Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fay update

Well, we survived -- with a record amount of rainfall, but almost no wind. Almost 20" of rain, and many roads closed due to flooding, including major roadways that is really making travel from one part of town or even to other counties (even via interstate) difficult.

And now we are bracing for Gustav! Not to wish ill on other states, but I really hope it goes somewhere else.

"The Director"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay: Fear her? Not I!

Well, we are getting ready to batten down our hatches here at the Library. Which, to me, is strange because there is nary a cloud in the sky.

The forecast is for the storm (or, rather, what's left of it) to hit around here Saturday or Sunday (but at the rate it's going, more like Monday!).

Schools have announced closings for tomorrow in our and a neighboring county. A meeting will be held tonight in both counties (independently) to see if 'non-essential personnel' (our job description, to a "T") need to go home tomorrow after noon.

Personally, I think it much ado about nothing. If "the Powers That Be" get so upset over a minor tropical storm, how are they going to react to a real Hurricane?

"The Director"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Silence in the Library

I have a question. It's been nagging at me for some time now.

When did the Library STOP being a quiet place?

And when did patrons being asked to "please quiet down" get the right to complain about the staff enforcing the rules and having that compliant taken seriously by "the powers that be" so that the staff person is written up and not the noisy patron???

When did we (as a profession) decide "People can be noisy in the library now and screaming babies are to be tolerated"?

At an Unconference I recently unattended, one director said that when she gets complaints about the noise, instead of quieting the 'offending persons' (my words, not hers) she suggest that the person COMPLAINING move to a different area of the library. Pardon me, but I think that is rude.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still think that the Library:

[is] a place for reading, study, gathering information, cultural and educational enrichment, and/or programmed activities. People using the Library have the right to expect that the Staff will maintain decorum by requiring courteous and reasonable behavior from everyone.

(From our posted "Code of Conduct")

Am I wrong? Am I out of step? Or is everyone else?

"The Director"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bad Writing Awards 2008

This caught my eye:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A grotesque comparison of a steamy love affair to a New York City street has won a Washington man this year's grand prize in an annual contest of bad writing.

Garrison Spik, a 41-year-old communications director and writer, took top honors in San Jose State University's 26th annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with this opening sentence to a nonexistent novel:

"Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped 'Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.'"

The contest is named after Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" famously begins "It was a dark and stormy night."

Entrants are asked to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Awards are given for many categories, including awards for "purple prose" and "vile puns." The top winner receives a $250 prize.

Other noteworthy submissions:

"'Toads of glory, slugs of joy,' sang Groin the dwarf as he trotted jovially down the path before a great dragon ate him because the author knew that this story was a train wreck after he typed the first few words."

— Alex Hall, Greeley, Colo.

"Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater — love touches you, and marks you forever."

More entries can be found at

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Friday, August 15, 2008

No Cuts to our budget!

We were told we would have to cut our budget by 18% next FY.

However, at the budget meeting last week, one commissioner stood up and defended the library.

"Studies show that for every $1 in budget spent on the Library, the community benefits by about $6 in services. So I motion that the Library be held 'harmless' and all proposed cuts be put BACK into the Library budget."

Motion was seconded and carried without dissent.

However, no increases, either. But we'll take what we can get!

"The Director"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Bulletin Boards!

woo-hoo! It doesn't take much to get me excited!

I've been thinking about asking about bulletin boards at the entrance to the Library for some time now, and happened to mention it to "The Coordinator". He pointed out that there was one in storage, and we could have it if we wanted it.

Well, it turned out to be 4' X 12', but the county handyman cut it down into two 4 X 6 boards, re-framed them and hung them for us yesterday. They look great. One we had put right by the front door, and we are transferring all our myriad signage to that one, and getting rid of the duplicates that seem to be taped to every available surface in the Library (we are keeping the "no food or drink" signs, however).

So, that's a minor major step forward.

The second one we are using for a community non-profit group event board.

"The Director"

Monday, August 11, 2008

PLAN/FLA Unconference report

Well, it was a looooong drive. And I got there late, missing a good bit of the first presentation on Motivating Staff. From what I heard, eh, not so much. But he had enthusiasm.

