the true scope of digitization projects to people on campus.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear readers! I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Friday Tips

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that your week has gone well and you have a lovely weekend planned. Today I have a grab bag of tips to share as we get into both the happiest (and sometimes most stressful) part of the year. So let’s just get into it.

Airport travel seems inevitable this time of year. Unless, of course, you find yourself on a road trip. But if you are flying, you should really check out Lifehacker’s article on how to make the airport less crappy and more fun. I completely agree that airport time is much better if you are not rushed and if you already know the layout of the airport. Also, if the airport has free wifi, that always makes things better.

While a lot of us are getting into the holiday mood, we still have to be productive at work and so I share Lifehacker’s article on a 3 step alternative to a machine like workday. This really is a must read and more importantly, a must implement strategy. I’m a huge fan of single tasking and creating a schedule, when possible, that matches your productivity and energy peaks throughout the day. While this is not always possible with meetings and service point schedules, it is good to maintain an overall balance so you can get more done without falling into the trap of burnout. If nothing else, step away from your email. You’ll be amazed how much more you get done without the constant notification of an incoming message every few minutes (and you’ll also be able to respond in a timely manner; waiting a few hours for a response is not the end of the world and if it really is urgent, the sender will call you). Also, remember to breathe!

If you are in higher education, or just read the news headlines, you can’t escape hearing about MOOCs. So it is great that you can find a Compendium on MOOcs by Educause. I still need to go through all the resources, but it is really a good place to get more information about MOOCs and educate yourself if your library is considering implementing and/or supporting MOOCs.

Finally, I had to share this Kickstarter for the Book House. Yay for bookstores and helping independent bookstore owners!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend full of relaxation, fun, and good food. I’ll be back next week. Allons-y!

Books and Libraries

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has gone well and you are looking forward to a lovely weekend. With the weather turning chilly, it seems the perfect time to turn our talk to books to end this week. Because really, what is much better than curling up with a good book, a blanket and a cup of tea/hot chocolate/coffee/your favorite drink when it is chilly outside? Autumn is a fabulous time for this lovely pleasure and so let’s talk books and libraries, or rather let’s read about them.

If you haven’t yet read Neil Gaiman’s talk on libraries and reading and daydreaming yet, you really should. Also, if you haven’t heard of it, you really need to update your channels for libraryland news. It’s no secret I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work and his speaking. I spent hours waiting to have him sign my books when he was in San Francisco promoting The Ocean at the End of the Lane (absolutely fantastic, by the way). I eagerly try to lend out my copies of his short stories and poems to friends that haven’t yet read his work and am always excited to see when he has a new blog post up.

One of the things, apart from his writing, that I most admire about Neil Gaiman is his vocal support for libraries and reading books. (Not surprising I know, but true). This latest talk is absolutely wonderful and I love thinking about books as being sharks, perfectly adapted so why bother evolving? (Especially makes me happy as I’m working with a biology course this quarter and they’re learning about natural selection pressures at the moment.) I think his talk is an eloquent argument for the value of physical libraries and physical books in a time when so many have been swept away by the “shiny” of technology and promise of everything being better online. But I think, when the digital bits settle down, we see again and again the ability of physical books to transport us and allow us space away from the multitasking atmosphere of being online to a place of reflection and wonder.

I love using technology as much as the next person and fully embrace its use in libraries, archives, and the classroom, but in ways that make sense and not as a panacea for all. I think Neil Gaiman reminds us of why humans and paper and daydreaming are as important as knowing the latest technology. Books give us the room to dream and imagine, which we can translate into new and creative tools and technologies. So nice to read about the love of books from one of our current rock star authors.

In other non-library news, I’m looking forward to trying this lovely recipe from Joy the Baker now that we have a waffle iron at home: mashed potato cheddar and chive waffles. Sounds absolutely perfect for the crisp fall weather we are getting.

Finally, if you are like me and are concerned with privacy or teach about privacy and using technology, you’ll probably appreciate this comic from xkcd. I can’t wait to use it with my students during the next quarter:

Privacy Opinions by xkcd

Privacy Opinions by xkcd

Have a fantastic weekend full of good reads, good eats, and good fun. I’ll be back next week with more. Allons-y!

Paper, Books, and Other Fun for the End of the Quarter

Happy Friday, dear readers! It has been a busy week on campus, but it is finally winding down as final exams have wrapped up. I thought today I’d share some thoughts about paper, books, and some fun for the end of your week/beginning of your weekend mainly because these are the kind of things rattling around my head at the end of the quarter.

