Category Archives: librarian

Ramblin 'z Rogerem

My friend Daniel discovered that that a person, for some unexplainable reason, had translated my March 22, 2009 post into Polish. It’s rather interesting, and fun. The AmeriNZ post Truth is the real victim is translated as Prawda jest prawdziwą ofiarą. Gordon’s post, partially about me, is Moja nagroda dla osiągnięcia Post # 1285. Johnny Bacardi, whose birthday was yesterday (oops) recently wrote Spójrz na moje prace, o wy, potężny i chichot. Część 37, which, of course means, Gaze upon my works, o ye mighty, and snicker. Part 37.
I told some of you that my 19-year-old niece was getting married and that I first learned about it by reading her Facebook page. Well, she isn’t getting married; she’s just in LOVE, and got too exuberant. Which just goes to show that you can’t believe everything on the Internet, even from someone’s Facebook page.
Some woman called our house looking for someone. No big deal – a wrong number. No big deal except it was 1:30 a.m. I wasn’t asleep, but my wife was, and the phone is in the bedroom. So I ran in there.
WOMAN: Is this the Toyota center.
ME: No, ma’m, it’s not. You’ve got…
WOMAN: I’m looking for Ted. You know him?
ME: No, there’s no Ted here. You’ve…
WOMAN: He’s a tall man.
ME: Lady, you’ve got the wrong number.
WOMAN: Ted’s not there right now? OK.
And she hung up.

It occurred to me that I have her phone number and sometime at 1:30 a.m., I could call…nah, I wouldn’t do that. I can THINK about it though, can’t I?
Weird thing happened a couple weeks ago with our front door lock. Our contractor was putting needed insulation in our attic. He locked the door, but apparently in such a way that when my wife and daughter got home from the grocery store, they couldn’t unlock the front door. The daughter was playing outside in the snow without gloves, against her mother’s wishes, and the wife was afraid that the child was going to get frostbite. Her cellphone had run down, so she just drove over to my office and called me from the lobby , about a half hour before I would have taken the bus home for the day. I went home, had to both squeeze the door handle and turn the lock simultaneously to get inside.

So I’m telling this story to a guy I knew, and he bristled. He wouldn’t want his wife just showing up at his place of work. But I knew that my wife is quite self-sufficient and if she thought she really needed my help, of course I’d give it to her. I thought the guy’s reaction was rather peculiar, actually, or else it spoke of the nature of his relationship with his wife.
Oh, and speaking of cell phones, which I sorta was, I got an e-mail message from my provider – let’s call it Virgin Mobile – with an e-mail on December 27 that I needed to “top up” my cell phones. OK, so I do, and I get confirmation on December 29. On January 2 and again on the 3rd, I get a message that I need to top up my cell phone. Apparently, they had topped up one but not the other, though the messages had indicated that I topped up neither. Don’t know why this peeved me so. I think it’s the happy, recorded speech on their phone lines, and a phone menu that simply did not address my particular problem. (Dial 8 for We Screwed up.)
As a business librarian, I often have the need to call the NYS Department of State, Division of Corporations. They’re a fine group of citizens. However, twice during the phone menu before I can reach a person, I get details about their impending move from 41 State Street to 99 Washington Avenue…in 2008. PLEASE change the menus of your phones.
I was watching JEOPARDY! at the end of 2009, and he wondered aloud whether the champion at the end of 2009, and continuing in 2010, would have his income taxed under each year. Well, unless they change their procedures, unless he stuck arounde like Ken Jennings, it would be for the latter year. When I was on, the show was taped in September 1998, the show aired in November 1998, but the check didn’t arrive until March 1999, so it was taxable for 1999. You’d think the host of the show for a quarter century would know that. Or maybe he was just making conversation.


QUESTIONS I Found On the Internet

But first, to wake you up: perhaps the worst Also sprach Zarathustra you may have ever heard (1:30).

1. Do You Wear A Watch? The implication is that people wear Rolexes or nothing, that watches are unnecessary in the world of cell phones and other devices that time and that the only people who wear watches do so for style, not function.

For me, though I have a seldom-used device, I would rather wear a watch. the problem, and it is of long-standing duration, is that watches don’t seem to like ME. I swear my biorhythms have killed more watches than I thought would be humanly possible. So I don’t. But I would.

2. When you were a child, did your parents kiss you? If they did, did they kiss you on the cheeks, the lips, the forehead, or where? If you are a parent/grandparent, where do you kiss your child.

