Codslap! - Library Underground


Codslap! - Library Underground
Codslap! is a publication
of the Library Society of
the World
The Library Society of the World Zine*
You can find more information about the LSW at the following websites:
(The official online world headquarters, still under construction.)
(The original wiki, still has some info that isn’t on the above site yet.)
(Most of the conversation happens here these days.)
(A space for live, real-time chat. Less busy that it used to be.)
The password for darn near everything is: notala (get it?!)
Oh! About the whole cod thing! Laura H. asked something about professional
codes of ethics on FriendFeed, and Laura X. answered with a typo, referring to
the “Cod of Ethics.” I took that and ran with it and created this:
This zine was edited and printed by Steve Lawson. Email me at
[email protected] if you want to talk about it.
*Now incorporating “The Australasian Journal of
Library Science” and “Librarian Fancy”
Alternate Titles
Happily, I received many alternate titles for the Library Society
of the World zine. Here are the ones provided by LSW members
on FriendFeed. -SL
Australasian Journal of Library Science
Information Science Is Neither
Library Society of the World Super-Size Annual #1
Title Varies
Reference Transactions
Thrilling Tales of the Library Society of the World
Remote Storage
LSW: Library & Anti-Library
The Library Society of the World is Gonna Git You,
Interlibrary Zone
All-Star Libraries #3
Steal this Journal!
Shovers and Makers United
Librariati Speaking Wisdom
All Rights Reserved
Library Society of the World, And So Can You!
All Your Library Are Belong To Us
Journal of the Chronicle of the Tales of the
Adventures of the LSW
Superboy and the Legion of Super Librarians
Occasional Publications of the Library Society of the
World, Issue 12
Science Ninja Super Library Adventure Magazine
Celebrity Librarian Hairstyles: Buns of Steel
Nancy Pearl Is Locked In My Basement
Nancy's Pearls
Steal this Fish
Thanks For All the Fish
Fish Food: A Different Library Journal
There Is More Than Hair Under The Bun:
Adventures in New Librarian Land
Information Hiding: The Library Technology
Title Colon Subtitle
The Name of the Group is the Library Society of the
Ceci n'est pas un journal
Librarians of Babel
Fear of Libraries
Babel Cod
Each issue should simply be named the number of
the issue that it is (One, Two, Three) in the style
of the albums of the group Chicago.
NOTala. Or: notALA
Breaking a Foot Off In The Ass of Librarianship
Not your daddy's ALA.
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Library Society
of the World ]
[No title on item]
A Cod's Tale: Official Journal of the LSW. Part A.
Issue Supplement
Not Your Grandmother's Library Zine
Our Library Society of the World Could Be Your Life
My Library Society of the World Wants to Kill Your
I'm Bored In a Cataloging Seminar: THE
A Clockwork Orange Tote Bag
The LSW Journal: Providing a Distraction from Bad
Conference Presentations Since 2009
A Young Ladies Illustrated Primer on the LSW
Yo! Bum Rush The Conference
It Takes a Conference of Millions to Hold Us Back
LSW's Bedside Astrologer
How to Make Friends and Alienate Formal
Delimiter V for Vendetta
Poor Michael's Almanac
The Speculative Librarian: A publication of the LSW
The Audacious LWS Rag
The Plucky Review: A publication of the LSW
The Cheeky Library Society Pamphlet: A publication
of the LSWT
The LSW Review: a crusty broadside from the LSW
The Salty Tabloid: a publication of the LSW
Laura: the Journal of the Library Society of the
Nympho Librarian [sound recording]
One Zine to Rule Them All
Laughing Out Load
Fables of the Circulation/Circulation of the Fables
Copy 2
Moby Dick (hey, it worked for Led Zeppelin) Flitcraft
I Didn't Get a Master's Degree for This
Other Duties as Assigned?
We Like Your Mom
Z711.67 .L67
Fugitive Material
Gray Literature
Shoving and Making Quarterly
The S&M Journal
This Page is Intentionally Left Blank
The LSW Zine
Journal of Library Science. Part G, Mathematical
and theoretical: Section 4, Hypothetical
Frusen Gladje
020 (Which is a) Dewey number for Library
Science. b) Dialing code for both Amsterdam and
Do Not Read This!
This Issue Will Self-Destruct
Burn after Reading
least a fraction of a second longer looking at a photo of a big, featureless piece of
machinery if it had a woman in a short skirt in front of it.
Second, I think it’s meant to signal that you didn’t have to be an engineer to
run one of these machines. Unless I’m much mistaken about gender in the
workplace in the early 1970s, I assume the women in these photos are meant to
be clerical staff and not executives or engineers.
Among these great photographs is one that really stands out. It’s the Le
déjeuner sur l’herbe of Computer Output Microfilm marketing photos. I’m
referring, of course, to CalComp 1670, reproduced at the start of this article. This
is not just my favorite COM photo, but one of my favorite photos of all time.
First, there’s the name, “CalComp.” For California Computer Products, Inc.
of Anaheim. This is West Coast computing. It’s not just a computer output
microfilm recorder, it’s an entirely different lifestyle.
