Happy Father’s Day

Today is the longest day of the year – or the shortest night. Depends on how you look at it. In short – it’s the Summer Solstice. Couldn’t tell it here . . . thunder storms obliterated this evening’s sunset.

It’s also Father’s Day (for one father), or Fathers’ Day (for many fathers), or Fathers Day, but nobody seems to spell it that way. I’ve missed my dad for over 14 years, since he crossed over. I visited my wonderful father-in-law yesterday.

I have lots of pictures of my dad, all dressed up in a suit, or positioned exactly behind my mother by an unseen professional photographer. But it’s photos like this, in his Oshkosh overalls, that I like best.  This is vintage, Dad posing for a child taking an imaginary photo, playing with the dog. Posing in front of a shed my mother wanted torn down, beside a rusty barrel that she wanted thrown out.

Smile, Grandpa!

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain

Beatles – In My Life

Tremors at Rapid City Medical Library

A story today in the Rapid City Journal (South Dakota) deserves notice. I copy it here, to preserve access to this sad event.

Hospital library closes to public, goes electronic

By Mary Garrigan, Journal staff

Medical librarian Pat Hamilton is out of a job on Friday as Rapid City Regional Hospital transitions to a self-help electronic medical library for internal use only.

For the past 24 years, Hamilton and her staff of volunteers offered medical library resources to doctors, hospital employees and medical, nursing and pharmacy students. The library’s consumer health section also was available to the general public to do research on their medical conditions. Those materials have been donated to the Rapid City Public Library. The electronic library will no longer be available for public use.

Dr. Robert Allen, RCRH’s vice president of medical affairs, said the library and its computer access will remain open for internal use, but it will be staffed partially by volunteers and by medical staff services personnel.

“With electronic advancements, health care facilities are increasingly moving to this type of library,” Allen said in a statement. “Rapid City Regional Hospital will maintain some books and journals in its library.”

The amount of money saved by the move is not known at this time, he said.

Library volunteer Joyce Herbst, who works her last shift in the medical library today, called the transition a closure that she doesn’t understand or agree with.

“They can put whatever spin they want on it, but brass tacks is that they’re closing the library,” she said. “I guess I just don’t understand how you can take that resource away from a teaching hospital. How can it be a teaching hospital, without a resource library and someone to run it? I just think it’s not a very smart thing to do.”

Herbst said the library was always well utilized by students and doctors looking for medical articles or just some quiet space.

“Most of the time, there’s somebody in there doing research,” she said. “I have never had a day when I wasn’t busy.”

After two and a half years as a weekly volunteer in the hospital’s library, Herbst, who is moving to Sioux Falls, said her last day will be difficult, knowing that Hamilton’s job is ending, too.

“This is particularly hard because Pat is such a wonderful person to work for. … But leaving knowing that she’s going to be without a job is horrible,” she said.

Rapid City Regional is a teaching hospital for the University of South Dakota. Pat Hamilton, a most excellent professional medical librarian has assisted residents in their research as well as the public who used the hospital library for medical information. After this coming Friday, the library will be a self-help electronic library for internal use only. According to the article, print materials are now at Rapid City Public Library, although according to one commenter, only some of the print materials.

I am sorry for Pat, who is now unemployed. We were colleagues through the BHUG (Black Hills Users Group) when I worked in South Dakota. I worry for the doctors and residents (and the care they provide), who no longer have the services of a librarian to assist in research. I am sorry for the patients of Rapid City Regional Hospital, who no longer have a medical library to find information about their medical conditions. What is even worse is that many of them do not have access to a public library, since South Dakota does not provide for public library services for all residents, much less the reciprocal borrowing arrangements we enjoy in Minnesota. Already this evening 22 comments have been left on the news article, all critical of the ill-advised act of the changes made in the medical library.

This is the sort of thinking many of us are hearing as threats against our libraries — that if everything is electronic, why fund libraries or professional librarians. I fear that this rash act by the administrators of Rapid City Regional Hospital is a detriment to the medical care and support they provide and a harbinger of things that could come.