The second talk, Library Reorganization in the face of changing realities, said basically, we should take advantage of 'opportunities' such as a new director, new building program, budget crisis, etc. to change things in the library that we have wanted to change all along, but feared patron (oh, I'm sorry, we are to call Library users "members" from now on) reaction. Now we have an 'excuse' to make changes and blame it on something/one else. The most revealing point: Directors should spend 85% of their time out of the Library and into the community. The Director is not a Librarian any more. Once accepting the Director position you moved into management and into a whole new classification. I'm not sure I agree with the percentage, but it is good advice.

Lunch was accompanied by a presentation on Accessing Grants from outside the Library Community, I guess the info was good, but everyone was using that time to 'network' or go outside to escape the frigid A/C of the room, myself included.

Improving library process -- with or without technology I actually looked forward to this as the presenter is a 'facebook' friend. IT was a good peresentation, but focused on procedures on how their library checks out laptops; computer games; dvd; uses walkie-talkies for staff communication; PDA's for roving reference; etc. So it was site specific, but the overall gist was:

If we can do it, so can you.

The BEST presentation was the last:
Sources of sustainable Funding from the State Library.
Basically the messsage was: get out of the Library and into the community, don't rely totally on traditional sources of funding, such as State Aid. There are community grants available, and you won't know about them if you don't get out and network/form relationships with the community. She repeated the info that the Director is to spend more time out of the library than in it.

I grabbed some extra copies of the handouts for this presentation to 'recreate' the talk with my staff this week.

So, it was definately worth the time and effort to attend this meeting.

"The Director"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Off to the UnConference

Florida Library Association (FLA) and Panhandle Library Access Network (PLAN) have teamed up for an 'unconference' tomorrow (Friday) in a town about 3 hours away (which means I have to take my car in TONIGHT to have the brakes fixed, but that's another story -- my car is resembling the TARDIS more and more*).

I'm looking forward to it, and it should prove valuable, as they are covering a variety of topics from management of staff to working with the dwindling State and county resources for Library funding. Plus they provide lunch -- but not a relaxing lunch, they will actually have a speaker DURING lunch. So much for 'networking' time. And it's hard for The Director to take notes while eating, so an added challenge. But, hey, the lunch is PROVIDED! That's what counts, right?

I've already heard from one reader of this blog who said she will be there, so that will be nice.

I'll update everyone on the day when I get back.

"The Director"

*Well, tomorrow I cross time zones, so that means the car will be actually taking me back and forth through TIME as well as space!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hidden sign

In looking over the signage at the library today, I found one taped to the entrance to the Library that I have overlooked. And I know most other people have, as well!

The sign said:

Attention Parents (Safety concerns)

and then in about 14 point font:

We are not responsible for unattended children!
You must watch your children at all times while they are in the children's area..

Children under 12 years of age without a parent to watch them will be sent home.

Followed by a picture of a doll and the logo of the library.

(at least it didn't say we would call the police or DCF!)

Now, as everyone knows, what is the single most oft heard complaint at the library?

Besides fines.

Right, running children.

So, I 'dusted' off the sign, pulled it off the window, and re-did it in about 26-point font, and changed some of the words:

Parents must STAY WITH their children while they are in the LIBRARY.

And posted about three more copies throughout the library.

Will it work? Who knows. But at least now I can say "It's clearly posted at the entrance and in the children's area and in the Computer Lab!".

"The Director"

Time Out! ?

The question of the week:

How much time out of the Library is TOO MUCH for a Library Director?

This week has been a serious test of that question, as "the Director" has been scheduled this week for:

a seminar on "Managing Emotions under Pressure" (one of the best I've ever attended, by the way) on Monday,

a luncheon with the Kiwanis Club on Wednesday (not all day, just probably 2 hours at MOST),

A Library conference (or rather, UNconference) on Friday,


A consortium board meeting NEXT Monday afternoon in a neighboring county.

I came across a letter from a former director in "the files" defending (to the County Commission) her absences for conferences and workshops, and that has me a bit nervous. However, the situation is now a bit different as we have a County Coordinator standing between all Department Heads and the CC, and he has given the green light, so I think I'm ok. Key word: THINK

Any thoughts?

"The Director"