The machine itself looks large and boxy, if clean and modernist, like
something Charles and Ray Eames designed in about sixty seconds during a late
night cigarette break. In other words, it looks like every other machine in the
But you aren’t looking at the machine because you are looking at the models.
There’s the woman in the standard minidress. But this woman isn’t working.
She’s seated, not in an office chair, but a director’s chair like she’s on set waiting
for her scene. Her shoes are white, her dress is white, her hair is blond-white. Her
skin, like everyone else’s
in the book, is white,
too. She looks into the
camera as if to say
But what really
makes the photo is the
man. He’s leaning over
behind the woman with
his hands gripping the
top of the chair. He’s
wearing white, too,
what I at first thought
was some kind of
leisure suit jacket but
now am inclined to
think is a cabled
cardigan sweater? He
has tousled hair and
Wolverine sideburns, and like the woman, he stares into the camera as if
challenging the viewer. Best of all, clenched between his teeth is a cigarillo. .
I’m not sure what the message is here. “This cool, functional machinery
helped me land this cool, functional woman” could be one message or “This
machine works so well, it frees the secretaries up so I can hit on them with fewer
I had no idea when I picked up Computer Output Microfilm that it would be
such a beautiful, mysterious book. But that’s one of the things I like about books
and libraries. There are so many surprises to be found.
mainframe computer to
spit out a lot of data for
human consumption.
Computers could output
the information faster
than the printers could
print it. Storage was
also a problem, and
microfilm was many
times more compact
than paper. So,
computer output
microfilm (or COM) let
them rapidly convert the
data to human-readable
About half the book
is given over to a list of
the companies that
marketed COM
recorders, and the
specifications for the equipment they produced. Most of this section is a long
repetitive list of such facts as “cameras available,” “retrieval codes,” and
“magnetic tape drive.” But the really interesting entries are illustrated.
Most of the photographs just show the (massive) equipment, all clean
modernist vertical cabinets, looking as if they were designed to interface with
HAL. But the best photographs feature models along with the COM units.
Almost all of the models are female, and all those women are in miniskirts or
minidresses. Most of them are “working,” doing something with the machine, or,
in the case of the 3M series F EBR photo, holding up two kinds of media,
looking at them as if they are accessories and she’s wondering which one will
better match the
exuberant print of her
No one would
mistake me for a
gender studies scholar,
but I’m thinking that
the presence of these
women in these photos
is meant to do two
things. First, in 1971
most of the people
who would be buying
COM machines would
have been men, and
the marketers must
have assumed that
men would spend at
Charmingly Archaic: Zines in the Post-Print Age
Thanks for picking up this, the first issue of the Library Society of the World’s zine,
Codslap! If you aren’t familiar with the LSW, it’s an ad-hoc group of librarians who like to
meet online (and in person when we can) to swap ideas, ask questions, and enjoy each
other’s company. We believe that you don’t need a large formal organization for
professional development. Josh Neff, who is the founder & sheriff of the LSW wrote a
fanciful story for this zine about the founding of the LSW, but see the back cover for URLs
and more if you are interested in taking part on this planet.
Shortly after I announced that I’d be compiling this zine that you hold in your hands, the
following exchange took place on the December 10, 2008 episode of the (late, lamented)
podcast, Uncontrolled Vocabulary:
David Rothman: You know what's funny, Greg? As much as I love Steve Lawson, I will
not and cannot support this endeavor.
UV host, Greg Schwartz: Tell me why.
David Rothman: Because it is wrong to be doing a dead tree endeavor....It's an incredibly
inefficient way of getting information out. It's environmentally irresponsible. I mean, it
might be charmingly archaic if there's some, you know, real artisanship to the way the
paper is made or used, but there's certainly none of that, it's going to be done on a
photocopier. It's just terribly unprofessional. Honestly, I think information professionals
should be pushing everything towards the digital. I think we should be trying to abolish
print journals.
First of all, I love David, too. Seriously. So I didn’t take this as a personal thing. David’s
also a smart cookie, so if he thinks that putting together a paper zine isn’t just quirky, but
something approaching downright immoral, then it seems like something worth looking
I think David is thinking of this zine as “information.” When it comes to information, I
agree with David. I’m not so much into paper journals anymore. I never understand it at
work when someone hands me a document they created on the computer then printed out.
I don’t want a stack of paper that can’t be searched or altered. When it comes to
information, I’d rather have bits than atoms, in the old Nicholas Negroponte formulation.
But I don’t think of a zine as information any more than I think of a love letter as
information. If someone writes you a love letter on a scrap of notebook paper, you don’t
complain that it’s not on handmade paper. You don’t ask them to scan it, OCR it, and
email it to you in RTF. You don’t say “it’s not very professional of you to call me BooBoo.” You read it and cherish it and keep it in your sock drawer so you can pull it out years
later and remember that time when you were in love.
