Facebook privacy

Now there’s an oxymoron – Facebook privacy. Some people think of Facebook as a place to be seen and that one can never have too many friends. But thousands and thousands? Oh come on. I’m a late-comer to Facebook, having joined about a year ago. I enjoy it, and lately have been amazed at the number of my peers who are coming online. We’re having a grand time.

Always cautious about my privacy and reputation, I went through all the profile/privacy options and so far they seem to be working for me. At least no one has complained. ‘Course maybe because they can’t find me, although I’m getting plenty of communications. I especially like the Friend List option – that way I can limit exposure of some things to certain groups. And I’m pretty sure that my business colleagues will say thank you for not inflicting my dog pictures on them (sorry family Friends).

There’s a pretty great guide to Facebook privacy settings on the All Facebook blog – 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know. I thought I’d gotten all the privacy I needed, but I found a few settings I missed.

Happy 200th, Mendelssohn

By now it’s looking like I have a music theme going, by the looks of my last 3 posts. It’s certainly evidence of my eclectic, if not schizophrenic, taste in music. One thing is certain, my collection of CDs and music on my Zen is anything but boring.

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn. He was only 38 years old when he died, and wrote prolifically for almost every medium of performance from orchestra to opera.

Happy Birthday, Mendelssohn!

The Day the Music Died (not)

50 years ago today a plane crash in Clear Lake Iowa took the lives of 3 rockers who had barely started their careers. Richie Valens was just 17 and had been in the business less than a year. Buddy Holly was 23, had been successful only about 2 years, and yet his music had a great influence on the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The Big Bopper, the oldster of the trio at 28, was a DJ, and “Chantilly Lace” was his only really successful record, although I get a kick out of “The Big Bopper’s Wedding.”

I love rock-and-roll (hey, that’s another great song). A colleague of mine and her daughter went to Clear Lake last weekend. I listened to every bit of the Saturday night Sirius radio broadcast from the Surf Ballroom (where the final concert took place) with Cousin Brucie Morrow. I got goosebumps hearing all the interviews with those who were there.

Rock-and-roll nuts (like me) know every detail of that fateful night in Clear Lake Iowa. I even know every word of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” a poetic retelling of (as the song says) “the day the music died.” Others not so R & R crazy, may not know why today’s 50th anniversary observance is legendary, but I’ll bet they’ve heard Chantilly Lace (Bopper), La Bamba (Valenz), and That’ll Be the Day (Holly).

Happy Birthday, Mozart

Today is the 253rd anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He lived only 35 years and 11 months and he wrote over 600 works — astounding for me to think about. I’ve written a few things, the manuscripts of which are stuffed in file boxes in my garage, and none of which approach the genius of Mozart.  Studies have postulated that listening to Mozart makes you smarter, or at least increases concentration abilities for a time. I don’t know about smarter, but listening to Mozart takes me to my happy place, where there’s peace, harmony, and no stress.

Take a Mozart break today and listen online to his complete works on the Mozart Tower Experience. My favorites? The wind concertos.

Distance education not always online

The ability to accomplish educational goals even when you are not able to attend classes at a school has changed the world.  It doesn’t seem so long ago when I was working for the Air Force Library System that we hosted a conference on providing library services to military troops in the Gulf — that was after the 1st Gulf War. We gained Command attention for partnering through the BEPAC (that’s the Base Education and Planning Committee – the military loves those acronyms) to deliver the library component to college classes offered to deployed troops. As the AF was building tent cities in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, the Comm Squadron was installing lines and computers and we were sending library service right along with them.

I am personally thankful for online education. While an MLS was my goal, it was totally unavailable where I was living, until the UIUC LEEP program became available. MLS programs are much more available now — in the last week I’ve written 2 recommendation letters for candidates for library school, who have a multitude of choices available to them.

Finding candidates that meet educational requirements has become easier. Where previously finding a candidate with a college degree in rural communities was not always easy, many job postings now attract local applicants with academic accomplishments that exceed minimum requirements, often gained through distance learning programs.

And not all distance learning is academic. In my previous location, a small  rural school district has gained statewide notice for attracting elementary and high school students who for various reasons want to pursue education online. Another young person I know does not attend her local high school for health reasons and is going to school online.

You’d think that all the distance learning was the product of the Internet. But not so! My mother, now an octogenarian retired teacher with a school media licensure, got her teaching credential through a 2-year Normal school. Some years later, when the state required a Bachelors Degree, she earned some of her credits watching college lectures that were broadcast on television very early in the morning.