I have no recollection of my father ever kissing me. In fact, on the few times he hugged me, it tended to be of this one-arm variety. My dad kissed my sisters, this peck on the cheek thing generally speaking. My mom kissed me, usually on the cheeks, but occasionally on the forehead.

When she was a baby, I kissed Lydia everywhere. Now I tend to follow her lead. Sometimes it’s on the lips, though she told me recently that my beard was scratching her. So now it is usually on the forehead, though yesterday it was on the lips.
A tremendously detailed response to someone who wanted a book banned.

I found this article about NFL schedules being practically set in stone in my Google Alerts; somewhere both the words Roger and green appear. Regardless, it’s a good piece about how how the slow start by the former Super Bowl teams is NOT about scheduling parity.

How soon will the daughter want this:

You may recall that the silhouetted version caused a bit of a stir, but the actual doll, not so much.


Roger (Finally) Answers Your Questions, Scott

Scott from the Scooter Chronicles – GIVE THIS MAN A JOB! – wrote several questions:

Since obtaining your current job, have you ever thought of switching careers?

What, and leave show business? Seriously, not really. I learn something new (and sometimes interesting) every day. I work with smart people, and I provide a valuable service, if I do say so.

Besides which, I came to it so late (library school at 37, librarian at 39), I feel behind the curve compared with people who are my contemporaries agewise but have twice as much experience in the field.

Do you think the Obama administration will be able to make changes to the current health care systems? If so, do you think it will truly change for the better?

It’ll be incremental change, and it’ll be marginally for the better. But it won’t be the sweeping changes you righteously ranted about a few months ago. I knew trouble was brewing when single-payer wasn’t even on the table. I blame Sen. Max Baucus for that. Then the single-payer people were at the table but could not speak. Do not underestimate the power of the insurance lobbies.

Who do you think will be in the World Series, and who will win it?

At the beginning of the season, I picked Mets over Red Sox. Still feel the BoSox will be there. I could/should jump on the Dodgers/Cards/Phillies bandwagon, but heck with it, I’ll stick with the Metropolitans.

Oh, there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about “high-leverage” situation hitting versus the two-run homer in the fifth inning when you’re already ahead 11-1.
These are the best and worst, through June 13.
Giants .299/.254
Phillies .288/.247
Marlins .263/.231

Nationals .236/.284
Mariners .252/.279
Rays .257/.276

When growing up, did you play in any organized baseball leagues?

No. Tried out for Little League once. I was a middling to poor fielder, but what really made me give up was being at bat. This kid threw a 3-2 pitch for a strike and I never even saw it.

Is so, what position(s) did you play? (If you didn’t, what position would you have liked to play?)

I played a lot of unorganized baseball. I tended to play the right side of the infield, though I’m right-handed, because my arm wasn’t great. I could throw relatively accurately from second to first, but not from shortstop or third base. Also played first, since I was a large target. Actually got better getting throws in the dirt, but not throws that were too wide or too high.

I also caught some games. Didn’t much enjoy it, but I could block the ball if I didn’t catch it.

Who was your favorite baseball player while growing up?

Clearly, Willie Mays. He could hit for average and power, he could run and he could field well. That said, I always had an affection for National League outfielders such as Vada Pinson (Reds), Lou Brock (Cards), Billy Williams (Cubs), Hank Aaron (Braves), the Alou Brothers (Giants), Frank Robinson (Reds/Orioles), and Roberto Clemente (Pirates); I had a Clemente card that referred to him as “Bob”, but he was no “Bob”.

Do you have a favorite baseball player now? If so, who and why?

Albert Pujois (Cards). Seems like a decent guy and he’s very good.

Any big travel plans for the summer months?

At this very moment, we were supposed to be in Williamsburg, VA with my parents-in-law, my two brothers-in-law, their wives and collectively, their three daughters. But my wife Carol has so much school work to do in preparation for going away to college for 17 days in a row later this summer that we bailed. During that 17-day run, I’ll be doing the solo parenting thing. Having my wife back will be like a vacation; we did this last summer as well, so I know of what I speak.

There’s talk about going somewhere in August, but so far, I’m not feeling it. I don’t know about your experiences with Nigel, but my experience with Lydia is that vacation away from home is more taxing than just staying in the routine. I AM basing that on our vacation when she was three, and she’s more self-sufficient now.