Zines have a lot more in common with love letters than they do with journals. This zine has
contributions from about a dozen people who just wanted to share something funny or
thoughtful or useful with other library types. Some of them are my best friends, and some
of them are people I didn’t know before they sent something in for the zine. A few are zine
veterans, but I think for most of them, this is their first experience with writing for a zine. I
thank them all for making this little experiment in love a success & hope I did their
contributions justice.
-Steve Lawson <[email protected]>
7 July 2009, Colorado Springs, CO
The Secret Origin
of the
Library Society
of the World!
The Women of Computer
Output Microfilm
An appreciation by Steve Lawson
by Will Rensie and Jacob Kurtzberg
22,300 miles above the Earth, Josh Neff leaned back in his chair and
gazed half-heartedly at the bank of monitors in front of him. Stretching
and letting out a long, slow yawn, Josh wished he had the power to
speed time up and rush through this last hour of monitor duty. He
languorously scratched the back of his head, his eyes half-closed. Such
was life on the ALA satellite headquarters. A sudden beeping made him
open his eyes wide and sit up at attention. There was a discussion of
ALA procedures and policies erupting on the Twittersphere, and
according to the displays, it was heating up quickly. "Computer!" Josh
called out. "Record all ALA-related tweets currently being posted,
beginning one hour ago. Collate and catalog under the heading
A sterile, emotionless voice replied, "Heading not recognized. Cannot
"So, create a new heading!" Josh ordered.
"New headings cannot be created without majority vote from Committee
for Information Taxonomy," the computer answered.
"Dammit!" Josh spat. He read through the tweets, making notes on a
separate terminal. He typed maniacally, hit the Send button, the sat
back and breathed a great sigh.
An hour later, Josh stood before the Internal Relations Council. The
members, seated around a round table, looked at Josh with stone-faced
seriousness. "If you've read my report," Josh said, "then you've seen
that there is a fair amount of unhappiness with some pretty important
aspects of the the ALA. Librarians all over the States are having
problems finding the money they need to participate. Or they find their
participation stymied by overly-complicated bureaucracy."
"Yes, so we see," one of the council members said. "The ALA is an ever-
Like a lot of people who work in libraries, I have taken my share of withdrawn
books from the discard shelves. Many of those books just sit neglected on my
shelf instead of neglected on the library’s shelf. But one of the discards that I
have taken has never failed to lift my spirits when I opened it up.
That book is Computer Output Microfilm, Second Edition, by Don M. Avedon,
National Microfilm Association Monograph No. 4, 1971. WorldCat shows that
208 libraries still own this gem, though the University of California, San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library is no longer among that company,
as I now own the copy that was formerly theirs.
I’m not sure why I picked it up. I think it was waiting for me in a dark corner
of my cubicle. I’m not generally interested in the subject of computer output
microfilm. Before sitting down to write this, I had to look it up and see what it
was all about (even after having owned this book for seven years or so).
Apparently, back in the day, there was a problem when you wanted your
Once logged in to your web site, users do not need to log in again to
access the catalog (-30)
Once logged in to your web site, users do not need to log in again to
access your DRM-ridden proprietary databases (-30)
Users can personalize the results of a catalog query using parameters
saved in their profile (-30)
Users can change the font size on your web site (-5)
A user's choice of font size is stored in their profile (-5)
Your librarians author content such as finding aids which are available
on the web site (-30)
Every piece of content has been reviewed and updated within the last
twelve months (-15)
The web site contains content authored by librarians from other
libraries (-30)
Your web site is organized by use cases, not library department (-10)
Your web site has a CC license (-8)
You are less out-of-date now than you were five years ago (-5)
You are less out-of-date now than you were ten years ago (-10)
You are less out-of-date now than you were twenty years ago (-20)
Total score
Between 0 and -100: Whoa, Nelly! What's the rush?
-100 Congratulations! You have entered the twentieth century. In another
decade or two, the new-fangled electric light will make reading catalog cards
much easier.
-200 Congratulations! You have entered the nineteenth century. In another
decade or two, the new-fangled steam engine will make ILL much faster.
-300 Congratulations! You have entered the eighteenth century. In another
decade or two, the mechanical calculator will make calculating late fees much
-400 Congratulations! You have entered the seventeenth century. Begin
organizing knowledge into mutually-exclusive categories.
changing organization. These people who are frustrated are exactly the
people we need on our committees and councils, to bring about change
from within. If they work within the system, they can help the ALA
grow and change."
"But that's exactly the problem!" Josh replied. "Many people feel the
very structure of the organization is locking them out. Or the amount of
work it takes to bring change about is too much for people who already
have full-time jobs and families. And what about the people who can't
afford to join the ALA?"
"Non-members are not this council's concern," another committee
member said. "That's the province of the Recruitment Committee or the
External Relations Council."
"Besides," said a third council member, "the ALA is dealing with some
major issues right now. Of course the happiness of our members is
important, but we also have several important initiatives going on, as
well as our usual lobbying."
