I Need a Librarian


Outtakes 202

I Need a Librarian

by Cait Collins

 

I love books and I have a fair sized home library. I own everything from Peanuts to the classics; religion to Dummies books. I read reference books and romance; kids literature and true crime. I have out-of-print volumes and new releases. I have kept books autographed by writer friends who are no longer with us. Trouble is I have a horrible time keeping the shelves organized.

Every few months, I go through the shelves, pull out the items I will never reread, and box them up. Eventually, I’ll load the boxes into the car and donate them to the library. Then I rearrange the shelves, putting the non-fiction on one end and filling the empty spaces with favorite authors and fiction. Within a month it’s all out of order as I’ve added new volumes and misplaced others.

My friends and family suggest I get an e-reader or tablet for the books I will only read once. It’s a logical suggestion, but I prefer a real book. You know, bound volumes with pages I can turn. Besides I’m not comfortable reading a tablet while relaxing in a bubble bath.

I guess I have a couple of solutions. I can hire a part time librarian to shelve my books and keep the book cases organized. Or I can enjoy going through each shelf looking for that new release I have yet to read. My conclusion; there is something to be said for reacquainting yourself with your personal library.

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Gotta Love Electronics


Outtakes 78

Gotta Love Electronics

By Cait Collins

Have you ever had one of those days when it seemed as if every piece of electronic equipment you touched hated you? The computer was slow. The fax machine chewed your master. Only half of your documents printed. The copy machine jammed. And last but definitely not least, one of your primary computer programs crashed. Okay only half of that happened today, but this war has been ongoing for the last week and a half.

I love the convenience of computers. The ability to type a document, save it, and edit later is wonderful. I remember the good old-days when I’d spend hours typing a research paper on my trusty manual typewriter. I tried to check every page for errors before ripping the sheet out of the typewriter. I always missed something, and I never mastered the art of inserting the page and realigning the paper to make corrections. I lost count of the number of times I had to retype every page from the point of the error forward because the correction forced the text onto the next page. I recall author/screenwriter Larry McMurtry bragging about writing all of his manuscripts and screenplays on a typewriter. I cannot imagine doing that. A 20-page research paper was intimidating enough.

While computers provide convenience, they do have a drawback. Programs crash. I had such an experience today at work. I had my proof file built for a letter I was preparing for a client. When I tried to save it, the program flashed an error message and my file disappeared into cyberspace. None of my quick fixes restored the program. And so I sat waiting for IT to come fix the problem. My hands were tied. I could not prepare correspondence, I could not research. I did not have very nice things to say about my computer at this point. Most of my muttering involved rather sexist remarks about the origin and nature of computers. Sorry, gentlemen, but you are to blame for the problem.

While electronics frustrate me at times, I admit I could not function without them. I still prefer grabbing a book to research a subject, but when in a bind, the internet is a life saver. I no longer rush to the library to look up missing information. Locating a book title, author, or event is a simple matter of typing key words. Working on multiple projects is easy. I have folders and files set up for each project on my systems. Paper files are no longer required. My external hard drive automatically backs up my files. Flash drives allow me to copy pages of a work in progress from my main system to my Netbook. The Netbook is light weight and easy to carry; therefore, I can spend my lunch hour working on my novel or short story. When I need multiple copies, I print them. No messy carbon paper or time wasted standing at the copy machine is necessary.

I will never be as computer savvy as my younger associates. They had the advantage of growing up with word processing, spreadsheets, and electronic media. I continue to learn more about the capabilities of my laptop and Netbook as I truly appreciate their advantages. That doesn’t mean I will refrain from referring to my misbehaving electronics in sexist terms.

Gotta Love Electronics


Outtakes 78

Gotta Love Electronics

By Cait Collins

 

Have you ever had one of those days when it seemed as if every piece of electronic equipment you touched hated you? The computer was slow. The fax machine chewed your master. Only half of your documents printed. The copy machine jammed. And last but definitely not least, one of your primary computer programs crashed. Okay only half of that happened today, but this war has been ongoing for the last week and a half.

I love the convenience of computers. The ability to type a document, save it, and edit later is wonderful. I remember the good old-days when I’d spend hours typing a research paper on my trusty manual typewriter. I tried to check every page for errors before ripping the sheet out of the typewriter. I always missed something, and I never mastered the art of inserting the page and realigning the paper to make corrections. I lost count of the number of times I had to retype every page from the point of the error forward because the correction forced the text onto the next page. I recall author/screenwriter Larry McMurtry bragging about writing all of his manuscripts and screenplays on a typewriter. I cannot imagine doing that. A 20-page research paper was intimidating enough.

While computers provide convenience, they do have a drawback. Programs crash. I had such an experience today at work. I had my proof file built for a letter I was preparing for a client. When I tried to save it, the program flashed an error message and my file disappeared into cyberspace. None of my quick fixes restored the program. And so I sat waiting for IT to come fix the problem. My hands were tied. I could not prepare correspondence, I could not research. I did not have very nice things to say about my computer at this point. Most of my muttering involved rather sexist remarks about the origin and nature of computers. Sorry, gentlemen, but you are to blame for the problem.

