Category Archives: library

what i talk about when i talk about running


now that summer is approaching and im not scared of stepping outside anymore, ive decided that i really need to get my shit together and start running again. to help me overcome this fear i have enlisted the best writer in the world haruki murakami.  his latest english translation is a series of journal entries as he prepares for various marathons in the US and around the world.


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first day back and the ridiculous reference questions still continue:

suntanned librarian (ST): hi xxxxx library how can I help you?
caller (C): yes, do you have a book about hobbies?’
ST: there are many hobbies, do you have any idea about what you are looking for?
C: no i don’t, which is why i want a book about hobbies?
ST: [simultaneously searching the library catalogue] i think it will be quite difficult to find a book on hobbies. what are you interested in?
C: i dont know. that’s why i want a book so i can see what I am interested in
ST: how about cooking? computers? gardening? knitting? [sex?, my colleague unhelpfully suggests] …
C: i really am not sure, that’s why I want a book
ST: the only book we have in our catalogue is called ‘how to turn your hobbies into a profitable business’, that’s not what you are looking for is it?
C: no…
ST: i think you need to come into the library and talk to us to get an idea about what you are interested in, we have books on every type of hobbies here, just not one book with a list of them all.
C: ok bye [hangs up]

ST: bloody hell that was a painful conversation


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library in the new age

The never ending discourse about physical library v the internet generally bores me. However I found this article in the NY review of books to be quite informative, citing through the ages examples of distrust in the print medium such as this bit:

Le Courrier de l’Europe, a French newspaper produced in London, printed a translated digest of the English reports with a note warning that they probably were false. This version of the event passed through a dozen French papers produced in the Low Countries, the Rhineland, Switzerland, and France itself. By the time it arrived in Versailles, the news of Washington’s defeat had been completely discounted.

The writer also mentions that the smell of books is a reason why, according to research in France, people prefer print over electronic mediums. So some company over there has produced stickers that are stuck on computers and give off a “fusty/bookish” smell. 

Not sure if a scratch n sniff sticker that smells like a book would do it for me, though I have always been a fan of the orange/lemon/chocolate/blackcurrant flavours.

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the librarians ultimate guide to search engines

you dont have to be a librarian to find that  the librarians ultimate guide to search engines might be quite useful to you.  particularly if you use the net for research. the ultimate guide contains some easy to understand descriptions of internet and search terminology which, if used correctly, could possibly make you sound like you know more than you actually do about this stuff.  stop words and boolean operators will be rolling off your tongue in no time.

I thought that the ‘site operators’ section was quite good. ie:

Site Operators
These are powerful operators that most engines have but which are not always well-known. While there is a common set of operators, a few engines have their own variations. Here is an amalgamated list. A few references are included after this section, if you are interested in finding out more. All of them consist of a predefined keyword and a semicolon, “:”, character, which are then followed by a word or URL or domain name, etc. There should be no spaces on either side of the semicolon.

allintitle: , intitle: – Use allintitle: to specify one or more words that must all be in the title of a web page. Use intitle: to check for a single word in the title, and one or more words in the document body.
Example: allintitle: librarians

domain:, site: – Use with a domain name to limit searches to pages on that site.

filetype: – Use with a media file type (e.g., PDF) to limit SERPs to that type of document.
Example: library filetype:xls

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nagambie is a country town in the goulburn valley. it is famous for fruit and also for a lake by the side of the highway. 

one of the joys of my job is getting to travel to different parts of victoria to attend meetings at different library services. it was nagambie library this week to discuss our library computer system.

it’s not a joy, though, when you get TWO SPEEDING FINES IN THE  SPACE OF FIVE MINUTES travelling back to melbourne down an unfamiliar freeway ( i was going about 120 in a 110 zone im certainly not a speed freak).

in retrospect the signs were all there but i didnt notice them.  nagambie library was closing at 1pm and as the doors were being locked some weird guy wandered in, not to borrow anything but to tell the staff that he had spotted a speed camera on the road nearby. we thought he was a local freak. 

if only i had taken more notice of his words.

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does nancy pearl’s rule of 50 apply to book groups?

as the sole librarian representative on our city council book group i was quite embarrassed to rock up to our book club meeting yesterday and say i hadn’t read the designated book (the bell by iris murdoch). we were given 6 weeks to read it, but every time i started it i got bored and couldnt continue. 

(super librarian) nancy pearl developed the rule of fifty, which I have quoted below. i don’t know if it applies to book groups though, where there is perhaps an obligation on the member to struggle through the book so s/he may  contribute to the discussion?  if everyone said ‘the book sucked so i couldnt read it’ it could make book group talk difficult.

“Believe me, nobody is going to get any points in heaven by slogging their way through a book they aren’t enjoying but think they ought to read. I live by what I call ‘the rule of fifty,’ which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you’re fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you’re over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100. The result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.”

our next book is ‘the nanny diaries’ (chick lit).  we didnt have a choice in the title. the one male member of the group demanded a brown paper cover for when he read this on the tram.


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wifi, and rocking

our library finally went wireless last week, which was quite cool.  and no delinquent child has since tried to steal the box which houses all the wireless technologies.  yet.

since it’s a trial we havent gone all out to promote it, but gradually people are discovering the library hotspot as an alternative to the cafes in the nearby streets that also offer free wireless. the benefit of our service is that you don’t have to buy a coffee that will last you three hours. but the drawback is that you won’t be able to scream to the world going by that you are an artist, a writer, a graphic designer etc. you will actually have to do work on your macbook wifi.

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