"Damn you!" Josh shouted. "You're focusing on the big picture, but
you're missing the important smaller issues! You all sit up here in your
satellite, fighting the good fight, but you're losing individuals and their
needs! And you're ignoring changes in technology. People are using the
net to talk and work with each other, without going through your
official channels. Discussions and decisions, collaboration and problemsolving, teaching and training are going on without you."
"Are you saying this organization is useless?" a council member asked,
skepticism lacing her words like acid.
"No, but..." Josh said, pausing for thought. "But times are changing,
there are new ways of organizing and communicating, and there are
times when you're just not needed anymore. The old order changeth,"
he concluded. Josh turned and strode out of the meeting room. "See you
in the funny pages!" he called back.
Josh materialized in the middle of the small backyard of his house in
suburban Central City. He switched off his zeta transmitter,
disconnecting himself from the ALA satellite teleportation tracking
grid, and looked down at the overgrown grass. "We really need to get the
lawn mower fixed," he said with a sigh as he walked into his house.
"Hello? Anyone home?" he called out. He was met with silence. "Julie
must be out somewhere," he shrugged. He sat down at his computer and
logged into the Biblioblogosphere. He saw notifications that a flashmob
of disaffected librarians was meeting in Bradbury Park in downtown
Central City. "I've to get down there immediately!" Josh exclaimed. He
leaped from his seat, dashed to his car and sped off towards downtown.
When he arrived at the park, the group of librarians had fallen into
disorder and conflict. People argued with each other over whether or
not the ALA was still relevant, whether or not members could make a
difference, whether or not it was even affordable to be a member. Josh
jumped up onto a picnic table and shouted, "STOP!" while waving his
THIS TOGETHER!" The mob quieted down and looked expectantly at
Josh. "You don't have to abandon the ALA," he said, "but you don't have
to play their game either. We have the knowledge and the tools to start
our own organization, a free, nonhierarchical association of library
professionals and enthusiasts. We can all work with each other in any
way that suits us the best, outside of the structure of the ALA and other
formal organizations. We can be fluid, flexible, adaptive."
"And fun?" someone in the crowd called out.
"Hell yes, fun!" Josh replied with a grin. "Join me in...THE LIBRARY
And lo! a new chapter in the history of libraries began!
How out of date
are you? A quiz by Graeme Williams
For every yes answer, score zero; for every no answer score the number in
parentheses. Units are years from present.
The catalog
Your catalog is in first normal form (-26)
Your catalog is in second normal form (-26)
Your catalog is in third normal form (-26)
Your catalog is in fourth normal form (-26)
Your catalog is in fifth normal form (-26)
Authors are identified by name (no dates!) (-39)
Catalog queries display a results page which includes availability
information (-10)
Catalog queries with no results display a page with an already
populated email form (-10)
Catalog queries with no results display a page with an already
populated Meebo form (-5)
You know the error rate of catalog entries (-70)
You know the error rate of catalog entries weighted by something
sensible, such as circulation (-70)
You have a plan for reducing the error rate of catalog entries (-60)
Your plan actually reduces the error rate of catalog entries (-50)
The web site
Your library has a web site (-20)
The home page of your web site contains a search box for your catalog
The search box for your catalog searches all your resources, including
your DRM-ridden proprietary databases (-10)
Your web site does not contain the word 'databases' (-5)
You have a custom 404 page (-5)
Your custom 404 page includes the phone number of your reference
desk (-4)
Your custom 404 page includes the email address of your reference desk
Your custom 404 page includes links to your Ask-A-Librarian service
Users log in to your web site (not the catalog) (-30)
Users log in to your web site using a user id, not a string of digits (-30)
be done without it.
But back to my title question! What do librarians do without the
internet? The answer is….their jobs! We still find books and other
resources for patrons, we still answer questions about where things are
located in our buildings, we still discuss things with our colleagues….it
just all has to happen in a slightly different way. In some ways, I wonder
if I wouldn’t do a better job if I didn’t have permanent internet access. If
I only had access for a few hours each day, would I be more efficient in
all parts of my job? I’ve tried enforcing this using various Firefox
extensions, but eventually, I get frustrated and turn them off or uninstall
them. But if there was a way that I could have *no* internet access for
portions of my day, I’d probably be all over it. I know this is something
my fellow librarians struggle with, because we’ve talked about it on the
internet (where else?!). But I also know that this is one of those struggles
for which each person’s solution is different.
Orgmonkey by Marie Kennedy
accessible)? This train of thought led me to what librarians do on the
reference desk when the internet is down. My office is *full* of things
that I could (and should) be doing when and if the internet is down.
Actually, I should be doing them even when our internet connection is
working. I could be going through the two foot stack of catalogs and
ordering books, I could be collating statistics, I could be cataloging the
plethora of materials that need my attention, I could be organizing the
collection so that the plethora of materials that need cataloged will fit, or
I could be coming up with new, creative displays.