Ask Roger Anything, Solstice Edition

Now that it’s summer (or winter, depending), it is time to Ask Roger Anything. Oh, but wait – I’m distracted by somebody who recently noted that if people from space came to Earth, they might conclude the South Pole is the top of the world and the North Pole is on the bottom; after all there is a large land mass. Or maybe they’d pick some point on the equator or the Tropic of Cancer. Is our sense of top and bottom somewhat arbitrary?

Usually I do this because I’m afraid I’ll run out of things to write about. This is not the case presently; I have three or four blogposts re my trip to North Carolina alone. I am, though, having trouble actually composing them, or even deciding if I should. Answering YOUR questions gives me opportunity to muse on them some more.

Anyway, I already have a question from SB: “So perhaps you’ve already written about this, but I’d be interested to hear how libraries continue to change and evolve with stuff like Twitter and Facebook. Do libraries have their own Facebook badges? Is that – gasp! – allowed?”

Our library has a Facebook page, which is fueled in part from our blog feed. We have a Twitter feed that keeps both our blog and our website fresh. Our Facebook badge is a variation on the SBDC logo.

I’ve seen over 1000 libraries on both Twitter and Facebook, and I’d guesstimate that there are tens of thousands of librarians who are on one or both of the sites; I am on those, LinkedIn and a couple others.

The Library of Congress has over 10,000 followers but is following, last I checked, no one. At least the Library Journal is following a couple hundred while it is followed by over 5,000. I – and apparently others – had contacted the LOC about this, and the folks responded, rather quickly, that were worried that there would be too much noise in the feed. I’m not sure I agree with their thought process.

So, any other questions, folks? Everything is on the table. Let your mind get creative.

Me as the Dewey Decimal System

pink white tulip

Ever thought of what you would be if you would be if catalogued as a non fiction book? Well here is how to find out. Answer a few questions and voila up it comes, your own Dewey Decimal section in the imaginary library of life. Go here.

Roger Green’s Dewey Decimal Section:

303 Social processes

Roger Green = 8575878554 = 857+587+855+4 = 2303

300 Social Sciences

Books on politics, economics, education and the law.

What it says about you:
You are good at understanding people and finding the systems that work for them. You like having established reasoning behind your decisions. You consider it very important for your friends to always have your back.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at

giant pink hyacinth

Roger Green’s Dewey Decimal Section:

990 History of other areas

Roger Green’s birthday: 3/7/1953 = 37+1953 = 1990

900 History & Geography

Travel, biographies, ancient history, and histories of continents.

What it says about you:
You’re connected to your past and value the things that have happened to you. You’ve had some conflicted times in your life, but they’ve brought you to where you are today and you don’t ignore it.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at


Roger Green’s Dewey Decimal Section:

037 Encyclopedias in Slavic languages

000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You’re working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at

angelique tulip

Why is it that spammers can’t spell? “Madonna is a Moslim now!” was in my gmail spam box yesterday. Conversely, here’s an e-mail from our campus e-mail administrator I also got yesterday.

This morning, a colleague showed me an email message she had received extending an invitation to join, or log into, Twitter.

The subject line was “Your friend invited you to twitter.” The From: address was “invitations@twitter[dot]com.”

The web (html) version of the message used many attractive and professionally looking visual elements to lend authenticity to the invitation.

Finally, the message came with an attachment, a zip file containing an .exe file masquerading as a .pdf file! This file has been confirmed as malicious. Currently, only 20% of anti-virus vendors correctly identify the file as malware.

All unsolicited email messages containing invitations to click on a link or an attachment should be considered suspicious and threatening unless you can independently confirm the identity and authenticity of the message with the sender.

Flowers, and pictures of same, plus the Memorial Day columbine, are from the garden of my friend the Hoffinator, who was feeling under the weather yesterday.


Librarian chic

A friend of a friend of mine asked:

Please tell me what life is like for a research librarian. I’m IT support for several different libraries. I work closely with the librarians on a daily basis. Many of them are my age or older and not at all worried about age discrimination as they cross into their 60s and b beyond. The say that this type of problem is just not that important for librarians. I cannot say the same for the IT business. They tell me that it is a very good industry to?look at if I’m thinking about changing careers as I get older. Can you give me some idea of what your level of job satisfaction is? Thank you in advance.

Librarians have been told for years that they will become extinct as more and more information is made available on the Internet. We have not found this to be so. For one thing, someone has to be the gatekeeper as to what is good and what is crap. For another, there will always be specialized databases that you’ll need someone to access and search.