While electronics frustrate me at times, I admit I could not function without them. I still prefer grabbing a book to research a subject, but when in a bind, the internet is a life saver. I no longer rush to the library to look up missing information. Locating a book title, author, or event is a simple matter of typing key words. Working on multiple projects is easy. I have folders and files set up for each project on my systems. Paper files are no longer required. My external hard drive automatically backs up my files. Flash drives allow me to copy pages of a work in progress from my main system to my Netbook. The Netbook is light weight and easy to carry; therefore, I can spend my lunch hour working on my novel or short story. When I need multiple copies, I print them. No messy carbon paper or time wasted standing at the copy machine is necessary.

I will never be as computer savvy as my younger associates. They had the advantage of growing up with word processing, spreadsheets, and electronic media. I continue to learn more about the capabilities of my laptop and Netbook as I truly appreciate their advantages. That doesn’t mean I will refrain from referring to my misbehaving electronics in sexist terms.

Libraries: the Future is Now


Libraries: the Future is Now

by Natalie Bright

Friends of the Cornette Library, WTA&M University, Fall Luncheon featured Gillian McCombs as the keynote speaker. McCombs is Dean and Director of Central University Libraries at Southern Methodist Unviersity in Dallas, soon to be home of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, making Texasthe only state with three presidential libraries.

Card Catalogs

She reminded us about libraries of old. Who remembers the card catalog, with hand-written reference notes on actual index cards? Times have certainly changed and as McCombs points out, “Librarians are doing so much more than saying Shh.”

“Librarians have always believed in open access, and Google certainly unlocked the store,” McCombs says. With an estimated 4.7 billion searches in any given day, we’re a part of a democratization of information. Everybody can contribute as writers and bloggers, and information is readily available. We have the unvalidated Wikipedia, book reviews on Amazon, and we see newspapers struggling to find the best method to deliver their content ‘now’.

The Physical Place

The question asked today is do we need physical libraries?  McCombs believes we do now more than ever. Even with information at our fingertips, students and communities still choose the library. “Think of the library as place,” says McCombs.  ” For most people, #1 place is home, #2 is work, and the library meets the need as #3. A place to go outside of work or home, similar to the coffee houses or pubs.” Cafes and gourmet coffee shops are appearing in libraries all across the country offering internet access and sponsoring community events making them an essential part of neighborhoods.

It’s a New Day

Southern Methodist University library offers mobile apps for students. Have a question? You don’t have to go downstairs and find the librarian. You can send a text.

SMU is also making great strides to digitize special collections making rare documents available on a world wide level. A few to mention is The Bridwell LibraryPerkins School of Theology, provides online digital resources related to theology and religious studies. Highlights include images of rare books, Bibles, manuscript codices and fragments. The Underwood Law Library, part of the Dedman School of Law, featuring an online archive of litigation pertaining to the desegregation of Dallas schools.

McCombs reminded us that kids today have not lived in a world without digital access, and to meet their needs many libraries will be conducting continual assessments of who they serve. I for one, am anxious to see how our libraries will evolve for the future.

www.nataliebright.com

TEACHERS


TEACHERS

by Sharon Stevens

You must live on Mars if you don’t know that public school will begin soon. The season comes around every year and we are still taken aback as we face the crowds filled with desperate parents, school lists in hand and disgruntled children in tow, frantically searching for supplies and clothes.

Teachers have been attending in-services and getting their rooms ready whether they teach little ones or secondary. I imagine the dread and elation is much the same for either or. All wonder where their summer disappeared to, and when it will return again.

I love teachers! I treasure their kindness, their firmness, and the knowledge they share. I love my children’s teachers, my friends that are teachers, and teachers wherever they teach. You find each in all walks of life on every level, and every faith.

When our fellow blogger, Natalie Bright, reminded us that we were celebrating a year of blogging with Wordsmith Six blog I thought back to all of the words written this year by each one of us and I celebrate the stories attached to each. Just think, I may have missed out on all of this if it wasn’t for a teacher.

In the middle of first grade we had to move from Canyon to Amarillo and I had to settle into a new school. For some reason I had struggled in Canyon, but blossomed in a different environment. My mom told me later that I couldn’t read and it was the teacher that helped me to figure out what was wrong. Mom said I couldn’t change simple words like cat, to fat, to mat, to rat etc. But once I figured that out I just flew. I loved to read, and from that day on I read everything, even cereal boxes. The library and I became best friends. Teachers are wonderful everywhere and I am sure if I had stayed in Canyon they would have figured out and worked with me, but it was Mrs. Carmody who showed the way.

So this is my homage to all the teachers everywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you teach in the home, Sunday School, private or public school. Please know we cherish you and wish you the most wonderful year. And even though you may be faced with terrible restrictions, state mandates, and ugliness from every avenue imaginable, we cherish the gifts you share.

And in honor of all I wish to leave you with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

Sharon Stevens