Realizing that I have this (quite long) list of things I *could* be
doing makes me wonder what, exactly, I *am* doing all day. I know that
I check my email about every 5 minutes. And there are new emails
about that often. I use my email inbox as my “to do” list, so if I haven’t
received an email about something, it often doesn’t make it onto my “to
do” list. This is unfortunate, because there are things that I am
responsible for that I should
be “self-starting” on. This
doesn’t happen the way it
should. There are also things
in my job that require the
internet. I am the Electronic
and Educational Resources
librarian. This means that
about half of my job requires
the internet, while the other
half I could do just fine
without it. Unfortunately, I
have a hard time stepping
away from the computer and
doing those things that can
Courtney Stephens asks…
“New York Public Library Central Information” from NYPL on Flickr (no known © )
What do librarians
do without the
Our internet connection went down at work today, in a major way. I was
sitting at the reference desk, working on collating an enormous set of
statistics when students started asking me if the internet was down. It
was, but I hadn’t noticed, because I was using Excel and ignoring the
web (shocking, I know!). It was down for more than an hour when I
started thinking about what our students would be doing without the
internet for this long. Would they know how to entertain themselves
without the internet? Would they know how to find the library’s print
resources, in the event the web was down (our OPAC was still
Poetry Comic
I first discovered poetry comics when I inventoried Kenneth Koch’s papers
for the New York Public Library in 1995. Koch had done hundreds of poetry
comics, some of which were later published in The Art of the Possible (Soft
Skull Press, 2004). I loved the idea of these ‘comics mainly without pictures,’
as Koch described them, and tried to make a few of my own. Mine have
appeared in Rattle and Eat Pizza in the Shower and are forthcoming in
Opium. — Jessy Randall
! Ethical issues in stapler positioning: patron privacy and equal
Assigned Texts:
VDI. Gesellschaft Fördertechnik Materialfluss Logistik. Der Stapler wirtschaftlich und flexibel Düsseldorf : Verein Deutscher
Ingenieure, 1999. This is, I’m sure, a great text on the stapler.
Hence its name. I am unable to read German and so will require
translations of the assigned chapters with your response papers
each week.
Kindler, John. The Kidner report; a satirical look at bureaucracy at the paper
clip and stapler level Washington: Acropolis Books, 1972. Satire
has its roots in truth. Read this for the truth.
Tenner, Edward. “Swingline: office romance.”I.D. (USA) 53 (2006): 81.
A profile of stapler company Swingline. Alas, not nearly enough
romance, but a good read nevertheless.
Patton, Phil. “The evolution of your office.” American Heritage 52.4
(2001): 37-42. Argues that offices have evolved while staplers
have not. Hopefully early evolutionary ambitions (surely just
around the corner) will increase durability rather than, say,
increase the number of limbs or heads on the stapler. Not that
staplers have limbs. Or heads.
Course Outline:
Please find a detailed, class-by-class schedule of assignments and
discussions stapled to this sheet.
Why I Love
by Marianne Aldrich
Because it's preferable to any other situation I
can think of where someone might pay me to
spend time fondling old leather;
Because I get more reference questions when
I'm dusting than I ever do on the desk;
Because I need to find that 5000th author to
add to my "read real soon" list;
Because staring at endless rows of call
numbers is the laziest way I've found of
reaching an altered state of consciousness;
Because spending time hip-deep in our
collections is how I learned their underlying
Because I like it when people can find what
they're looking for;
Because, dammit, that book doesn't GO there;
Because I grew up in one particular library,
and hero-worshipped its librarians, and
reading those shelves was the first thing I
learned to give back.
Orgmonkey by Marie Kennedy
Pop quiz, hotshot. Someone has been messing with Marianne’s
books in the Z’s. Can you put them back in order?
ALA Annual 2009:
All in the Journey
Lisa Carlucci Thomas
Twitter: @lisacarlucci
Welcome to another season of hot summer days & cool breezy nights:
the ALA 2009 Annual Conference. As before, you’ve traveled miles from
home to meet face-to-face with friends old and new. You’ve packed your
notebook, schedule, and contact list efficiently in your cellphone or bag;
and you’re ready to join the largest librarian rockfest of the year. But
wait! Whether this is your first or forty-first ALA Annual Conference,
keep in mind that it’s all in the Journey. These tips will guide you to
making this year’s ALA the best gig yet.
Any Way You Want It
Consider your interests and
priorities, and approach the
conference accordingly.
Planning to attend sessions?
Refer to the Program Guide
and draft a schedule of your
“must see” programs. When
sessions coincide, note the
location of both – will be a
lifesaver if the first one is
overflowing, if you can’t find
the room you’re looking for,
or if you find yourself
geographically closer to one
event than another. Looking to learn from colleagues and find out about
new & exciting library happenings? Introduce yourself. Talk to everyone
you can. Seek opportunities to meet up and chat with people informally;
such organic meetings spark exciting ideas. Prefer to go with the flow?
Take it easy, stroll the exhibits, drop by sessions that catch your interest.
The ALA Annual Conference is self-service; any way you want it.