In memory of song


In memory of Edna (age 90) and Inez (age 95) – 2 artists at the organ, who both passed over this week.

The Organist in Heaven
by T.E. Browm (b 1830)

When Wesley died, the Angelic orders,
To see him at the state,
Pressed so incontinent that the warders
Forgot to shut the gate.
So I, that hitherto had followed
As one with grief o’ercast,
Where for the doors a space was hollowed,
Crept in, and heard what passed.
And God said:—
” Seeing thou hast given Thy life to my great sounds,
Choose thou through all the cirque of Heaven
What most of bliss redounds.”
Then Wesley said :—
” I hear the thunder
Low growling from Thy seat—
Grant me that I may bind it under
The trampling of my feet.”
And Wesley said:-” See, lightning quivers
Upon the presence walls—
Lord, give me of it four great rivers,
To be my manuals.”
And then I saw the thunder chidden
As slave to his desire ;
And then I saw the space bestridden
With four great bands of fire ;
And stage by stage, stop stop subtending,
Each lever strong and true,
One shape inextricable blending,
The awful organ grew.
Then certain angels clad the Master in very marvellous wise,
Till clouds of rose and alabaster
Concealed him from mine eyes.
And likest to a dove soft brooding,
The innocent figure ran ;
So breathed the breath of his preluding,
And then the fugue began—
Began ; but, to his office turning,
The porter swung his key;
Wherefore, although my heart was yearning,
I had to go ; but he
Played on; and, as I downward clomb,
I heard the mighty bars
Of thunder-gusts, that shook heaven’s dome,
And moved the balanced stars.

As I’ve blogged before, when something comes up twice in a short period of time, it’s appropriate to take notice of what the universe would like me to hear or learn. These 2 ladies had great influence in my early passion to play organ. Not because they were my teachers, but because they inspired me with their passion for sharing their music. I’ve played all my life, but the last few years other things have taken precedence, and sometimes weeks go by without the feel of ebony and ivory. There is no balance in my life, and I feel like I’m not whole without my music. Thank you for the memories, dear friends, and for leading me back to my center.

WalMart’s moment in the sun

Whether you love ’em or hate ’em . . . there’s one undeniable fact. As Minnesota Public Radio’s Bob Collins’s News Cut reports this morning, “The worse the economy gets, the better for WalMart.” He also says that WalMart reported this morning that they’re adding 22,000 jobs.

Libraries are a lot like WalMart. With no cash changing hands at the point of sale (that all happens at tax receipt time), we have an even better bang for the buck than Walmart. We are seeing huge increases in business as people look for the lowest cost services possible. And, as WalMart remodels stores and diversifies product lines to improve their image, so are we struggling to do the same.

The News Cut piece links to a Forbes article that says about WalMart “The retailer has cleaned up its stores, upgraded its customer service and spruced up its merchandise. It’s hoping that an improved shopping experience will keep its new customers once economic conditions improve.” Here too is another analogy I ponder. While it seems only a short time ago that we (libraries) were struggling to demonstrate our relevance (that is irrefutable for many), with the economic downfall there is recently little doubt of the value of libraries for a steadily increasing group that couldn’t afford to pay for the services we provide. Will they continue to love us and give us headlines when things get better? Or is the popular vote a fickle but fleeting affirmation?

With WalMart we need to pay attention. Here is our golden moment to give our new visitors the best sales pitch ever. Good merchandise, well displayed , with competent sales and service will keep them coming back.

Not going to cave

Well, it’s been 5 days since I became a Twitter quitter. Withdrawal has been minimal, maybe even non-existent. My staff is quite amazed that there is something 2.0 that I haven’t dived into, and if the truth be known, they’re most likely relieved that this something I haven’t tried to cajole them into. Life is good, and I haven’t felt the least bit left out.

That is, until this afternoon. I received an invitation to an online webinar, sponsored by Polaris entitled Consider the Source: The Integrated Library System Marketplace. I filled out the online registration, and there it was, the last data field “Twitter handle.” OUCH.   Good thing it wasn’t a required field.