Sexy Reference at the Library

Wow, last night at the library I got my first reference question about… sex!  I’ll give you a quick breakdown of the “reference interview”:

Patron: “Do you have any books about the human body?”
Me: “What aspect of the human body are you interested in? ”
Patron: Blank stare, shuffles awkwardly.
Me: “Are you looking for something like a general medical text?”
Patron: “… Yes.”

So, we head over to the 613s, and as we’re walking, the patron says: “Actually, I didn’t want to embarrass you in front of the other librarians, but I’m looking for books on sex.”  Wow, ok!  Continue reading

Librarians Can Wear Superhero Costumes, Play World of Warcraft

Spock, Playing the Harp

Spock may be half Vulcan and half Human, but he definitely knows what’s up with the Library Computer Access Retrieval System (LCARS) and the Personal Access Display Device (PADD).  This was the crux of Michael Porter’s keynote talk — “Libraries, Technology, Evolution, Change and Success” — at last week’s Library Technology Conference at Macalester College.  Porter, aka LibraryMan, argued that although librarians love serving our communities, we often do a terrible job with electronic content distribution!  He urged us to glean a little inspiration from Star Trek and to actively develop digital strategies for electronic content access.

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Launching B Sides: an Open Access Journal

B Sides

December and January have been all about launching B Sides, our lovely new open access electronic journal for the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science! We hope the site will be ready to go live at the beginning of spring semester on January 19th, when we will begin soliciting submissions from current SLIS students and alumni.

As the founding editors, my colleague and I have been busy rounding up faculty sponsors, setting up the peer review process, customizing the content management software, working with a graphic designer, and meeting with both the University’s ITS department and Digital Library Services. Whew! In the meantime, here’s a little snippet from our homepage to give you an idea what B Sides will be all about:

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“Close Encounters With Digital Citizens”; ILA Annual Conference 2009

So these are some things I overheard librarians saying about Lee Rainie, founding director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, at the 2009 Iowa Library Association Annual Conference:

“He just keeps throwing data at you and it’s awesome!”
“He talks so fast and I love him!”
“Lee Rainie is my new boyfriend!”

Lee Rainie: Iowa Librarians have a crush on you.  I hope you don’t think that’s weird.

In his talk “Close Encounters With Digital Citizens,” Rainie mostly threw a lot of data at us about how teenagers use the internet.  He gave a similar talk in January, and those slides are available here (via slideshare):

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Pirate Radio, Tack-Fu, Kembrew McLeod


So I feel like it’s been the Intellectual Freedom Festival Channel over here lately!  That’s ok, though, because I’m pretty keen on intellectual freedom.

Tomorrow is our second-to-last IFF event at the Iowa City Public Library (at noon in Meeting Room A), and this event is especially distinctive as it was conceived of, planned, and executed by Yours Truly.

So. . . . !  Tack-Fu is bringing his old 8-track to show us all how sampling is done creatively.  (He was also making Kanye-Crashing-the-VMAs jokes during our email correspondence, so I honestly have no idea what to expect.)  Pirate Radio will be there with bells on to tell us about how and why they broadcast original radio dramas and nightly bedtime stories without a license from the FCC.  Kembrew McLeod from the U of I Communications Dept. is coming to wrap it all up by discussing ways that high license fees and legal intimidation make it harder for ordinary citizens in a democracy to “write” and “speak back” in multi-media contexts.

I’ll be there eating brownies.  You could be there, too.  We’ll all be eating brownies together.

What’s a librarian doing in a Banana Suit?!

Hi guys, I’m a library student at the University of Iowa.  I’m really interested in public librarianship, reference and information literacy.  Oh, and I also really love dressing up in a banana suit.  I just started this blog at to teach myself more about blogging, podcasting, and other Internet applications that will help make me a better librarian.