Open Arms
Do you go to sessions to brush up on topics you already know about? Or
page) report that describes the library (primary patron
population, distribution of staplers in the library, nearby printers
and the weight of paper that they take, and any signs on or
around the staplers), the make and model of the stapler itself,
typical patron and staff interactions with the stapler, and your
reflection on the experience.
Office Space Screening
We will watch the 1999 film Office Space (Dir. Mike Judge) in
class. Write a 3-5 page response paper addressing the topic “the
stapler as Tragic Hero.”
Best Practices Plan
Write a 10-15 page paper detailing best practices in stapler
curation, from user needs assessment and selection through endof-life decisions. Write this as if you were writing it for the
library you observed in the previous assignment. Be sure to
include rationale for each point in your plan, and to include
points for each stage in the stapler live cycle.
Stapler Policy and Procedure Manual
Write a 15-20 page policy/procedure paper for the library you
visited during your field observation (or another library, as long
as you clear it with me first). Make sure to include replacement
policies, how and why inquiries about staplers should be
recorded (or not recorded) in reference desk statistics, who
should order replacement staplers and staples, how many
replacement parts/staples should be on hand at any given time,
and how the library should balance equal access and patron
privacy. Please also include a discussion of the legal
responsibilities of the library should a patron incur injury. Extra
credit will be awarded for a thorough SWOT analysis of any
single recommendation in your paper.
Participation in discussion is part of your learning. Discussions
will include such topics as:
! Should requirements about such important tools as staplers
become part of Title III (The Americans with Disabilities
! Effective methods of performing a User Needs Assessment
before purchasing new staplers or creating stapler-related
LIS 957 – Special Topics in Reference and User
Services: Stapler Management and Curation
Course overview:
Not too long ago, I bumped into a
All around the world, reference
competent-looking library school
desks are home to the staplers we
student. Literally. Hard. (We didn’t see
kindly provide for community use.
each other coming because we were
And our communities make
both busy refreshing FriendFeed on our
heavy use of these staplers indeed!
mobile devices.) When we’d taken stock
Yet few librarians enter the work
of our bruises and apologized to each
force equipped to repair jammed
other breathlessly for a while, we set
and broken staplers, create
about gathering her papers from the
policies for their use, or manage
sidewalk and nearby bushes. Amongst
their (admittedly short) life cycles.
these papers, I found the first part of
The Foundations of Reference
the syllabus for a class I wish had been
Services course, with its already
offered at my library school. It seem so
bulging syllabus, lets this
useful, in fact, that I am on a mission
important topic fall through the
to share it with as many people as
cracks semester after semester.
possible in hopes that it will make it
Graduates of that course emerge
into the regular curricula of library
sadly unprepared in this
schools across the nation.
important area. Graduates of this
course need not fear, however.
-Iris Jastram, MLS
When they enter the ranks of
librarians, they can be confident
that they are fully versed in the
selection, care, and management of that ubiquitous implement: the
stapler. Special attention will be paid to issues of universal access and to
creating stapler policies and procedures that are grounded in best
practices and a solid understanding of community needs
Course Requirements:
Your final grade will determined by averaging your grade across the
following factors.
Technical Skill Demonstration
You will be shown into a room full of staplers that have
undergone normal reference desk wear and tear. It is your job to
fix and/or un-jam each stapler. Points will be awarded for speed,
thoroughness, and elegance of execution (remember, you’ll have
to perform these tricks in public later, so form matters).
Field Observation and Reflection
Visit a real reference desk stapler in action. Write a brief (5-7
do you go sessions to learn about innovative things others are doing?
With so many interesting speakers, it will be hard to decide whether to
attend programs that have practical possibilities for your work, or to
attend those discussing projects or endeavors outside your milieu.
Ideally, go to some of each: plan to attend programs that will directly
interest you and benefit your work, and throw in a few programs that are
beyond your usual experience. Better yet: seek a program describing a
technology or implementation that you’re skeptical about and ask
questions. Whether or not it will work at your library, it will expand your
knowledge, offer new perspectives, and provide insight about current
developments in the profession.
Lovin', Touchin,
Feeling adventurous? The ALA Annual Exhibit Hall is a carnival of
sights, sounds, and swag. Many conference attendees love to visit
exhibitor booths to touch and browse new products and publications,
enter contests for giveaways, and find out what’s next on the horizon.
Still, others don’t prefer squeezin’ through aisle after aisle of fluorescent
chaos. Fortunately, ALA offers an Exhibit Directory with contact details
for each exhibitor – so if you can’t make the Exhibit Hall (or choose not
to), you can easily check vendor websites later.
Aside from offering a plethora of programs, presentations, discussion
groups, and exhibits; the ALA Annual Conference is also an important
venue for ALA members to get work done. If you’re on a committee,
you already know what you need to do: show up on time, drink coffee,
participate, and collaborate. If you’re not on a committee but want to be
on one, this is a great time to talk with friends or meet with committee
members to ask about the work of the Division, Section, or Round Table
(or other). Ask who to talk
to, express your interest,
swap business cards. Stay
faithful to your purpose &
use the ALA Annual
Conference to develop and
grow professionally.