Yesterday I went to San Francisco Center for the Book to take the Introduction to Bookbinding class. It was a lot of fun (although I’m tired from the lateness of getting home after class via BART) and it was great to see such an interest in traditional arts. This was a great break from all the work I usually do on the computer and definitely rejuvenating after hearing all the time about the demise of print, especially print books, in my work as a librarian and archivist. If you live in the area, I highly recommend checking on SFCB as the instructors are really nice and knowledgeable and it is rewarding to make something tangible (and beautiful).

Speaking of books and ebooks, one of my colleagues sent around this article from Salon, Books aren’t dead yet. It is a nice read and confirms what I’ve seen that we have a thriving, 2 format ecosystem of books for readers at the moment. And considering we need to buy another bookshelf for the apartment, you can tell where I fall on the spectrum of buying print and ebooks (although I do really enjoy using my tablet, I still love the physicality of print).

This video is lovely, silly, and a great reminder, too, that paper isn’t outdated just quite yet. Unfortunately it won’t allow embedding, so head over to Vimeo to check out the video, Paper is not dead.

Finally, I leave you with a lovely photograph of a reading nook, hopefully to inspire you to curl up with a favorite book/ebook over the weekend for a bit of a break:

reading nook from Beautiful Portals Tumblr

reading nook from Beautiful Portals Tumblr

Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Books, Gadgets, Etc. (and a cat)

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that your week has been peaceful and productive. I have a few links to share with you today that should be useful for yourself and for sharing with patrons during this back-to-school season. Speaking of back-to-school, as some of you eagle-eyed readers have no doubt caught from occasional references on this blog, I’m currently working on my dissertation. This means not only does my kitchen table look like it’s having a tiny book and paper sale (bonus points if you got The Big Bang Theory reference) due to the enormous stacks of research material I have on it, my wrists are also acting up from all the typing I’m doing trying to get a lot written before the start of classes and teaching at the end of September. This means The Waki Librarian will be updated once instead of twice a week until classes begin in order to save my wrists. I hope you understand, dear readers. So let’s get on to the good stuff.

First, because I teach in the university, I’m constantly thinking about the coming school year. And to me, that means thinking about social media because I use it in my classes and talk about it with my students. So this post from Stephen Abram on what not to do on social media is definitely going into my discussions of social media this year. While not everything is totally applicable to my students, it should give us some points of discussion.

Speaking of teaching, one of the most powerful things I’ve learned that has helped my teaching is knowing when to be quiet and just let people think. Too many people want to rush to fill silences and that doesn’t help in meetings or in the classroom. Check out and share this Lifehacker article on how to use the power of silence to be heard. It is really helpful and a good reminder that not every second has to be filled with noise.

And for those of you with a lot of gadgets, and who haven’t already seen this post on Craft (which was then picked up by ThinkGeek), check out the tutorial on how to turn a book into a gadget case. If you are going to cut up a book, it better be turned into something at least this cool.

Finally, an image from Bohemian Homes that most certainly will want to make you curl up with a good book (if not also a cat and a cup of tea):

Kitty with books from Bohemian Homes

Kitty with books from Bohemian Homes

Have a wonderful rest of your day and relaxing weekend. I’ll be back next week with more. I’m off now to write. Allons-y!

Letterpress Fun!

Happy Wednesday! I hope you are having a lovely day, dear readers. Someone has confused the weather here in the Bay Area and it is raining today. I feel like sleeping rather than working, but alas, that is not to be. Instead, I’m going to talk just briefly about some fun I had over the weekend and then let you get back to your day.

On Saturday I went to San Francisco Center for the Book in order to see Moveable Type, which I’ve already talked about on this blog. It’s pretty awesome to see a converted van that’s set up for demonstrating the art of using letterpresses. It was awesome to hear Kyle Durrie (who also owns and runs Power and Light Press in Portland, Oregon) talk about her craft and demonstrate the usage of two of her presses.

My favorite of the two presses was definitely the one in the photo below, which used to be used a lot by businesses to create inexpensive posters and ads.



We even got to try our hand at using the letterpresses. This is the result of what I made using the above letterpress. I think it came out rather well.

Example from the Letterpress

Example from the Letterpress

Finally, Kyle Durrie was selling some of her letterpress cards and posters, all of which were awesome. I couldn’t help but buy a couple of the design featured below. (I told her I was a librarian and she thought it was rather appropriate that I bought the cards.)

Checkout Slip Card

Checkout Slip Card

You should check out Moveable Type’s blog to see if the Type Truck is coming to your neck of the woods and you can always request a visit if there isn’t a stop near you. And, if it works out in her schedule, maybe Kyle will do a demo in your hometown.

