Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crazy Librarians

Well, it's getting close to Easter. Librarians all over the country are looking again to Millikin Library and shaking their heads, considering doing similar studies in their own libraries. Or wondering why they haven't. Make sure you scroll down through the entire website. You certainly don't want to miss a thing. Let me know if any of you would like to become involved in some studies in our library. I have some work in mind...

It is really time for people outside of the librarian world to see the nutty world of librarians. What we do with our free time. What our professional senses of humor looks like.

Medieval Helpdesk (with English subtitles)

Reading on a Dream: A Library Musical

Librarian Workout Tape

"Ray of Light" St Joseph County Public Library (This is rather long. If you can't watch the whole video, skip to the end.)

Gorilla Librarian (Monty Python)

Have a good time chuckling!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Life Among the Romanies

Come and join the exhibit opening with music and dancing exhibitions tomorrow (Friday) from 2:00-5:00 p.m. in Smathers Library room 100 and the second floor exhibition gallery!

We will be celebrating Alena Aissing’s exhibit opening of

Life Among the Romanies: The Heroic Past and Present


Amie Kreppel, Founding Director, Center for European Studies at UF and Jean Monnet, Chair

John Ingram, Interim Director of the George A. Smathers Libraries


American Tribal Gypsy - Suzanne Bell

Indian Bollywood Dance Chaya Chaya - The Farhana Dancers, Nicoma and Kate

Gypsy Flamenco - Fiorina Boggiano

Irish GypsiKelts and Drumming - Bhrigha

Romanian Gypsy Dances - Margaret Ross Tolbert and Stefan Craciun


Gypsy Jazz - Hot Club De Ville

Through Deaf Eyes

Watch the History of Deaf People on PBS March 29th at 9:00pm

Last night people all over the country watched a great film, Through Deaf Eyes, on the history of Deaf people in America. Unfortunately, in Gainesville it was pre-empted by Suze Orman's financial advice during pledge week. WUFL will broadcast it here next week, Friday, March 30 at 9pm. But you can browse through their website now and even read the transcript if you'd like.

The larger documentary includes clips of films by Deaf filmmakers, available on the website. But I wish the transcript had some videos of the interviews in sign, instead of all of them in translation.

I wish they spoke more about life outside of school and the educational institutions. Almost all of the pictures on the PBS website is of students practicing speech, getting audiograms, and hitting drums to listen to sounds. I love just seeing Deaf people together playing canasta or enjoying their bowling. A 1/2 second on the Black schools and segregation in the South.

On the other hand, there were Deaf people living everyday lives, just being. Having friends, brothers, wives, husbands, and co-workers. Lots of the stories spoke to the heart. It was so exciting just to know that Deaf kids can't imagine a Gallaudet University with a hearing president. What a change in less than 20 years. (And it's been that long since the Deaf President Now protest!)

The love of American Sign Language and the community afforded Deaf people is palpable in the film. It's clear what Veditz (the NAD President in 1910) was talking about when he told Deaf people that "Sign Language is the greatest gift that God has given to the Deaf."

(We have ordered the DVD. PBS says it will be shipping in May.)

Monday, March 19, 2007

NPR Transcripts in LexisNexis

Searching Sources in LexisNexis -- Organic Peaches in California Depends on Immigration Reform

Last week, during spring break, I was driving home to my family in South Carolina. It was Saturday evening. I was listening to NPR and something interesting came on the radio. "Hmm," I thought. That would make a nice topic to build a blog around."

A week later, I can't remember a thing about the story. Was it about children? Something about demographics? Shoot.

When I got back to the library, I realized I could look in LexisNexis to find the transcript from NPR and figure out what I was listening to. (I could have done this from my parents' home using the VPN, but I was busy crocheting and finding furniture in junk stores.)

LexisNexis includes news sources from all over the world, including articles from newspapers, transcripts from television and radio, book and film reviews, and reports from the newswires. But on Monday morning I wanted to know what I'd been listening to on NPR, so I went to the library's home page and clicked on databases in the first column. In the second box on the databases page, I typed in LexisNexis. There are several different parts to LexisNexis -- the one that contains the news is LexisNexis Academic. (There are no scholarly works in here. I think it's called "Academic," because it's marketed to academic libraries. Yeah.)

LexisNexis will open to this screen:Click on the "Guided News Screen" tab at the top. (If you want to search all news sources, you can use this screen.)

On the next screen, choose, News Transcripts from the first dropdown menu, and National Public Radio Transcriptions from the second dropdown menu:

Notice that you can also get transcripts from the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, the Official Kremlin Intnl News Broadcast, and CNBC/Dow Jones Business Video among others. If you look at all of the drop down menus from the first box and their secondary dropdown menus (i.e., the second dropdown menu changes depending on the first menu) you'll find an amazing variety of sources. Enjoy!