When the lights go down in
the conference rooms, it’s time for
open houses, happy hours, and
networking socials. Afterconference events are as essential to
the ALA experience as daytime
programs and meetings. Such
events provide excellent
opportunities to catch up with old
friends, meet new people, and
engage in casual conversations.
More importantly, they foster
community and allow you to make
connections with others who share
your interests. See the Annual
2009 Conference Wiki ( for event
listings; also search for and post events on Twitter using the official
hashtag: #ala2009.
Wheel in the Sky
The ALA Conference may be the main event during your visit to
Chicago, but don’t miss a chance to visit at least one local sight or
attraction while in the Windy City. Walk the Skydeck of Sears Tower (3rd
tallest building in the world!); ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier (in the
city where the Great Wheel was invented!); or take a stroll through
Millennium Park (celebrating its fifth birthday!). If you have time for a
longer excursion, be sure to visit one of Chicago’s many amazing
libraries and museums. Locations, hours, and other information are
available on Chicago’s Official Tourism website: Connect with Chicago Tourism on Twitter
@explorechicago for up-to-date event info and recommendations.
Separate Ways
No matter how you divide your time during the ALA Annual
Conference, you’ll probably wish you slept more, drank less(or drank
more, or started drinking earlier. - ed.), or ate better. The experience will fly
by and you’ll be flying home before you know it. How will you keep
track of your conference highlights, remain in touch with colleagues, and
remember topics to explore when you get back? A few suggestions: 1.
Swap business cards at every opportunity. 2. Write something on the
back of every business card you receive so you remember why you
wanted it. 3. Make yourself findable on social networks and reach out to
new friends in those spaces. 4. Continue the conversation by sending a
follow up message or note of thanks to new contacts. 5. Write down
The Top Ten Things I've Gotten
From the LSW
by Abigail Goden
It was my initial intention to submit a long, thought provoking piece,
analyzing in detailed and entirely made up statistics the value I
received from LSW as opposed to any other professional organization.
But rather than say what others haven't given me, instead I will share
what LSW has given me.
1. Networking without Borders: Where else can a group of academic,
public, gov doc, open access, medical, young adult, and even *gasp*
children's librarians get together almost daily to debate publisher
integrity, job opportunities, storytime themes and bacon?
2. Advocacy of Self and Others: We'll stand up for you and we'll help
you get out of your own way to stand up for yourself. Celebrate the big
things and the little things, and let us cheer with you.
3. Humor: A sense of humor, irony, and sarcasm is a must--otherwise
you run the risk of being codslapped.
4. Lack of Bureaucracy: As yet we have no regularly scheduled
meetings, dedicated listserv, newsletter, building, or roster. We do,
however, have a Sheriff.
5. View from the Desk: Though a number of LSWers manage or teach,
we're also working reference desks, cataloging, and beating databases
and websites with rocks. No Ivory Towers here...
6. Collaboration: Do you have a brilliant idea but need someone to
collaborate with? The LSW Meebo and Friendfeed room are a
wonderful place to ask who else would be interested in joining your
7. Open Invitation to Make It So: If you tell us you think something
should be happening, that means you've just volunteered to get it
8. Sanity: On the toughest day there's always someone around to listen
and understand, even when we're all in different time zones.
9. Cold Beer, Hot Coffee, and Bacon: And if the Wisconsin people show
up: Cheese Curds!!
10: Friends: We span the globe, brought together by our love of
libraries in their myriad formats.
mutually exclusive propositions. In fact, they are ontologically the SAME
THING! Here we have a chart to demonstrate:
Clientele is often unsavory
Requires discretion and
Dangers include stalkers and
inappropriate requests
Requires an advanced degree
Potentially highly lucrative
So, you see, it all comes out in the wash, and I realized the path to the
MLIS was much more clearly mapped for me than the path to highly
lucrative whoredom, so off to library school I went. Nearly a decade
later, I sit at the reference desk in the academic library where I am now
employed as an, ahem… “professional,” and I sometimes wonder if I
made the right decision…
Orgmonkey by Marie Kennedy
conference observations & ideas on the trip home, and revisit them a few
weeks later. By then, you’ll be rested and ready to dive in and explore
how to turn those ideas into reality.
Don't Stop Believing
The ALA Annual Conference should
leave your head spinning: it’s fabulously
fun, extremely exhausting, exceptionally
exciting, and incredibly inspiring. It’s
personal and customizable; no two
attendees will have the same experiences
nor leave with the same perspectives.
These recommendations offer just a few
ways you can make the most of ALA
Annual – remember: pace yourself, have
fun, and enjoy the ride. Hold on to that
feeling: it’s all in the Journey.
Contact: The Library Radish
Director of Transitional Alphabetics
[email protected]
For Immediate Release
July 10, 2009
The American Library Association Simplifies Its
Organizational Structure
The American Library Association (ALA) has long recognized
the problem of communication among and between members of the
association, and with people outside of the association. One problem
was the wide-spread use of acronyms. Outsiders of the organization
did not know the difference between the ALSC Division and the
ASCLA Division. Many members also felt that the use of divisions
within the association created divisive attitudes while it segregated the
members at the same time.