Digging through a box of books at my mother’s house last weekend, I ran across the text for my first distance class – a brown-covered song book. It is way longer ago than I want to admit that I attended a 2-room country school in Wisconsin. Each classroom had a teacher that taught all subjects. We had no subject specialists, but once a week on Wednesday afternoons was the high point of my week. That was the day that we turned the classroom radio to the local AM station that relayed the WHA Wisconsin School of the Air transmission of “Let’s Sing” with Warren Wooldridge and Don Voegeli at the piano. We sat at our desks and learned music over the radio, singing along with the crackly AM radio transmission (well some of us sang, but some just mumbled). Some lucky kids got to go to regional “Let’s Sing” events. I wasn’t one of them. Years later, through a music scholarship, I received my Bachelors Degreee in Music Education. Thanks, WHA and Warren Wooldridge.

A place on wheels

I’m reading the book  The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz. The book is about the wealth of choices we have, and how their abundance leads to stress, dissatisfaction, and paralysis. I was acutely aware of the truth in Schwartz’s premise last weekend when I stood totally flummoxed in front of the array of kidney beans at my Cub supermarket. Where on earth were the plain-ol’-kidney-beans-for-chili?

Reading a survey response this afternoon, I muttered to myself, “uh huh, Schwartz got it right.” We’re preparing to shut down the behemoth library on wheels/bookmobile that is draining our budget with repair and fuel bills. It should have been replaced a while ago, but lacking the $100,000 for a replacement, we’ve kept it running. The Board has taken action that this is the last year of its existence in these parts, so we’re surveying its existing customers to find the best service alternative for each.

One response gave me serious pause. She didn’t say she couldn’t get to a library. She said she preferred the bookmobile. She said “It’s easier to find books there as the choices are limited.” Then she went on to say “Also, one does get to know the driver/librarian and it is chummier.”  Wow, I hear her loud and clear . . . the comfort of a limited collection, pre-selected to suit the clientele is preferable to a library with endless shelves. Furthermore, she likes chummy. And I thought our library staff was pretty darned friendly — guess we’ll continue to work on that.

So, where I see an expensive, diesel and aged-carpet-smelling truck, she sees the bookmobile as a place where she feels welcome and befriended. Wow! And I’m going to replace that with dropoffs of bags of books?

I miss the TV show Cheers (1982-1993). I still sing the song — maybe we could make it the theme song for our library.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows  your name.

Dewey Browser

How do you classify knowledge? The Dewey Decimal system is the most widely used classification system in the world. According to OCLC, 70% of the holdings in WorldCat are classified by Dewey. It’s the perfect vehicle for shelf-browsers. You can even do virtual shelf-browsing, by entering the known Dewey number of an item and finding all the other items on the same subject shelved right next to it. OCLC’s DeweyBrowser beta v2.0 is fun (in a librariany sort of way.) The drill-down options are endless, through the Dewey numbers or subject headings.

For all the times I’ve been consulted or helped assign Dewey numbers to a collection (we called it Deweyization) — there’s a tool to use the vast WorldCat collection as a measuring stick to find the right classification. I’ve Deweyized special collections and private collections. One of my favorite projects was working with a couple late-teenagers who spent their summer break debating (often hotly) the correct placement for each of the items in a special collection. Often a neutral party (known as the experienced local librarian) was called in to settle Dewey disputes.

I was reminded of this nifty tool (that’s been around for a couple years) while reading the Hectic Pace post Dewey the Decimal Maker – a holiday parady. Read it while humming Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

And Happy Holidays!


January 1st is about to come once again. While we look forward to a new year and a new federal administration, is anything ever really new? Or is the best we can do to use the ideas we have in different ways, or to partner different sets of ideas in other patterns.

 I was amused by a 3 minute Ad Age YouTube showing Brian Williams as the MC of the Ad Council Public Service Awards. In it Williams quoted someone in the NBC news team who pitched something billed as “NetFlix for Books”  — you just put in your order for a book, and a book that was previously read by someone else will arrive for you. Williams quipped “you know, we have libraries.” He goes on to eschew other technological so-called innovations that are really retreads of something previously introduced as new.

Walking into my neighborhood WalMart, I noticed a box of books on the floor of the entryway. A school group has implemented a book loan program. According to the sign, you take the books you want, return them wherever you find one of the program boxes, or donate if you wish. Hmm, to (again) quote Brian Williams, “you know, we have libraries.”

Some things can have existed forever, but until someone discovers them for themselves, they don’t become reality.

All this reminds me of the Ecclesiastes, a book of truths attributed to Solomon: (9) That which has been is what will be,  That which is done is what will be done,  And there is nothing new under the sun. (10) Is there anything of which it may be said,  “ See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. (11) There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come  By those who will come after.

Remembering JFK

If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.

Senator JOHN F. KENNEDY, response to questionnaire, Saturday Review, October 29, 1960, p. 44.
Source: Bartleby.com

Dion sings Abraham and Martin and John

Today is the 45th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is probably the only clear childhood memory I have — the desk where I sat and the terror I felt that the world had spun so out of control that the President of the U.S. could be shot.