I think there is a librarian ethos of cooperation with each other. I don’t think it’s sexist to say that it may be a more collegial business at least in part because it tends to be a female-dominated business.

When I was in grad school in public administration in 1979-80, it was very competitive, with students actually hiding resources from each other. In library school in 1990-92, students were more helpful to each other.

There can also be a teaching component. We’re trying to get our folks to use blogs, to use Twitter and other newer technologies. This means WE need to know what that stuff and Facebook and other services mean, whether they make sense for us and for our customers, who are business advisors and by extension, the small businesses they serve. Occasionally the learning curve, plus doing what we’re hired to do (reference) is hard to fit in, but we usually manage.

If you have the sense of curiosity necessary to be a good librarian, you’ll do well. If you want something stagnant, probably not so much.
“Librarians are the secret masters of the universe. They control the knowledge. Don’t piss them off.”

– Spider Robinson, science fiction author, from The Callahan Touch

Follow the lead QUESTIONS

One of the things I learned as a librarian and as a citizen is that, much as it pains me, I can’t know everything. So it’s good to know people who you know and trust to vet things for you.

For instance, if I were suddenly to develop an interest in Doctor Who and wanted to know what book to read first, I wouldn’t bother researching it,; I’d just ask Gordon.

So it is with local politics. There’s coterie of people whose opinion I trust who I can usually count on for selecting candidates to support. In the last Democratic primary, most of them were supporting one particular candidate. But then another person, who is also a guidepost, not only backed another candidate, but noted some rather uncomplimentary things about the candidate my other friends backed.

Well, I’ve come to the same conundrum regarding some federal legislation concerning the copyright of “orphan works”. On one side of the issue is Paul Rapp, an intellectual property lawyer around here, who supports the idea of the bill. In fact, I wrote about it, and Paul, a/k/a F. Lee Harvey Blotto, drummer of the legendary band Blotto, here. I’ve known Paul since the early 1980s and trust his judgment. Also on this side is the Special Libraries association, of which I am a member, which supported these modifications to the original legislation.

But on the other side is Steve Bissette, artist extraordinaire, who has a much more negative view, to say the least, as noted here and here. I knew Steve from the mid-1980s, when he produced work that was published by my publisher, FantaCo. We have re-bonded recently in our attempt to get the FantaCo Wikipedia spost corrected. He fears the artists being ripped off.

The topic came up at work when one client of the SBDC had a piece of artwork produced by a street artist and wanted to use the art as part of a logo for her new store. Whole the art belonged to the entrepreneur, the image was copyrighted by the creator. But who is he? Where is he? Is he still alive? Based on precedent established in the library community, our librarian recommended that the business make a “good faith effort” to find the copyright holder, through paid ads in the newspaper and art newsweekly in the city where the artist had been working, describing in detail the situation.

I looked at the material Steve provided, and while I understand that the creative community fears that the legislation will create a license to steal and that people will just pretend to look for an owner before using the image, it seems to me is that this is how it’s currently working without legislation.

The bill appears to be dead this year – apparently some economic bailout seems to have been more important – but the issue will come up again.

So, my questions:

1. What topics, if any, do you tend to look to others to help inform you? Who are these information leaders?

2. What is your understanding of orphan works copyright legislation?

I’m so confused…


Librarians Of The Apocalypse

Star Wars, stand aside! Doctor Who, you’re a piker!

“There IS a wise and wonderful plan… of tomes and talismans!”

Mississippi educational television put out a series of instructional videos in the mid-1980s called Tomes & Talismans, meant to teach children about how to use the tools in the library. Described by my friend Dan, who tipped me off to this classic: “It revolves around a low budget apocalyptic science fiction plot that is generously interrupted to, for instance, explain the Dewey Decimal System. The story is that everybody that matters is abandoning the Earth, while lunatics are running around trying to destroy books and beat up TV newscasters. Time is running out, but the heroine of the story MUST RETRIEVE THE LAST OVERDUE BOOK. And there is no indication whatsoever that they were being funny or ironic. Absolutely delightful.”

The whole Tomes & Talismans series is posted on YouTube, described there as a “Post-apocalyptic library science educational show from the mid-eighties. Learn all about the Dewey decimal system, card catalogues, and microfiche! And the fate of the Earth, of course.” Dan had only watched the first episode, which was was broken down in three sections, and said the real action is in the third part. I, who had never heard of it before this week, watched all 13 episodes, roughly four hours, over two days; each of the 13 episodes runs just under 20 minutes each.