To bring all ALA members under the same organizational
umbrella and to greatly reduce the use of acronyms, the ALA is
merging all of their divisions into One Big Division (OBD), all of the
Offices into One Big Office (OBO), and all of the round tables into
One Big Roundtable (OBR). This will take effect September 1, 2009.
The offices will be merged into the CROIROOGRHRDROITPOIFOLAOLOSORSOGRPP Office.
had become accustomed. So, it was time to formulate a plan. I decided to
list my marketable personal qualities, and from that list, I would auger
my new professional future.
My top 5 personal qualities at age 25, in order of perceived
1. Able to name a favorite Werner Herzog film (Stroszek) and
a favorite theorist from the Frankfurt School (Benjamin).
2. Uniquely tolerant of the whims and directives of passive
aggressive academics (thanks, dad!).
3. Possessed of a brand-new post divorce, anxiety-driven
skinniness and matching borderline hoochie thrift store
4. Dirt-poor and beginning to feel a little desperate.
5. Slightly manic, in a way that probably made me sometimes
appear to be a wee bit of a sociopath.
From this list, I drew the only possible conclusion, which was, of
course, that I needed to become a prostitute. A faculty prostitute. I
searched the jobs board at my university, and shockingly, there was not
an opening for such a position. Having spent the previous few years as a
stay at home mom and half time children’s department assistant at the
public library, I discovered I was not well positioned to pursue selling
myself to academics freelance (though some of the dating I did shortly
thereafter surely qualified). What was I to do?
My boss at the children’s department encouraged me to get an MLIS,
but this seemed a circuitous way at best to go about capitalizing on my
existing qualities. I mean, prostitution is one thing, but there is a stigma
attached to librarianship. My professional epiphany came one day at the
children’s desk. I was reflecting on a particularly strenuous and satisfying
transaction in which a co-worker had divined the book needed by a
profoundly inarticulate patron (“I think it was blue. A blue book. And it
had a cat on the front. Or a zebra or something. I read it here one time
before.”) , and then found and delivered this book, all while smiling and
never betraying the slightest bit of incredulity or impatience.
It dawned on me…Reference work and prostitution are NOT
The False Binary
Relationship Between
Librarianship and
Prostitution (or, How I Learned to Quit Worrying
by Sarah VanGundy
and Just Go to Library School Already)
“Guys in Las Vegas Never Enjoyed Reading, Until Now...” by Flickr user
Roadsidepictures, Creative Commons By-NC-2.0 license.
In my mid-twenties I found myself the mother of a toddler, in the
process of divorce, with a financially (and sometimes intellectually)
crippling degree in literary and cultural studies. As an undergrad, I
worked at the Circulation Desk of a large academic library. At the time
of my divorce, I was working part time as a children’s services assistant
in our public library, but clearly, this did not pay enough to support my
daughter and I in the style (the style of eating regular meals) to which we
The prior sections of ALCTS will be merged into the ASCCSCMDSCRSPAR Section of the OBD. The prior ACRL sections will be reorganized into the
The Association also sees this as a cost cutting measure. The previous
divisions and sections of ALA will be able to save money by sharing the
same letterhead design. Jane Jackson from the Membership Office noted
that the ALA could also bring in extra income after the proposal takes effect.
Members will no longer need to worry about deciding which division(s) to
join. Once they join the ALA, they will automatically become a member of
Division as well.
Of course, membership fees will increase slightly, but members will be
able to see the immediate benefit that comes from networking with a greater
number of other ALA members. She also noted that the acronym index
( will become superfluous. Ms. Jackson said “someone will need to heavily edit that after the
organizational changes are made.”
Some members have questioned how groups and committees will be
able to communication with each other. There is a simple solution. By using
a discussion list such as [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>, one simply needs to note the
organizational unit one is referring to in the subject heading of the email.
Thus, here is a sample email:
From: James Smith
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 12:19 PM
To: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>
Hello Madam/Sir,
I would like to know how to join your fine organization.
When someone has a question for the new ALA Office, they will
simply need to write to [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>. The same is true for the roundtable. One simply
[email protected]
[email protected]>
discussion list.
The ALA will use a variety of social networking technologies to
enhance the new and simplified organizational structure. Many members are
really excited by the proposed changes. Michael Gorman, a past President of
ALA, noted “I am as giddy as a school girl. I can’t wait to let all of my
tweeps know about the organizational changes! I will finally be able to
easily send and receive twitters from the OBD via .”
a poem by Chris Zammarelli
I set my library on fire.
I felt it was no longer necessary.
Nobody read the books anymore.
No one needed to see today's newspaper.
Everybody had the web at home
and no one had any questions to ask me.
I warmed my frozen hands, long unused
to leaf through any books in our collection.
While I watched the smoke billowing up,
people gathered around to see the fire.
They wanted to know how to find out
the reason why I burned down the library.