Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Off to DC for the Computers in Libraries Conference

No time today for an in-depth post, unfortunately. I'm heading off to the Computers in Libraries conference, where I will hopefully learn all sorts of new and exciting things to share with you. I've been to this conference before, and it's a great chance to meet all sorts of like-minded library tech heads. Of course, this also means being in Washington DC, which has significantly more people than the small town I usually hang out in.

Ah well. A librarian has to be social at some point, I suppose.

See you in a week!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mantor Monday - Trail Mix

Is all this unseasonably warm spring weather tempting you out into the Great Outdoors?
Because I want to remind you about our Virtual Appalachian Trail.  We asked you to keep track of the miles you walk (run, jog, hike, roller skate - whatever!) and post them on our Facebook page. We've been keeping track, and plotting our progress on a map here in the library. We started in Georgia, made it all the way to Mt. Katahdin,  - the northern endpoint of the trail - and now we have turned around and we're headed back.  You can still help move us along by posting your miles - some people post daily, some weekly, and some whenever they feel like it.
What's in it for you? (Besides all that fresh air and exercise, of course!) With your original post, and then again with every additional 10 miles you post, you will be entered in a drawing to win a beautiful, hand-carved cedar walking stick. The drawing will be held on April 30th, so you still have time.

In other Trail related news, we'll soon be tracking another Appalachian hiker, and this one's real.  Recent UMF grad Jake Hansen is tackling the trail as of March 26, and he and his friend Allegra have given us a link to their customized Google Map. You can follow their progress here. Happy Trails, Jake & Allegra!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Another one bites the dust

I am of an age when any research project began with a shelf full of encyclopedias. (And a card catalog. In drawers. But that's a whole 'nother dead technology.) So it is with a spasm of nostalgia that I read that the Encyclopedia Brittanica will no longer be published in print. The encyclopedia, which was first printed in Scotland in 1768 and updated every two years, is calling it quits with the 2010 issue. 
It's not hard to understand why printing doesn't make good economic sense. The 2010 set cost a whopping $1,395, and the company only sold 8,000 of them - down from 120,000 sets in 1990. Company motto: "We Hate You, Internets".  Kidding. I'm kidding. Actually, Brittanica and the Internet are getting along quite cozily, and will continue to do so. They currently have 500,000 online subscriptions, which cost $70 a year. And honestly, with all the multimedia capabilities of an online encyclopedia, why wouldn't you go that way? 

So long, heavy old volumes. You smelled good, and we had a lot of good times together. 
                                                 R.I.P  Print Britannica.  1768 - 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mantor Monday

In the world of maine canoeing, Zip Kellogg is a celebrity. Zip's claim to fame is connected to his paddling style (as well as his fashion sense) in the annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race. Zip paddles standing up - the entire race - even over the falls. Some years he wears a suit and tie, some years a tuxedo, always topped with a hat, and always with a drysuit and life jacket underneath. Despite the lighthearted exterior fashion statement, and whimsically flower bedecked canoe, Zip is ever mindful that the frigid, fast-moving early spring water can be deadly.

The On Our Minds Program is pleased to have Zip as our special guest on Wednesday, March 14th. Zip will be here to share with us the colorful history of canoe racing in Maine, and screening a rare film. Here's a snippet from our On Our Minds Event Calendar describing the film:

"Since produced 70 years ago a film of the 1940 National Whitewater Championships (held on the Rapid River in western Maine) was thought lost. This 17 minute silent film provides a treasure trove of images, incidents (yes!) and windows into canoe and kayak racing equipment and techniques of another era. Maine canoeist and author Zip Kellogg had been on the lookout for this film for thirty years, holding out little hope that it had survived. And only by utter chance and a twist of fate did it turn up! Zip will share the story of this nationally significant film with us on Wednesday, March 14th at 11:45."

We hope you will join us in Roberts C23 to meet Zip.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Little Free Libraries

They're popping up everywhere -on lawns and town squares, outside coffee shops and on street corners,  and especially in newspapers, tv news programs, and library blogs. I'm talking about Little Free Libraries, the pint-sized public libraries that are enchanting communities all over the country.

Little Free Libraries are the brainchild of Minnesota native Todd Bol, who built the very first Little Free Library in the shape of a one room schoolhouse to honor his mother, a retired teacher and book lover. The original was such an instant and overwhelming hit in his community, Bol was inspired to form an organization dedicated to the spread of the whimisical libraries. In fact, he has a pretty definite goal: to beat the record of the all time Daddy Warbucks of libraries, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie built and endowed 2,509 American public libraries. Bol and Brooks are shooting for at least 2510.

Besides leaving Andrew Carnegie in the dust, Little Free Libraries has a couple of other goals: to promote literacy and a love of reading, and to build community. Take a book, and if you've got one to spare, leave a book: it's that simple. But people who have installed the library boxes near their homes are amazed at the positive interactions that spring up. Neighbors who have lived on the same street for years, but never spoke to one another,  are suddenly meeting and talking at the Little Free Library. Bol says of the phenomenon:

"What we have found is that the neighborhood starts to feel like it's theirs," Bol said. "The neighborhood starts taking care of it. People come together to talk about literacy, education -- community things that we define so well but lack so much. There is such polarity these days that this is a little common place that we're comfortable with."

Not too shabby for a cute little house and a few books, huh?

Little Free Libraries has a nice website of their own, with lots of pictures (the ones in this post are via the gallery there), plans to build, and a Google map showing the location of Little Free Libraries. The organization was featured on today's episode of NPR's All Things Considered. You can listen to the broadcast or read the transcript here. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Citing Tweets in MLA

It's one of the signs of the times we live in that MLA has just come up with a standard for citing tweets (from Twitter) in academic papers. That's right--now you can cite information that's 140 characters or less. For those of you wondering, the correct form is:
Last Name, First Name (Twitterhandle). “Text of the tweet.” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.
Where the date and time there is the date and local time the researcher accessed the Tweet.

Of course, this brings with it some other questions--like how a person would follow the citation trail. Twitter is far from easy to search. Not that I'm assuming many people are going to need to follow that trail for a Tweet, but isn't that sort of the point of a citation?

Also, teaching students when it's proper to cite a Tweet might also be a tad tricky. For the vast majority of papers, I can't imagine situations where Tweets are going to be relevant information, but I can picture students' eyes lighting up when they start thinking one of their ten required sources might be all of one sentence long.

Still, nice to see MLA doing its best to stay current and relevant.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mantor Monday

On our Minds, Mantor's one book/one campus reading program, is sponsoring a Common Ground event this Wednesday.
Dr. Dave Field, faculty emeritus at Orono, will be presenting a slide show and talk about the Appalachian Trail in Maine: its history, present, and the importance of its future as a protected corridor through the state.
Dr. Field is the author of Along Maine's Appalachian Trail. 
The presentation, which will be held in Thomas Auditorium, complements the On Our Minds 2011-12 reading selection, Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. So join us if you can on Wednesday, March 7, 11:45 am, for a virtual hike through Maine's trail history and breathtaking scenery. We'll even have trail mix for snacking along the way.