I thought it was a great way to spend a day in the city and a great juxtaposition to all the technology stuff so many of us are working with and on during the workweek. Now I just have to figure out how to make one of those poster presses…

I hope the rest of your day is wonderful (and rain-free). I’ll be back on Friday with some archives, library, and tech news. Allons-y!

Job and Weekend Stuff

It’s Friday and the end of another week, thank goodness. Before getting to the few things I want to talk about today, I just want to share this link from Gizmodo, Japanese earthquake: How to respond and stay informed and also, hopefully soon, how to help/donate to the relief efforts.

In more fun news for this kind of gloomy Friday in the Bay Area (where luckily we haven’t had any real damage due to tsunamis), today I just want to share a few resources to help you with landing a job and to help you have a good weekend.

First, to the job information. It seems like you can’t get away from people talking about jobs and the economy, but I promise not to ramble on for too long. I just have two resources to share: this great article from WebWorkerDaily, landing your dream job in a networked world, and Lifehacker’s top 10 ways to rock your resume. Having now been on both sides of the hiring table in libraryland, I can’t tell you how shocked I was with the sloppy looking resumes applicants submit. If you want a professional position, make every effort to come across as a professional. Also, networking: overused word, but crucial to finding opportunities.

Speaking of job hunting, resumes, and interviewing, if you are a graduate student at San Jose’s School of Library and Information Science, come to or log in for the Resume & Interview Workshop tomorrow. It should be a very helpful event and I’ll be one of the panelists speaking at the event. So do come by and say hi.

Now on to a few bits of fun for your weekend and I do hope, dear reader, that you have a fun weekend planned. First, I have to share Lifehacker’s post on extending the life of your books by handling them properly. I feel it’s my duty as a librarian and archivist to share the link and give you a preservation resource to share with your friends and patrons.

And if you are having guests over this weekend, or you just fancy making something nice for yourself, I suggest trying Joy the Baker’s cinnamon sugar pull apart bread and/or lemon cornmeal breakfast cake. Her recipes are fantastic and have never let me down when it comes to baking up something lovely.

Finally, I leave you with this bit of the 2010 Doctor Who Proms. Really, it makes for a nice work/study break.

Have a lovely rest of your day, a fantastic weekend, and I’ll be back next week with more random thoughts on archives, libraries, and technology. Allons-y!

Books, Data Usage, and other Random Stuff

Happy Friday! I know, finally a post that is actually posted on Friday. I thought it would be a good idea to get back on schedule. So here is a Friday’s worth of random academic, library, and technology fun facts and tips. From textbook news to characters falling back into their books, it’s all here so let’s get going.

As an academic librarian (and a student myself), I’m super-excited about the news that universities receiving federal financial assistance must “provide students with accurate textbook information including retail price at the time a student registers for the course.” Read the full article on Campus Chatter. This should really help the students looking for textbook information and the librarians–maybe once students find out about this new requirement, there will be fewer panicking students at the reference desk during the first days of classes. (A librarian can always hope!)

If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, you know how much I like productivity tips and articles about self-improvement. So obviously, I really like this article: Saying ‘I will do it in the future’ is an Excuse for Failure from the simple dollar. Great advice, and a kick in the pants, that should have you evaluating your to-do list and actually getting things done. (It also reminds me of an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon talks about his future self creating a time machine and giving it to him in the past so that it takes the pressure off working on the machine in the present. But really, I like the article because at it’s heart, it is simply and powerfully a call to just get started and then inertia will take over.)

My sister and I were discussing data plans for smartphones over dinner last night (yes, we are both geeks…moving on…) and it reminded me that I hadn’t shared this great Lifehacker article: how to keep track of your cellphone data usage. Check this out for simple ways to track your data usage so your carrier won’t have an excuse to slap you with data overage charges.

Also, speaking of Lifehacker and technology, check out this slightly older post on the top 10 privacy tweaks you should know about. You probably already know about some of these, but even so, the list is a great review and helpful for making sure you don’t overshare without knowing it and tips for keeping what you want to keep private. Very good information in this age of perpetual connection online.

If you haven’t seen this Flickr set by Lissy Elle yet, you really need to go see it now. Get Back in Your Book is a fantastic series of “a collection of characters who strive to stay in the real world,” but are falling back into their books. Really, the photographs are amazing so take a little break and thank me later.

Finally, let’s end with a fun Vlogbrothers video, Book Nerd PARADISE, from John’s time at ALA:

Have a lovely weekend full of reading and fun. The Waki Librarian will be back next week with more library and technology news.