Then, to find the report I was listening to, I remembered that I drove from about noon til 7pm on Saturday. The earlier time I listened to audio books. So I must have been listening to All Things Considered. My search looked like this (Note "all things" in the "show" field):And the results:
There it is! A peach farmer in California talking about the need for large numbers of workers to support organic farming. He sees legalizing immigration from Mexico as the only way to make delicious tasting peaches.

However, as I look at the list of transcripts, I realize that I must have started listening after the reports on the large numbers of child abuse cases reported by juveniles in institutions in Texas and across the United States. Hmm...many interesting articles...

(If you use LexisNexis to search newspapers, you can search just the Miami Herald by choosing U.S. News in the first box, Florida New Sources in the second, and Miami Herald in the very bottom box: StepFive: search this publication title.)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

An impression of UF libraries by a non-librarian type person

First of all, thanks to Merrie for allowing me to guest-blog on her very excellent, very informative forum, and for giving me the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects, Library West and the UF libraries.
To be honest, I really didn’t start to appreciate the university libraries until I started working as a student assistant at the beginning of last summer. Working with the reference librarians has been a great opportunity to see how knowledgeable they are and willing to go the extra mile for their patrons. If you’ve ever hesitated to go up to the desk and ask for help with a project, please reconsider; no matter how arcane your question, you will no doubt find someone at the desk who can help you. And if, for some reason, they are unable to get the information you need they will invariably refer you to someone who can.
My advice:
Make the reference desk at Library West your second home and the librarians your best study buddies. They will not do you wrong.

Some more tips:

  • The Circulation desk on the second floor is a great place to start in your search because they can direct you to the places you need to go. They can also provide you with a laptop if computers in the library are scarce, and a set of headphones if you foolishly left yours at home. Be nice to your circulation desk people and be sure to say “hi” to Missy!
  • Using your own laptop in the library? You can now print to the third floor orange printer.
  • The fourth floor, if you are an undergrad who needs extreme quiet to study, is the place to go. You can even sometimes find a study carrel in which to hunker down.
  • Second choice for X-treme quietude: The first floor, which at times resembles a basement so how can you go wrong?
  • Design and film students take notice: The third floor has high-end computers for graphics and two editing suites! Sweet!
Besides the UF Libraries’ home page, Merrie’s blog is probably the best resource for new and interesting information, not just for her areas of expertise but for Library West as a whole. Her most recent post about Book Crossing is a great example of the potential of a library as community space, and I encourage every reader to explore its possibilities. She talks about the library’s potential as community arena in another post about other university and college libraries who have jumped on the library-as-community-space bandwagon (a coffee shop also doesn't hurt).
Okay, I’ve babbled long enough, back to our fearless leader of the library blogs at UF. Thank you once again.
Michele is a student, mom, and mate who enjoys helping others. When she is not working for the greater good at Library West she works on her own, somewhat neglected blogspot blog, The Accidental Environmentalist.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Undergrads and Narcissism

Are undergrads more narcissistic now than 20 years ago?

A new book out, Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before, laments the author (Jean M. Twenge, Phd.)'s findings that undergraduates today are more narcissistic than the previous generation. At least based on her results on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Jean Twenge attributes this to the "self-esteem" movement that encouraged parents to praise their children for being themselves and for doing everything they do.

Interesting. But it's also been suggested that adolescence (emerging adulthood) lasts longer than before, through college and until about age 21 - 23 in developed countries. The symptoms of narcissism are similar to characteristics of young folks figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their lives.

Or are there problems with personality inventories?

Or is it just what always happens. Older folks saying "These kids today...too self-involved. They don't care about anyone but themselves!" That's what older folks said about my generation when I was in college. That's what some older people said about the Vietnam War protestors. "I wish they really were pacifists. But it's not war they're against -- they just don't want to die."

Or is this new generation of undergrads different? What do you think?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Set Your Books Free! Then Watch Them Travel the World through
Read and Release at

You've read a book you loved, liked, hated. Whatever. You'd love to share it with another. If you're like me, your books are piled up on the floor. Each time a loved one comes to visit, she mutters about your need for more bookshelves, academics who have no space for guests to sit, and fire hazards from the floor to the ceilings. provides Internet space for you to register your books online, journal them (describe them, talk about your interest in them, and critique or evaluate them) and then release them to other people.

Wild Releases mean you release them into the wild: you journal your book, label it as "free not lost", announce where you're leaving it, and ask the finder to register your book, so you can watch it travel around the world.

There are book rings and book rays as well, allowing groups of people all around the world to share their books. And wish lists that tell you who dreams of the books you no longer want or just want to give away.

It's a lovely way to trade books with folks all over the place. Lots of people have done it here in Gainesville already. I'd love to see our libraries get in on the act. Lets make our libraries a Crossing Zone! And maybe later an Official BookCrossing Zone!