Friday, April 30, 2010

Librarian's Worst Nightmare?

I just noticed a local band called Librarians Worst Nightmare, who recently won a Battle of the Bands and can be heard around Cardiff.

It made me wonder what a librarian's worst nightmare might consist of. (ending sentences in a preposition? Leaving out an apostrophe?)

According to a recent article it is Yahoo Answers, a system so flaky that it makes Wikipedia look seriously responsible and maintstream as a reference source.

Or perhaps, an earthquake?

We used to like the coincidence of Mr Hudson and The Library, because we had a regular in the Local Studies department called Mr Hudson (RIP), who was a fairly daunting 'customer'.

Our new library, indeed, was opened by the Manic Street Preachers, on the tenuous connection that one of their songs mentions a library!

Design for Life starts "Libraries gave us power..."

Although it does continue:

Then work came and made us free
What price now for a shallow piece of dignity

I wish I had a bottle
Right here in my dirty face
to wear the scars
To show from where I came

We don't talk about love
we only want to get drunk
And we are not allowed to spend
As we are told that this is the end

Which perhaps does not reflect on libraries quite so well - literacy? irony? Well, whatever...

We have bands and solo musicians playing in the library on Saturdays, now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Well, will you look at that!

Kansas City Public Library looks like this! Snopes confirms it is not a fake.

The Community Bookshelf, it’s called, and you can see it on their website

I came across this on Cracked, which has a series of pictures that you won’t believe weren’t photoshopped!

An Assortment of Events

Cardiff Council has added an events page to the library pages...

Find out about what's going on here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Berglas's Corollary to Parkinson's Law

I was leafing through my old copy of Systemantics recently, because it still amuses me, and I work with ‘’complex systems’ of course.

One that I came across online recently was Berglas’s Corollary to Parkinson’s Law.

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

According to Wikipedia, there are modern corollaries like:

Data expands to fill the space available for storage.

But Berglas’s Corollary amounts to:

No amount of computer automation will reduce the size of a bureaucracy

And whether you see these rueful laws (mostly invented by scientists) as pure jokes, or containing a grain of truth, you might want to compare them to real life.

When I joined the library service the department was part of Leisure, Libraries and Parks (LLP). We then changed to Leisure and Lifelong Learning (LLL), before becoming Culture, Leisure and Parks (CL&P).

Guess what? We now belong in Citizen Services (part of Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal).

Oh, and I haven’t worked for libraries as man and boy. I have only been here 13 years!

I don’t intend to single out our authority for this, and am aware that a certain amount of re-arranging of management hierarchies must prove necessary in different economic and political climates (quite apart from management fashions).

I only mention it because of the inevitable complications that arise from such reshuffles. Trashing a load of headed notepaper is not the only problem these days.

Because we use complex computer systems, containing folders and cross-references, files and documents with embedded links, etc., it means that all kinds of things can go wrong if one folder gets renamed. I find people whose email address still carries the LLL listing, files and lists that you need to search with LLP, etc. I guess the less said about the unfortunate acronym CLaP the better.

Berglas's Corollary or Why it is Important that Software Projects Fail


We have provided empirical proof of Berglas's Corollary, and clearly shown that software does not improve real productivity. Further, we have shown why it is essential that most software projects fail. No one need ever again be embarrassed by participation in a failed software project. Rather they should be proud to have spared society from yet another burden of complexity.

Some may misinterpret this article as satire. Surely it is not really desirable for software projects to fail. But the facts speak for themselves.

Parkinson's Law - Where all this started

Hay Festival 27th May - 6th June

Of interest to book lovers and library staff (if those can been considered separate categories) the Hay Festival this year has a wonderful looking line-up!

Check out the stars, here.

Christy Moore
Bill Bryson
Roddy Doyle
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club
Brian May & Elena Vidal
Hilary Mantel
Philip Pullman
Tom Stoppard

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Events in Cardiff Central Library

I don't know if anyone local reads this, in fact I don't really know if anyone reads it at all, apart from seeing the red dots on the map (which could just be bots crawling the web, although I hope one or two are people!) The only Comments I get are in Chinese, and probably spam (I don't read Chinese).

The Cardiff Library Facebook Page has started moving, with this latest event appearing there now...

You can also read the poster in Welsh, if you prefer...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

National Library Week (USA)

11-17th April 2010 is National Library Week, according to the ALA.

Details from their website here.

National Library Week was first sponsored (according to Wiki) in 1958.

This year's theme:
"Communities thrive @ your library."

A Good Review

We came across this great review (from last year) of Cardiff Central Library, from Splash magazine.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mashups and other jargon

Although this blog got launched after an inspiring meeting about libraries and new technology, your humble scribe doesn't get to many events. He's not a professional librarian anyway, and not having reached anything higher than a humble Scale 3, doesn't get time off to attend conferences and all those other perks of management level working.

Having said that, the whole point of online working is that things can change. We can use teleconferencing, podcasts, wikis, etc.

Here's a wiki for events I can't attend. Mashed Up Libraries wiki. And the blog for 2010.

And in general terms of online presentation, this could prove an Interesting site for all UK Public Libraries.

They award Gold Stars to particularly attractive or interesting sites. I guess, as we have a working group at Cardiff re-assessing our website, we might aspire to one of those!
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