P.S. I’ll be working on changing up the theme/layout of the blog over the weekend, so don’t get concerned if it looks a little bit strange for a bit. It will just be me and it will all be sorted out, promise.

John Green & David Levithan Book Event

I have this lovely post I am working on about learning foreign languages, creating better profile photographs and just having fun with technology and libraries. But we are going to have to put that on hold right now because I want to talk about last night’s book even with John Green and David Levithan, if I don’t I will spend the rest of the day annoying people at work with tales of the nerdfighter-tastic fun that was to be had at Books Inc. last night.

First a little background, John Green and David Levithan are both young adult authors. Not only our they young adult authors, but the happen to be New York Times best selling authors (trust me, go read their work if you haven’t already) and simply awesome people to boot. David wrote a book, you may have heard of it or the movie, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. John also happens to be one-half of the Vlogbrothers (the other half is his brother, Hank) and de facto leader of the world’s Nerdfighters. If you need a definition of Nerdfighters, please see the video below:

My very good friend, Monika, got me hooked on the Vlogbrothers’ videos (I even use them when I teach, but more on that later). I even have one of the rare John Green bobbleheads in my office. Like I’ve said before, I think it is great that young adults who feel nerdy and like no one else understands them now have a community to come to online and in person (not to mention help decrease world suck). [As an aside, Monika works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and trained the birds for the new Hot Pink Flamingos exhibit (click the link to see a web cam of the exhibit). So if you go to see the exhibit and run into her, say hi and be nice; she might tell you some cool stuff about the birds.]

So anyway, there is this little book (totally joking, it debuted at number 3 on the NYT Best sellers list) that Green and Levithan wrote called Will Grayson, Will Grayson and they were in San Francisco last night to promote the book. It was a blast. There were a lot of Nerdfighters at the event:

Nerdfighter Crowd

Nerdfighter Crowd

Then came the screaming and photo snapping before the “dramatic reading” (which was amazing; there is already footage up on YouTube) and Q & A (yes, I know the photos are not the best quality, but in my defense, neither is my digital camera):

David and John

David and John

Then there was the book signing. I have to give massive props to the people working at Books Inc. because they were pros at moving the line along at a reasonable pace. John and David were lovely about signing as many of their books as people wanted. I managed to tell John that I am a librarian and use Vlogbrothers videos when I teach without tripping all over myself (aka becoming way too much of a fangirl), to which he replied that I was awesome and showing videos was the best evangelism for Nerdfighteria. 🙂 Photograph of the signed page below (because well, yes, I am a nerdy fangirl):

Signed Title Page

Signed Title Page

Now I really must go and get some more tea before teaching my first class of the day. As the Vlogbrothers would say, DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome).

Postscript to National Library Week

National Library Week has been over for a bit, but I decided to use this post as a postscript (mainly so I could post some links to cool videos). My library once again had a fines amnesty in honor of National Library Week. What did your library do? Without further ado, on to some fun courtesy of this year’s honorary chair of National Library Week.

I love Neil Gaiman’s writing–short stories, novels, comics, graphic novels, children’s books, whatever form he wants to write, I’ll read it. It’s kind of equivalent to what my friend says about Jeremy Iron’s voice–he could read the phonebook and she’d listen. Well, Neil Gaiman could write a phonebook and I’d probably read it. The fact that he was the Honorary Chair of National Library Week (last week) just cements his coolness with the librarian crowd and bibliophiles in general. So from @your library, check out the two videos from An Evening with Neil Gaiman. He talks about Marquis de Sade, librarians, freedom of speech, alphabetizing his library as a child, happy horror writers, and how books are like sharks. Trust me, you will enjoy watching the two part interview. And if, for some strange reason you don’t, well I don’t know what to say about that.

If you don’t have two hours to spare for Neil Gaiman’s interview above, then at least check out the wonderful video below of Gaiman reading “Instructions” (you’ll find the text also in his collection Fragile Things) as you view Charles Vess’ wonderful illustrations. (The illustrated version showcased below will be released April 27th, by the way.) Absolutely lovely.

And, though it has nothing to do with National Library Week, I just had to share a link to Tagxedo. This is, as Lifehacker stated, “Wordle on steroids.” It not only generates gorgeous word clouds but has so many options for customization that even the pickiest, most exacting designer will be satisfied.

Finally, a lovely comic from xkcd that ties in nicely with yesterday’s Earth Day.
Desert Island Comic

Have a fantastic weekend, read a lot, get outside and enjoy the lovely spring weather, and the Waki Librarian will be back next week with more random fun.