Monday, February 16, 2009

Librarians in the Press

Librarians and libraries have been getting a lot of press lately, almost all of it positive. In these times of economic hardship, the media is highlighting how public libraries can provide entertainment, Internet access, job-seeking assistance, technology classes and more.

As an academic librarian, I'm happy to see my colleagues in the public libraries getting positive feedback, but I haven't really felt like the news media has been talking about me and what I do for a living.
Photo credit: Carlos Seo

Today, the New York Times ran an article called: "The Future of Reading:
In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update
," which really felt like it was about my job as a librarian.

This article is about school librarians (K-12), but it focused on Information Literacy, which is the main skill that an Instruction Librarian also tries to develop. (For readers not used to education jargon, IL is the ability not only to find information but also to critically evaluate it.)

This article showed how librarians are important for teaching America's students not only how to find information, but how to analyze and evaluate what they read. On this cold day, it warmed my heart.

Facebook & Privacy

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I use it (voluntarily) almost every day, and I love the way it allows me to easily keep in touch with friends, re-discover old acquaintances, make new connections, and publicize items of interest.

However, I also lament the way that I have greatly reduced longer messages to close friends and, more importantly, fear the way that Facebook is revealing large amounts of personal information. For the former, I think I will just need to make email and phone calls a priority again, but for the latter, I have taken specific steps to preserve my privacy on Facebook.

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know should be required reading for all users of Facebook. Read this to learn how to set very specific privacy levels, such as limiting photo views to only certain groups of friends, preventing stories from showing up on news feeds, and controling who can post to your wall.

There is still the larger issue of the Facebook corporation itself having access to so much personal information, but short of avoiding social networking altogether, I haven't figured out a good solution to that one.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lakes Regional Library

I recently visited the Lakes Regional Library in Lee County, Florida. They have the same jaunty little library sign that I like so much at the new Northside Branch in Lexington. (Due to road construction, I creatively photographed from the back.)

Inside were comfortable chairs, easy-to-find desks, and helpful library employees. I was able to use the Internet to check my email and buy a nice used paperback from their small store to read at the beach. Overall, a very nice library.

Our Backyard

Not much riding going on in the Bluegrass these days. Our house has been without power for nine days and counting, due to the apple tree shown here. Thank goodness for the kindness of relatives.