1. Tomes Entombed— overview of library/research skills and concepts
Part 1 – noisy and a bit garbled in the first couple minutes, but it clears up
Part 2
Part 3
2. Fact or Fiction— fact and fiction; alphabetical shelving
Part 1
Part 2: she IS a librarian
Part 3
3. Under Cover— parts of a book
Part 1
Part 2
4. In the Cards— card catalog
Part 1
Part 2
5. The System— Dewey Decimal Classification System
Part 1
Part2 : has most of the Dewey Decimal system laid right out for you
6. Information Quick— encyclopedia; typographical clues
Part 1 music to read your encyclopedia by
Part 2: the apparently famous watermelon episode
7. Hidden Meaning— dictionary; thesaurus
Part 1
Part 2
8. Preference for Reference— special subject reference sources
Part 1
Part 2
9. Direction Unknown— maps; atlases; world almanac
Part 1
Part 2
10. SOS: Skim or Scan— skimming; scanning; paraphrasing; taking notes
Part 1
Part 2
11. Guide to Light— Reader’s Guide; Children’s Magazine Guide
Part 1
Part 2
12. Show and Tell— audiovisual resources
Part 1
Part 2
13. Final Report— summarizing reports; concluding research; bibliographic sources
Part 1
Part 2

Reportedly, it’s coming to DVD this year.
Fear the Librarian


May Ramblin'

Black Television News Channel (BTNC) announced plans to launch the nation’s first all-news cable network dedicated to the African American community. That was sort of interesting; more intriguing to me was this: “Based in Washington, D.C., BTNC is the creation of J.C. Watts, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma.” I figured that if Hillary Clinton somehow won the Democratic nomination, and I suppose it could still happen, the Republicans would counter by putting a black conservative Republican on the ticket. Actually, I was specifically thinking J.C. Watts. Guess that’s not going to happen.

Speaking of McCain, take the Bush-McCain Challenge, an online quiz to see if you can tell the difference between George W. Bush and John McCain.

And, as I said, Hillary’s not dead yet, but the funeral’s been planned: In Loving Memory of the Hillary for President Campaign.

Is everybody happy? Well, no, and age, gender and race seem to be factors. I suppose a story like this – E-Mail Shows Racial Jokes by Secret Service Supervisors – while disturbing, doesn’t fill me with as much outrage as it used to, maybe because I’m less surprised than I used to be. I appreciate whimsy more, e.g. Czech crash victim wakes up speaking English. And maybe I can laugh a little at myself more. This is a thread for label suggestions for a homebrew called Old Librarian Ale. BTW, I am NOT responsible for the content. The NSFW item (clearly labeled within) REALLY is NSFW.

So always remember, and never forget: Nothing is more dangerous than a wounded mosquito.


April Ramblin'

Added to my blogroll:

Bob and Ray’s Old Time Radio.

Sports Illustrated Vault.

Stuff I’ve been thinking about:

The 2008 TIME 100 Finalists. Tyler Perry went from the middle of the pack to #4 after he sent out e-mails to his fans. Meanwhile, at #73, Britney Spears is ahead of Condi Rice, David Petraeus and George W. Bush,, among many others.

The BBB Offers Free Document Shredding During National “Secure Your ID” Day – May 3, 2008; not one community in New York State is participating!

Who is the patriot? One who served or one who deferred and continued to defer and never served?

Bill Moyers: Journalists As Truth-Tellers. Were it more so.

Why it’s so tough to unseat incumbent politicians

Power to the people vs give peace a chance. Ah, Mike Gravel, you rock.

What your money looks like, if you’re using US currency.

Having To Say You Work For A Bimbo.

The Global Tribute Fund is “an initiative to pay tribute to the inspiring women in our lives.”

Please DO NOT buy this book.

Garrison Keillor gets nostalgic over Northwest Airlines. Obviously, the OLD Northwest Orient, because the conglomerate that’s threatening to merge with Delta is the one airline I absolutely have refused to fly for years.

There’s a comic book show in Albany this Sunday; might go. I thought to go to the NYCC last weekend, but it didn’t work out; Fred Hembeck tells all about it. Ron Marz and my friend Bill Anderson will have been at both shows.

How to Slap a Hamburger Together — in 156 Steps.

Sexy Trips to the Library Stacks. But would you expect otherwise?