Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Way We Are

Here's an encouraging article from USA Today. It says that libraries are busier than ever because of the ways they've transformed from book repositories into community centers. We've always been busy here at Liverpool. Our library averages 1000-1200 people through the door every day. Patrons who are new often comment, "Wow, this place is really busy!" And sometimes it's not very quiet either. Most libraries are this way now and we encourage it. I try not to "shush" anyone unless they're really loud or having a conversation across the room. Maybe the folks at Sharp should visit their local library before they trademark a phrase like this one.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Giant Coffee Pot

Over the July 4th holiday, I visited my mother in Pennsylvania and we took a drive through Bedford County to look at covered bridges. Along the way we stopped at the giant Coffee Pot, which stands at the entrance to the Bedford fairgrounds. Alas, they don't serve coffee here anymore. The Lincoln Highway Historical Corridor and Roadside America sites have some historical information and photos.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Learn to Use the New Library Catalog

The library has a new state-of-the-art online catalog! I'll be doing a demonstration on Tuesday, July 22 at 10:00 a.m. in the Carman Community Room. I'll show you the catalog's innovative features, including easy-to-use search tools, customized reading lists, RSS feeds and much more. Please join us for a look at the latest in library technology. To register, please visit the library's Events Calendar.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Giants' Karma

I've reached a milestone! I've been participating in the library's Reader's Challenge reading club. When the program started a few years ago, each reader received the prize of a baseball style shirt after reading 23 books. (The number was chosen because it belonged to Michael Jordan, even though he played basketball. 23 seemed like a reasonable goal.)

The club was so popular that we decided to extend it. While discussing what number to put on the new shirt, we considered 44, the number worn by legendary Syracuse football players, including Heisman winner Ernie Davis. But we wanted a larger number to encourage more reading. As a NY Giants fan, I suggested 56, worn by linebacker Lawrence Taylor. When one of my colleagues asked the unthinkable question, "Who is Lawrence Taylor?" I explained how this one athlete, with his unique physical abilities and playing style, changed the entire game of professional football. He was such a dominating pass rusher that other teams had to change their offensive schemes to deal with him. They also began creating their own "Taylors" who mimicked his style. This, in turn, changed the way teams recruited new players and even affected the way college football is played. How all this influenced the life of an underprivileged high school athlete is told in Michael Lewis' fine book, "Blind Side." Anyway, 56 was chosen for the reading club shirt, as well as another, 99 for Wayne Gretzky. Here's where it gets spooky. Last week I finished number 55 on my reading list and, while I was trying to decide what to read next, one of my holds came in. It was "The Game of Their Lives," by Dave Klein, which tells the story of the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Giants and the Colts, considered by many fans to be the greatest game ever. Maybe it was coincidence.......or maybe not.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Web Site Certificates

Sometimes, when visiting a web site, you may have seen a message stating that there is a problem with the site's certificate. If a web site has a valid certificate, it means that a certifying authority has verified that the web address actually belongs to that organization. In this way, certificates can protect you from "imposter" web sites that are trying to get your personal information. Usually you'll have the option of examining the certificate, accepting it forever, accepting it only for that particular visit, or choosing not to accept it. This article from US-CERT will tell you how to check the certificate's authenticity and help you decide what to do.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Rock & Roll Trivia

Before I became a librarian, I worked as a television news photographer in Albany, NY. Once in a while, something from that time proves useful to me now. There's a teenager who often comes to the reference desk asking for rock CDs by bands like Whitesnake, As I Lay Dying, etc. Today he wanted Sammy Hagar's "Unboxed," which has the tune "I Can't Drive 55." I put it on hold for him, then told him a story. Years ago, we interviewed Sammy during a concert tour stop in Albany and he told us how to song came to be. He had just returned from a safari in Africa and landed in Albany. (I think he was vacationing in the Adirondacks.) Deliriously happy to be home in the USA, Sammy hopped in his rental car and tore off up the Northway, right into a notorious speed trap near the town of Halfmoon. The trooper cautioned him to obey the posted speed limit, but Sammy shook his head and said, "Man, I can't drive 55!!" The rest is history. My teenage patron was impressed that a middle-aged librarian knew this bit of rock trivia.